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Old 06-26-2020, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia Pa
983 posts, read 644,140 times
Reputation: 959

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muinteoir View Post
I made no effort to estimate the value of the 10 year abatement program for the "semi-well-off." I have asked for evidence of how it will end or impact development. So far, I have received a study from a commercial real estate firm analyzing the impact on school district revenue.

Your anecdotal examples are just that. I am personally interested in how the abatement impacts the a city as a whole -- for students (which has been my particular focus here), for renters, for long time residents of "revitalizing" neighborhoods -- not just for the "semi-well-off."

I want substantial evidence that, "If you want Philly to start trending backward and become even more difficult for the disadvantaged and poverty-stricken, this [rolling back the tax abatement?] is a good first step to achieve that."

I was speaking in relative terms for the low bit. They are relatively low. Perhaps because of an outdated tax system (re: city wage tax).

If you want to have a constructive discussion, you may not to characterize the ideas with which you are engaging as "stupid," especially if you are responding directly to one of my ideas.
I don't think anyone has any realistic view of how this would impact construction or purchase of higher-end housing outside of educated antidotal feedback (which actually turns out to be relatively accurate in many cases - as long as it's "educated" and based on true accurate feedback from over a certain "n"). If you're looking for hard stats, you're not going to find them with any accuracy at all.

I do a lot of surveys for my work and, as we all probably know, it's very easy to come one's preferred end point based on survey design and methodology. But even with that, I haven't seen anything that supposes to predict the sales impact of higher-end new construction (or higher-end older construction). I suppose you could flat-out guess at a percentage that would have moved to another city, moved to the burbs or stayed where they were if they didn't get that incentive from two decades ago, and extrapolate that moving forward. Again, sketchy at best.

However, this much I know. Like it or not, the world still runs on money. If you hamstring a city on the rise by encouraging a large demographic group that making solidly in the 6 figures, to actively look elsewhere to live, the city will suffer as a whole. On the flip side, if you keep attracting this large demographic, every sector in the city benefits - renters, schools, impoverished.

Sorry for the stupid comment. It really makes no sense to me though and seems unbelievably short-sighted. 60 million is a drop in the bucket compared to what this demographic will spend in taxes (wage and property, retail, entertainment, etc...). Not to mention attracting companies to relocate to the city. Do you really University City would be a nationally-leading gene-therapy research and biopharma area if we didn't attract a whole new group of educated young people and professionals with money? Do you think Fishtown real estate would be selling for 500% more than it was? How about Northern Liberties? Graduate Hospital? Just those taxes alone dwarf 60M. And yes, it's anditotal, but I know dozens of my peers who would not have moved here if they didn't get incentived. I'm not saying the incentive has to be property taxes, but that's in place and proven to attract. Not sure why we'd disband it for a pittance in school funding. Philly has the opportunity, for the first time for almost a century to actually make real progress and lessen poverty, improve schools and make a real impact to the QOL and futures of all residents. Not saying it rides on a tax abatement, but that's definitely one very real factor from my "on the street research."

Edit to add: Look at what Penn did in the 80s/90s (Sandy can probably expound on this). U of Penn offerred administration and faculty a housing subsidy (I forget what it was exactly) for relocating in University City. That had a dramatic impact on the neighborhood and basically transformed it in a decade or so. Real estate incentives do impact location decisions - especially for those with the money to have options.

Last edited by Pennsport; 06-26-2020 at 11:20 AM..
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Old 06-26-2020, 11:39 AM
 
206 posts, read 239,991 times
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A few posters earlier in the thread were speculating about how covid/post-covid realities might affect the perennially complicated dynamic between Philly and the 'burbs. Having lived in the city most of my life, and now living in the suburbs for the first time (since a few months before covid), the discussion resonates for me.

My unscientific view is that while the old dynamic of mutual disdain is not entirely dispelled, both city and suburbs (for all the remaining problems) have gotten much better at thinking regionally (and globally) over the last few decades, and also at thinking in terms of long-term, sustainable growth and development; more cognizant of how city/suburbs complement and benefit each other. Still a long way to go, but it's not quite the zero sum equation it was when I was growing up.

With so much in flux right now it's foolish to make predictions, but my hope is that the entire region ultimately looks at all of this as an opportunity to continue this trend: to build on what we were doing well pre-covid, persevere through however long all of this lasts, and come out the other side stronger, positioned to continue growth, and with an even more unified and dynamic regional outlook.

What's interesting to me about NY'ers (and others) moving to the region, is how often eyes with a different perspective see the upsides here, sometimes more so than locals. Having gotten to travel some when I was younger, and seeing Philly from a fresh perspective when I returned, it doesn't really surprise me that others see the appeal. That's why it's been heartening to watch the city and the region figuring things out over the last few decades. Hoping the trend continues, covid notwithstanding.

Last edited by LiveFrom215; 06-26-2020 at 11:51 AM.. Reason: Minor typos
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Old 06-26-2020, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
9,222 posts, read 4,677,198 times
Reputation: 6338
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennsport View Post
However, this much I know. Like it or not, the world still runs on money. If you hamstring a city on the rise by encouraging a large demographic group that making solidly in the 6 figures, to actively look elsewhere to live, the city will suffer as a whole. On the flip side, if you keep attracting this large demographic, every sector in the city benefits - renters, schools, impoverished.
While I share what I presume is Muinetoir's view that the gap between rich and poor has reached unjust levels and that to fix this, the rich are going to have to make some sacrifices (leveling up the poor, though preferable, isn't going to cut it given how our current winner-take-all economy functions), I also agree with a comment Tom Scannapieco, one of the heavyweights in the ultra-high-end development game here, once said to me:

"In order for the city to continue to advance, we must get people with money to take an interest in its affairs."

And nothing makes them take interest as much as living in the city does. Cities where all the money has fled have a much harder time picking themselves up off the mat.

(And maybe a sort-of confirmation of Tom's views is his daughter Lindsey, who has gone the small-neighborhoood-business-incubator route with her repopulation of the former Bok Vocational-Technical High building. And even here too, money helps further the mission: that rooftop bar all the affluent young folks flock to helps cover the nut on the building and keeps rents reasonable for the small businesses that have set up shop in it.)

Quote:
Edit to add: Look at what Penn did in the 80s/90s (Sandy can probably expound on this). U of Penn offerred administration and faculty a housing subsidy (I forget what it was exactly) for relocating in University City. That had a dramatic impact on the neighborhood and basically transformed it in a decade or so. Real estate incentives do impact location decisions - especially for those with the money to have options.
In addition to two crucial neighborhood amenities — a new supermarket and a new university-assisted public grade school — one of the other linchpins of Penn's revitalization strategy for Spruce Hill and environs was a home loan program. Faculty and staff could obtain loans to cover or assist with the purchase of or improvements to a home in the neighborhood immediately west of campus, originally as far west as 48th Street from Market Street to Woodland Avenue. The loans were, and still are, forgivable if the recipient remains in their residence for seven years. The program has since been extended to cover all of West Philadelphia south of Market Street all the way to Cobbs Creek Park.

Some reporters have referred to the collection of programs and initiatives Penn launched in the 1990s the "West Philadelphia Playbook"; I call them the "Penn Urban Revitalization Playbook." Every university in this area that's located in a challenged or struggling neighborhood or community has run at least one of the plays from the playbook.

Widener in Chester has come closest to running the entire set of plays.
Temple keeps botching the plays it runs, mainly because it seems to expect that its students alone will drive revitalization (they're the last people you want to make the bedrock of a redevelopment strategy. Faculty and staff make better feedstock) and that the opinions of the existing residents don't matter.
La Salle could only afford the strip mall it built on the site of a former Catholic girls' orphanage it bought, but I'm very grateful for that strip mall, which contains my local supermarket. It also tries to make up for its lack of money by letting neighborhood residents use its gym and library for free.
The guy who co-wrote the playbook with Penn President Judith Rodin is now in charge at Drexel, where he's working on a greatly revised and expanded version.

