That city feel, without the city price.
Median home price: $169,000
Increase in median household income (1999 to 2011): 37.1 percent
Increase in residents with a B.A. or higher (2000 to 2010): 218.1percent
It’s hard to talk about Frankford Avenue—the main road running along the western side of Fishtown, leading into Kensington—without mentioning Pizza Brain,, the museum/eatery, and Little Baby’s Ice Cream, the artisanal dessert boutique, which have both come to define the area’s renaissance, as young folks clad in skinnies and plaid shirts line up along the block at all hours. But it’s not just the hipsters that have come to love Fishtown/Kenzo; realtor and five-year Fishtown resident Jared Gruber says the area is seeing growth from all demos. “I’m even finding empty nesters buying rowhouses in Fishtown,” he says. “You get that city vibe, but not the price tag attached to it.”
No doubt, affordability is a key part of Fishtown’s success these days. Prices are rising steadily, and people are trying to get into a cool, growing neighborhood while they can. (Rule of thumb: Once Stephen Starr invests in an area—as he has here with beer garden Frankford Hall and barbecue joint Fette Sau—you’d better buy in fast.)
Still, it’s not all about the money, or even the food—it’s that the place has a sort of old-school Philly feel. Homeowner Monica Weymouth says it’s that mix of small town and big city that keeps her there: “I can get to 15th and Market in 20 minutes, and our block gets together to celebrate kids’ birthdays and the cherry tree being kind enough to blossom each spring.”
Fishtown/Kenzo: A Uniquely Cool City Experience
- Fishtown/Kenzo is a hit with … young professionals, new families and empty nesters who want a cheaper, cooler city experience than the cookie-cutter condo scene.
- Shopping … is kind of nonexistent. “It’d be great to have a hardware store,” bemoans one resident.
- Nightlife … is lively: arcade games at Barcade, giant beers at Frankford Hall, live music at Johnny Brenda’s.
- Schools … Same old story as any city ’hood. But keep an eye on the New Kensington Parents Coalition for Better Schools and Play (NKP), making moves to improve quality of life for families.
- The most prevalent crime … is car break-ins for most of Fishtown, but the further north you go, the more serious the issues. Kensington is gentrifying, but it’s not there yet.
- Residents’ pet peeves … “When Girard Avenue lets it all hang out—the morning drunks, the smoggy traffic, the empty prescription bottles—it gets to be a bit much,” says one resident.
Data derived from HomExpert Market Report, a product of Prudential Fox & Roach, Realtors, Research Division.