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Old 03-10-2007, 03:42 PM
 
11 posts, read 68,554 times
Reputation: 13

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My wife and I are looking to relocate from the Orlando area to a worldlier, more progressive city. My wife is from Germany and I have lived in Munich and Washington, DC. We want the following out of our next destination:

- Public transportation (I would go without a car if possible)
- Museums, festivals, music, European-style culture and city life
- Solid schools
- Safe suburbs
- Affordable housing ($200-$250k)
- Walkable downtown
- Intl airport within 1 hour ride/drive
- Zoo
- Sports for the over 30 and untalented crowd
- More progressive people than Central Florida has to offer

I was originally looking at Boston and the DC area, but the real estate prices are outrageous. It seems that the Philly suburbs are much cheaper. Would Philly be the most cost-effective option for meeting our criteria? We really want a lifestyle that is as close to Germany/Europe at the most affordable rate. The East Coast appeals to us because of the history and proximity to other large cities. My wife and I are both German teachers, but my wife can also teach French, Spanish, and Latin. What are the best public school districts to work for?

Thanks in advance!

 
Old 03-10-2007, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Newtown Square, PA
179 posts, read 991,992 times
Reputation: 62
well I've been to germany and france, and have lived in philly all my life. Philly does not make me think of europe at all. It's a great city but not european at all. The only area that makes me think that way is south philly because of the strong italian culture there. But philadelphia school district is not considered that good. Most of the suburbs have good school districts. But most of the suburbs rely on cars not public trans. Public trans is great if you live in the burbs and want to get to philly.
 
Old 03-10-2007, 07:23 PM
 
2,189 posts, read 6,852,431 times
Reputation: 840
Quote:
Originally Posted by William shivers View Post
well I've been to germany and france, and have lived in philly all my life. Philly does not make me think of europe at all. It's a great city but not european at all. The only area that makes me think that way is south philly because of the strong italian culture there. But philadelphia school district is not considered that good. Most of the suburbs have good school districts. But most of the suburbs rely on cars not public trans. Public trans is great if you live in the burbs and want to get to philly.

I think the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is very European visually. It was, in fact, planned after the Champs d' Elyse and is a very quick walk into center city. The Art Musuem and the Rodin Musuem are there along with many other cultural institutions (the zoo is also very close). You are also within walking distance of the train station, so your wife could get a job in a suburban school district and take the train (or if salary isn't an issue, perhaps at a private school in Center City - Friends Select for one is at 17th and the Parkway, so she would walk to work). Oh the airport is about 1/2 hour away.

Last edited by newmarlig; 03-10-2007 at 07:42 PM..
 
Old 03-10-2007, 09:45 PM
 
8,048 posts, read 18,469,927 times
Reputation: 2738
Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneNewton View Post
My wife and I are looking to relocate from the Orlando area to a worldlier, more progressive city. My wife is from Germany and I have lived in Munich and Washington, DC. We want the following out of our next destination:

- Public transportation (I would go without a car if possible)
- Museums, festivals, music, European-style culture and city life
- Solid schools
- Safe suburbs
- Affordable housing ($200-$250k)
- Walkable downtown
- Intl airport within 1 hour ride/drive
- Zoo
- Sports for the over 30 and untalented crowd
- More progressive people than Central Florida has to offer

I was originally looking at Boston and the DC area, but the real estate prices are outrageous. It seems that the Philly suburbs are much cheaper. Would Philly be the most cost-effective option for meeting our criteria? We really want a lifestyle that is as close to Germany/Europe at the most affordable rate. The East Coast appeals to us because of the history and proximity to other large cities. My wife and I are both German teachers, but my wife can also teach French, Spanish, and Latin. What are the best public school districts to work for?

Thanks in advance!
One can make an argument in favor of Boston and DC meeting the majority of your requirements, but since you asked about Philly....

Center City, what we locals call the downtown area, is a walkable two square miles. The SEPTA mass transit system of buses, subways and commuter trains (septa.org) is one of the best in terms of coverage of the metro although some complain about the fares and quality of service. The airport is a 20 minute drive or train ride from Center City.

