Philadelphians, Suburbanites Are Ripping You Off

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Philadelphians, you are being ripped off. No, not by the government. Nor the parking authority. Nor even the overpriced coffee shop on the corner. You’re being ripped off by none other than me. And my friends. And my neighbors. And it’s time you did something about it.

That’s because the people I know are ripping you off pretty much every weekend (and many weeknights, too). Don’t believe me? Take a look at center city’s streets on a Saturday night. Or the squares on a Sunday afternoon. Go to an Eagles or Phillies game. Ride up and down Kelly Drive. There are lots of Philadelphia residents there, of course. But there are also lots of non-Philadelphians. There are families from New Jersey, tourists from Chicago, and empty-nesters from Lower Merion. We’re all going into town. It’s fun. It’s safe. It’s inviting. We’re using your restaurants and taking advantage of your entertainment. But we’re not paying our fair share. And that’s why you’re getting ripped off.

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Are Suburban Schools Immoral?

suburban schools

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Quick question on the first day of kindergarten in Philly public schools: Is it actually immoral to take your kid and flee the city for suburban schools?

Silly question, right? After all, city families have been fleeing to the ’burbs (or to private schools) for decades. We don’t really blink at the process, because of course the right answer to the question is to do whatever it takes to get your child the best education possible.

Right?

But maybe there’s an alternative argument.

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Live in Radnor? Better Not Say You’re From Philly

radnor township

Hey, youse guys! You are not from Philadelphia, got that? Image of not-Philadelphia via Wikipedia

Hillary Kelly wrote a ridiculous piece for the New Republic a few days ago to say that unless a person is from Philadelphia County proper — “inside the city lines” — they should not say they’re from Philadelphia, and particularly not at a party. Those who falsely make the Philly-native claim are liars, she says, and are not entitled to imply that they have certain qualities that are her own:

I’m proud to come of my hometown—proud that, as a kid, I could rattle off Philly’s neighborhoods and understand the cultural intricacies of each one, a kid who loved watching the cityscape change as I took the bus deeper into Philly to my grandmother’s house, who knew which areas were dangerous and which were gentrifying (thanks to my father, a police officer).

She then says, “I can’t deny my urban elitism” and moves right along with the essay as breezily as if she’s skipping down a sidewalk on a sunny day. I know little about Hillary Kelly, but I’m guessing she can’t be more than, say, 33 because I can’t imagine anyone older than that gliding past a confession of elitism without recognizing that it needs to be interrogated intellectually. (And it should be noted that many, many people in their 20s and 30s recognize this as well.)

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Census: Philadelphians Are Moving to Montgomery County

Photo | shutterstock.com

Photo | shutterstock.com

Despite the fact that the American Dream has changed, and no longer necessarily signifies the white picket fence and 2.5 children living in the ’burbs, a Census report that was recently released includes Philadelphia and Montgomery County in the top 25 “pairs of counties with the largest number of people moving from the origin to the destination, minus people moving in the other direction,” according to Business Insider. (Net annual population flow from Philadelphia County to Montco between 2007 and 2011: 5,236.)

This means that large numbers of Philly residents left the city between 2007 and 2011 specifically to live in Montgomery County.

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All of the Philly Bars I Went to In My 20s Have Closed

lucy940

Photo | Lucy’s Hat Shop. Author not pictured.

The end of Sugar Mom’s marked it: The bars of my youth are gone. The places I haunted as a 20-something are closed. Alfa, Sugar Mom’s, Bar Noir, Mad River, Lucy’s Hat Shop — kaput. Add Khyber Pass to that list, too, because while Khyber today is a very nice restaurant, it looks nothing like it did 10 years ago: a grimy club bar with writing on the bathroom walls and a second floor that shook when the band played too loud — which was always.

Philadelphia was not the same back then, either, not when I got my ticket to drink legally in 2001. No one was trying to re-brand the Gayborhood for marketing purposes. The dining scene was Le Bec Fin — period. No one was trying to convert everything into a condo. Of course this was before the domination of Facebook and Twitter, but we’d never have created a hashtag to make ourselves feel better for choosing Philadelphia. We were not city snobs. We didn’t need to tell people why we hung out in the city, or scream for validation. We just did.

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