Neighborhood Guide: Washington Square and Society Hill

LEFT: Washington Square provides the area with a pretty sweet backyard . RIGHT:  Part of what you’re paying for in Society Hill is the sense of history, conveyed by 250-year-old homes, quaint courtyards and narrow cobblestone streets.

Washington Square is one of the five original parks William Penn laid out in his new city of Philadelphia, way back in the 1600s. The idea was to have a hushed little oasis where urbanites could escape chaotic city life.

“It’s like a backyard. It’s laid back, it’s not ‘see and be seen,’” says Gayle Christiansen, who works for Project H.O.M.E. and rents an apartment a few blocks from the park in Washington Square West, or “Wash West.”

Wash West is, appropriately, the neighborhood immediately west of the park, running from Seventh to 13th streets and from South to Chestnut, though realtor Antonio Atacan of Keller Williams Center City divides even that small area into two sections: swankier Washington Square up to 11th, and then cheaper Wash West making up the rest.

To keep it confusing, the area also includes two overlapping ’hoods: the Gayborhood and Midtown Village, both filled with trendy shops, restaurants and bars.

On the other side of the park, going down to Front Street and between Walnut and Lombard, is Society Hill.

“Society Hill is more Boston. Washington Square is more New York,” says Atacan, a Society Hill resident. “There are tiny blocks in Society Hill that feel like you’re in the suburbs. In Washington Square, you’re in the middle of the action.”

That action attracts a younger, hipper crowd — who probably couldn’t afford Society Hill anyway. “If a buyer wants to spend $400,000, in Society Hill they might find a tiny condo, if that,” Atacan says. “In Washington Square, $400,000 can get you something bigger and more modern.”


With its high-rise apartments, restaurants and laundromats, Wash West is attractive to younger residents who are looking to rent in the area. “It’s post-student, pre-homeownership,” explains Christiansen. “It seems like there are a lot of renters here, and then the next stop is buying.”


Thousands protest in New York over Eric Garner…

The Reverend Al Sharpton led thousands of chanting but peaceful activists in a march across Staten Island on Saturday to protest the death of Eric Garner.


Egypt calls for Gaza ceasefire as fighting rages

Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to halt fire and resume peace talks, but violence continued unabated.


SpaceX rocket terminated in Texas test flight

A Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 9 rocket suffered an anomaly shortly after launch on a test flight, triggering its automatic termination system.


MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…


Arcade Fire concert review, Massachusetts, Aug. 19

Arcade Fire take the opposite approach of "Shut up and play the hits," and it works in their favor on the "Reflektor" tour.


Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.


Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm


Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.


3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…


3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.


Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.


Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…


Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…


Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…