Dec 14, 2018

The Misconception Of Hamilton Street


There's not many mid size cities that can boast having two national chain stores within one center city block, Allentown could. Not too many cities could say that one of those stores was one of the biggest producers in a chain of over 7000 stores, Allentown could. There's not many cities that are ignorant enough to tear down their most successful block, a virtual tax machine, Allentown is. This horrible mistake took a combination of political arrogance and public misconception. The arrogance is well known, so let me concentrate on the misconception. The perception was a few undesirable people, buying cheap things. The reality is Family Dollar sells the same merchandise in their suburban and rural stores. Rite Aid fills the same prescriptions and sells their standard merchandise. The new upscale stores, visioned for the arena front, will never produce the sales tax produced by Family Dollar and Rite Aid. The arena will never have that amount of employees, nor produce that much earned income.* The traffic congestion and lack of parking for arena events will destroy the new restaurants. Welcome to the white elephant, welcome to the ghost town.
Shown above and below is the early morning delivery to Family Dollar, every week of the year.
*sales tax and earned income currently going to city and state will now go to debt service for arena
reprinted from December 5, 2011

ADDENDUM: While The Morning Call promotes Allentown's new NIZ zone, only this blogger documented the reality of the former Hamilton Street. While the Moravian Book Store could have been restocked from a small hand basket once a month, the previous Family Dollar Store needed a full tractor trailer every Sunday.  Retail is virtually destroyed on Hamilton Street. Over seven years later, and the Morning Call is still deceiving about Hamilton Street, and this blog is still delivering the truth.

Dec 13, 2018

Fisherman Robbed By Fit Man At Jordan Park


While Mayor Pawlowski and his compliant park director brag about catalog equipment which won't last 3 years, a fisherman was thrown to the ground and robbed at gunpoint early Thursday morning in Jordan Park. While the Allentown Police are too short manned to properly patrol our existing parks, Mayor Pawlowski and his compliant park director are seeking a grant to develop another park, at the former incinerator plant near Basin Street. Who is going to maintain an additional park after the grant runs out in year one? Who is going to provide safety at such an out of the way place? It's time for our park director, Linday Taylor, to seek the counsel of people familiar with Allentown and the parks. For her information, that would not include Ed Pawlowski.

I'm sure that Ms. Taylor saw a recent letter to the paper criticizing the grow zones along our park creeks.  She should realize that the next mayor will most likely have more familiarity with the traditional park system, which does not include weed zones, that block both access and view of the streams.  Allentown parks were created along the streams to add to the park experience, not to be a science experiment for the Wildlands Conservancy.  Although the mayor may praise the new park signs, even they are symbolic of the new superficiality,  which is not appreciated by most Allentonians.  Ms. Taylor would do well to realize that soon  there will be a new mayor, with an appreciation of Allentown's iconic park system.  By that criterion, there will be a lot to mow and repair.

reprinted from June of 2016

ADDENDUM: Since publishing this piece in 2016,  both  Ed Pawlowski and Lindsay Taylor are gone.  While park icons were left to crumble,  we purchased and installed the outdoor prison yard exercise equipment shown above.  Although, it makes the released gang members feel at home in Allentown,  it wasted our scarce park dollars.

Dec 12, 2018

The Improprieties Of Ed Pawlowski


Although, Pawlowski was convicted on 47 counts, over the years there were other shenanigans not included in the trial.  Someone recently asked if the city owned any surplus property that could be sold to avoid a tax increase? What comes to mind are the two parcels purchased for the park system.

The Basin Street parcel is in the heart of Allentown's old industrial zone.  I venture to say that most new residents would be hard pressed to find it.  Furthermore,  there are no residences anywhere close to it,  which would benefit from it.  Prior to the city's purchase, there was no market for the land, what- so- ever.

The western parcel,  last used forty years ago by a fertilizer and rendering plant, is in a flood plain and was for sale for decades, also with no interest.

Although, the city could not realize anywhere near what they paid, these two parcels should be sold.  The park department is a case study in deferred maintenance.  The last thing it needs is more park land to maintain. Although, I have been deferential to the new mayor and park director compared to my previous park advocacy, it's time to resume the mission, without such restraint. The city has pursued some grants toward ill advised park plans, and I would rather the city forego the grants, than contribute more to venues it doesn't need.

part of Basin Street parcel shown above

Dec 11, 2018

The Political Backside Of Allentown's Budget


It appears that Allentown City Council has produced a compromise budget that Mayor O'Connell can live with...It requires no pink slips. Although, a few proposed jobs will not be funded, and overtime allowances may be a little less than realistic, I expect O'Connell to allow council's budget to go into effect.

While both the mayor and council can claim a victory, there will be no such crowing from the taxpayers. However, the taxpayers already lost last November, when they reelected someone who had his eye on anywhere but Allentown. Pawlowski wanted to ride the NIZ's paper success out of town to a bigger job. When Harrisburg seemed a lost cause, he steered his election bus toward Washington. No tax hike was just another slogan for his political ambitions, but not a sound fiscal policy for the city.

Disclaimer: I did not attend the special session last night, or speak to any elected official. On this point I prefer not speaking directly to our officials. This way when I encounter them in public, they seem less betrayed by this blog's candor.

picture postcard of Allentown's new City Hall in 1962

Dec 10, 2018

What's Love Got To Do With It


I suppose that some of my readers were surprised when I congratulated Susan Wild on being our new representative in congress.  Although, I didn't make any endorsement prior to the election, most readers realize that I cant to the right.  However,  I had some issues with Nothstein,  and generally prefer not to make endorsements.

Last week, Wild expressed potential opposition against the proposed new trade pact with Canada and Mexico.  Seems that she went with those members of her party supposedly upset that the new trade treaty may not end up addressing gay and lesbian issues. USMCA’s Chapter 23 on labor requires countries to implement policies that protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.  There are conservatives senators who feel that such social policy need not be included with international trade agreements.

Now, I'm certainly for respecting the rights of our workers here at home, but I'm also for protecting the rights of all our citizens to have the best possible economy. I'm hoping that Representative Wild will not base her important votes on single issues.

Dec 7, 2018

Pawlowski's Coal To O'Connell


Pawlowski, on his way to prison, gave Ray O'Connell a lump of coal for Christmas.  While the former Mayor For Life's exit to the big house made Ray mayor, it also injured him with a necessary tax hike. Pawlowski put his political career ahead of good government by not raising taxes, and instead drained the city reserve fund.  While ten years of a 2% hike would have been politically palatable,  O'Connell must now ask for 27% to keep the city operating.