The thing is, Penn's strategy worked. Too well, in a sense: Penn Alexander School is oversubscribed and residents have to win a lottery to get their kids in. (But I understand Penn also offers support and assistance to some other public schools adjacent to Penn Alexander now.)
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Old 06-26-2020, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
1,353 posts, read 644,973 times
Reputation: 1721
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennsport View Post
I don't think anyone has any realistic view of how this would impact construction or purchase of higher-end housing outside of educated antidotal feedback (which actually turns out to be relatively accurate in many cases - as long as it's "educated" and based on true accurate feedback from over a certain "n"). If you're looking for hard stats, you're not going to find them with any accuracy at all.

I do a lot of surveys for my work and, as we all probably know, it's very easy to come one's preferred end point based on survey design and methodology. But even with that, I haven't seen anything that supposes to predict the sales impact of higher-end new construction (or higher-end older construction). I suppose you could flat-out guess at a percentage that would have moved to another city, moved to the burbs or stayed where they were if they didn't get that incentive from two decades ago, and extrapolate that moving forward. Again, sketchy at best.

However, this much I know. Like it or not, the world still runs on money. If you hamstring a city on the rise by encouraging a large demographic group that making solidly in the 6 figures, to actively look elsewhere to live, the city will suffer as a whole. On the flip side, if you keep attracting this large demographic, every sector in the city benefits - renters, schools, impoverished.

Sorry for the stupid comment. It really makes no sense to me though and seems unbelievably short-sighted. 60 million is a drop in the bucket compared to what this demographic will spend in taxes (wage and property, retail, entertainment, etc...). Not to mention attracting companies to relocate to the city. Do you really University City would be a nationally-leading gene-therapy research and biopharma area if we didn't attract a whole new group of educated young people and professionals with money? Do you think Fishtown real estate would be selling for 500% more than it was? How about Northern Liberties? Graduate Hospital? Just those taxes alone dwarf 60M. And yes, it's anditotal, but I know dozens of my peers who would not have moved here if they didn't get incentived. I'm not saying the incentive has to be property taxes, but that's in place and proven to attract. Not sure why we'd disband it for a pittance in school funding. Philly has the opportunity, for the first time for almost a century to actually make real progress and lessen poverty, improve schools and make a real impact to the QOL and futures of all residents. Not saying it rides on a tax abatement, but that's definitely one very real factor from my "on the street research."

Edit to add: Look at what Penn did in the 80s/90s (Sandy can probably expound on this). U of Penn offerred administration and faculty a housing subsidy (I forget what it was exactly) for relocating in University City. That had a dramatic impact on the neighborhood and basically transformed it in a decade or so. Real estate incentives do impact location decisions - especially for those with the money to have options.
Exactly. I think it is important for people to understand that any sort of projection comparing revenue with and without abatements is all based off of pure speculation on how much development would slow down. And again, everyone comes with their own biases and vested interests when making such speculations.

In regards to the "need for" these upper middle class developers and large corporations, here is when we come to what I call the contradictions of late stage capitalism. On the one hand, sure, we "need" these developers in order to keep revitalizing the city. On the other hand, the only way to coax people who already have money, is to give them more incentive; if we don't coax them well enough, someone else will. This is the problem with disparate labor and economic justice movements not just nationally, but globally. We salivate at the thought of bringing in development, corporations and their high-paying jobs. We compete at a national and global stage to keep them, provide the conditions for cheap labor and taxes and then turn to the low wage earner still making the same wage they made over a decade ago and wonder why they are jaded. Because of the nature of capital flight, developers and corporations may bargain with and choose political entities in which to reside. The entity that provides the most favorable conditions, ie, cheap labor and little investment to the entity (ie, taxes) wins out. I get it, you want to play ball.

I hope you can see how many view these conditions unfavorably. The tax abatement is a localized effort to undue just one part of a ginormous problem we have in regards to the relation between those who own the means of production, and those who sell their labor as a commodity (specifically the low wage earner). If left isolated, sure, it will be unsuccessful. If a part of a larger movement, we could have leverage.

