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Old 10-24-2008, 09:18 AM
 
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My husband and I are moving to Philadelphia January 1st and need advice on areas to live. We are young professionals (34 and 35). Both of us are new to the area and feel a bit overwhelmed at choosing a specific area that would suit our needs. My husband will be working at the VA hospital which is on 3900 Woodland Avenue. Ideally we would like to be no more than 30 minutes by train or car for his commute. We have two dogs (60 and 70 pounds) so we need either a 2 bedroom or 3 bedroom condo, apartment or house. We would love to have a backyard or be close to a park, but realize that may be a stretch. An area with a bit of character is preferred and access to restaurants, etc. Have heard recommendations of South Philly, Fishtown, Manayak, but welcome any suggestions as we are starting from scratch.

Thanks so much in advance! - Carrie
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:13 AM
 
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Lansdowne, Drexel Hill, Havertown, Media, Springfield, Delco

Narberth, Wynnewood, Ardmore, Bryn Mawr

Norwood, Prospect Park, Morton, Ridley Park

These are all suburbs, some have bad schools but good proximity and housing prices.

Conshohocken is futher out but has a young vibe and affordable housing.

You should go to septa.org and look at the regional rail lines R3, R5, R2 and see what may work for you.

The city will be super expensive and can be dangerous so I wouldn't really recommend it unless you have money to burn and are street wise. I definitely would not recommend Fishtown unless you've lived in a big city before and Manayunk would grate on you soon after moving in for a myriad of reasons so I would skip it.

In the city, Northern Liberties will be relatively affordable and has a great vibe. If you search this forum you will find info on neighborhoods with dog parks, but you will pay dearly for the size of place you need. Areas like Queen Village and Bella Vista may work. Don't look for just South Philly in general as there are some bad sections.
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:49 AM
 
Location: South Philly
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Where are you coming from? How much do you want to spend?

The VA hospital is in University City. I would look there.

The neighborhood just behind the hospital, along Baltimore Ave. is great. Look between 39th & 48th Streets. You get a lot of space for your money and it's more than possible to find a place with a backyard (small but adequate). Clark Park is right in the middle (google: 'Clark Park Philadelphia'). Lots of dog walking there. There's a trolley on Baltimore Ave. and another on Chester Ave. and they'll both take you to 40th & Woodland - a block from the hospital. The closer to U. Penn you get the more students there are but there are also a lot of faculty/staff in the neighborhood as well as a lot of people who work in the various hospitals over there.

Northern Liberties is great and great for dogs but it's not all that affordable. It's worth a look. Just try to stay close to Front & Spring Garden because that's where the el train station is. It would probably take about 20 minutes to get to the hospital from there. It used to be an edgy/artsy neighborhood and still has some of that vibe but now it's shifting to a more professional demographic and the flood of restaurants and bars is now being followed by the flood of $750k+ condos.

South Philly is mostly houses. Lots of different sizes to choose from. You won't find the yard you're looking for but you'll definitely find the space you want. I would look in the area around Passyunk Square Park. Great dog park at the corner of 12th & Reed - again you can just plug that name into google maps and it'll come up. The subway runs under Broad St. and you can see the stops in google maps. It'll take about 20 minutes to get to the hospital from the Tasker/Morris stop. The neighborhood, not surprisingly, is called Passyunk Square. Around the park it's still mostly old-school italians but there are a lot of young professionals now, a good deal of students with a smattering of vietnamese. If you like to eat and drink this might be the best of the three. You have the trifecta of vietnamese, italian and mexican restaurants and more gastropubs than you can shake a stick at.
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:45 AM
 
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I second the recommendation of University City for all of the reasons stated. Your dogs will love Clark Park!
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Old 10-24-2008, 06:21 PM
 
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Default Many factors to consider

There are several factors that will affect which neighborhood you should choose. One is whether you and your husband plan to have kids. If so, you should probably consider living in the suburbs to avoid Philadelphia's poor school system. If not, you might also want to think about the suburbs to give your dogs room to roam. Of course, one of the biggest factors is how much you want to spend. (You also did not mention where you will be working, but perhaps that is still up in the air?)
That said, I will offer a few suggestions, assuming that you want to be in the city. I agree that the University City neighborhood is a good choice, especially around Clark Park since it is close to the V.A. Hospital; however, you don't want to go more than a couple of blocks west of the park since things go downhill rapidly after that. Another possibility is the Graduate Hospital area, which is the area just across the South Street Bridge. (There is a very nice park at 25th and Delancey that has a dog run area.) As for Northern Liberties, it has become the "hip area" to move in the last several years, but I think it is highly overrated. You pay way too much to live in what is essentially still a dumpy area. I think the same is true, but to a lesser extent, in the Brewerytown/Art Museum area. Actually you might want to consider Collingswood, N.J., which is a very short train ride from downtown, yet it has it's own little downtown area, has a huge city park, is safe, and offers very affordable housing. Of course, if you can afford to pay more, the possibilities are endless.
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Old 10-25-2008, 07:16 AM
 
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Philly Dave,

I respectfully disagree that University City may not be desirable a couple blocks west of Clark Park. Granted, my personal recommendation for those looking for moderate diversity and comfort - east of 50th St. and north of Springfield or Chester Avenues - may only add several more blocks. But it's all a matter of personal opinion and experience.
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Old 10-25-2008, 12:20 PM
 
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Thank you to all for the information thus far. I actually work overseas on short term assignments so the location is not as much of a priority for me. We will have kids in the next few years so perhaps we should look in the suburbs as well. We are moving from a 2000sq ft house with a huge backyard and lots of space. I think we are going to have to scale down our expectations if we want to live right in the city within our price range. Thanks again. I look forward to looking!
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Old 10-25-2008, 01:23 PM
 
Location: South Philly
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I would second the idea that West Philly doesn't go "downhill fast" until one gets to about 50th St.
Also, NoLibs is far from dumpy. It could best be described as a large construction site but I wouldn't confuse that with being dumpy.

My house is 2000 s/f and I live right in the city. If things go well I'll be buying the place next door and (after a lot of work) I'll have 4000 s/f and twice the outdoor space that I do now.

I plan on kids in the next few years as well. I know they won't be starting school for at least 5 years. When they do they'll go to the catholic school 2 blocks from our house or, if we're lucky, they'll go to the charter school 5 blocks away. In either case I have at least 14 years before I have to worry about high school.

If you want to move to the suburbs then by all means, do it. If you want to move to the city you can make it work. I would check it out for yourself. Rent in the city for a year. Get to know the different suburban towns. If you don't like it in the city, at least you've gotten to know the area and you can make a more educated decision about where to buy.
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Old 10-25-2008, 01:46 PM
 
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You should definitely look at University City. You can probably find a cute, historic house with a small backyard, walking distance to Clark Park (which is a popular dog galloping spot), for a double income professionals' salary. Your husband could possibly even walk to work. There is lots of "character" and restaurants in UCity itself, and Center City (Philly's downtown) is very close.

There's also an excellent PreK-8 school in University City called the Penn Sadie Alexander School (it's a public school that receives extra funding/support from the University of Pennsylvania). Housing within its catchment area is more expensive than identical houses outside of the zone, but might be worth it if you're thinking long term.
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Old 10-25-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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Clark Park - Spruce Hill - Philadelphia, PA 19195

The park looks kind of beat up to me (and a few yelpers) but read them all and see what you think. I just think the UC area is too sketchy for my tastes - and lots of yelpers also say it is a sketchy area...but they seem to love Clark Park.
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