This same legacy destroyed a county executive years ago... A huge tax hike is a huge present to your political opponents. While City Council has the option of allowing the budget to pass by default with little political consequence to themselves,  O'Connell will shoulder the voter's wrath.  If the proposed budget goes into effect as is,  Ray's reelection bid could be an uphill struggle.

ADDENDUM: City Council has scheduled a special meeting for Monday December 10.  This presents an opportunity for the budget and tax hike to be scaled back.

Dec 6, 2018

Defending The Wall


The Western Wall was built in 19 BC by Herod the Great, almost 600 years before the birth of Mohammed. Herod built the current wall to expand the Mount of the Second Temple, built in 516 BC, after the Jews returned from the Babylonian Exile. The Second Temple would stand until destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Over 600 year later, in 691 AD, Muslims would build the Dome of The Rock, on top of the Mount where the Temple had stood. Today, there are 17 stone courses of the wall below the current street level. Although Jews have been praying at the Wall for over a thousand years, last week the Palestinian Authority issued a report stating that the wall is not Jewish, but part of the Dome. This report, although contradicted by Bible, history, archeology and even photography, is never the less disturbing; It plants another seed of revisionism against the history of the Jewish people. Recently, UNESCO declared that Rachel's Tomb is actually a Mosque, ignoring the thousands of years of Jewish reverence.

photograph shows Jews praying at The Wall in 1895

reprinted from November of 2010

Dec 5, 2018

Blogging And Friendship


I set off Bernie O'Hare's hostility on Monday by stating that all too often your loyalty to your "friends" guides your pen. Although, it is apparent to his readers how he fawns over some politicians, he prefers to think that he's fooling people.  He lashed out by writing that my criticism of a black official proves that I operate a hate blog. When I pointed out that someone should be able to criticize a black public official without being labeled a racist, he deleted my comment, and stated that he is not going to host a defense of my racism. Accusations of racism seems to be his latest weapon of choice against  his critics. This skirmish took place on O'Hare's post about Bill White retiring, and there is a tie-in...In his hostile reply comment, Bernie wrote that he and Bill White were not friends. That may not tell the whole story. In a column in February of 2008, Bill White described himself as a fan of Bernie's blog. Also on Monday, Bernie called White a bastard for including him in his Hall Of Fame. Again, in both cases, I happen to know that Bernie appreciated that the exposure increased his readership.

The Bill White column from 2008 was about Bernie starting to notice Pawlowski's abuses of power. When White asked Pawlowski for a reply...

The mayor noted that O'Hare has become friendly with Michael Molovinsky, a former mayoral candidate and persistently outspoken critic of the administration. Molovinsky's own blog is virulently anti-Pawlowski.

Actually, White's take on my blog is aligned with O'Hare's apparent philosophy...friendship or enemy first, then the story. Maybe that's why they're friends, despite their disclaimers.

I didn't dislike Pawlowski, just some aspects of his governing. This blog isn't based on people's personality or friendships. Likewise, this blog isn't influenced by political correctness, or political party.  All I ever want is the best possible government for Allentown.

Dec 4, 2018

Bill White And Donald Trump


Like blogger Bernie O'Hare,  I wanted to post about Bill White's departure yesterday.  However,  it is my format to place one post a day, and last night there was a city budget hearing.  As a supporter of the traditional park system,  I felt compelled to advocate, in a timely fashion, for a particular item in the park budget. Although, I also had prepared a post about Bill White,  I abandon it now, to instead address a line in O'Hare's post....Some of you, especially those among you who are Trump supporters, will trash White because he detested the guy...

I think that O'Hare and many others are so polarized about Trump, that they assume the same level of emotional intensity must reside in everybody.  On facebook people write that if you don't despise Trump,  unfriend me...  You're either with me on this or against me. I'm actually surprised that both O'Hare and White, as political pundits, are so animated about Trump. Many of us, while not supporters, are much more dispassionate about him. When I playfully posted a picture of myself in front of a Trump poster and wrote,  Make Allentown Great Again,  although it wasn't meant as an endorsement of Trump, but of Allentown,  I lost some readers.

The Trump divide has been very detrimental to both journalism and personal relationships. Donald Trump probably will be president for at least two more years.  After his term, the country goes on, and  hopefully some objectivity and civility will be restored.

Dec 3, 2018

Keystone Of The Parkway


When the wall along the entrance road to Lehigh Parkway collapsed, the entrance had to be closed, until they could construct a new wall. The closure wasn't because of the missing upper portion acting as a guard rail, it was because of the lower portion, which was a retaining wall holding up the roadway itself. In the mid 1930's, the road was built by the WPA, by cutting into the side of a steep ravine leading down to the Little Lehigh Creek. It was essential to shore up the exposed side of the road with a wall.

Halfway down the road is the centerpiece we call the Double Stairway. Steps from two sides lead down from the road, to the bridle path and creek below. Although very architectural, it too is an elaborate retaining structure for the road. This architectural masterpiece is in structure jeopardy. Although the vertical walls are in decent shape, the problem is the landings, both at the top and down each set of stairs. These flats surfaces have degraded, and water is seeping down into the steps below, undermining the structure from within.

The Double Stairway was designed in 1928 by one of the leading landscape architects in the United States. He was commissioned to design this masterpiece by General Harry Trexler. The stock crash of 1929 and the Great Depression put off the construction until Roosevelt's New Deal in 1935, when the WPA utilized the blueprints.

Allentown could never afford to create such an icon now, nor can we afford to lose it from neglect.

photocredit:molovinsky

Nov 30, 2018

The Wagon Trail



Most of Lehigh Parkway lies in a deep ravine. The slope up to Lehigh Parkway South, across the creek from Robin Hood, is very steep, about 60 degrees. Unknown to many people, there is a diagonal trail on part of the slope, which comes out halfway up the hill behind the Stone and Log House.

We kids, who grew up in the Parkway, called it the Wagon Trail. I believe it was part of the Kemmerer Farm (Stone and Log House), which dates back to the late 1770's. In the 1950's, the foundation of a small kiln was still visible on the trail. The subsequent years had not been kind to the old trail,  and it is no longer maintained by the Park Department. About halfway between it's entrance and exit on the hill, the trail has been blocked by a large fallen tree. People had dumped debris on the trail, and it remained there for years.

In April of 2010, I organized a cleanup.  The park director at the time cooperated on the project. I agreed that no power tools would be used, and he arranged for the city to pick up the rubbish.

It is my hope that the new administration will realize that our parks are more than just space to cram more recreational gimmicks.  They are steeped in history, and places where children can explore.

