Oct 14, 2019

Reactions To My Trump Divorce

The push back against my divorce from Donald Trump was adamant. To a Republican friend, it was only a matter of time before I would be advocating  redistribution of wealth. When I republished the post on a conservative social media track, the nicest comment was calling me a traitor.

Because the straw that broke my support was the green light given Erdogan, I felt compelled to find informed analysis contrary to mine.  I say informed, because many Trump supporters don't seem heavy on that trait.  I did find some analysts who felt the Turks were coming anyway, and Trump either had to reposition our forces, or fight another ally, Turkey...  They discounted being able to dissuade Erdogan from crossing the border.  However, that viewpoint makes one doubt that Trump can now get Erdogan to slow down his attack,  despite threats of economic sanctions.

Getting back to this question of how informed Trump supporters actually are, I watched a segment of Trump's rally on Friday night in Minneapolis.  Many of those present were wearing red shirts and being delighted by Trump saying that "Biden kissed Obama's ass."  While some newscasters complained about how unpresidential that comment was,  all I could think of was the Jerry Springer show.

While it is apparent that those willing to dress in a red tee-shirt won't change their support of Trump over the plight of the Kurds,  how many are like me remains to be seen. .  My support for Trump didn't flip just because of the Kurds, but rather a build up of winces...you can only wince so many times.

Oct 11, 2019

My Experiment With Trump Is Over

When Trump was elected in 2016, as a conservative I approached his term with guarded optimism.  After all, maybe an outsider wouldn't be a bad thing, especially aided by some people whom I respected.   Over the next two years, as these advisors peeled off,  I said well,  some of them are still on board, until they were all gone.  I did cringe when Trump berated the departed, who all knew more than he would, ever.

Allowing Turkey to enter Syria, at the peril of the Kurds, is the deal breaker for me. While diehard justifiers might cite ending endless foreign missions,  it was neither the time or the place for that.  We are clearly serving Turkey's interests, not our own.  Trump's ramble about the Kurds not being our allies in WW2 pretty much sums up his lack of any historical perspective.

Assuming Trump remains the Republican nominee in 2020, I may be forced to vote for the Democrat, whoever that may be.  This experiment in outsider governance is over for me.  I suspect that I may not be alone about this being a deal breaker.  Many of his supporters consider themselves patriots,  and the notion of abandoning an ally in the field is completely contrary to their values.  One thing is certain,  there are no new supporters coming forward to replace them.  Trump may soon feel like the Kurdish fighters he abandoned.

photo of betrayed Kurdish fighters

Oct 10, 2019

Icon Of Allentown's 10th Ward

While the pulpit section of the Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary Orthodox Church is adorned with murals and icons of Mary, parishioners may notice that there is no such imagery on the beautiful stained glass windows. More careful inspection reveals that while there are no graven images in the glass, Stars of David and scrolls can be seen. As the ancestors of the current members came from eastern Europe and the Czarist Russian Empire, so did the building's original congregation. The gothic edifice was built as a synagogue in 1909 by Allentown's Jews. The Orthodox Jewish congregation, Sons Of Israel, utilized the structure for 50 years, before it was repurposed by the current American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox congregation.

The stained glass windows are surely among the most beautiful in Allentown.  The synagogue turned church is located on the northeast corner of 6th and Tilghman Streets in Allentown.  The area, Allentown's 10th Ward,  has a strong neighborhood group. The exterior photograph of the church is from their facebook page.  The large round window shown above is behind the balcony,  in the back of the church. Inside, the congregation faces east,  toward Jerusalem.

reprinted from March of 2016

Oct 9, 2019

The Sabaean Mandeans of Iraq

I'm glad that the plight of Christians in Iraq is starting to attract main stream media attention, but there is another persecuted group you may not hear about. The Mandeans predate Christianity, do not believe in Christ, and are believed to have been followers of John the Baptist. Accepting no converts, their numbers have always been small. Apparently, they migrated to the swamps south of current Baghdad after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Their writings are in Aramaic, the language of the Bible in the time of Jesus. Their rules and ethics are similar to Jewish tradition. Baptism is their central ritual; they call the water Jordan.

reprinted from 2010,2013, 2014 and 2017

previously scheduled for Wednesday publication 

Oct 8, 2019

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 OCTOBER 8, 2019: 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.

Oct 7, 2019

Urban Renewal In Allentown

Urban renewal projects are nothing new to Allentown. Every couple decades some Mayor thinks he has a brighter idea. In a previous post, I showed the historic Lehigh and Union Street neighborhood, totally destroyed by city planners. Today, an under used Bank calling center sits awkwardly alone on that Lehigh Street hill. The picture above shows another hill of merchants and residents, fed to a mayor's bulldozer. The picture is from 1953, and shows Hamilton Street, from Penn Street down toward the railroad stations. At that time we still had two stations, The Lehigh Valley Railroad and The New Jersey Central. The current closed bar and restaurant occupies the Jersey Central. Everything on Hamilton Street, west of the bridge over the Jordan creek, with the exception of the Post Office, was demolished up to Fifth Street. Government Center would be built on the north side of the street, and a new hotel on the south, to accommodate the many anticipated visitors. Recently we had to remove and replace the facade of the county courthouse, which leaked since it was constructed. The hotel is now a rooming house.

Unannounced plans are underway for a new hotel to service anticipated visitors to Pawlowski's Palace of Sports. It will be up to some future blogger to document how that hotel becomes a rooming house.

reprinted from June 2011

UPDATE OCTOBER 7, 2019: Quite a bit has changed since I wrote this post in 2011. Many historic mercantile buildings of Hamilton Street have been replaced by large glass boxes. Although the amount of new construction and office workers is notable, revitalization has yet to occur. Come 5:00PM, those new workers can't wait to get out of Dodge. The former mentioned mayor has been incarcerated. The new hotel mentioned, subsidized by our tax dollars, sits virtually empty.

