U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
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 11-27-2019, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Fairmount, Philadelphia
5 posts, read 628 times
Reputation: 10

Advertisements

I'm looking to move from Fairmount, Philadelphia to the LMSD and am in the early stages of exploring neighborhoods. Budget ~$600k, looking for rancher/split in sidewalk neighborhood friendly for little kids, and maybe even walkable to something. Will be taking train to CC Philly for work. Reform Jewish family with grad-level degrees.

In a first run with our Realtor, we liked Narberth's walkability to downtown and the train station, and Belmont Hill's walkability to the town pool, library and elementary school, and both seem to have the type of houses we like in our budget.

I've read in some older posts that these are "armpit" or "ghetto" areas of the Main Line, and would like to know more, as there are plenty of houses selling for >$.5M Is this just in comparison to the multi-million-dollar neighborhoods like Gladwynne? Are these historically middle-class neighborhoods a little more upper-middle at this point? Is there a weird dynamic between kids from these neighborhoods and those from wealthier ones at school? Are there secular Jewish populations of any significance in either? How do Merion El and Belmont Hills El compare with each other or the other grade schools in LMSD? Finally, any other neighborhoods we should look more closely at given our wish list? PV, Wynnewood and Merion all seem a bit more suburban, but maybe they have a different demographic we should be aware of?

Lot of questions, so thanks for any feedback!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-27-2019, 03:38 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,103 posts, read 2,978,565 times
Reputation: 3870
Quote:
Originally Posted by jyg5001 View Post
I'm looking to move from Fairmount, Philadelphia to the LMSD and am in the early stages of exploring neighborhoods. Budget ~$600k, looking for rancher/split in sidewalk neighborhood friendly for little kids, and maybe even walkable to something. Will be taking train to CC Philly for work. Reform Jewish family with grad-level degrees.

In a first run with our Realtor, we liked Narberth's walkability to downtown and the train station, and Belmont Hill's walkability to the town pool, library and elementary school, and both seem to have the type of houses we like in our budget.

I've read in some older posts that these are "armpit" or "ghetto" areas of the Main Line, and would like to know more, as there are plenty of houses selling for >$.5M Is this just in comparison to the multi-million-dollar neighborhoods like Gladwynne? Are these historically middle-class neighborhoods a little more upper-middle at this point? Is there a weird dynamic between kids from these neighborhoods and those from wealthier ones at school? Are there secular Jewish populations of any significance in either? How do Merion El and Belmont Hills El compare with each other or the other grade schools in LMSD? Finally, any other neighborhoods we should look more closely at given our wish list? PV, Wynnewood and Merion all seem a bit more suburban, but maybe they have a different demographic we should be aware of?

Lot of questions, so thanks for any feedback!
Define "ghetto."

No Main Line neighborhood I'm familiar with could be described using that term. Whoever uses it has a severe prejudice against the more middle-middle-class neighborhoods of twins and rowhouses found south of Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore and Bryn Mawr, I suspect. I would guess that "ghetto" is relative here, but whoever uses that term to describe a Main Line neighborhood is an incredible snob. (Or possibly a bigot: the Ardmore neighborhood in question houses the oldest and largest African-American community on the Main Line.)

Or maybe it's Belmont Hills, which had been called West Manayunk until the early 1950s. Local residents petitioned for a place name change to avoid any association with that seedy neighborhood on the other riverbank in Philadelphia. I'll bet some may regret that move now.

I don't know the exact percentage of Jewish residents there, but I know there are at least two synagogues and a large Jewish day school in Wynnewood.

The Lower Merion School District takes great pride in its tolerance and (relative) diversity; I haven't heard of any class or ethnic tensions of the sort you describe in its schools. And AFAIK, there's not a bad school - or even a "less desirable" one - in the district. (Harriton High, the district's second high school, did have a little bit of a stigma attached to it when it opened in the 1990s, but the district managed to remove that.)

Here's what I had to way about Narberth in Phillymag, and here are my two separate takes on Ardmore (online version, print edition version).

