Some­thing old: His­toric bank's beauty lures brides-to-be

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

The Sec­ond Bank of the United States might not be Philadel­phia's top tourist draw, hav­ing to com­pete with neigh­bors like In­de­pen­dence Hall and the Lib­erty Bell, but its re­gal ar­chi­tec­ture is lur­ing a whole dif­fer­ent type of vis­i­tor: wed­ding pho­tog­ra­phers and soon-tobe brides and grooms. The Greek Re­vival-style bank is one of the most pop­u­lar places for wed­ding photos in the city, so much so that the Na­tional Park Ser­vice set up a per­mit of­fice to ac­com­mo­date wed­ding photo shoot re­quests.

Kait­lyn Daly, 25, of Vineland, New Jer­sey, thought the spot was per­fect for her Fe­bru­ary wed­ding photos. But she had to con­vince her hus­band, Michael Daly, 29, who was push­ing for pic­tures atop the Philadel­phia Mu­seum of Art steps, which Sylvester Stal­lone bounded up in the "Rocky" movies. "My hus­band is a huge Rocky fan," Daly said. "He was like 'we have to, we have to get a photo on the Rocky steps,' and I was not sold on the idea."

She came upon the bank while re­search­ing pop­u­lar lo­ca­tions for wed­ding photo shoots, and her hus­band was per­suaded. "It's a beau­ti­ful piece of his­tory in Philly," she said. The Sec­ond Bank of the US served as the na­tion's fi­nan­cial hub, be­gin­ning in 1816 un­der a 20-year char­ter. It was de­signed by ar­chi­tect Wil­liam Strick­land, who based the de­sign on the Parthenon. Con­struc­tion fin­ished around 1824. It now houses the "Peo­ple of In­de­pen­dence" ex­hibit, a col­lec­tion of over 150 por­traits of 18th and 19th-cen­tury lead­ers, in­clud­ing the coun­try's ear­li­est pres­i­dents. It's a staid coun­ter­point to the bus­tle and ex­cite­ment of the por­traits be­ing taken out­side. In­de­pen­dence Na­tional His­tor­i­cal Park is­sued over a dozen wed­ding shoot per­mits at the bank in June, its busiest month for wed­ding shoots and about 400 per­mits in 2016, ac­cord­ing to park ranger Adam Dun­can. But the num­ber is likely much higher be­cause not all cou­ples ap­ply for a per­mit. "Some peo­ple aren't aware that it is a part of the na­tional park here," Dun­can said.

On a re­cent Satur­day, wed­ding par­ties filed onto the lawn of the south fa­cade await­ing their photo op, while colo­nial re-en­ac­tors marched nearby, ac­com­pa­nied by fife and drum, and groups of tourists milled about. Melissa An­dresko, 41, in a blush pink Mag­gie Sot­tero gown and her hus­band Ross Mabon, 43, a na­tive of Scot­land wear­ing a tra­di­tional kilt, posed on the steps as their pho­tog­ra­pher snapped away. The cou­ple, who now live in Al­len­town, Penn­syl­va­nia, set out to find a lo­ca­tion that matched their vin­tage Hol­ly­wood glam-themed wed­ding. The bank "just took our breath away," An­dresko said.

Yi­fat Ayalon and An­drew We­in­stein in Philadel­phia.

Melissa Ihle holds her wed­ding dress as she leaves an entrance to the Sec­ond Bank of the United States.

A Revo­lu­tion­ary War re-en­ac­tor leads mem­bers of the pub­lic in a march in front of the Sec­ond Bank of the United States, as Melissa An­dresko has wed­ding pic­tures taken.

— AP photos

Melissa An­dresko and Ross Mabon pose for their wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher at the Sec­ond Bank of the United States in Philadel­phia.

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