Oct 4, 2019

Camden On The Lehigh

Last evening when I entered City Council Chambers, as is my custom, I scanned the document table for the agenda and specific ordinances under consideration. There on the table, printed, fastened and disguised as an official document complete with charts, was an attack piece against one of the nay-sayers or reactionaries who challenge the administration. The victim was Robert Romancheck, who served on the zoning board for 12 years, and is a neighborhood leader in the Raub Middle School area. The fabrication stated Romancheck mismanaged Perkasie, resulting in a tax increase. Coincidentally, todays' Morning Call has an article on Perkasie which features that borough's financial stability. The victim or misinformation to me is irrelevant, the fact that it was on the document table was outrageous. Between the committee meeting and the regular Council Meeting, I approached our elected, appointed and hired officials with this document and my discontent about it. Their reaction, to the man, ranged from amusement to indifference. I contribute this cavalier attitude to the one party sweep this past election. I believe Mayor Pawlowski, although a misguided micro-manager, has integrity and is free from corruption; however, an arrogance has taken over city hall, and we know where that will lead us in the coming years.

reprinted from November of 2007

UPDATE OCTOBER 4, 2019: Although I would learn of Pawlowski's  shortcomings before most, and long before he became the subject of an investigation,  I was giving him too much credit back in 2007.  However,  I reprint this piece to reference the arrogance.  This is a trait that won't be addressed by any prosecutor, but affects every citizen of the city.  While I find O'Connell himself humble enough, the pre FBI swagger remains with some of his subordinates.

shown above older postcard of Lehigh River, with former Hamilton Street Bridge and A&B Meats

Oct 3, 2019

Greg Weaver Art Scene

For about ten years, mid 70's to 80's, Allentown was graced with a one man art machine. Greg Weaver studied at Carnegie Mellon and then returned to the Valley to become artist, promoter and inspiration to dozens of local artists. His large studios, which moved from one low rent location to another over the years, became hubs for innovation and social activity. He was very prolific with his work, and generous with his encouragement. A typical monthly bash involved perhaps a poster by Mark Beyer( now an internationally known underground comic) performance by a jazz group such as Gary Hassey,(Greg also had a band) and perhaps a new showing by a local artist, such as Barnaby Ruhe. The loft parties were always mobbed, by many of the same people who now attend the Museum social events. This art "scene" cost the taxpayers nothing, it was done by artists, and it was real. Greg suffered from diabetes, and eventually lost his sight. Although blind he continued to produce art and inspire people until his death. Several of his works are in the Allentown Museums' permanent collection and his memory is in the hearts' of his friends. The image here is from Mark Beyer, representing an invitation to a Weaver event.

above reprinted from September of 2007

UPDATE OCTOBER 3, 2019.  Last night city council temporarily postponed giving the administration $100,000, so that the Arts Commission can hire a  private consultant to promote art spaces in the city.  In a city with a tax raise of 27%,  this is nonsense.   In addition to the  Allentown Art Museum and the Baum Art School, there are private galleries and artist studios.  Although I am a strong supporter of the art community, let city hall concentrate on providing efficient government in a fair way.  Those interested in art will visit the museum and private galleries on their own motivation, without our tax dollars.

Oct 2, 2019

Welcome To Allentown

Joanne is a long time caregiver in Easton, but she chose to buy a house in Allentown. It's a house you will not see on a house tour, but she is rightfully proud of it. It's on a busy street, in a poor section of town. Her house, the only one decorated for Christmas, is the gem of the block. This holiday season she was rewarded for her efforts by receiving an inspection notice from the City of Allentown. She knew that in recent past, her house had been bought and sold for double the money, by one of the city's non-profit housing agencies, so all the safety issues had been addressed. She knows it's not a rental, under that inspection program, or up for sale, under that inspection program, so why the inspection? Seems that Mayor Ed started the home sale inspection program at the wrong end of the curve, and we hired more new inspectors than new police. Allentown has rolled out its old "systematic" inspection program for a few lucky sections in center city. You who live in Midway Manor, or the south side, and certainly the west end, need not worry. Worry is what this post is about. Joanne is really upset, she feels this unwarranted inspection is an intrusion upon her privacy and time. She received no consolation from her call to City Hall, on the contrary, she was told about administrative search warrants, and that somebody better open the door at the designed time. Her anxiety resulted in a coworker contacting Bernie O'Hare, who in turn contacted me. Bernie and I will keep you informed about how Allentown treats this woman; so far, not well.

reprinted from December of 2008 

UPDATE October 2, 2019: A lot has happened since I wrote this post eleven years ago. Mayor Pawlowski has been incarcerated for his strong arm methods, and his code inspectors are now code supervisors. Although blogger Bernie O'Hare and I no longer team up on stories, people still contact us individually, when they feel that the bureaucracy is abusing them. Such is the case with an Allentown woman on Hanover Avenue. As her court case gets closer, you'll learn more about the Pawlowski era bullying still embedded at city hall today.

Oct 1, 2019

Pawlowski's Poor Excuse

Someone once told me the difference between Parkland and Allen is that the Parkland kids can buy better drugs from nicer dealers. There's probably a lot of truth to that statement, and I think truth goes a long way in problem solving. I didn't take much consolation in Mayor Pawlowski's statement that he spent his first two years reviving Allentown financially, and now will focus on crime; those words are almost enough to make me go out and buy a bullet proof vest.

All the solutions offered, such as the Route222 anti-gang task force, surveillance camera system, yearlong study of police force, Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and the anonymous tip line, ignore the politically incorrect reality that there is a correlation between poverty and crime. Although the administration wants to make Hamilton Street appear more affluent, by relocating the bus riders to sabotage the existing merchants, elsewhere Allentown remains a publicly financed poverty magnet. 

The mayor of Hazleton, although offering no solutions to the national dilemma of immigration, sought to avoid its consequences in his community. Allentown can ill afford to lead the nation in a solution to poverty, drug abuse and crime.

illustration by Mark Beyer

above reprinted from December of 2007

UPDATE OCTOBER 1, 2019:  Former mayor Lou Barletta didn't try to solve national problems in Hazleton, instead he realized that the small city should do everything possible to avoid those elements which cause them.  Despite the warnings of this local blogger,  Allentown put out the welcome mat, and we are now immersed in poverty and crime. While the Hazleton mayor went on to congress, mayor Pawlowski is now in federal prison.

