I originally posted this in the Temple form, but because it looks like I'll be moving to Philly pretty soon, and I know students are going to be looking for housing, I'm going to post it here for you. Also, if anyone is looking for a roommate, I'm going to looking for a place pretty soon (March/April) as I currently work in the northeast suburbs.As well, before anyone jumps on me for not saying this - you can live in Camden. In fact, I've seen plently of current students mention that they recommend living in Camden near the campus because it's where much of your social scene. 330 Cooper is the name of the RU-Graduate housing that was just recently completed.
http://housing.camden.rutgers.edu/330Mi ... page4.html
I can do an overview of Camden as well for incoming students, including where to find housing.
Alright you got me, it's snowing out, I'm bored - So I'm writing a neighborhood guide for the beautiful city of Philadelphia. This probably would be better in a housing thread, and feel free to cross-post it into other area schools, and as always TLS, comments and criticisms and additions are ALWAYS appreciated. Let me say this again - use this guide as a start, but just because a house is in Kensington
doesn't make it a crack-den. These are based off of my own judgements, and the reality MAY BE different.Background:
I grew up in South Jersey, just down Route 38. I work in a suburb north of Philly, and I'm obsessed with the city. It's my place I was to be. I also love apartment hunting and have Zillowed every street of the city. There's a good chance nobody loves Philadelphia more for someone who doesn't actually live in Philadelphia
Still, I'm not the end all resource and have my own bias, so as the kids say come at me bro.
[/b]Introduction to Philadelphia:
It's a magical world, tucked into the southeastern region of Pennsylvania, just bordering the Delaware River to the east and within views of decrepit Camden, NJ. The Schuylkill River runs down the western side of Philly, and that'll be important. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Xg6ZaTk-55k/T ... od_map.png
Here's a good map of the neighborhoods, keep in mind, there are by no means a strong consensus on boundaries, one person's Holmesburg is another person's Mayfair. But it gives you a general idea of the layout. Here's a map with population increases/decreases as well as street names. http://media.philly.com/images/Phila_nabes_2010_a.jpgNumbers and Walnuts, Oh My!
Now, Philadelphia is setup in a grid system. This means that streets TYPICALLY run north/south, east/west and are labelled as such. The streets running North/South are NUMBERED (2nd St., 3rd St., 44th St.). There is no 1st St., it's just called Front Street. And there is no 14th street, it's called BROAD STREET. Now, it's not perfect, for example Chadwick Street runs north/south, tucked in between 16th and 17th street. But the numbers give you a general layout. Streets running east/west have names, and the category changes based on neighborhood. In center city, William Penn wanted the streets named after trees. In South Philly, the streets are former governors. This is less important, but just an interesting tidbit.
Broad St. (N/S) and Market St. (W/E) is the center point of Philadelphia, and also home to City Hall. It's a circle, with many red light cameras. Don't ever run it, the fine is $117 and they won't stop calling for collections.
Addresses are based on location within a city. Each block increases/decreases by 100. So if you live on 900 N. 13th Street - you live 9 blocks NORTH of Market Street. 1800 S. 19th St. is 18 blocks south of Market. Live on 900 Spring Garden? Then you live by the intersection of N. 9th St (since Spring Garden is NORTH of Market) and Spring Garden. It's easy, no it's confusing, but it's simple and you'll get the hang of it. Now isn't Philadelphia dangerous?
Oh boy, so dangerous. It has the 9th highest homicide rate in the United States. 57.2/100,000 reported rapes, 17th highest violent crime, and a bunch of bad guys lurking around every corner. And if what I said just deterred you from Philly, log onto LSAC and put your application for William & Mary in immediately. Philadelphia is a wonderful city, compared to being "the next Brooklyn," but residents already know it as having the best food, an extensive nightlife, and a passionate fan-base. Sure the row-homes all look the same, and maybe landords are generous with "gentrified" and "up-and-coming," but if you're already considering the city you know not every area could actually be trendy.
I've been throughout the world and the City of Brotherly Love draws me back in every time. And FINALLY this is where I'll step in to guide your search.
Revert back to your original maps and open your textbooks to page Craigslist. It's about to get messy. Finding a place to live in Philadelphia is easier than your average big city. This isn't a Manhattan or Brooklyn where scummy landlords and rent control relegate you to a $1800/mo basement closet. Rent prices are reasonable and the pickings are abundant. And if you're not getting what you want, then look elsewhere. Even the most expensive of sections offer places for less than any Manhattan average. The Neighborhoods Each neighborhood is listed with a cost scale [$-$$-$$$] and an average PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION time to Center City
I've got to take a break, I'll come back to finish this list as well reorganize them in alphabetical order.
