Nov 28, 2022

A Bastard Blogger and Lights In The Parkway

As dusk falls, cars start entering Lehigh Parkway to enjoy the annual Christmas light display.  In the darkness they drive past the top of the Double Stairwell, built by the WPA in 1935. It was designed as the signature structure in the park. In daylight they would see that the top landing is breaking up, and the subsequent landings down the double stairs are even in worse condition. These cracked landings allow seeping water to undermine the steps below them,  jeopardizing the entire structure.  I have been reporting these deteriorating conditions to the Park Department for six years. While nothing has been done to rehab this irreplaceable structure, the department is actively seeking grants to build another new park, near the old incinerator plant off Basin Street.

As a long time public critic of the former Pawlowski administration,  his park directors may have dismissed my criticism of park policy as political discontent. However, with the current mayor and park director I have a long time rapport, but to no apparent avail.

When I drive through the park I don't see the pretty lights, but a sad situation. I see crumbling WPA structures. I see neglect and misplaced priorities.

reprinted from December of 2019 

UPDATE DECEMBER 2020: The Park Department did repair the vertical surfaces on the stairwell structure this past summer through a Trexler Trust grant, but not the landings. Because the landing surfaces are essential to maintain the structural integrity, I will keep up my campaign for such repair.

In a few weeks we'll have a new mayor, but this old blogger will to continue to focus on the same shortcomings to our park system. Rather than seeking outside grants for the WPA structures, they must become main park budget items. They must be given the priority their place in our history deserves.

UPDATE NOVEMBER 28, 2022: Another year has passed, and the landings on the Double Stairwell  have still not been repaired. The city has announced that this will be the last year for the Christmas Light display. While at this point it has almost become a tradition, I remember when the attraction was new and controversial. Electrifying the park didn't sit well with park traditionalists, myself included. Long traffic lines, wrapping back and over the stone arch bridge, didn't sit well with neighbors. However, things become old, including the lights and bastard bloggers.


  1. I had thought I had seen a crew repairing the newly repaired wall while lights were being set up?

  2. anon@6:23: you are correct that the wall is being repointed. I'm referring to the landings, the flat surfaces on the double stairwell...they are in dire need of repair.