Sep 30, 2019

The Bricks Of Allentown

When Mildred Gehman* portrayed the house on the southeast corner of 12th and Walnut Streets in 1950, it was already about 60 years old. Another 60 years have passed, and the house still looks the same today. The bricks of Allentown hold up well. Yesterday, as I passed the corner of Madison and Chew Streets, I noticed three buildings in a row wearing a new orange tag, Unfit for Human Habitation. I have seen many clusters of these orange tags. They are generally handed out to one unfortunate owner or another, by one inspector. Recently, I received a phone call from such a hapless owner. His two buildings were tagged for some superficial reason, such as peeling paint. Everybody knows who has painted, or paid to have his house painted, that the stuff starts peeling off in short order, since the lead and other emulsions have been removed. Back to hapless owner. Because his buildings were tagged, the tenants were forced to move. In addition to the disruption in the tenants lives, the owner was denied the income stream to meet his debt service. Upon completion of the work on the list, the inspector then created a new list upon re-inspection. The re-inspections required scheduling specific inspectors, such as plumbing and electric, and dragged out the time frame. The primary inspector then inflicted a third list on the owner. Over a year has passed, his two buildings remain vacant, and the owner is out over $Thirty thousand dollars. Buildings on 12th Street, just north of Chew, have been tagged so long that the orange is fading on the notices. The city can mistreat rental operators because the public has little to no sympathy for that class of ownership. Several years ago, Allentown passed a Point Of Sale inspection law, which requires inspections of all private houses for sale. Welcome to the bureaucracy. To post a comment pertaining to a specific property, owner or inspector, you must must use your name.

 *Mildred Gehman,1908-2006, starting teaching at the Baum Art School in 1946. At that time, Baum was on the southwest corner of 12th and Walnut Streets, across the street from the house shown above.

above reprinted from May of 2012

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 30, 2019: Years ago, I would occasionally blog about some property owner who was being victimized by Pawlowski's City Hall. Although Pawlowski has been exorcised from the building, I'm afraid that the attitude he fostered apparently remains in some segments of middle management.

Last month, I reported on an east side homeowner who was being bullied by a nearby business owner, who has a connection at city hall. While the property next door to her,  also owned by the bully, is in a distressed condition, she is getting the citations, and being taken to court. After verifying the situation myself,  I called upon a middle supervisor for relief on behalf of the homeowner.  The reply seems to be the inspectors doubling down, and circling the wagons.  From the bully's distressed adjoining property, they rephotographed the homeowner's property, looking to fabricate more violations.

I can understand some residual arrogance remaining in the code department middle management... after all, Pawlowski ruled the roost for 13 years, and used some of those guys as his henchmen.  What they don't understand is that this blog started in 2007,  largely to fight such inequities.

Sep 27, 2019

The Mohican Markets

Once, before the malls, there were three thriving cities in the Lehigh Valley, and some merchants would have a store in each of the downtowns. Some of the buildings still exist, and have been reused; The Allentown Farr (shoe) Building is now loft apartments. Two of three Mohican Market buildings, famous for baked goods, no longer exist. The Easton location, on S. 4th St., was victim to fire. The Allentown store became a bingo hall and then a parking lot.  Butz's newest office building now occupies the space.

The Mohican Markets were owned and operated by Bernard Molovinsky, who purchased the three Lehigh Valley stores from a small chain located in New York and Pennsylvania.

revised and reprinted from September of 2007

Sep 26, 2019

Abuse At The Monument Building

The building had begun its life as the 1st National Bank. The second owner renamed it Corporate Center. The third owner renamed it Monument Building.

One morning in early July of 2008, code enforcement descended upon the Monument Building like a swat team.  Every officer, in every department , entered the building at the same time, and spread out looking for every possible violation. Under the previous owner, the same conditions, with the same tenants, were lauded as a rebirth.

Whatever motivated Pawlowski to pull the plug on the new owner, the tenants were lightweights, of no consequence to him. At that time, myself and few other malcontents, like Lou Hershman, would gather early in the morning for coffee at Jerry's Cafe, located on the first floor.

Jerry's was not one of the upstart businesses blessed with a Pawlowski grant at the time. He had to pay for everything, and everything had been inspected, inside and out. His plans had been approved, his electric and plumbing had been approved,  and his expensive grill and hood system had been approved.  While all the tenants were put out of business that day,  Jerry was also financially ruined. 

During this sorry Pawlowski era, he used the code department as a weapon.  Although Pawlowski is gone, some of that same mentality apparently still lurks with some of the code officers.  I wrote about Pawlowski's tactics back then in 2008, and I will continue to defend those currently victimized by such abuse.

The Monument Building would be torn down years later by J.B. Reilly, and replaced by one of his Corporate Towers.

I photographed the code cars that morning lined up for the raid   

Sep 25, 2019

Stealing Allentown's History

The Lehigh Valley Railroad Line along the Lehigh River, which was a basis for our industry and prosperity,  will now be a path for the spandex people, and their made in China bicycles.

While The Morning Call and Mayor Pawlowski celebrate another link in the rail to bike trail, Allentown lost a major part of it's history. While Pawlowski said "The community has been separated from water access for years," he ignored Bucky Boyle Park, just south of the Jaindl project. Bucky Boyle has been providing river access for over a century. Perhaps our Chicago Mayor has never been there, he should learn about our park system. While the spandex crowd applaud these paths, we lose an infrastructure that can never be replaced. Can you imagine how much compensation Jaindls' would want in the future to provide a rail line with a right of way? Ironically, while the spandex yuppies also want metro rail service, they are oblivious to the fact that these were the very tracks leading to both our train station and New York City. Future generations will be flabbergasted that their track tracks were scrapped for bicycle paths.

The photograph dates to 1976.  Note the A-Treat billboard, part of our commercial history that was saved by the Jaindl family.  Wish that they also had a soft spot for trains.

above reprinted from March of 2016 

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 25, 2019: Although the historic track line has been removed, the waterfront project now waits, until all the pieces are in place. While quick to tear out the tracks, apparently the trail portion will not be built without a federal grant.

Sep 24, 2019

Mapping Allentown's Past And Future

The map, partially shown above, was produced by the Nathan Nirenstein Company of Springfield, Massachusetts in 1929. His firm specialized in engineering maps of various center cities on the eastern seacoast. The map is 22X30, and expands out from 7th and Hamilton for 2 1/2 blocks east and west,  2 blocks north and south. The map includes names of both the owner of the building, and the merchant/tenant occupying the space, if different.

While numerous small banks are shown on both Hamilton and the side streets, the coming Depression surely culled that herd. Allentown City Hall and police station are still on Linden Street, while the post office is at 6th and Turner. Two large hardware stores, Young and Hersh, are on Hamilton Street.

The buildings are owned by hundreds of different people.  What will future generations think when they see a 2029 map, and all the buildings are owned by just a few people?

