Hip To Be Square

Rit U-Hauls filled with futons from Downtown Furniture will soon be rolling through Center City streets, if you can believe the Sunday New York Times piece that pronounces Philadelphia to be the Big Apple's next unofficial borough.

But tell those carpetbaggers we're going to cost them a little more than advertised.

The SundayStyles centerpiece paints a portrait of our city as scenester's paradise, with its quaint BYOBs, edgy galleries, cool clubs and cheap housing.

Unbelievably cheap housing.

The piece, a freelance article by Philadelphia Weekly columnist Jessica Pressler, starts off with recent transplant Laris Kreslins leading a tour of what's described as the city's priciest neighborhood. He parks his car in front of "a handsome brownstone on Rittenhouse Square" and enthuses, "We're going to show you what a real Philly apartment looks like." Unlocking the door to a one-bedroom flat with hardwood floors, ample light and tall ceilings, he pauses before getting to the beauty part:

"Rent is $800 a month. Heat and electricity included."

What's not to like?

For starters, there are no brownstones on Rittenhouse Square, handsome or not.

I walked around the square yesterday, looking at high-rise after high-rise after high-rise. Closest thing to a brownstone is The Ethical Society, which is not letting any rooms. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors stands at the square's southeast corner. 

"There is no question they didn't get an $800 apartment on the square," said John Featherman, who specializes in neighborhood rentals. "For about $1,100 or $1,200 I could show you a junior one-bedroom in the Dorchester or the Savoy." A few blocks away, he said, a one-bedroom could be found starting around $900 - but "if I told you how deplorable the condition is, the holes in the wall, the filth..."

So what's up with that apartment Laris was showing off.

Well, it wasn't exactly on the square, says his girlfriend, Kendra Gaeta by phone. It was at least four blocks away at 22nd and Spruce. She has moved down from New York recently - they've bought a place in the Art Museum area - and is so jazzed about her new city that she and Laris have created a movetophilly.com Web site. Their business: offering funky tours.

In the first 24 hours after the article went online, Laris and Kendra's site had nearly 3000 visits. Customers can pick from four types of tours: a neighborhoods/real estate tour, a history tour, a "sense of adventure" tour and an oddities tour. For $60 two people at a time can join Gaeta and Laris in his yellow Mazda Protege hatchback for a three-hour jaunt.

"The sense of adventure tour is where we take you to some place where we have never been," she says. "We make no guarantees about that one." The oddities tour takes in such attractions as the Insectarium and the Mutter Museum, where all sorts of curious anatomical objects are displayed.

Pressler, by the way, acknowledges that the brownstone wasn't on the square, although she remembers it as being closer, about 21st and Walnut. She went as far as asking a Prudential realtor whether it was proper to describe that neighborhood as Rittenhouse Square. And it is.

But on the square itself? Not actually.

It certainly is closer to the square than the one place that turns up when you search for "Rittenhouse Square," "$800" and "one-bedroom-apartment" on Craigslist, Philadelphia. That gets you one on Grays Ferry Avenue, more than a mile away. On the plus side, the landlord seems cool with dogs and cats, though.

UPDATE: The author of the piece is interviewed by Philebrity. And Gawker takes note, again.

Chris Thompson of Northern Liberties was steamed enough at the Times piece to write a book of a letter to the editors, which we reprint in its entirety because Chris copied us on the email and because it is good:

To the Editors:

Look, the New York Times is writing about Philadelphia again. I bet we
can guess how this is going to go:

First, the story will be imbued with an air of exoticism, curiously
introducing New Yorkers to this strange place called "Philadelphia."
It's only 90 miles south, but when you're in the Center of the Universe,
it might as well be Brigadoon.

(letter, continued)

Next, look for the same tired citations standardized by Jere Longman:
booing; MOVE bombing; cheesesteaks, Rocky. That's all the effort the
Times cares to make anymore when it deigns to report on Philadelphia.

But this piece of...really goes the ultimate distance in its zeal to
sneer: "Philadelphians occasionally refer to their city - somewhat
deprecatingly - as the `sixth borough' of New York..."

This -- the entire premise of the story, the thesis statement -- could
conceivably be the ultimate insult to Philadelphians. But in a clever
turn, the story puts this unsubstantiated, unattributed insult *in our
own mouths.* In so doing, the Times and reporter Jessica Pressler
surrender any credibility with Philadelphians because we know the
underlying thesis is wrong.

