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Old 12-31-2010, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Texas
5 posts, read 7,352 times
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Based upon the information that follows, which city do you think will offer a better atmosphere to live in . Boston or Philadelphia?

I will be relocating for as a life desire change. Currently, I am use to a city (Dallas) that has a fairly decent night life, sports craze, and decent corporate opportunities. The city is very diverse, which I love. Dallas is a live city, but I just don't connect with the atmosphere well. I prefer more lights, water, colors, and all seasons. I have never been up North, but I have a great desire to live there. There are 2 cities that I have in mind and they are Boston and Philly. I have read many posts about the culture of each one to see which one will be more fitting, but I still have not come to a conclusion. Of course, the conclusion will probably take full effect when I visit each location to get a feel for its atmosphere and what each city can offer me. I am hoping a native Texan, that has relocated to either city, can give insight on his/her feel of that location and the ups/downs vs. Texas (or whatever other state some may use to respond).

I like poetry lounges, jazz bars, musuems, city lights, coffee shops, sports, etc. I really do not club so the club scene is something I am not looking for in regards to comparison or feedback, but if you give it that is perfectly fine. A good Church home, corporate environment (good jobs and hire w/out the politics), real estate, etc are some components that I have an idea about due to research. But I want to hear what real people have to say and not dressed up literature to attract residents.

To end, please advise if you think Boston or Philly would be a better place based on the surface information given above. Thanks ahead !!
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Old 12-31-2010, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Dallas
4,625 posts, read 8,540,631 times
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Well this one is obviously my dept ....

OK, both cities are very cool. They are quite different than Dallas in many ways, not so different in many others. I'm most qualified to compare D with B.

Ok, first thing your gonna think when you get to Boston is holy crap, Boston's downtown is amazing. Which it is. Take Uptown and multiply by 10 and that's downtown Boston. But more upscale. It's like a giant resort. Many people go there for 4 - 7 year vacations (college) and often end up staying for quite a while longer (15 years for me).



Boston is dense layers of fascinating history if you like that. I certainly do. Boston's population is very young and beautiful too due to the huge number of upper class college students and recent grads. BU, NEU, and BC by themselves would constitute a major college town, but then you throw in Harvard, MIT, Tufts and not to mention the 50 others, well Boston is the academic center of the USA. Very youth driven.



Boston has great traditions. Tonight - in about an hour, the Grand Procession will start - a superb New Year's celebration parade which the whole town marches in. The Boston Marathon, the fourth of July, Salem on Halloween -a lot of great things happen there. It's a very cool place.

Grand Procession




Boston's job market is very good - significantly better than Dallas or Philly. Just go to monster.com and compare for yourself. We made a huge financial mistake coming down here.

Traffic in Boston is a lot different than Dallas. Boston has more aggressive driving on narrower streets with 100x the pedestrians. The good news is Bostonians don't wreck like they do here. Dallas drivers are complacent - that's why they wreck so much. Dallas drivers are used to too much space, so they make mistakes like change lanes w/o looking. In BOS, drivers have to have a 360 degree radar on non-stop. It's actually legal to drive in the breakdown lane on I95 during rush hour. AND there are NO access roads along the highway, so once you're on, you're stuck there. When you do go to BOS, try to get a job in downtown and live in downtown. Leave the car in DFW or sell it. You can actually buy one cheaper in BOS anyways if you change your mind.

The Boston subway - the "T", blows the DART away. It's actually not the DART that's the problem - Dallas is just built for cars - spread out. The T is a perfect fit in BOS, very useful, but it is a headache sometimes. It closes at 1am - that's one hour before the bars on the weekend. No matter, stumbling home drunk in BOS is a blast anyways. When the T breaks down though, well things can get ugly.

Which brings us to the weather. Waiting for the T when it's 0 degrees is not nice. To make a long story short, BOS winter misery= DFW summer misery - except you may also have to shovel.

Customer service in BOS is not as good as DAL in general. It's not that the people are bad, it's that the density of customers is 5x higher. So there's a lot of lines. And your typical home depot or Target is prone to run out of things. That's one of the liabilities of anywhere in the dense northeast - it's a lot more competitive.

Speaking of which, you'll find immediately people in BOS are in a lot better physical condition than in DFW. Careful if someone invites you out for a walking tour through town. We think nothing of going 10 or 12 mile walks. Many friends and family who visited us in BOS would be all finished just as we were getting warmed up.



