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Old 10-24-2012, 10:55 AM
 
17 posts, read 28,626 times
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Hi,

I just posted this in the general New Jersey forums, but I realize that this might be a better place for it. I was hoping get some advice from those of you living in Collingswood. I am a 30-something year old gay man who has lived in the Philadelphia for many years. My partner has been a little frustrated with city living and is pushing me to move out to the suburbs where we could get more house for our money and a large yard for the dog. We are considering Collingswood because of it's cute downtown area and close proximity to the Patco. My partner is completely sold on the idea of moving to Collingswood and already found a house that he fell in love with. I am very hesitant to put in an offer on the house because I am not sure if the lifestyle would be for me. These are some things I love about living in the city that I am afraid I will not have in Collingswood:

1. I like to walk down the block and have access to coffee shops, restaurants, and a lively downtown area. Haddon Ave seems to have a bit of this, but I've only visited Collingswood on a Saturday (with the farmer's market going on). My concern is that on other days of the week, the downtown area might feel dead and I may be the only person walking around.

2. I like to live in close proximity to other gay people. LGBT community is important to me. I hear a lot about Collingswood being very gay friendly, but I just didn't see an overt LGBT community there on my visits. I'm concerned that it will be difficult to make other gay friends nearby.

3. I like that my neighbors in Philly have no problem with a gay couple living next door or on their block. I'm concerned that the suburbs would be a bit different.

4. I love being able to walk to work. I know that patco is only a 15 minute ride into the city, but I'm not sure how reliable it is. The patco website gives estimated wait time of anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes between trains. How accurate is this? Do people who live in Collingswood get frustrated using Patco to get into the city? How often do you wait 45 minutes or more for a train? Is it really that accessible to downtown via patco?

5. I like to live in a place where I don't need to use my car often. How walkable is Collingswood for everyday needs? Is it safe to walk around at night? Will I be the only person walking down the street on most days or do a lot of people walk around instead of drive?

Any advise you guys can give would be greatly appreciated. My partner wants to put in an offer on the house that he saw and I am really nervous about it. I love the idea of having a yard for the dog and not being woken up in the middle of the night by car alarms, people screaming at each other when they leave the bars at 2am, and loud music blaring from the cars. However, I also don't want to invest in property in the suburbs unless I am sure that I would enjoy the lifestyle.

Thanks in advance for your opinions!
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:39 AM
 
Location: South Jersey
7,780 posts, read 19,587,495 times
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Collingswood is a wonderful area for you guys! Your partner is a smart person. You will find it more smaller and not as busy as Philly but safer and with ground and peach and quiet. Great choice. I don;t think you will any problems there either. The train ride is an easy one too. Lots of people there work in Philly take it.

Collingswood, New Jersey | Collingswood, New Jersey

Collingswood, New Jersey - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/re...anted=all&_r=0
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Old 10-24-2012, 01:12 PM
 
14,781 posts, read 38,581,656 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysuperfuzz View Post
Hi,

I just posted this in the general New Jersey forums, but I realize that this might be a better place for it. I was hoping get some advice from those of you living in Collingswood. I am a 30-something year old gay man who has lived in the Philadelphia for many years. My partner has been a little frustrated with city living and is pushing me to move out to the suburbs where we could get more house for our money and a large yard for the dog. We are considering Collingswood because of it's cute downtown area and close proximity to the Patco. My partner is completely sold on the idea of moving to Collingswood and already found a house that he fell in love with. I am very hesitant to put in an offer on the house because I am not sure if the lifestyle would be for me. These are some things I love about living in the city that I am afraid I will not have in Collingswood:
As far as suburbs go and what you are looking for Collingswood and the immediate Haddon Ave. corridor including Westmont/Haddon Twp. and Haddonfield are going to be as close as you can get. I was born and raised in Collingswood and my parents still live there. I visit quite often and watched the "transition" happen for a long time. Collingswood is very progressive and welcoming in terms of LGBT folks and owes much to that community for the town's renaissance and I think most people know that.