Sep 23, 2019

Smelling Roses In Allentown

When Allentown built the Rose Garden in 1929, it wasn't a good year for numerous citizens of the west end. In addition to the stock market crash, the city had condemned their land for Cedar Park and the gardens. Among the prominent families affected were Sofranscy, Laudenslager, Minnich, Oswald, Nearhaus, Heist, Wagner and the Ottos.

However, the construction served future families well... The garden and park provided one of the premier street views in Allentown.

The gardens have enchanted Allentown and its residents for ninety years. While the Allentown Park Department now puts in emphasis and budget mostly toward recreation, let us remember the value of what Harry Trexler referred to as beauty and serenity.

Sep 20, 2019

Disappearing Park Features

Long time readers of this blog know that one of my missions is to try and preserve the irreplaceable WPA structures, and what I consider the traditional park system infrastructure. That infrastructure suffered another loss recently, the removal of the small Cedar Beach pedestrian bridge.

The little bridge connected the picnic area with the pool for well over 70 years. Furthermore, with high weeds choking the creek bank most of the summer, it provided a glimpse of the creek for children and adults, who still value such a view.

The Allentown park system continues to put its emphasis on recreation, at the expense of charm and beauty. The future doesn't bode well for the park system of my youth, the park system of picture postcards,  the park system that was a regional destination.

park pavilion behind Cedar Beach Pool

Sep 19, 2019

Gag Me With A Spoon

For those who don't realize it, J.B. Reilly literally owns the Morning Call building, and the paper is his tenant. Yesterday's paper featured Reilly's new Artswalk food court on the front page.

Some of the nuggets from the article,  by the reporter....No matter what your taste buds are craving, there’s a good chance they’ll be satisfied at the Downtown Allentown Market...

From Reilly's leasing agent.... “We hope we’ve created a really fun environment where people can come and enjoy the food, their friends and family, and then stay downtown, visit some of the stores and just really enjoy all of what downtown Allentown has to offer,”  What stores would that be?

 From a food vendor ... “I was born and raised in south Allentown, so when this opportunity arose, I immediately jumped at the chance to give back to my community,”  Give back, is your food free?

From another vendor...   “My husband and I really enjoy coming to downtown Allentown because we love trying new restaurants and attending events at the PPL Center, so it just seemed like a no-brainer to add to that evolving food scene,"   Hope  there are more events scheduled at the arena in the future, than there has been so far.

My father operated a small meat market downtown on Union Street.  Each Thursday he would pay for a 4X5 inch advertisement in the Morning Call,  hoping that his ad would appear somewhere in the paper that people would see it.  Needless to say, it was never a free article on the front page.

I do wish the vendors success. Although I don't know how much Reilly made them pony up, they will be working long hours.

Morning Call photo, front page

Sep 18, 2019

The Poverty Banquet

Once a year CACLV celebrates local poverty with a festive banquet. Poverty has been very successful in Allentown, reaching an impressive 30% by 2017. Allentown can now boast that 100% of its student body qualify for a free lunch.

In addition to the growth in poverty, we are now spawning a crime industry. As Hasshan Batts surveys the success of CACLV, he can only be encouraged about his potential at Promise Neighborhood.... Perhaps $multi $million dollars budgets are also in his future.

While the changing socioeconomics have been bad for almost all the remaining middle class, there have been winners. Certainly the poverty has been growth for the staff at CACLV.  The void in real economic growth has provided cover for the NIZ... J. B. Reilly's real estate portfolio has blossomed.

For the remaining middle class, you have no future.  While our elected officials are chastised for such candidness, this blog remains dedicated to bluntness.

Sep 17, 2019

Allentown's Poverty Industry

Yesterday, a division of Allentown's poverty industry had its annual meeting, they call it Upside Allentown.  Most of the poverty business is run by Alan Jennings' Community Action Committee of Lehigh Valley. Six local institutions pony up and write off about a $million a year for Upside. The cast of characters and beneficiaries has remained the same for over two decades.

Although CACLV* provides its cast of administrators a steady job, by what yardstick do we measure its accomplishments? I would certainly hope not litter, double parking or crime!

What sustains the business is political correctness. Besides this blog, nobody would ask such questions.

Upside Allentown is administered by a division of CACLV called CADC.  Next week the mothership, CACLV, has its annual toast to poverty.

Sep 16, 2019

Dead At The Water

Dead in the water is an old expression. Allentown's waterfront NIZ project is dead at the water. This past week the local media reported that Jaindl has tenants lined up, but is waiting for all the pieces to be in place, before starting construction. Whoever those commercial tenants are, they sure must be flexible.

This weekend our overpaid, underworked, ghost voting state representative Mike Schlossberg was in Washington, begging for a grant for project's piece of the rail trail. He is getting better at fibbing. He actually claimed that they need the grant, so that the residents of the 1st and 6th Wards can mingle with the future tenants of Waterfront. I believe that Jaindl wants the grant, but he sure doesn't want those ward citizens mingling with his future millennials.

Talking about dead liquid, the Neuweiler building is in worse shape than ever. Even the plywood covering some of the broken windows is rotting away. If the AEDC allows one cent of tax money to be used by Ruckus to rehab that building, Scott Unger should be put in jail. That building is now beyond saving.

brewery circa 1950

Sep 13, 2019

I Watched The Debate

For most of my life I have been registered as an independent. Recently, Rick Santorum stated that he agrees with 90% of what Trump does, and 20% of what he says. I would change those figures to about 50% and 5%. While I think that Bill Weld has traits to support, his chances of getting on the Republican ticket aren't much better than mine.

With the above options in mind, last night I stayed up to watch the Democratic Debate. I was hoping to maybe find someone to reluctantly support.  Soon I fantasized about trap doors, so that I could pull a lever and drop some of the contestants off the stage. Then I started thinking about a dart gun, so I could tranquilize Bernie, and energize some of the others.

Toward the end of the long evening, I put on my record player and fell asleep.

Sep 12, 2019

Alan Jennings Misspeaks

Alan Jennings has declared that because of Judge Anthony's prejudicial rant, he should resign.  Jennings seems to have personified Anthony's comment about Allentown being a cesspool, to the people who appear before his bench.  Earlier this week I read on social media that Anthony singled out Puerto Ricans in his rant.  He did not, his admonition was directed against the increasing shootings,  not a particular person, and certainly not any particular ethnicity.

It pains me to write this post.  Although Jennings and myself are on different ends of the liberal/conservative spectrum,  I appreciated our rapport over the years... I even had appeared on his NPR show twice.

