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Old 04-01-2012, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Macao
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Quote:
Originally Posted by athensvaasi View Post
Tiger, BTW, what is your short-list of metros to move to? Mine are DC metro and Philly metro. I think you have looked into both.
On this trip, I also spent a few days in Philadelphia. There are some really cool areas there, like Manayunk, etc. I also saw a lot of general beauty going towards Valley Forge as well just peripheral to Philadelphia itself. I don't think you could go wrong there.

For me, I still preferred DC quite a bit more. There is a lot of beauty in the DC area, and Maryland was much prettier than I expected - significantly so. I had low expectations in the 'pretty' department for Maryland. Virginia turned out to be just as pretty as I thought it was going to be. I just assumed that everything towards the Appalachian direction would become more attractive. That was true that it was attractive out there, but I found most of the metro area quite attractive in all directions - quite a few hills everywhere, lots of woods. I was surprised by that. (Incidentally, Philadelphia had that too). I also liked that DC just so many more immigrant communities, which is something that I also quite like.

For whenever I leave Japan, (and I like it here a lot, so no immediate rush), DC is pretty much on the top. Honolulu would be my 'dream' city, where I'd imagined I'd be quite financially stressed. Pittsburgh is my 'affordable big city' that I'd imagine I could live without much stress of anything financially, and still have big city amenities. However, DC would have the most interesting job possibilities, and at this point in my life, getting into the 'meat and pototoes' of my working years...job satisfaction ranks high, and DC would rank highest for that, for me.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Macao
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrence81 View Post
Yeah and you didn't even see all the dead malls. I'm really surprised that any mall in the DC area would be dying or dead.

Although I've seen a few dying malls in my day back in Georgia.

Fair Oaks is a great mall. Interestingly enough its my mom's favorite mall in Virginia. She loves to shop so I took her took to Tysons and she was NOT impressed. She found the stores to be expensive. So I took her to Pentagon City. Which I think is absolutely gorgeous. Especially when you're looking over the food court. Its like 4 stories. My hometown just has a one story mall. Surely she'd be impressed. Nope! Once again the stores were very pretty but too expensive.

Took her to smaller Fair Oaks and she was in retail heaven. Plenty of affordable stores with just a touch of upper middle class with Lord and Taylor and Apple. Not that she knows how to operate an iphone. I've always seen as an Apple store as a sign of a nice mall. Even though owning an apple product is no longer the status symbol it was a few years ago. I got my first iphone as a birthday present when I was unemployed. Ain't got no job but rocking an iphone. Anywho Fair Oaks is a great mall. I just wish it had a food court.
The dying malls must be a somewhat new phenomenon. That is something I just could not conceive of, as where would the people go? Not that there aren't plenty of other things to see and do, but modern American culture is interwoven so closely with consumer culture, that there aren't many other places to just go too, when you have nothing else to do.

That's interesting that your mom preferred Fair Oaks. Now that's making me think I should have checked it out. Also, interesting your mom observed Tyson's to be very upscale. That was my immediate impression as well.

Actually, that's what turned me off about Falls Church's walkable area as well. It just seemed too upscale, the people seemed too polished, the stores too maintained. I already knew it was a super expensive area, but didn't really realize until I actually visited how it reflects exactly that as well.

I also noticed a significant lack of 'diversity' when in Falls Church proper. Well, not necessarily by race, although it was predominately Caucasian. But, a strong sense of economic wealth being a huge factor if someone was living or just 'in' the area in general. Except for the handfuls of Salvadoreans here and there, that seemed to be there to work or hope to work for someone who was the type to hire Salvadoreans. For some reason, I imagine many of the people who would live in Falls Church, would be the kind of people who'd hire illegal Salvadoreans. (I'm not making a political statement about that, but just observed that that's the kind of people I observed Falls Church to have).

All that being said, I do like the general structure of Falls Church, i.e. stores that come up near the road (without the massive parking lots in front of them), and building the many residential areas so people can live near the retail and walk on the sidewalks and such.

South Arlington had a bit more grit to it, a bit more 'lived in', and the types of people seemed to stretch a much further range of economic levels.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
On this trip, I also spent a few days in Philadelphia. There are some really cool areas there, like Manayunk, etc. I also saw a lot of general beauty going towards Valley Forge as well just peripheral to Philadelphia itself. I don't think you could go wrong there.