Do note the median house prices in the two communities.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-13-2020, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Fairmount, Philadelphia
5 posts, read 628 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks so much for this thoughtful reply. I'm not sure what the definition of "ghetto" was, but I would agree after a few months of looking at real estate that the OP was a snob or bigot of some sort. Amazingly, $600s don't go very far in this area, so we'll see what we find! Thanks again.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-13-2020, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,225 posts, read 711,214 times
Reputation: 1307
When people use that term it is relative to how affluent many of the zip codes on the Main Line are, and places like Narberth and Ardmore are more middle/upper middle in terms of their income bracket than some of the other extremely affluent areas.

It in no way is meant to describe crime or anything of the sort. I do not use that term, but I have heard others use it for better or worst in a jokingly matter.

LMSD is top rated, and you will not go wrong with any of the schools within the district.

There is a significant Jewish population in the communities as well.

I would also as an alternative check out Wyndmoor, PA. It is located on the border with Chestnut Hill in Montgomery County. Therefore you have the wonderful walkable community of Chestnut Hill at your disposal, while living in Springfield Twp. (Montgomery County) which has a solid school district and a sizable Jewish community.

You will find your 600k definitely goes a bit further here. Also make the distinction Wyndmoor is in Springfield Twp. Montgomery County. There is a Springfield Twp. in Delaware County as well, that is a different school district. The only negative here is that inventory is low.

Good luck!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-14-2020, 04:16 PM
 
62 posts, read 13,833 times
Reputation: 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by rowhomecity View Post
When people use that term it is relative to how affluent many of the zip codes on the Main Line are, and places like Narberth and Ardmore are more middle/upper middle in terms of their income bracket than some of the other extremely affluent areas.

It in no way is meant to describe crime or anything of the sort. I do not use that term, but I have heard others use it for better or worst in a jokingly matter.

LMSD is top rated, and you will not go wrong with any of the schools within the district.

There is a significant Jewish population in the communities as well.

I would also as an alternative check out Wyndmoor, PA. It is located on the border with Chestnut Hill in Montgomery County. Therefore you have the wonderful walkable community of Chestnut Hill at your disposal, while living in Springfield Twp. (Montgomery County) which has a solid school district and a sizable Jewish community.

You will find your 600k definitely goes a bit further here. Also make the distinction Wyndmoor is in Springfield Twp. Montgomery County. There is a Springfield Twp. in Delaware County as well, that is a different school district. The only negative here is that inventory is low.

Good luck!
I keep an eye on Wyndmoor and the inventory is what you said. Outside a handful of properties between 1-2 million there's virtually none that ever seems to come on the market. I'm guessing it's one of those areas where you need to be patient and willing to wait and move quickly when the right house comes onto the market.

As much as I like Wyndmoor, I must admit the commute to Center City from the Main Line is quicker. Straight shot on regional rail and greater frequency of trains. I don't know if OP will ever come back but there's a large Jewish community in Bala that leans Conservative/Orthodox, and plenty of Reform Jews all over the Main Line.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-14-2020, 07:45 PM
 
142 posts, read 81,316 times
Reputation: 390
Quote:
Originally Posted by jyg5001 View Post
Thanks so much for this thoughtful reply. I'm not sure what the definition of "ghetto" was, but I would agree after a few months of looking at real estate that the OP was a snob or bigot of some sort. Amazingly, $600s don't go very far in this area, so we'll see what we find! Thanks again.
It's too bad that racist inferences are usually drawn from posts that dare to use the term "ghetto" or "bad areas" or other descriptors. Let's face it; it's not bigotry. If a town's residents are white, yellow, red, black brown, or integrated with any number of races and it's an area known to be unsafe or trashy (literally), it might be colloquially referred to as a "ghetto." The chance that these types of neighborhoods usually reflect a lower-income populace is no surprise. I doubt people of any color or income really want to live in crime-ridden, unkempt neighborhoods even if their own race predominates.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-14-2020, 11:55 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,103 posts, read 2,978,565 times
Reputation: 3870
Quote:
Originally Posted by StayingAfterSunday View Post
It's too bad that racist inferences are usually drawn from posts that dare to use the term "ghetto" or "bad areas" or other descriptors. Let's face it; it's not bigotry. If a town's residents are white, yellow, red, black brown, or integrated with any number of races and it's an area known to be unsafe or trashy (literally), it might be colloquially referred to as a "ghetto." The chance that these types of neighborhoods usually reflect a lower-income populace is no surprise. I doubt people of any color or income really want to live in crime-ridden, unkempt neighborhoods even if their own race predominates.
And that's the rub.