I know my analysis is a bit out there for most C-D readers, and frankly I would find more people agreeing with me on reddit. I am a youngish (late 20s) and quite progressive. I think I am one of the few who frequents the Philadelphia Forum who would identify as both. But, I do enjoy engaging with people with different views than mine. It is a lot more interesting than a reddit echo chamber. And, I will spare all of you the accusation of partaking in "groupthink -- I have seen plenty of you disagreeing with one another, and I do not think that of any of you. I learned something from reading all of your posts, and hey, maybe you learned something from me.
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Old 06-26-2020, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia Pa
983 posts, read 644,140 times
Reputation: 959
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muinteoir View Post
Exactly. I think it is important for people to understand that any sort of projection comparing revenue with and without abatements is all based off of pure speculation on how much development would slow down. And again, everyone comes with their own biases and vested interests when making such speculations.

In regards to the "need for" these upper middle class developers and large corporations, here is when we come to what I call the contradictions of late stage capitalism. On the one hand, sure, we "need" these developers in order to keep revitalizing the city. On the other hand, the only way to coax people who already have money, is to give them more incentive; if we don't coax them well enough, someone else will. This is the problem with disparate labor and economic justice movements not just nationally, but globally. We salivate at the thought of bringing in development, corporations and their high-paying jobs. We compete at a national and global stage to keep them, provide the conditions for cheap labor and taxes and then turn to the low wage earner still making the same wage they made over a decade ago and wonder why they are jaded. Because of the nature of capital flight, developers and corporations may bargain with and choose political entities in which to reside. The entity that provides the most favorable conditions, ie, cheap labor and little investment to the entity (ie, taxes) wins out. I get it, you want to play ball.

I hope you can see how many view these conditions unfavorably. The tax abatement is a localized effort to undue just one part of a ginormous problem we have in regards to the relation between those who own the means of production, and those who sell their labor as a commodity (specifically the low wage earner). If left isolated, sure, it will be unsuccessful. If a part of a larger movement, we could have leverage.

I know my analysis is a bit out there for most C-D readers, and frankly I would find more people agreeing with me on reddit. I am a youngish (late 20s) and quite progressive. I think I am one of the few who frequents the Philadelphia Forum who would identify as both. But, I do enjoy engaging with people with different views than mine. It is a lot more interesting than a reddit echo chamber. And, I will spare all of you the accusation of partaking in "groupthink -- I have seen plenty of you disagreeing with one another, and I do not think that of any of you. I learned something from reading all of your posts, and hey, maybe you learned something from me.
I don't disagree in some respects. life isn't fair. I get that you are a revolutionary, but revolutions end and there needs to be sustainability. You write about lots of injustices, but fail to provide any actual solutions. You obviously support those who have been on the wrong side of the wealth divide. I respect that. May I ask though, if we don't bring money into the city, how you expect to actually help those individuals? It seems to me that your ideology will actually position those most vulnerable to be in the worst possible straights.

I guess you want revolution? Again, I'm not opposed to that necessarily. I grew up poor (literally poor), and can relate. However, revolution without a plan or a real support base (and I don't mean 300 hipsters walking down Broad Street), isn't going anywhere. Do you just hope socialism grabs holds because it seems romantic in theory? Spoiler, it isn't and it won't. So, Muinteior, beyond pointing out injustices (which I think most people on this forum realize and hope to counteract), what is your suggestion for change? I'm not being flippant, I'm actually ready to hear and consider you suggestions - as long as they are based in reality. Please share.
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Old 06-26-2020, 11:03 PM
 
10,789 posts, read 6,997,881 times
Reputation: 3942
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennsport View Post

Edit to add: Look at what Penn did in the 80s/90s (Sandy can probably expound on this). U of Penn offerred administration and faculty a housing subsidy (I forget what it was exactly) for relocating in University City. That had a dramatic impact on the neighborhood and basically transformed it in a decade or so. Real estate incentives do impact location decisions - especially for those with the money to have options.
Sandy can absolutely expound on this because he is an exceptional writer. But I can expound on it too since I was Penn staff for a much longer time than he was.

The mortgage program started under the best president, imo, that the University of Pennsylvania has ever had or at least has had in the latter part of the 20th Century: Judith Rodin.