- Eastwick - $ - 50m - furthest Southwest you can get in Philadelphia, site of contention for a number of years between the city v. residents v. public housing planners v. illegal dumpers. It's a mixed diversity neighborhood, mostly families. Site of a lot of dumping and pollution, some vacant projects. Far away from downtown, and further away from Temple University.
- Marconi Plaza - $ - 18m - All the way South on the mainland. It's largely Italian-American with an emphasis on family and rowhome. Here's where you'll find the Sports Complex (including the restaurant/bar plaza Xfinity Live!). It's also home to the same-name open park with a lot (nothing) to see. Right on the BSL, so it's convenient, but traffic can be a nightmare on game-day and you're nightlife is mostly local-leaning.
- South Philly/Wharton/Pennport - $ - 15m - I'm combining the three, so sue me. Located south of Center City, with Pennsport to the far right, this is the upcoming spot of the South. You have a lot of new opening restaurants and bars around Tasker, Snyder, and Wolf St. Public transportation is plenty, and housing still remains relative cheap. There's a Wal-Mart all the way east, as well as a number of chain stores and restaurants. But make sure to check out the area you're in before renting, South Philly is still a heavier crime area, and older residents resent the new tenants coming in and raising rents. Pennsport tends to be more expensive.
- Gray's Ferry - $ - 30m - Nope. Sorry I just wanted to leave it at that. That'd be mean. Gray's Ferry is Southwest of Southwest Philly, and while experiencing some gentrification especially from neighboring University City, it's still heavily underdeveloped, very dilapidated, and residents are wary of incoming tenants. I don't think there's enough to offer down here to justify the reduced rent. Many sections are still Section 8 or public housing.
- Point Breeze - $ - 30m - Considered by many to be the next "Northern Liberties" this area is still heavily depressed. Newer townhomes and renovations might make this attractive to renters, as will the proximity to the nightlife of Rittenhouse, but streets are hit/miss. Most places that people describe as "upcoming" in Point Breeze are actually more in the Schuylkill neighborhood.
- Schuylkill - $/$$ - 25m - This place is also where it's at. Often overlooked or considered Point Breeze, this up-and-coming neighborhood features a number of new bars, close proximity to University City, and close enough to Rittenhouse without paying Rittenhouse prices. Some streets are "sketchy" but I've personally walked alone late-night with no issues and have met a number of friendly long-time residents. Do a Google Maps search of Restaurants in Schuylkill and you'll see what I mean about what's available.
- Queens Village/Bella Vista - $$/$$$ - 10m - On this map, it's labelled more as Pennsport, but Queen's Village/Bella Vista are two neighborhoods southeast of Center City. The famous South Street corridor runs through Queen's Village, and it's been revitalized and built up since the 1970s. It's also a very wealthy area, with home prices some of the highest in the city. You have easy access to Center City, Society Hill, and the BSL, as well as numerous arts and theater culture. The Italian-Market, a strip of vendors and hawkers made famous in Rocky is located in Bella Vista.
- Society Hill - $$$ - 10m - Runs along the eastern side of Center City and is the very well-to-do neighborhood. Many of the houses and buildings are on the historic registry. A lot of the restaurants and nightlife are geared towards an older wealthier crowd.
- Center City - $$$ - 0m - Stretching the "middle belt" of Philadelphia is Center City - it's the financial downtown hub of the city, with many high-rises, skyscrapers and touristy places to visit. You also have a scattering of good restaurants and nightlife, mostly geared towards out of towners with money to spend, and by midnight, this section can feel empty save for a few transients. Personally I wouldn't live directly in Center City and don't find the extra cost worth it.
- Rittenhouse Square/Gayborhood/Washington Square - $$$ - 5Don't laugh, the Gayborhood is a real place with real designation and real street signs to indicate where it is. THIS is the happening spot for 20s/30 somethings looking to appear as if they have more money then they do. Long standing as the central hub for restaurants, nightlife, and culture, this area predominately just southwest of mid-town is the most recognizable. Most of Philly's big name clubs, eateries, and attractions are within this neighborhood, and as such, prices are expensive. Parking is at a premium, but shopping and culture are abundant. If you can afford a place here, you'll be the envy and gathering spot of all your weekends, unless your friends prefer the trendy NoLib
- Northern Liberties - $$ - 10m - Just between Spring Garden Street and Girard, east of N. 6th Street lies a recently minted gem of Philadelphia - Northern Liberties. Standing as the hub for the artsy and hip for almost two decades now, this slice of Philly hosts a number of new bars, smaller clubs, and restaurants. Many congregate at the Piazza, but you'll find some gastropub complete with soccer (ahem, football) fans cheering on their beloved Liverpool Lolligaggers. Prices for housing can be expensive and difficult to find something more upscale, and this area is competitive to get into. It's also trending towards a wealthier/family crowd, with even a mix of older empty-nesters as the hip-n-cool move more north towards Fishtown. Be careful of the western side towards Poplar, it starts getting dicey that way down Girard.