Nov 29, 2018

Our History Discarded


One of General Trexler's first land donations to the City of Allentown was some acreage along the Little Lehigh. He wanted to make sure that the quality of the water supply for the city was protected. The above photograph shows one of first things built in Lehigh Parkway. Please note that the retaining walls on the park entrance road have not yet been built. On the previous post Anon 8:49 PM asks;
Has the City showed you the complete inventory and locations of all the WPA sites?
Not to sound too presumptuous, but I believe the current Administration is learning about the WPA sites from this blog, starting with Stairway To Shame. (Stairway To Shame compiled from two posts written in Sept. 2008) The photo shows the spring pond and ornamental bridge. Although water still comes from the spring pipe, residents today would have a hard time locating this image, although it's in a very prominent place.







The spring pond has been allowed to become overgrown, but the stones lining the pond are for the most part still there, buried under a few inches of dirt and tall grass.

Likewise the bridge is intact, but obscured by high grass. Now, I'm not a fan of the low mowing, high mowing and riparian buffer zones. Giving the advocates of those programs the benefit of the doubt, there can be no justification, whatsoever, for letting our historic treasures be overgrown and buried. The spring pond and bridge is right next to the parking lot in Robin Hood, the City now calls it Hole Number One of the Disc Golf Course. Hopefully the City will have enough consideration for General Trexler to weedwack the bridge, so that a father and his children can have a moment like the one shown at the top of this post.


reprinted from October of 2009 

ADDENDUM NOVEMBER29,2018: Within two years, I prevailed upon Mike Gilbert, former manager of the park's water shed division, to clear the remaining stones and miniature bridge. Friends Of The Parks, under Karen El-Chaar, would clear it again a few years later.

Nov 28, 2018

Allentown's WPA Bounty


When the WPA started in 1935, Allentown was in a unique position to benefit. In 1929 the city decided to expand it's park system, and acquired hundreds of acres for that purpose. We had both the space and the unemployed needing the work. A project was built in almost every park in Allentown; Cedar, Irving, Union Terrace, Lehigh Parkway, Jordan, and of course, Fountain Park. The stairwells leading from Lawrence Street (now Martin Luther King Drive) up to Union Street (Junction Street) and next up to Spring Garden Street became essential several years later. Hundreds of men would use them every day as Mack Truck turned their production to the War effort. As well built as the stone structures were, they are now over 75 years old. Steps are missing on the Grand Stairway, columns are being undermined at Union Terrace, and these monuments of our past need attention. Although they are beautiful, irreplaceable, and the icons of our parks, they are not a priority for the current Administration and Park Department.

above reprinted from February of 2012


ADDENDUM November28,2018: Although, I wrote the above post over 6 years ago, I'm afraid not much has happen about reprioritizing the park budget to save the WPA structures. The city just announced its on-going grant effort to build a $million dollar skate park. While the city and park department concentrate on adding another new facility, our existing ones languish away from lack of maintenance. The landings on the double stairway shown above are starting to cave in. Unless they are repaired in short order, the entire structure is in jeopardy.

photocredit:molovinsky

Nov 27, 2018

LVHN Doctors To Reilly's Wallet


If you're in the hospital, you would like to think that the head honcho for your malady, the chief of staff, is near by. Well, he or she is not, instead they're above the arena entrance, in Reilly's portion of the building. Floors 6 through 9 of the PPL Center is the official address for the LVHN administrators, and chiefs of staff. This maneuver allows J.B. Reilly to harvest the state income taxes from the highest paid employees of the hospital. Although this is a ruse to funnel even more money Reilly's way, I only hope that these doctors do in fact spend their time at the hospital, and not above the arena.

The owners of the PPL Plaza office building, now occupied by Talen Energy, have filed a federal lawsuit. They claim that the NIZ makes the playing field so uneven, that the NIZ is unconstitutional. Although I'll defer opinion on the constitutionality issue, it certainly can spawn corruption. It appears that the NIZ is so lucrative, that it can even subvert the integrity of a large tax-free, such as LVHN.

Pennsylvania is not beyond misconduct. Although, I have exposed many shenanigans on this blog, today's revelation even surprised a jaded blogger like myself.

reprinted from December of 2015


ADDENDUM NOVEMBER 27, 2018:  In 2015,  after I verified that the offices existed,  I was confronted by private security and directed to leave the building.  Over the years I have broken several stories, in the condensed style as above,  that the Morning Call went on to publish without attribution.   However, this is one story they chose NOT to use, with or without attribution.

Nov 26, 2018

Allentown's Remarkable Failure

I find the revitalization of Allentown incredibly unexciting... It's rather unbelievable that there could be a $billion dollars of new construction, but not 10 cents worth of new vibe.

Despite Morning Call article after article, about both new office workers and more apartments, nothing has changed. Walking or driving down Hamilton Street during the week shows little sign of life. On the weekends, there is no sign of life.

By any measure other than J.B. Reilly's real estate portfolio, it is an incredible taxpayer funded failure. The only enthusiasm is from those with a vested interest.

pictured above, some former merchants of the arts walk who have come and gone.

Nov 23, 2018

Boxing's Giant Era


In California these days, everybody walks around with a yoga mat strapped to their back. That certainly wasn't the case in the 1930's, when heavyweight contender Lou Nova studied yoga. Nova was the World Amateur Heavyweight Champion and a proponent of clean living. He won his first twenty two fights as a professional. His promoters said he perfected the Cosmic Punch. Only 6'2", he fought in the era of giants. He handed giant Abe Simon his first defeat after thirteen victories, eleven by knockout. Nova knocked out 6'4'' Max Baer twice. The 1939 knockout is one second away, in the above photograph. Baer himself had won the championship by knocking out Primo Carnera, the Italian giant who was 6'6" and weighed 284 lbs. Baer lost the championship to the Cinderella Man, Jim Braddock. Joe Louis took the belt from Braddock and held it for twelve years, being arguably the best fighter in history. Clean living didn't serve Lou Nova so well with the notorious dirty fighter Two Ton Tony Galento. Galento almost gouged his eye out, putting him in the hospital for weeks. Nova got his shot with Louis on September 29, 1941, but fell in six. Nova would go on to act in movies and even was a write-in candidate for President of the United States. He dropped out of the campaign because his mother was afraid he would catch a cold shaking so many hands. She wasn't afraid of him being in the ring with some of the toughest men in the world.

