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Thread summary:

Moving to Philadelphia; seek advice on overall impression of city, crime rates, city in decline or on the rise, metro area positives and negatives

View Poll Results: Philadelphia Thumbs up-Thumbs Down- Ehhh not in my conciousness
Philadelphia city on the rise 51 67.11%
Philadelphia city in decline 15 19.74%
Philadelphia- Dont care 10 13.16%
Voters: 76. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-26-2007, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Villanova Pa.
4,910 posts, read 12,771,485 times
Reputation: 2635

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I posted this poll in the general US forum to get a national perspective. The moderator kind of destroyed the purpose of the poll by moving it from the General US thread to the Philadelphia forum thread comprised of only Philadelphians. Oh well.

This is a really strange group of moderators, except for Tone. Why would someone move a general thread which specifically asks for a national perspective on Philadelphia and hide it in the Philadelphia forum?



But I was pleasantly surprised that the votes were 10 positive,1 negative, 2 dont care, while it was in the general forum.
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Old 12-26-2007, 03:50 PM
 
2,189 posts, read 6,852,431 times
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Rainrock - I find that Philadelphians are more critical of this city than outsiders, so I was surprised the positive results were by outsiders.

When I lived in Queen Village a group of us used to take the Philly Phlash home from center city. That is a bus for tourists, but we took it because it was quick and cheaper than SEPTA. Anyway, I spoke to many tourists who were on the bus, and every one of them had high praise for Philadelphia. On the other hand, I know people who live here who do nothing but complain about Philadelphia. I really don't think you see that in other cities.
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Old 12-26-2007, 09:25 PM
 
Location: the midwest
492 posts, read 2,179,341 times
Reputation: 263
I grew up in Western PA, only an hour north of Pittsburgh, so Philadelphia really wasn't on my radar until I was older. When I was around 17, I became obsessed with PA history and geography and thus suddenly wanted to explore the entire state. My parents were extremely supportive of my obsessions and let me plan out a trip to Eastern PA. One of the many places we stopped was Philadelphia. After that visit I had mixed feelings. It was a much bigger city than what I was used to (Pittsburgh) and what I had expected. And the Center City area was quite nice. But coming into and going out of the city we saw some extremely rundown neighborhoods. I was especially saddened to see how "historic" many of the crumbling areas were. The rowhouse architecture was something I hadn't seen before my trip to Eastern PA, and I thought it was so cool, and couldn't understand why it was simply left to decay on street after street after street in Philadelphia.

Since then, I've been through some of the suburbs, such as the Brandywine Valley, much of Chester County, northern Bucks County, and other places, and I was very, very impressed with what I saw. Philadelphia has some BEAUTIFUL suburbs.

A few weeks before I moved to South Korea, I took Amtrak from NYC to Pittsburgh via Philadelphia. Again, I saw some very dilapidated neighborhoods from the train. But then again, we went through some areas with large, stately homes that appeared to be within the city limits. (If anyone has ideas of where this may be, I'd be quite interested to know which neighborhood this was.)

So I guess that was my way of saying I have mixed feelings about the city from my personal experience. It seems to be the city on the Eastern Seaboard that is struggling the most, although Baltimore would be a close second. The other three seem to be moving ever-forward, yet Philadelphia seems to be looking for its "niche". The city will no doubt benefit from its position between NYC and DC, and probably would be worse off if it weren't for its neighbors.

I have a list of places to see either again, or for the first time, when I get back home in 2009. Philadelphia is at the top of my list. Then again, so are about 50 other places in the country, so it's gonna take me a while!
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Old 12-27-2007, 02:15 PM
 
8,048 posts, read 18,469,927 times
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It's nice to see mostly positive thoughts as well as constructive criticism of Philly on this thread.

I agree with the general sentiment here. Both Center City and University City are thriving and adjacent neighborhoods are being redeveloped. Manayunk and East Falls have improved tremendously. Chestnut Hill and Mount Airy (both West and East IMO) are classic gems. Overbrook and lower South Philly are "sleepers" for those who are comfortable with a decent if not pristine working-class community. Northeast Philly, especially the "Far Northeast" is generally solid if bland.