For me, I still preferred DC quite a bit more. There is a lot of beauty in the DC area, and Maryland was much prettier than I expected - significantly so. I had low expectations in the 'pretty' department for Maryland. Virginia turned out to be just as pretty as I thought it was going to be. I just assumed that everything towards the Appalachian direction would become more attractive. That was true that it was attractive out there, but I found most of the metro area quite attractive in all directions - quite a few hills everywhere, lots of woods. I was surprised by that. (Incidentally, Philadelphia had that too). I also liked that DC just so many more immigrant communities, which is something that I also quite like.

For whenever I leave Japan, (and I like it here a lot, so no immediate rush), DC is pretty much on the top. Honolulu would be my 'dream' city, where I'd imagined I'd be quite financially stressed. Pittsburgh is my 'affordable big city' that I'd imagine I could live without much stress of anything financially, and still have big city amenities. However, DC would have the most interesting job possibilities, and at this point in my life, getting into the 'meat and pototoes' of my working years...job satisfaction ranks high, and DC would rank highest for that, for me.
I have similar feelings and situations as you.
(a) Not in a rush to move out of Atlanta metro, but will eventually.
(b) DC is tops in our list. Philadelphia is a solid second. I have driven through / stopped overnight /spent a few hours in Pittsburgh. But it is not like living in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh is going to be free, so might as well spend that extra 100-200 K for housing, and try to make it up though added income! If there is a solid reason to move to Philadelphia / Pittsburgh (such as a job opportunity), we probably would. Otherwise, DC metro is our default.
(c) We are Asian Indian. I think your spouse is Japanese. So I think we are both looking for a positive sense off diversity.

--

Do look at Fair Oaks mall / Fair Lakes area. It is a bit away from the IT corridor, making living expenses lower. But the mall is only 7 miles or so from the end of the Orange Line, and I think there is bus service.

--

We have ruled out the West coast from our options. Just curious why you are not considering the west coast. My reasons for choosing northeast corridor: (a) Bos-Wash corridor is the only real area offering some level of density (b) Bos-Wash corridor is wealthy (c) Bos-Wash corridor has a very high level of job diversity.

Good luck!
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Macao
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Originally Posted by terrence81 View Post
Tiger Beer: I thought your perspective was
\ really interesting. Youíre American but at the same time youíre not because you live abroad. Since you've said so much I won't quote everything you said. Just a few responses.

Woodbridge - I wouldn't say that all or even half the black folks in Woodbridge were gentrified from further north. There are only a handful of historically black neighborhoods in Alexandria and Arlington. There numbers in Woodbridge are too large for everyone to be gentrification refugees. Gentrification really isn't an issue in Northern Virginia like it is on the other side of the Potomac.

Springfield - You mentioned Springfield. That's where I live. I really like it but I miss living ITB. Right now I'm having car issues...again. How I wish I could just pack up and move to the city or at least closer-in and not have to worry about that gosh darn thing.

Not to ruffle any feathers but there does seem to be two Springfields. You drove through the frankly ugly part of Springfield. The Mixing bowl, that awful mall, and office buildings from the Soviet block yeah thatís Springfield. West Springfield is totally different. Very very suburban. Springfield proper is this ugly (but redeveloping) business district surrounded by older homes. It kinda reminds one of Annandale.

West Springfield is suburban bliss quiet with lots of trees but being so car dependant is annoying. I want to be able to walk to store not just to the entrance of my townhouse development. At the same time if I ever settle down and acquire a child then this would be a great place for them to grow up. They can play in the woods and explore nature. I do enjoy the trees.

NoVA traffic Ė Awful awful awful. There are no words to describe how annoying it is. You wonít really see that when youíre on vacation. For the past two years Iíve managed to have commutes that went against traffic. When I lived in Arlington I worked in Fairfax and Chantilly. So what I call awful is something that most would kill for. Can you imagine how much Iíd complain if I lived in Woodbridge and worked in the city? Actually I wouldnít Iíd just get my VRE on.

Falls Church/Vienna Ė I really like their downtowns. The traffic though is the pits. Iíd dare say this area from Falls Church to Vienna/Tysons to Oakton have the absolute worst traffic in Northern Virginia which means some of the worst in the country. The major problem with this area is that the roads have not kept pace with population growth. The roads are made for the 70s and 80s about 1,000,000 people ago.

