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Old 08-08-2013, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Center City
6,820 posts, read 7,739,284 times
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Wilmington is Delaware's only city, with a population of just over 70,000. This is deceiving, however, because Wilmington anchors New Castle County, with a population of over 550,000. The Greater Wilmington-Newark area supports over 300,000 jobs and attracts commuters from nearby Kent County, DE, Cecil County, MD, Chester and Delaware Counties in PA, and Salem County, NJ. As such, the metro serves as the economic engine of a region easily pushing 1 million in population. If Wilmington stood alone as an MSA, it would be comparable to a city the size of Tucson. Only 30 miles to the north lay Philadelphia, the nation's 5th largest city with a population of over 1.5 million. Given this proximity, the city is lumped in by the government as part of Philadelphia’s MSA.

I have lived in both cities, and from a Wilmingtonian’s perspective, saw both positive and negative aspects to this proximity. On the positive side, it was great to have fairly easy access to the one of the nation’s largest and most vibrant cities, with all that entails: top rate museums, performing arts, dining, night life, entertainment and a hub airport with good access to domestic and international flights. On the negative side, Wilmington can seem to be overshadowed by its neighbor to the north. Its proximity precludes it from supporting any of its own television stations, significant touring acts likely bypass Wilmington for Philadelphia, and the city seems lost in the nation’s consciousness. In fact, it doesn't really register on the minds of Philadelphians.

I’m curious how others feel. Would Wilmington be better off if it anchored its own metro? Or do you feel the benefits of Wilmington’s proximity to Philly outweigh any negatives? I'd also be curious as to the reason why you feel the way you do.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:43 AM
 
Location: Greenville, Delaware
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I despise the fact that we have to listen to Philadelphia-based television news (and radio, for that matter). That alone is pretty much enough for me to deplore Philadelphia's proximity to Wilmington. Yet, one of the reasons we moved here was good proximity to a major, international airport from which we could fly direct to London and continental Europe. Wilmington anchored on its own would not have very good air service and one would have to make connections at another airport to get most places.

From a purely objective standpoint, it is undeniably advantageous to have Philly close by, given its huge medical resources, its excellent dining scene, cultural institutions, etc. Having said that, we rarely take advantage of any of that. I HATE the drive into Philly. Parking in Philly costs a fortune, and I find certain aspects of the popular culture and street scene in Philly unattractive, tacky, and even a bit scary. From a purely personal standpoint, I much prefer DC and NYC to nearby Philly, and for the most part could live life in greater Wilmington just fine without being close to Philly at all.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:00 AM
 
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I agree with your Philly post, DJ.

Kicking and screaming, on occasion, I must go to Philly. And, that's only to attend seminars required by my profession. On the other hand, my daughter and spouse enjoy Rittenhouse Square, dining, and shows. It's easier for them, they say, because they take the subway in from the outskirts. Not for me, though.

But, it's a given, that it's nice to have Jefferson Hospital, Wills Eye Hospital, and other giants in the medical field, if needed, within driving distance.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:18 AM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
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In terms of Wilmington's own resourcefulness, perhaps compare it to some other cities that live in the shadow of a big one. Like Providence, RI to Boston, MA (50 miles). Short distance but Providence does have a lot of unity with Boston and independence also. Providence has its own media market in a small state as well.
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Ocean View, DE
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I agree with doctorjef and rdlr. My husband and I were just at the Philadelphia International Airport to fly to and from St. Martin, and even though that's only on the outskirts of the city....I was "phillied out" after that trip. I haven't actually been "in" Philly since Dec. 2007 when I decided it would be fun to explore the Franklin Institute. This was on a Friday afternoon; we were driving through Philly around 2:00 so this was far from a busy time. However, I am still traumatized from that drive and I will NEVER, EVER drive to Philly again. I still have nightmares--the gridlock, the cars, the sirens, the traffic, the creepy people, the mean and aggressive drivers. Never, ever again! I made my husband drive to and from the aiport because there's no way in heck I was doing so.
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Greenville, Delaware
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I dislike I-95 in general, but things get worse once you get onto the interior Philly freeways. And Philly is hard to drive in itself, at least Center City, with its narrow, one-way streets. This contrasts with DC, for example, which is a pain getting into by car, but which is ok to drive within, perhaps excepting rush hour. And most of Manhattan is at least a perfect grid, with one-way streets alternating at each block, in contrast to Philly where you can have several one-way streets all going the same direction.

The thing is, we always take the train to NYC and normally to DC. Yes, it's possible to do that with Philly from Wilmington, but the 39th Street Station in Philly is not conveniently located, I'm not keen on SEPTA, and it would be silly to pay Amtrak prices just to get to Philly and back.

I know some people are just fine with the drive, and seem less annoyed than I am at the difficulties with driving in the city itself.
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Center City
6,820 posts, read 7,739,284 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caphillsea77 View Post
In terms of Wilmington's own resourcefulness, perhaps compare it to some other cities that live in the shadow of a big one. Like Providence, RI to Boston, MA (50 miles). Short distance but Providence does have a lot of unity with Boston and independence also. Providence has its own media market in a small state as well.
I agree that on paper Providence would be a good caparison - the only city in a small state less than one hour from a major metro. Having its own television media is a huge plus and I think a big minus for Wilmington's citizens and the city's profile. Why Providence can support this level of media and not Wilmington is anyone's guess. A more interesting comparison might be the North Jersey cities such as Newark and Jersey City. I'm sure they don't get near the focus and attention they would get if they were not overshadowed by the behemoth across the river.