reprinted from December of 2012

Nov 22, 2018

King Levinsky


In 1964, a young Cassius Clay trained in south Miami Beach for his first fight against Sonny Liston. At that time, this section of the city was home to mostly retired Jews on fixed income. The hotels, decades after their prime, became pension rooming houses. Decades later, these same buildings would be restored to their art deco splendor, creating today's South Beach. As Clay trained, a middle aged punch drunk necktie peddler told him, "After Liston punches your head, you'll be selling ties with me." The street peddler was a fixture in Miami Beach. He didn't ask, he told people they were going to buy a tie. The future champ probably didn't realize that the heckler was none other than King Levinsky, legend of the 1930's, and veteran of over 118 heavyweight fights. Levinsky was born Harris Krakow in Chicago, and worked at his parent's fish market on Maxwell Street, the Jewish section during the roaring twenties. Although he never got a title shot, and weighed only 185, he fought all the leading heavyweights of his time, including the 265lb. giant, Primo Carnera. Managed by his sister Lena, he was known never to turn down a fight, including those against Max Baer.
copy reprinted from Jan. 23, 2010
photo shows Levinsky with sister/manager Lena in 1932

Nov 21, 2018

Have Gun Will Travel


Allentown's former police chief, Joel Fitzgerald,  has landed yet another position.  Pawlowski had chosen him after a national search.  While here, his son got a job with the county jail,  and was then arrested for pointing a gun at county detectives.  With the help of high powered Philly lawyer Jack McMahon he was acquitted, and now has sued the county for false arrest.

Papa Fitzgerald was hired, apparently with no public vetting, from Fort Worth, as the new police commissioner of Baltimore.  A former officer in Fort Worth said that Baltimore couldn't have hired a more unqualified person.

Papa now claims that he will try and bring healing to Baltimore.  Hope that he is more successful with that than he was here or in Texas.

Nov 20, 2018

A Blogger and Lanta


In China, bureaucrats who underperform are executed, here in the Lehigh Valley they are submitted to me. Yesterday, the public was invited to participate in the transportation study by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission; I was the public. Because Lanta is one component of the Valley's transportation, I chose to address my concerns with that organization. After being told I was off topic, since I was the extent of the public, I decided to ignore their request and continued speaking. Although, I never have revealed this before, I have a degree in communications. I challenge all readers to go the Commission's site and figure out the proper topic of yesterday's hearing. (they control $millions of your tax dollars) Not one member of the board (at least 15 people) said one word  after I spoke... So much for public participation, the $thousands of our money they spent advertising in obscure legal journals, their legal requirement was met.

reprinted from November of 2007



ADDENDUM: The meeting referenced above was covered by Dan Hartzell, Road Warrior columnist for the Morning Call at that time. Hartzell didn't write one word about my confrontation with the planners. I realized that he was dependent upon Lanta for much of the information he conveyed in his column. This isn't meant as a criticism of Hartzell, but rather the Morning Call, which still goes along to get along.

Nov 19, 2018

The Devil Of Ocean Paradise


The resort town's boardwalk is partially open during the cold winter months for the hardy of spirit.  The stores that remain open were purchased mostly by middle eastern immigrants, who overpaid for their piece of the American dream in the dying resort.  Their mortgage demands every nickel they can muster,  and their large families are eager to practice their broken English on the few customers willing to brave the boardwalk's cold winter wind.

All their stores sell the same things...  brightly colored candy, souvenirs and small toys designed to make children nag and beg.  Along with the stores there is a strip of game stands, where during the warm summer breezes,  fathers and boyfriends hope to win a stuffed animal.  During the winter, the steel garage doors are closed on all these stands, except for one.  The immigrants with their broken English cannot lure in players, but the Devil can.

Oversized brightly colored stuffed animals adorn the stand. Music from the 70's pulses from one loud speaker,  while the Devil commands the occasional passing man to "show her that you care by winning a bear."  Please don't misunderstand me, he is not Satan himself, but a minor devil.  He can give you a cold, or ruin a first date,  but he has no power over life and death.  Even those he afflicts can purchase redemption. Inside the stores there are chocolate wafers for sale,  covered with white candy sprinkles.  For a mere $26 a pound, the bad omen can be eaten away.

This minor devil came from Coney Island a decade ago.  Brooklyn's Brighton Beach area started gentrifying in the late 90's, and the dress up spread to adjoining Coney.  Doc, the minor devil, thrived on hearty spirits, but not heady minds.  His move to Ocean Paradise was a win-win.  While the owning immigrant gets to keep almost all the money the stand takes in,  Doc gets to dispense a headache or two each weekend.  He has a room at a nearby old motel owned by the same family, and enjoys the middle eastern food that he has eaten since time immemorial.

If you walk on the boardwalk during the winter, you better dress warm, and not be tempted to show her that you care.

photo depiction of a fictional place and character

Nov 16, 2018

Congratulations Congresswoman Wild


As I posted before the election, I'm not much for making endorsements. Although, I did make two recommendations, neither was for the congressional race. Considering that Susan Wild will be representing us come January for two years, I'm glad that she also won the special election to fill Dent's remaining 6 weeks... It will provide continuity for both Congresswoman Wild and the voters. 

In her special election victory she defied some local pundits, who assumed that the temporary seat in the old 15th District would remain in Republican hands. In this bloggers opinion, the dual victory seals the legitimacy of her victory, regardless of redistricting.

 Congresswoman Wild, congratulations.

photocredit:Rick Kintzel/The Morning Call

Nov 15, 2018

Big Boys Don't Cry


Although the Lehigh Valley didn't make Amazon's short list, Donny Cunningham delivered for the local big boys with our pitch. After the airport's parcel, now being developed by Majestic Reality, he pitched Reilly's City Center and Jaindl's waterfront. He also pitched another parcel by Jaindl out toward Macungie.

When Cunningham isn't enjoying his gig as CEO of Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, he fronts a band, also called Cunningham and Associates.

Nov 14, 2018

Amazon Burps America


For two years Amazon burped over 235 mayors across American to spit up more generous incentives than their competition, in order to win the vaulted second headquarters... Newark offered $7Billion.  While the mayors burped their hearts out for Mr. Bezos, in the end he divided the prize in two, but keep the whole incentives. While the winners, NYC and Arlington, will give $billions in credits and grants,  there are no guarantees, but one, from Amazon.

The one thing Amazon guarantees is the further demise of retail, and the tax base in our cities across America.

One of the factors was supposed to be cost of living for the employees. In NYC, a one bedroom apartment hovers at about $3,000, and rising, with both Amazon and Google on the horizon.

Arlington is across the Potomac from Washington, D.C.  I didn't know what to expect from the Washington Post about the decision, Amazon owner Jeff Bezos also owns the paper.  Apparently, they decided the decision gave the Post an opportunity to appear fair and balanced,  mentioning some negatives in Amazon's contest.

The Morning Call has filed a right to know in regard to the incentives Pennsylvania offered.  The state is resisting,  claiming the offer is proprietary, because of offers to future employers.  I think the taxpayers should know how good our baby politicians can burp.

