PHILADELPHIA (AP) — This Saturday may be for sweethearts, but every day is Valentine’s Day in one section of Philadelphia.
Dozens of “Love Letter” murals brighten the walls along nearly 20 blocks of elevated transit tracks. The art mixes funky lettering with graphics and heartfelt phrases like “Forever begins when you say yes” and “See me like I see you: Beautiful.”
For one couple, they made the Market-Frankford El the perfect place for a wedding.
Neal Santos and Andrew Olson got married Sunday aboard a specially chartered Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority train. The couple’s friends and relatives witnessed the unusual wedding in the first car while 200 art enthusiasts packed the rest of the train for a tour of the murals.
“Once we kind of got over explaining it, that hurdle, people were really excited,” Olson said. “And a lot of people have said, ‘Wow, that’s something that really fits you guys.'”
The “Love Train,” sponsored by the city’s Mural Arts Program, brought in lead artist Steve Powers to narrate the excursion as the train slowly trundled by the murals. Finding them is like a scavenger hunt — you have to look up high, down low and in between buildings. Tours also are available year-round.
Powers said he’s not surprised at the enduring appeal of the murals, which he created six years ago. He describes them as his love letter to west Philadelphia — where he grew up as a graffiti tagger before going legit — and as a way for residents to see themselves in a public love story.
“People love … the idea of somebody spray-painting ‘Steve loves Mary’ on a wall,” Powers said Sunday. “It represents to them the largest, boldest expression of love that they would make. So we’re happy to be that for them.”
The city, of course, also is home to another “Love Train” — Philadelphia International Records released the O’Jays’ hit song by the same name in the early 1970s.
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