Hello, folks - THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER (if you
I've sat for the last hour and read the reviews of Philadelphia. There are many things that are true that have been written and then there are alot of things that are actually incredibly exaggerated or just one person's experience (although, isn't that what all of these "reviews" are?). One thing that I'm noticing with some of the comments is that some of the people who hate the city seem to have lived there their whole life. Guess what, I hated Philly too after I lived there my whole life. I moved away to "awesome" NYC for 13 years. Now, I've moved back to Philly. There's a time in your life where you realize the grass is greener and sometimes, home is where the heart is. Of course, this is subjective b/c I have family and roots in Philly/Philly 'burbs so I'm not looking to find a way to build those roots up. I signed up for this site just so I could give people another perspective in case they are considering moving to Philly/philly area (remember that many who say they are from philly live right outside the city - philly has alot of great areas that are very close to the city limits).
I almost died laughing when I read that one guy (Louis?) write about how homes in philly will cost $110,000+. Ok, so here's where I am different. I really believe if you are middle/lower middle class or poor, Philly is probably not the best place to live. But give me a city on the east coast where living within those financial means results in living in a wonderful area of the city? Do you know that my husband and I collectively made almost $200,000 a year and are considered MIDDLE class in new york city? all those people giving the stupid advice to not move to Philly but to move to NYC are smoking something. There is no way in Philadelphia I would be considered in the Middle to lower-middle class making that money - I'm able to make choices as a member of the upper middle class/upper class. The options (housing, recreation, quality of life) for people who make over $80,000 a year in the Philadelphia area are quite higher than the options for those in NYC. I am not really talking about the single, newly college grad whose parents are paying for their "soho apartment" in NYC. I'm talking about the NYC resident that works their ar$e off every day to make ends meet, whether they make $40,000 a year or $150,000 a year. Your options are not great in NYC for living in a decent place unless you make some SERIOUS adjustments to what you want. You will STILL end up in an area almost similar to what some of these Philly reviewers are talking about if you want a decent apartment/home to live in. Unless, of course, you want to raise your kids in a 1 bedroom shoebox in a 6th floor walkup - then you may be able find something within your price range in an area of the city that is totally safe and desirable with decent transportation options and possible green space close by (don't be fooled - NYC is not filled with green space - Central and Prospect Parks are only 2 parks).
Bottom line is, Philadelphia is what you make of it and I do believe, like many other cities, income and education level MAY dictate some of the quality of life you can find in Philly. I'm so glad many reviewers here are balanced in their opinions - there is so much to celebrate in Philadelphia if people take advantage of those amazing things. The city gets a RIDICULOUSLY bad rap. I really struggle to understand it. Philly is actually one of the few cities left with actual neighborhoods. Try finding real NEIGHBORHOODS in manhattan or even alot of brooklyn at this point. They are disappearing. one reason is b/c NYC is made up of transplants now b/c the locals haven't been able to keep up with cost of living and are forced to leave (unless you are a lucky one to have bought pre-80's or you are in a prized rent-controlled apartment or you live in the crime-ridden areas). This is true. The majority of people that live here in the "nicer" areas now are transplants from other places that come b/c they CAN AFFORD it or their families are helping out.
People in Philly don't leave. Some don't leave b/c they love it, others don't leave b/c they just want to complain and are too scared to go somewhere else. I agree that many Philadelphians can act very ignorant and uncultured. Many of my aunts and uncles are like this. I do love them and understand them b/c they are family and are mostly like this b/c they are undereducated and understimulated. They don't take advantage of what Philadelphia has to offer. But for every ignorant person, there is a cultured person. There are so many people with masters degrees in and around the philly area. the place is packed w/ more colleges and universities than any other city (besides boston). greenspace, museums, history - CULTURE CULTURE CULTURE! Oh and the restaurant scene!
Since moving back to the area I can afford to not only purchase property, I can also afford a babysitter so my husband and I can sometimes go for a drink or (shocker!) check out one of the new, amazing restaurants in and around the philly area. We can also afford groceries and we can afford a gym membership and don't have to make stupid choices that we had to make when we lived in NYC (I had to cancel my YMCA membership b/c even THAT was too expensive per month in NYC - also had to cancel a music class for my kid b/c they charged $40 each 45 minute class and I couldn't justify it - I didn't care that celebrities kids did the class!).
I'm sorry for my rant and maybe others do not understand where I am coming from but I think it's important to know that if you make a decent living in the Philly/burbs area, you can have a quality of life that you just can't have in many other East Coast cities. I don't know if I would choose to raise my kids inside central Philly unless I could afford to live right in Center City/Rittenhouse. I think people forget that there are some excellent places to live on the fringe of Philly (parts of Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill) as well as an incredibly vast amount of suburbs to choose from. Most of the burbs are well connected via SEPTA to the city. If you make a good living, you can purchase a very nice house for well UNDER $400,000. Where can you get a 4 bedroom home with outdoor space in NYC or even in the burbs of NYC for that cost. YOU CAN'T. I had a friend that moved 2 hours outside of the city (commuting into midtown EVERY DAY) so she could afford a home for her family. I could go on and on.
Just remember, with every city there is good and bad. It may seem like Philly is crime and drug-ridden and that no other city is as bad but it's just not true. So many cities are spread out in a different way (Philly isn't very big and it seems like it's everywhere), have dissolved neighborhoods in order to cater to the young and rich (about 80% of the once middle-class neighborhoods of NYC do NOT exist anymore - and even the neighborhoods in PHilly that are attempting to do the same can't fully b/c 6 blocks up the street is a drug-ridden area that bleeds into the hipster area) and haven't had mayors that completely TAKE OVER to create a weird "Starbucks Tourist Utopia" (yeah, I'm talking about YOU Manhattan!) by banning everything in the world that people can do, forgetting about the little people by ensuring business rents can be SO high that not even a small chain has a chance and making sure you know you are middle class if you make $150,000 a year (NYS gave a bit of a tax cut to middle class new yorkers making under $150,000 a year... yes, sad but true).
Don't even get me started about getting to a decent beach in the nasty NYC summers. hamptons? give me a break! coney island or rockaway beaches? NO THANK YOU! Getting out of the city on a Friday night to even get to the Jersey Shore - 3 or 4 hours later you may be there.
Maybe Philly isn't for everyone but based on my needs (financial security, greenspace, affordability, good restaurants, easy access to other places and cities and CULTURE) well, Philly/burbs is right for my needs at this point in my life.
I hope you give our city and the surrounding area a chance. You may find a few things you like. And honestly, if you hate Philly so much and live here now, do what every other person who couldn't afford NYC anymore did - move down south! You can leave, remember that.
Ok, I'm done! Thanks for reading (if anyone is even doing that).