Unfortunately, there is a huge swath of the city that is quite challenged. Middle-class and employment flight to the suburbs and exurbs hasn't helped. I do respect the desire of families to ensure a quality education for their children. I also concede that not everyone is stimulated by urban culture and are content to make their home their castle.

The suburbs have always done well in my lifetime. Som exceptions might be Norristown, Pottstown and some of the Delaware County towns that border the city. I'm glad to hear that the suburban job market, per rainrock's previous assessments is booming. I lament the fact that it is difficult for city residents and others who choose mass transit find getting to many of the office parks to be an onerous if not impossible process. I will be glad when the perennial Schuykill Valley Metro proposal finally gets built at least out to King of Prussia.

It will also help if/when Nutter reduces the business privilege and wage taxes across the board to encourage small and large businesses to come/return to the city. The targeted tax breaks given out under Rendell and Street are a mixed success at best. After all the hoopla for shipbuilder Kvaerner, I haven't heard much since. Financial services firm ABFS tanked quickly. Ft. Wayne's loss was our gain when Lincoln Financial joined their Delaware Group subsidiary here. But I feel Comcast basically held us hostage so the addition of their new building to the skyline is bittersweet from my perspective.

So I believe metro Philly is like most places that are adjusting to the national and global economy. IMO, it has more successes than failure. It's not perfect. But if it was, then the average Joe/Jane wouldn't be able to afford to live in the city proper. It's getting close to that way here in DC. One could say that moment has already arrived in San Francisco.

Last edited by FindingZen; 12-27-2007 at 02:19 PM.. Reason: remembered additional thoughts
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Old 01-02-2008, 09:46 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
33,070 posts, read 61,890,891 times
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There's certainly a lot of optimism for the new administration. You could take that either as a condemnation of John Street, or as confidence in Michael Nutter. Or maybe a little of both.

I believe Philadelphia is on the rise as well, although crime, decay -- especially of the city's affordable housing stock -- education, taxes etc. are going to be some high hurdles to overcome.

I'll just keep paying my taxes and hoping for the best ...
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Southern California
58 posts, read 343,328 times
Reputation: 68
Philadelphia used to be a city with over 2,000,000 people in the city (1970's)! I am shocked at the population decline but to get to the point the city has no place to go but to get better! The new comcast center defines the New Skyline....Go Philly! Please get better, I might have to move there!!
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Old 01-04-2008, 07:15 AM
 
7 posts, read 42,409 times
Reputation: 11
Default Philly--overall good...but....

We relocated to Philly from the West so my husband could attend Temple Dental school. We lived in Roxborough which is about a 15 minute commute to the city--that is without traffic of course. We absolutly enjoyed our 4 years there! There was so much to do, and see, plus being so close to other large cities --NYC and D.C. We loved the diversity and culture--the atmosphere, and entertainment. Downsides--yes there are several--the metro area is beautiful, but the rest of Philly is a hole. The mayor needs to get in and clean the place up! It is COVERED in trash, and there are so many condemmed homes. We often felt like it was so similar to a third world country. It's horrific that people actually live like this! Second was the customer service...I don't know if it's east coast mentality, and coming from the west where we are quite friendly and layed back, but I had multiple encounters of very bad customer service. Because we had 3 small children while my husband was in school, and we lived off of student loans, we had to apply for medcaid to insure my children. A trip to the welfare office was always a nightmare! I was probably the only caucasian there, and was treated for the most part very bad. They never answer their phones, they never call you back, and you're the last person they want to give any assistance to. I'm sure glad that part of our life is over! The shop-rite in Roxborough was employed by a bunch of angry african americans who never even said hello to you, and felt completely put out that they had to wait on you. Enough said--I am not a racist by any means! I just had some experiences that I care not to remember. As for the crime--whoever said it's not that bad is wrong. Just watch the news--there are at least a few murders every single day. I realize that it's most likely in North Philly, but it does exist and is very bad! Overall, we had a wonderful experience! I have very fond memories, and everytime I return, I feel like it is my home. Other nice areas are Bala Cynwyd, Lafayette Hill, Plymouth Meeting--not too far from the city and they have great schools, and normal people. Lots of families with young children--but tend to be pretty expensive--especially Bala Cynwyd. --Check Ardmore, and Narberth--very nice areas!
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Old 01-04-2008, 07:48 AM
 
