Jul 4, 2016

Allentown, The Lehigh Valley's Humpty Dumpty


The Molovinsky entourage entered Easton about 4:45 Sunday evening. Although early for dinner,  there was already sizable activity in center square and the nearby restaurants.  The 64 thousand dollar question,  or more precisely, the $1billion dollar question,  is how can little Easton outperform Allentown when the latter has benefitted from the largest incentive program in state history?

I'm afraid I can't give Sal credit.  His bus terminal/parking deck is a bigger abomination than I predicted. Truth is because nothing else was done, Easton has retained its historical character, and the charm that conveys.  People want some ambience.  It can be authentic, such as historic Bethlehem,  or it can be completely fabricated, such as the Promenade in Saucon.  But Allentown has nothing, except new buildings, devoid of any character.  Before Reilly builds another thing, he should consider hiring an architectural consultant.

4 comments:

Jamie Kelton said...

Mr Molovinsky

First Happy Independence Day to you. I hope that you and your family have an enjoyable holiday.

With regards to your essay this morning. Growing up in Allentown there was always a fundamental difference between Allentown and Bethlehem, and Allentown and Easton. And no, it wasn't Hamilton Street Bethlehem had a downtown as well as Easton, neither were as large with as many stores, but it wasn't downtown that made Allentown unique. It was places like Lehigh Parkway, Cedar Crest, Trexler Memorial Park, the Jordan Creek at Jordan Park, Union Terrace ... it was our park system that set Allentown apart from the other cities in the Area.

Reilly has indeed taken the character out of Hamilton Street, but in many ways, the downtown I remember and grew up with was gone already.. Ten years ago, Allentown wasn't like what we see in the old postcards you can buy of Hamilton Street, it was like a house that had seen it's better days with a legacy that you could see was no longer there. The old 5 & 10 buildings, McCrorys and Woolworths were still there, but with new tenants. The Colonial was rotting away along with the Americus, and the First National Bank was a vacant shell.

Now the downtown that was built destroyed a lot of the character of many old buildings on Hamilton Street, and the ones there today are visually boring as you wrote.. but Allentown is still unique with our park system, and that is what sets it apart and makes it unique.

george schaller said...

MM,
The buildings in Allentown are just poor replications somewhat like Bostons historical buildings with the Z twistZ put to white square boxes built?!

Scott Armstrong said...

I rarely go downtown and won't go to see the fireworks tonight. In fact after last night we are thinking of beating it out of here before nightfall. It was like a war zone in the West Park area of Allentown. The celebratory sound of the snaps and pops of regular firecrackers in the early evening turned into loud and repeated booms of M80's and similar explosives as the evening wore on.These clearly illegal fireworks have become the norm. If tonight's forecasted rain prevents a repeat I will welcome it.

Luiz Garcia said...

Outstanding rebuttal!