Student Advice, Student Commentary
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My Philly Neighborhood: North Philadelphia

Editors Note: Since Philadelphia is known as a city of neighborhoods, we asked Temple Law students, faculty, and staff to talk about what they love, hate, and can’t live without in their neighborhood. Each month, we’ll release another write-up of a new Philly neighborhood.

I came to Temple Law School from Houston, TX. I first discovered Temple after searching US News and World Reports’ best law schools for trial advocacy list. After being accepted, I decided to experience the school and the City of Brotherly Love before I paid my final seat deposit. When I arrived I was not sure this was the place I wanted to spend the next three years of my life. I grew up in New Orleans before moving to Houston, which was an easy move – the weather was still warm and it was only a five hour drive from home. Philadelphia was far from my family and, maybe more distressingly, had real winters. The mere thought of having to walk to class in the snow and wear layers to keep warm, made me want to run back to the South.

Of course, I ultimately decided that Temple Law, and its integrated trial advocacy program, was worth facing winter for. Deciding to attend Temple was an easy decision. My next step would be finding somewhere in the Northeast to call home.

I signed up for the roommate list that the Temple Law Admissions Office offered accepted students, and soon after, another student from the list contacted me. We were able to combine our collective resources to find a place within our budget with two bedrooms, a full-size kitchen, and in-suite laundry.

After a year and a half living in North Philadelphia, I have to say that overall, my experience has been good. The things I love about North Philadelphia have kept me in this area for my second year of law school.

What I love about North Philadelphia

It’s easy to find an affordable, comfortable, and stylish place near Temple’s Main Campus. Depending on where you live in the area, campus can be anywhere from a five to 15 minute walk. There are a number of property managers in the area that help students find housing. These include Rent Campus, Blackstone Development, Temple Villas, and Govberg Realty. Personally, I reside in a Blackstone Development property building and I love it. The building has four floors, garage parking, individual bathrooms, and roommate style apartments as well as one-bedroom apartments for an affordable price.

North Philly Rapid Fire

Best thing about North Philly: Being on the Broad Street subway line
Worst thing about North Philly: Food options on the weekend
How I get to campus: Walk or bike
Closest Grocery Store: The Fresh Grocer in Progress Plaza

Best Place for:

Coffee: Saxbys on campus (Liacouras Walk)
Drinks: Masters or Draught Horse
Dinner: The Creperie, Burger Tank, and Simply Yummy food trucks
Dessert: Sweet Crepe from The Creperie, Froyo at Luv’n Spoonful, Insomnia Cookies Food Truck
Studying: Temple Law Library

One of the other real perks to living in North Philadelphia, and close to campus in particular, is how close you are to the Broad Street Subway Line. This makes getting to and from the city a breeze; from Temple’s Cecil B. Moore station, Center City is about a five minute ride away. The Broad Street Line runs north and south along Broad Street, but there are free interchanges at the Girard and City Hall stations. At City Hall, you can hop on the Market Frankford Line for easy access to the Amtrak Station, Old City, or even Northern Liberties. Similarly, being near the Girard station makes getting to Chinatown and Independence Hall a snap.

Finally, the Fresh Grocer, a local grocery store, is very close to the law school and my apartment. If you’re like me, and don’t have a car while in law school, having a grocery store a few blocks away is crucial. As far as pricing goes, this store is comparable to any other grocery store in the city, and they have everything I need to make good home-cooked meals without breaking the bank. If home cooking isn’t your style, there are a number of food trucks on campus that are open until at least 8 p.m. and a variety of restaurants in the area. You are sure to find something you like to eat nearby.

What I don’t like about North Philadelphia

There are three main drawbacks to living in North Philadelphia. First, it is a ghost town on weekends; second, there aren’t enough coffee shops to study in for my taste; and third, you have to be more aware of your surroundings.

When classes aren’t in session, and students aren’t walking around, the area directly around campus can feel very empty. In addition, many of the food trucks and popular eating places, like Cosi, are closed on Saturdays and Sundays, which limits your dining options. In the warmer months, this can actually be a plus, since it’s an opportunity to explore other neighborhoods and try new restaurants, but sometimes, when the weather is poor or I’m pressed for time, it can be a real hassle.

Temple Food Trucks

Temple’s campus offers a wide variety of food truck options.

North Philadelphia could use more coffee shops in the area for studying as well. There is a Saxbys on Liacouras Walk, and a Barnes & Noble Café across the street from the Law School, but those are pretty much your only options. Further compounding the problem, the Barnes & Noble Café has odd hours on Saturdays and is closed on Sundays. Saxbys is not really favorable for studying because it is small, crowded, and often loud, although it does have great coffee. If you don’t want to study in the law school library or Temple’s main campus library, you are not left with many choices in this area.

North Philadelphia, like many intercity areas, struggles with poverty and increased rates of crime. Students who attend schools in these areas can benefit from being aware of their surroundings, and not purposely putting themselves in danger. Temple takes student safety seriously, and offers a number of services to keep their students stay safe when commuting home. If you are studying late at school and are unsure if walking home alone is your best option, you can call Temple Security for a walking escort. There is also a door-to-door shuttle that leaves every thirty minutes from the main library on campus.

Bottom Line

North Philadelphia is great for its proximity to campus and affordable living, especially when northeast winters are as scary as they sound.

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