8,048 posts, read 18,469,927 times
Reputation: 2738
I agree with you about the customer service. There seems to be a general lack of enthusiasm in CSRs and retail workers within the city limits. Upscale department stores and suburban stores are somewhat better. I'm not sure what part of the west you're from, but IMO it's fairly typical behavior among larger cities in the Boston-Washington corridor.

Trash can be a problem too in some areas. I've never understood the aversion/laziness regarding using public trash cans. But again, this is not so atypical in older East Coast or even Midwest cities. A lot of West Coast cities are relatively new and may have set up their initial infrastructure to better handle that problem.

I was never thrilled with Mayor Street but I did like the program he had set up for a while - I can't remember the name - which tore down condemned and dangerous properties and replaced them with new homes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by westerners View Post
We relocated to Philly from the West so my husband could attend Temple Dental school. We lived in Roxborough which is about a 15 minute commute to the city--that is without traffic of course. We absolutly enjoyed our 4 years there! There was so much to do, and see, plus being so close to other large cities --NYC and D.C. We loved the diversity and culture--the atmosphere, and entertainment. Downsides--yes there are several--the metro area is beautiful, but the rest of Philly is a hole. The mayor needs to get in and clean the place up! It is COVERED in trash, and there are so many condemmed homes. We often felt like it was so similar to a third world country. It's horrific that people actually live like this! Second was the customer service...I don't know if it's east coast mentality, and coming from the west where we are quite friendly and layed back, but I had multiple encounters of very bad customer service. Because we had 3 small children while my husband was in school, and we lived off of student loans, we had to apply for medcaid to insure my children. A trip to the welfare office was always a nightmare! I was probably the only caucasian there, and was treated for the most part very bad. They never answer their phones, they never call you back, and you're the last person they want to give any assistance to. I'm sure glad that part of our life is over! The shop-rite in Roxborough was employed by a bunch of angry african americans who never even said hello to you, and felt completely put out that they had to wait on you. Enough said--I am not a racist by any means! I just had some experiences that I care not to remember. As for the crime--whoever said it's not that bad is wrong. Just watch the news--there are at least a few murders every single day. I realize that it's most likely in North Philly, but it does exist and is very bad! Overall, we had a wonderful experience! I have very fond memories, and everytime I return, I feel like it is my home. Other nice areas are Bala Cynwyd, Lafayette Hill, Plymouth Meeting--not too far from the city and they have great schools, and normal people. Lots of families with young children--but tend to be pretty expensive--especially Bala Cynwyd. --Check Ardmore, and Narberth--very nice areas!
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Old 01-04-2008, 01:02 PM
 
9 posts, read 22,626 times
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I believe Philadelphia is very overated. The school district is absolutely horrible, the housing is worthless unless you can afford a 250,000 900 square foot row home in a "ok" neighborhood... but who would pay that much for a 900 sq ft row anyway? Philadelphians do...the job market is the worst...Planning to invest? Your better off going somewhere else...oh...and if you move to a county be prepared to be hit with property taxes up the ying yang. That's why I'm getting out of here!!!
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:26 PM
 
27 posts, read 30,639 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarah24 View Post
I believe Philadelphia is very overated. The school district is absolutely horrible, the housing is worthless unless you can afford a 250,000 900 square foot row home in a "ok" neighborhood... but who would pay that much for a 900 sq ft row anyway? Philadelphians do...the job market is the worst...Planning to invest? Your better off going somewhere else...oh...and if you move to a county be prepared to be hit with property taxes up the ying yang. That's why I'm getting out of here!!!
In NYC a 900 sqft rowhome"brownstone" can easily go for 1 million. Which of course answers the question as to who is paying the $250,000. I guess it cant be that bad if uber conscious NYers are willing to move here?!
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