What's Philly like?

I’m a 19 year old from Melbourne, and I have a few relatives living in Philadelphia, USA. (Thorndale, specifically). We all met on the Greek island of Rhodes, (being originally from there). They know I enjoy travelling and have asked me if I was considering coming to Philadelphia. I would really like to go and see them, but I admit I don’t know much about Philly at all. Can someone fill me in a bit? Is it at all like Melbourne?

It’s dirty, crime ridden, and the people are rude and surly.

But the cheesesteaks are awesome!

Pittsburgh is better. :smiley:

OK, OK, it’s not so bad. Just don’t ride SEPTA. Walk. You’ll get there faster, and the driver won’t just quit and strand you on the bus. :wink:

-Dave, a Harrisburg area resident.

Great, another Philadelphia basher from Pittsburgh. I don’t want to turn this into the BBQ Pit, Airman, if you want to debate the merits of Pennsylvnia’s two largest cities, step over.

Thorndale is about 15-20 miles west of the city of Philadelphia, a city of about less than 2 million with a large metropolitan are of around 4-5 mil. Just like any large American city, there are nice parts and rough parts. Nice parts include the area around Independence mall; Center City, and there are parts of Germantown and Manayunk that are actually nicer than the suburbs; parts of the Northeast are okay too!

Rough spots include West Philadelphia; North Philadelphia (known as the Badlands); and South Phildelphia is a tough section of town traditionally dominated by organized crime, and is one of those areas where if you are not from the neighborhood, you could easily find yourself in hot water.

One thing you’ll find about Philly is that it is divided into scores of smaller “neighborhoods” that Philadelphians identify themselves with. Philadelphia is called “The City of Brotherly Love” but was also voted as America’s most “hostile city” 5 years ago, I think partially because of our rather emotional sports fans (don’t go to an Eagles game wearing a Dallas jersey!), but it’s the type of place where if your not looking for trouble, you’ll find the people as freindly as can be; if you are, you’ll find all the trouble you need. Especially if you piss off the cops!

As for the suburbs, well you couldn’t ask for a better metro area (I’m biased of course). If your folks live in the Main Line, you are lucky- beautiful area and homes, all the rich people live there. I think Thorndale is in this area- I’d love to live there. Generally speaking, with the exception of Camden, Chester, and parts of Chester County, you can’t go wrong living in suburban Philly.

Climate wise, hot summers, cool winters. Winters are hard to predict since Philadelphia lies right at the rain/snow line. You can get an entire winter with almost no snow and 30-40 degress highs; or you can get a winter like we just had, with blizzards and temperatures dipping below 10 F. Summers often see the temperature go above 90 degrees in July.

Oh, and by the way, if you are a dude, and even 1/100th decent looking, if you have an Australian accent you will get laid more than you know what to do with.

From Phildelphia, you are a little over an hour from the New Jersey shore and gambling in Atlantic City; 2 from skiing in the poconos; and if Philly isn’t exciting enough for you, you are 2 hours away from New York, and 3-3 1/2 from Washington DC.

And thankfully, 4 1/2 hours away from Pittsburgh, and it couldn’t be far enough!
Oh, and did I mention . . .

GO SIXERS!!!:smiley:

T’anks, Vinnie—and let me add there’s a lot of lovely old architecture in Phila., much more so than in New York. Entire blocks you can walk down that haven’t changed in 200 years.

Many of the suburbs are indeed v. nice. The Main Line (where I grew up, and it’s not ALL rich people!) started as Welsh farms and mills in the 1600s, then was settled as suburbs in the mid-19th century. Rolling hills, woods, beautiful old houses, nice shopping. NO public transport in the suburbs except the one train line.

I’m an old-timer, though, I think Phila. was MUCH nicer before they put those damn skyscrapers up in the '80s . . .

<----------handing Vinnie a nice Lee’s Hoagie House “Cheltenham Special” with extra oil, a Frank’s Wishniak Black Cherry soda and of course, a Tastykake Apple Pie . God bless you son, you’ve done our fair city proud.

