Detroit natives, could you describe the area of Birmingham-Bloomfield to me?
Long story short, partner is possibly accepting a job in Windsor, ON. We have a toddler and are looking to stay stateside and settle in a good community with solid schools, vibrant culture etc. Neither of us come from the Midwest (though I went to college in Chicago but left after senior yr, 15 years ago).
Detroit proper gets a bad rap, I know. I'm uncertain about the surrounding towns but want to stay domestic for a variety of reasons. People have said that these two communities are good to look at, although I don't know if they are out of our price range or simply nice towns outside the city. Also given how depressed Detroit is, I'm wondering if prices may be lower here.
Anyway. would love advice from Michigan natives.
Maybe you'll get additional comments, but here's the recent theead on this.
BTW Bloomfield Hills has fallen from the richest square mile in America in 1983 to not being in the top thousand now.
I live in Bloomfield. If you move to Bloomfield you should look up around the Long Lake/ Lahser/ Lone Pine/ Woodward area. Crime is up in both Bloomfield and Birmingham. Just read an article about gang members coming in from Detroit, Southfield and Pontiac. They are breaking into cars, stealing catalytic converters and stealing purses.It's not Detroit but things have changed. Birmingham has a downton so they are having issues with people being robbed while walking around the city. I am not the biggest fan of Birmingham. The homes are overpriced and taxes are high. You get a lot more for the same price in Bloomfield. There is also an area around the Lone Pine/ Walnut Lake in West Bloomfield that is in the Bloomfield Hills school district. Very good schools.
If I were to move back to Michigam, Ann Arbor or Birmingham would be my choices. Ann Arbor is a fabulous small city. Lived there for years.
What price range are you looking for, OP, and why stay stateside? Canada would be a better option, IMHO, and you could get married if you aren't already.
My gosh, I had no idea those areas have that much crime now. I've moved out of state a couple of years ago to the much safer and well managed Chicago area (eyes rolling in sarcasm).
Good thing you left.
Talk to a tax lawyer or CPA before he accepts the job. His tax liability will significantly increase if he works in Canada whether you live in the US or Canada. Unless he is taking a C level position, it might not be worthwhile.
I had no idea Windsor or this area existed
I gotta say, Detroit Dick is the best.
I live in Ann Arbor and love it here, but if I were commuting to Windsor, Ont, I would look into a community closer. So, I would suggest Grosse Pointe for Wayne County; Sterling Heights for Macomb County; Royal Oak/Pleasant Ridge for Oakland Co (these two cities are mini-Ann Arbors, but w/o the university - they are progressive like AA in a way).
Basically, you don't want to be driving forever to get to work, and take into consideration the winter weather.
Look at the areas I suggest and let us know what you decide.
I've never lived in a border region but have crossed into Canada many times by car. I know cross border shopping is commonplace but are people really allowed to commute from one side to the other on a daily basis for work?
You should live in Windsor. Why not? This country is going nowhere. Canada can still be saved.
They're both very nice and by and large upper middle class/on the affluent side. I personally prefer the aesthetic of Birmingham. I think of Birmingham as older, very fine looking homes sort of close together on tree lined streets with sidewalks. All seems well.
Bloomfield is also very nice. I think of Bloomfield as newer, more McMansiony (but in reality it isn't gauche and truly there's probably more money there), big lawns, houses farther apart, no sidewalks, golf course feel.
Also, what's your budget?
Other cities you might look at (ranked perhaps in declining order of my preference): Troy, Rochester, Washington Township, Macomb Township, Shelby Township, New Baltimore, Clinton Township, and Sterling Heights. Also perhaps Rochester Hills, Southfield, and Royal Oak.
Grosse Pointe is also quite nice and by tradition it might be considered the most affluent Detroit suburub. However, I don't think it's what it used to be and honestly I would be somewhat wary about any city that shares a border with Detroit (as Grosse Pointe does).
Grosse Ile is cool.
R15 has great advice.
Why not Canada? I like LaSalle or Russell Woods. Get a nexus card and a bridge card for faster cheaper crossing.
[quote]I know cross border shopping is commonplace but are people really allowed to commute from one side to the other on a daily basis for work?