Coincidentally this week, I wrote about Allentown first having a poverty industry, and now a violence industry.  Alan was the main force behind the poverty industry.  I once wrote that his organization doesn't just give out fishing poles, that they give out fish markets.  He's disappointed in the judge, and I'm disappointed that Alan wrote this letter to the editor.

photo:The Morning Call

Sep 11, 2019

They Shoot Landlords, Don't They?

When I ran as a long-shot independent for mayor in 2005, against Ed Pawlowski and Bill Heydt,  the first thing I did was take The  Morning Call reporter on a tour of the properties that I managed.  As an intercity landlord, operating apartments between 4th and 12th, Walnut and Tilghman Streets,  I knew that  downtown apartments could  become problematic for Allentown.  After the WW2,  it became fashionable to live in a twin or small ranch, and Allentown's row houses began being divided into apartments.  Those apartments were mostly occupied by singles or childless couples, and helped keep downtown and Hamilton Street vital, long past many of its sister cities.  In the 1960's, despite the thousands of converted apartments,  center city was clean, and Allentown was the All American City.  Both the tenants and landlords were hard working and conscientious.  As the urban poor from New York and New Jersey discovered the clean streets of Allentown, and its moderately priced apartments,  a steady influx of new residents arrived daily.  These changes were not encouraged by the landlords.  Nobody ever purchased a building hoping to replace their conscientious middle class occupants, with a poorer, more problematic tenant base.  Various social agencies staked many of these newcomers to the first month rent and security deposits.  Although politically incorrect, I said at the time that Allentown was creating a poverty magnet.  My phrase and analysis back then is now recognized as an unintended consequence of such programs.  During Heydt's administration, Allentown passed a Rental Inspection Law.  Some viewed  this as the solution to the rental problem, I didn't fully agree;  You cannot legislate pride of ownership. Bad operators could, and easily did, cross the T's and dot the i's.  Pawlowski's solution has been to tag buildings as unfit for habitation, so many,  that the process itself has created blight.  Halls of Shame, either by the city or private groups, only stigmatize both the property and owner, but don't produce a solution.  The programs in place, if applied with more flexibility, can work.  The school district is starting to show concern about the consequences of more apartments and students.  Recent zoning changes allowing the conversion of commercial space by right, rather than by variance, will be an additional challenge.  At the end of the day,  all landlords want to see their investment appreciate.  The city must learn to work with that basic incentive as a vehicle for change.

reprinted from June of 2015

Sep 10, 2019

Shootings Now Normal In Allentown

When I looked at the digital version of the Morning Call Monday morning, the weekend shootings were the 7th story down the page. The Friday and Sunday shootings were lumped together in one article. By Monday afternoon the shooting story was at the bottom of page.

When shootings have become so commonplace in a city this size, we are indeed a cesspool. When our elected officials are so incensed that someone would dare use that term, it is they who should apologize. They should apologize for thinking that the citizens should consider this level of violence as normal. They should apologize for wanting to put image above safety.

As for the ones who say we should stop complaining, and join them in the marches for harmony, I feel no sense of security from their performances. They for the most part are either being paid to work in the new violence industry, or hope to be elected.

Years ago I complained about the poverty industry.... Those groups and organizations that specialized in the poor. Now that we have a violence industry,  the advocates for the poor seem like the good old days.

Sep 9, 2019

Saturday Night In the Little Apple

This weekend I popped into an opening at Soft Machine Gallery at 101 Ridge Avenue. Although the gallery might be in the 1st Ward near the Lehigh River,  the art is as uptown as it gets. John Mortensen and Eva DiOrio started the gallery in a rented space on 15th Street about ten years ago, before creating their own current space on the corner of Ridge and Linden Streets.

The show, which runs through October 5th, features the South African born and Israeli trained  constructions of Michelle Marcuse,  the mixed media collages of Netherland trained Diane Tenerelli, and the whimsically edgy drawings of Kate Hovencamp.

On the way back to the blog bunker, I drove up Linden Street past the Strata buildings. With Stratas on my left, not a millennial in sight on the right, or wrong side of the street. It is as if  J.B. Reilly installed an invisible dog fence to keep his tenants in and safe, not so much different than a minimum security prison. 

I've added the Soft Machine logo and info to this blog's web version sidebar.  It's inspiring to know that people still invest their time and capital elsewhere in the city, without our tax subsidizes as in the  Hamilton Street NIZ.

Sep 6, 2019

Allentown Wants To Kill The Messenger

State Representative Peter Schweyer suggested that if Judge Anthony doesn't apologize for referring to a cesspool when sentencing a murderer, that he should resign. I think that Schweyer should resign for not facing facts. I would also recommend that Mike Schlossberg resign.

Mike Schlossberg said that Anthony's comment changes the narrative. Since when is the blunt truth a narrative? According to Schlossberg, the narrative is that 300 people marched against crime. Did that march chase crime away? Since the march, there have been both shootings and stabbings.

Schweyer called Judge Anthony's cesspool comment a cheap shot against Allentown.  I believe that Schweyer's comment was the cheap shot.  Schlossberg called Anthony's comment over the top.  I think that Schlossberg's comments are below par.  Worse for these state representatives, I think that they grossly miscalculate the voter's attitude about the violence.  Simply put, they are sick and tired of it, and the politicians who are in a state of denial and do nothing about it.

Sep 5, 2019

A Cesspool Named Allentown

When Judge Anthony used the term cesspool the other day in regard to the shootings in Allentown,  I expected that there would be some push back. Although he was referring to the rash of shootings taking place in the former All American City, I expected to read about him accused of racism, or some other popular accusation of insensitivity, often used to suppress the forthright from speaking the plain truth.  Instead, he is being accused by  our elected leaders of a truly inexcusable insult against our so called award winning revitalizing city.

Judge Anthony is correct,  the city has become a cesspool, and the awards are bull. Furthermore, if our elected leaders are so complacent that they view this daily carnage as acceptable,  it is their leadership that may well be inexcusable.

These elected leaders cite articles praising all the new buildings, and claim that all cities this size have these urban crime issues.  Actually, Allentown is no larger than ever, and most of the new buildings are owned by one man, who was set up by these same elected leaders. Beyond some new offices and their workers poached from the local suburbs,  there is no more activity downtown....Revitalizing is more than some new bricks owned by one person.

If Judge Anthony erred about the shootings, it is that he forgot to mention the stabbings.  I hope that our elected leaders do not start accusing the messengers, and expect us to accept the current level of violence as normal.

