U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Philadelphia
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-14-2014, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Philly
10,026 posts, read 14,474,108 times
Reputation: 2774

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Bowa View Post
I'm not so sure there's a lack of transit options where I live (Bridesburg). There's the 25, J and 73. Plus, there's the train station on Bridge Street that takes you right into CC. That's a lot of public transportation for such a small neighborhood.
When I was a teenager we used to take SEPTA to the Vet all the time and it was a pretty easy run.
those are not great options imo except for the el though crime is a bit if a problem in frankford. i understand your viewpoint but theres plenty to see that isnt limited by not having a car in cc. you often experience the city in different ways, both good and bad.

Last edited by pman; 05-14-2014 at 09:42 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-14-2014, 09:42 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
5,302 posts, read 8,431,061 times
Reputation: 2136
I am moving to Philly and, while not looking forward to snow and cold, am excited!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2014, 12:07 AM
 
Location: Philly
10,026 posts, read 14,474,108 times
Reputation: 2774
Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post
...I do like living on the streets of Germantown more than I'd like looking at nice neighborhoods from afar on my roof - although a roof deck might be pretty sweet if I also lived in a nice place like Bella Vista or East Passyunk that had plenty of basic services and interesting things to do to go along with the high prices of living.
east passyunk is still close enough to the old south philly that cost of living outside of housing is probably lower than germantown, certainly higher quality goods and services. as for the somewhat irrational dig at francisville, I don't get it. the assumption I guess is that the streets are somehow unpleasant which isn't true. perhaps it is in point breeze and maybe even in brewerytown, I've never lived in those places.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post
Downtown Germantown (Germantown and Chelten vicinity) is downright hopping during the day, and as beleaguered as the business district is (and it probably IS the weakest business district I have ever had to personally depend on), I still think there's more pedestrian life than in the gentrifying neighborhoods near Center City, as most people there are very much dependent on their short distance to center city (or sometimes short drive to big box stores).
I guess if you need sneakers the business district in germantown is pretty good but I don't buy that many sneakers. the reality is, in my experience, that those with cars drive everywhere in germantown. they drive to big box stores, to the bar, to go out to eat. pedestrians are much less frequent outside the business district. don't get me wrong the houses and the park are beautiful.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post
I live close enough to it to be able to take advantage of it (5 minute walk to Chelten Avenue, 5 minute walk to Germantown Avenue, 10 minute walk to Germantown and Chelten intersection), but still live on a quiet, leafy block - it's hardly a nightmare scenario. One of the neat things of Germantown is walking around some of the little alleys near the downtown area and seeing the former storefronts, not really all that different from some of the hidden commercial streets in Center City - perhaps one day things will be healthy enough here for them to be utilized again. There was a time not that long ago that Germantown was sort of an ultimate small city within a large city (read, actual city, as opposed to the more small town feels of Chestnut Hill and Manayunk). One can see things going in that direction one day again, hopefully.
germantown declined some time ago but you're right, there's plenty of potential, more than most neighborhoods.chestnut nill and mt airy (used to be beggarstown) were small towns outside of germantown in german township. chestnut hill really grew with the opening of the railroads, particularly the chestnut hill west which was essentially an enormous real estate development scheme. in other words, chestnut hill was largely built as a suburb and built very well at that (as opposed to germantown which was an independent city). francisville, on the other hand, was the site of william penn's vineyard and an early village outside of town which is why its street grid is based off ridge ave rather than the city's street grid. in that sense it has a lot in common with the old mt airy (springer st). it doesn't have the giant homes of germantown but it has beautiful views, good breezes, and quiet streets. fishtown has a lot of these things as well. I love just wandering around the crazy old streets in fishtown and northern liberties.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post
Philadelphia is the first place I've lived in that I don't really consider myself a foe of gentrification, though. Let people pay whatever they want to live in Francisville or Brewerytown or Spring Arts. I might personally think their ideas of what the city is and how much it costs is silly. But there are PLENTY of places that need fixing up, there's room for a whole lot more people, and I don't see gentrification ever hitting any kind of overwhelming critical mass here. Best case scenario is that it'll send more people who aren't overly concerned with living in or near trendy and exciting places into the neighborhoods that still have hope - the Germantown, Rising Sun, Torresdale, and Frankford Avenues of the city and help keep them together in a more or less proper urban form.
prices are rising in the core because demand is outstripping supply. people are selling their one story home which are being knocked down and being replaced with three units. more to the point, the neighborhood had something like 70% of its lots vacant. the population is expanding and fairly rapidly for Philly at that. keep in mind when philadelphia hit 2.2 million the northeast was still largely undeveloped. it might not be cool in your eyes not to live walking distance to work or even a ten minutes bus ride but I assure you it is underrated. I'd also point out that your idea of what it costs to live in a city is probably unreasonably low, certainly too low for what it costs to rebuild a city. germantown is struggling to maintain what it has because of the low prices. some gorgeous homes falling apart up there
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2014, 04:11 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,041 posts, read 1,281,018 times
Reputation: 471
Quote:
Originally Posted by pman View Post
those are not great options imo except for the el though crime is a bit if a problem in frankford. i understand your viewpoint but theres plenty to see that isnt limited by not having a car in cc. you often experience the city in different ways, both good and bad.
Nah. The train station I was referring to on Bridge Street is a block west of 95, it's a great option for getting directly into Center City. Try again.
Plus, the 25 will take you to the Spring Garden station.
And, yeah, without a motorized vehicle, you're limited to as what you can experience in the city, imo.

