U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
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 04-03-2009, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Rosslyn (Arlington), VA
79 posts, read 223,482 times
Reputation: 27

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by rainrock View Post
Your wife will be pleasantly surprised by the improvements made in University City.Its come a long way in the past 15 years.
Funny that you mentioned University City because she was just asking me to investigate that area. One of her friends from college lives there now and really loves the area -- I think the Penn Alexander School has a lot to do with that. But for us, schools are not an issue as of now and this may or may not be a long term move. So with that said, I think we're move likely to try the lower merion area and see how we like the neighborhoods there. The ones on my final list to look at are:

Narbeth
Bala Cynwyd
Ardmore
Merion Station
Wynnewood
Haverford
Bryn Mawr

Of these, which is the most upscale?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-03-2009, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Villanova Pa.
4,910 posts, read 12,771,485 times
Reputation: 2635
I cant remember the exact title but a few years ago University City was awarded one of 3 urban renewal certificates by a global urban enterprise. Penn, Drexel, Science Center are doing wonderful things with University City and the surrounding neighborhoods that your wifes friend spoke of are fantastic. Clark Park, Cedar park,Spruce HIll,Powelton Village are amazing historic neighborhoods.May be a bit too close to instability though.

Of your list I would say Ardmore,Narberth,Bala Cynwd have the Least upscale housing stock but Ardmore might have the best contained little downtown

Wynnewood,Merion,Bryn Mawr,Haverford would have the most upscale residential areas and the further NW you go the more upscale those towns are. If money is no object you probably want to look north of Montgomery Avenue in Bryn Mawr,Haverford,Rosemont,Villanova,Gladwyne,Penn Valley. Gladwyne in particular has obscene affluence.

Unfortunately you probably arent going to be wowed by the retail of any of those towns.The main retail strip (Lancaster Avenue) for whatever reason doesnt show the wealth that is contained in the region. Maybe the King of Prussia effect comes into play here but Lower Merion Township needs to get on the ball about improving Lancaster Ave streetscape and retail.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-03-2009, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Rosslyn (Arlington), VA
79 posts, read 223,482 times
Reputation: 27
Are you referring to the area called Suburban Square when you reference the contained downtown of Ardmore? If so, that does look pretty close to what we would really want. It reminds me a lot of what Clarendon looks like here in DC -- which is not huge buildings, but lots of really nice upscale restaurants and retail, and within 3 miles of being on The Mall. That is actually PERFECT for us. The two things we really want are a walkable town center that is green (hopefully some parks in the area) and upscale, but also within 4-5 miles of the Museum and Zoo.

Do Wynnewood, Merion, Bryn Mawr, and Haverford have similar walkable town centers?? Are their restaurants and upscale retail in those towns?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-03-2009, 07:02 PM
 
184 posts, read 691,162 times
Reputation: 84
No, Ardmore is really the only one with a contained downtown that has a lot of "stuff" you might use regularly. Beyond Suburban Square Ardmore also has shops along Rt. 30. The others have shopping too, of course, but it's more scattershot.

Narberth has a small but walkable village center with a train station, post office, French bakery, interesting little stores, a great hardware store, a toy store and a movie theater. It and Ardmore are probaby the most "downscale" in terms of housing stock. But they are nice places to live, and Narberth anyway has a community feel which sets it apart from some of the others.

In so many ways this area is the opposite of the DC suburbs, in that the fanciest suburbs are the ones with the least convenient access to shopping. Gladwyne, for instance. Wayne might be the exception. It has a great little downtown (except that it contains nothing I can afford) but for that you give up easy access to the city.

I've grown to like life here but it's not much like DC. People don't stroll around the sidewalks as much partly because the weather isn't as good as in DC, and partly because driving/parking is so easy and plentiful that the incentive to walk disappears. When I moved here I fretted a lot about which town was better and now I realize it makes next to no difference, because I can drive across all of Lower Merion in about ten minutes.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-03-2009, 07:11 PM
 
184 posts, read 691,162 times
Reputation: 84
Also, in answer to your question about which is most "upscale" -- all except maybe Ardmore and Narberth contain at least a few "estates" which are preposterously upscale, aka ridiculous. Then they have other housing which runs the gamut from perfectly OK to super-nice. So it's hard to make sweeping generalizations. Lower Merion is much more homogenously affluent than almost any DC suburb I can think of. Gladwyne is probably considered most upscale, but I wouldn't want to live there. The most upscale places are the ones where the houses are on massive acreage, so that blots out the possibility of walkability.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-10-2009, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Rosslyn (Arlington), VA
79 posts, read 223,482 times
Reputation: 27
Quick question, I noticed that no one here has mentioned Manayunk as possibility. I'm wondering what the downside of Manayunk might be. Not family friendly? Too many twenty-somethings there?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-10-2009, 10:18 AM
 
8,048 posts, read 18,469,927 times
Reputation: 2738
Quote:
Originally Posted by aristotlenova View Post
Quick question, I noticed that no one here has mentioned Manayunk as possibility. I'm wondering what the downside of Manayunk might be. Not family friendly? Too many twenty-somethings there?