Quote:
1. I like to walk down the block and have access to coffee shops, restaurants, and a lively downtown area. Haddon Ave seems to have a bit of this, but I've only visited Collingswood on a Saturday (with the farmer's market going on). My concern is that on other days of the week, the downtown area might feel dead and I may be the only person walking around.
It won't be as busy during the week as it is on Saturday. That's just suburban life. There are still people out, the restaurants are still open and you can still get a cup of coffee at the coffee shop, but it will not be "bustling" like it is on the weekends. Of course, that is also why it is a much quieter place to live. The one nice thing about Collingswood is that there is always something going on most weeks and weekends so there will generally be things to do. You also won't be the only person out walking around.

Quote:
2. I like to live in close proximity to other gay people. LGBT community is important to me. I hear a lot about Collingswood being very gay friendly, but I just didn't see an overt LGBT community there on my visits. I'm concerned that it will be difficult to make other gay friends nearby.
If you're looking for something reminiscent of the "Gayborhood" you're not going to find it. There aren't "gay" bars, coffee shops, restaurants, etc. It's pretty much just like a regular suburban community that just happens to have quite a few LGBT couples living there. I don't think you will find it hard to make other gay friends, but it's not like all the LGBT folks in town assemble under a pride flag each weekend. My parents neighbors, who are gay, joke that it's where gay couples go to "settle down". At it's heart Collingswood is still a "family" oriented suburban community. Quite a few LGBT couples pick to live there precisely to raise children in a suburban environment that is accepting of their lifestyle. I know a teacher in the one elementary school and there are quite a few LGBT parents who are raising kids in the town.

Quote:
3. I like that my neighbors in Philly have no problem with a gay couple living next door or on their block. I'm concerned that the suburbs would be a bit different.
That bridge has long since been crossed in Collingswood. You're about 15 years late to the party to be a pioneer for suburban tolerance and accpetance, lol. My parents are decidedly "old school" they are in their late 60's and early 70's. When Woodstock was happening, they were the ones yelling at the Hippies to "get off my lawn and cut your hair" (literally true BTW, my mom's first husband worked for IBM in New York and they lived on a farm that became a campground during Woodstock).

Their current "gaybors" moved in around 10 years ago. My parents were apprehensive, it just wasn't right, two men living together like that. My parents would never be overtly hostile, but they certainly didn't approve in private. Fast forward a couple years and the "gaybors" were at my wedding and attending family BBQ's. 'Bill' makes a mean potato salad with BACON (oh, he's so progressive) and 'Jack' is now my dad's permanent horseshoe partner (he likes beer, not wine coolers, who'd have thought).

Basically, you don't have anything to worry about. Among my parents friends, the older generation in town that one would assume would have such issues, having a gay couple living on your block now means that you live on a nice block, lol.

Quote:
4. I love being able to walk to work. I know that patco is only a 15 minute ride into the city, but I'm not sure how reliable it is. The patco website gives estimated wait time of anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes between trains. How accurate is this? Do people who live in Collingswood get frustrated using Patco to get into the city? How often do you wait 45 minutes or more for a train? Is it really that accessible to downtown via patco?
I commuted into Philly for a couple of years on PATCO. The ride is around 10 minutes into the city from Collingswood, 15 minutes if you are going to the end of the line. During rush hours the trains run pretty much constantly. It is only late at night when they start to slow down in frequency. If you want to ride PATCO home at 1am you might need to wait awhile if you miss a train. During normal times you will have no problem getting a train in a timely manner.

Accessibility all comes down to where you need to go. Pretty much all of Center City is relatively accessible from PATCO and you can get to most areas of CC within a 10-15 minute walk from one of the stations.

Quote:
5. I like to live in a place where I don't need to use my car often. How walkable is Collingswood for everyday needs? Is it safe to walk around at night? Will I be the only person walking down the street on most days or do a lot of people walk around instead of drive?
Collingswood is a very walkable town for everything but major shopping and I include groceries in the "major shopping". Depending on where you are in town you could even do the groceries with a reasonable walk to the Acme in Westmont. Collingswood also seems to have a big walking/biking culture with all of the parks around town. There is a bikeshare program in town and you always see people walking around. The town also has Zipcar in town so you could even go car free for the most part and still have access to one when you needed it.

Quote:
Any advise you guys can give would be greatly appreciated. My partner wants to put in an offer on the house that he saw and I am really nervous about it. I love the idea of having a yard for the dog and not being woken up in the middle of the night by car alarms, people screaming at each other when they leave the bars at 2am, and loud music blaring from the cars. However, I also don't want to invest in property in the suburbs unless I am sure that I would enjoy the lifestyle.
I tried to answer your questions the best I could above. My only ending advice would be to remind you that everything comes with trade-offs. You are not going to find "All of Philly minus the things you don't like" in the suburbs. In order to get that yard and the peace and quiet, you need to give up some of the hustle and bustle and seemingly endless options the city has to offer.

Not to be trite, but it is pretty much what "Jack and Bill" say it is. Collingswood is the place gay couples go to settle down. If you're ready to settle down, I think you'll be happy. If you're not, it might not be for you. The nice thing is, of course, Philly and all it offers is only a short train ride away if you get homesick for the city.
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Collingswood
283 posts, read 547,432 times
Reputation: 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysuperfuzz View Post
Hi,

I just posted this in the general New Jersey forums, but I realize that this might be a better place for it. I was hoping get some advice from those of you living in Collingswood. I am a 30-something year old gay man who has lived in the Philadelphia for many years. My partner has been a little frustrated with city living and is pushing me to move out to the suburbs where we could get more house for our money and a large yard for the dog. We are considering Collingswood because of it's cute downtown area and close proximity to the Patco. My partner is completely sold on the idea of moving to Collingswood and already found a house that he fell in love with. I am very hesitant to put in an offer on the house because I am not sure if the lifestyle would be for me. These are some things I love about living in the city that I am afraid I will not have in Collingswood:

1. I like to walk down the block and have access to coffee shops, restaurants, and a lively downtown area. Haddon Ave seems to have a bit of this, but I've only visited Collingswood on a Saturday (with the farmer's market going on). My concern is that on other days of the week, the downtown area might feel dead and I may be the only person walking around.
You won't be the only person walking around, unless it is late at night after the restaurants close. Grooveground is owned by LGBT folks and they host a monthly social event for the community. There is another monthly event at Treno in Westmont (a 2 minute train ride or 5 minute drive). You'll have access to a great restaurant scene in Collingswood with affordable prices and the ability to BYOB. Is it Center City? Nope. If you are open-minded, will you have access to things to do on Haddon Avenue and meet nearby people in the community without having to travel to the city? Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysuperfuzz View Post
2. I like to live in close proximity to other gay people. LGBT community is important to me. I hear a lot about Collingswood being very gay friendly, but I just didn't see an overt LGBT community there on my visits. I'm concerned that it will be difficult to make other gay friends nearby.
There are less people than Washington Square West, but that doesn't mean they are less friendly. You may need to put in some more effort to meet your neighbors because they may not all be next door. But you'd be surprised how large the community actually is and how much of the community may be down the street or even on your block!

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysuperfuzz View Post
3. I like that my neighbors in Philly have no problem with a gay couple living next door or on their block. I'm concerned that the suburbs would be a bit different.
Most people in town have some connection to the city. They are former residents like you, still work there, or grew up there. I don't really think this would be an issue versus your current neighborhood. You may have generational differences at NJGOAT described, but you are moving a whole 7 miles east (keep in mind the same distance between Center City and Port Richmond). You would be moving to city-lite, not Salem County.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysuperfuzz View Post
4. I love being able to walk to work. I know that patco is only a 15 minute ride into the city, but I'm not sure how reliable it is. The patco website gives estimated wait time of anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes between trains. How accurate is this? Do people who live in Collingswood get frustrated using Patco to get into the city? How often do you wait 45 minutes or more for a train? Is it really that accessible to downtown via patco?
PATCO is amazingly fast and reliable. I've used it frequently for the 3 years I've been in Collingswood. For every day commuting, it is great! Trains run every 6 minutes or so during rush hour. Afterwards, they run every 10-12. Only during off-peak do they run every 20 or 45 minutes (note 45 minute spans don't start until after midnight). Trains also run on time, not on SEPTA Standard Time, where trains just doesn't show up, or 6 minutes late is "on-time." PATCO is a simpler system so it has less possibility of getting delayed.

