Michael Molovinsky is up with a piece about "Allentown 2019." It's obviously a similar knock off to the right-wing movie about "Obama's America" in 2016, which of course implies doom with his election, and Molovinsky seems to imply that Allentown is on the same path. He writes this specific part I want to touch on:
The bloom is off the rose at the arena; 2018 showed only twenty three events beside the home hockey games, and most of them were poorly attended. Although the new arena complex manager, and the new police chief, promise to work together to better safeguard the patrons upon departing, suburbanites continue to fear the place, and rightfully so.I have several beefs with this, none of which are his prediction of less events than are needed (I'm a skeptic that they'll have enough events too). My beefs are:
- I have no reason to believe the hockey won't draw good crowds. Hockey is popular in these parts, so if he's implying they won't get good crowds, I think he'll be shocked.
- Whether we're discussing Croc Rock, Allentown BrewWorks, Sangria, or the Brazilian Steakhouse, who does he think goes to these places now? Suburbanites! Me, specifically. I have zero fear for my safety there, nor does it seem do most patrons. Am I calling Allentown a utopia? No, but it's not a war zone, in fact it's not even like it's nearby city, Reading.
- Does he think it's going to get worse in downtown? Why?
Molovinsky is very nostalgic. Like this nostalgic on his site:
I understand he's lived his whole life in Allentown and views it's past favorably, and that's fine. I come from a family that's been in the Valley since they basically got off the boats here, so I get that nostalgia, however I don't recall a single one of my senior relatives, past or present, being this level of nostalgic. Yes, Allentown is undergoing demographic, economic, and visual shifts that are changing the city. Yes, I'll be the first one to say that Allentown's politics suck, in fact I'll go further and say the same of the county, but do I think the city is worse than it was when I was younger? No, no I don't. I also don't see how putting millions and millions of dollars in economic development that is going to drive younger, new people into the downtown is a negative. I don't see how an inner-city area that is rather middle of the pack in violence for a city of it's size, is going to get worse as a result of that economic development. For that matter, I'll just go ahead and say I challenge the basic premise of his piece, which is that Pawlowski's stewardship of the city is sending it to the tank worse than any previous mayor. I can't name you the last mayor of Allentown that I thought was pretty good, and they governed a smaller city.
Change happens. I'm sure that in 30 years I won't like seeing something built in my youth torn down for something new to go in. This is urban economics though, everywhere. Treating Allentown like some village in the countryside, that's not the future. It's a diverse, capable city that has a brighter future, with the right leadership. I completely reject the "doom and gloom" vision of it's future, even if you think the current political leadership lacks.