Born and bred in Philadelphia, where my family has lived for a few
hundred years, and a lifelong resident except for four years in your
fair city, I have occupied every corner of Philadelphia, both literally
and figuratively: from the paneled rooms of the Union League to
beer-soaked union halls, from private school to working in construction,
tending bar, playing in bands, producing theater, and far more. I know
every seam of this city and every type of person in it, and I know this:

Never once has any Philadelphian uttered such a piece of b.s., nor would
one.

As a journalist now for almost two decades, I would remind the Times --
which has had some problems with this -- that transparency in the source
of information is the foundation of credibility. Yet, there is not one
shred of attribution for the thesis statement in this story. No one is
quoted. That's because, in all probability, it was made up. Was this
reporting started when Jayson Blair was still on staff?

There's more: Inserted into that fabricated assertion was one last
little dig: When we refer to our city as the sixth borough of New York
-- which we don't, ever -- we do it deprecatingly.

Because at the New York Times, Philadelphians are incapable of speaking
about themselves or their city without self-deprecation. We're the
Rodney Dangerfield of U.S. cities, right?

Without wasting another 500 words, I'll say it's pretty well established
that New York, in this nation's infancy and beyond, couldn't find its
elbow without Philadelphia's help -- in finance, in commerce, in
industry, in the arts. Yeah, times change, and New York became the
bigger target. I mean city. Sorry. City.

But in the intervening 200 years, while New York has been masturbating
furiously at the sight of itself, Philadelphia has continued to be
Philadelphia. Until now, that is.

No, now we can probably look forward to underproductive, overgrown
children driving up real estate values and clogging restaurants, museums
and streets while contributing little.

"Look how cheap everything is. We can totally get over on this town."

The city's prospects for working its way out of its hole and undoing the
wage tax (Oh, yeah: Hey, newcomers -- have we got a paycheck surprise
for you...) won't get any better if our new population all wants be in a
band.

No, those New Yorkers who come to live in Philadelphia should bring
industry with them or get a job. Here in Philadelphia, we work for a
living. Transplants also should leave behind all assumptions about how
life should be here because of how it was there.

Once again, the New York Times has willingly assigned and published a
long, insult to Philadelphia. Though the story appears, on its surface,
to celebrate the city, it's really another imperious smirk.

Philadelphia needs Brooklynization about as much as a frog needs a
bicycle. To those intrigued at the idea, come down if you want to learn
some manners. Otherwise, stay where you are. We're doing just fine
without your seal of approval.

Those from any other city are most welcome.

C. Thompson
Northern Liberties

KarlKarl
Posted 08/16/2005 06:24:46 AM

The power of the press in action here. That site sucks. It really, really, really sucks. And already it has more traffic then 90% of the individual blogs in Philadelphia.

Ace Pookie
Posted 08/16/2005 09:20:47 AM

philly a nyc borough. screw those arrogant yorkers. they really do think the world revolves around them.

Citizen Mom
Posted 08/16/2005 09:55:47 AM

Well for one thing, last time I checked, we don't really HAVE brownstones in Philly, we have rowhouses, dammit. Looks like we can add another item to the list of Ways You Can Tell You're Not Really From Philly -- you have ever referred to the city as a hip new NYC borough. It only takes a cursory knowledge of our fair city to realize that we don't give a Mummer's Strut where Philly fits in in relation to NYC. That whole article skeeved me. That being said, my brother just rented out a rowhouse in Fishtown to a bunch of women moving from NYC who acted like they were getting the Taj Mahal for their $1,200 a month. Suckas.

Sherri W.
Posted 08/16/2005 12:24:25 PM

Sorry Karl!! 3 of those hits were me: I kept retyping the site URL because I simply could NOT believe that all the there there was a bad pencil drawing purporting to be Patti Labelle and an email link to request a tour.... Sucks, indeed. CM, can I borrow your line about "not giving a Mummer's Strut"? That's worthy of addition to the permanent lexicon!

Kendra Gaeta
Posted 08/16/2005 12:49:06 PM

Yes, I will never be from Philly. And we are thrilled that our modest website, just a homepage really, has gotten so much attention with no bells, no whistles, and just an invitation. We don't consider ourselves carpet baggers, just home owners who are glad to be here. Issues of boroughness and whether or not Philly has brown stones or row houses are ones best addressed to the reporter, not the people featured in her story.

Karl
Posted 08/16/2005 01:14:07 PM

Kendra, I'm very happy for you moving to our town and for helping get the word out about it. And actually - yes - you will be "from Philly" some day. The majority of people I know were born outside of the city limits - but consider themselves from Philly. It's one of the great things about this city. Your site, with just a few links to informational resources (like Philly.com, and, if I say so myself, PhillyFuture.org, Philebrity, various tourism sites like ushistory.org) could be a whole lot more welcoming to outsiders. Great domain name though. My anger has more to do with the NYTimes mentioning your site and ignoring the other informational resources out there for New Yorkers to dig into about our home. .