Last edited by Larry Bowa; 05-15-2014 at 05:04 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2014, 06:36 AM
 
Location: Philly
10,026 posts, read 14,474,108 times
Reputation: 2774
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Bowa View Post
Nah. The train station I was referring to on Bridge Street is a block west of 95, it's a great option for getting directly into Center City. Try again.
Plus, the 25 will take you to the Spring Garden station.
And, yeah, without a motorized vehicle, you're limited to as what you can experience in the city, imo.
everyone has an opinion. yes, you are limited, but just how limited is a matter of debate. some people drive everywhere and that's great for them, it doesn't make their life better. the trenton line is ok, it has poor off peak headways, the 25 bus is garbage which is why it has low ridership.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2014, 07:42 AM
 
8,048 posts, read 18,469,927 times
Reputation: 2738
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Bowa View Post
I'm not so sure there's a lack of transit options where I live (Bridesburg). There's the 25, J and 73. Plus, there's the train station on Bridge Street that takes you right into CC. That's a lot of public transportation for such a small neighborhood.
When I was a teenager we used to take SEPTA to the Vet all the time and it was a pretty easy run.
Ah, I guess I misinterpreted some of your post I quoted, then. You just have a simple preference to have a car; I can certainly understand how Bridesburg would be convenient enough to NE Philly, South Jersey and - if budgeting for parking - Center City.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2014, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Midwest
1,283 posts, read 1,881,190 times
Reputation: 970
Quote:
Originally Posted by pman View Post
as for the somewhat irrational dig at francisville, I don't get it
Francisville was just an example - it's nothing personal about it. In fact, I'd say the same thing about a lot of neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Francisville is just one (of several) right now that cost more to live in without necessarily offering more (although as more people move there, that will change).

I'm no Francisville expert. I was there a couple of times, and my walks down Ridge Avenue left me saying this place needs to get a lot better before I could live in it. I pretty much thought the same things you said - that you'd have to walk to Fairmount of Templetown to buy food, and that's not something I'm interested in - in fact that's something incomprehensible to me. There very well be a lot more than meets the eye. The one big thing you have is being a literal like 10-15 minute walk to Center City, and I'd still argue that that is its biggest selling point. It's similar in EVERY city. You could look at New York as an EXTREME example, of people paying crazy money to live NEAR Manhattan or cool Brooklyn places, where they could get so much more for their money and live in more complete neighborhoods if they'd look elsewhere.

