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jedivader Jul 23rd, 2009 06:56 AM

Camden, NJ Visit
Anything to do in Camden?

My wife and I will be in Philly for the day and just wanted to see if there was anything to see over in Camden.

ebdlemond02 Jul 23rd, 2009 07:02 AM

Plenty to do and easy to get to from Philly. There s the Camden Aquarium to start and if you are interested in baseball you could take in a Camden Riversharks game...minor league team with a fun inexpensive stadium.Also, though I have never been, they have The Walt Whitman House which from online reviews looks interesting.

Have fun!!!

BigRuss Jul 23rd, 2009 07:34 AM


Seriously, do you have any sense of that place?

Camden is one of the absolute worst cities in America. It is the Detroit of New Jersey, and that says a lot considering the general condition of New Jersey's larger cities like Trenton, Patterson, Newark (despite improvements) and Jersey City.

According to the most recent FBI crime statistics (2007), <b>Camden has the highest violent crime rate of any city in the US in the 60,000-100,000 population range</b> (its rate is 15% higher than the next closest hellhole). Its violent crime rate among cities in the US with 60,000 or more people is third in the nation, trailing two complete dumps, Detroit and Flint, Michigan.

Large swaths of the city look like they've been bombed. Chunks of the city are blighted. It's akin to postwar Dresden mixed with 1970s urban renewal disasters. Only Gary, Indiana and New Orleans have higher murder rates.

So again, the question is ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?

kmbp Jul 23rd, 2009 08:07 AM

The RiverLink ferry will take you from Penn's Landing in Philadelphia directly to a landing behaind the aquarium in Camden. You'll be well-positioned for the waterfront development attractions.

Sure, there are areas of Camden you will not want to explore. The waterfront, however--with the aquarium, children's garden, ball park and Susquehanna Bank Center concerts--draws thousands of visitors.

jedivader Jul 23rd, 2009 09:20 AM

Just wen to Detroit a few months ago and it was a cool city, nothing close to what I was expecting. Sure, it had the run-down, poor areas but around the stadiums and the waterfront was very nice. I was impressed by Detroit. We are going to be in Philly so why not go across the bridge into Camden (never been). Plus, we want to get to Flying Fish for a brew tour.

persimmondeb Jul 23rd, 2009 09:22 AM

Take a ferry to the waterfront area, in daylight, and it'll be fine, and interesting. DON'T DRIVE IN. If you get even slightly lost, large chunks of the city are truly the wild west (BigRuss is not exaggerating), and feel unsafe (and probably are) even in a locked automobile.

yk Jul 23rd, 2009 09:44 AM

Apart from the Aquarium, there's also Battleship New Jersey.

jedivader Jul 23rd, 2009 09:57 AM

Thanks for the tips. I have always heard that parts of NJ are like war zones. Hard to believe there are places like that in the USA still.

kmbp Jul 23rd, 2009 12:09 PM

Flying Fish is in Cherry Hill.

BigRuss Jul 23rd, 2009 01:41 PM

There's plenty of war zone cities. Mostly blighted, unkempt municipalities that have been neglected or completely defenestrated by corrupt officials. I'm not referring to rust belt cities that have lost their industrial bases (Youngstown, Buffalo, Akron), although those look terrible and have their own crime problems. I mean sizable municipalities that have been dens of corruption and mismanagement for decades: Detroit, Gary (Indiana), New Orleans (even before Katrina), Oakland, Tampa (although it has recovered a lot recently), Trenton.

Camden is a dump. I'm amazed that the city has even successfully initiated that waterfront area, but it's like DC in the '80s and '90s (you basically couldn't venture safely into NE or SE outside the immediate vicinity of the government buildings). It's sad, but not shocking, that the best way to enjoy the best part of Camden is to take a ferry from Philly to the one interesting area and not risk taking your car into the city.

And I'm not sure how you can be surprised that areas of the country are like that. Ever watch The Wire? New Jersey has a reputation (for more than 30 years) for terrible crime-ridden cities.

ebdlemond02 Jul 24th, 2009 07:31 AM

You will be fine if you just use your head. My boyfriend and I just visited Baltimore for the weekend (we live in Philly) and of course we had a few people say WHY??? Of course there are parts of Baltimore that you did not want to explore but then there are some really cool neighbohoods that we did explore and felt quite safe in.
I say report back after you visit Camden...

persimmondeb Jul 24th, 2009 08:00 AM

Camden is not Detroit, or Baltimore, or even Newark. They are all largish cities with high-crime rates, some extremely dangerous neighborhoods, and reasonably safe downtown/tourist areas. If you are used to cities and use some common sense, you should be perfectly fine. Camden is a small city, and with the exception of the carefully husbanded waterfront area, it is almost entirely a dangerous wasteland. A friend of mine, a fit African-American man in his thirties, found breaking down in Camden a rather hair-raising experience, although he was able to extract both himself and his automobile in one piece. I repeat, take the ferry. Driving is not a really hot idea.

jedivader Jul 24th, 2009 08:23 AM

Surprised but not if you know what I mean. I work in D.C. and the part that I'm in has changed over the past ten years. It went from vacant buildings and dirt lots to a mini times square. There are still parts of D.C. you don't want to get caught in as there is in every city/town.

Yes, I have seen the wire and driven through parts of Baltimore that are horrible.

All politicians are crooked in some way. Hell, Marion Barry is still running around D.C. and constantly getting in trouble with the police. Our County Executive is a joke, using tax payers money to fly to Africa (along with office associates)to promote business in the county. Africa?? Really?? You can't promote within the county?

Anyway, guess I'll see what Camden is all about. Don't plan on really doing anything there, just wanted to know if there was a hidden gem. I'll most likely be passing through to get to Flying Fish.

Can't really say much about a place until it is seen with your own eyes. As I said, I enjoyed Detroit (even though we were in the touristy areas. It was much more than I expected.

Ackislander Jul 24th, 2009 12:33 PM

There are parts of Oakland that are as nice as any upscale suburb in the United States, BigRuss, and it probably has better restaurants than some entire states.

bachslunch Jul 24th, 2009 01:39 PM

Camden is indeed a horrid dump of a city and no hidden gem, though the Adventure Aquarium and Battleship New Jersey on the waterfront there are well worth seeing. If it's summer, you can include this as part of a day-long visit to the Penn's Landing area on Philadelphia's waterfront and take the water shuttle there and back -- this can only be done during daylight hours, fortunately. Otherwise, I'd studiously avoid the city.

I'll agree with BigRuss that Trenton is an awful city (though one can spend about a half day there seeing its few sights, including its very nice capitol building and Old Barracks), though parts of Oakland and Tampa are perfectly fine for visitors and have interesting sights -- but it's best to do some study before venturing in either, as it's very easy to get into troublesome areas in both cities. What little I've seen of Gary, IN and East St. Louis, IL were just scary, and there's no reason I can think of to visit either.

BigRuss Jul 24th, 2009 03:07 PM


YAWN. Can say the same for lots of cities, but that doesn't mean you make the detour.

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