Nov 13, 2018

Merry Pawlowski


Last night, as I went to sleep concerned about the impropriety of The Morning Call featuring Pawlowski's picture on the city map, little did I know I would awake to another full page picture of the mayor on the cover of the Entertainment Section. It's time for me to get with the program. I wish you a Happy Pawlowski Day, and next month, when it beginning to look a lot like Pawlowski, may you have a Merry Pawlowski and Happy Pawlowski Year!

 reprinted from November of 2008 


ADDENDUM: molovinsky on allentown was warning readers since its inception in 2007 that the Morning Call was cheerleading for someone with less merit than they thought. Although, for several years I was an isolated voice on this topic, standing alone has never deterred me.

Nov 12, 2018

A Tailor From North Street

The Allentown Housing and Development Corp. recently purchased a home at 421 North St. That block of North Street was destroyed by fire, and the agency has built a block of new houses on the street's south side; it will next develop the other side of the street. The deed transfer caught my attention because Morris Wolf lived in the house in 1903. Wolf signed up with the Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry on July 18, 1861, in Philadelphia, when he was 22 years old. He was a private in Company A, of the 3rd Cavalry. This unit was also known as the 60th Regiment and was later called Young's Kentucky Light Cavalry.It defended Washington, D.C., until March 1862, then participated in many of the war's most famous battles: Williamsburg, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg. Wolf had signed up for three years and was mustered out Aug. 24,1864.

Recently, to commemorate Memorial Day, the local veterans group placed more than 500 flags at Fairview Cemetery. If that wasn't enough of a good deed, the group also set upright more than 300 toppled grave markers. Visiting Fairview recently, I saw they had not overlooked the graves of either Mr. Wolf, or another veteran, Joseph Levine. I have concerned myself with Allentown's Fairview Cemetery for the last few years. I first became interested in the small Jewish section, called Mt. Sinai. This was the first organized Jewish cemetery in Allentown. Currently, all the synagogues have their own cemeteries, and Mt. Sinai has been mostly unused for many decades.

Mr. Wolf lies next to his wife, Julia, who died in 1907. Morris would live on for 30 more years, passing away in 1937, at age 98.
Mr. Levine, a World War II veteran, and his wife, Ethel, were the first and last people to be buried there after almost 25 years of inactivity. When Ethel died at age 93 in 2000, it was the first burial at Mt. Sinai since 1976. Joseph was 103 years old when he passed away in 2006.

The Housing and Development Corp. and North Street are now part of Allentown's new neighborhood initiative called Jordan Heights.Although soon there will be a new house at 421 North St., there is a history that will remain with the parcel. Once a tailor lived there who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg.

reprinted from 2010

Nov 9, 2018

A Figment Of My Imagination


Dear Mayor Pawlowski,
Forgive me for saying this, but I'm very disappointed in the changes made to my town. After my wife passed away, I moved to the senior high-rise at 8th and Union St. I can see the old Mack Transmission Plant from my window, I worked there for 40 years. I understand now it's a indoor go-cart track, I find that a bitter pill. Actually pills are why I'm writing. I used to walk to the Rite-Aid on Hamilton Street. With that closing, I don't think I can walk out 7th St. to the old Sears. Forgive me Mayor, that's before your time in Allentown. The other Rite-Aid used to be Levines Fabrics, they bought it from Sears. The Army Navy store was across the parking lot. Anyway, back to my problem. Now I can't even catch the bus on Hamilton anymore to go visit my daughter in Catty. What have you done to me? My neighbor, a nice widow, tells me you gave that Mexican Restaurant lots of our money and they don't even pay their bills? Never ate there, what were you thinking? Anyway, sorry to bother you, I know you're a busy man, but I don't know where I will get my medicine from, and I'm upset. Sorry.

PhotoCredit: molovinsky

Reprinted  from July of 2008, to commemorate the return of Rite-Aid.  Isn't it wonderful that J. B  Reilly will finally get a tenant there who will do enough business to actually pay rent.

reprinted from August of 2016

Nov 8, 2018

The History Mission Of molovinsky on allentown

Since it's inception, molovinsky on allentown has published local history along with political commentary. Allentown has become a city of immigrants; Whether it's our from out of town mayor and his from out of town staff, or our new population demographics, it's difficult to find someone who has lived here for more than twenty years. Redevelopment is nothing new to Allentown. Entire neighborhoods and portions of Hamilton Street have disappeared in the past. There has never been a shortage of new bridges or political ambition. This blog, unencumbered by considerations of political correctness or business promotion, posts these short historical markers, as reference points for the curious.

When opened 1913, the Eighth Street Bridge was the longest and highest reinforced concrete arch bridge in the world. The Lehigh Valley Transit Company organized the Allentown Bridge Company in 1911 for the sole purpose of building the bridge. The structure operated as a toll bridge from its November 17, 1913 opening until the 1950s, at which time the toll was five cents for an automobile. The concrete standards that once supported the trolley wire are still standing. Harry C. Trexler, founding member of the Transit Company and Lehigh Portland Cement Co., was a principle player in the construction of this bridge. General Trexler's grave-site, in Fairview Cemetery on Lehigh Street, affords unique views of the bridge and center city Allentown.

reprinted from January of 2014

Nov 7, 2018

Local Blue Tsunami


Tim Silfies,  the Libertarian candidate for congress, was greeting people outside my polling place.  Although it was 11:40am, well past the morning voting rush,  it took me 40 minutes to get through the line and cast my ballot.  In that 40 minutes I chatted with the woman next to me.  She was part of the local blue tsunami.

As an observer of local politics, I found this tsunami very disturbing.  A wave alone can be damage enough,  but a tsunami can sweep completely unqualified people along with it into office.  Locally, we almost lost Pat Browne's experience and influence to the frenzied straight party lever pullers upset about Donald Trump.

Center city Allentown, with its Hispanic majority, is more politically monolithic than ever.  Any  Republicans with Allentown in their district will have a hard time competing against such a solid voting block.

photocredit:The Morning Call

Nov 6, 2018

The People's Candidate


In the late 1970's, neighbors would gather in the market on 9th Street to complain and receive consolation from the woman behind the cash register. Emma was a neighborhood institution. A native Allentonian, she had gone through school with mayor for life Joe Dadonna, and knew everybody at City Hall. More important, she wasn't shy about speaking out. What concerned the long time neighbors back then was a plan to create a Historical District, by a few newcomers.