I know people who do this in San Diego/Tijuana and yes, it's surprisingly common. You can get approved for express border crossings where they essentially just wave you through. I imagine there's something similar in Detroit/Windsor.
For whatever it's worth, apparently WIndsor is the (female) strip club capital of the world with all manner of Sodom and Gomorrah stuff available.
The straight guys in the office go nuts whenever they have to go there and talk about it for weeks afterwards.
Sterling Heights is becoming over-run with Arabs and Indians.
There has been a large uptick in crime, especially in the southern end of the city.
Another nice area is Huntington Woods. Older( nice ) homes, sidewalks, very family oriented. Safe area with good schools. It's near Birmingham, Ferndale and Royal Oak. Very close to the zoo and freeways.
OP, just move to Canada, Windsor is no Toronto but it's still a decent little city.
However, if you MUST move to Michigan, I would choose Grosse Pointe, it has beautiful older homes, excellent schools, and despite bordering Detroit it is still very safe. There is an easy commute to the Windsor Tunnel down Jefferson Avenue from the Pointes.
Also, you should be aware, the people in Metro Detroit overreact to crime more hysterically than any other people in America. Some old lady gets her purse snatched out of her shopping cart at Kroger and all of a sudden the neighborhood is "going bad" and everyone is putting their houses up for sale to move farther north. It was that way 30 years ago and it's still that way.
But if all you are after is a "decent little city" there are plenty in Michigan.
Grosse pointe park, gp farms, or gp shores are your best options.
Avoid Southfield. Horrible schools and crime is on the increase.
Southfield does not have "horrible schools."
It has some modern condo-y type places (see link)
Pleasant Ridge is pretty nice.
Beverly Hills and Berkley are also nice but nto as upscale.
Ixnay Waterford Township, Clinton Township, New Baltimore. Next thing they'll have you commuting from Flint. Sarnia, on the other hand, would be a nice town to live in.
Wow, that condo is amazing for the price R33. Except for the $544/mo HOA fee.
Are you still around, OP?
Southfield schools ARE horrible, Check your facts. We used to live in Town Center when it was still a decent place and the schools were bad then. It is worse now. Check statistics.
Yes, Southfield has some condo type places but so does Detroit. Its getting worse. Gangs and crime ( I know the chief of police in Southfield )
R36 is talking in code. Black persons have moved into Southfield, you see. If you do go to Detroit, people like R36 are best avoided.
I've never been to a more racially paranoid and "class conscious" place than metro Detroit. The city keeps sprawling out as white people continue to run from some imaginary boogeyman - whether it's black people, petty crime, or "bad" schools. R36 is echoing the same concerns that white Detroiters had when they first fled to suburbs like Southfield in the 50s. The cycle of suburban paranoia is endless. At the rate Detroiters continue to run from their own city you might as well live in Sarnia, OP.
R37 nailed it.
I live in Ann Arbor, which I think is a bit far for a commute to Windsor, especially in winter.
My vote would be Plymouth, which is closer to Windsor (about 20 miles east of A2) and reminds me of it, without the omnipresent parking meters.
Royal Oak is also nice; Ferndale is okay, but not as nice as Royal Oak imho.
Secular, solidly middle class and up, older looking classic suburbs. It is where liberal professors live. It's in Oakland County, which is better to deal with for ANY issue rather than Wayne County (Grosse Pointe) as Detroit is also part of Wayne County. Grosse Pointe is prettier and on the water, so if you like boats, head there. Sterling Heights is like New Jersey and in Macomb County (think Queens and at best a small McMansion owned by a woman with large hair).
I have lived throughout the city for 35 years. Someone mentioned Royal Oak as the gayest (haha, I moved from there in 2009 to an east side suburb--culture shock but cheap). Ferndale is lesbian, Royal Oak is gay man heaven.
No, I'm not talking in code. Southfield is a diverse area but it has changed. Why would someone ( especially with a child ) want to move into any area that is not safe? What is wrong with wanting your child to have a good education? How is that racist? Do you consider murder, shootings and rape petty crime? If you prefer to live around that good for you.
