City Center Lehigh Valley Downtown Allentown neighborhood

IMAGES: What makes a neighborhood?

March 3, 2016  /  A few months into a new year of fantastic growth, prosperity, learning, opportunities and life, I offer a few notes and some neighborhood photos for your perusal.

The new business coming in and the success of the arena are continually changing the perception of all the naysayers about the real and documented upturn in the economy and culture downtown. The revitalization efforts here in the city are making it possible for so many to be part of the big picture, this true renaissance of a great American city. When I see so many new and friendly faces, I get a sort of comforting and nostalgic fuzzy feeling. The community’s neighborhoods are a genuine and wonderful part of the equation that we need to really call this revitalization a success.

With a camera in hand, witnessing and documenting this transformation is awesome. What I am most impressed with is the formation of an exciting community. Young folks, the X/Y generation are calling Allentown their home, and after working a full day or week they are walking their dogs and going to shows at Symphony Hall and the Art Museum, cheering “Go Phantoms!” and enjoying great dining experiences. They are living, working and playing here in Allentown.

(More after the gallery)

The arts are vital to a thriving urban neighborhood

The once sort of underground arts movement in our fair city is now blooming on the main streets, parks and new pop up galleries all over Allentown. Paul Harryn, Ann Elizabeth Schlegel, Rigo Peralta, Chris Jones and the wonderful/cool Barnaby Ruhe are just a few artists whose beautiful work is displayed at various venues around town.

Upon giving a short speech at an art opening at the Renaissance Allentown Hotel’s new MEZZ Gallery, I realized something: This movement is unstoppable, undeniable, and a very positive force emanating from the center of Allentown. The exciting thing is, this is just the beginning of a movement toward making Allentown a cultural center of the Lehigh Valley and PA/tri-state area once again.


Truth be told, it is all about the people right?

Yes we have Skype, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a lot of other new media. (With apps that I hope you use to promote this blog—wink, wink!) But, Allentown is building a next-generation community where you also see real faces and shake hands with neighbors and get to know real and interesting people. The ROI on relationships and opportunities that are opening up cannot be measured in likes, impressions, hashtags or dollars, and they are priceless and meaningful.

So lucky am I to squeak out a living doing what I do that I want to share my excitement about the culture shift and people supporting and building this new community with everyone reading this blog. Enjoy the pictures and the words, and let me know your thoughts too!

In the meantime, put down your phone, tablet or laptop and look around. This is the new Allentown, people!


More Photo Finish Posts

Images: Peter Gourniak Photography

City Center Photographer Peter Gourniak has been a part of the Downtown Allentown arts and media industry for over three decades.

'IMAGES: What makes a neighborhood?' have 2 comments

  1. March 20, 2016 @ 8:31 pm Sally

    Did you mean Paul Harryn?


    • March 21, 2016 @ 12:55 pm Margo Trott

      Absolutely! We’ve corrected the post. Thanks so much, Sally!


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