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Old 05-09-2014, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
11,942 posts, read 10,818,746 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post
I didn't want to bring down the happiness of the thread....

But my wife and I aren't really in love with Philadelphia, although we don't hate it either. We have kind of an on-again-off-again relationship with it.

Philadelphia never had an image problem with me though - I spent part of my childhood a few hours away, and I came here all the time, and if anything probably had the impression that it was a much better place than it actually is because of only visiting the nicest neighborhoods (and to be fair - I think a lot of the booster transplants in the downtown area only really live their lives in a fairly small portion of Philadelphia; and a lot of natives don't realize it's not normal or good to have such vast amounts of empty land and decaying, abandoned buildings)

We lived in Center City for a while to explore the city - it was good in some ways, but as two people who have predominantly lived in lower middle class areas of big cities, we were never really comfortable there and didn't plan to stay there. Although I could totally see how it could be the greatest place ever for folks with different kind of backgrounds, aspirations, and personalities. It was an interesting experience though.

Having been here 4 years, I'd say there's a lot of stuff I like about Philadelphia and a lot of stuff I don't like. The funny thing is that I think we were actually better off day-to-day without a car in our old Minneapolis neighborhood than almost anywhere appealing to us in Philadelphia (although we didn't have the options of such easy regional travel without a car, and I do enjoy trains, even if they are longer train rides than my old bus rides - I've very much discovered my inner rail-fan living here).

We're at a little bit of a crossroads, in that in this coming year we're likely going to figure out whether we're going to stay in Philly long-term or not. It's got some of what we want - so do other places. I certainly wouldn't be upset if we wound up staying here, but neither would I be to leave.

More than anything, Philadelphia - especially when taken in its entirety as opposed to a few gentrified circles or a fairy tale history book - is an interesting and compelling place to live for those who are drawn to the idea of the city.
What other parts of Philly/other cities are you considering out of curiosity? Is Germantown too isolating/lacking in amenities for you? Block to block can really vary tremendously in Gtown. It can be the best and worst of Philly in many ways.
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Old 05-09-2014, 05:52 PM
 
Location: Philly
10,026 posts, read 14,474,108 times
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crime is deserved part of philly's bad reputation. the city has made significant strides since nutter took office but it needs to keep going down and stay there (reputations lag)
//www.city-data.com/crime/crime...nsylvania.html
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Old 05-09-2014, 06:24 PM
 
Location: Midwest
1,283 posts, read 1,881,190 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2e1m5a View Post
What other parts of Philly/other cities are you considering out of curiosity? Is Germantown too isolating/lacking in amenities for you? Block to block can really vary tremendously in Gtown. It can be the best and worst of Philly in many ways.
Good question. One thing to consider is that my wife and I get a little restless anyway - so even though Philadelphia has been both good and bad for us, we might be considering a move anyway, even if we loved it.

Germantown is in many ways exactly what I thought it would be. We needed to save a little bit on rent, and we were getting such a great deal in Center City that the only way to actually save money in something that may have fit our personality a little more (South Philly, I suppose) would have been to live in a terrible apartment. Germantown allowed us to live in a pretty nice apartment, on a really beautiful street, near some basic needs, and save some money. And I wound up finding it a much more interesting place than I thought I would. I'm glad I got to live here before it got discovered. I love so much about Germantown - the geography is my favorite, the man made and the natural. I love the bus rides - up and down Wayne Avenue ( from the houses climbing up the hill just north of Wayne Junction to the mansions past Manheim, Greene Street, Germantown Avenue. I look forward to waiting for the bus - no kidding - because I get to stand on the corner and just look at the houses without being suspicious.

But I think the business district is the pits. I like my local produce store and the thrift store down on queen lane. But outside of historic attractions, Germantown Avenue largely fails through Germantown - and Chelten isn't any better. It's not an interesting place. If I get home after 7, everything except Walgreens and McDonalds is closed, and the streets are mostly abandoned except for people waiting for the bus and a few bars.

I also knew that going into it, so not a big deal, it's not like it was disappointing. We literally moved to Germantown because of A & N House of Produce - living along Lake Street in South Minneapolis we had so many of these small food stores, and I can not believe how far and few between they are here. We found a cheap neighborhood with a good food store and a few other things, jumped on it, and settled.

