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Old 04-07-2014, 07:19 AM
Location: Center City
7,085 posts, read 8,214,674 times
Reputation: 10149


OP - One thing that made an impression on me when we moved here from Houston 3+ years ago was that nearly everyone we met was from the area. Houston is a transient city where quite the opposite occurs. The common question in Houston was "Where are you from?" In response, you'd get answers such as Ohio, California, Seattle, Calgary, South Carolina etc. Houston, as the energy capital of the country, also attracted many foreign nationals. So when we arrived in Philly, we continued in our habit of asking "Where are you from?" The answers: South Philly, The Northeast, Elkins Park, Media, Vorhees etc. We have even met people from as far away as Vineland. I wouldn't call it small townish though. It's just part of what makes Philly Philly.

There are positive and negative aspects to every city and two sides to every coin. Take Houston: It was great to meet folks from all over the world. And I mean that literally - we knew people from nearly every continent. The flip side is that there is not a strong sense of permanence. It's a"here today/gone tomorrow" culture. Because few people have roots there, few are invested in making the city better. Instead, folks are concerned with making their own lives better. Now take Philly: Occasionally, when large groups of folks get together, they might reminisce about Sally Starr or their high school, leaving you to twiddle your thumbs a bit until the topic changes. Or they tell you they live near Moorsetown and expect you to know where that is. Conversely, people are deeply invested in this city. There is passion for the Eagles and Phillies and people care that the Boyd Theatre is being dismantled.

One pleasant surprise is that most folks here don't live up to the rep of being rude. We have found it easy to talk with people and to make friends. I hope you find it the same.

Last edited by Pine to Vine; 04-07-2014 at 07:49 AM..
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:35 AM
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
4,744 posts, read 7,845,060 times
Reputation: 4700
I think the fact that Philadelphia has been able to maintain its heritage/localized feel relative to other major cities is definitely a plus. Yes, there are aspects of the city (and area in general) that can be too provincial at times. However, it's much easier to infuse a more cosmopolitan influence rather than trying to regain a sense of local uniqueness/culture -- which is exactly what many much more transient cities try so hard to do. I think most people like a good balance between local identity and cosmopolitan influence.

However, it's easy to see that the trend is definitely such that Philadelphia is becoming much more cosmopolitan. I mean, let's be real -- uber-provincial cities do not receive direct flights to places like Qatar (http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayi...debut/7259993/) or are a top 10 metropolitan region for international immigration (http://www.businessinsider.com/censu...#ixzz2xRnsyehu).

People from around the world move to the area every day -- so it's a FAR cry from, say, rural Iowa in terms of provincialism.

Cities like Boston or Chicago (even New York, outside of Manhattan) are good models in this regard in terms of being home to a good amount of outsiders/immigrants yet maintaining a strong sense of local heritage/traditions/identity. As long as Philly continues to maintain this homegrown versus cosmopolitan balance, I think the social environment will remain very attractive for everyone.

Last edited by Duderino; 04-07-2014 at 08:43 AM..
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:52 PM
Location: Houston, TX
17,031 posts, read 27,536,917 times
Reputation: 16212
Just saw a blurb on another site about how they played Tetris on the side of a Philly building. I think it was set up by a prof from Drexel. IMHO that's pretty cool. It would be neat if they left it up for a week or so.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:39 PM
Location: Los Angeles, CA
175 posts, read 241,725 times
Reputation: 222
Im so bummed i missed that tetris building. we arrived from cali one day late!!!! Its funny though, i barely notice any accents and this is my fourth trip here
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:32 PM
3,050 posts, read 2,751,079 times
Reputation: 3959
Originally Posted by loose cannon View Post
Congratulations on escaping Lehighton. We drive through on the way to Jim Thorpe and laugh at the hicks. Admittedly I am in Allentown, but I've been to Philly enough in my time and I know the scoop. People in Carbon County are indeed hopeless jabronies.
I was only there for four years, thankfully
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Old 04-08-2014, 07:43 AM
2,394 posts, read 3,051,801 times
Reputation: 1976
I always got the "smallest big city" vibe because no matter where I went I would always bump into someone I knew and half the time I would bump into a friend hanging out with a different friend and had no idea that they even knew each other. It has a big population but geographically it's pretty small and most of what's happening goes on in a relatively small area.

And yes, the Philly/Delaware Valley accent is ever present. I've even gotten to the point where I can tease out South Philly vs. Kenzo, DelCo vs South Jersey, Main Line vs Bucks.
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Old 04-08-2014, 05:52 PM
1,953 posts, read 3,357,867 times
Reputation: 1087
Philly's "localness" is one of the things I love most about the city. Here in DC everyone is from somewhere else. Makes it easy to make fun of Nats fans.
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