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Old Today, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Fairmount, Philadelphia
1 posts
Reputation: 10

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I'm looking to move from Fairmount, Philadelphia to the LMSD and am in the early stages of exploring neighborhoods. Budget ~$600k, looking for rancher/split in sidewalk neighborhood friendly for little kids, and maybe even walkable to something. Will be taking train to CC Philly for work. Reform Jewish family with grad-level degrees.

In a first run with our Realtor, we liked Narberth's walkability to downtown and the train station, and Belmont Hill's walkability to the town pool, library and elementary school, and both seem to have the type of houses we like in our budget.

I've read in some older posts that these are "armpit" or "ghetto" areas of the Main Line, and would like to know more, as there are plenty of houses selling for >$.5M Is this just in comparison to the multi-million-dollar neighborhoods like Gladwynne? Are these historically middle-class neighborhoods a little more upper-middle at this point? Is there a weird dynamic between kids from these neighborhoods and those from wealthier ones at school? Are there secular Jewish populations of any significance in either? How do Merion El and Belmont Hills El compare with each other or the other grade schools in LMSD? Finally, any other neighborhoods we should look more closely at given our wish list? PV, Wynnewood and Merion all seem a bit more suburban, but maybe they have a different demographic we should be aware of?

Lot of questions, so thanks for any feedback!
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Old Today, 03:38 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
5,604 posts, read 2,736,894 times
Reputation: 3519
Quote:
Originally Posted by jyg5001 View Post
I'm looking to move from Fairmount, Philadelphia to the LMSD and am in the early stages of exploring neighborhoods. Budget ~$600k, looking for rancher/split in sidewalk neighborhood friendly for little kids, and maybe even walkable to something. Will be taking train to CC Philly for work. Reform Jewish family with grad-level degrees.

In a first run with our Realtor, we liked Narberth's walkability to downtown and the train station, and Belmont Hill's walkability to the town pool, library and elementary school, and both seem to have the type of houses we like in our budget.

I've read in some older posts that these are "armpit" or "ghetto" areas of the Main Line, and would like to know more, as there are plenty of houses selling for >$.5M Is this just in comparison to the multi-million-dollar neighborhoods like Gladwynne? Are these historically middle-class neighborhoods a little more upper-middle at this point? Is there a weird dynamic between kids from these neighborhoods and those from wealthier ones at school? Are there secular Jewish populations of any significance in either? How do Merion El and Belmont Hills El compare with each other or the other grade schools in LMSD? Finally, any other neighborhoods we should look more closely at given our wish list? PV, Wynnewood and Merion all seem a bit more suburban, but maybe they have a different demographic we should be aware of?

Lot of questions, so thanks for any feedback!
Define "ghetto."

No Main Line neighborhood I'm familiar with could be described using that term. Whoever uses it has a severe prejudice against the more middle-middle-class neighborhoods of twins and rowhouses found south of Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore and Bryn Mawr, I suspect. I would guess that "ghetto" is relative here, but whoever uses that term to describe a Main Line neighborhood is an incredible snob. (Or possibly a bigot: the Ardmore neighborhood in question houses the oldest and largest African-American community on the Main Line.)

Or maybe it's Belmont Hills, which had been called West Manayunk until the early 1950s. Local residents petitioned for a place name change to avoid any association with that seedy neighborhood on the other riverbank in Philadelphia. I'll bet some may regret that move now.

I don't know the exact percentage of Jewish residents there, but I know there are at least two synagogues and a large Jewish day school in Wynnewood.

The Lower Merion School District takes great pride in its tolerance and (relative) diversity; I haven't heard of any class or ethnic tensions of the sort you describe in its schools. And AFAIK, there's not a bad school - or even a "less desirable" one - in the district. (Harriton High, the district's second high school, did have a little bit of a stigma attached to it when it opened in the 1990s, but the district managed to remove that.)

Here's what I had to way about Narberth in Phillymag, and here are my two separate takes on Ardmore (online version, print edition version).

Do note the median house prices in the two communities.
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