Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ode to Philadelphia

I'm sure there are many of you out there that may be considering Wharton but aren't sure if you want to live in Philly for 2 years. Others may be wondering whether to apply for the same reason. I'm a believer in fit being one of your biggest reasons for choosing a business school, and certainly location is a factor in fit. You probably know that Philly is a short drive or train ride from New York and DC, and Boston's not to far away either. I guess people tell you that in case you're thinking you'll want to leave every weekend to go somewhere cool. Well you can, but I happen to believe Philly is pretty cool, and if you go to school here you may just want to stick around most weekends. So I would like to take this time to tell you why I think Philly is a great city, and why I believe you'd not only survive for two years here, but you might just love it too.

I have lived in Philadelphia for most of my life. Scratch that, I've lived around Philly, but never actually in the city limits (until July that is!). I did work and stay in hotels there for about 6 months. So this probably doesn't make me quite an expert, but I believe I'm qualified to give you my opinion on the city. Now I have a lot to say, so I think this is going to end up being a series of posts. I'll try to give you a good picture of life in the City of Brotherly Love: the good, the bad, the ugly, the quirky, and anything else I can think of.

If all you know about Philly is Rocky and that Eagles fans are crazy and eat too many cheesesteaks, well you have a lot to learn my friend. Back in October 2005, National Geographic Traveler declared Philadelphia the Next Great City (Next Great City: Philly, Really). Many people probably thought that was strange, but Philadelphians have been noticing for awhile that the city is becoming cool again. People are moving back into the city, big beautiful condo complexes are going up, retail is moving in, fringe neighborhoods are up-and-coming cool, and the restaurant scene is getting really good. And we got Live 8, how awesome is that? (I went, it was incredible). Read the article, it will tell you more.

Here are some things you might not know about Philly:
-Philly is relatively cheap. Wharton students mostly live in Center City near Rittenhouse Square. Guess what, this is the nicest part of the city. How many other urban business schools can you attend where you can actually afford to live in the nicest part of the city?
-Because of PA's arcane liquor laws, it is difficult for restuarants to get liquor licenses. Therefore many of them are BYOB. So you can bring your own bottle of wine to many nice places, and it really reduces the cost of a night out.
-Philly has Fairmount Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in the country. It's great for running, especially along Kelly Drive near Boathouse Row.
-Jon Bon Jovi is a part-owner of the Philadelphia Soul, the arena football team. Richie Sambora is too and just bought a sweet pad in Philly. Imagine that! Potential star sightings in Philly!
-Compared to other schools not in the South or in California, the weather here is actually pretty good. It's typically about 5-10 degrees warmer here than Chicago or Boston (people from those cities will tell you that's not true, but I've lived in all three. Trust me, they are colder. Or don't, check the statistics yourself!). Philly also doesn't get as much snow. What we do get are a lot of wintry mix storms where are not fun, but it's a lot easier to get to class in than snow.
-You probably aren't going to bring your car to Philly, which is fine because you won't need it and parking is a nightmare anyway. But maybe you want to take a trip to Ikea or to visit someone in the burbs? You can rent a car for cheap from Philly Car Share or Zipcar!
-And finally, Philly just recently declared itself the nation's best beer drinking city. Maybe you disagree? Well it will be fun to find out for sure won't it?


Samantha said...

I also think philly is a great city. Rittenhouse square has just as much character as new york, only in a more approachable way.

Love your blog -- Keep up the posts about Wharton. I'm also interested in the healthcare program and am excited to visit in a couple weeks!

Clear said...

Great post! While we're biased too (Clear Admit HQ is in Philly), you are doing a great service by blogging about the city, since it is routinely stereotyped and misunderstood by applicants. Looking forward to more content on this subject. Keep up the great work. -Graham, Clear Admit