Great seafood in BOS. Go to Quincy Market. Also great beaches - ocean access. The Charles River is awesome. Boston has an incredibly well done urban design that perfectly compliments a superb natural environment. A walk by the Charles, Hampton Beach, Castle Island, a gorgeous park system - utterly intoxicating. The trees and greenery in BOS will also delight you.



Castle Island


The architecture in Boston is also just amazing. The neighborhoods are just charming.

North End

Back Bay


And if all that's not enough for you, you can get a bus to NYC for $15 anytime - even less sometimes. Montreal, PHL, DC all within easy reach.

So what's bad about BOS? It costs more than DFW overall, though given the amenities it's well worth it. The cold winter sucks. It's grossly dirty in some spots, but downtown not so much. To me the worst thing about Boston is how people act so cold and shutdown. This phenomenon has been discussed 1000 ways here on CD and everywhere else. Bostonians "won't look you in the eye", "are cold", are "snobby". Other people have said "reserved", keep to themselves, insular. Once you get there you'll see. Never impolite. Always helpful with directions. But don't expect long talks on the T about life and all. It's pretty weird. In Dallas you hardly see anybody but when you do, conversation flows naturally. In BOS, you'll wait in a grocery line with 10 other people who are in every way just like you but their lips will be zipped and they'll expect the same of you.

Now this phenom is far less the case in PHL as I understand and having been there once, I attest to that. PHL is warmer earthier people like DFW with a gritty northern accent. BOS is more upscale than PHL. PHL is more blue collar. A Texan would feel more more natural in PHL, but certainly safer in BOS. PHL has huge swaths of incredible urban desolation. That's essentially non-existent in BOS.

Oh and one other major detriment about BOS I should mention. BOS is probably the most sexually repressed city in America. People from other places get weirded out at first, then infected after a while. It's a great place to enjoy looking at a bunch of pretty things which you won't be getting. Just don't look too long. They'll poke you in the eyes if you do. Further reading:

Dating and relationships in Boston

To me the main difference between PHL and BOS is this. If you want a more upscale life with more robotic people, choose BOS. If you'll settle for grittier but more personable, PHL. FYI, NYC is smack dab in the middle of the two in every way, except only "moreso". ;-)

Last edited by xS☺B☺s; 12-31-2010 at 04:53 PM.. Reason: typos
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:04 AM
 
24 posts, read 38,501 times
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^I joined in 2007 and have lurked here for over 3 years and haven't made a post on this board yet, but I grew up in Manchester, NH (Southern NH is just one big suburb of Boston as you may know), and I am making my first post just to say that you absolutely nailed it.
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:59 PM
 
1,030 posts, read 2,014,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bostonian08 View Post
Now this phenom is far less the case in PHL as I understand and having been there once, I attest to that. PHL is warmer earthier people like DFW with a gritty northern accent. BOS is more upscale than PHL. PHL is more blue collar. A Texan would feel more more natural in PHL, but certainly safer in BOS. PHL has huge swaths of incredible urban desolation. That's essentially non-existent in BOS.
Funny how individual experiences can so inform how you see a place. I don't think PHL and BOS are the least bit different where "friendliness" (however that's defined) is concerned. I live in BOS and have been to PHL numerous times and - in many ways - they're twins (the obvious size and economic differences notwithstanding).

In neither Boston nor Philadelphia will you find warm and fuzzy people toward individuals they don't know. But, to change the subject somewhat, I always find it funny how people go on about the supposed lack of friendliness in New Englanders in general. I guess they've never been to Europe because - compared to people in places like France and Germany - people in Boston are downright gregarious. It's all about perspective, really.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:33 AM
 
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I think they are very similar. One main difference is that Philly is a city in decline. Of all the Northeast cities, Boston has managed to transition its economy towards the new economy probably the best. Boston's colleges, hospitals and tech centers provide enough juice to keep the city moving in this recession. There is less urban decay an more positive energy here in my opinion.

