Cecil needs help - what's the bad side of these towns?

For an upcoming column on the Bad Side of Town, the Master has asked me to confirm the following. Having a somewhat vague knowledge of geography, I appeal to the Teeming Millions, preferably those who actually live, or lived, in the towns below. I need to confirm that:

In the following cities, the SOUTH side of town is the bad side:
Los Angeles
San Antonio

In the following, the NORTH side of town is the bad side:

In the following, the EAST side of town is the bad side:

We’d appreciate hearing from anyone who can confirm or deny the above characterizations. Please say how you know, e.g., you live there. Thanks. -Ed

I lived in Philly for short times in '52 and '54. The SOUTH side of town was then the bad side. There’s no way I would believe that this has changed. I lived in Germantown, which is on the north side. There were patches around it that were not good then; perhaps they are worse now; but I cannot believe that that end of town could’ve gotten worse than the south side. The northwest side of town and the northwest suburbs – Bala Cynwyd, etc. were then considered the best side of town. I never checked them out.

I never returned to Philly. You never here anything about Philly. I’m not really sure it still exists. Does it still have scrapple?


North Philadelphia is the bad side of town. It consists mostly of crack houses, abandoned lots, and poverty stricken African-Americans. There’s been a lot of talk about how to improve the situation, but so far it’s just been talk.

Houston doesn’t really have one specific bad area. There are pockets all around it. For example, the 3rd Ward, a very rough part of town, is southwest of the city. The Ship Channel is no great shakes either; that’s south.

I grew up in San Antonio and now live in Dallas. Cecil is right on both counts.

(I get to help Cecil!)

Sola bona lingua est mortua lingua.

Houston is not so easily characterized. There are a few areas on the north side of town that are a little rough; around the Intercontinental Airport, W. Mt. Houston Rd, etc. But a little southwest of town from S. Post Oak to Gulfton has been gang-banger territory for a while. South of town an area running from around UH down to Broadway has had a bit of a jumpy night life.

Hmmm…I need to go to work in a minute and I realize I don’t really have the time to adequately address the patchwork sociology of Houston at the moment. Suffice to say that characterizing the north side of Houston as the bad side of town is wrong.

I don’t know if this is related or not, but remember that Houston, unlike I believe, every other city on your list, is, mercifully, unzoned.

Regarding Baltimore, Cecil’s “favorite” city: yes, the south side is the bad side.

The city has tried to revamp that area’s image with nice marina facilities, restaurants, aquarium, and the new Oriole & Ravens’ stadiums (stadia?). But go more than a couple of blocks away in any direction, and you’re in some scary, seedy areas.

This is also the area where sailors and other shipworkers cruise on their shore leave while in port.

I work in Dallas and live in the suburbs.

If by “bad” you mean less affluent and largely minority, then your perception of Dallas is correct. As with most sweeping generalizations, it’s not universally true, however. Not all parts of South Dallas are bad. Not all parts of North Dallas are good.

Yep.the east side seems to be the most crime-ridden. I doubt anyone else here from the Cleveland area will dispute this.Although,I’ve heard the west side referred to as white-trash town. There is no north side,it’d be in the lake!

When I lived in Atlanta (1976-78), the center was the really bad side of town, but generally speaking the south side of the city was less desirable economically than the north side.

To confirm Chicago for Cecil, yes.

Yeah, generally speaking, the perception of Cleveland is that the East Side is bad, although the near West Side, from about W.25 to W.99, and from Detroit Ave. south to Lorain or so, is considered pretty bad, too. And the South Side is where all the porn is.

“I love God! He’s so deliciously evil!” - Stewie Griffin, Family Guy

Also, no one asked but I’d like to provide the following information:

In Salt Lake City the bad part of town is the West side. That is where most of the gangs, drugs, and other such lovely things can be found.

“She’s nothin but a little lyin’ ass bitch… I know she says she loves you but you know she don’t care…”

Gee pl,how do you know where all the pron is? :wink:

It’s hard to picture Nap Town having a “bad side” (as opposed to pockets of blight), but, yeah, I guess that the most poverty and highest crime in Indianapolis is South of Washington.


Well, you know, I, um . . . that is to say, whenever I’m at . . . er, taxi!

“I love God! He’s so deliciously evil!” - Stewie Griffin, Family Guy

I know. I meant porn. Guess I can’t type well with one hand :smiley:

I’’ backup the “pockets” statement of Houston. I live in the Northwest part, and it’s not bad, except for this little pocket about 5 minutes from me…

The Third and Fifth Ward areas are a little spooky (a lot of our rappers claim Fifth Ward as their version of Compton), but there really isn’t an entire section of Houston you could consider “bad”.

You say “cheesy” like that’s a BAD thing.

While it was not on the list, since CK mentioned Atlanta, I will confirm his thoughts. I have been living here since '89 and the center is really the bad part (most in the suburbs do not like to go to downtown Atlanta) But due to the Airport not a lot of affluent people live on the south side.


Let’s not forget New York.

The SOUTH BRONX is generally considered a bad place, but that is to the NORTH of Manhattan, and in fact the northern parts of Manhattan (i.e. Harlem) are also not considered to be desirable to raise a family either.

Yer pal,

I’ve lived in Dallas since 1991 and the south side is definitely bad news – at least parts of it are bad news. However, there is also a largish section of southeast Dallas that is pretty scary.

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