I'm pretty sure it remains true that NJ and DE are the only states without network television affiliates. South Jersey relies on Philly and North Jersey on NYC while Northern DE relies on Philly and Southern DE on Salisbury (with some Baltimore coverage in southern DE). In actuality, the Salisbury stations offer much better coverage of Delaware than those in Philly. In addition to the routine crime, accidents, and fires, Salisbury does a good job of covering Delaware politics and are as likely to lead with a Delaware story as with a Maryland one. A new piece of legislation passed in Dover that wouldn't be mentioned by the Philly stations might be the lead story out of Salisbury.
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Center City
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I'm a bit amused by all the talk about driving to, from and around Philly by the Delawareans. The reason is that I could have written these posts back when I lived in Wilmington. Even though it’s only 30 miles away, it seemed such a drudge to drive into Center City. The route on 95 is busy and unattractive, and populated with impatient lane changers. And yes, once you get to CC with the narrow one way streets lined with cars, it's wearing to make your way to your venue (and often expensive to park). For that reason, in the years I lived in Wilmington, I only traveled to Philly a few times each year, generally for some theatre performance that were (as usual), bypassing Wilmington. Now that I live here, I of course almost never drive and manage everything by foot. And what might look a bit overwhelming to someone from a rural area or suburb from behind a windshield seems quite vibrant and energizing at street level.

In a way, this leads me back to the question posed in my OP: Is Wilmington too close to Philadelphia for its own good? It all depends on one’s preferences. For those who are not interested in urban amenities, I think the answer would be “Who cares?” But for those who want some urbanity, Philly is tantalizingly close, but a hassle too get to. Yet its proximity steals a bit from Wilmington's mojo. It seems the worst of both worlds for urbanophiles. I think the state might have been quite a different place if the Brandywine was located 20 or 30 miles south, a reasonable distance from Philly. Instead of today’s quiet Dover, I think a larger, more urban center would have emerged, not in the shadow of Philly.

Although it’s a bit off-topic, I couldn't help notice a few somewhat disparaging remarks about Philly in some of the posts. Of course, no one likes to hear the place they chose to call home “tacky” or filled with “creepy people.” But CD is not a place to hang out if one expects everyone to like their city, so folks are entitled to post what they will. That said, I will offer a few comments in response.

First, regarding the “creepy people,” having lived all my adult life in cities, I may simply be more used to sharing the streets with a wider cross section of people than I did in my native Sussex County. Yes, I certainly do encounter the rare “creepy” person when walking around Philly, but with no greater frequency than in any other city I’ve lived in or visited.

As to the city being “tacky,” that’s a new one. Many adjectives come to mind when I think of Philly, but tacky is not one of them. It has its very rough areas (as does Wilmington), but I'm not sure why a visitor would make their way there. The Philly I call home is historical, urban, bustling, sophisticated, gritty, vibrant, and filled with interesting and fascinating architecture. But what I never tire of is the charm of Center City and the adjacent neighborhoods: It's as if there are two square miles of Old New Castle to wander. I feel lucky to be able to walk streets like this to go to dinner, go to the theatre, visit friends, or simply buy groceries on a daily basis:












(my pix)
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:39 PM
 
46 posts, read 117,307 times
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Wilmington used to have local news programming on cable channel 2 at 6pm some years ago. It was a low budget operation but interesting because it featured local crime stories i.e. car or house break ins at specific neighborhoods, car accident info, local politics, community events, etc. Apparently nobody watched it or it cost too much money to produce and broadcast because it was eventually cancelled. Even WPVI ditched their DE correspondent Lauren Wilson a few years ago so I guess Wilmington just isn't very newsworthy except for its daily shootings.
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Old 08-10-2013, 07:03 AM
 
Location: Center City
6,820 posts, read 7,739,284 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freesia Breeze View Post
Wilmington used to have local news programming on cable channel 2 at 6pm some years ago. It was a low budget operation but interesting because it featured local crime stories i.e. car or house break ins at specific neighborhoods, car accident info, local politics, community events, etc. Apparently nobody watched it or it cost too much money to produce and broadcast because it was eventually cancelled. Even WPVI ditched their DE correspondent Lauren Wilson a few years ago so I guess Wilmington just isn't very newsworthy except for its daily shootings.
Program viably is determined by a balance of audience and the price of producing a program. It is likely too costly to produce a news show solely about Wilmington in the pricey Philly TV market. Salisbury, a much smaller town, can support two network affiliates and produce their own extensive local news programs. In their instance, they don't incur the costs of airing in such a large market (Philly), which overlaps the Wilmington market.

It's unfortunate Channel 6 cut back on local DE coverage. Someone can run down there easily if there is a story to cover, but it's not the same as having someone based there who can turf up stories. A lot happens in the Greater Wilmington area that goes unreported. Personally, I don't watch a lot of local news, but when something significant does happen in my community or state, I'll tune in. It's shame the residents of Delaware's most populated region don't have that option.
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