Aug 20, 2014

The Sign Of Hypocrisy

Very early this morning I was amused by the article in The Morning Call speaking of something new coming to downtown Allentown, an electronic billboard. I thought I had put the soon to be demolished Monument Building to rest, but now it features in yet another story of Allentown's double standards. Before the Mayor forced the owner to lock the doors, he had installed the exact type of new billboard coming to Allentown. I apparently was not the only one shaking my head over this story. Before 7:00AM I received the following comment.
  In regards to the future digital billboards: The sad part is that a business man had this same idea and placed a beautiful sign on the side of the 645 Hamilton Street building only to have ut turned off due to City politics.. Everything that is being thought of as new and innovative was proposed and DONE by individuals 6-10 years ago who took it "upon themselves" to make Allentown a better City. Unfortunately, we received no support so many have left or became apathetic... SMH Alfonso Todd
There is actually a proud tradition of signs in center square.  For many years during the golden era a large illuminated Neuweiler Beer sign stood atop the Whelan Drugstore, on the northwest corner.  Back to the hapless Monument owner and his innovative sign.  The sign was up for a number of months and being tolerated by the city, until one faithful day.  As a favor to the coffee shop owner,  the sign company programmed an ad for Lou Hershman running for office, just as Mayor Pawlowski was walking down the street.  The Mayor blew his fuse, and the sign shortly thereafter, when the city threw every sign law on the book at the owner.

 The billboard is actually still mounted to the building, as a testament to this hypocrisy.   Is it the same billboard firm now hired by the city to place billboards on certain streets, including N. 7th?

reprinted from August 2012

UPDATE:The post above is from August of 2012. Since that time the building shown, The Monument Building, has been demolished, and a new building is being constructed by J.B. Reilly, using state tax dollars under the NIZ. Last night, Abe Atiyeh challenged the exception clause to the new zoning law, in regard to the new electronic billboard contract with the city.  Although that story is expertly covered by both Bernie O'Hare's Ramblings and The Morning Call,  this blog is uniquely positioned to add some  historical perspective and irony.

reprinted from August 2013

UPDATE August 20, 2014: Move ahead another year, and we now have a new building, with permission for a new digital sign. In obtaining that permission, it was stated that the previous building also had a digital sign. molovinsky on allentown, source of critical analysis and historical record, notes here that in fact that sign was declared illegal at the time, and the plug was pulled.

UDATE August 24: Another source indicates that the previous digital sign was reactivated, and remained so until shortly before demolition of the building.


Anonymous said...

I'm confused by the circumstances surrounding the removal of the sign the first time.

Was the sign's intent to be used for advertising or political gain? Was it privately funded when it was put up the first time?

I'm not being purposely obtuse here; I just want all the information.

michael molovinsky said...

@7:36, the sign was intended to be used for advertising, but even political office seekers advertise for elections. the sign, and even the building, was privately funded; once upon a time that wasn't a novel concept.

Julian Kern said...

The political games in Allentown.