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Old Posted May 21, 2015, 2:48 AM
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philatonian philatonian is offline
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 593
Originally Posted by VTinPhilly View Post
I like your term "gritty and raw" when describing Philadelphia. The term I use is "great gritty Northern industrial city". I was born in the District of Columbia and lived and worked there for 22 years. Washington is a beautiful city, but it was planned and built to be a government town full of white collar bureaucrats (nothing wrong with that--I was one myself). Consequently D.C. always struck me as being somewhat one-dimensional, and rather stuck on itself--you know, the political capital of the Universe, and all that.

In contrast, Philadelphia is very much a blue collar town, and I find most people here to be hardworking, no-nonsense, and very "down-to-earth". Bottom line, I feel a "hometown" connection with Philly that I never felt for Washington. As a city planner (yes, graduated from Virginia Tech) , I always hoped that I would connect with an affordable city somewhere in America where I could live comfortably without an automobile. Well, Center City is THE perfect place in that regard!
I always thought of D.C. as very one-dimensional too. It's an industry town, a lot like an L.A. for government and politics. The one thing Philly and D.C. share is that both cities were designed with a unique purpose. But while William Penn designed Philadelphia as the model American city, D.C. was more ancillary. I don't want to crap on D.C. too much though. I wasn't born there but it definitely raised me. But when it comes to American cities, Philadelphia blends better with the likes of New York, Chicago, and Boston in that it is a very three dimensional place.

I have to admit though, I always cringe a bit when I hear "blue collar" affixed to Philadelphia. Yeah, it certainly has that demographic, but so do a lot of big American cities. I prefer to think of Philadelphia - and the fact that it's retained the economic diversity to be perceived as a "blue collar" town - as a city that hasn't yet lost its soul to brunch restaurants.

I think the only reason Philadelphia isn't held to the same esteem as Chicago or San Francisco is because we're stuck so closely between New York and D.C. I think the national mentality towards Philadelphia is going to change very soon. Comcast and whatever they have planned for the CITC is going to play a big role, but there are a lot of other things happening in tandem, namely the new rules at the convention center.

Couple all of Philadelphia's improvements with our affordability, and the capability of working any corporate job from a laptop, and there is no reason to spend $400,000 on a studio in Columbia Heights or $700,000 on one in Brooklyn. I think some very wealthy U.S. cities are about to get a harsh slap in the face.
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