International heritages are celebrated in festivals here. Communities within the city aren't necessarily integrated, however. One prominent exception would be Mt. Airy towards the NW corner of the city. Virtually every major musical act will visit Philly on their tour. The local arts scene is thriving as well. As newmarling said, most of our museums are located along the Ben Franklin Parkway which may be the most "European" street in the city.

As you may know, Philadelphia is one of the country's oldest cities and many of the oldest homes are influenced by European themes. If you will find the European vibe anywhere, it will be in Center City. In the western suburbs, Bryn Mawr and Haverford may be the next best example, in my opinion.

If you have children, you will face a lot of competition to get them in the few schools in the city with positive reputations. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if the Philadelphia School District has a shortage of language teachers. They do have a magnet school for international affairs that may be worth looking into.

The two local weeklies philadelphiaweekly.com and citypaper.net are good starting points to find casual sports get-togethers and more about the local music and arts scene.

We've got a well-regarded zoo.

I have to admit I'm out of the loop on real estate prices in Philly, but I believe that $200-250K is most likely to get you a condo or rowhome/townhome in the more popular areas.

If you define "progressive" as being a relatively diverse workforce with a not unsignificant gay neighborhood, then Philly may fit that bill.

Hope that little bit helps. Come check out Philly for yourself. It's not utopia but you just might like it.
 
Old 03-11-2007, 06:53 AM
 
11 posts, read 68,554 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone509 View Post
One can make an argument in favor of Boston and DC meeting the majority of your requirements, but since you asked about Philly....

Center City, what we locals call the downtown area, is a walkable two square miles. The SEPTA mass transit system of buses, subways and commuter trains (septa.org) is one of the best in terms of coverage of the metro although some complain about the fares and quality of service. The airport is a 20 minute drive or train ride from Center City.

International heritages are celebrated in festivals here. Communities within the city aren't necessarily integrated, however. One prominent exception would be Mt. Airy towards the NW corner of the city. Virtually every major musical act will visit Philly on their tour. The local arts scene is thriving as well. As newmarling said, most of our museums are located along the Ben Franklin Parkway which may be the most "European" street in the city.

As you may know, Philadelphia is one of the country's oldest cities and many of the oldest homes are influenced by European themes. If you will find the European vibe anywhere, it will be in Center City. In the western suburbs, Bryn Mawr and Haverford may be the next best example, in my opinion.

If you have children, you will face a lot of competition to get them in the few schools in the city with positive reputations. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if the Philadelphia School District has a shortage of language teachers. They do have a magnet school for international affairs that may be worth looking into.

The two local weeklies philadelphiaweekly.com and citypaper.net are good starting points to find casual sports get-togethers and more about the local music and arts scene.

We've got a well-regarded zoo.

I have to admit I'm out of the loop on real estate prices in Philly, but I believe that $200-250K is most likely to get you a condo or rowhome/townhome in the more popular areas.

If you define "progressive" as being a relatively diverse workforce with a not unsignificant gay neighborhood, then Philly may fit that bill.

Hope that little bit helps. Come check out Philly for yourself. It's not utopia but you just might like it.
By European, I don't necessarily mean that everything looks just like Europe, just general idea of how things are. In Central Florida, you never see people just congregate at a park for no reason. There are very few museums and they are expensive. You have to drive far to get to anything and everything is so artificial. There is really nothing to do except shop at chain stores, which isn't a hobby of ours. Even in the smallest cities in Germany, there is a distinct downtown area that feels alive. We miss that.

It is funny that you associate "progressive" with "gay." My wife and I have no specific interest in the gay community, but the way people respond to that issue is often a microcosm of their entire world perspective. In Central Florida, most people are so closed-minded that they wouldn't care if anyone who is not exactly like them fell off the face of the earth. Teachers at the lunch table refer to Iraq as Muslim Land and have no qualms about treating people of other religions, races, or sexual orientations differntly. So yeah, tolerance, open-mindedness, regard for science and logic, fewer political lemmings, etc.

I would have to think that Philly would have to be more progressive than Central Florida.

As far as transportation goes, can you live up to 30 minutes from downtown and still get by with public transportation?

We do have one son and would like to have a second child, but I would imagine they would go to school in the suburbs.

Do you know the name of that magnet school?

Thanks!
 
