Am I totally nuts for thinking this? Is there really that big of a gaping hole btw CCN & Penn?
No to the first question; depends to the second.
First of all, let me say that I love living in NYC, but, despite the fact that it would mean breaking a lease and leaving a long-term relationship, I can see the attraction of not living here during LS--mainly financial. The student housing at both CLS and NYU are great, but still smaller and pricier than what you'd get at Penn; and I don't know what food, etc. really costs in Philly, but I know it's cheaper.
The prestige/opportunities factor: since you don't seem want to be a prof. or clerk, I think you'd be fine. You'll certainly be able to get some sort of great job.