Sep 4, 2019

Growing Up Parkway

I'm a baby boomer. I was born in December of 1946. As soon as my mother climbed out of the hospital bed, another woman climbed in. I grew up in the neighborhood now called Little Lehigh Manor, wedged between Lehigh Street and the top of the ravine above Lehigh Parkway. That's me on our lawn at the intersection of Catalina and Liberator Avenues, named after airplanes made by Vultee Corporation for the War. We had our own elementary school, our own grocery store, and the park to play in. On Saturdays, older kids would take us along on the trolley, and later the bus, over the 8TH Street Bridge to Hamilton Street. There were far too many stores to see everything. After a matinee of cartoons or Flash Gordon, and a banana split at one of the five and dimes, we would take the bus back over the bridge to Lehigh Street.

Not that many people know where Lehigh Parkway Elementary School is. It's tucked up at the back of the development of twin homes on a dead end street, but I won't say exactly where. I do want to talk about the photograph. It's May Day, around 1952-53. May Day was big then, so were the unions; Most of the fathers worked at the Steel, Mack, Black and Decker, and a hundred other factories going full tilt after the war. The houses were about 8 years old, and there were no fences yet. Hundreds of kids would migrate from one yard to another, and every mother would assume some responsibility for the herd when it was in her yard. Laundry was hung out to dry. If you notice, most of the "audience" are mothers, dads mostly were at work. I'm at the front, right of center, with a light shirt and long belt tail. Don't remember the girl, but see the boy in front of me with the big head? His father had the whole basement setup year round with a huge model train layout. There were so many kid's, the school only went up to second grade. We would then be bused to Jefferson School for third through sixth grade. The neighborhood had its own Halloween Parade and Easter egg hunt. We all walked to school, no one being more than four blocks away.

reprinted from February of 2017

Sep 3, 2019

Center City Kids And Stevens Park

Over the last decade, a large portion of my effort on this blog has been focused on maintaining what I refer to as the traditional park system. To me, that would include the WPA structures and both access to, and view of the streams. I rallied against the riparian buffers, and what I consider the excessive emphasis on recreation. In the park department, although there is no less than six supervisors for recreation, there is not one person assigned to the parks per se.

While the designation playground at Cedar Beach cost $1 million dollars, only $25,000 has been spend on the WPA structures in the last decade, and that was a grant from the Trexler Trust. However, this post isn't about my opinion of current park priorities, but rather the implementation of the current policy.

 The designation playground at Cedar Park was almost, if not criminal in design and implementation. A former park director as the time purchased every item in the Playworld Catalog, from a company he had a prior relationship with from his previous job. So we ended up with an oversized playground, in a location inaccessible to center city kids. Regarding these kids, and our current emphasis on recreation, perhaps no park is more important than humble Stevens Park, at 6th and Tilghman Streets in center city. Although the playground equipment and infrastructure are well up to snuff, community groups found it necessary to reclaim the park this past Saturday. This park should be a sanctuary for the children of center city, and the police department should do whatever is necessary to make it that way. In 2019, that might well require a 24 hour presence.

Stevens Park sits on the site of the former Stevens Elementary School, as shown above in 1918.

Sep 2, 2019

Kingdom At Stevens

On Saturday afternoon, Stevens Park, a large center city playground, teemed with festivity. As the parents and older kids swayed to the Latin beat from a live band, children at the other side were entertained with craft activities. In between, large stands provided free hot food. The event was sponsored by Kingdom Life Family Center, an outreach ministry based in Orefield. After leaving the park, I decided to visit some merchants who are relocating to 7th Street from Hamilton. On 7th, I encountered the Pastor of the Ministry, Tony Adamo. It is his hope to secure a storefront in that vicinity, and establish a full time presence in Allentown. That would be a blessing.

above reprinted from November of 2011

My apologies for an earlier post where I acted so haughty about Stevens Park. Ive been sick the past couple weeks. That being said had family over today and bragged about the new park. Took my 2 yr old and a couple other toddlers with parents. Trash everywhere! Dirty needles...I picked up 6 heroin used bags. I was horrified! We left, kids in tears. Me on the verge! I went later with husband and cleaned it up. Ive been so excited for the young neighborhood kids....it will soon just get totally trashed. And Im moving......

The above comment appeared on a community facebook page. I have redacted the writers name. The Morning Call did a pictorial spread on the the renovated park, but of course the women above gives us an actual nitty gritty experience from visiting the park. Despite the reality of who will congregate there after hours, and whatever nefarious activity that may take place, it is important to provide attractive parks within the urban center for children.   However,  the nature of the neighborhood requires that the park receive extra cleanup and surveillance.

 Allow me to commend the Parks Department on a renovation well done.

photocredit: The Morning Call/Harry Fisher

above reprinted from June of 2017

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2, 2019:  This past weekend the Morning Call had an article about a Community Day at Stevens Park, sponsored by several community groups. Earlier that morning,  police investigated shots being fired in the park.  Although the article's heading was about reclaiming the park, as you can see from my older posts above,  reclaiming the park is actually an on going process. A new reporter covers new community activists, optimistic that they have solutions to a problem which has been ongoing for a decade before them.  As I wrote in 2017, the location of the park (6th and Tilghman) requires an ongoing police presence, no less than 24 hours a day.

Aug 30, 2019

The Great Allentown Fair

The Morning Call website is hosting an archive of Fair Pictures from over the years. Being a fan both of fair pictures and black and white photography, looking at the 111 photos presented was a treat.

The photo shown above, which I will get back to, reminded me of one of my unique fair experiences. In previous posts, I have discussed that both my father and myself had stands at the fair. While my father learned that you couldn't sell hotdogs near Yocco's, I learned that drunks leaving the beer garden loved to buy printed T-shirts.

But today's post has to with George Kistler, long time City Clerk during the 1950's and 60's. George loved the fair, and loved sharing his fascination with a large group of people. I was fortunate enough to be invited several times. The routine was always the same; Dinner at a local stand on the eastern side of the fairgrounds, followed by the wrestling show. I remember photographing Andre The Giant.

