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Old 09-14-2018, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,207 posts, read 3,046,307 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus215 View Post
Honestly, if you are only going to be there for a day or two, just stick with Center City (b/w the 2 rivers to the East and West, Vine to the North, South St to the South). That's where most things you would want to so or do are located, and there are many different and unique neighborhoods that you can walk through. There's no reason someone there as a tourist for a couple days would need to leave that area, unless there was something very specific they were going to do (ie. going to Penn or Temple, sporting events, etc). The one exception could be the Italian Market, which is just South of Center City (on 9th St), but that area is completely safe as well. There are no bad areas in Center City, so you don't need to worry about that.
Actually, he didn't say how long he was visiting.

Generally speaking, I agree with your basic statement about where to focus if you're only here a day or two, but the longer your visit, the more I'd encourage you to explore the city beyond the center. And since the OP says he's comfortable using mass transit, I'd like to offer him some destinations he can ride to. (Yeah, he might end up taking a bus across Center City, or even the El, but I suspect that won't happen.)

Of which speaking: One of those destinations is in one of those neighborhoods people usually warn visitors away from. But I've not heard of anyone having problems visiting it when it's open, which is during the day. It's at once an education and a trip into the Wayback Machine:

Wagner Free Institute of Science (1700 W. Montgomery Avenue)
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Old 09-14-2018, 06:33 PM
 
2,685 posts, read 2,008,511 times
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Thanks everyone.

Any subway stops/lines I should definitely avoid? I'll probably do most of my exploring by subway and walking. I also like riding subways far out to see things I normally won't walking around or driving.

If you can give me the "dead end" stops on each line where I should stop and turn around that would be great too.
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:46 PM
 
Location: North Jackson
2,076 posts, read 3,334,428 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriz Brown View Post
Thanks everyone.

Any subway stops/lines I should definitely avoid? I'll probably do most of my exploring by subway and walking. I also like riding subways far out to see things I normally won't walking around or driving.

If you can give me the "dead end" stops on each line where I should stop and turn around that would be great too.
Sorry OP. Everyone in this thread misinterpreted your request, and basically told you to avoid anyplace where black people live. Don't go north, or west, or Southwest, or parts of South. In fact, just avoid Philly and go to Manhatten. Or Boston. #sad
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Old 09-14-2018, 09:20 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,207 posts, read 3,046,307 times
Reputation: 3932
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriz Brown View Post
Thanks everyone.

Any subway stops/lines I should definitely avoid? I'll probably do most of my exploring by subway and walking. I also like riding subways far out to see things I normally won't walking around or driving.

If you can give me the "dead end" stops on each line where I should stop and turn around that would be great too.
We have only two lines within the city itself. A third connects Center City with Southern New Jersey, and there are two light rail transit lines and one light metro that serve suburban communities, emanating from the western terminus of the longer and busier of the two subway-elevated lines.

Both of the subway lines are fine to ride for their entire lengths. The north-south Broad Street Line (orange on maps) has four tracks from Walnut-Locust north to its northern terminus at Fern Rock - one of only two four-track local/express rapid transit lines located outside New York. (The other is in Chicago.) The Market-Frankford Line runs east-west through Center City and West Philadelphia, then heads north up Front Street before turning northeast to head through Kensington on its way through Frankford. The BSL is entirely underground save for its northern terminus (next to its storage yard and maintenance shop), so to see anything, you need to get off of it; the Market-Frankford Line is mostly elevated, and riding it gives you a good overview of a cross-section of (mostly) blue-collar Philly.

I can't think of a single station I'd avoid during the day, although Somerset and Huntingdon on the Frankford leg of the Market-Frankford Line (blue on maps; this is that longer and busier line I spoke of, and it only has two tracks for its entire length) are located near a rather notorious encampment of homeless opioid users along Frankford Avenue under the railroad right-of-way the MFL crosses between these two stations, at Lehigh Avenue. I would avoid walking east from either of these stations. At night, I would not get off at either of these stations, and unless I'm waiting for a bus, I'd also not get off at Arrott Transportation Center in Frankford (which is a major bus transfer point).