Citizen Mom
Posted 08/16/2005 01:37:55 PM

Sherri, you can use the Mummer's strut line, with my blessing. Glad to share. I first used it years ago in a column I did for the Asbury Park Press (where I worked at the time) about the North Jersey vs. South Jersey schism. Kendra, relax -- I'm not faulting you or anyone for encouraging folks to move into Philly, and I never used the term carpetbaggers. All I'm saying is that a cardinal rule of living in Philly is not giving a crap about New York and what New Yorkers think of Philadelphia. Park Slope, Schmark Slope.

That Dude from Philly
Posted 08/16/2005 02:15:45 PM

Great another reason to see Philly going downhill....New Yorkers.

Jason
Posted 08/16/2005 03:34:56 PM

I always just say I'm from Philly when I'm out of town anyway. Beats saying "I'm from Drexel Hill which is exactly a 4 minute bus ride and an 14 minute train ride to Center City, Philadelphia"... if the inquisitor requests details, that's what I give them.

Karl
Posted 08/16/2005 05:07:07 PM

I was born in Camden and have been in Philly most of my life since I was five. But I'm from Philly dammit.

Jeff
Posted 08/16/2005 05:27:21 PM

Can the people doing that website make sure to tell these transplants-to-be that their car insurance is gonna be way more expensive in Philly. I'm part-owner of an insurance brokerage in Center City and I'm sick of explaining to New Yorkers that Philly rates are much higher. I guess they just assume everything in NY costs more.

anon2
Posted 08/16/2005 08:34:53 PM

Hey, Enough of this bitterness and contretemps! Why do we care what some NY paper writes about us? Reading these posts I would guess this is the first time any of you have read the Sunday Styles Section. If you'd read it before, you would know that it is consistently retarded, ill-informed, and written in the voice of an outsider desperately trying to compensate for a lack of cred by dropping the right names. Then the whole package gets piped through the Times' copy desk and comes out sounding like eighth-grade merchant ivory. EVERY story. EVERY week. Everyone here is treating the Style Section like it's journalism, which it never really claims to be. Sure, it says "the New York Times" at the top, but with reporters whining about their old relationships and profiling their DJ friends, there are plenty of clear signals not too take any of it too seriously. Really, this Style story is just like every other Style story. The reporter writes about inconsequential details of his or her life—gadgets, relationships, cities—in the guise of "reporting" on a "social trend." Yet somehow, "hard numbers are hard to come by" whether you're counting straight boys who go on dates with straight boys or intellectuals who watch reality shows or Brooklynites who move to Philly. The idea is to project the writer's insecurities onto the page. This makes the readers loathe themselves and envy others, softening them up for the luxury products and real estate that frame and fund the columns of text. So the Style Section is a joke, Philly should care less whether New York has its facts straight, and I'd kindly suggest that Mr. Rubin find something better to do than parsing a two-letter word in the back of someone else's newspaper. I'm sure that anyone who went through this week's Image with a fine-toothed comb could find a few cases of questionable wording. But no one will because no one gives a damn, nor should anyone give a damn what the New York papers write about us. -Anon.

Daniel Rubin
Posted 08/16/2005 09:10:58 PM

Whoa! Get anon2 a column, fast. nice piece of work.

Karl
Posted 08/16/2005 09:18:02 PM

Dan - let me oblige :) Anon - you have a column: Come by Philly Future (http://www.phillyfuture.org), sign up for an account, and post away :)

Daniel Rubin
Posted 08/16/2005 09:25:28 PM Karl, you rascal poacher. good for you.

vernsting
Posted 08/16/2005 10:12:28 PM

All kidding aside Ace Pookie, we do have brownstones in Philly. Many of them have been rehabbed into offices, but we do have them. They are mainly concentrated in Center City ( Market. Locust, Spruce, and Pine Streets. Nevertheless, I have never heard anyone refer to Philly as the sixth borough of anything. I certainly hope no new ad campaign comes out of this.

johnnygoodtimes
Posted 08/17/2005 12:50:58 AM

When I was visiting Boston, there was a "Philly's more fun when you sleep over" ad on TV that said that we were like a baby New York. I have never been more embarrassed to be a Philadelphian (my Bostonian friend said, "That's the most pathetic way I've ever seen a city try to sell itself"), but that's part of the reason people feel like we're all just begging to be the "6th burrough." B/c the people supposedly representing this city have no clue what this city's all about (see also Philadelphia Magazine).