Also, the first poster said some nice things, but dont get stuck in a "downtown" minset. Boston's actual downtown is kind of lame. Boston is known as a city of neighborhoods and its one of the cities greatest assets. Many cities have one or two cultural or nightlife centers. Boston's centers meander from neighborhood to neighborhood. Downtown to Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Faneuil Hall, South End, SoWA, North End, North Station, Chinatown, the squares of Cambridge, the squares of Somerville, Symphony, Fort Point, South Boston... A lot of tourists get stuck in a mindset that Boston has a "downtown" and the city sprawls out into residential neighborhoods like many other cities. They miss a lot.
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:20 PM
 
Location: Boston
7,347 posts, read 15,324,434 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukec View Post

Also, the first poster said some nice things, but dont get stuck in a "downtown" minset. Boston's actual downtown is kind of lame. Boston is known as a city of neighborhoods and its one of the cities greatest assets. Many cities have one or two cultural or nightlife centers. Boston's centers meander from neighborhood to neighborhood. Downtown to Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Faneuil Hall, South End, SoWA, North End, North Station, Chinatown, the squares of Cambridge, the squares of Somerville, Symphony, Fort Point, South Boston... A lot of tourists get stuck in a mindset that Boston has a "downtown" and the city sprawls out into residential neighborhoods like many other cities. They miss a lot.
You're basing this on the assumption that the Financial District and the Financial District alone constitutes "downtown Boston". Most of the people who live in the outer residential neighborhoods (i.e. JP, Rox, Cambridge, Somerville, Coolidge Corner, Savin Hill, etc) consider "downtown Boston" to include the Financial District as well as the neighborhoods immediately surrounding it like Back Bay, much of Beacon Hill, North End, Theatre District and Chinatown. When I tell people I'm going "downtown" (from JP), they know I mean somewhere in any of the neighborhoods above; not necessarily just the Financial District. Some would even include Fort Point and the West End as part of downtown. Yes, the Financial District is like any other Financial District (except for layout, curved streets make for interesting canyons) in that it severely dies down after 5pm and on weekends entirely. Still, most of those other central neighborhoods are quite active even after typical work hours due to the high number of residences in and around the downtown area. I think Bostonian08 included many of those central neighborhoods in his description of downtown (not just the FiDi).

You bring up a good point though. Many people from outside of the Northeast don't understand that Downtown Boston is more than just the relatively few blocks that make up the Financial District. Because the city is so dense (especially at the core), it's very simple to just walk out of one neighborhood into another (i.e. Back Bay into the Theatre District) without even knowing you've left one of these neighborhoods. Chunks of the Back Bay (Boylston and St. James/Park Plaza in particular) look just like the Financial District with towering high rise offices (in fact, the two tallest office towers in the city are in the Back Bay, not the Financial District) while others are very dense urban residences. They may have different names and even different architectural styles (part of what makes it so enjoyable), but Boston's "downtown" includes five or six different neighborhoods which contain a blend of office, retail, government and residential space; not just the Financial District.

It's easy to tell when you've left downtown Dallas and not just because it's bounded on all sides by highway. It's easy to tell because outside of a few pockets (i.e. Uptown), the density decreases drastically and you enter a far more suburban environment. Boston is very different in this regard.

One of my favorite things about Boston is the outer neighborhoods. Many of them are like villages with mini, walkable centers (almost mini "downtowns") connected to the center of the city by public transit. Coolidge Corner, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain (Centre Street), Davis Square, Washington Square, Harvard Square, etc, etc, etc, are all like this. These areas are perfect for someone who doesn't want to live downtown but wants the urban experience. Check them out if you do decide to look into Boston.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:45 PM
 
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I'm a native and I don't know too many people who think of the North End, Back Bay... as Downtown. Usually, downtown refers to the Downtown Crossing area. I also think each neighborhood is distinct. Even though they are close, streets like Charles, Boylston, State, Hanover... all have a very distinct flavor.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Dallas
4,625 posts, read 8,540,631 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukec View Post
I'm a native and I don't know too many people who think of the North End, Back Bay... as Downtown. Usually, downtown refers to the Downtown Crossing area. I also think each neighborhood is distinct. Even though they are close, streets like Charles, Boylston, State, Hanover... all have a very distinct flavor.
Well yes, what IrFox explained was exactly my intent. Someone from out of town would not perceive just the FD as "downtown". Notice I used a small "d" for "downtown" Boston and a Capital "U" for Uptown in Dallas. There is a capital "D" Downtown in Dallas (aka the "CBD") as well as a small "d" downtown which includes a whole lot more. To a Dallasite - or most people outside Bostonia - everything from Cleveland Circle to Brookline to Harvard Sq to Southie to JP would be "downtown". Maybe even Eastie.