Downtown Germantown is hardly a paradise or a pleasant place to be. My opinion of it when moving here was this place needs to get a whole lot better, but I could live in it. Like I said, it is by far the weakest business district I have ever had to depend on. But I found there to be a lot more streetlife mid-day, more basic services within walking distance (a 24 hour Save-a-Lot, Pathmark, Murray's, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Dollar General, Family Dollar, a bunch of independent discount stores, a hardware store, a few thrift stores, a health food store that sells some bulk stuff, a BIG library, a place to get eyeglasses, dentists, a few lunch counters, a 24 hour laundry, shoe repair, etc.) all EXTREMELY concentrated on a few blocks of Germantown and Chelten Avenue than some other places we took a look at (which includes Port Richmond, East Kensington, West Philly - West Philly also has a lot to offer IMO but the time of year we were looking we just kept losing out to students with too much free time). There's also been a gym that opened up here, a fancy bakery, a pilates place that closed, and a revolving door of coffeeshops since we've been here. One time walking down Germantown Avenue after dark on a sunday I saw a group of folks doing some weird, seemingly fashionable exercising on a second floor of an old wharehouse building, but can't really place a why or a what on it. It's a neighborhood trying to find itself. Another big thing for me is that there was seemingly a lot less abandonment and empty lots here, except for the area around Wayne Junction.

Quote:
the reality is, in my experience, that those with cars drive everywhere in germantown.
Me too. But I think that goes for Philadelphia as a whole. I did have higher expectations of the relationship people would have with their car in Philadelphia. I work with some folks who live in South Philly who think they need a car to buy groceries - even a guy who lives around 10th and Washington who specifically bought a car so they could go to Superfresh on Columbus. Oh well. People who think they need cars will continue to think they need cars, not much you can do about it.

Quote:
I'd also point out that your idea of what it costs to live in a city is probably unreasonably low, certainly too low for what it costs to rebuild a city.
Before moving to Philadelphia my idea of what it costs to live in Philadelphia WAS unreasonably low. I do agree with that. We pay an extra 400 dollars per month in rent and utilities to live in a less urban area than we did in the midwest, several thousand dollars more per year in wage, income, and sales taxes, and before Obamacare we were also paying about 400 dollars more per month in health insurance. It's a big east coast city, it's not cheap. I can live with that. The corollary to that is we also make a lot more money than we did back there, without necessarily having better jobs - that stuff is largely all relative. If you live somewhere and are capable of doing any kind of work beyond minimum wage stuff, the regional economics should take care of things. I've had that conversation with others before who don't quite get it when comparing costs of living. I'm more talking about relative costs within the city than comparing apples to oranges, though.