Another thing I took for granted when we lived in Minneapolis is how geographically big the city seemed, based on how much of everyday life was conducted in neighborhoods. Lake Street was like 60 blocks of (true, mostly low and mid density) commercial - but that was still like 60 blocks of places to go at any reasonable time with excellent bus service. University Avenue and Central Avenue provided similar experiences. I can't think of anything comparable to it in Philadelphia, although I can think of things that should be comparable to it (Ridge Avenue, Germantown Avenue, Kensington Avenue). It's one thing that I miss that I never really considered. It's part of what made life easy without a car and without having to live in trendy neighborhoods - just live within walking distance of one of these streets, and you can walk to most anything, and get to literally anything.

Where we would move next, not sure yet. We're currently in the process of trying to rent an apartment in New York, which is my hometown. I've always wanted to move back to New York, from the day my family left, but it always seemed somewhat impossible. Really the rents in the outer-borough neighborhoods that are what I am most familiar with - what I grew up with, what formed my idea of how a city should be - aren't all that crazy - or don't seem that crazy to me any more after living in Philly for a couple of years - it's a little bump up. Philly's more expensive than we originally thought it would be, only because the cheaper neighborhood don't provide much besides a place to live for cheap. So we're giving it a shot. I don't really know if it will work or not - the main thing in NY is going through the rental process, and finding a landlord that will work with you if you don't have employment lined up. I'm not attaching all my hopes on it, we're kind of just going through the motions right now and seeing what will happen. Putting things in the universe's hands - it's mostly out of our control.

If that doesn't work, Chicago is a big possibility, in that it's a big city where you don't need a car and is halfway between my wife's family and my family, which is convenient for nobody, but still only a one day trip away for everybody. But that wouldn't be immediately, we'd look into it more next year. Having seriously considered Chicago in the past, my recollection is that it has a lot of the same problems Philadelphia does, with a slightly lower cost of living, a great transit system, and a few more habitable working class neighborhoods directly along the subway lines.

If we stayed in Philadelphia, we'd likely stay in our neck of the woods, probably moving up a few blocks into Mt. Airy, towards the decent stretch of Germantown near Allen Lane. We're actually pretty financially stable at this point in Philadelphia, moreso than I expected I'd ever be, so I'd kind of just accept a bougie life of Weavers Way, High Point Coffee, a nice restaurant once in a while, and stuff at the Sedgwick Theater. I like the NW - I like the houses, the landscape, the Wissahickon, I like the route 23, the H, the Chestnut Hill West, the Chestnut Hill East. And there's no reason to change the things that I truly do lke about living here.

The other option is the NE - I've long been intrigued by Castor Avenue, and a bunch of other patches between Frankford Terminal and Cottman Avenue. There's more there than over here - but the sight of a big parking lot sends me into a rage. Two years ago we chose NW Philly for human scale and public transit, and those things are still of the most importance, and I still think NW is a better place for people who care about those things.
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Old 05-09-2014, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Philly
10,026 posts, read 14,474,108 times
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would north fifth st be of more interest than castor? particulary the northern stretches where the hispanic neighborhood gives way to the korean neighborhood near fisher park?
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Old 05-09-2014, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Midwest
1,283 posts, read 1,881,190 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pman View Post
would north fifth st be of more interest than castor? particulary the northern stretches where the hispanic neighborhood gives way to the korean neighborhood near fisher park?
Yeah, that's another part of the city I like. I go to 5th Street for bread sometimes from Germantown, since there's no bakery here. I think the Olney shopping center takes a whole lot of potential energy off of 5th Street, but overall it's relatively good. It's one of my big pet peeves about Philadelphia - the way big box auto-centric shopping centers are built in proximity to potentially amazing neighborhood main streets where local business could thrive. But 5th Street still works to a large degree. Even have some neat NY Style produce store sidewalk displays on Chew and 5th - I love it.
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Old 05-09-2014, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Philly
10,026 posts, read 14,474,108 times
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south philly seems to have the most of those things left (bakeries, etc) but that area has a decent mix. if theyd get on with building the pedestrian bridge to fernrock station it would have excellent transit as well
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Center City
7,085 posts, read 8,214,674 times
Reputation: 10149
Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post
I didn't want to bring down the happiness of the thread....