Karl
Posted 08/17/2005 06:14:47 AM

Thanks Dan :) And I'm with everone else here - that "6th burrough" stuff is insulting, to say the least. johnnygoodtimes, I would have sunk my head too in a bar on hearing that. Man. That's embarrasing.

PLD
Posted 08/17/2005 10:31:52 AM

Chris Thompson sounds like an amalgamation of every person who rejected my NY experience-filled cover letters and job applications for an entire year.

lisa
Posted 08/17/2005 12:56:26 PM

how very philadelphian of you not to recognize a compliment when it bites you on the nose.

Jason
Posted 08/17/2005 01:10:04 PM

a complement would be saying that NYC is a new borough of Philly...

Kathleen
Posted 08/17/2005 01:14:46 PM

I am not from Philly (I have visited, though, and liked it), nor am I likely to live there , and even *I* found the "6th borough" thing insulting. It's so...so...New Yorkian, you know? Kathleen

Chris
Posted 08/17/2005 01:18:18 PM

How very New Yorkian of you to act like a giant snobby city looking down its nose at another is a compliment.

a philadelphian
Posted 08/17/2005 01:20:12 PM

Hey, I hear New York City is the 21st arrondissement of Paris.

Jason
Posted 08/17/2005 01:35:40 PM

Sorry, my technical background complements my spelling abilities sometimes. I meant "compliment" above.

joeldg
Posted 08/17/2005 01:47:25 PM

Just gonna say that everyone here is so absorbed by saying they don't care what NYC thinks.. But your clear dedication to that phrase is a certain indication that you, in fact, do seem to care and care very much. If the Seattle P.I. wrote a large article about moving to Philly, would you even make a note of it anywhere? Everyone kind of treats the NYT as the nations newspaper..

A New Yorker
Posted 08/17/2005 01:51:39 PM

I agree with Mr. Rubin's assessment of the story as lame. However, I'm not sure that it's appropriate to quote Chris Thompson's letter to the editor which refers to NYC as a "bigger target." Unfunny.

Jasmine
Posted 08/17/2005 01:57:04 PM

I'm feeling better about my potential move to PHL in 2/06 now that I know that people like Mr. Thompson are here to defend it with eloquence and humor. Also, it's been eleven years since I left the sunny streets of Queens for Chicago, and I think that I could actually get away with saying that I am not, in fact, from the City That Never Sleeps Because It Is Too Busy Wanking Itself.

Anon2
Posted 08/17/2005 02:04:35 PM

Catherine, Philadelphia may be the only city is America where making your mark is considered a crime. -Anon.

Phil X.
Posted 08/17/2005 02:05:57 PM

I grew up in Philly and live in New York - I have to tell you that it was a relief to move to a place where people don't live with a chip on their shoulder about other cities - they just live. Cheap apartments? No thanks - not worth it.

adamg
Posted 08/17/2005 02:10:50 PM

To johnnygoodtimes: That "baby New York" ad, which ran approximately 75 bazillion times up here in Boston (where we have our own issues with New York and where the local paper ran a story a couple months back about New Yorkers finding our inflated housing prices "inexpensive") was not by Philadelphia but by Southwest Airlines, which was trying to convince us all to fly to your fair city because you have: the Liberty Bell, cheesesteak, "a lot, a lot to do", cheesesteak, clowns dancing in the street and cheesesteak. And apparently some idiot yuppie getting into a cab as he exclaims "it's like a baby New York!"

Jason
Posted 08/17/2005 02:24:16 PM

Our Philly to Boston commercial is better. "Pak the ca in Havad yad." :)

Lillet
Posted 08/17/2005 02:34:45 PM

That's a great letter. I am a proud Brooklyn resident and New Yorker and I think the New York Times is a piece of crap, especially with their dumbass real estate and lifestyle reporting! I have had to read stupid articles about "ooh, now Brooklyn is fashionable/over/hip again/we don't know where it is but know we are supposed to cover it blah blah" ad nauseum until I just stopped even looking at the damn NYT. Good for you! Go Philadelphia! The Times is namby pamby totebaggy crap. Lillet

Pietro
Posted 08/17/2005 02:39:29 PM

Yo Dude, Take a friggin' chill pill. Nothing like playing right into the NY Times' hands by getting all defensive and stuff! Perpetuating that Philly underdog image. I used to live in Philly for about 5 years, have friends there and really dig the place. I live in Brooklyn now. I was pretty blown away by the Times article. I thought right away it was BS. First off, I knew there are no brownstones on RS and secondly, like you, I never ever heard a Philadelphian refer to their city as the 6th borough. Leave it to the Times to find 5 people who moved from Brooklyn to Philly and suddenly we've got a massive trend on our hands. Anyway, Chris, I think you should aim your vitriol at the New York Times, not New Yorkers or Brooklynites who move to your fair city for a "better way of life."