I digress. Falls Church is really cute but there isnít a lot of high density residential in the downtown area (but thatís changing) so finding a place thatís walking distance to downtown is more of a challenge at least it was for me when I tried. Vienna is very picturesque and Leave it Beaver. However, the houses are just so expensive even for this area. You can get the same house for less in Fairfax. The downtown is cute though. I could see raising a family in Vienna as well.
Tysons Corner Ė What a mess? LOL Thatís putting it mildly.
Maryland - Oh brother. Foreign country to this Virginia boy. However, Iíve been recently seeing people in Maryland. So Iíve been socially commuting out to Maryland lately.

Silver Spring: Yes its city. It has the metro. It has a cute downtown/town center. Its much more affordable than other parts of the area. However, I understand what you mean by not wanting to move there. It has a little rough around the edges vibe.

I just started going to Rockville after living here for nearly 4 years. Okay I get why you say that you could see yourself living in Rockville versus say Fairfax (which are very similar and equal distance to DC). Rockville while very suburban is a little older and has actual neighborhoods. While Fairfax has sunbeltish subdivisions.

Back to VA. Arlington - I am so glad you spent some time in south Arlington versus just heading straight to Clarendon. Based on what youíve said about yourself in other posts I think this would be a great fit for you. Its got a little bit of city and its a little rough around the edges without being dangerous. Silver Spring does have problems with crime. While south Arlington gets cleaner by the day.

I used to live in south Arlington in Nauck, one of the few black neighborhoods in Northern Virginia. Thatís not why I lived there. It was cheap plain and simple. I guess you could say that I was a black gentrifier and I read that a lot of Nauck natives did indeed find themselves priced out of their childhood homes and moved to Woodbridge. Its one of the few neighborhoods in Arlington to lose population in the past decade. Its also one of the most diverse parts of Arlington. Although even I will admit that its not the best neighborhood in Arlington. The closer you are to Columbia Pike the better that corridor is going to on and poppiní in the next decade, especially if they ever get around to installing the streetcar. Hopefully it wonít become another Clarendon though.
Springfield. While I finally got out of that Mixing Bowl area, I was thinking that perhaps I didn't really see the real Springfield. But, it sounds like if it looked like Annandale, than I might have by default more or less seen it

I guess that's where I was also thinking South Arlington might be my favored place if I were to live in Virginia...as I'd just shoot over for Korean restaurants in Annandale, or Vietnamese in Eden Center. Plus there is strip mall complex of Ethiopian in South Arlington which was kind of cool.

On that note, Eden Center wasn't nearly as interesting as I thought it might be. There's isn't that much to do outside of park your car there, go in and eat something, and drive right back out again. Which, makes sense, but became quite clear once there. It's just an isolated commercial area that happens to be Vietnamese, and not necessarily anything more than just that. It isn't a reflection of the neighbor or people around it at all.

NoVA traffic - yeah, it does seem that metro or VRE/MARC would be absolutely essential. On the first day, when I explored way out in Fredericksburg, Winchester and such....I kept thinking there is no way I'd ever consider living out here and commuting. For one, while the towns are certainly acceptable towns in themselves, they aren't 'great' by any stretch, to make any point to live in any of them that far out. Anyways, I'd be a very loyal VRE/MARC person as well, but even that would get tiring. As I was out in Fredericksburg, it took forever to drive back into Fairfax, and the traffic was fine. But, I quickly realized I wouldn't want to live that far out, even if they did have the VRE.

I also completely set aside my interest in Frederick as a possibility. One because it too seemed too far out there, but also as I noticed that there are pockets of stuff that I liked much closer to DC. Maybe not a complete walkable town, but I did like seeing houses that appeared to be completely in the woods, but close accessability to other amenities. (I saw that quite a bit more in Maryland, although I'm sure Virginia would have it as well). I saw that in Gaithersburg and Greenbelt in particular. Columbia as well, although that's quite a bit further out, and has no MARC/Metro, which kind of rules it out again.
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,941 posts, read 36,081,636 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by athensvaasi View Post
I have similar feelings and situations as you.
(a) Not in a rush to move out of Atlanta metro, but will eventually.
(b) DC is tops in our list. Philadelphia is a solid second. I have driven through / stopped overnight /spent a few hours in Pittsburgh. But it is not like living in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh is going to be free, so might as well spend that extra 100-200 K for housing, and try to make it up though added income! If there is a solid reason to move to Philadelphia / Pittsburgh (such as a job opportunity), we probably would. Otherwise, DC metro is our default.
(c) We are Asian Indian. I think your spouse is Japanese. So I think we are both looking for a positive sense off diversity.

