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Old 04-19-2008, 03:00 PM
 
28,896 posts, read 53,855,264 times
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Please only respond to this thread if you've actually visited the place--Not driven through on the interstate.

I moved here from Chicago about 15 years ago. A headhunter called me about a possible publishing slot in Birmingham. I practically laughed the guy off the phone. But the guy prevailed on me to at least talk to the people.

I had a couple of interviews with some very smart people and decided to fly down for a face-to-face. My wife practically had to be dragged on the plane, expecting Klan rallies and God knows what.

So we get here, and are totally floored by what we find. I took the job, and we've lived here fifteen years. Other job offers from other cities have come my way, and my wife is adamant on staying here.

All that being said, I'm surprised at what people think about Birmingham, mainly those who haven't visited here.

So, those of you who have come to town, what do you think of the place? I'm interested in your impressions.
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Old 04-19-2008, 05:24 PM
 
Location: Dayton OH
5,629 posts, read 11,152,602 times
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I lived in Auburn, AL for a few year in the late 90s and visited Birmingham many times. I like Birmingham area and many other parts of AL, the better places are not along the interstate, that's for sure. Alabama in general gets a "bad rap" from people who have not visited or lived there aside from just passing through on their way to somewhere else. Part of it comes from events that occurred there over 40 years ago - history doesn't fade away even though AL has changed a lot in those decades. Media or TV/Film stereotypes often cast the whole state as a redneck backwoods enclave, even though that's not the case for most of the cities and towns. If it weren't for the stereotype that many people that live elsewhere have of Alabama, it would probably be getting overrun like many places in the Carolinas with new residents from MI, NY, NJ, PA et al.
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Old 04-19-2008, 08:42 PM
 
5,816 posts, read 15,818,811 times
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If it weren't for the stereotype that many people that live elsewhere have of Alabama, it would probably be getting overrun like many places in the Carolinas with new residents from MI, NY, NJ, PA et al.[/QUOTE--Recycled]

Good point here. Maybe Alabamians should keep promoting the negative stereotype, and keep their state from being overrun.
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Old 04-19-2008, 08:48 PM
 
5,816 posts, read 15,818,811 times
Reputation: 4734
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Please only respond to this thread if you've actually visited the place--Not driven through on the interstate.

I moved here from Chicago about 15 years ago. A headhunter called me about a possible publishing slot in Birmingham. I practically laughed the guy off the phone. But the guy prevailed on me to at least talk to the people.

I had a couple of interviews with some very smart people and decided to fly down for a face-to-face. My wife practically had to be dragged on the plane, expecting Klan rallies and God knows what.

So we get here, and are totally floored by what we find. I took the job, and we've lived here fifteen years. Other job offers from other cities have come my way, and my wife is adamant on staying here.

All that being said, I'm surprised at what people think about Birmingham, mainly those who haven't visited here.

So, those of you who have come to town, what do you think of the place? I'm interested in your impressions.
Good idea for a thread. There's too much dissing based on nothing but stereotypes. Good to see someone countering some of this by realting an actual experience.
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Old 04-19-2008, 09:26 PM
 
1,178 posts, read 3,815,630 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Please only respond to this thread if you've actually visited the place--Not driven through on the interstate.

I moved here from Chicago about 15 years ago. A headhunter called me about a possible publishing slot in Birmingham. I practically laughed the guy off the phone. But the guy prevailed on me to at least talk to the people.

I had a couple of interviews with some very smart people and decided to fly down for a face-to-face. My wife practically had to be dragged on the plane, expecting Klan rallies and God knows what.

So we get here, and are totally floored by what we find. I took the job, and we've lived here fifteen years. Other job offers from other cities have come my way, and my wife is adamant on staying here.

All that being said, I'm surprised at what people think about Birmingham, mainly those who haven't visited here.

So, those of you who have come to town, what do you think of the place? I'm interested in your impressions.
I live in nearby metro Atlanta, about two and a half hours to the east, and I'll agree with you that Birmingham, Alabama is a nice place to live, particularly the south side. The suburbs of Vestavia Hills, Homewood, and particularly Mountain Brook, offer what I believe to be one of the highest quality of life's in the United States. It is that good.

Anyone who talks bad of Birmingham has never been there.
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Old 04-21-2008, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC/Greensboro, NC
1,997 posts, read 4,568,886 times
Reputation: 1774
OK, I'm going to have to chime in...
I lived in B'ham from 1997-2003 - I have family there and visit occasionally.

Birmingham is one of the most underrated cities in the country. When my wife and I lived there, out-of-town family and friends would scoff at the mention of Birmingham ("its scenic? excellent shopping? decent restaurants? - surely you jest").

Birmingham's economic landscape is very diverse: medical, banking, construction, etc. It has not been subjected to wide-swinging housing valuations. The state's best schools are in Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook (along with pricey real estate, though). There are EXCELLENT local restaurants in the area. Also, the area has attracted a few, great chain restaurants (and I despise chains): McCormick and Schmidts and Village Tavern (I love both of these places). Shopping/retail are the best in the state: Saks, Whole Foods, etc. I even here that Nordstrom is coming to Birmingham in 2010. About time. State and property taxes are dirt cheap.