Neal
Posted 08/17/2005 03:17:33 PM

I'm a New Yorker who moved to Philly in summer '01 to complete my BA there. I loved it in the 215, from being able to find a massive $700 3br in South Philly to being able to bike/walk everywhere. Then I finished school and there were no entry-level jobs to be found in Philly. With a BA in hand, I was stuck working at a coffee shop. You see - There are no jobs in Philly. They're all in King of Prussia, Bensalem and Abington because of that silly little wage tax thing. And there is no way that I would live in the city to commute 45 minutes to a job in the suburbs... Isn't one of the whole points of living in the city to be close to jobs anyway? So I headed back to NYC, found a job paying real money and that was it. But if Philly had a decent job market, I would have stayed there in a second...

Adam S.
Posted 08/17/2005 03:29:47 PM

You Philadelphians are taking this much to seriously. It's the styles section, not the metro section. Anyway, I'm from Brooklyn, and the Williamsburgites (a neighborhood in brooklyn)that are described in the article are really transplanted from everywhere in Amreica but the rest of Brooklyn, and have about as much in common with the other 2.5 million Brooklynites as they do to you. I think you'll find the rest of us a little more like you - not all that envious of a 20 square mile island with 3 million people crammed into it called Manhattan.

mary
Posted 08/17/2005 03:34:57 PM

Sweet! I'm from Brooklyn and I can't wait to move to Philly! Cheesesteaks! Mutter Museum! 800 dollar apartments - I'm sold. Come on! People from Brooklyn don't believe the sixth borough B-S either. Most Brooklynites live there because it's close to the city- which is where they work. Philly is not. And although I am mad jealous of my friend's apartment she bought in the museum district, don't you worry Philly people, I'll stick to my subway adjacent slums. I gotta tell you though, the writers of the article don't really seem to FROM Brooklyn, they just passed through like they're doing in Philly no doubt. In two years, they'll be exploiting Charlotte, NC. Its the reverse hipster migration.

J. S.
Posted 08/17/2005 04:08:05 PM

Can't anyone see that this was simply Pressler's attempt at getting a byline? Nothing more. Nothing less. For her sake, though, I hope the Times hires her. She's losing credibility where we know her at home. And that's a shame. I think she's been a solid writer. Until now. Sad to see her go the way of shock value. God knows that no one in Philly calls a city so many miles away a sixth borough. Puh-leeze! I'm sad she didn't come up with a better connection than that, especially given the great web site appeal (movetophilly.com) and other noteworthy supporting info (note to Jessica: Philadelphians also read the Times). Then again, whoever aptly noted that the Times Style section is like Cosmo was right. Let's all keep that in mind. They also spend days writing about the merits (or not) of white pants. I've filed this piece in the same category. But I hope it looks good on her resume. I get the impression that was goal anyway.

Kathleen
Posted 08/17/2005 04:13:57 PM

From Chris: "How very New Yorkian of you to act like a giant snobby city looking down its nose at another is a compliment." I am sorry Chris -- really -- but I have *no* idea what you mean here. I said that even though I'm not from Philly, I found the NYT 6th borough reference "insulting." So...where does this compliment thing you mention come into it? Or am I just missing a joke of some kind here? Humor doesn't always transmit well on a message board.

Jason
Posted 08/17/2005 04:23:50 PM

(i think he was responding to "lisa", a few comments above yours, Kathleen) :)

johnnygoodtimes
Posted 08/17/2005 04:35:19 PM

thanks, adam g. i didn't realize it was a southwest ad. trying...to...summit ...vitriol...to...spew...at...Southwest ...Airlines...Damnit, it's just not possible to be mad at those guys, even if their commercial sucked. their prices are just too damn good.

Maude
Posted 08/17/2005 04:48:17 PM

Why were the people featured in the article even referred to as New Yorkers? In what way? Does anybody really think they were native New Yorkers? I guess "New Yorkers move to Philly" was a sexier sell than "Midwesterners move to Philly after a two-year interlude in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but they were priced out." Native New Yorkers--like me--don't think they're the center of the universe. We're not the posturing idiots wearing those dopey BROOKLYN t-shirts. We're the Poles, Puerto Ricans, and Hassids who were priced out of Williamsburg by people from elsewhere who moved in when the neighborhood was affordable.

cl
Posted 08/17/2005 04:53:12 PM

1) the writer was from philly. 2) it's clear it was sloppy journalism where she just asked somone she knew, laris, who couldn't make it in nyc, for quotes and ideas. he's merely trying to put a positive spin on why he failed in ny (see failed zine venture) 3) i lived in philly for 5 years. it's a nice place if you have no ambition. as neal pointed out above, there are no jobs there. 4) philly sports teams never win 5) nyc and dc drains all the talent from philly 6) those who remain are in general very defensive/insecure

johnnygoodtimes
Posted 08/17/2005 05:09:53 PM

Philly is a terrific place to live if you have ambition. if you wanna work in a fortune 500 company, then no, you're right, this isn't the place to be. but if you wanna get your own thing started (other than that damn Business Privilege Tax), then it's ideal. not too big, not too small, and the community is quick to embrace people who are trying to make things happen. As for our sports teams never winning, i seem to have forgotten what the Giants and Redskins records were last year. can anybody help me out? sorry, but i was too busy cheering my team to the super bowl to notice the teams with 5 or 6 wins. as for "defensive", i'll take that as a compliment. no, we don't like it when people talk s*** about our city, so instead of hanging our heads in shame, we come out fighting. that's why i love this place.

Jason
Posted 08/17/2005 05:11:47 PM

no jobs? I was looking for a job back in march/april, and out of the three technical recruiters i had contacted, not one had an opportunity that was NOT in the city! i'm a suburbanite, so, at the time, i *thought* i'd much rather work in the suburbs, but now i know i would much rather work in the city, after only 4 months of it :)

missfidget
Posted 08/17/2005 05:42:57 PM

Honestly, I'm sick of the New Yorkers. Sick of the preference employers have for them, sick of them driving up real estate, sick of them cry babying about how Philly sucks (hear it all the time on the street). And the thing I hate most is that every awesome band that's here on a Monday or Thursday played New York on the weekend. grrrr.

Incognito
Posted 08/17/2005 06:14:16 PM

Not to tangle up Mr. Kreslins in this mess any further, but "cl," what "failed zine venture" do you have in mind? You might check www.arthurmag.com to discover that Mr. Kreslins publishes a pretty terrific national magazine coming up on its 25th issue. You might do some research before calling other people failures.

Daniel Rubin
Posted 08/17/2005 06:50:51 PM

I'll second that endorsement of Arthur. It's serious.

robyn
Posted 08/17/2005 07:18:22 PM

I'm so glad to see that others thought the "6th borough" article was BS, too. I've lived in Philly for 2 years and never experienced the media-created version of Philly described in that article or elsewhere. Everyone I know who lives here wants to be here...we're not dreaming of or longing to be the next NY.

Vincent
Posted 08/17/2005 07:52:12 PM

I lived in metro Philly for nearly a decade, liked the place quite a bit, and I never once heard the "sixth-borough" reference...although I did once describe Philly to a New York friend as what NYC would be like if it consisted only of the outer boroughs. But from spending several years in New Jersey and working some in Manhattan, I can tell you that most New Yorkers ignore Philadelphia. Now Boston, on the other hand, is something NYC obsesses about endlessly, and it goes far beyond Yankees-Red Sox. (Ah, if only the Phillies and Mets were pennant contenders simultaneously.) To New York (and Washington, too), Philly's an afterthought.

Westsider
Posted 08/17/2005 10:32:38 PM

Lived in Philly for 21 years, New York for 12, so here's the lowdown, kids. The good: -- I miss Philly hoagies and cheesesteaks -- The Eagles are a superior team in the NFL right now -- Parts of Philly are beautiful, with cafes that aren't Starbucks and mom-and-pop shops -- You get more bang for the buck (except for food, which is comparable to NY, except for the Yueling beer) And now the bad: -- Employers have slowly been leaving Philly and there aren't enough job opportunities there, especially for people involved in a creative field -- Philadelphians are still some of the angriest, rudest people I've ever met, and I live in Harlem! I was crossing the street in front of THE LIBERTY BELL with A CHILD at a walk sign and two dudes trying to make a turn yelled for me to "get the F" out of their way. This sort of thing happens A LOT when I'm there to visit. Note to City Hall: start a public service campaign about changing people's attitudes there, because it still sucks. -- Clean up North Philly, at night it's still one of the scariest places on Earth -- Get rid of that stupid wage tax and those mafia unions that made The Real World almost pull out. -- Stop being so defensive and start embracing the idea that Philly is more livable than New York. Oh, so it's not cheap and there aren't any brownstones and it's not New York? So what you're saying is that it sucks? Please. When you see an opportunity to look better to 5 million readers, embrace it. Amen.

loveleigh
Posted 08/18/2005 11:15:45 AM

I am a native New Yorker who just moved to Philly a month ago. New York is becoming more loaded with folks from other places and less with folks who were born and bred there, like myself..I agree with Pietro's post about the job market, though. I never had a harder time finding a job, but I did eventually find one in Center City. Williamsburghites are an oddity in the city. Never was there a more annoying area than that. So you could almost take it for granted that they can be pretty clueless anyway, and not truly from NY. I love this city so far, and am having a great time here, from the food to the people!

Sandy
Posted 08/18/2005 01:23:47 PM

These blog comments are painful to read. Philly this, Philly that. People raised in Philadelphia do not use the word "Philly" very often, if at all. There is South Philly, yes, West Philly, yes, North Philly yes, but there is no "Philly." It's "Fluffya." That term was coined by Clark DeLeon, whom real Fluffyans know well. Sandy

Albert
Posted 08/18/2005 02:14:09 PM

a nice flamey comment rant. noyce. i'm a NYer who moved down to philly 15 months ago after 6 months of searching for a job. i found one here at pressler's employer within a week. philly's all that and a bag of chips. i do miss me some NY bagels and pizza, but hey, NYC doesn't have shit on the 'steaks here and i can more than live with that. and who hasn't been to a city _any city_ and not been told to get the fuck out of the way? everyone has their own personal experiences, mine have been wonderful in both cities. and people have chips on their shoulders in nyc as well, about just about anything and everything. when can we just agree to disagree and start dumping on NJ? kidding... kidding... joisey's got it goin on too.

Daniel Rubin
Posted 08/18/2005 02:18:45 PM

noyce? are you making fun of the way people talk around here?

JerseyCity-ite
Posted 08/18/2005 02:24:14 PM

"Sixth Borough" is more commonly a Jersey City and/or Hoboken, NJ reference. I've never heard it applied to anywhere else.

Albert
Posted 08/18/2005 02:46:40 PM

no, i'm not making fun of anyone by saying 'noyce' - i actually pronounce it that way for exaggeration. totally on point with the JC/Hoboken as 6th borough - tons of huge corporations are moving across the river to form, a 6th borough all by themselves, regardless of what the NYers call it or sneer at. but in re accents, i totally noticed an applebees radio commercial that was region specific saying "when you're here you're howme" or whatever their pitch is. my native NY ears caught that. it would be funny to hear a NY reginal ad saying something like "hey yous! get the fuck off my lawn and into a fucking applebees!" or something. the guy yelling would be italian, hairy, wearing a tank top with a gigantic italian horn on a gold rope. oh yeah, and of course with a NYY hat on.

Matt
Posted 08/18/2005 03:37:08 PM

loveleigh wrote: "I am a native New Yorker who just moved to Philly a month ago. New York is becoming more loaded with folks from other places and less with folks who were born and bred there, like myself." Born and bred there? How about your parents, or your parents' parents? or your parents' parents' parents? etc., etc. New York has always been "loaded with folks from other places." As has Philly, as has the United States as a whole. The fact is that we're a nation of interlopers on the lookout for good real estate, and have been since a bunch of Dutch guys from bought Manhattan for a bag of beads.

cl
Posted 08/19/2005 02:49:23 PM

icognito, "Sound Collector" failed and laris had to move into his parents' house in MD. and then blamed it on NYC. "In New York everyone is so busy they really don't have time for relationships. Some of the strongest personal and professional ones I've made are in Philly." sure dude, whatever. glad mom and dad are there to help.

J.
Posted 08/19/2005 05:02:01 PM

If it's any consolation, this thing seems to have really riled some New Yorkers too. It looks like they have a chip on their shoulders after all. Gawker.com won't shut up about the article.

j
Posted 08/20/2005 08:51:34 AM

good grief -- y'all need to get a life. who cares whether the apt is on the Square or near the Square or in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood? (blame this OUTRAGE on the philadelphian who wrote the damn thing. Or wait, is she a REAL phildaldephian? ) essentially, the piece said philly is a cool, fun place to live--at least that's the way a lot of my friends in New York and elsewhere read it -- and that more kids are moving here, which is, you know, true. Of course, given all this idiotic nitpicking and huffing and puffing, one has to wonder how long they'll stay. (oh good, more cheesesteaks for us.) Lighten up, yo.

Ex-New Yorker/Pro-Philadelphia
Posted 08/20/2005 12:20:14 PM

The article is reflective of this odd, defensive attitude that is keeping Philadelphia down. Not to mention the nit-picking (i.e. brownstownes vs. row houses). I moved here from NYC about 2 years ago, and just bought a condo in Rittenhouse Square. The condo, along with just about everything else, is a BARGAIN relative to NYC. I don't compare NYC to Philadelphia because it is not appropriate. They are different cities with different personalities. The one thing that Philadelphians need to do is recognize this. Focus on the right thing - such as getting jobs into this city! Once we adjust our attitude and approach, then people will want to move to Philadelphia becuase of the opportunities, not because it's too expensive elsewhere.