The Morning Call fair picture above is none other than Jim "Super Fly" Snuka, who was recently back in Allentown, for a most regrettable reason.

reprinted from August 30, 2018

Aug 29, 2019

Allentown's Lottery Ticket

Mike Moore, Allentown city spokesman, announced that Allentown was suing big pharma for the opioid crisis. Allentown joins about 200 other cities in purchasing this lottery ticket. I have mixed feelings about the current suits against pharma regarding opioids. Although I realize that many abusers have overdosed, at what point do these suits discourage drugs companies from new research? The drugs were developed for people needing relief for severe pain. While some doctors may make the drugs too available for patients, the leap to Allentown suing is opportunistic. However, these suits are a popular notion with the left, making the man pay, and retribution against capitalist greed.

What concerns me more as a local commentator is that Allentown still has a city spokesman. Pawlowski expanded the fifth floor of city hall's staff significantly. He created the Managing Director position, in spite of Allentown previously deciding to stay with a strong mayor, instead of a manager. After Pawlowski was elected, we ended up with both positions anyway. Considering we now have both a mayor and manager, do we really need another designated spokesman?

Is Allentown so large that such a position is still necessary, or did Pawlowski train city council so well, that nothing is no longer questioned?

shown above 1962 postcard of new city hall

Aug 28, 2019

Hootchy Nights At The Allentown Fair

Morning Call columnist Bill White had a piece earlier in the week where he lamented that  Bobo the dunking clown was no longer at the fair. Although that's about as funky as it got for Bill in his era,  we older Allentonians remember much hotter nights at the fairgrounds. Up to the late sixties the fair had girly shows. I'm going back to the era of Gooding's Million Dollar Midway and Benny's Bingo. I'm going back to three midways packed between the Farmer's Market and Chew Street. I'm going back to when the fair only started after Labor Day.

I mentioned in one of my previous fair posts that Fred Schoenk and I made and sold printed t-shirts at the fairs during high School. At the Kutztown Fair we were hired by the burlesque show owner to letter a new banner for his show tent...as high school boys we would have paid him for the experience.

reprinted from September of 2018

photocredit:molovinsky...Black rock and roll review with strippers, 1969 Allentown Fair

Aug 27, 2019

A Republican Primary

Readers of this blog, on the web version, know that I have a campaign logo for Bill Weld on the sidebar. However, they may not know who Bill Weld is. Weld is challenging Donald Trump, and hopes to be on the Republican primary ballot. I believe that his effort was greatly enhanced this past weekend when Joe Walsh also announced his candidacy.

Although I doubt that Trump would participate, perhaps a network will sponsor a debate between Weld and Walsh. A debate might give the notion of a Republican coup some traction. Although the two men are quite different, both bring experience and reason to the table. Both men articulate how Republicans are dissatisfied with Trump's demeanor, but the question of course would be if there is enough political courage to dump an incumbent.

Hopefully, only one of the challengers will end up on the primary ballot, because two them on the ballot would split the Republican dissatisfaction to Trump's advantage.

Aug 26, 2019

A Different Past For The Baby Boomers

Little Lehigh Manor was built for the returning GIs after the War. It was a self contained development of several hundred brick twin houses, nestled between Lehigh Parkway and Lehigh Street. It had its own elementary school, and nearby grocery stores. Although this development may have been more idyllic than some older areas in Allentown, it shared its best feature with the rest of the city... It was a neighborhood. I hear these same memories from people in my generation who grew up on the East Side, across the river in the Ward, or center city at 9th and Chew. Great mentoring occurred at the Boys and Girls Clubs, and another dozen organizations devoted to the community's youth. Although there were economic differences and poverty, they seemed to have less of an effect on quality of life and opportunity than now. Perhaps it was the massive number of children from the Baby Boom that created a communal sense of caring among the parents and organizations, but something special seems missing today.

reprinted from January of 2013

picture dates from around 1949. An enterprising photographer brought a pony around the neighborhood as an alluring prop.

Aug 23, 2019

The Mighty Atom

Years ago, at the Allentown Fair, as one would push through a sea of carney delusion, tucked back by the 4H animals, was an island of reality. There, in an old battered truck, an ancient Jewish strongman performed incredible feats of strength, to sell only homemade kosher soap. Standing on a platform on the rear of his truck, flanked by photographs from his performing youth, he would bent horse shoes and bite through nails. Many years earlier, my mother as a little girl in Bethlehem, saw him pull a truck uphill with his hair. Even as an old man, like a reincarnation of Samson, his grey hair was still long.
In the summers of 1964 and 1965, myself and a friend,(Fred Schoenk, retired Allentown art teacher) made and sold printed tee-shirts at the fair. We had the honor to know Joseph Greenstein(The Mighty Atom) and his wife. For those interested, there are various articles on the Mighty Atom and even at least one book. Enjoy the fair!

reprinted every year since 2007

Aug 22, 2019

Roosevelt Converts Jews

When Republicans ask me about Jewish voting trends, I usually reply that the Jews don't know that Roosevelt died, and that he didn't particularly like them anyway. They have been genetically programmed for the Democratic Party, since their great-great grandmothers thought Roosevelt was helping them. Jewish support for Obama slipped from 78% in 2008, to 70% on Tuesday. Although that is a significant move of the needle, considering how important Israel is to the Jewish psyche, and how little affinity Obama has for that nation, genetics still prevailed.

reprinted from November of 2012

UPDATE AUGUST 22, 2019:  Although over the years I have written many posts about Jewish voting and Israel,  between Netanyahu, Omar, Tlaib and Trump, the topic is front and center.  In the last couple of days we read about Trump and the trope.  Years ago, Art Linkletter had a program called Kids Say The Darndest Things.   Kids, not unlike Trump, don't have the filters that society places on us over the years.

While in the movies, John Wayne and James Stewart were idolized for plain talking, that trait is certainly not expected or appreciated in politics.   Although not expected, I guess the question for 2020 will be how many people appreciate it?

Aug 21, 2019

Harassed Homeowner

Years ago, I would occasionally blog about some property owner who was being victimized by Pawlowski's City Hall. Unfortunately, there appears to still be some abuse possible, especially if you're a feisty homeowner who talks back.

The east side woman on Hanover Avenue told me that she was being bullied by a neighboring business owner, who has some apparent connections at city hall. Although I generally stopped attending meetings and making such field trips, I stopped over to see her house. Everything she complained about was totally evident. The neighboring properties were in a distressed shape, yet she is getting the citations. One issue is her rear deck, which is in excellent condition, and could structurally support a herd of elephants. Another issue, that the neighbor's new front construction encroaches on her property, is also obvious.

