On January 9 my husband and I went to Allentown, PA, to pick up unsold artwork from the Baum School of Art’s holiday show. The school is located in the middle of downtown across the street from the Allentown Art Museum. Both of these places are very familiar to us from years of visiting Allentown.
The city is undergoing a lot of change right now. After declines in industry and manufacturing and a period of drift, the city is renewing itself in a lot of different ways. Its location is advantageous, it has a significant population, there are several colleges in the city, and it borders Bethlehem, PA, another Lehigh Valley city reinventing itself.
Downtown Allentown was further changed by the construction of the PPL Center, home to a minor league hockey team and an Arena football team – not to mention lots of special events. New restaurants and hotels have followed as well as residential apartment construction.
I’m glad to see it. I like Allentown a lot and the city has been good to me as far as my art career. That’s another area undergoing growth – Third Thursday art evenings and plenty of events at the museum, the school, and other art venues in town.
Anyway, driving in, we noticed a building coming down to clear a site for new construction along Hamilton Street.
Once we were finished with our errand we walked a few blocks to take a closer look. I can’t resist watching a building in its demolition process. Here are some pictures.
Here’s part of the building still standing – Hamilton Street facade.
From the side looking toward Hamilton.
Side view. Now it gets interesting. Look at that staircase ghost – think how high the ceilings were in this building.
The handrail is still in place. Somehow that touched my heart. I was thinking of how many hands had slid along the metal in all the years of the building’s life.
My husband directed my attention to the back of the building. The former bathrooms, to be specific. There they are, stacked on above the other.
Now that’s interesting to think about, isn’t it? All this time these rooms were one above the other, completely separated and never to be seen in comparison with each other.
Now I really felt for the building. Bathrooms, well, they are private spaces and now, here they are, front and center.
I don’t know what’s going on this site – it’s being cleared all the way back to the next block. I’ll keep my eye on it.
On the way out of town, we passed West Park, where I have done so many years of Art in the Park. Looks very different from the scene in June, when we are there.
A nice trip and I’m looking forward to the next time we are there.