Ed Rendell's Fondest Memory of His Last Days in Office as Mayor

By A.D. Amorosi, Antonia DePace, Kristin Detterline and Marni Manko | May 3, 2019 | People

Edward G. Rendell: Former Governor of Pennsylvania


I’ll never forget my last few days in office that were timed with the millennium. We hosted a 24-hour millennium celebration and planned something special for every hour that revolved around the number 2,000. We kicked off the 24 hours with 2,000 runners—all dressed as Rocky in gray sweats—running up the steps of the Art Museum. At 2 pm, Midge and I married 1,000 couples at the Convention Center. At 7 pm, the seven bridges over the Schuylkill were lit and remain lit to this day. An hour earlier, we had lit up the William Penn statue. So many of the things we did were legacy events. We planted 2,000 trees in Fairmount Park. At 11 pm, we all went to Independence Hall, where six or seven people read the Declaration of Independence out loud to thousands of people. I remember later that night, a group of college students came up to me on South Broad Street—it felt like Times Square, it was so packed—and one said, ‘Mayor, there’s no place on Earth I’d rather be than Philadelphia.’ And I thought, well, that’s a pretty good way to go out of office.

Photography by: Photography Courtesy of Getty Images