She's facing a fine(s) that should be rescinded. After talking with her for an hour, I can appreciate that she didn't show the deference that the inspectors are used to. However, she's a taxpayer, maintaining her house in a condition greatly exceeding her neighbors, and deserves the city's cooperation, not harassment.

Aug 20, 2019

Weighing In On 1948

1948 was a good year for Allentown and the Lehigh Valley. Mack Trucks, Lehigh Structural Steel, General Electric and almost all factories were going full steam. President Truman stopped by to give a speech. The Allentown Cardinals played the first game in their new ballpark, Breadon Field. The baby boom was going full tilt:

The school district unveiled Lehigh Parkway and Midway Manor Elementary Schools and the new professional style football stadium. Donald Hock was Mayor, and although the last beer was being brewed on Lawrence Street at Daeufer Brewery, the Paddock joined many new restaurants opening that year. Photo's from Dorney Park in 1948.

reprinted from May of 2016

ADDENDUM: Assuming a photograph on the Morning Call website is color balanced correctly, the wooden coaster at Dorney is no longer Dorney Coaster Yellow. Painting the coaster the same shade of yellow was an important tradition at the park, even when ownership changed hands. They don't make Lehigh Valley traditions like they used to.

Aug 19, 2019

Around The Corner

Yesterday's post about the zoning hearing for Rite-Aid, out on North 7th Street, showed a classic 1950 black and white photograph of Hamilton Street. Today, we go right around the corner, on South 7th Street. Being the oldest blogger in the valley, and being an aficionado of old photographs, you will be submitted to these excursions. Before we begin, a few notes about yesterday's image. Notice that there are many more shoppers on the north side of Hamilton, than the south. This phenomenon always existed. Were the better stores on the north side? Real estate prices and rents were always higher on the Hess's side. OK, lets go around the corner. The Suburban Line Bus is getting ready to head west, the county poor home being the last stop; Today it is known as Cedarbrook. The Lehigh Valley Transit Company had their main stop a block west, on S. 8th Street. The bus is parked in front of the YMCA, which housed a market at street level. If the photograph was extended on the right side, you would see the monument. Across Hamilton Street is Whelan Drug Store, that location currently occupied by a bank. The billboard above, then advertising local Neuweiler Beer, was a prime sign location. Behind the drug store stands the Dime Bank, which will remain as part of the new transformational Arena Complex. Glad you could join me, now get off the bus, and back into 2011.

reprinted from November of 2011

Aug 16, 2019

Stepchildren Of Allentown's Corruption

Back in the day before the FBI raid on Allentown City Hall,  those interested in corruption in Allentown were pretty much limited to myself and O'Hare.  Missing in action was the Morning Call.  Although they would occasionally use this blog as an unattributed source, they avoided my most controversial exposés.  Among them was my revelations about the Neuweiler Brewery.

Although the FBI and  Justice Department decided to prosecute Pawlowski and Company on nine deals,  I suspect that the menu actually had many more choices.  Among them may have been the current Neuweiler Brewery deal.  When Ruckus Brewing was introduced as an applicant for the Neuweiler Brewery, I wrote about it here, way back in 2013.  My research revealed that Ruckus had no experience at the time in either actual beer brewing or real estate.  What they did have was a business consultant very connected to the administration in Allentown, Mike Fleck.

Although Pawlowski and Fleck were indicted and convicted,  the Allentown Commercial Industrial Development Authority proceeded with handing over the brewery to Ruckus.  Ruckus received numerous deadline extensions on their application, and represented the brewery as a done deal to raise cash. All these irregularities were previously reported on this blog, and ignored by the local press. They are currently permitted to rent out space as is, in a building in which the previous owner was arrested and jailed for not correcting code violations.

When shenanigans occur in Allentown,  this blog is often the first source to chronicle the questionable activity.

For the full story on the Neuweiler Brewery, please follow the links provided below. 

Post on Neuweiler Brewery from May 29, 2008

Post on Neuweiler Brewery July 11, 2012

Sequel to July 11, Post (July 16, 2012)

Post on Neuweiler Brewery May 2, 2013

Post on Neuweiler Brewery Jan. 31, 2013

The Neuweiler Brewery, A Pawlowski/Fleck Shenanigan, July 8, 2015

Morning Call Catches Up To Molovinsky On Neuweiler Sept. 30, 2015

reprinted from March of 2018

Aug 15, 2019

Reality Check At Strata Lofts

This blog has long claimed that the occupancy rate for Strata Lofts is not as rosy as J.B. Reilly and the Morning Call claim. In the past I have accused the paper of writing virtual promotions for Reilly, resembling press releases, rather than news reports. My assessment was based on dark apartments, empty streets and the failure of upscale merchants.

Reilly has now announced that the number of additional upscale apartments will be cut back, while the lower rent units at the former Holiday Inn will proceed as planned.

When the guidelines for the NIZ were first announced, the incentive was supposed to be applied only to commercial development, not residential. I suspect that someway, his residential projects are also being financed through our state taxes. There appears to be no real scrutiny  by the ANIZDA, which was to provide oversight.

At a candidates night, I found it interesting that Ray O'Connell defended the NIZ so vigorously. He and others claim that downtown Allentown is much better off than before the zone. My readers may be surprised to see me not dispute his claim. I suppose that by suburban standards it has been sanitized, but it certainly hasn't been really revitalized.

This blog started in 2007, with the insight that Pawlowski and city hall could stand some examination. When the city started sending straw buyers to intimidate the former Hamilton Street merchants, this blog reported on the deception being used. When the Morning Call started promoting, instead of reporting, this blog spoke out. Along the way I have been accused of being a naysayer. To that I say, Thank you, you're welcome. You can find plenty of positive vibes elsewhere, but there's also  a need for some reality checks.

None of the merchants featured in the photo above are still in business. 

Aug 14, 2019

Allentown Memorabilia

The time and market for Allentown memorabilia has come and gone. With a changing population, and the graying of the older town folks, objects of our history are destined for the landfill. Even the local historic society concentrates on shows of general interest, such as Abraham Lincoln. In addition to having been a retail mecca, Allentown manufactured a large assortment of products. Allentown was stamped on tools, knifes, and metal products of all kinds, distributed nationwide. A local regional food product was the hard pretzel, a variation of the traditional German soft pretzel. Allentown had several pretzel companies. Miller's operated out of their factory at 732 Tilghman Street, between 1944 and 1978. In the coming months this blog will profile some of these Made In Allentown products, before litter and meaningless slogans became our legacy.

reprinted from July of 2013