I grew up there, but am now languishing- LANGUISHING- in New York State. Oh, to be trodding the tree-lined lanes of Mount Airy. Ahh, to stroll along Delaware Avenue on a warm summer’s eve. Eeeh, to take in a nice “Rocky Horror” screening at the TLA then off to the bars for a few nightcaps. And, dammit to hell, I MISS Walt’s King of Crabs.

Or, to make Eve all misty-eyed…would you care to join me for a perusal of used and bootleg LP’s over at Plastic Fantastic, then hop into The Main Pointto hear Stand Rogers, then perhaps a late munch over at Kip’s or Hymie’s??? :wink: I had so many dear friends from the Main Line, from Wynnewood out to Radnor. Wonderful place. Me, I was West Oak Lane, then Elkins Park.

It’s a lovely city, and has almost 24 times the innate charm and significant history of Pittsburgh. But then, who’s counting? :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:


This leads me to a general question.

I can understand why someone might not know how physics defines “vaccuum”, and I understand how trying to get an answer off the 'Net can make his eyes glaze over. I can understand how someone might not know that the toes and the genitals are so closely associated by the brain. It’s hard to get from toes to somatosensory homunculus just by clicking links. But I cannot for the life of me understand how a person cannot find out what Philadelphia is like simply by using Google.

Why do people bring such questions here?

Although this should have been, perhaps, in IMHO, I think the OP is looking for experiential data, rather than something one would find through a Web lookup.

I see, thanks. Sort of along the lines of the question “what is a conversion to Christianity like”?

Hey, were just one big happy family here at the Dope!

Nothing wrong with helping each other out a little. Dude will have to travel 30 hours on a plane to get here- he just wants to know if he’s making the right decision!

You can guess what I think of this statement. :wink:

I have only one piece of advice for you, when you get your cheesesteak at Pat’s King of Steaks, make sure to get Cheez Whiz wit’ Onions.

I have nothing else, since I only go to Philly for the sandwiches. :smiley:

Great, another Pittsburgher heard from. Philadelphia’s streets may be a bit dirty, but at least you don’t have to breathe through your mouth in order to break the air into chunks your lungs can handle. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m a native Philadelphian (grew up in Frankford and Rhawnhurst) who loves his home town but is kind of glad he’s not paying $2500 per year for car insurance any more.

There’s not much more to add to what Vinnie Virginslayer said, so I’ll just say “ditto.”

However, don’t leave without having a pork sandwich at Tony Luke’s. It’s at Front and Oregon under I-95 and they make the best pork sandwiches and cheesteaks in the world. Stay away from Pat’s and Geno’s; they’re nothing but tourist traps anymore.

Airman Doors, where in the Harrisburg area are you? Maybe one day we can get together over a beer at the Riverside G-Man and discuss the relative merits of each other’s native soil.

Yer pal,


You beat me to the board, cheesesteak. If you’ve never been, you have to get to Tony Luke’s. They put Pat’s in the shade.

Yer pal,


So Philadelphia is rough in the west, north, and south. Doesn’t leave a whole out left. I hope East Philly is okay.

Well, I’d direct the OP to East Philly, except he’d end up in the Delaware River . . or worse . . South Jesrey!
JUST KIDDING!!!:smiley:

FWIW, I grew up in the Northeast, in a neighborhood called Oxford Circle, on the Roosevelt Boulevard (the local stretch of U.S.1). It was a Decent place to grow up in, but we moved when the place started getting seedy.

BTW, DO NOT go into North Philly…it’s supremely dangerous
there, man. Belfast and Beirut are safer places to live.

Tip to visitors: The quickest way to piss off someone from Northeast Philly is to ask him or her how they like living in North Philly.