--

Do look at Fair Oaks mall / Fair Lakes area. It is a bit away from the IT corridor, making living expenses lower. But the mall is only 7 miles or so from the end of the Orange Line, and I think there is bus service.

--

We have ruled out the West coast from our options. Just curious why you are not considering the west coast. My reasons for choosing northeast corridor: (a) Bos-Wash corridor is the only real area offering some level of density (b) Bos-Wash corridor is wealthy (c) Bos-Wash corridor has a very high level of job diversity.

Good luck!
West Coast - I've spent a lot of time out there. I worked in two national parks, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon, and also lived a year in Portland Oregon and a year in San Francisco.

The West Coast has great cities! Amazing places all the way around. However, when I was in SF, the cost of living was too high, and the jobs didn't reflect that. As opposed to when I lived in NYC, and the cost of living was high, but so were salaries/wages.

DC is 'the practical' city to live in that respect. I've heard people complain about plenty of things about DC, but finding an interesting worklife doesn't generally seem to be on anyone's list. In fact, more people complain that eveyrone they meet in DC only talks about their worklife. Which, to me, equates that it must be somewhat interesting than.

When I was younger, I preferred the West Coast style of work is irrelevant, it's what one does in their free time. But now that I'm a father and husband, my 'free time' isn't much of my own anyways, but my work life is. Being that we spend much of adult working lives at work, it makes sense to try to be in work environments that we want to be in.

The other reason for East Coast is that I'm originally from Michigan, just north of Detroit. So, being within striking distance from a car, seems interesting. Also, I loved living in NYC, so DC is kind of sister city but warmer. Additionally, DC's near to so many different areas - north culture and south culture and atlantic beaches and appalachian mountains. Interesting to have all that.

That being said, if I hadn't spent much time on the West Coast already, on paper, it would far exceed what I'm instead looking at. But, I feel kind of 'done' with the West Coast. Honolulu, on the other hand, I'd go there in a mini-heartbeat. A true mix of Asian culture with the U.S. mainland.
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
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Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post

That's interesting that you mentioned Gaithersburg being more organic. I did drive between the two metro stations in gaithersburg, and they both had a lot of interesting things around them. I also liked that suddenly I was 'in the woods' on curvy roads very nearby to those metro stations. Very interesting. I didn't even find Kentlands...so I figured seeing what little I saw, made it appealing enough.
Can I correct something? You say two metro stations in Gaithersburg, but there aren't any there. Maybe that's why you couldn't find the Kentlands. I get the feeling you didn't really see enough of Gaithersburg yet.
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Old 04-01-2012, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Macao
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Originally Posted by dkf747 View Post
Can I correct something? You say two metro stations in Gaithersburg, but there aren't any there. Maybe that's why you couldn't find the Kentlands. I get the feeling you didn't really see enough of Gaithersburg yet.
Sorry, they were probably MARC stations than.

You're also right, I wasn't able to adequately explore everywhere in very great detail. I tried to see as much as I could of each area, without getting too bogged down in each area, to reserve enough time to get to other areas to get general impressions.

I regret missing out on Kentlands. Gaithersburg was never on my radar screen initially, so I wasn't really equipped to explore it in detail. It kind of hit me as I was in it, that it had more attributes that I liked. Not that it's an ideal place by any means, but the combination of seeing it and knowing it seemed quite acceptable, having somewhat awareness that a lot of urbanity for future growth was going into it, and knowing it was also a very affordable area of metro DC with metro access (which I guess is actually Rockville than?) plus MARC.

It's probably also true that if I had explored Gaithersburg much more, perhaps I'd write it off. I can't really say I got to know any area all that detailed, considering time constraints and the enormity of wanting to get a feel for pretty all areas of DC metro region.
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Springfield VA
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Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
The dying malls must be a somewhat new phenomenon.
Yeah malls are going to the wayside. Town centers are the way of the day now. People want that urban setting even in the suburbs. An enclosed mall hasn't built in this country in quite some time if I understand correctly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Actually, that's what turned me off about Falls Church's walkable area as well. It just seemed too upscale, the people seemed too polished, the stores too maintained. I already knew it was a super expensive area, but didn't really realize until I actually visited how it reflects exactly that as well.

