Cedar Park real estate
I'm looking to buy a house in West Philly. I like Cedar Park but I can only really afford to buy in the blocks below Baltimore...like the 5000 block of Willows, Pentridge and Florence. I haven't spent much time in that area in about 5-6 years but I know that the Apple Storage apartments are a go (...right?) and now that Mariposa is close there are more grocery store options. Anyone have any opinions on these blocks or advice? I'm a youngish single white female and my parents are from the boondocks and think this area is really dangerous despite the fact that I've shown them Dock Street, Mariposa, Satellite...
I don't know about housing stock down that way, but you might want to check out Walnut Hill as well (45th to 52nd, Spruce to Market). It's not as "hot" as Cedar Park but we're a stone's throw from everything you mentioned, the houses are generally cheaper, and there are some awesome blocks with cool architecture and nice neighbors. I got my place for under $200k and it's a big 5BR place. You could find a smaller house for less. I regularly see nice looking homes for between $150-200k around here. There's also some great stuff happening north of Baltimore with Local 44, Honest Tom's, Manakeesh, etc. Feel free to PM me if you want more info. Good luck in your search!
It would be interesting to find out which parts of Philly your parents would find "safe." When you talk to folks who aren't familiar with the city it's best to tell them that everything is relative. Obviously West Philly is not Mayberry but it has a certain vibe that has become more attractive over the years.
Originally Posted by hiding plant
I don't think you can go wrong with the blocks you mentioned. I also think you should follow walnuthill's advice and take a look up there. Any of the peripheral areas outside the magic catchment area should contain some affordable gems.
Must be nice.
Originally Posted by walnuthill
I know some people in that area with similar homes, that only pay 400 a year in property taxes.
While my modest Mayfair airlite runs 1700/year.
Hmm.... something's broken.
Nearly everyone on my block pays $1100-1400. I pay about $1250. Your point?
Originally Posted by NE19149
And yes, I agree the tax system is broken. If you want lower taxes, you're more than welcome to move out this way. Judging by the OPA assessor I saw out here during the winter, I expect them to go up shortly.
Apple Storage was approved by the ZBA. I sure hope we're out of the woods as far as the decision getting appealed. If looking at Willows, you might want to keep an eye on the Hide-Away-Inn building as it was a bit of a nuisance but closed and new owners (I think) are applying for a liquor license.
Originally Posted by hiding plant
Thanks! My boyfriend lives at 45th and Pine so I'm familiar with that block of 44th with Local 44 etc and I love Manakeesh and Saad's. I used to live at Stoneleigh Court (Melville and Walnut) so I feel pretty comfortable with that area. I don't so much like the blocks north of Walnut there but I know there are good places and I should probably not limit myself to just below Walnut. Thanks for the info!
Originally Posted by walnuthill
Thank you! I'm actually looking at Florence right now but I'm going to walk around those blocks this weekend and see. I hope we are out of the woods with Apple Storage, too...reading the threads on here and then all the articles about it are pretty depressing (especially Blackwell claiming that she had never heard of the 10-year tax abatement...yikes.)
I can tell you where my parents feel safe: Rittenhouse. I've lived in Port Richmond, West Philly, Rittenhouse (tiny 4th floor walk-up studio, not worth it) and South Philly and the only place they liked was Rittenhouse. I should note that I gave the info that I was white not to point out any race issues but just because that's how my parents see me, and being ~60 years old and from the New England countryside let's just say they have a little (or more than a little) inherent racism that they cover up with "we just want you to feel safe!" I've explained over and over that Philly really is block by block and bad neighborhoods (or blocks) have nothing to do with the race of people that live there but I think it's a losing battle.
Originally Posted by daveydoo
Are they buying a house in Rittenhouse for you? If not, then what's it matter? Give them the link to spotcrime.com so they can get over themselves. If they don't, that's their deal.