Old 03-11-2007, 08:10 AM
 
Location: Newtown Square, PA
179 posts, read 991,992 times
Reputation: 62
philly is definately accessable from 30-40 minutes outside by public trans. we do have plenty of museums and i consider most to be relatively inexpensive. old city and south street are filled with little mom and pop stores of all sorts of themes. Philly is definately more progressive than central florida when it comes to religion, race, sexual orientation. 1 of the things I found in europe that you don't find here is the cleanliness of the european cities. We certainly don't take care of our cities the way germans and frenchman do!!!
 
Old 03-11-2007, 08:39 AM
 
11 posts, read 68,554 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by William shivers View Post
philly is definately accessable from 30-40 minutes outside by public trans. we do have plenty of museums and i consider most to be relatively inexpensive. old city and south street are filled with little mom and pop stores of all sorts of themes. Philly is definately more progressive than central florida when it comes to religion, race, sexual orientation. 1 of the things I found in europe that you don't find here is the cleanliness of the european cities. We certainly don't take care of our cities the way germans and frenchman do!!!
Yeah, little shops. Cheap ethnic food. Food that is fast without being mass-produced fast food. I don't understand why we can't clean up after ourselves, but overall it sounds like Philly would have a lot to offer.

The zoo is would only be $89 for a yearly pass for the family. Museum prices seem to be tolerable. The more I look and ask, the more I like. If I am not awarded a teaching assistantship at the University of Maryland, I think I would have to put Philly on the top of a short list at the moment. I spend one day there in 2000 and enjoyed what I saw. I also had some of the best Chinese food I had ever had.

Penn is obviously a prestigious university, but what about Rutgers? My wife and I both would eventually like to get our PhDs in German and both schools offer it in German.
 
Old 03-11-2007, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Villanova Pa.
4,910 posts, read 12,771,485 times
Reputation: 2635
Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneNewton View Post

- Public transportation (I would go without a car if possible)
- Museums, festivals, music, European-style culture and city life
- Solid schools
- Safe suburbs
- Affordable housing ($200-$250k)
- Walkable downtown
- Intl airport within 1 hour ride/drive
- Zoo
- Sports for the over 30 and untalented crowd
- More progressive people than Central Florida has to offer

It seems that the Philly suburbs are much cheaper. Would Philly be the most cost-effective option for meeting our criteria? We really want a lifestyle that is as close to Germany/Europe at the most affordable rate. The East Coast appeals to us because of the history and proximity to other large cities. My wife and I are both German teachers, but my wife can also teach French, Spanish, and Latin. What are the best public school districts to work for?
The town of Media sounds like it might be a good fit for you. Its a small tight knit community with a nice mainstreet downtown, little theater, great schools,nicely designed, very safe.Not germany but its a throwback small US town that has been nicely preserved. Not your typical american sprawl suburb.

Housing in the Philadelphia area compared to NYC ,Bos,Dc is a bargain and you could find a nice little house in the town of Media in your price range. There is a train station in Media that takes you into the city for all the great cultural attractions. (20 minutes- 10 miles) Also there is a beautiful state park with 50 miles of rolling hiking trails, lake, trout stream right outside of Media. Very nice area.
 
Old 03-11-2007, 09:29 AM
 
2,189 posts, read 6,852,431 times
Reputation: 840
Rutgers is the State University of New Jersey. There is a small campus in Camden (where you definitely don't want to live) which is close to center city and easily assessible by public transportation. However, the main campus is in New Brunswick, NJ and closer to New York City.

Another area you might want to consider is West Mt. Airy/Chestnut Hill. It is convenient to public transportation and there is a lot of greenery.

As far as not needing a car, while it's true that it is easy to live in Center City without one, and while it is easy to get to Center City from the suburbs, you would need a car to get anywhere else and do things like shopping, going to a movie, etc.
 
Old 03-11-2007, 09:42 AM
 
11 posts, read 68,554 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmarlig View Post

As far as not needing a car, while it's true that it is easy to live in Center City without one, and while it is easy to get to Center City from the suburbs, you would need a car to get anywhere else and do things like shopping, going to a movie, etc.
That's ok. I would at least want public transportation for the daily grind to work and for cultural stuff on the weekends. I don't have to have it for shopping. We would keep one of our cars no matter what... at least until we see for ourselves what is doable.
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