- Fishtown - $$ - 15m -[/i] Talk about Philly's trending and this place is sure to pop-up. It's just northeast of Northern Liberties and bounded by Frankford Ave. and Lehigh Ave. Everyone is meeting a date with a face tattoo at Memphis Taproom or is meeting a date with face tattoos, talking about how Johnny Brenda's used to be cool, or getting a bite to eat at the zillionth pizza place. Housing is competitive, so you have to be quick, and ready to deal with high prices and haggling. [u]Just because the posting says Fishtown, doesn't mean it is Fishtown. Kensington and Port Richmond have a lot of spill-over.
- Port Richmond - $/$$ - 25m -[/i] North of Fishtown lies this Polish/Russian enclave many flock to for their holiday food, but won't stay to reside in. Is Port Richmond bad? No! Just the opposite, it probably sits with connecting Bridesburg, as the most "inclusive" neighborhoods of Philadelphia. It still largely remains working-class, dotted with local bars and a few chain spots popping up. Housing prices are cheap, and you're right on the trolley line. It still also remains low-crime, but be warned many locals are still adverse to diversity. You'll find me taking a break from work to go to Czerws or Swiacki's for kabasi or tonight's perogis. But it is further removed from the city, and a further commute from the major schools.
- Kensington - $/$$ - 15m - Drugs Inc. just completed an episode on Kensington's crack epidemic. The neighborhood is littered with vacant properties and the needles abused in them. The Kensington Strangler was the infamous killer of 2010, and it's been labeled the #1 spot for recreational drug use. Why should you live here? Because it's cheap, under renovation, along the MFL and next to some of Philadelphia's best nightlife spots. Those priced out of NoLib and Fishtown's trendier areas, seek refuge along the left side of Front St. where nice properties can be had for less, and even closer to Front Street and the Piazza's offerings. Don't count this spot out!
- Manayunk - $$ - 45m - MNYK as the do-gooders call it has been under a major revitalization for the last twenty years. I say that really meaning, this place is wonderful for a college student or young professional looking to be a gem of an area, complete with some of Philly's best kept restaurants, shops, and nightlife. You'll find me here on any given Saturday. Housing still remains affordable, and the town is easily walkable. It makes a very attractive offer, if you're willing to stomach the commute. Manayaunk is roughly 20 minutes driving from Center City, but traffic on i-76 can leave you stranded for over an hour. And it's not always just rush hour. I've been stuck on Sunday afternoons trying to get home. There is a suburban train line that runs from Center City, the cost is $5 (or get a pass) and takes roughly 45 mins. SEPTA is infamous for not always being on time, but the train line is clean and efficient but does not run all night. Cabs are relatively cheap, I'll typically split it with friends. If you're choosing to live here, your focal living point is Manayunk, as it is a ways away from downtown and schools. Parking can also be at a premium, but I've arrived 9pm on Grape Street and found a spot.
- University City - $$ - 10m - Home of the renowned Drexel University and the toxic dump, Penn University City is a weird and wild student-enclave inside the larger West Phiadelphia. Housing can be competitive, and is now more frequently dominated by town homes and high-rises. It's also safe, with heavy patrol by both campus police. There are numerous budget-friendly restaurants, food vendors, and student bars. It's also got its own SEPTA stop, making it easily accessible to Center City. Many of the corners feature art installations and beautiful architecture. You could go your entire time here, and never need to travel to another part of the city. Along Walnut sits a number of stores, including Gap. You also have access to a number of cool parks (Hill Square, Levey Park, Penn Park), and as long as you can mesh with the college-vibe it's a really enjoyable place to live.
- Fairmount/Brewery Town - $$/$$$ - 10m Bordering the Schuylkill to the west, this section is the less-appreciated NoLib. Here you'll find the Art Museum and a host of high-rises and new town-homes. All along Callowhill, Hamilton St., and Spring Garden sit a bevy of recently-opened restaurants and bars that are making Philly's top lists. Housing can be competitive, especially within Fairmount, and many places are labeled luxury and cost ultra-luxury. Along Brewerytown, North of the Art Museum, housing and safety become more dicey. The area is considered being "re-gentrified." You can find a great deal on a great street, but be wary of the northern boundary of Brewerytown. It leaves a lot to be desired, and there is less to do.
Any changes or more information you may want, don't hesitate to ask.