Last edited by FamousBlueRaincoat; 05-15-2014 at 09:42 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2014, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Philly
10,026 posts, read 14,474,108 times
Reputation: 2774
Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post
...
I'm no Francisville expert. I was there a couple of times, and my walks down Ridge Avenue left me saying this place needs to get a lot better before I could live in it. I pretty much thought the same things you said - that you'd have to walk to Fairmount of Templetown to buy food, and that's not something I'm interested in
except that francisville is so small, fairmount is just as close as germantown and chelten is to you now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post
...There very well be a lot more than meets the eye
there's certainly more to it than ridge ave. the streets are pleasant, the birds chirp, it's quiet, and yet close to other things (yes, there it is again) without having to hop in your car to get to south philly or center city (or fishtown for that matter).
Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post
...
The one big thing you have is being a literal like 10-15 minute walk to Center City, and I'd still argue that that is its biggest selling point. It's similar in EVERY city. You could look at New York as an EXTREME example, of people paying crazy money to live NEAR Manhattan or cool Brooklyn places, where they could get so much more for their money and live in more complete neighborhoods if they'd look elsewhere.
what are you getting? more crime, bigger house, crappy shopping, less to do, worse transit, and possibly a longer commute. if germantown were "more complete" it wouldn't be so cheap. yes, being a short walk to cc, fairmount, temple, and good transit IS the selling point. that's why francisville has higher prices than brewerytown (which is arguably a more complete neighborhood). location, location, location. if someone wanted to save money, sure, they'd be better off in a cheaper neighborhood. I don't get why you think your way is THE way. francisville is cheaper than both fairmount and spring garden but more expensive than brewerytown. it's also far cheaper than bella vista. life is full of tradeoffs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post
...
Downtown Germantown is hardly a paradise or a pleasant place to be. My opinion of it when moving here was this place needs to get a whole lot better, but I could live in it. Like I said, it is by far the weakest business district I have ever had to depend on. But I found there to be a lot more streetlife mid-day, more basic services within walking distance (a 24 hour Save-a-Lot, Pathmark, Murray's, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Dollar General, Family Dollar, a bunch of independent discount stores, a hardware store, a few thrift stores, a health food store that sells some bulk stuff, a BIG library, a place to get eyeglasses, dentists, a few lunch counters, a 24 hour laundry, shoe repair, etc.)
so..in francisville there is a hardware store, a laundromat, shoe repair 24 hour rite aid, a hardware store, family dollar, cvs, seafood, liquor store, beer distributor, two bike shops, hair salon,, a thrift store. it's true, you have to walk a few more blocks to the central library but that's not a big deal now is it? while certainly there is room for improvement, there's really nothing on your list that I find myself wanting. It's only a 15 minute walk to fresh grocer if that's what floats your boat...and being close to center city does offer other non-big box options. technically the gym is in spring garden but it's just on the south side of fairmount ave (the border). there is a new gym just off ridge. If I remember correctly, the brewerytown commercial strip has a bottom dollar, day care, two beer delis (one with a good selection, one cheap), a hardware store, a coffee shop (high point), a cheap diner, discount stores. it used to have a murrays until bottom dollar put them out of business. it has an insanely crappy state store as well. it's not just close to center city but also close to fairmount and the park. to each their own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post
...
all EXTREMELY concentrated on a few blocks of Germantown and Chelten Avenue than some other places we took a look at (which includes Port Richmond, East Kensington, West Philly - West Philly also has a lot to offer IMO but the time of year we were looking we just kept losing out to students with too much free time). There's also been a gym that opened up here, a fancy bakery, a pilates place that closed, and a revolving door of coffeeshops since we've been here. One time walking down Germantown Avenue after dark on a sunday I saw a group of folks doing some weird, seemingly fashionable exercising on a second floor of an old wharehouse building, but can't really place a why or a what on it. It's a neighborhood trying to find itself. Another big thing for me is that there was seemingly a lot less abandonment and empty lots here, except for the area around Wayne Junction.
the area around wayne junction is sad but also has a lot of potential. I like west philly, oddly the crime is higher than francisville and presumably port richmond, but most places we looked at were student dumps and way overpriced for the quality.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post
...
Before moving to Philadelphia my idea of what it costs to live in Philadelphia WAS unreasonably low. I do agree with that. We pay an extra 400 dollars per month in rent and utilities to live in a less urban area than we did in the midwest, several thousand dollars more per year in wage, income, and sales taxes, and before Obamacare we were also paying about 400 dollars more per month in health insurance. It's a big east coast city, it's not cheap. I can live with that. The corollary to that is we also make a lot more money than we did back there, without necessarily having better jobs - that stuff is largely all relative. If you live somewhere and are capable of doing any kind of work beyond minimum wage stuff, the regional economics should take care of things. I've had that conversation with others before who don't quite get it when comparing costs of living. I'm more talking about relative costs within the city than comparing apples to oranges, though.
if a place is cheap then you can't justify the cost of new construction or, in the case of germantown, the renovations needed to keep those grand houses in order (there's more abandonment in germantown than francisville in my experience but less vacant land). oddly, the majority of abandonment in francisville is on ridge ave. there ARE bad places to live and there's certainly logic to not living in places with housing shortages but on the flip side, it's really about whether an area offers the things you want.

