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Old 03-30-2009, 08:59 PM
 
Location: Rosslyn (Arlington), VA
79 posts, read 223,482 times
Reputation: 27

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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillyzoo View Post
Based on some of your criteria I would say Fairmount would be great. Tons of families walking distance to museums and a short trolley ride from the zoo and please touch museum for young children.
I have actually been reading about Fairmont (as well as Society Hill, Chestnut Hill, and Mt. Airy) as the most family friendly spots in Philly. Is Fairmont as safe as like Rittenhouse? For that matter, are Society Hill, Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy as safe as Rittenhouse? I'm not expecting city living to be the same as living in like Villanova, but I would like something where there's no danger of having my car broken into if it's on the street.
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:19 PM
 
Location: Villanova Pa.
4,910 posts, read 12,771,485 times
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Rittenhouse,Soceity Hill,Washington West,Logan Square all have pretty decent buffer areas. Fairmount around the Art Museum is fantastic but its northern border touches some sketchy areas of N Philly,there are problems in Fairmount the further north you go. Fairmount actually serves as a buffer for Rittenhouse and Soceity Hill etc.

Chestnut HIll is a special neighborhood and certainly warrants a visit. West Mount Airy is another gem but doesnt have the quaint mainstreet charm that Chestnut Hill has(Germantown Ave) They are both outstanding in their own way, they dont have near the vibrancy of Rittenhouse or Soceity HIll but they offer a historically suburbanesque setting with stone tudors french mansards, leafy streets and peace and quiet. Chestnut HIll and West Mount Airy are autocentric neighborhoods Rittenhouse, Soceity Hill most certainly are not. If you are dependent on your auto you are better off in the suburbs or Chestnut Hill/Mt Airy imo.

Also you may want to add Merion,Wynnewood and Narberth to your suburban choices as they seem to fit your criteria and are actually closer to the zoo and museums than Chestnut Hill, Mt Airy and most of the other burbs on your list.These towns are just to the wnw of Bala Cynwd only 10-15 minutes to Center City.

Good luck.
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:29 PM
 
Location: Ozone Park,Ny
182 posts, read 703,027 times
Reputation: 107
Alittle off the topic but can someone explain what is this resident tax that every one is talking about.What can of taxes can I expect if I live in the city but work out of state? Thanks
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:55 PM
 
Location: Villanova Pa.
4,910 posts, read 12,771,485 times
Reputation: 2635
Philadelphia imposes a wage tax for both its workers and residents.

If you live in another county but work in Philadelphia your paycheck will be taxed 3.5% to the city of Philadelphia, that is in addition to federal, state, fica taxes etc. This is an additional tax for the privilege of living in Philadlephia or better yet the privilege of supporting a city full of social service misfits.

If you live in the city you pay a 3.93 % tax on your wages even if you dont work in Philadlephia County.

On the flip side property taxes in Philadlephia are extremely low in comparison to the suburbs and housing prices are much cheaper compared to the surrounding counties so those events even out the wage tax somewhat but then you have to get into the deplorable condition of the Philadlephia public schools and when its all said and done middle and upper middle class families usally end up out in the suburbs. That being said Center City is becoming a haven for young people and empty nesters.
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:16 AM
 
Location: DC
3,299 posts, read 10,753,702 times
Reputation: 1346
Mt Airy is one of my favorite areas of the city. You're 15-20 minutes to Center City via Lincoln Drive (similar to the GW Parkway, but narrower). It's very diverse and family-friendly, there's plenty to do, but it's also quieter (definitely a suburban/urban mix). It's also near Chestnut Hill, which is a really cute area, and not far from Manayunk. There are also several train stations nearby that you can use to get downtown. I also agree with any recommendations for Fairmount, Chestnut Hill, and Rittenhouse Square. Luckily for you, rental prices in Philly are a little cheaper than you'd be used to in the DC area.

While many of the suburbs are nice, most don't have nearly the same feel as Rosslyn/Arlington, especially once you get beyond the immediate suburbs (i.e. Elkins Park, Jenkintown, Glenside). Unfortunately, I don't know enough about most of the popular suburbs to be more specific (I lived in the city, near Cheltenham).
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:12 AM
 
73 posts, read 279,459 times
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Comparing Fairmount to Society Hill and Rittenhouse Square is a little Apples and Orangish. If your primary fear is having your car broken into then you should go ahead and exhale because the possibility of that happening is probably equal in all parts of the city- unless you have a garage.

Although Northern Fairmount touches Southern Brewerytown, F-Mount is still pretty well buffered. And, as I said in a previous post, you can walk to several museums and are a short trolley ride to the please touch museum and the zoo. And it is all extremely safe! Fairmount also offers a great deal of restaurants that are good for hanging out with friends and are kid friendly. Not many locations in the city will do all of this for you.

My suggestion, visit F-Mount and see for yourself. Come on a nice day when the playground and field behind Eastern State (on 23rd and Brown St.) are packed with kids and families. If you want to live in the city there are few other areas that offer what you have listed.

