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Old 03-25-2016, 06:29 AM
 
27 posts, read 146,567 times
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Hi all,

I have been a regular visitor of this site for 6+ months as I am planning to relocate to Philly from Florida this summer and this site has been extremely helpful.

I am currently visiting Philly on a house-hunting trip and fell in love with Mt Airy/Chestnut Hill. I am a single female so safety is one of my top priorities. While the area seems safe, I have noticed a bit of a shift in the neighborhood as you approach the local Walmart. Is this something I should be considered about?

Also, could you please explain if there are safety differences between East Mt Airy and West Mt Airy? I am seriously considering a house in East.

One final question... It's not entirely clear to me how the city wage tax works. I understand you pay the tax if you live and/or work in the city. What about for retirees? The fact that it is a "wage" tax implies to me that it is for employed residents, but this could just be my ignorance.

Thank you all in advance for your feedback!!
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Old 03-25-2016, 07:12 AM
 
Location: East Mt Airy, Philadelphia
1,095 posts, read 1,124,688 times
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Once you cross Stenton Avenue (as you're heading toward Walmart, PA309, Glenside, etc.), you're in Cedarbrook, not East Mt Airy. It's arbitrary, of course - all the 'hoods are still part of Philly. But you're right, the housing stock isn't built to the same standard as East or West Mt Airy (it was developed later than Mt Airy - a contractor working on our house told me about playing as a kid in fields that are now completely covered by row homes). What doesn't help you get oriented is that when you're on Wadsworth Ave crossing Cheltenham Ave there's a sign saying "Welcome to Mt Airy." About 3/4 of a mile mislocated, I'd say.
You can get a visual idea of types of crime at http://spotcrime.com/pa/philadelphia and (harder to use)Moderator cut: link removed, linking to competitor sites is not allowed
Most people would say West Mt Airy is safer than East, in part because the boundaries of East are blurry with respect to Germantown, which definitely has a higher crime rate. I've never compared statistics for the two. My wife and I looked in both areas when we were doing our relocation research. We chose East and couldn't be happier. As for perception of safety: I walk our dog in both East and West, run through both 'hoods and Germantown, and deliver for Meals on Wheels throughout the area - I've never gotten that unpleasant, "oh crap, something's going to happen" vibe anywhere (maybe my "oh crap" antenna is flawed :-). But really, if you're aware of your surroundings, are a bit street smart, and aren't paranoid by nature I'd say most places in West and most places in East (above Upsal St) will be fine. Mention your concerns to your realtor so he/she can use safety as a high-priority filter.

Last edited by Yac; 04-08-2016 at 07:04 AM..
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Old 03-25-2016, 07:47 AM
 
10,273 posts, read 5,934,396 times
Reputation: 3628
Quote:
Originally Posted by unfgrad94 View Post
Hi all,

I have been a regular visitor of this site for 6+ months as I am planning to relocate to Philly from Florida this summer and this site has been extremely helpful.

I am currently visiting Philly on a house-hunting trip and fell in love with Mt Airy/Chestnut Hill. I am a single female so safety is one of my top priorities. While the area seems safe, I have noticed a bit of a shift in the neighborhood as you approach the local Walmart. Is this something I should be considered about?

Also, could you please explain if there are safety differences between East Mt Airy and West Mt Airy? I am seriously considering a house in East.

One final question... It's not entirely clear to me how the city wage tax works. I understand you pay the tax if you live and/or work in the city. What about for retirees? The fact that it is a "wage" tax implies to me that it is for employed residents, but this could just be my ignorance.

Thank you all in advance for your feedback!!
Retiree here. City resident. None of my income comes from wages, so I'm DONE with paying city wage tax. I don't need to pay any PA income tax either. Travel on Septa is free for me. But there is $1 fare on regional rail for seniors.
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Old 03-25-2016, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Midwest
1,283 posts, read 1,881,190 times
Reputation: 970
I live in East Mount Airy. Like Frank said, Cedarbrook starts at Stenton Avenue. I think it's a pretty fine neighborhood with the more modern, NE style twins and rowhomes. I take the bus over to Wadsworth Avenue occasionally - occasionally have to twaddle over to that big box shopping mess just over the city limits.

My section of East Mount Airy (near Mt Airy train station) is really indistinguishable as far as safety is concerned from West Mount Airy or Chestnut Hill.