I suppose at the heart of the decisions made about what to do about the sections of West Philadelphia adjacent to Penn was the fact that Rodin was an alum of Penn, she grew up in SW Philadelphia and she went to city public schools. So, again, imo, it was personal for her to change things and to stay long enough to see to it that the seed that was planted for revival actually grew.

And she did something else that really ruffled feathers,especially among a lot of faculty, at the time. She hired John Fry ( current president of Drexel) as her executive VP. He had no credentials in academia so there cries of "Penn is going corporate!"

In any case the result is what Penn's campus and University City is today.
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Old 06-27-2020, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
9,222 posts, read 4,677,198 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyb01 View Post
Sandy can absolutely expound on this because he is an exceptional writer. But I can expound on it too since I was Penn staff for a much longer time than he was.

The mortgage program started under the best president, imo, that the University of Pennsylvania has ever had or at least has had in the latter part of the 20th Century: Judith Rodin.

I suppose at the heart of the decisions made about what to do about the sections of West Philadelphia adjacent to Penn was the fact that Rodin was an alum of Penn, she grew up in SW Philadelphia and she went to city public schools. So, again, imo, it was personal for her to change things and to stay long enough to see to it that the seed that was planted for revival actually grew.

And she did something else that really ruffled feathers,especially among a lot of faculty, at the time. She hired John Fry ( current president of Drexel) as her executive VP. He had no credentials in academia so there cries of "Penn is going corporate!"

In any case the result is what Penn's campus and University City is today.
All of this is as she describes it, and I agree with her assessment of homegirl Judith Rodin, who actually bothered to do things like visit her old West Philly middle school while President. (I documented that visit for the Penn Current and gave Fry his campus-media "exit interview" in the same paper when he went off for his university-president practice run at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.)

I'd say that most of Penn's staff also didn't like John Fry; they too complained that he was making the school too corporate, and they really didn't like his clearing the food trucks from the block bounded by 36th, 37th, Sansom and Walnut streets to make way for the Inn at Penn/new Penn Bookstore/Faculty Club hotel/retail development. (He did the same with the food trucks that lined 33d, 34th and Spruce streets near the Hospital. Those trucks that survived were herded into out-of-the-way "Fresh Air Food Plazas" where they died in peace. Similar moves he has made at Drexel lead me to conclude he just doesn't like food trucks, period. I guess they disturb his sense of urban order.)

BTW, a Drexel student (now alum) who interned at PhillyMag in our Custom Publishing department last summer tells me that the students there don't care much for Fry either. He wrote for The Triangle and threw his share of darts at Fry himself. He had also heard of Fry's predecessor, Constantine Papadakis, and thought he did a great deal to advance the university.

Personally, I think Fry's heart is really in real estate development.
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Old 06-27-2020, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
1,353 posts, read 644,973 times
Reputation: 1721
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennsport View Post
I don't disagree in some respects. life isn't fair. I get that you are a revolutionary, but revolutions end and there needs to be sustainability. You write about lots of injustices, but fail to provide any actual solutions. You obviously support those who have been on the wrong side of the wealth divide. I respect that. May I ask though, if we don't bring money into the city, how you expect to actually help those individuals? It seems to me that your ideology will actually position those most vulnerable to be in the worst possible straights.

I guess you want revolution? Again, I'm not opposed to that necessarily. I grew up poor (literally poor), and can relate. However, revolution without a plan or a real support base (and I don't mean 300 hipsters walking down Broad Street), isn't going anywhere. Do you just hope socialism grabs holds because it seems romantic in theory? Spoiler, it isn't and it won't. So, Muinteior, beyond pointing out injustices (which I think most people on this forum realize and hope to counteract), what is your suggestion for change? I'm not being flippant, I'm actually ready to hear and consider you suggestions - as long as they are based in reality. Please share.
Hey now, when did I call myself a revolutionary? :P I honestly do not think so highly of myself, lol. The solutions I believe in align with much of the Bernie Sanders wing of progressives. I did not expound upon them because we were talking specifically about the tax abatements. This led us down a path sadly too OT for the Philadelphia Forum; similar to if I were to attempt to respond to your bit on how my ideology "will actually position those most vulnerable to be in the worst possible straights."