You'll find some long-established families there along with an influx of 20-30somethings. The latter are those who tend to take advantage of the restaurants and other nightlife offerings on Main Street. It's not quite Clarendon - or Adams Morgan, for that matter - but for an evening family outing, the strip mall at with the movie multiplex at the top of Main Street would be your best bet. During the day, one could say it's pretty family-friendly, though.

Another thing to consider is the hilly nature of the neighborhood... as well as the tight on-street parking. That said, other options to consider would be Roxborough or East Falls, north and south of Manayunk, respectively. Rox is even more hilly and maybe slightly more affordable. East Falls has a few more larger mortgages to bring up the average home price. But both are relatively more sedate and family-friendly. I don't know anything about neighborhood schools though except that, anecdotally speaking, Roxborough High is said to be not so good.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-15-2009, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Rosslyn (Arlington), VA
79 posts, read 223,482 times
Reputation: 27
So my wife and I are in Philly for a few days this week tying up short term housing so that we can get to know the area before settling on a longer term solution for where we want to live. Based on being in the city for two days, I am really digging this town. I've never spent a ton of time in Philly before, but I am really loving how quaint and charming of a city this appears to be. Especially all the areas around Rittenhouse and Washington Square that are slightly less congested and have less traffic. We're going to spend some time in Fitler's Square and by the museums tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes.

My immediate question however is that we want to take about 2-3 hours this afternoon to drive thru Bala Cynwyd, Narberth, Ardmore, Haverford and Bryn Mawr to really get a feel for what those 'burbs are like. Can anyone here please suggest a route for us to take that would give us a good feel? My current plan was just to take 76 to City Ave in Bala, then catch Montgomery and take that thru Narberth and Ardmore, and then take Lancaster to meander thru Haverford and Bryn Mawr. All the while popping into side streets here and there to get off the main roads.

Any suggestion you guys have for us would be greatly welcome!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-15-2009, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Villanova Pa.
4,910 posts, read 12,771,485 times
Reputation: 2635
I guess its too late but the scenic drive to the Main Line would be the Ben Franklin Parkway to West River Drive. Left at Montgomery,right at Belmont Mansion Hill Drive(awesome skyline view) right at Belmont Ave, left at Montgomery takes you through all the towns of Lower Merion Township.

If you get some nice weather while you are here and if are around for the weekend you will see how great of a place Center City is. Perfect mix of vibrancy and peacefulness. One of the best kept secrets in the country.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-16-2009, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Rosslyn (Arlington), VA
79 posts, read 223,482 times
Reputation: 27
Sorry rainrock, wish I could've read your post before we left. But all-in-all, a very eye opening few days we spent in the area.

THE GOOD

We loved most of center city, namely all the parts that were not heavily trafficked or major thoroughfare streets. Philly definitely has a certain charm and ambiance that I haven't seen in many places. The quaint townhomes on quiet tree-lined blocks with a few corner groceries and restaurants mixed into the neighborhood -- totally great ambiance. Even when we ventured a bit north of center city (walking along Cherry St. from 16th to 23rd, just a few blocks south of the museums) there was still a great deal to like about the neighborhood ambiance. Shame the weather was so cruddy, I'm sure the city is even lovelier when it's not cold and rainy.

We also really loved Narberth. That "downtown" area is really great and it feels like something out of Norman Rockwell. It's the way suburbs should be master planned rather than the endless sprawl that we're accustomed to seeing. We really liked Ardmore, but not as much as Narberth. If I lived in Narberth, I'd be really glad that I was so close to Ardmore, but not sure I'd want to live there.

THE BAD

We didn't spend a ton of time in Bala and didn't get to see much, so I'm sure this is grossly unfair, but the idea of ugly 70's or 80's architecture apartment high rises is very unappealing. I'm sure Bala has far more to offer, but unfortunately, we didn't get to see it due to time constraints.

Also, Philly still has some work to do in terms of cleaning up its best neighborhoods. In places like Rittenhouse and Fitler's, you should make sure that garbage and crime are both non-issues. And also do more to limit traffic in those areas. It's something other more progressive cities seem to have grasped with the whole broken window theory.

Finally, we did check out University City and some parts of the Penn Alexander Catchment. Gotta say, it's still too sketchy for my taste. We have a friend who lives there whom we visited and I felt a tiny bit uncomfortable even parking my car on the street when we went to visit his house.

CONCLUSION

For the most part, we are really excited about the prospect of moving to Philly. Whereas prior to going up and spending time there, we were very sad about leaving DC (which for me is the best and most livable place I've ever lived). I think in terms of where we'll live, we're still debating Rittenhouse/Fitler's versus Narberth, but we'll have three months in temp housing (in Center City) before we have to make that decision. I think both places have a tremendous amount to offer and we'll just have to weigh and balance. We also didn't get to see Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Wayne, and Jenkintown, which we had on our list, but I'd be surprised if any of those places matches up better for us than Narberth or Center City West.

Thank you guys again for all your help. I'll keep you posted on where we end up and hopefully will continue to participate on this forum.
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
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

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