The reason people say East Mount Airy is less safe is due to the southern part of East Mount Airy - it's probably not the part the part you fell in love with, so you likely don't have much to worry about.
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Old 03-25-2016, 04:41 PM
 
3,463 posts, read 4,723,325 times
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I dont want to hi-jack the OP's thread, but we are considering Mt. Airy too . . . We are looking for older architecture, art/cultural vibe and high walkability and lots of "local" flavor, for want of a better term. It looks to us like Mt Airy would be perfect. My Wife is going in about 3 weeks to do a scouting mission. Anywhere she should look for this "hippy" type feel we are looking for? Any other anecdotes to add for people in our and the OPs situation??
I have been away from Philly for 15 years, Im sure its changed a lot since then. I would appreciate any info locals might be able to impart.




If this is OT, please delete and apologies in advance
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:06 AM
 
34 posts, read 58,658 times
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Its always hard to answer this because people define "safe" differently.

West Mount Airy is very safe. East Mount Airy is a mixed bag. Bullets aren't flying or anything, but I wouldn't walk around alone at night. Personally, I wouldn't live in East Mount Airy or anything further, but I am willing to pay up for safety due to having little kids. When I was in college East Mount Airy would not have been a problem at all. If you do venture further west, Chestnut Hill is one of the safest neighborhoods in the area (though the $ will skyrocket).
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Mount Airy, Philadelphia
149 posts, read 399,700 times
Reputation: 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shikes View Post
Its always hard to answer this because people define "safe" differently.

West Mount Airy is very safe. East Mount Airy is a mixed bag. Bullets aren't flying or anything, but I wouldn't walk around alone at night. Personally, I wouldn't live in East Mount Airy or anything further, but I am willing to pay up for safety due to having little kids. When I was in college East Mount Airy would not have been a problem at all. If you do venture further west, Chestnut Hill is one of the safest neighborhoods in the area (though the $ will skyrocket).
You paint with too large a brush.....A vast majority of East Mt Airy is every bit as safe as West. Frank in Philly's description of EMA is more comprehensive and accurate.
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Old 03-27-2016, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Midwest
1,283 posts, read 1,881,190 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G Goo View Post
You paint with too large a brush.....A vast majority of East Mt Airy is every bit as safe as West. Frank in Philly's description of EMA is more comprehensive and accurate.
I think people must confuse East and South. There's really nothing wrong at all with East Mount Airy - it's absurd that it is so constantly thought poorly of on here. It's indiscernible from West Mt Airy and you're just as close to Germantown Avenue, the trains, Chestnut Hill, etc. as you are on the West side.

I don't really understand how else folks could think areas likes this or this are undesirable.

Germantown Ave is the N/S axis of Germantown, Mt Airy, Chestnut Hill. So maybe those unfamiliar think that East Mt Airy is actually the lower part of Mt Airy, near Johnson or Upsal streets? Whereas it's technically anything north of Germatown Avenue.

Just an idea. I don't get it - and it seems most highly propagated by people only sort of familiar with the area. My area is just as diverse and middle class as anything on the other side of Germantown Area - and it's not like there are people who don't go walk across the avenue, at least as far as I've ever heard.

There are some downsides to Mt Airy, but safety isn't one of them. If anything I feel like I'm losing my street smarts up here.
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Old 03-27-2016, 04:34 PM
 
3,463 posts, read 4,723,325 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post
I don't really understand how else folks could think areas likes this or this are undesirable.


So this is East?
We are coming up in a few weeks. I would definitely like to explore these neighborhoods.
Thank you for posting those coordinates.
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Old 03-27-2016, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Midwest
1,283 posts, read 1,881,190 times
Reputation: 970
Quote:
Originally Posted by thunderkat59 View Post


So this is East?
We are coming up in a few weeks. I would definitely like to explore these neighborhoods.
Thank you for posting those coordinates.

Yep. The houses typically go for a little cheaper in East Mount Airy, if you're looking to buy. It's a very diverse housing stock up here - old row homes, mid century row homes, large free standing houses that are practically, if not actually, mansions.

If you want walkability in Mt Airy your best bit is to be close to Germantown Avenue in the general vicinity of Mt Airy Avenue. It's the main strip in Mt Airy and will also give you easy walking access to both train lines (Chestnut Hill East and West) as well as the 24 hour a day bus route 23 that goes from Chestnut Hill to Center City. I'm fairly happy here without a car anyway. I can't do everything as easily as I could in Center City, but I don't have any desire to go out and get a car for the time being, even though it's an expense I could afford.

I always think that the hippy label is a misnomer - but maybe that's just me. There are a lot of middle class people here, many of whom are socially conscious and friendly - and I think that better defines the atmosphere of the neighborhood.

It's fairly diverse as far as being both black and white, a co-op that has a good bulk selection, easy access to the Wissahickon, an okay variety of eateries, and there are a handful of small theatres/art venues that I don't know much about scattered around Mt Airy and Chestnut Hill.
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