What concerned Emma wasn't so much the concept, but the proposed size of the district, sixteen square blocks. The planners unfortunately all wanted their homes included, and they lived in an area spread out from Hall Street to 12th, Linden to Liberty.* Shoving property restrictions down the throats of thousands of people who lived in the neighborhood for generations didn't seem right to Emma. As the battle to establish the district became more pitched, Emma began referring to it as the Hysterical District.
Emma eventually lost the battle, but won the hearts of thousands of Allentonians. Emma Tropiano would be elected to City Council beginning in 1986, and would serve four terms. In 1993 she lost the Democratic Primary for Mayor by ONE (1) vote.

Her common sense votes and positions became easy fodder for ridicule. Bashed for opposing fluoridation, our clean water advocates now question the wisdom of that additive. Although every founding member of the Historical District moved away over the years, Emma continued to live on 9th Street, one block up from the store. In the mid 1990's, disgusted by the deterioration of the streetscape, she proposed banning household furniture from front porches. Her proposal was labeled as racist against those who could not afford proper lawn furniture. Today, SWEEP officers issue tickets for sofas on the porch.

Being blunt in the era of political correctness cost Emma. Although a tireless advocate for thousands of Allentown residents of all color, many people who never knew her, now read that she was a bigot. They don't know who called on her for help. They don't know who knocked on her door everyday for assistance. They don't know who approached her at diners and luncheonettes all over Allentown for decades. We who knew her remember, and we remember the truth about a caring woman.

* Because the designated Historical District was too large, it has failed, to this day, to create the atmosphere envisioned by the long gone founders. Perhaps had they listened to, instead of ridiculing, the plain spoken shopkeeper, they would have created a smaller critical mass of like thinking homeowners, who then could have expanded the area.

reprinted yearly since 2010

photo: The Morning Call

Nov 5, 2018

Endorsements for Local Election 2018


Unfortunately, this election seems to be a referendum on Donald Trump,  even in races where there is absolutely no connection.  One such race would be local state senator,  Pat Browne(R) vs.  Mark Pinsley(D).    Democratic straight lever pulling against Trump would be the only explanation for a Pinsley win..  Browne has mountains of experience and has brought heaps of benefit to Lehigh Valley.  Pinsley has no experience what-so-ever, and announced for state senator before he even began serving as township commissioner.  Although, he ran and won for township commissioner,  he never attended their meetings prior to that election.  After the unfortunate shooting by Dorney Park,  he went and stood with the protestors, against his own township and police department. He is entitled to his own beliefs, but as a commissioner, he should have restrained himself against being so demonstrative.  It was a self-serving optic for his state campaign, ignoring the best interests of South Whitehall.

One of the most geographically absurd state house districts in Pennsylvania is the 183rd.  It runs from Danielsville, east through Northampton to Slatington, and then south to the Allentown municipal golf course.  Former representative Julie Harhart had two decades to craft this gerrymandered contortion.  Her chosen successor was Zach Mako(R), who in addition to having no political experience,  also had no knowledge of the issues.  Now, as an incumbent,  he's running on the cliché of abolishing income tax.... He apparently still knows nothing.  His opponent, Jason Ruff(D) is a business owner from Slatington, who serves on the town's council. He is familiar with the issues, he is concerned with government, not just getting elected.

Regardless of how you feel about my bi-partisan endorsements,  I would ask you one favor.  Even if you decide to vote straight ticket, please do not pull the idiot lever.  Instead, pick each one of your choices, even if they are all of the same party.  You owe yourself and the candidates at least that much deliberation.

ADDENDUM: An early version of this post which cited a polling was in error.

Nov 2, 2018

Open Secret In Northampton


The Morning Call has printed a letter expressing support for Judge Zito, signed by 34 lawyers.  Contrary to Attorney Ed Angelo's assertion, these guys praise the judge for improving justice in Northampton County.  Yesterday, I called the letter a good boy list for Santa Claus.  Since yesterday, I have reconfirmed Angelo's allegation with a second lawyer.  Also yesterday, I deleted a signed comment from a third lawyer, confirming Angelo's observations..  I did the deletion because I felt it necessary to confirm with the attorney that it was indeed his comment, because the heading was from a pseudonym.  Although, I did confirm that it was from him,  it's his place, not mine, to resubmit the comment.

Judge Koury maintained that he never heard the complaint before Angelo's allegation this week.   However, one of the attorneys speculated that Zito will step down sooner than later,  now that the best kept secret in Northampton is out in the open.

Nov 1, 2018

Here Comes The Judge


As someone with a propensity toward insubordination,  I was intrigued by the Morning Call article by Riley Yates on Judge Zito in Northampton County.  Attorney Ed Angelo publicly claimed that the judge strong-arms defendants into plea bargaining.

I informally interviewed a local respected attorney, who confirmed Angelo's allegation. No your honor, I will not reveal his name.  I was particularly struck by the notion that when Angelo told the judge that other attorneys feel the same way,  he asked who they were?

A follow up article reports that Zito will recuse himself from Angelo's case. Meanwhile, another attorney, Joshua Fulmer, got 32 other lawyers to sign a letter supporting the judge against the allegation.  Sort of sounds like a list of good children for Santa Claus.  The president judge, Michael Koury, said that he never before heard the allegation?  The District Attorney's office said that they're staying out of the dispute?

It sounds like they run the trains on time in Northampton,  but at who's expense?

Oct 31, 2018

The Morning Call's Washington Post Article


The Morning Call published The Washington Post's article criticizing Trump for visiting the Pittsburgh Synagogue. The Post wrote.... President Donald Trump visited this grief-stricken city Tuesday, amid accusations that he and his administration continue to fuel the anti-Semitism that inspired Saturday's massacre inside a synagogue....It is completely political, partisan and improper to link Trump to anti-semitism and the shooting.

The rabbi of the congregation had the good graces to welcome the president and say.."Hate is not political,It is not blue or red, it's not male or female, it doesn't know any of those divisions."

The two quotes above were taken from last night's version of the story. By this morning, the Post decided to remove the rabbi's statement... I suppose that they would rather give the impression that every Jew in Pittsburgh was offended by Trump's visit.

Facebook is full of memes with people united against anti-semitism, even Jews are using the meme.... That's hard for me to understand,  as a Jew, that was always a given.  For me it is also a given that Trump stands with the Jews.

Oct 30, 2018

The Blog Continues


Since Pawlowski's sentencing, I have been crowing somewhat about this blog. Over the past decade I have taken city hall to task over more issues than I can remember.  While my advocacy for the traditional park system is a constant,  I also defended the former merchants of Hamilton Street.  During that period I held some public meetings,  which activated some people, who still attend city council meetings to this day.