But of course now after all this I wonder if the OP will even bother to come back to read it!

BTW IrFox, are you considering coming to Dallas? I can't say that I recommend it. I gave up a lot of amenities in BOS for lofty promises of great economy here which is simply not true.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:00 AM
 
Location: Hell's Kitchen, NYC
2,271 posts, read 4,414,762 times
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Hmmm...Yeah lukec, I agree. I live in Brighton and I don't really consider much outside of Government Center, Financial District, and Downtown Crossing to be downtown, because the other areas are much more residential in nature. For me, the word downtown simply represents the typical business district. It has very little, if anything, to do with building height. That's just me though.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:31 AM
 
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
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I grew up in my adolescent years in nearby South Jersey, 10 miles from Center City. Although I've mostly lived in or near Boston as an adult, ever since arriving in 1978 at age 18, my family also left the Philly area as I arrived in Boston but returned 10 years later to S. Jersey -- thus my interesat in the Delaware Valley over the years from afar.

Therefore, I don't like when others denigrate Philly or its people. Although I wasn't born there, it's "home" in a way that Boston never can be, despite my rich experiences and
knowledge of Greater Boston vs. the Philly area.

...

Sorry for the digression...

...

That said, I guess many would consider Boston a classier city than Philly -- its people and cityscape more polished overall. Although Philly has the Delaware river and Schuykul (sp?) river, I don't feel that a visitor would be as aware of them vs. Boston's bodies of water. Boston is more photogenic, though Philly's skyline at night is nice compared to my younger days when it was boxy and low-rise. Although Philly has gone thru impressive gentrification in some of its downtown neighborhoods, more of the general city has a low-class and rundown feel than Boston. However, I don't know Philly and its vastness anywhere to the extent I know Boston, so some may dispute my assessment. Philly has classy suburbs on the Main Line, with convenient commuter rail.

South Jersey has some fine communities accessible via the high-speed line, part of Septa's transit system, I think. Collingswood has a cool feel with restored homes and interesting restaurants...and so close to Center City via rail. Cherry Hill, Haddonfield and Moorestown are desirable also with excellent schools. Many athletes from Philly sports teams have lived in S. Jersey over the years.

Center City has built many upscale apts. and condos in recent years to complement the historic streets near Rittenhouse Sq. They're expensive. I didn't know they could charge these prices because I'd think Philly has fewer good jobs and upscale persons than Boston.

National Geographic Traveller about 6 years ago had a story on Philly and other unconventional cities, depicted as a new tier of world-class cities.

Philly is a wonderful fine dining city, though. Some may consider it better than Boston for gastronomical delights.

Check the Phiily forum as well as the New Jersey section on Philly suburbs section for more insight.

I never say "Philly." I prefer "Philadelphia." Sounds classier. Not sure about the locals' preference.

Check Philadelphia Magazine online for their "Best of" August issue; it'll give a feel for the types of "'best" shops and services available.

I do enjoy my walks in parts of Center City, but mainly for comparison's sake to Boston. I'm glad I live near Boston vs. a comparable place nearr downtown Philly, but I'd think I could live there, all while realizing many bad neighborhoods are too close.

Philly's sports fans have a nasty, low-class and somewhat violent rep across the sporting world. Boston's is much better.

Little things in the downtown core make me take notice. In my last whirl thru downtown Philly three years ago, I noticed how the bus shelters and taxicabs were not as modern as Boston's. Weird, but it is all part of a city's personality.

Diversity: Philly is much more African American (generally poor, it seems). Seems more homeless hanging around their downtown. A 30 y.o. from Philly living in Southie told me this year he wants to move back. Claims Boston has "no culture" (I think he meant cultural diversity).

You won't find Bloomies, Saks, Nordstrom or Neiman-Marcus downtown, but they have locations in the burbs. Whole Foods has a few downtown locations.

I like that Philly still has a Thanksgiving Day parade televised locally as well as the famous Mummers Parade on New Year's Day ; unsure if Boston ever has had a Thanksgiving parade.
It's still a larger tv market than Boston, but some would consider that leaving a Boston tv/radio/newspaper job for one in Philly a demotion, even though a larger market should upgrade one's career. Still like that Boston has two Sunday papers whereas Philly only has ihe "Inquirer." Plus, we have the "Boston Sunday Globe Magazine" whereas the "Inky" discontinued theirs years ago.
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