Last edited by pman; 05-15-2014 at 10:59 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2014, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Midwest
1,283 posts, read 1,881,190 times
Reputation: 970
Quote:
Originally Posted by pman View Post

That's really a matter of opinion now isn't it? what are you getting? more crime, bigger house, crappy shopping, less to do, worse transit, and possibly a longer commute. if germantown were "more complete" it wouldn't be so cheap. yes, being a short walk to cc, fairmount, temple, and good transit IS the selling point. that's why francisville has higher prices than brewerytown (which is arguably a more complete neighborhood). location, location, location. if someone wanted to save money, sure, they'd be better off in a cheaper neighborhood. I don't get why you think your way is THE way.

It is precisely a matter of opinion. For all that you say - and perhaps you are right, perhaps we are as close to just as many things as each other, with Germantown's business district being more concentrated, and lower north Philly being more spread out - and I pay cheaper rent to have a longer commute - but the amount of vacant land in Philadelphia (even in some neighborhoods that aren't cheap) is something that absolutely shocked me when exploring the city - wasn't expecting it, and it's not so in your face when you're in the nice, upscale parts of Philly (as opposed to say, Detroit, a city I've visited, where you can't really ignore it no matter where you are).

But I have absolutely no desire to ever live amidst it. Plain and simple. I don't know the crime rates - I've never been bothered here, perhaps there are higher crime rates here, it wouldn't surprise me. But I know my conception of the city is a place with buildings standing. It's just not something I can get past or overlook. Personally.

That's not the same for everybody. That's not a bad thing, because the only way for these places to ever build themselves back up is for people to temporarily accept those drawbacks and/or not care about them or even find a sort of appreciation of it.

There are also places a lot cheaper than West Germantown, by the way. I remember seeing a list not too long ago that actually listed a portion of the neighborhood as being one of the most expensive to rent in in Philadelphia (the area around Chelten Avenue Station, specifically).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2014, 11:29 AM
 
Location: back in Philadelphia!
3,260 posts, read 4,877,400 times
Reputation: 2051
OK, so I am NOT joining the odd "neighborhood vs neighborhood" battle in this thread.

But just on the subject of G-town:
When I was growing up (I'm just talking about the 80's here, not ye olden times), in the immediate proximity of Germantown & Chelten there were two F.W. Woolworths stores. One on Germantown Ave (which was historic and had a proper soda fountain counter), and one on Chelten Ave (I think Center City also had two, but I can only remember the one on Market st).
Also, within a few blocks, there was a Sears, a JC Penney, Allens Dept Store, (the original and at that time only) Ashers Candy factory and outlet, Cunningham Piano, and many other large and small stores I'm forgetting about right now. It had banks, with big ornate branches on the avenues (including a multiple branches of Germantown Savings Bank, since subsumed into Corestates, then WellsFargo).

Basically, there was a pretty high level of retail and commerce. People came down to "the avenue" from other neighborhoods to shop. The 23 & 53 still ran down Wayne and Germantown Aves. There was an historic YMCA AND a, historic YWCA on either side of Vernon park. Big private school campuses (Germantown Academy, then Stevens school, and GFS, and Penn Charter just down the street), Quaker meeting houses, and the NW Regional Library, which as mentioned is still one of the biggest and best branches of the Phila Free Library. Maplewood "mall" (a cobblestone pedestrian lane) was still full of shops. There was a Cricket Club. It was really quite an active place, with a real downtown complete with a city hall and a 17th century town square. If it were its own city it would have been one of the largest in PA at one point (I was once told "second largest", but I cannot verify that fact).

It was much more than a neighborhood with nice old houses, proximity to a big park and some neglected-but-hey,maybe-kind-of-important? historical sites as its main claims to fame (in a city where tourists line up to visit the farce that is the Betsy Ross House).

It was a very significant place in the city. But that changed a lot over the next 20+ years.
Germantown today is really a skeleton of what it once was, and the population has declined a lot accordingly. It's very striking to me every time I go back. But at the same time, those memories are a reminder of where it could get back to being in relatively short order, if the stars align.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Philadelphia
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top