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djmuaddib t1_j8e6fl7 wrote

TLDR: Mid-thirties couple looking for neighborhood suggestions for 3-br under $425k; adopting in next two years; most familiar with Fishtown, but probably too pricey for us; Richmond is of interest; bonus points for easy access to Schuylkill River Trail (runners), but don't know much about West or Northwest Philly; content with a good pub we can walk to and a decent sq ft.; high threshold on "safety."

My partner (born and raised in Philly) and I are planning on moving to the city in the next 3-6 months to be closer to his family and we'd love to get a little general advice about picking a city neighborhood in our price range. Our budget is about $425k for a 3-br or large 2-br. We'll likely be adopting a baby in the next two years, so a 3-br would be nice, but if we had to move again it wouldn't be the end of the world.

My brother-in-law lived in Fishtown for a long time and that's probably the area we're most familiar with, but obviously it's a bit pricey and so the volume is low in our range. There's much more in the way of options a mile or two over in Richmond, which looks like one of the more promising options for us. But we're also not wedded to that side of town, and would love recommendations for pretty much any neighborhood that's in our price range and has a good pub — personally, I'd love somewhere with easy access to the Schuylkill River Trail (we're runners).

If you search on here for general info about certain neighborhoods that are, like, accessibly priced for us, you read a lot of stuff that seems possibly hyperbolic about how "dangerous" it is and how everyone is going to smash your car windows and crime you. We've lived in Flatbush, Brooklyn the last two years and we've (gay guys) never felt unsafe. I tend to think a lot of perceptions about "safety" in the city are filtered through perceptions about poverty and race — just because you encounter a couple people asking for change on your daily walk to the train or people congregating on a stoop with beers doesn't mean you're going to get crimed. So this is to say we're not especially sensitive to "broken windows," though wouldn't mind it if the neighborhood had a few things for fancy boys like us (a cute antique shop, a nice cocktail bar, a gay karaoke spot, etc.).

Very graciously appreciate general advice and thanks for your patience with an interloper.


jbphilly t1_j8fdoop wrote

A tip for not sounding like a noob: Philly does not have "sides," this isn't Chicago, there isn't a "south side of Philadelphia" or a "west side of town." It's West Philly, South Philly, Northeast Philly, etc.

Also, the blue line is the el, the orange line is the subway, there is no Metro.


decentchinesefood t1_j8eiyhl wrote

Seconding comment that says East Falls/Manayunk.

A lot of my buyers like the space, trees, and park access that this side of the city provides. We have some good local stuff (restaurants, bars) to walk to - and the home prices are great. Mt. Airy is a good choice, too. East Falls specifically is a progressive and inclusive neighborhood.

$425K is going to get you much more in the Northwest than in Fishtown, frankly. Especially if you're interested in a driveway/parking spot or easier parking in general. Close to downtown Manayunk being the exception here.

The access to Kelly Dr./Schuylkill River Trail is undeniably convenient up here. Plus, the train stations run throughout Northwest Philly to get you to Center City in 15 minutes for the upscale dining and drink spots.

I would not recommend Port Richmond if you want to easy access to the SRT. 676 traffic and/or side streets to cross the city won't be fun - and all just to enjoy the trail.

I realized I stated "my buyers", but also "we". Yes..I am a realtor, but I myself bought in East Falls in 2021 after 10 years in Fishtown. We love it for all the reasons listed above. :)


outerspace29 t1_j8ecvov wrote

Have you looked at East Falls or Manayunk? Both of these neighborhoods offer pretty easy access to the river trail, and the stretches of the trail passing through them are very popular with runners and cyclists without being too crowded (compared to the parts closer to Center City). Both would we within your price range, and they're pretty safe neighborhoods. East Falls has a little more of a suburban feel, and has fewer shops/restaurants, while Manayunk has a pretty thriving main street. Manayunk also has a reputation for having a lot of recently graduated college students living/partying there, but that probably varies block by block.

Don't know if you have a car, but parking in both neighborhoods can be a challenge, especially Manayunk. Based on your comments on safety, you may also want to consider that little pocket of a neighborhood where the old Pep Boys headquarters is (it's just southeast of East Falls, along Allegheny Ave). There's some new construction going up, so if you're looking for value you could probably get it there. That said, the neighborhood is in the very early stages of developing, so you'd be looking at 5 or so years minimum before meaningful improvement. Still provides easy access to the river trail, though.


TheBSQ t1_j8jnct8 wrote

I lived in NYC for a long time in many neighborhoods in many Burroughs.

Please remember that Philly‘a crime and homicide rates are much higher than NYC and, and I hope this doesn’t come off the wrong way, but living in Flatbush may not carry as much weight as you think.

That being said…

East Passyunk is popular. People like South Philly. There’s also the Gayborhood. I don’t know how those areaa are for your price point.

There’s a pretty good LGTBQ+ scene in West Philly, esp. around Clark Park.

In the more Fishtown adjacent areas, Port Richmond and Olde Kensington maybe places to consider.

But, even with your high threshold comment, know that if looking over there, as you get further away from Pt Richmond / Fishtown and move closer towards Kensington & Allegheny, you will experience more of the spillover effects of the opioid epidemic. More package thefts, car break-ins, encampments, squatters, dirty needles, calling 911 on someone suffering an overdose. Similarly, the experience on the El gets worse as you go up. I think generally, stay south of Lehigh, or, if north of Lehigh, east of Aramingo.


djmuaddib t1_j8jptyt wrote

I appreciate your saying so — I'm definitely aware that NYC, where say a violent crime rate is concerned, is actually one of the safest cities in the US and that Philly is a different beast. Wasn't trying to diminish gun violence as a problem there.

It's still not something I'm super concerned about, personally, as a factor guiding where I'll live. This is more to say that I don't automatically assume that a working-class neighborhood is "dangerous" because of broken windows, and my chances of getting murdered anywhere outside of Kandahar (gay guy) are pretty low.


Hannah_M_K t1_j8fn11p wrote

I would recommend the Melrose/Girard estates or passyunk areas. Very deep in south Philly and old school but still nice and clean and safe feeling. Lots of families and dogs. We have a couple (M/M) across the street that moved from Asbury park and like it here. Not close to the trail but running at FDR/ the navy yard is a possibility. You would definitely be able to get a house for under 425k. I bought a 3 bed 1 bath rowhome in 2021 in Melrose for 260k. Good luck!