60th Street on the Market Street end of the Market-Frankford Line is pretty desolate at night as well. 52nd is the "Main Street" of West Philadelphia, and while the street itself looks like it has seen better days (it has), it doesn't strike me as all that dangerous. I would, however, advise against walking around it by yourself after sunset since you're not familiar with the city.

The same goes for the following stations on the Broad Street Line at night: North Philadelphia, Hunting Park, Wyoming, Logan. Erie and Olney are busy transfer points and not as dangerous as some believe. Allegheny and Erie bracket Temple's medical campus, which is very well lit at night. Susquehanna-Dauphin lies at the north end of the Temple campus, but I don't know why you'd want to get off there at night anyway. Cecil B. Moore, the next stop south, is the main station for the Temple campus.

Since you do want to explore outlying districts, I would recommend a jaunt through Northwest Philly. Get off at Erie, get a cheesesteak at Max's, and board the northbound 23 bus right next to it - it travels up Northwest Philly's spine, Germantown Avenue. You will pass the rebuilt Wayne Junction railroad station, then all the historic houses on Germantown Avenue in Germantown and Mt. Airy (check that website I told you about above), then head into Chestnut Hill, one of the city's toniest neighborhoods.

All of the terminal stations save 69th Street Transportation Center have island platforms, which means you can simply head back the way you came by waiting for the next train in the opposite direction. At 69th Street, you will have to exit the train and pay another fare to return into the city. However, I would recommend walking around the shopping district around the station, as it has a little United Nations of businesses - a Korean supermarket, a Peruvian restaurant, Japanese tchotchke boutiques, and so on.

There are some suburbs you can reach on rapid transit that I think merit a visit. On the Pennsylvania side, these include, in increasing order of liveliness, Bryn Mawr, Wayne, Media, and Ardmore. All of these are directly on one of the light rail/light metro lines save Wayne, which is far from anything save Regional Rail, and Ardmore, which requires you to transfer to a bus at Ardmore Junction on the Norristown High-Speed Line. The Route 101 trolley runs right down the middle of State Street, the Main Street of Media; you won't find anything like this in the suburbs of any other U.S. city. The PATCO Lindenwold Line (red on maps), aka the "Speedline," stops in two New Jersey 'burbs with happening downtowns: Collingswood (really happening) and Haddonfield (a little more subdued and a lot more upscale).

I realize you will have to pick and choose, but I'd rather give you too much information rather than not enough. I'd say that of the outlying neighborhoods, I'd rank the trips East Passyunk / Germantown-Mt. Airy-Chestnut Hill / Upper Darby (69th Street) / Media / Ardmore / Collingswood / anything else. Fishtown you should save for after 5, when the bars and restaurants get going. Germantown you should do during the day, when you have a chance of touring one or more of the historic homes.
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Old 09-14-2018, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,207 posts, read 3,046,307 times
Reputation: 3932
Quote:
Originally Posted by JacksonPanther View Post
Sorry OP. Everyone in this thread misinterpreted your request, and basically told you to avoid anyplace where black people live. Don't go north, or west, or Southwest, or parts of South. In fact, just avoid Philly and go to Manhatten. Or Boston. #sad
I'm the token black guy posting here as well as the biggest train/transit geek. You might have noted my posts took a much different tone.

Repeating something I've said elsewhere, reinforced by five years' residence just off the most troubled intersection in Germantown: We let fear govern our lives and the decisions we make way too much.
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Old 09-14-2018, 10:23 PM
 
2,685 posts, read 2,008,511 times
Reputation: 1856
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
We have only two lines within the city itself. A third connects Center City with Southern New Jersey, and there are two light rail transit lines and one light metro that serve suburban communities, emanating from the western terminus of the longer and busier of the two subway-elevated lines.

Both of the subway lines are fine to ride for their entire lengths. The north-south Broad Street Line (orange on maps) has four tracks from Walnut-Locust north to its northern terminus at Fern Rock - one of only two four-track local/express rapid transit lines located outside New York. (The other is in Chicago.) The Market-Frankford Line runs east-west through Center City and West Philadelphia, then heads north up Front Street before turning northeast to head through Kensington on its way through Frankford. The BSL is entirely underground save for its northern terminus (next to its storage yard and maintenance shop), so to see anything, you need to get off of it; the Market-Frankford Line is mostly elevated, and riding it gives you a good overview of a cross-section of (mostly) blue-collar Philly.