As a side, I am obviously an F-Mount homer. I would also suggest looking in Mt. Airy (great area but a little too far from the downtown area for my blood), Queen Village, and Fitler Square. When discussing family living in the city, I don't think you can lose with any of those neighborhoods.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Rosslyn (Arlington), VA
79 posts, read 223,482 times
Reputation: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillyzoo View Post
My suggestion, visit F-Mount and see for yourself. Come on a nice day when the playground and field behind Eastern State (on 23rd and Brown St.) are packed with kids and families. If you want to live in the city there are few other areas that offer what you have listed.

As a side, I am obviously an F-Mount homer. I would also suggest looking in Mt. Airy (great area but a little too far from the downtown area for my blood), Queen Village, and Fitler Square. When discussing family living in the city, I don't think you can lose with any of those neighborhoods.
phillyzoo, I think these are all really good points. My wife actually went to undergrad at Penn, so she's somewhat familiar with the area. But because her experiences with Philly are from 12 years ago, it doesn't really factor in all that has certainly changed. One of her concerns about Fairmont seemed to be that it wasn't the safest area in Philly. Again, it could be a world of difference from 12 years ago, so we'll certainly check it out and get a feel. Does Fairmont have a lot of places with garages or do most people park on the street there? The proximity to everything else seems like a huge selling point. Any idea how long the commute might be from Fairmont to King of Prussia during rush hour?
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:41 AM
 
73 posts, read 279,459 times
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It definitely has changed in the past 12 years. My wife, who grew up here, had a very negative initial reaction when we first discussed moving to this area. Then, she saw how much it had changed and was giddy with the idea. Fairmount has totally been transformed. You will be pleasantly surprised. It's now awash with young professionals and middle class families.

In terms of the commute to KofP, I would guess at least 45 minutes in the morning. F-Mount is very close to 76. You can catch it right in front of the zoo on Girard ave.

There are some garages in the neighborhood but not many. Most people do park on the street. I live on one of the busiest streets (Girard Ave- this happens to be the very northern border of F-Mount) and I park on the street. I've been here four years and no car break ins- yet:-).
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:41 PM
 
1,623 posts, read 5,965,113 times
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The commute and taxes are SO not worth it. Your car can indeed be broken into anywhere in the city and I've read a post or two online from people who had to leave their beloved Fairmount when the kids were getting to middle school age - they just didn't want the hassle and stress of the public school lottery system.

I would pick the walkable burbs I laid out earlier or places like Narbeth, Wynnewood, Bala Cynwyd, Chestnut Hill, or Rittenhouse, Bella Vista over Fairmount but as a lifelong resident I just remember how it once was; I always worry that as a bad neighborhood can become good, it could also go the other way or still probably has proximity to areas that haven't come along far enough yet...
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:01 PM
 
184 posts, read 691,162 times
Reputation: 84
Hey there! I moved from the DC area to the very-close-in Philly suburbs not long ago, and I think I can add a DC-ish perspective here.

It's helpful to know that you guys love Rosslyn. If that's the case, I would go ahead and cross off your list places like Villanova and Wayne. They are DEEP SUBURB. Wayne has a cute town center but it's very upscale, sort of like an ultra-high-end Bethesda but without the liberal politics. It really doesn't sound right for you. I don't think Glenside's right either. I would consider Rittenhouse and Fitler, and I would add to that Bala Cynwyd (particularly the stretch along Rt 1 and Presidential Boulevard, which is mostly high rises), and maybe, maybe Ardmore and Narberth. Ardmore is not urban the way you're used to, but it has the most going downtown of any of the close-in Main Line. It's walkable and more town-like than any of the other towns (I guess very very roughly equivalent to Clarendon, but older and quainter). Suburban Square is there so you can get your shopping fix, and there are other shops along Lancaster Ave. You might also check out Narberth. It's more like a village but very cute and super-family-friendly. Lots of kid activities and a great playground and sense of community. It's a mix of apartments and small houses, mostly.

For what it's worth, I would equate Fairmont more with Logan Circle or some neighborhood like that in DC. It might not be dangerous but it isn't famously safe. It's a little gritty. Rittenhouse/Fitler is probably safer but you will have to visit and see if it's what you're looking for. If you are someone who would prefer Georgetown to Rosslyn if you could afford it, you might like Rittenhouse. If Rosslyn appeals more, I think you'll be happier in the close-in burbs.

Chestnut Hill is sort of like Georgetown without the university, and Mt. Airy is maybe a little like a citified Takoma Park (I'm stretching here). Both are worth a visit.

I looked at living in the city and decided it was grittier than I wanted at this point in my life (I have small kids). I like where I am, very close to the city, and it's so easy to get to the zoo and the Please Touch museum. It's much faster for us to get there (from a burb in Lower Merion) than it is for our friends in Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill. The wage tax wasn't make-or-break for us, but you have to do the math for your family and see if it seems worth it. Time speeds by when you have kids, so if you think you might stay for a few years I would keep schools in ind.

I don't think, FWIW, that the other posters "get" Rosslyn. There's really no equivalent here. For the Philly posters, Rosslyn has skyscrapers and hotels and office towers but it's also pretty quiet at night. When I lived near there, there was hardly any shopping, but you could walk across the Key bridge and be in Georgetown.
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