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I lived in Overbrook for 35 hears North of Jefferson, south of Malvern, between 63rd & 66th and I can tell you the neighborhood is gone. 3 of our neighbors were shot to death, my house was broken into, my sister in law's on the next block was broken into, my mother in law was mugged 2x on our street, my next door neighbor was robbed in front of her home. Most businesses are gone, replaced by nail salons, day care, stop & go type retail stores. I was a city detective and I worked that area and I can attest a lot of the street crime was/is covered up etc. Look on the lower merion side and stay out of Upper Darby.
Which fantasy land are you coming from? I live right on Jefferson and east of 63rd for the past 5 years and there hasn't been a single person shot or seriously assaulted in my neighborhood. There are banks, dentist offices, grocery stores etc all around the neighborhood. Businesses all gone? 3 of your neighbors are shot? People robbed right in front of their home? Give me a break, troll. Look at the crime statistics yourself http://spotcrime.com/#19151 before speaking nonsense.
I know that this is an old thread, but I just had to chime in.
I grew up in Overbrook when the majority of my neighbors were white. I feel bad for them that they felt their neighborhood was threatened. We could have all lived together and had an even better bond as neighbors, not to say that my family doesn't have an equally good relationship with our neighbors now. But I suppose, I am from a generation where I feel we all can live together. If only people open up their eyes and see a certain color of people don't bring problems.
It's a socio-economic issue. If you're poor-working class, I think that brings a different set of problems. But if your work is stable then it's a better situation for that neighborhood. I recall, clearly, growing up a couple of the white neighbors having problems with drug use, openly.
But, back to the future. Crime is around. Even in the nicer, bigger homes section of Overbrook. You just have to keep your eyes and ears open and keep your neighbors abreast of what you've noticed or witnessed.
Anyways, just for the heck of it, I was wondering what exactly the homes were going for in Overbrook and I saw a lot of homes that had been updated at a very reasonable price for the city. Plus, even though I don't live in the city, I still love the charm of a rowhome. Think about it, if you haven't moved already.
Overbrook is in a great location, Route 1/City Ave/76, 95, Fairmont Park, near Delaware County/Montgomery County, lots of amenities, walkable to public transportation.
Anyways, I just wish neighborhoods would be more diverse, save University City area and parts of South Phil. I always stayed around there because I knew I'd meet people who were from other cultures.
Anyways, consider the area. Help make it more diverse. That should be the motto of American neighborhoods. Seriously.
The earlier post about crimes that occurred discusses a timeperiod in which the community was truly going through a bizarre uptick in crime that was wholly unprecedented. If you look into the 1990's via stories from those that lived/still live in Overbrook, west of 63rd, and in the news, you can find a substantial number of violent crimes that took place that decade. There is no question that area has calmed down since then. I have had many discussions with neighbors that moved in during the 90's and even people that never moved and the consensus is usually that the 90's were a strangely violent decade in the community and that the last five years especially have been dramatically quieter. But it was that uptick in violence that very much hastened the exodus of white working class residents, who had never before seen murders and even muggings taking place on their own blocks.
It's true that many of the good businesses of happy memory are gone save for a few. But it's also true that many of them closed in an era when many small businesses of long time vintage closed down in cities everywhere. People talk about how there were baseball card/comic book shops - I just don't see that, or even more than one of them, surviving in most neighborhoods today. What's the most regrettable in my view is the loss of so many good eating establishments from the community, but that's just because I like Italian food. There definitely used to be more stores that sold higher quality items appealing to ethnic groups no longer present in the community in large numbers. But even today's residents complain about a lack of businesses of viability other than daycares (which thrive due to state subsidies), and hair/nail salons.
It's entirely possible that Greater Overbrook will see a kind of gentrification (though I hate that term) in the future. The question is when will that take place? I have a feeling that such a timeperiod is decades, not a few years, away.
But then, I've clearly bought in to the 63rd Street division myth.
I will agree with the positive sentiments expressed towards Overbrook on this thread. I agree that the area is overlooked because of its majority-black status, and while I find JacksonPanther's blanket denial of crime occurring in Overbrook a little bit of a stretch, it is really no more dangerous than a many working-class suburbs across the Delaware Valley.
The black folk who moved into western Overbrook in the mid-90s up to today are generally much more middle-class than the majority of the city's population; out of Greater Overbrook's 4 census tracts west of 63rd, two had median incomes that stayed about the same, and two actually have a higher median income than they did in 2000, and Overbrook Farms has more $200,000+ earning households than they did in 2000.
Considering that Saint Joe's is surrounded by the most suburban, large-lot portion of Wynnefield and Overbrook, I just don't see the type of grassroots gentrification you see happening elsewhere in Philly happening here. And even if it were surrounded by more affordable rentals, you can't just force gentrification by having college kids around; interestingly enough, college kids usually aren't mature enough to bring the full benefits of gentrification, and often only bring the negative aspects associated with it. They usually don't feel invested enough to attend community meetings, do block clean-ups, patronize only local businesses, etc. I feel like it the neighborhood's going to see any gentrification, it's going to be from a slow influx of somewhat reclusive but affluent homeowners, who bring more youthful and proactive homeowners in their wake. This is the pattern you currently see in East Falls, Mount Airy or Powelton a generation ago, where retirees/empty-nesters will often do gentrification's grunt work, such as fixing up dilapidated but grand old houses, while in, say, Cedar Park, it is 20 and 30-somethings doing such work. This is also the only way I think the neighborhood could become racially integrated in the same way as the aforementioned neighborhoods. Unlike traditional gentrification, it would start in the most affluent enclave, too, and I think the fact that Overbrook Farms continues to see white homebuyers is a positive sign.
I am optimistic of Overbrook's future as a combination of currently successful buppie haven and a pretty nascent fixer-upper neighborhood. It should no longer be solely viewed through the frightened lens of working-class whites who left decades ago...
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