Please allow me to clear up something non-Philadelphians just don’t get:

When a Philadelphian refers to “North Philly”, he or she is talking about the north-central part of town immediately to the north of Center City. It’s not that large, and it is somewhere you don’t want to hang around too long. Of course this is our unique shame, since no other American city has slums or seedy parts. :rolleyes:

However, just outside North Philly are some of the best parts of town; the Art Museum area, the Ben Franklin Parkway, and most of Center City, Northern Liberties, and the edge of Old City.

South and West Philly are OK for the most part but I’d rather spend time in South Philly. The Italian Market is a neat place to see and shop (and I’m not just saying that because my family owned a store there for years). Besides that, the best Italian food in the country can be had in South Philadelphia.

Yes, I said the best. Bar none. If you want to debate that first have dinner at Cent’Anni (hope they’re still there) or any other restaurant in South Philadelphia. Use a couple of Sarcone’s or Cacia’s rolls to sop up the gravy (the red stuff poor benighted folks in other places call “sauce”). For dessert have cannoli or rum cake from Termini’s. Then we’ll talk. After you have seen the error of your ways, I’ll treat for some Bassett’s ice cream to show there’s no hard feelings. :slight_smile:

BTW, there’s no such place as “East Philly.” If you head along I-95 north from Center City, Port Richmond, Bridesburg, and Holmesburg are the eastern neighborhoods along the river. Move to the west a bit and you’ll end up in the Great Northeast, which is where I grew up. The Northeast is a pretty nice quasi-suburb with some decent restaurants, nice houses, and good access to the rest of town and the suburbs.

Yer pal,


Awright, Zappo. I’ve been looking for you for 24 years. I just KNOW that was you who not only cut me in line, but stole my girlfriend that night when we all went to see the Philly premiere of “Saturday Night Fever” at the Cottman Theatres.

Ya rat ! If I’d a caught ya, I’d a chased ya down to the playground at Solly and pulped ya senseless :smiley: :smiley:

However, time wheels all hounds, right? Nice to find another homey on the Boards. Tough neighborhood or not, I STILL say Lee’s on Cheltenham is the only one worth going to for a hoagie.



[Moderator watch ON]

Moving to IMHO

[Moderator watch OFF]

Cheesteaks alone are sufficient justification for visiting Philadelphia. Pat’s Steaks, order it “American with”. Don’t even think of getting one from Jim’s Steaks downtown… They taste like cardboard. Also, you should get a hoagie sometime while you’re there. Unlike cheesesteaks, it’s possible to get a real hoagie in most cities in the world, but Phila. has some of the best.

As for the rest of the city, the “old money” areas of the city itself are the rudest places I’ve ever seen (even worse than Boston), but the suburbs are very nice. Most of the tourist attractions are actually half-decent: The art museum is one of the best in the country, if not the world, and you can’t miss the Franklin Institute. There’s plenty of historic interest, such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, but those might not be too relevant to a non-American.

Sports: Root for the Phillies and the Eagles if you value your life. Yes, they both suck. Philadelphians don’t care. In my experience, the quality of a team’s fans is in inverse proportion to the quality of the teams. On the other hand, if you root against Allan Iverson, then people will just assume that you’re either from Villanova, or have an IQ higher than twelve. Root for the Sixers whenever he’s on the bench.


a) The Phillies are in first.
b) The Eagles got purty deep into the playoffs last year, and had their best season in eons.
c) Don’t you mean if you root against Iverson you have an IQ below 12?
d) Root for the Sixers when he’s on the bench? Huh?

I’m missin’ something… :slight_smile:

Thanks for all your information Vinnie, very helpful. Of course I have an Australian accent :smiley: (woohoo!!), although I look Greek (best of both worlds :wink: ) i.e. dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin, dark everything… Also, I’ve noticed you have some fine ladies up in Philly, I’ve seen photos. :wink: I GOTTA get myself to the States soon, especially since it’s summer there and winter is starting here.

P.S. I’m a long time Warriors fan (we’ll make the playoffs in about 2007 hopefully), but the Sixers are my 2nd team :slight_smile: I just hope they give it to those Fakers :wink: