« on: April 16, 2007, 08:15:43 AM »
Deedeeleigh, I don't hate Philly. But once you've lived here awhile, there are certain things that really start to get on your nerves, and you start to get jaded. I don't know anyone IRL who has lived here a few years and doesn't have at least a bit of a love-hate relationship with the city. I'm always uneasy at night, I've never felt safe and even though I stay on my guard, I had a bad experience in one of the "best" parts of the city when I lived there, and it was one reason (among many) that I moved back to the suburbs. Admittedly, I'm from a very small town originally and am still not quite resigned to the crush of people and lack of green space. Also, my first extended big-city experience was in an amazing European city to which Philly just doesn't compare. But the arts and culture scene here is wonderful, which is basically why I'm still here, and it really is a good place to be as a student, don't get me wrong.
In short, though, the main thing I don't like about Philly is that nobody seems to care here. The number of homeless on the streets or in the subway tunnels has increased threefold since I started working in Center City 2 1/2 years ago. They harass and scream obscenities at transit passengers while the policeman on duty stands there reading a book and eating his donut (seriously...I watched this happen on Thursday night). Everything about the situation is really disheartening.
When it snows, the city doesn't bother to plow - they just wait for the snow to melt off. They also don't enforce the requirement about clearing sidewalks, so a lot of building owners just don't do it - and then you get to watch the elderly folks with canes trying to carefully pick their way around and usually slipping anyway.
Center City is filthy, and although you see people in green jackets from Center City District (an organization to maintain and promote the area) cleaning up, it just doesn't do that much good. In the summer especially, it reeks. And some things could easily be fixed and would help so much, but they won't do it until it causes a major problem. Example: there are a few tunnels that run under the city (one under Broad Street and another crossing it under City Hall and going under Market toward Market East Station). The section right under the Ritz Carleton has had a broken pipe for months. When it rains, the water from the street above is supposed to be diverted into this pipe, but because it's broken, it causes a waterfall into the tunnel and floods a section of it. But I guarantee they won't fix it until it shorts out the subway and causes some kind of electrical explosion, because that's how things work here.
The city wage tax is one of the highest in the nation (as a non-resident of the city who works inside city limits, I pay 3.72%, residents pay around 4%) but I fail to see where my tax dollars go. Certainly not toward improving public facilities, or even maintaining them. And the city government is particularly corrupt. I'm hoping something will change with the mayoral elections coming up, but I'm not holding my breath.
I know that these things can happen in any city, but I think that Philly has such potential and it's just being squandered, which upsets me to no end. It's hard to make people care about the city when the city proves day in and day out that it really doesn't care about its people.
Anyway, that's my rant. I'm sorry to present all these negatives, but it's nothing you won't see once you've been in Philly for a little while. I didn't come into it with my eyes open, so my frustration might be greater than it would have been if I'd realized it upfront. I can't really say. Just don't be surprised if your impression of a really cute little city changes once you're here.