Dec 20, 2010

Say Now


Say now, do you remember when Neuweilers was a brewery on Front Street, not a redevelopment project? Say now, do you remember when Park and Shop validated your ticket for free parking, not a Parking Authority that fined you for coming downtown? Say now, do you remember when Hamilton Street was filled with neon signs and shoppers, not ordinances and vision plans? Say now, do you remember when City Hall didn't have all the managers, planners and directors we have now? Say now, we must have been stupider then or something.

19 comments:

gary ledebur said...

When I first moved to Allentown I remember three, unblievable three, department stores in downtown. I dutifully took all my relatives to eat at Hess's for the strawberry pie and gorgeous models. In the spring, when the models wore swimsuits, well those were special. Try some holiday spirit MM for City Hall. Maybe something nice for the bureaucrats that serve the city.

michael molovinsky said...

gary, there are plenty others to blow that smoke.

Anonymous said...

Say now, do you remember when ladies wore white gloves and high heels on Saturday to shop downtown and Hess's
had stunningly gorgeous live models and gourmet chefs and onsite tailors.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

I am a relative new comer to the valley. When I arrived in 1986 Allentown was still bustling, it reminded me of my hometown downtown of Pittsburgh. I remember the optimism of many in the late nineties when in spite of serious setbacks Allentown seemed ready to turn the corner to a bright future. Then it was Roy followed by Ed. They have created a textbook example of urban mismanagement that may be irreversible. They have replaced community with their party machine. All of them(mayors, councilmembers, apologists ,opportunists, and enablers/journalists/editors…) seem oblivious to the havoc they have inflicted on the city.
Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

scott, i agree with you, but put some blame even further back, during the republican era. there supposedly was some interest from boscov concerning hess's. that should have been pursued, but heydt insisted on his hockey arena plan. tearing down the canopy was also another expensive private decision on his part.

Local said...

During my twenty years plus as a resident here in Allentown, I have observed the city employment growing like an out of control tumour.
Start laying off these worse than worthless city employees.
Abolish the Allentown Parking Authority. (and all other city businesses ending with the word authority)
End all programs like Sweep.
Stop already with the raising of all city service fees.
Stifle the geniuses within our government creating more services and programs for profit - or at least call them what they are - TAXES.
Don't stop there.
Balance the books.

Looking To Escape said...

"tearing down the canopy was also another expensive private decision on his part."
.
The canopies were an eyesore that served no useful purpose. The best way for me to get wet fast was to walk under them during a rain storm. Allentown looks more open an airier and more attractive without those grayish brown eyesores.
.
I am not sure anything could have saved Hess. Many times I had gone in they had very few customers.
.
The town I grew up was also clobbered by malls. Stores disappeared. A mall was built within the town but it never worked out in the way they had hoped.
.
The town did what Allentown is attempting to do now, make it a huge restaurant complex and it appears the plan worked out fairly well. The difference is that town (also a county seat) kept very careful control over rentals and kept a large part of it's higher income tax payers (and no canopies were needed).

Anonymous said...

It's been over for some time, now.

Guys like you and me are just going through the normal stages associated with grief and the loss of a loved one.

gary ledebur said...

Almost every northeastern American city the size of Allentown that depended on retail shopping, manufacturing and big coal and steel has faced the same situation. Scranton, Erie, Wilkes Barre, Chester and Norristown have lost their middle class to the suburbs. Perhaps we know of folks who moved to a suburban township along with thousands of others. Work through the grief cycle then stop complaining and get involved.

michael molovinsky said...

gary, do me a favor and refrain from saying "get involved". i attend too many meetings, express my opinion in too many forums, to be told to get involved. this city has spent no less than $25 million in community development recently with nothing more than a few restaurants to show.
the reason all the town suffer the same fate is that bureaucrats duplicate each others failed plans. i agree that the conditions have changed, but they certainly have not made the best from the hand they were dealt.

Anonymous said...

G.L.,

Get involved with what?

Machete fights after school in MY NEIGHBORHOOD?

No thanks.

You and the rest of the Progressive Liberal Apologists can have the disgusting city.

