Friday, July 22, 2011

Reading vs. Allentown

I live right between these two Pennsylvania towns. I enter greater Reading every day during the week for work and I almost always hit Allentown on the weekend (at least for Wegman's). Maybe it would be nice to compare the two.

First, these towns have a lot of similarities. As far as size goes, Allentown wins out, they are third in PA, while Reading is 5th (behind Erie). Erie is a horrible place. Both have minor league baseball teams. Reading has a hockey team as well (points to Reading). Both have lots of crime too. Generally I feel safer in Allentown than I do Reading. Reading has the Schuylkill River while Allentown has the Lehigh. Both flow into the Delaware.

Both offer great places to eat. Hong Thanh(Nam) and Aashiyana(Indian) are probably the two best places to eat. In Allentown they have Asia(Asian) and Lui's(Asian). Have you figured out I like Asian food. Allentown has a Wegman's, Reading does not. Allentown seems to have better middle-eastern/Mediterranean cuisine. Allentown has a better farmer's market.

I don't spend much time in Reading to socialize so my opinion on this, like other things, might be a little uninformed. I'm certain there are cool bars there, I just haven't found one. We've played music at the Brass Lantern and that's just okay. It's sort of near Albright College. West Reading is just alright, if that qualifies as Reading.

I like the Allentown Brew Works a whole lot and I've been finding myself there a lot of Fridays. They usually have great bands (ours included) or cool dance parties, not mention a great selection of beer and chicks. Maybe Allentown is coming back (but I think they say that about all down and out socialized American towns). If they (all city governments) stopped trying to plan everything and let market forces do their thing, we'd be in better shape.

Both towns have really bad AM stations with morning shows and I'm guilty of listening to both of these, sometimes in the morning drive (I go thru streaks). 790 WFMZ-AM has Bobby Gunther Walsh who is extremely annoying (boderline whiney) with his authoritarian neo-con viewpoints interspersed between horrible jokes and unfunny radio bits. 830 AM, WEEU who has the Reading celebrity Charlie Adams (he also writes local ghost stories and gives talks) who actually plays some pretty interesting and rare old music (on occasion) between traffic reports, news and sports. The advantage here goes to Reading.

Right now, overall,  my biases favor Allentown. I've worked in or near Reading since 2003 and maybe I just don't like it cause I associate it with having to go to a job. Even though I'm okay with my job. I associate Allentown/Lehigh Valley with good times and socializing, if not running game, if you will. To be honest, neither town has much to it. Like most things, it has to do with the people and happenings within it. So, at this point I feel more comfortable with Allentown.

Your Feedback would be appreciated.


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