Hey. I live here. Birmingham area. They have superior schools, and are very family oriented. Crime is definitely not a big a deal and it shouldn't be an obstacle. This is the perfect area for you.
There's a lot for families to do, cultural opportunities, beautiful neighborhood parks that are well maintained, great shopping. Put it this way. There's two Trader Joes, two Whole Foods, and four Kroger's within a six mile radius.
There are great restaurants and good shopping whether your looking for Home Depot (There are two of those), or Lowes(two of those), or Saks Fifth Avenue and Macys. A little further south is the Royal Oak community. Also a good place to walk around and see a movie have dinner, etc.
You will not find a better area if you're moving here with a toddler. For Safety, schools, convenience, amenities, and cultural opportunities this is it. Ann Arbor is fine, but it is at heart, a college town, and its a good 50 + miles away or more from Windsor.
OP, you and your partner/husband need to come for a visit with a realtor and drive around and walk around. Personally I would avoid Macomb and Wayne counties like the plague. The very best places, IMO are in Oakland County. It is well run, culturally diverse, and gay friendly.
I would look at Birmingham, Beverly Hills, Farmington Hills, Bloomfield hills, West Bloomfield, Rochester Hills, and the City of Rochester. Just plug those locations in with Realtor.com and you'll see what I mean. Troy has uneven crap housing, mediocre schools (compared to the Birmingham/Bloomfield area)and they have a very strong Tea PArty influence in local politics.
R41, so how far will you have to move to feel safe? 12 Mile Road? 16 Mile Road? 22 Mile Road?
I agree that there is crime in places like Southfield, but it's not exactly a hotbed of rape and gun violence (unless you can cite some statistics to the contrary).
Again, the speed with which Metro Detroiters panic and move over "crime" is absurd.
Troy also has the best shopping. Fundies can happen anywhere.
Franklin has a lot of handsome million dollar modern houses. OP is rich, so have at it.
Birmingham and Bloomfield as "secular" and "where liberal professors live"? LOL. I mean, yes, they're not under theocratic rule and a handfull of "liberal professors" surely live there. But the cities are majority Republican and there is no progressive vibe at all.
They're delightful, civilized places though; not particularly political/partisan (I mean it's the MI suburbs afterall!).
You are wrong. While this is a predominantly Republican area, the Republicans for the most part are of the old school, businessmen and moderates. They're pretty non ideological. They just believe that Business is more efficient and less wasteful than government. So there's that old style superiority that my grandfather had.
OTOH, The Mayor of Troy was a Tea Party member and she was recalled. Now she's trying to run for city council. There are Tea Party Republicans in Oakland county, for sure, but compared to the number of Tea party and militia people living in Macomb county, Oakland County is downright moderate.
There is also an influx of Democrats. They live here too. Lots of them. In my particular neighborhood, we only know of two Republicans who are Tea party people out of maybe 60 homeowners, and no one talks to them. After the Bush mess in Iraq, Katrina, etc., and the financial crisis, and the way the mid level auto execs were being thrown out the windows, all that impacted this area.
They now call themselves Independents and they voted for Obama. Twice. My legislators are Dems, my Congressman is a Dem. Do not presume to tell me about the area I live in, grew up in, and went to school. The areas I listed in R43 are the most viable places to live for OP's purposes.
Wrong about what, R48? I don't know that you've contradicted a word I wrote. I never claimed Oakland County was Tea Party haven. I didn't mention the Tea Partiers nor did they even cross my mind. I simply stated that Birmingham and Bloomfield aren't particularly political or partisan, but they are majority Republican.
I'm glad you like 58 of your neighbors, but you shouldn't mischaracterize the cities as "secular" and the land of "liberal professors" simply because Tea Partiers don't roam the streets with pitchforks.
And this is an open message board. Obviously many of the people posting in this thread (including me) live in or have lived in the area and will presume to have opinons. As I said, I think you live in a delightful and civilized part of the country. Congratulations.
Good Republicans, in Michigan? No way no how. Michigan Republicans are among the slimiest most abandoned creatures on this earth, including the ones in Bloomfield and Birmingham.