I can't think of a single station I'd avoid during the day, although Somerset and Huntingdon on the Frankford leg of the Market-Frankford Line (blue on maps; this is that longer and busier line I spoke of, and it only has two tracks for its entire length) are located near a rather notorious encampment of homeless opioid users along Frankford Avenue under the railroad right-of-way the MFL crosses between these two stations, at Lehigh Avenue. I would avoid walking east from either of these stations. At night, I would not get off at either of these stations, and unless I'm waiting for a bus, I'd also not get off at Arrott Transportation Center in Frankford (which is a major bus transfer point).

60th Street on the Market Street end of the Market-Frankford Line is pretty desolate at night as well. 52nd is the "Main Street" of West Philadelphia, and while the street itself looks like it has seen better days (it has), it doesn't strike me as all that dangerous. I would, however, advise against walking around it by yourself after sunset since you're not familiar with the city.

The same goes for the following stations on the Broad Street Line at night: North Philadelphia, Hunting Park, Wyoming, Logan. Erie and Olney are busy transfer points and not as dangerous as some believe. Allegheny and Erie bracket Temple's medical campus, which is very well lit at night. Susquehanna-Dauphin lies at the north end of the Temple campus, but I don't know why you'd want to get off there at night anyway. Cecil B. Moore, the next stop south, is the main station for the Temple campus.

Since you do want to explore outlying districts, I would recommend a jaunt through Northwest Philly. Get off at Erie, get a cheesesteak at Max's, and board the northbound 23 bus right next to it - it travels up Northwest Philly's spine, Germantown Avenue. You will pass the rebuilt Wayne Junction railroad station, then all the historic houses on Germantown Avenue in Germantown and Mt. Airy (check that website I told you about above), then head into Chestnut Hill, one of the city's toniest neighborhoods.

All of the terminal stations save 69th Street Transportation Center have island platforms, which means you can simply head back the way you came by waiting for the next train in the opposite direction. At 69th Street, you will have to exit the train and pay another fare to return into the city. However, I would recommend walking around the shopping district around the station, as it has a little United Nations of businesses - a Korean supermarket, a Peruvian restaurant, Japanese tchotchke boutiques, and so on.

There are some suburbs you can reach on rapid transit that I think merit a visit. On the Pennsylvania side, these include, in increasing order of liveliness, Bryn Mawr, Wayne, Media, and Ardmore. All of these are directly on one of the light rail/light metro lines save Wayne, which is far from anything save Regional Rail, and Ardmore, which requires you to transfer to a bus at Ardmore Junction on the Norristown High-Speed Line. The Route 101 trolley runs right down the middle of State Street, the Main Street of Media; you won't find anything like this in the suburbs of any other U.S. city. The PATCO Lindenwold Line (red on maps), aka the "Speedline," stops in two New Jersey 'burbs with happening downtowns: Collingswood (really happening) and Haddonfield (a little more subdued and a lot more upscale).

I realize you will have to pick and choose, but I'd rather give you too much information rather than not enough. I'd say that of the outlying neighborhoods, I'd rank the trips East Passyunk / Germantown-Mt. Airy-Chestnut Hill / Upper Darby (69th Street) / Media / Ardmore / Collingswood / anything else. Fishtown you should save for after 5, when the bars and restaurants get going. Germantown you should do during the day, when you have a chance of touring one or more of the historic homes.
This is amazing. Exactly the type of information I'm looking for.

I'm the kind of tourist who doesn't like to be a tourist. When I visit a city I prefer avoiding the tourist areas and going where people in the city actually live, work, eat, etc. Like I would avoid Geno's for a cheese steak and go somewhere a local tells me about instead. I like to take in the actual city and watch the people. Its why I love public transit.

Good stuff.
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Old 09-15-2018, 12:37 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,207 posts, read 3,046,307 times
Reputation: 3932
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriz Brown View Post
This is amazing. Exactly the type of information I'm looking for.