The one challenge I will tell you is if you go out for a night on the town. If you stay until the bars close, there is a 2:05 train and a 2:50 train. Aside from that, you can be in Center City faster than almost anyone in the region. You have better access than almost all neighborhoods in South Philadelphia, Manayunk, Fishtown/Nothern Liberties, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysuperfuzz View Post
5. I like to live in a place where I don't need to use my car often. How walkable is Collingswood for everyday needs? Is it safe to walk around at night? Will I be the only person walking down the street on most days or do a lot of people walk around instead of drive?
Day time during the week isn't that crowded on Haddon Avenue. It's not desolate, just less busy. The busiest times are weeknights at dinner (commuters walking and restaurant goers) and weekends during events and especially at dinner. There is no food store in town - there are convenience marts (National and Wawa), but Acme is a long walk (depending on where you are) or a short drive away. Practically, you'll want to get into a car and drive 5 minutes to Acme, Shoprite, etc.

That said, there have been MANY weekends where I've parked my car on Friday and started it up again on Monday morning. Especially if you live close to Haddon Avenue and work in the city, you will find yourself using a car a lot less than you'd think, especially for the suburbs. Also, if you don't want the expense of owning your own car, Collingswood also has zip car in the Lumberyard garage for infrequent trips to the grocery store or to the Cherry Hill Mall for shopping.
[/quote]

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysuperfuzz View Post
Any advise you guys can give would be greatly appreciated. My partner wants to put in an offer on the house that he saw and I am really nervous about it. I love the idea of having a yard for the dog and not being woken up in the middle of the night by car alarms, people screaming at each other when they leave the bars at 2am, and loud music blaring from the cars. However, I also don't want to invest in property in the suburbs unless I am sure that I would enjoy the lifestyle.

Thanks in advance for your opinions!
My last advice would be to make sure you're both sold on the idea. There are a lot of benefits to Collingswood that you'll love versus the city - more space, more safety, more quiet - with few compromises compared to living in the city. You'll have a lot of what you need right in or near Collingswood and if you miss the city, just hop on the train and you're there just a few minutes later than if you left from your old front door.

Best of luck!
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:42 PM
 
Location: The beautiful Garden State
2,717 posts, read 3,679,203 times
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Collingswood is very gay friendly. Here are some great articles:

Living Gay in the Garden State: Collingswood | NJ.com -

http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_phill...-collingswood/

I really don't think you have anything to worry about.
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:09 PM
 
681 posts, read 1,381,697 times
Reputation: 255
Great advice from everyone! We moved to Collingswood and I had the same reservations as you, believe me, you will love it. You will not feel so disconnected from the city with the PATCO over your head. You will find plenty of LGBT both in town and very nearby; more than I thought. Every Third Thursday, Treno has a "night out" that brings plenty of people together so you will surely get a social circle. If you want any other info about houses and areas, please private message me and I will tell you what I know.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:33 PM
 
17 posts, read 28,626 times
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Wow! Thank you all so much for your responses. I really didn't expect such detailed replies and I very much appreciate all the time you put into them. This really gives me a good idea of what to expect in Collingswood and it really helps me make up my mind. After reading all of your posts, it seems like Collingswood might be a good compromise for us (not too suburban, not too urban, and easy enough to get into the city to see friends and frequent my favorite places). I find it very scary to think about moving outside of the city, but reading your posts helps a lot. My partner is also grateful for your responses since he's been trying to convince me for quite some time now and you guys are making his argument for him! I look forward to trying out that third Thursday at Treno!
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:34 PM
 
Location: South Jersey
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have fun!!
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:58 PM
 
518 posts, read 1,488,332 times
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It is south jersey's version of New Hope/Lambertville. You'll be fine
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:32 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
1,567 posts, read 2,764,617 times
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Collingswood is a great town. Good luck.
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