Originally Posted by hiding plant
To clarify Blackwell had heard definitely of it and had possibly been responsible for bringing in the guy from the OPA's office to try dissuade some of the rampant fear mongering. People politely listened to him and then ignored every single word of it and proceeded to fear monger anyway.
Originally Posted by hiding plant
It was the ward leader Vivian Miller who had never heard of the 10-year tax abatement. You may remember her as the one who was elected to the row office "Clerk of Quarter Sessions" who lost close to a billion dollars of bail forfeitures (ultimately Philly tax dollars) due to incompetant record keeping. Then the courts were forced to take over her office and conduct forensic audits and City Council was forced to eliminate it as elected position.
Anyhoo, Blackwell is much slicker than that. I actually interpreted her as expecting it to go through but at the very least interested in playing to the fear mongering a little and more likely actually using Kelly to ramp up the fear mongering to try and claim she negotiated something "for the community" out of the developer.
I had a friend who was looking to by an affordable house about 5 years ago who debating between Willows and rougher sections of Brewerytown and I pushed for Willows. She's thanked me several times since then.
Everything below Baltimore Avenue is Southwest Philly, even though it may not seem that way.
The reality is that pretty much everything West Philly is actually extends not only into parts of Southwest that weren't RDA'd like Eastwick unfortunately was but also across the county line when it comes to the communities near Baltimore Ave. Yeadon and Lansdowne, for example, have some of the exact same houses, and Lansdowne happens to have a lot of the aspects of West Philly like a farmer's market, community events such as movie nights, etc. That's why neighborhoods like Kingsessing are spots people move to, despite being in Southwest Philly.
Everything on the Delco side outside of Yeadon and Lansdowne are not even remotely the same though. I know that's a bit off topic but I wanted to make it clear that the extension of West Philly ends after Yeadon and Lansdowne on that side of the county line.
Everything south of Baltimore Ave. is indeed officially SW Philly but historically folks who grew up in the section of Cedar Park along Springfield and Chester, or if you prefer who attend St. Francis de Sales, have long used "West Philadelphia" to describe the general area. Thats from Irish American families in the are that predate white flight in the 1960's. Long time African Americans whose families started to move into the area in large numbers in the 1960's in conversation tend to use Southwest Philadelphia to even describe areas even just north of Baltimore and West Philadlephia for neighborhoods further north along the El. Newcomers tend to use "West Philly". As a sometime merchant of a somewhat popular "West Philly" tee shirt, I've had the conversation in detail with all kinds of people, repeatedly.
I live at the confluence of the northeast corner of Southwest Philly and the southwest corner of University City, which is to say I live in West Philly.
Obviously we all know that neighborhood limits change depending on who you talk to. The point I was trying to make is that many neighborhoods that people give to West Philly are actually Southwest Philly, and doing so only furthers the stigma associated with Southwest Philly. West Philly is a great place, without a doubt. So are parts of Southwest, so is Lansdowne, the Drexel Park neighborhood of Upper Darby which has housing every bit as nice as West Philly and even nicer, and so will be Yeadon one day. You can't call all of that West Philly, so why not start by labeling neighborhoods correctly as being in Southwest?
Originally Posted by seand
This is why I think there should be a Southwest Philly section. I understand that there may be a reluctance to say you live in Southwest if you don't live in one of the rougher parts of it but at the same time, it's redrawing boundaries that have existed for decades and taking away from Southwest Philly when you do that.
deSales has been around since 1904. They say they are located in West Phila.
The Baltimore cut off I think is use more for general convenience than as an actual reflection of reality.
The problem with using the Baltimore boundary is that no one ever agrees on what then becomes the eastern boundary of Southwest Philly. Is it 38th St, where Baltimore begins? Most people would say "no". Is it around Clark Park? Again, most people wouldn't try to claim that Clark Park is in Southwest Philly. If you move west of the park, there isn't really a major "boundary street" until 52nd St, which is roughly where I would say Baltimore starts to become a real divider between West and Southwest, before that the rail tracks are the real demarcation line between neighborhoods.
