Those media outlets, admittedly, are barely in Bala Cynwyd. A hop, a skip or a jump - choose one - across City Avenue will take you from the suburbs to the city in a second.
Of course, that's part of the draw of Bala Cynwyd. You can't get any closer to Philadelphia.
"I can be in town in eight minutes, but when I come home, it still feels like I'm in the suburbs, away from the city," said Joe Manko, a Lower Merion Township commissioner who has lived in Bala Cynwyd for 44 of his 52 years. ''Yet I don't have any of the inconvenience I'd have if I were far away."
But the closeness to Philadelphia, some say, is also one of the few drawbacks.
"Crime is one of our major current concerns, emphasized by proximity to the city," said Andrea Engle, president of the Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd, the oldest - founded in 1906 - and largest civic association in the area. "One of the projects we're undertaking right now is parlor meetings with Lower Merion police. They will target very specific concerns of small,
Bala Cynwyd, the gateway to the Main Line, is pretty concentrated, with about 11,000 people in an area bounded by City Avenue, Old Lancaster Road, Parsons Avenue, Manayunk Road and the Schuylkill.
Lately, Engle has noticed a slight population shift as young families with small children have been moving in. Families are drawn not only by the convenience to Center City, but by the amenities offered in Lower Merion Township, all of which can be found in Bala Cynwyd.
The school system is considered one of the best in the state, and two private schools with national reputations - Akiba Hebrew Academy, and Episcopal Academy - sit just across the Bala Cynwyd line in Merion. Synagogues, churches and other houses of worship abound. There are public playgrounds, tennis courts, parks and a swimming pool in the area.
The Bala Cynwyd Shopping Center, a strip of stores on City Avenue, has been around for four decades and is next door to Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. On Montgomery Avenue you can buy shoes, salads, cars, flowers or a corned beef on rye. Bala Avenue is the site of one of the oldest movie theaters in the state: the Bala, with its one large screen, built in the 1920s as the Egyptian and still bearing much of the original decorations. (Another 1920s theater, the Narberth, is just up the road in Narberth.)
Although there are no Center City-type skyscrapers, there is plenty of office space, especially in the Bala Plazas I and II.
In fact, Manko moved his law firm from Center City to Bala Cynwyd.
"I don't think there's a more convenient place to live," he said. "I would hope one of my kids lives here and my grandchildren go to the schools I
Heck, even the schools have been around for almost 200 years. The old Lower Merion Academy on Bryn Mawr Avenue was completed in 1812, and is still used for school functions.
By the time the academy accepted its first students, Bala Cynwyd - it was called Merionville in the early days - was already 120 years old. The area was settled in 1682 by Edward Jones and 17 Welsh Quaker families. One of the early
arrivals was John Roberts, who claimed 150 acres and named it Pencoyd. About 150 years later, two descendants, Percival and Algernon Roberts, founded the Pencoyd Iron Works. Located along the Schuylkill, it merged in 1900 with American Bridge Co., which later became a major component in the formation of United States Steel Corp.
Iron manufacturing was just one of the thriving industries. Ice harvesting
from the Schuylkill, for instance, kept a number of firms in business. But much of the land was still being farmed up until World War II.
The development along City Avenue began slowly in the 1930s. That is when, according to a volume published by the Lower Merion Historical Society, three heirs still living on Pencoyd gave the township a strip of land 15 feet wide along City Avenue to widen the roadway. The extension of the Schuylkill Expressway to City Line in the early 1950s accelerated the boom. WCAU moved to Bala Cynwyd in 1952, and, not long after, built an entire frontier town behind its building to broadcast live dramas - complete with noise from the City Avenue traffic.
That traffic has gotten a lot worse over the years, but never bad enough to make longtime residents think of leaving.
"I watch people move farther out, build bigger homes and drive farther," said Manko. "That's not for me. To me, Bala Cynwyd is an ideal place."
He has plenty of neighbors who would agree with that.
Estimated taxes: About $2,100 on a median-price home.
Distance to Center City: Less than 10 minutes on the Schuylkill Expressway.
Parks: Bala Avenue Park at Bala and Union Avenues; Bala Cynwyd Park at Belmont and Llandrillo Avenues.
Commuting: The Bala station of the R6 SEPTA train line is off City Avenue. The No. 38 bus runs from Bala Cynwyd to Independence Mall. Other buses that travel to different parts of Philadelphia make stops in Bala Cynwyd, including the Nos. 1, 44, 69, 85 and 121.
Schools: Public: Bala Elementary School; Bala Middle School. Private: Solomon Schechter Day School. (Just across the Merion/Bala Cynwyd Line are Episcopal Academy and Akiba Hebrew Academy.)
Shopping: Bala Cynwyd Shopping Center on City Avenue. Numerous stores along Montgomery Avenue.
Population: 11,546 in 1991.*
Median home price: $197,000 in '91.
Income: $29,027 per capita in '91, 77% above 7-county suburban avg.*