Philadelphia a city of firsts, but not as convention host

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia will host the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Here’s what delegates will need to know about the birthplace of American democracy:

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FIRST THINGS FIRST

The United States started in Philadelphia. It’s the city where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and crafted the Constitution.

Philadelphia had the country’s first bank, fire engine and daily newspaper. It served as the nation’s capital before Washington and maintains a deep connection to its historical legacy through landmarks and museums along the lush Independence Mall.

“There is only one city in this country where the Declaration of Independence was created,” Mayor Michael Nutter says. “There is only one Liberty Bell. It’s in Philadelphia. Those are just facts.”

It will also be a stop on Pope Francis’ first U.S. visit in September.

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YO ADRIAN, GET ME A CHEESESTEAK

Philadelphia’s most enduring culinary symbol comes in a greasy bun. And its most famous cultural symbol — aside from that cracked bell — comes with boxing gloves.

Cheesesteaks — tasty-but-terrible-for-you treats of thinly sliced ribeye and melted cheese — are so unique to Philadelphia they’re called Philly cheesesteaks everywhere else.

To sound like a true Philadelphian, instead of say, John Kerry, order yours with Cheez Whiz. Kerry, the current secretary of state, showed up as a Democratic presidential contender in 2003 and tried to order a cheesesteak with Swiss.

Of course, Rocky Balboa wouldn’t make that mistake.

Sylvester Stallone’s fictional blue-collar bruiser is so beloved in his hometown, a statue of him stands near the museum steps he climbed in a memorable scene from 1976’s “Rocky.”

There have been six Rocky films. A seventh one is being shot in the area right now.

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HIGHBROW WITH THE LOWBROW

Though outsiders might associate Philadelphia with the cheesesteak, the city has a booming high-end restaurant scene, with entries from top chefs including Masaharu Morimoto and Jose Garces.

Jeff Michaud, of Osteria, and Michael Solomonov, the chef/owner of Zahav, won regional James Beard Awards in 2010 and 2011. Garces, of Amada, was honored in 2009 and Marc Vetri in 2005.

Restaurateur Stephen Starr has more than a dozen restaurants, each dancing to a unique culinary beat. Neighborhoods such as Old City and Northern Liberties are home to an array of eating and drinking options.

Philadelphia’s cultural icons include the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a new gem, The Barnes Foundation.

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DEMOCRATS AND DEMOGRAPHICS

The typical Philadelphian isn’t Rocky or Ben Franklin, but he or she is probably a Democrat.

Democrats outnumber Republicans by 8-to-1 and haven’t lost a mayor’s race since 1962.

Philadelphia is the nation’s fifth-largest city, with 1.55 million residents. Only New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston have more.

No. 6 Phoenix is close behind, but Philadelphia’s population is rising, thanks in large part to millennials, the coveted generation of students and young professionals.

Blacks make up 44.3 percent of the city’s population. Whites account for 36.6 percent and Latinos 13 percent.

More than a quarter of Philadelphia residents are below the poverty line. The national average is 15.3 percent.

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CONVENTION BATTING AVERAGE: .625

Philadelphia has hosted eight conventions. Democrats are 2-for-2, and Republicans are 3-for-6 in nominating winning candidates in the city.

Both parties staged their conventions in Philadelphia in 1948. Democrats nominated President Harry Truman for a full term and Republicans nominated Thomas Dewey, setting the stage for the Chicago Tribune’s wrong “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline.

In 1936, the Democrats nominated Franklin Roosevelt for his second term.

Republicans held their first convention in Philadelphia in 1856, when the fledgling party nominated John Fremont. They also convened in the city in 1872 to nominate Ulysses S. Grant for re-election, in 1900 to nominate William McKinley for re-election, in 1940 to nominate Wendell Wilkie and in 2000 to nominate George W. Bush for his first term.

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A SORE POINT: SPORTS

The 2016 Democratic nominee will kick off his or her campaign on ground that — much to the chagrin of Philadelphia sports fans — hasn’t seen a lot of winners.

Philadelphians had to wait through a quarter-century of futility, between the 76ers NBA title in 1983 and the Phillies’ 2008 World Series win, to see a winner.

The Flyers Broad Street Bullies won back-to-back Stanley Cups in the mid-1970s — but haven’t hoisted the trophy since.

As for the Eagles, you’ll have to look back to the year John F. Kennedy was elected to see their last championship in 1960, before there was even a Super Bowl.

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Associated Press writers Peter Jackson in Harrisburg and Sean Carlin in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

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