Some reasons that Birmingham does not rise to the level of Nashville or Jacksonville: laughable local politics - a string of poor, incompetent mayors - including Larry Langford - I was shocked to here that he was elected mayor recently - well, at least he's doing "something". Very conservative state politics: no lottery - Alabama is surrounded by lottery/casino states - Alabama citizens are funding other state's educational systems. No HOPE scholarships - why would I send my daughter to the University of Alabama (my alma mater, by the way) when she can go to the University of South Carolina at a greatly reduced cost or nearly free (tuition)? Lackluster downtown area - the area needs some sort of revitalization (like Greenville, SC: Greenville's Downtown (http://www.greatergreenville.com/development/dtn_map.asp - broken link)). Birmingham is pretty isolated - 4-5 hours to the "real" mountains of TN or NC and 4-5 hours to decent beaches of the Florida panhandle. Crime - very bad in the city (but nearly non-existant in the southern suburbs). Traffic - terrible for a city its size - desparately needs a northern loop (to route all the trucks AWAY from downtown, hear their finally getting a northern loop) and FUNCTIONAL electronic, highway signs (I hear their finally working). Don't come to Birmingham without a working (preferrably fast) automobile - forget about "biking to work", HOV lanes, or public transportation ("light rail"). Steamy, L O N G summers - this place is hot and humid from June thru September (can't live without AC, although the Fall and Winter months are very mild - snow is extremely rare). There is no quick escape from the summer heat (NC mountains are 5 hours away).

Now, after typing this I realized I very much miss a Thai restaurant in Five Points - "Surin West" - outstanding food there. My wife and I bought a house in "Southside" during my medical school years (sold it for a tidy profit without even putting it on the market) - 2 minute drive to UAB (I guess I could've "biked to work") and less than 5 minutes to quality dining - can't beat that - my commute now is 45 minutes .
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Old 04-21-2008, 02:07 PM
 
29 posts, read 96,462 times
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I lived in suburban Birmingham from 2003 thru 2006......and have only positive things to say about the place. It is a wonderful place for raising a family. The one thing that most stood out is the PEOPLE of Birmingham. They are laid back, honest down-to-earth folks.
Just about everyone is so friendly, welcoming and warm.And racism is non-existant(I am neither white nor black).The schools are the best I have seen so far.
When I moved from Bham to DC Metro area I reeled from the culture shock. Being rude is a way of life here. Not to mention snobby, fake, racist...the so called "diversity" in schools harbors more segregation than any integration. Definitely not a place to raise happy kids.
I would go back to Birmingham in a heartbeat, if only I could.
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Old 04-22-2008, 08:07 AM
 
23,484 posts, read 69,717,445 times
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Surin is good, but I like the plate lunch and BBQ places too. The Purple Onion in Southside used to be a Steak and Egg that I liked. I miss Strawberry Fields and the frozen yogurt "shakes" and grilled mushroom, spinach and bacon and cheese sandwiches.

I lived there in the 1980s and still visit regularly. I think one of the most impressive attributes of the city is that the kids are decent and polite, way more than any other major city I've lived in. When kids say ma'am and sir and don't sass back when given direction it makes life a whole lot easier for adults and job trainers.

There are some oddities about the city. If you get around Red Mountain and the big antennas, don't expect your car alarm fob to work unless you are standing next to your car. The layout of the city, from northeast to southwest, with spurs in odd directions make this a hard city to conceptualize when thinking about direction. Which brings the next point for outsiders - learn the Interstate exits on the map before driving in or through the city. With the pace of the traffic and the sometimes left exits, you don't have any time for making decisions on the fly. In the county, it is illegal for homeowners or shop owners to work on their own plumbing, (and it is enforced) but electric work is not regulated. Water is dangerous!

We made an intentional move back to Alabama and briefly considered Birmingham, but really wanted to live in the country. We were tired of taxes, water regulations, zoning, traffic, crowding, and all the other negatives of the more urban and suburban lifestyle.
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Old 04-22-2008, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Indiana
49 posts, read 192,322 times
Reputation: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Please only respond to this thread if you've actually visited the place--Not driven through on the interstate.

I moved here from Chicago about 15 years ago. A headhunter called me about a possible publishing slot in Birmingham. I practically laughed the guy off the phone. But the guy prevailed on me to at least talk to the people.

I had a couple of interviews with some very smart people and decided to fly down for a face-to-face. My wife practically had to be dragged on the plane, expecting Klan rallies and God knows what.

So we get here, and are totally floored by what we find. I took the job, and we've lived here fifteen years. Other job offers from other cities have come my way, and my wife is adamant on staying here.

All that being said, I'm surprised at what people think about Birmingham, mainly those who haven't visited here.

So, those of you who have come to town, what do you think of the place? I'm interested in your impressions.
This is almost the same situation my husband and I found ourselves in. He had a potential job offer in Bham, I said Alabama? (like it was the end of the earth). I knew nothing of the place other than the bad press it had while I was growing up but after a visit I was very pleasantly surprised at what I found. We moved here about 4 months ago and love it. The people are wonderful, I have not met anyone unpleasant yet and the city amenities are plentiful enough for most people. If you are NYC born and raised it might not offer what all you would want but it's as sophisticated and entertaining a city as most would need. The only thing I miss is a large body of water (ocean or great lake) nearby but I do plan a visit to the Mobile and gulf shore area soon. We may have to drive a bit but I believe those are the best beaches just about anywhere in this country. Like someone else on this post said, maybe we should keep it quiet so we don't get over-run like Atlanta! Someone else mentioned the manners of children which I found especially nice too. I have never lived anywhere that the children are (for the most part) very mannerly and respectful of adults. It's a lesson that should be shared with those all over the country, I don't know how it got losted along the way in most other places. Most people teach their children manners but only addressing elders as ma' am and sir and Miss, Mrs. or Mr. So and So is a Southern standard that I find refreshing. I only wish my children had been raised here. I am proud to call Birmingham home and look forward to many more happy years in my new home town.
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Old 04-23-2008, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Crestwood
136 posts, read 592,673 times
Reputation: 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by recycled View Post
If it weren't for the stereotype that many people that live elsewhere have of Alabama, it would probably be getting overrun like many places in the Carolinas with new residents from MI, NY, NJ, PA et al.

In my opinion we are getting overrun from the south instead of the north
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