Ralph
Posted 08/20/2005 04:33:52 PM

Ya know, everyone takes a different thing from reading that NYT piece of crap. I know 3 people from other cities in their early 30's who just bought condos in Philly, and after reading the article they felt good about their investment in the city. Last night I was walking around with a few friends and we did a quick tour of the Continental Midtown's roofdeck/bar. After a 10 minute visit, we were waiting in line for the elevator to get back to the street (what a dumb idea...like they couldn't have squeezed some steps in?)....and this cute, young guy asked us "do you guys know where all the clubs are? - I am from New York".....my first thought was "you must have read that article and came to check it out, then I thought, well if you are so cool, why didnt you do some research before you blessed our town with your overstyled hair"....I hate when people from New York have to let you know that they aren't satisfied with hangin' in Philly...my friend directed him to Old City. I was close to directing him back home to NYC.

not you
Posted 08/21/2005 11:15:45 PM

people do not understand this city at all.... we philadelphians take pride in our scary neighborhoods, crappy pothole ridden streets, and very in your face attitude, it shows that we are real people not stuck-up fake arse's(like it sounds the person who wrote the nytimes article is and also all the people they talked to). while i agree i don't give two shits what the crappy nytimes has to say about the city that i love, i have to say that this article(and some of the above comments) really pissed me of(not uncommon for a native philadelphian). bitching and complaining is what is city is all about and if you hand us the world we'll still find something to complain about(in this respect we are very much like the french). i think it's horrible that all these wannabe's from nyc have to come down here and f'up our city because they were 10 years to late to f'up new york(i feel sorry for any native new yorkers who has been dealing with the crap for much longer then we have). this whole "cheap living" has made most Philadelphians' priced out of their own neighborhoods, and have made the areas full of culture now dead.... one example, northern liberties. 5 years ago you could have bought a house down here for less than $100,000, neighborhood was very mixed racial and culturally, but now you can't even buy a space of dirt not even big enough to put a house on for less than $90000 and the place is full of stupid fake white hipsters, that wouldn't know real arts or culture if it hit them the face(sorry if i sound like a whyy ad). if these are the people coming here then i don't want them... yes all cities in america have always been about some people coming and some people going(and i have no problem with that)it's just these type of people that i have presonally always been glad that they wanted to live in nyc and not here(give me the people from puerto rico, west africa, the middle east, persia/india, europeans, normal poeple from around the US and the rest of world any day). if killing what this city has been(and should be) is in some way progress, i don't want to be a part of what it's progressing to.

Kimmy
Posted 09/12/2005 06:05:04 PM

This is all pretty interesting for me, movin to New York from the Philadelphia AREA not the city, I live in Brooklyn now, and do find the cost of living to be a bit overwhelming. My friends all live in Philly and swear by it. I'm kinda up in the air bout the whole deal. I'm under the impresion thats its not really from but where your at, that being said I guess it has to do with where your life is, but does that mean where you want your life to be. I'd like keep on livin in Brooklyn, but truth be told, I can't really afford it, I'll Stick with it for as long as I can in Brooktown, I only hope that NYC will loosin its financial coak hold on me that I mght get back to more livin'. In closing Brooktown fuckin rocks as does planet Manhattan, I just wish it dodn't cost so much

ping: Vine Street Overhaul -->
Posted 08/25/2005 01:30:09 AM

I stumbled on to plans for a complete overhaul of Vine Street, foucusing on Logan Circle, Chinatown, Frankin Square, and The Hahnemann Area (which you will recognize from the header of Aarrgghh!!.) It seems that the Willian Penn Foundation...

ping: http://americandigest.org/sidelines/archives/2005/08/the_new_york_ti.html -->
Posted 08/17/2005 02:46:56 PM

THE NEW YORK TIMES WHERE WE JUST MAKE STUFF UP: Noted by Daniel Rubin at a Philadelphia Inquirer blog Blinq: Hip To Be Square, is the tendency of the paper of record to, as is all too usual, work reality...

ping: Media Bubble: On the Whole, We'd Rather Be in New York -->
Posted 08/17/2005 12:29:27 PM

• Philadelphians don't believe the Times's sixth-borough crap any more than we do. [Inquirer] • Because no else seems to...

ping: "the `sixth borough' of New York."... -->
Posted 08/17/2005 06:49:37 AM

An insulting NYTimes article that shares the good news of folks from New York deciding that our town is the...