I also noticed a significant lack of 'diversity' when in Falls Church proper. Well, not necessarily by race, although it was predominately Caucasian. But, a strong sense of economic wealth being a huge factor if someone was living or just 'in' the area in general.

All that being said, I do like the general structure of Falls Church, i.e. stores that come up near the road (without the massive parking lots in front of them), and building the many residential areas so people can live near the retail and walk on the sidewalks and such.
I've always thought Falls Church was a little rough around the edges. I wouldn't call it polished. If you were along Broad street then no you didn't the more diverse parts of Falls Church. There are parts of Falls Church that are just zip codes in Fairfax county this is where most of the immigrants live versus near Broad street in downtown Falls Church.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
South Arlington had a bit more grit to it, a bit more 'lived in', and the types of people seemed to stretch a much further range of economic levels.
Yeah that part of Arlington is gentrifying somewhat. So you have the mix of people priced out of Clarendon along with black families that have been in Nauck for generations and lots of Hispanic immigrants who need cheap housing with good public transportation. I think the mix makes south Arlington interesting. I miss it definitely need to move back. At the same time I live in a much nicer pad for the exact same price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Springfield. While I finally got out of that Mixing Bowl area, I was thinking that perhaps I didn't really see the real Springfield. But, it sounds like if it looked like Annandale, than I might have by default more or less seen it
Well Springfield doesn't have the "ethnic" restaurants that Annandale has. I don't live near that part of Springfield. West Springfield is super quiet and suburban. Nothing but trees and houses. That's the one thing I don't like about it absolutely nothing to walk to except for a Sunoco gas station.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
NoVA traffic - yeah, it does seem that metro or VRE/MARC would be absolutely essential. On the first day, when I explored way out in Fredericksburg, Winchester and such....I kept thinking there is no way I'd ever consider living out here and commuting. For one, while the towns are certainly acceptable towns in themselves, they aren't 'great' by any stretch, to make any point to live in any of them that far out. Anyways, I'd be a very loyal VRE/MARC person as well, but even that would get tiring. As I was out in Fredericksburg, it took forever to drive back into Fairfax, and the traffic was fine. But, I quickly realized I wouldn't want to live that far out, even if they did have the VRE.

I also completely set aside my interest in Frederick as a possibility. One because it too seemed too far out there, but also as I noticed that there are pockets of stuff that I liked much closer to DC. Maybe not a complete walkable town, but I did like seeing houses that appeared to be completely in the woods, but close accessability to other amenities. (I saw that quite a bit more in Maryland, although I'm sure Virginia would have it as well). I saw that in Gaithersburg and Greenbelt in particular. Columbia as well, although that's quite a bit further out, and has no MARC/Metro, which kind of rules it out again.
Well those towns have housing that is exponentially cheaper than say Arlington. Also it would depend on where your job is located. Virginia in particular has a lot of suburb to suburb commuting. I've had 5 office locations and not single one of them metro accessiable, so I've had no choice but to drive. Commuting to Tysons was the absolute worst. I wish they had used the money for HOT lanes to put in line of the metro that would go from Springfield to Tysons. The Beltway is just awful. I have a friend who used to live walking to work downtown but now keeps getting gigs in the far out Maryland suburbs. Apparently 270 is not his friend. That's the thing about here traffic is bad no matter what direction you're going it seems.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by terrence81 View Post
Yeah malls are going to the wayside. Town centers are the way of the day now. People want that urban setting even in the suburbs. An enclosed mall hasn't built in this country in quite some time if I understand correctly.
I've read the same thing - namely, that there hasn't been an enclosed mall built in the past 5-6 years. However, there is a difference between saturation and obsolescence. This area, like quite a few others in the country, has some malls that are doing very well (Tysons, Fair Oaks, Pentagon City) and others that are floundering and going the way of the dodo. I don't go to Tysons to shop that often, but when I do it always seems crowded and people seem to be willing to put up with all the construction to get there.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Virginia
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Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
This area, like quite a few others in the country, has some malls that are doing very well (Tysons, Fair Oaks, Pentagon City) and others that are floundering and going the way of the dodo. I don't go to Tysons to shop that often, but when I do it always seems crowded and people seem to be willing to put up with all the construction to get there.
I have a feeling we'll see quite an upswing in people shopping at malls this summer if we end up get the sweltering temps and mosquitoes that have been predicted. I like town centers, but I still prefer enclosed malls when the weather's bad. Especially when I want to shop at a bunch of different stores.
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