Neither Narberth nor South Ardmore nor southern Bryn Mawr are "unsafe," "trashy," "crime-ridden" or "unkempt."

Given that, it is at the very least snobbery, based on - if not income, then at least housing stock.

Did you read my pieces on Narberth and Ardmore upthread? In the case of the former, how anyone would call a community where you get off the commuter train and are immediately face-to-face with a fancy cheese shop "ghetto" is beyond me.

The northwest Philadelphia neighborhood I live in is more accurately described in those terms. It still has its positive attributes too, and lots of people, including most of those living in it, love it. It has a great deal of socioeconomic variance for a low-income neighborhood too: find me another neighborhood where the neighborhood-wide MHI is in the upper $20k range and five percent of the residents make more than $125k per year.

Sounds to me like you don't know the Main Line all that well.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-15-2020, 01:58 AM
 
142 posts, read 81,316 times
Reputation: 390
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
And that's the rub.

Neither Narberth nor South Ardmore nor southern Bryn Mawr are "unsafe," "trashy," "crime-ridden" or "unkempt."

Given that, it is at the very least snobbery, based on - if not income, then at least housing stock.

Did you read my pieces on Narberth and Ardmore upthread? In the case of the former, how anyone would call a community where you get off the commuter train and are immediately face-to-face with a fancy cheese shop "ghetto" is beyond me.

The northwest Philadelphia neighborhood I live in is more accurately described in those terms. It still has its positive attributes too, and lots of people, including most of those living in it, love it. It has a great deal of socioeconomic variance for a low-income neighborhood too: find me another neighborhood where the neighborhood-wide MHI is in the upper $20k range and five percent of the residents make more than $125k per year.

Sounds to me like you don't know the Main Line all that well.
No, I do know the Main Line. I have friends and former coworkers who live in Lower Merion, Villanova and Bryn Mawr, to name a few. However, the OP obviously is not familiar with the area, leading him or her to ask the "ghetto" question. The context of my comment was related to that fact, not to the demographics and such of the Main Line.

Last edited by StayingAfterSunday; 02-15-2020 at 02:07 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-15-2020, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,103 posts, read 2,978,565 times
Reputation: 3870
Quote:
Originally Posted by StayingAfterSunday View Post
No, I do know the Main Line. I have friends and former coworkers who live in Lower Merion, Villanova and Bryn Mawr, to name a few. However, the OP obviously is not familiar with the area, leading him or her to ask the "ghetto" question. The context of my comment was related to that fact, not to the demographics and such of the Main Line.
I retract my statement regarding you, but:

The OP said that was what others had said about these neighborhoods, so those folks have a problem.

Your statement about what characteristics get a neighborhood labeled "ghetto" is accurate. So, I think, is my characterization of who - or what sort of person - would use that word to describe the neighborhoods in question. Race is actually peripheral, as it applies only to South Ardmore.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Today, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Fairmount, Philadelphia
5 posts, read 628 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks all for your replies. Apologies for my late initial reply - I thought I had subscribed to my own post but apparently wasn't getting alerts. Yes, I do want to reiterate that the unsavory perceptions of these neighborhoods were not my own, I was simply asking for some perspective on why someone else may have had them.

I made a separate post, but since this one is active with knowledgeable contributors, I thought I'd follow up here in case anyone was familiar with Garrett Hill in Bryn Mawr. I discovered this neighborhood in my housing search, but it seems like a bit of an odd pocket in an otherwise suburban, wealthy area. There are row homes in the 200's leading down the road to detached homes in the 500-700's. Is there a strong community here? Is there a divide between classes or renters/owners within the neighborhood, or with surrounding ones? I'm looking for a place where I can be friendly with my neighbors and their families, and be part of a community both in town and my kids' school. I'm aware of many Facebook groups for Lower Merion residents and families. Are there community resources like that for Bryn Mawr / Radnor? Thanks again for any information and insights.
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

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
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