I am glad you are not trying to be flippant, but I also hope you are not projecting this "300 hipsters walking down Broad Street" category onto me. I have never been close to "cool" enough to be a hipster, nor do I want to be. Frankly, I could make some corny joke about whatever age group to which you belong (40s? 50s? I really don't know), but I will refrain. Honestly, if you are seriously interested in hearing more about ideology, feel free to DM me. If you want to continue an ever-OT conversation on this thread, I decline.

Anyways, you mis-inferred what I was initially saying. I started by asked for concrete evidence surrounding the C-D majority opinion on tax abatements, and I also attempted to place it in the larger context of the progressive movement. The only thing I came close to claiming is that ending or scaling back the abatements could bring in more revenue for schools, and I further conceded that a post-COVID context may not be the best time to pursue such measures.

Your tone can be quite condescending, Pennsport (see comments on hipsters, solutions, socialism, reality, etc.). I think it illuminates your broader disdain for progressive politics and perhaps young progressives themselves. I can relate to the first bit, because I have disdain for conservative and "moderate" politics and their consequences. Yet, I try not to project my disdain for these politics onto the people who hold them. Instead, I think about people in the context of how they came to hold these beliefs. Even if I disagree with them, in most circumstances, it becomes much easier for me to empathize and engage in conversation with them. As long as I know their intentions aren't malicious, I enjoy learning from people who disagree with me. Given your tone, I really wouldn't consider you an enjoyable person with whom to exchange ideas.
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Old 06-28-2020, 02:56 PM
 
Location: New York City
7,561 posts, read 6,716,517 times
Reputation: 4515
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
All of this is as she describes it, and I agree with her assessment of homegirl Judith Rodin, who actually bothered to do things like visit her old West Philly middle school while President. (I documented that visit for the Penn Current and gave Fry his campus-media "exit interview" in the same paper when he went off for his university-president practice run at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.)

I'd say that most of Penn's staff also didn't like John Fry; they too complained that he was making the school too corporate, and they really didn't like his clearing the food trucks from the block bounded by 36th, 37th, Sansom and Walnut streets to make way for the Inn at Penn/new Penn Bookstore/Faculty Club hotel/retail development. (He did the same with the food trucks that lined 33d, 34th and Spruce streets near the Hospital. Those trucks that survived were herded into out-of-the-way "Fresh Air Food Plazas" where they died in peace. Similar moves he has made at Drexel lead me to conclude he just doesn't like food trucks, period. I guess they disturb his sense of urban order.)

BTW, a Drexel student (now alum) who interned at PhillyMag in our Custom Publishing department last summer tells me that the students there don't care much for Fry either. He wrote for The Triangle and threw his share of darts at Fry himself. He had also heard of Fry's predecessor, Constantine Papadakis, and thought he did a great deal to advance the university.

Personally, I think Fry's heart is really in real estate development.
Perhaps better poised as a Philadelphia development leader or potential city council candidate rather than a University president?
I would like a few more mindsets like his on city council, it would help balance the viewpoints and strategies to make Philadelphia "better". Plus he is certainly a very motivated and well connected leader.
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Old 07-05-2020, 02:41 PM
 
Location: The Left Toast
1,300 posts, read 1,659,224 times
Reputation: 958
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
But seriously, check the cost of housing. You might be surprised to find that despite those higher salaries, you will spend more and get less in NYC than you are spending now in Philly.

The Inquirer had an article last summer that had charts breaking down the population flows between New York and Philadelphia (just the cities, not the metros) by New York borough. The flows were net towards Manhattan from Philadelphia and net towards Philadelphia from the other four boroughs, with Staten Island having the smallest difference and Brooklyn the largest.

I quipped to some that the reason for this was that Brooklynites had figured out that they were paying New York prices for the Philadelphia experience and that they could get that for much less by actually moving to Philadelphia.

This has been the hot topic of discussion amongst New Yorker friends on Facebook this week.
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