During this past week of crowing,  I have also taken the Morning Call to task for their bias on numerous issues.  In addition to being a cheerleader for Pawlowski until the FBI raid,  their coverage of the NIZ is nothing but a virtual promotion for the private interests involved.

A new antagonist, using a pseudonym, popped up in recent comments.  Bob wrote, It is entirely reasonable to ask why you didn't call the FBI if you knew this to be true. You won't answer the question, so I'll speculate: you didn't because you had suspicions, but no proof. So perhaps the corruption wasn't as clear back then as your recent posts have implied. Either that, or you were strangely unwilling to support law enforcement in making Allentown a better place.  At first I thought that Bob was an apologist for the Pawlowski regime, while my current hunch is that he's affiliated with the Morning Call.

To imply that a citizen journalist mis-served the community by not contacting authorities on various issues is taking kill the messenger to a new low.  My bad news for Bob is that this blog will continue to scrutinize Allentown, and the institutions which are suppose to serve it.

blogger addressing city council on one issue or another

Oct 29, 2018

When Kahane Came To Allentown

He told the Jews gathered in Allentown that their leaders were spineless, that's how the controversial rabbi spoke. When Meir Kahane came to town in the summer of 1990, none of the Jewish institutions would give him space to speak. Before emigrating to Israel, he had formed the Jewish Defense League in NYC in 1968. He lectured that turning the other cheek was a Christian concept, and that the minimum take away from the Holocaust was that American Jews should own a gun, and know how to use it. His views in Israel about nationalism on the West Bank were much more controversial, and he was jailed there for incitement.  His speech in Allentown was one of his last. He was assassinated later that year during a speech in NYC. 

above reprinted from April 15, 2014

ADDENDUM: October 29, 2018

Although the synagogue shooting is on my mind, I'm not advocating for  Jewish self defense. Likewise, I do not feel that the Vote, Vote, Vote chants at the Pittsburg vigil Saturday night are the appropriate response... Anti-semitism and racial bigotry are not the by-product of current politics, but rather historical flaws in our human condition. We must somehow learn and effectively teach prejudice reduction.

Oct 26, 2018

Morning Call Sleeps In Wheelhouse


In yesterday's post I bashed Bill White of The Morning Call.  I don't think it's fair that I keep bashing him,  so today I take aim at their other columnist,  Paul Muschick.  Paul thinks that the need for big money in campaigns for governor and senator led Pawlowski astray,  and previously campaigning just as a mayor, he was innocent as fallen snow.

He risked the fine public service career he built over decades in Allentown to squeeze people for money he needed to run for higher office.

The FBI needed a starting point and an ending point for their investigation, or it would still be on-going.  When Pawlowski's first appointed park director ordered every item in the PlayWorld catalog for the destination playground,  perhaps that should have been scrutinized. Only when the same director wanted to build a destination water park that would have extended all the way up to Hamilton Blvd.,  did city council finally blink.

No Paul, ethics are ethics... You either have them, or you don't.  This blog has reported inequalities in city hall for years before the FBI investigations. Pawlowski always used city contracts as plums to be traded.

As Scott Armstrong and others have pointed out,  the Morning Call only started reporting on the corruption after the FBI raided city hall.  While spending a decade asleep at the wheelhouse,  they now subscribe to McMahon's premise that Pawlowski was a moral person, driven to aberrant behavior by circumstances beyond his control.  McMahon is Pawlowski's defense attorney, charged with saying whatever necessary to get his client out of jail.  The Morning Call is a newspaper, charged with providing citizens of Allentown with the truth.

When the Morning Call building was included in the NIZ zone, although across the street from that zone,  they became officially compromised.

Readers in the Lehigh Valley seeking some glimmers of truth have been limited to this blog and O'Hare's Ramblings.

Oct 25, 2018

Bill White's Whitewash


Bill White was so impressed with his column on Wednesday, that he had it placed on the paper's front page.  His premise was that there are two Ed Pawlowskis... one who championed for the minority community, and the other who let his political ambition get the better of him.  In reality there was only one Ed Pawlowski.

Pawlowski courted the minority communities in the last election because the more informed white community knew by then that he was corrupt.  Meanwhile, some hispanics and blacks were flattered that he was stopping in their beauty salons and attending their birthday parties.  Some who testified on Pawlowski's behalf at the sentencing hearing needed a translator. Although, they can't speak or understand English, they still knew that Pawlowski was a saint?  Last fall I reported on Pawlowski's election strategy on this blog.

Of course all of that is too politically incorrect for Bill White and the newspaper,  thus we now read about Pawlowski's compassion for minorities.

As a commenter on yesterday's post noted, it would be more beneficial to the community if the paper realized that their own shortcomings enabled the Pawlowski era of corruption.

Oct 24, 2018

The Morning Call's Mayor


On Tuesday, when Ed Pawlowski was remanded to prison, it marked 13 years since the Morning Call endorsed Pawlowski for mayor.  Before their formal endorsement,  their reporter distorted public opinion in Pawlowski's favor.  When Pawlowski gave a press conference heralding a house for sale on Liberty Street, Daryl Nerl, their election reporter, wrote a glowing article.  The next week when I documented that in reality the house was remodeled at public expense three times with two defaults,  the paper didn't print one word.  That pattern continued for the next decade,  with Pawlowski getting credit for other people's accomplishments, and being excused for his faults.

On Tuesday, the paper was still crediting Pawlowski for the revitalization of center city.  First of all he wasn't responsible, and secondly, it's still a dead zone.

The same reporter, although no longer on staff, was writing copy for Pawlowski's campaign manager  Mike Fleck, when the FBI raided city hall.

He remains good friends with Bill White, and was assigned freelance assignments at the paper so far this month on October 3, 4, 8, 9, 11, 12, 16, and 17th.   Don't expect much change at The Morning Call.

Morning Call photo of Pawlowski misleading council, with this blogger over his left shoulder listening to his distortions

Oct 23, 2018

A Pawlowski Story


I have as much, if not more institutional knowledge of Ed Pawlowski as anybody, including the paper.  Although not widely remembered,  I ran as the third person on the ticket in 2005, against Pawlowski for his first term.  The Morning Call repressed my campaign.  As an independent, my chances regardless were very slim...However,  I did have an important message, which was also repressed.  This post is written through that prism.

The Morning Call, and especially the reporter assigned to the election in 2005, were in love with Ed.  The Republican candidate,  Bill Heydt, got less than fair coverage, and I got none.  As a landlord, I knew that thousands of people at the public trough were moving to Allentown and being sponsored by competing social agencies.  I sounded the alarm that we were operating a poverty magnet,  but nobody cared to report that harsh truth.  Today, 13 years later, Pawlowski was sentenced,  and we are now a poor city.