R44 I live in Bloomfield Hills and have no plans to move. I used to live at Town Center and loved it there. There was a rape in the parking deck of one of the office complexesin Town Center, a few months ago a shooting resulting in a death in the brownstones behind TC and a car jacking at theTGI Fridays right across from the police department. Again, if you choose to live around it that is up to you. I like to feel that I'm safe in my home and neighborhood.
Bloomfield Hills has all those same kinds of things.
the crimes R51 wrote about more than likely were committed by low-lifes coming down Woodward from Pontiac.
R43 gave the most complete, reasoned, and accurate answer to OP's question.
First, R49, you're wrong in saying there's no progressive vibe here. I live here. Right now. I have lived here most of my life except for college. In Ann Arbor. I'm in my mid 40's. This area is a lot more progressive now than it was in 1996 or 2000.
We are a lot more ethnically diverse now, and we have a much larger gay population. I knew Obama was going to with the Presidency when I drove thru the residential areas of downtown Birmingham in 2008, and saw lawn signs for him. There were even more when "favorite son" Romney ran in 2012.
The Republicans I talked to were turned off by Sarah Pailin's stupidity. That tells me there is most definitely a "progressive vibe." These are people who, back in 1992 & 1996 identified as Republicans. They continued to identify as Republicans right up until 2004. No I hear "Independent" more than ever and a lot more people have no problem saying "Democrat."
Secondly, I never characterized anything as "secular" and I never talked about "liberal Professors." I posted @ R42 and R43.
Seeing Obama lawn signs during an election year and talking to REPUBLICANS who think Palin is stupid -- this constitutes a "liberal vibe"?
And are you really so politically obsessed as to know (and presumably often inquire about) the voting histories and party affiliations of your neighbors spanning 20 years and six presidential elections? And enough neighbors to compose an adequate sample size?
Oh, fuck off with your bullying and your condescension. Of course my information is anecdotal. But it's supported by the numbers. I guess it's more important to you, that you be seen to be right, to be argumentative for the sake of arguing, and attempt crush anyone who disagrees with you, that to create space for different experiences, or observations. Then you try to ridicule and marginalize and invalidate. I find you to be extremely hostile.
As a matter of fact, we have a neighborhood association, we're a close knit community. We have a community center, and libraries, and an art center, and neighbors who talk to one another, and send their kids to school together, and yes, they discuss politics during the election cycles.
So yeah. My posts stand on their own merits. I'd rather get in a pissing contest with a fucking skunk than waste time responding to anymore of your bullying.
Maureen Maher is from West Bloomfield. Anyone know her?
Birmingham at heart a college town? Laughable. What bothers me most about Bham is that it is SNOOTY, snobbish, and otherwise looks down its nose at everyone. People you live in suburban Detroit, you do not have that right.
R58, you happen to disagree with me. I'm not "bullying" you or trying to "crush" your opinion. Get over yourself. You initiated the exchange by categorically saying my post was wrong; I simply responded. It's a little overwrought to call me "hostile" and tell me to "fuck off."
First of all can we stop shitting on the city of Detroit and the people of color? It's old and quite frankly tiresome. Bloomfield and Birmingham are very nice places to live. I'm also partial to Royal Oak and Berkley because they're both encompass city life and small town sensibility. (Plus they're neighbors to ultra-gay friendly Ferndale.) Either way most of these areas are great places to live and offer a lot. Ann Arbor would be quite the commute in the winter (and construction) and Windsor is out of the question due to the hassle of the border day in and day out.
R60,that person was saying Ann Arbor is at heart a college town, not Birmingham.
Guy who said liberal profs don't live in Birmingham--
Wayne State Population:
Grad School/Teaching Asst--Ferndale
Partner/need a yard--Royal Oak
Associate Prof, moving up--Birmingham
There are a couple variations, but this isn't far off. Basically, you can move up Woodward until you hit Pontiac.
Is there any gay life in the area? I live in one of the nicer suburbs & I'm finding it near impossible to meet anyone.
It's not the sort of place for Grindr.
I always used to pick up guys at Mt. Chalet. No need to go all the way into the city.
65 find a good salon in Bham. The guys working there are generally pretty hot. I know in the salon I go to they are.