MY WIFE and I recently attended a wedding in the Washington area and decided to stop over for a night in Philadelphia on the way down. We wanted to see the Liberty Bell and a few other sights. To be honest (and I'm now ashamed to admit this), we wanted to spend just one night, see those few sights, then get out as soon as possible.

We both had this image of a gritty, rough city full of rude, hostile crowds, the "City of Brotherly Shove" as I've heard it called. But I've never been so wrong about a place in my entire life.

Besides being a beautiful city that's as wonderful as any I've seen in my worldwide travels, your town boasts a population that was, at least in our encounters throughout our day there, truly worthy of the city's real moniker, the "City of Brotherly Love."

I don't know how or when Philadelphia got the bad reputation I hear so often repeated. Perhaps your city went through a period during which it was merited. But if my wife's and my experience was remotely typical, it's certainly a bum rap now, one I will happily dispel should I hear it repeated in future.

Christopher J. Hughey, Belmont, Mass.