Cheesteak on my Mind

As I mentioned in a previous posting, I lost my job a couple weeks ago. My job search since then has been going rather badly, having scored exactly one interview out of at least a dozen or so resumes I’ve sent out so far. The interview went well, but the job in question qoes something like this:

1) Idiot buys expensive house near O’Hare Airport
2) Idiot is shocked to discover that jet airplanes make noise
3) Idiot, naturally, sues the City of Chicago
4) Judge decress that the city must pay to soundproof Idiot’s home
5) City hires architecture firm to oversee soundproofing of Idiot’s home, as well as the homes of several hundered other similar idiots. This is where yours truly would come in.

Needless to say, it doesn’t sound like a very exciting position, but beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose.

In my previous posting I also mentioned that with things in Chicago going so badly, I’m giving some consideration to leaving the city once again, possibly to Boston, Philadelphia, or the NYC area. After looking at a lot of information and doing a lot of soul-searching, right now I seem rather torn between sticking it out in Chicago or moving to Philly sometime this fall.

Reasons to stay in Chicago:

  • I’ve grown very attached to Chicago over the past eight years of living here.
  • Chicago is a very healthy and beautiful city
  • Most of my closest friends live here
  • Chicago has a very good architectural community
  • I wouldn’t have to move all my crap 1000 miles again

Reasons to move to Philly:

  • Drexel University’s co-op program will let me work full-time and still get my degree by taking evening classes
  • Philly, unlike NYC or Boston, has plenty of affordable housing
  • Philly is very close to NYC and Washington, and within a few hours of Boston.
  • Several of my close friends in Chicago have family in Philly and visit regularly.
  • Despite my housing fiasco last summer in Boston, part of me is still itching to broaden my horizons a bit by spending time in another city.

I applied to Drexel today just to see if they’re crazy enough to accept me, so I should have an answer within a few weeks. In the meantime, here’s a few questions I have for any Philadelphia residents or experts:

1) Most importantly, any idea what Philly’s job market is like for architects? In what esteem is Drexel’s co-op program held within Philly’s architectural community?

2) I know there’s a couple people here with connections to Drexel. What are your general impressions of the university? Strengths / weaknesses? Be candid.

3) I’d be looking to get a one-bedroom apartment for less than $750 a month, close to public transit (preferably MFL, subway-surface or regional rail), but also someplace where parking wouldn’t be a hassle. From the rental listings I’ve seen, it doesn’t look like I’d have much trouble finding a place. I’d most likely end up in Northeast or maybe South Jersey just because it would be a somewhat shorter trip to NYC, but I’m open to any other suggestions.

4) This may be a bit of a stretch, but how hard would it be to work in New York City and still take evening classes at Drexel? The commute would be a bitch at the very least, but I’m exploring all my options here.

5) How healthy is Philly’s underground nightlife/arts/music scene? It can’t possibly be as sterile as Boston’s, but I’d still like to take advantage of such things without trekking all the way up to New York.

Thanks in advance for any tips or suggestions… FYI, I probably wouldn’t be moving until October at the earliest, so the SubTalk field trip to Chicago wouldn’t be in danger.

(originally posted on the SubTalk forum at

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