To suggest this is a "Kensington" type situation where people are trying to dodge a neighborhood name with a bad rep is ridiculous. West Philly still has a negative connotation to some, and no one is suggesting that Haddington or Mantua is part of some other section of the city.
Everything even a block below Baltimore Ave is Southwest Philly. People might not want to say a certain thing is in Southwest but if it is then it is regardless of what anybody says. Clark Park, for example, is almost entirely in Southwest Philly. USP is in Southwest Philly. The eastern boundary is probably the Woodlands.
Originally Posted by thoth
People definitely avoid claiming Southwest. I can't say exactly why that is; I can only suggest why I think it is. The point is that to do it for any reason just further adds on to the stigma associated with Southwest, when you take away the fact that it actually has a lot of the great things West Philly has instead of just what people hear about or think about when they hear Southwest.
The point is that Baltimore is just an easy boundary to throw out, but your points do not stand up to historical analysis or present reality.
Originally Posted by randomuser
The only official demarcation line between the two areas that ever existed was between Blockley and Kingsessing townships until the 1854 consolidation. Even at this point, Baltimore became the Northern boundary of Kingsessing Township between Mill Creek and present day 55th Street. Meaning Clark Park, which is formed out of the millpond fed by the creek, would technically be split in half by the old boundary, and Angora would technically be part of "West Philly".
Not that any of this really matters as at the time both townships were mostly farmland, Clark Park and 55th Street didn't exist and there were a lot less rail lines criss-crossing the city. The Media line was cut around the 1850s, and existed as a much more significant barrier between the two areas of the city for the duration of their urban development and inhabitation than a two lane street ever could. Virtually every institution in the area north of the rail lines have, for virtually their entire history, claimed to be and been regarded by most observers as being situated in West Philadelphia.
West Philadelphia Illustrated by M. Laffitte Vieira, 1903, West Philadelphia Community History Center
"According to "West Philadelphia Illustrated," by M. Lafitte Vieira, Philadelphia, Pa.: Arden Press, 1903
, pp. 178-179:
"Satterlee Hospital stood formerly at Forty-fourth street and Baltimore avenue. It contained forty-five hundred beds and was next to the largest hospital in the country. It was erected in 1861. The vicinity was then rich in sylvan beauty and is now quite a centre of West Philadelphia
, and adorned by handsome houses and graced by the Clarence Clark Park
The HMS school, founded as the Episcopal Home of the Merciful Savior for Crippled Children, identifies as being in West Philadelphia, and is listed in a 1892 will as such here:
Weekly notes of cases argued and determined in the Supreme Court of ... - Pennsylvania. Supreme Court, United States. Circuit Court (3rd Circuit) - Google Books
"Third I give and bequeath to the Home of the Merciful Saviour for Crippled Children at No 4400 Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia the sum of two thousand dollars"
And a 1906 Philadelphia Musical Academy pamphlet lists an organist from the school as such here:Read the ebook School catalog, 1906-1907 by Philadelphia Musical Academy
The area was included in the National Historic District as part of the "West Philadelphia Streetcar Suburb Historic District" in 1998
West Philadelphia Streetcar Suburb Historic District
I could go on but it gets boring googling this stuff. My point is that the area has long been commonly included as part of West Philadelphia by the actual residents of Philadelphia for over a hundred years. Anyway, this isn't some far-reaching conspiracy, multi-century conspiracy, it just makes sense when you walk around the area.
Why is it that you can't accept the history that has happened for a half-century at this point? How would you know who associates what with where? You didn't grow up there or anywhere near it. You have to defer to people who actually did and you always will. Ask people who grow up in Southwest if they think all of Woodland Ave is Southwest, all of Chester Ave, etc. Do you have any idea how much different it is to grow up with certain things and claim them as a part of your neighborhood than it is to just live there later in life?
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