While Pawlowski had defenders until the end, his character was flawed from the beginning.  In 2009, while I was conducing a series of SPEAK OUT meetings,  Pawlowski told the press that I was a slumlord. Although, I never had any violations in 35 years, and Pawlowski knew that I operated in an exemplary fashion,  he knowingly made the false accusation.

A couple years later, he repeated that false accusation outside council chambers to several people, in my presence.  I asked him how he would like it if I called him a corrupt politician?  Although I have never called him corrupt,  the legal system has now made that determination.

Although, this is first person experience with Pawlowski's flawed character,  my experience was not unique.  I understand that many people consider landlords expendable low hanging fruit, but as a blogger over the last decade, a number of people have told me how Pawlowski attempted to debase them.  Those testifying on his behalf today, for the most part, are people who by appointment or career, benefitted from him.  I noticed the total absence of leading business and local real estate people most familiar with him,  who apparently declined to testify on his behalf.

photo by molovinsky

ADDENDUM: Pawlowski was sentenced this afternoon to 15 years, and taken to prison.

A Park Protestor From The Past


`Green' Curtain Blocks Sledding And The View
January 09, 1992|The Morning Call
To the Editor:

Hold your sleds girls and boys! Others, too, on the alert! With the planting of a dense cluster of 60 evergreen trees and the erection of a "No Sledding" sign, creating a veritable iron curtain, the park and watershed people have once again undertaken their repetitive effort of the past 45 years to eliminate a most popular sledding slope in Lehigh Parkway. The motive -- crass self-interest in defiance of public good. The effect -- an impassable barrier and concealment of a magnificent vista of "one of the finest valleys in Eastern Pennsylvania."

Children and adults from the 400 homes with longtime and easy access to the slope and others arriving in cars have enjoyed sledding here after school and into the night and throughout the day and night on weekends. Yet sledding is but one of the attractions of this enduring slope. In summer children and teachers from Lehigh Parkway Elementary School have enjoyed a walk down the slope and into the park for a break from book and blackboard. Birders, joggers, hikers and others on a leisurely stroll engrossed in their particular interest have found the slope irresistible.

For a host of others, this opening into the park after a long stretch of woods presents a charming vista and urge to descend. Interest is immediately evoked by the sight of a mid-19th century log house  and a historic wagon trail leading past the site of a lime kiln to tillable lands of earlier times.

The view takes in an expanse of meadowlands, now groomed, to the Little Lehigh River and up the western slope to Lehigh Parkway North. Indeed, a pleasant view to be esteemed and preserved for generations to come. It was distressing on New Year's Day to see a family and their guests intent upon a walk down the slope suddenly stop in amazement and shock as the closure became evident.

The cost in dollars through the years of the park peoples' fixation on destroying the Parkway slope must be staggering indeed without dwelling on other deliberate depletions. Typically, the placement of the 1991 "No Sledding" sign employed a team of four men with three vehicles -- a backhoe, a panel truck, and a super cab pickup truck, the latter furnishing radio music.

BERT A. LUCKENBACH
ALLENTOWN

Burt Luckenbach was a park activist, who wrote this letter in 1992. Few remember sledding on that hill above the Log & Stone house, but I do. The open hill was located at the end of Lehigh Parkway South, near the intersection with Coronado Street. The Wagon Trail has also been blocked off for years. I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Luckenbach, but like to think that he would approve of my efforts regarding the parks.

reprinted from December of 2017

Oct 22, 2018

Another Hatchet Job By Morning Call

The Morning Call,  despite being sued by Marty Nothstein for its previous hatchet job against him, has done it again.  The first dose of yellow journalism centered on a Me Too allegation from an anonymous source.  Although even the alleged victim said no foul, no harm, the paper went with the story anyway.  They now are going with chapter two, demeaning his longterm directorship at the velodrome.  What makes these stories so yellow is that the upcoming election is so near,  and that opinions are formed from headlines, not disclaimers and corrections.

Because of the lawsuit, the Nothstein camp has understandably refused to comment.  Although the story may or may not have some validity on its own,  the lawsuit and election make its publication at this time completely partisan and improper.

If Chris Borick and Muhlenberg College wish their polling to appear legitimate, they should completely disassociate from the newspaper.

Oct 19, 2018

Kids Of The Parkway






There were hundreds of us, we were the baby boomers. The neighborhood was built for returning GI's, and the streets were named after the planes of WW2; Liberator, Catalina, and Coronado. The twin homes were wedged between Jefferson Street and the southern ridge above Lehigh Parkway. Now called Little Lehigh Manor, we knew it simply as Lehigh Parkway, and we had our own school.

Historical Fact:
The original part of the school building contained four classrooms, a teacher's room, and a health room. It replaced the Catalina Avenue School which existed in a home near the present site. Lehigh Parkway received national publicity because it was being build as a result of the new neighborhood. Thus, the "Neighborhood School Concept" was born.









Because of the school and the park, the neighborhood was really self contained. The Lehigh SuperMarket on Lehigh Street was within walking distance. Soon, FoodFair would build their first large Supermarket, also on Lehigh Street, which was even closer. Today it has developed into The Parkway Shopping Center. We kids enjoyed our own Halloween Parade and Easter Egg hunt.






Because there were so many of us, Parkway Elementary only went through 2nd. grade. We would take the bus to Jefferson Elementary for grades 3 through 6.

Historical Fact:
Jefferson Elementary used to be a high school, and for years, it had separate girls' and boys' entrances. These entrances were turned into windows at some point, but the exterior of the building still has the two entrances marked.


These were some of my friends from 3th grade. They all lived in the Parkway. Not only were they all boys, only yesterday, 56 years later, I learned the name of the girl I'm holding hands with in the May Day picture above.

Historical Facts from Allentown School District Website

ADDENDUM: other Parkway Neighborhood Posts,
Time Capsule
Allentown On My Mind


reprinted from April 2013

Oct 18, 2018

Hyman Addresses City Council

For years I was a regular at city council, advocating for or against one thing or another.  Now I only attend on special occasions, such as Nat Hyman's response to the administration about the fire at his warehouse... He did not underperform.

Hyman gave an impassioned rebuke to council,  claiming he did not receive the option to have his building demolished himself, and that the city was grossly overpaying for the work.  He even had a check with him for what he claimed was the competitive amount for the job.  He clearly resented Ray O'Connell's promise last week that Hyman would pay. Although council president MacLean tried to initially reign in Hyman's personal jabs at O'Connell,  Hyman wasn't having it.

Unless Hyman and O'Connell decide to sit down and come to an understanding,  the discrepancy over the demolition costs will likely go to court...  I suspect that they will sit down.