Can't wait 'til I have enough saved and find another job so I can MOVE ONCE AND FOR ALL.

Enjoy your ever and rapidly declining slum.

It won't be missed.

Loved your little lecture, though.

You really should save that, though, for people who are prepared to buy your recycled, retreaded Rah-Rah routine.

BTW - there is probably another busload arriving tomorrow...

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Anytime someone writes that you and I should get involved only serves to highlight their ignorance of recent history. By the way, Bill wasn’t perfect but he did what he thought was right and was never the tool of any interest or party. The same cannot be said of those who followed him in the mayor’s office.

Scott Armstrong

gary ledebur said...

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem! MM, you are to be applauded for being involved. It takes time and energy to attend public meetings. Too few of us do that. Your blogs call attention to community and now world issues. You are indeed the Tribune of the People! Nevertheless I believe that too many of your readers simply want to complain and blame, blame, blame when I doubt they could do much better to make the valley more prosperous. Calling me a "progressive liberal" is not addressing the issues. How many of your readers mentor students, clean highways from litter, volunteer in homeless shelters, run for political office, support candidates for office, participate in local town watch, organize neighborhood activities for children, and on and on. I am not focusing on you, MM, but the climate of blaming politicians, bureaucrats, the poor, the unemployed and the progressive liberals.

Anonymous said...

Gary,

In a machine town getting involved means being part of the team or getting run over, been there done that, it was pointless. It is a waste of time attending meetings unless you are there to cheerlead. Sorry to break this to you but it is just the truth. Why not try this for us. Go to council or any city body and take a principled stand against any of their proposals, policies, or pieces of legislation. Then report back.
There was a time when both Mike and I fought against each other in front of council, our input meant something and was considered. That was before the machine.
It is time to blame the politicians who operate within the machine structure and the blindly partisan Democrat straight party voters of Allentown who re-elect proven failures.
Scott Armstrong

gary ledebur said...

I have known many politicians. Of course some are not virtuous not even very smart. Most that I have known are committed to making the world a better place. The politician with the most integrity that I knew was Robert Patrick Casey. He lost several elections yet kept coming back to run again. You and MM should keep at it. If your platform is sound, eventually you can beat the machine.

Anonymous said...

Gary,

Nothing was sounder than Tom Burke, by all accounts Allentown’s best city council person in memory. He was thrown off council merely because he was a Republican. Quality candidates and sound platforms have mattered not to the partisan Democrat voters of the Queen City. They would elect two left shoes if it was on the Democrat ticket. It wasn’t always so. Roy Afflerbach brought the partisanship in with him from Harrisburg. He poisoned the thinking of the city’s Democrats who quickly bought the lie that anyone who disagreed with him did so for partisan reasons. It was amazing to experience how those who should have known better bought such a whopper.
Allentown’s recent past is what it is and the results are what they are. General remedies and the usual approaches to urban improvement through engaged community participation cannot work here. The machine only allows top down, follow the leader, no dissention allowed community involvement. Weed and Seed, CUNA, Downtown Historic District are some examples of this, there are plenty more.

Scott Armstrong

gary ledebur said...

Scott: ...sorry to hear this. Keep on pluggin' away. I have a friend who keeps politically active knowing he cannot realistically change many things. He says he is active so that the system does not change him.

Looking To Escape said...

It is time to blame the politicians who operate within the machine structure and the blindly partisan Democrat straight party voters of Allentown who re-elect proven failures.
.
Allentown's problems can't be blamed on Republicans, the city has been pretty much a Democrat road show for years. Sad thing is, they have a problem admitting they failed. You see this locally, you see this nationally.
.
I will except Michael Donovan from this. While I have disagreed with some of his views on social issues, he has shown soundness on economic policy and other social policy. I think his proposal for the the tax increase was fair and balanced.

Anonymous said...

Bill Haydt did Boscov's and us all favor by discouraging their move to 9th and Hamilton. If they did it I guaranty they would have been gone in a year or two. I was not a fan of the hockey area (this new one, either) but think PPL Plaza turned out as the best result....until, that is, Mayor Chicago chases them out of town, too.