I'm the kind of tourist who doesn't like to be a tourist. When I visit a city I prefer avoiding the tourist areas and going where people in the city actually live, work, eat, etc. Like I would avoid Geno's for a cheese steak and go somewhere a local tells me about instead. I like to take in the actual city and watch the people. Its why I love public transit.

Good stuff.
You're quite welcome.

I'm also going to put in a plug for two coffee houses in Germantown as places to grab a bite and chill if you choose. Both are in the center of the neighborhood, and one of them's right on the 23.

That one's Uncle Bobbie's Coffee and Books (5445 Germantown Avenue), right on historic Market Square. This place, run by noted African-American intellectual and scholar Marc Lamont Hill, has been a hit since it opened last November; it's got a vibe like your living room, if your living room had a library full of books lining its walls. The chickpea chili is da bomb. If the owner's there should you visit (by no means a sure thing), tell him Sandy Smith sent you. (The Germantown Historical Society is right across Church Lane from this place on Market Square itself.)

The other's the Germantown Espresso Bar, at 35 Maplewood Mall, a small commercial lane that runs for one block between Germantown Avenue and Greene Street just south of Chelten Avenue (the neighborhood's main shopping street). It's owned by a couple of native Germantowners with a social-activist bent, and the upstairs community meeting space also has a living-room-y atmosphere. The sandwiches this place serves are all named for famous Germantowners; the one I've tried so far is the Sun Ra, a grilled-cheese-and-avocado sandwich with sprouts on whole wheat bread that was delicious.
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Old 09-15-2018, 03:09 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,207 posts, read 3,046,307 times
Reputation: 3932
Something else just hit me:

Philadelphia's neighborhoods, like the city itself, have a very patchwork-quilt quality to them: you can find yourself in an area of well-kept homes and tree-lined streets*, then turn a corner and find yourself on a block that more closely resembles Beirut. (I exaggerate not at all; in some city neighborhoods, settlement and redevelopment patterns have produced this result.)

This last week, I had gone up to check out a new duplex created from a former stable on an East Kensington street at the builder/developer's invitation. I got off the El (you will find many, if not most, Philadelphians use this as shorthand for the Market-Frankford Line; you might want to see my Glossary of Philadelphia Transportation Terms on another discussion board for more info about local transportation-speak) at York-Dauphin and walked over to the site.

I realized when I left that it was actually closer to Somerset, so I walked west to the station from there.

Takeaway: Even my general "avoid this" advice has exceptions. Since you are obviously an urban explorer, I trust you have good enough judgment to sense when something is dicey or not.

*Actually, tree-lined streets are more the exception than the rule in the city's outlying neighborhoods: its tree canopy of 20 percent citywide is the lowest of any of the Northeast's big cities.
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Old 09-15-2018, 06:21 AM
 
1,114 posts, read 1,966,735 times
Reputation: 420
Looks like you have some good information in this thread. Given that you are looking to explore other parts of the city, you may find the below safety map to be a good reference. As has been said, there are large areas in North, West, and Southwest Philly that you should avoid, but many areas that are perfectly safe (aside from Center City). I will note that while large portions of North Philly are ghetto, I've never had issues taking the Broad St line through those areas. just dont get off at the wrong stop.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer...C0.181103&z=13
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Old 09-15-2018, 07:39 AM
 
10,265 posts, read 5,931,280 times
Reputation: 3628
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
Actually, he didn't say how long he was visiting.

Generally speaking, I agree with your basic statement about where to focus if you're only here a day or two, but the longer your visit, the more I'd encourage you to explore the city beyond the center. And since the OP says he's comfortable using mass transit, I'd like to offer him some destinations he can ride to. (Yeah, he might end up taking a bus across Center City, or even the El, but I suspect that won't happen.)

Of which speaking: One of those destinations is in one of those neighborhoods people usually warn visitors away from. But I've not heard of anyone having problems visiting it when it's open, which is during the day. It's at once an education and a trip into the Wayback Machine:

Wagner Free Institute of Science (1700 W. Montgomery Avenue)
Maybe I'm delusional but some folks on this board are snowflakes.

How is that my 100 year old aunt, who has lived in the some not so nice parts of W. Philly most of her life, come through it without harm?

And the Wagner Inst is worth the trip. Fascinating place.
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