But my wife and I aren't really in love with Philadelphia, although we don't hate it either. We have kind of an on-again-off-again relationship with it.
Hi FBR - I think Ann Landers might respond as follows: "It's important that you be honest and share your feelings with Philadelphia. This will allow Philadelphia to make its own decision about its relationship with you."

Seriously, however, I wonder why you used my post as starting place to offer insight into your personal situation. If you think it's because I'm cheerleading, that is not the case. I, of course, recognize that Philadelphia, like any city, is not the perfect place for every single person. Further, I believe you have raised a serious concern that I wish the city would address - the abandonment of buildings and vacant land. In our short time here (3+) years, however, we have seen the city recently enact a land bank to hopefully begin top chip away at this concern (Philadelphia Land Bank | Philly Land Bank). Time will tell if it is effective, but something is finally being done to address this matter. Further, I note that the land bank was unanimously approved by City Council - that would seem to indicate this is recognized as a city-wide concern. There is an amazing amount of opportunity out there for those with the ways and means to reclaim these swaths of the city.

Perhaps an even more pressing concern is the quality of public education in the city. Even we are a middle aged gay couple with no children nor plans to have any, I nonetheless feel an investment in the quality of schools in this city. While I understand the pipeline of money from Harrisburg has been flowing under capacity, my gut tells me it will take more than money to address this problem. If I knew the answer, I'd provide it. That said, I have more confidence in the current superintendent than the one in place when we arrived here and hope the SRP can effect positive change.

As to your personal situation:
Quote:
I certainly wouldn't be upset if we wound up staying here, but neither would I be to leave.
I hope you find a place that better suits you and your wifes' needs and desires. I have lived 7 states and over the course of that journey, sometimes found myself in in cities where I felt I was "settling." It has always been my nature to make the very best of the where I lived, however. To intentionally move to Philly, a city which meets pretty much everything on my wish list, makes for much happier life for me and my husband. I wish the same to you and your wife.

Last edited by Pine to Vine; 05-10-2014 at 09:59 AM..
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,041 posts, read 1,281,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm02 View Post

Perhaps an even more pressing concern is the quality of public education in the city. Even we are a middle aged gay couple with no children nor plans to have any, I nonetheless feel an investment in the quality of schools in this city. While I understand the pipeline of money from Harrisburg has been flowing under capacity, my gut tells me it will take more than money to address this problem. If I knew the answer, I'd provide it. That said, I have more confidence in the current superintendent than the one in place when we arrived here and hope the SRP can effect positive change.

Part of the answer is for people to stop making babies they can't afford, don't want or have no interest in raising correctly. Men need to be fathers, not sperm donors. Women need to be mothers, not *** dumpsters.
All the money in the world isn't going to help the kids who come to school ill-prepared, and we need to stop looking for teachers to be second parents, they're there to teach.
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Old 05-10-2014, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Philly
10,026 posts, read 14,474,108 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Bowa View Post
Part of the answer is for people to stop making babies they can't afford, don't want or have no interest in raising correctly. Men need to be fathers, not sperm donors. Women need to be mothers, not *** dumpsters.
All the money in the world isn't going to help the kids who come to school ill-prepared, and we need to stop looking for teachers to be second parents, they're there to teach.
thats part of it but schools are bad even in neighborhoods that dont have enormous problems with these things so clearly theres more to it than that
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Old 05-10-2014, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
2,377 posts, read 2,695,391 times
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The only mechanism parents have for getting a better school is to move. So areas which have good schools will become in high demand (expensive). However areas that are already in high demand (nice urban areas) would then become super expensive because you would have both parents and singles out bidding each other to be there. Because singles can certainly out afford parents, parents are pushed to the areas which appeal more less strictly only for child rearing purposes. And because all the caring parents are then pushed out to the burbs... What would have been the good public urban schools drown in neglected kids.
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