Reviews & Comments
re: Great potential, but heading the wrong way. -
I find this complaint strange. As I recall, Newark was overdeveloped even back in the '80s. After being away from Delaware since the '90s and recently returning, I find the overdeveloped areas are still overdeveloped and the serene areas still serene. Newark is a college town, which tend to be developed and growing, as do downtown areas. It's where the most people live or work, so, makes sense they would build housing, restaurants and stores to supply the demand. In CA people would complain about the overpopulation of Starbucks. I spoke to a manager there and he informed me that Starbucks does not make the decision to expand, the people do. When a store becomes overwhelmed with customers to the point that customer service declines, they open a nearby chain. The customers get sick of the line at the one store and flock to the new one creating balance. Now, because people in Southern California are so sick of Starbucks over-development that they created, a lot of indie coffee shops are popping up. There were tons of indie coffee shops before Starbucks which most closed down after the initial excitement of Starbucks. Kind of like how Blockbuster killed the mom and pop video store and the then indie Netflix and Blockbuster high prices, killed Blockbuster. People build for demand.
In the '80s most people worked for DuPont, Hercules, and chemical companies. Now it's the banks and pharmaceuticals in Northern DE. On the verge of a recession, everyone was downsizing all over the country. Delaware is below the national average in unemployment and has always had a strong, thriving economy. Just because the industry changed, as things do most places, doesn't mean it's heading in the wrong way.
I would hardly consider Downtown crumbling but more needs a facelift, which they've already started on. Downtown Los Angeles once looked like an apocalyptic zone but now it's one of the coolest places to find a loft apartment, or go to a bar or restaurant. There is still a seedy element but things don't change overnight. Downtown Wilmington has typically been more of the poor part, so, what do you expect? Washington DC used to be the crime capitol and a dump and now it's thriving and hip.
I got a great public education in DE and a great childhood. I would raise kids there. Unless there is some big industry boom, DE can only expand so much. It's not like it's NYC or Philly. I haven't lived there in 25 years and I find where I grew up almost unchanged. There are a few more stores, a few more houses, but nothing major.
Coincidentally, I looked at an 100-yr-old farmhouse on the Newark/Hockessin border, a few weeks ago, and it was a beautiful area. There is some suburb development there, old and new, and there is a small strip mall a few miles away, but there are still plenty of twisty, winding country roads and farms. There are plenty of beautiful places in DE, plenty of which they can't develop anymore. It seems like an easy solution to go there, or, if that's not affordable, move to one of the numerous small, cute towns on the East Coast. Everyone I know from Delaware love it.
Wilmington, DEI Find Their Scores Widely Untrue
First of all, the fact that it lists Wilmington as more expensive than Austin is completely untrue. Austin was voted #21 in most expensive cities to live 3 years ago and I would be willing to bet it's probably at #15 now. Wilmington is cheap and definitely much cheaper than Austin. This survey even lists Wilmington utilities as higher than LA, and Austin's as much lower than LA. Austin utilities are much higher than LA, surprisingly. And in Wilmington you can find a better apartment for $300-500 cheaper. You would also pay probably $100,000-300,000 less for a house, on average, of better quality. Also, Wilmington is beautiful and close to a lot of major cities, where, Austin is close to Dallas and Houston, and why would anyone want to go there, other than Texans?
Austin, TXDon't Believe All the Good Hype About Austin.
I will start off by saying there are good things and bad things about Austin. Things I would stay for and things that really makes me realize that Austin being touted as one of the best cities to live in, and most creative cities, is not true. Austin is probably one of the best cities to live in Texas, I'll give it that, but not the U.S. First of all, Austin is expensive. It is not expensive compared to CA but it is expensive compared to the rest of the U.S. If you are moving here from CA you may marvel at how much cheaper it is...but, within about a month or so you will realize that it is not that much cheaper and does not offer even a fraction of the opportunities that a city like LA, San Fransisco or New York City offer. They are trying to talk it up like it is a new Tech and Entertainment hub...ha, that is a joke. Clearly they've never been to LA, SF or NYC. Most of the big U.S. cities (D.C., Philly, Chicago, Boston, etc.) offer WAY more opportunities if you are in a creative field, than in Austin. There may be a lot of musicians but this is not a creative job market at all. You would be better off in Dallas if you need to live in Texas, but if you don't, why would you want to live in one of the hottest cities? The artist types and hipsters you see around town may make you think this is s creative town full of opportunity, but when you talk to them they all make jewelry or do paintings to hang on coffee shop walls. There aren't business here that support the creative types. There are a few game companies but I heard they overwork and underpay you...and, I really haven't heard of or seen much else. If you are a writer, artist or film type, you are most likely going to have to find a job that is realllly boring and mostly corporate...if you can even find a job. I overhear people saying it took them 2 years to find a job and I've heard of others having miserable luck. Also, you hear Texas people are nice so you think you can trust them...think again. I was beyond shocked that twice within a month 2 business totally screwed me over. The apt. complex I live in threw out our old contract and pretended my roommate didn't sign it and then charged her a daily fee until she signed the new lease. We realized afterwards they were just harassing her so she would hurry up and sign this 60+ page lease where our rent went up $100. What? It is illegal to raise it that much in CA and they have to give you 2 MONTHS written notice of an increase. I have never paid more than a $30 increase ever. Also, if you read the documents you will realize that they can enter your home at any time (and do), and can even break into your home through a window (that is actually in the lease), if they find necessary. Also, I took my car to a place that Yelp gave great reviews. Either they bought those reviews or they got so much business it is now just about getting people in and out and don't care about their actual work. I waited 3 1/2 HOURS to get new brakes and an air filter even though I made an appointment for the morning. A service like that should only take an hour. Now my car squeaks, veers to the right, and I have to push my brakes almost to the floor which means they probably did not machine the rotors, which they charged me for. I also know they didn't put the brakes that are MEANT to go with the car on them, and they didn't list a part number which is also illegal in CA. Basically, they can charge you $40 and put $15 brake pads on, but you won't know because you can't check the part number if they don't include it. It is the worst service I've had on one of my cars in 20 years and they're recommended as the BEST in Austin??? What does that say about this town?
So, expensive, creative jobs maybe make up 1% of actual jobs in Austin, you can't trust people, lots of traffic, the brutal summer lasts 4 or 5 months...and people are not that friendly. They will seem friendly if you move here from CA...but, on a whole, not that much. Friendlier, for sure. People will engage you in conversation and be very nice, but if you go out on the town or take a walk around Zilker you will notice that no one will look you in the eyes. People are very to themselves in Austin. Also, the Farmer's Markets...super tiny. You can get some stuff, which is great but it will take you about 5 minutes to do a loop and you really can't spend more than 15 minutes there. Hardly an outing.
The good things are Zilker park is a great park. Most things are close together so it's easier to get around than in a big city. There are a lot of indie establishments (coffee shops, restaurants, stores) so you don't feel like you're stuck in a strip mall, Book People is a great indie book shop as large as Barnes & Noble, lots of great markets like Whole Foods or Central Market (though expensive). You can also find a lot of live music by really good bands. And there is great barbeque. It is cheaper than a major city but you don't have the jobs or the opportunities to support it and the cost of living and housing is about what LA was in the '90s, so, not that cheap.
Also, if you want to actually raise a family most people move to the suburbs that are 20-30 minutes away, where there are better schools and more affordable housing which means you're back in strip mall, houses that all look the same, suburbia hell.
And, worst of all, lots of bugs. Cockroaches that are 4-5 inches long, wasps that don't die. If one flies into your car and you beat it repeatedly...it will just fly away. No lie.