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View Poll Results: What is your favorite mid-sized Pennsylvania City?
Allentown 0 0%
Altoona 5 5.95%
Bethlehem 8 9.52%
Erie 18 21.43%
Harrisburg 10 11.90%
Lancaster 9 10.71%
Reading 5 5.95%
Scranton 6 7.14%
State College 15 17.86%
Wilkes-Barre 5 5.95%
York 3 3.57%
Voters: 84. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-01-2008, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
463 posts, read 964,115 times
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We're had a poll debating the merits between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, so how about one comparing the "second-tier" cities of Pennsylvania; those places not generally known to those outside of PA and our immediate neighbors, but contributed heavily to the building of this country.

Note: I know that "mid-sized" can be a subjective label, so I basically included all cities Rand-McNally has inset maps for in the road atlas. I might do a "small city" poll later for the Williamsport/Pottsville/Easton-sized cities of the state.

Last edited by bobsmith; 09-01-2008 at 11:20 PM..
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Old 09-01-2008, 11:43 PM
 
Location: Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
463 posts, read 964,115 times
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I made this poll but I can't decide! Let me break it down for myself:

Allentown - The one on this list I'm most familiar with, and the largest of the mid-sized cities. I call it "the westernmost city in New Jersey" for good reasons--drivers, rudeness, etc, and a bit too sprawling for my tastes.

Altoona- I've not been here, my only connection to Altoona is that my sister's roomate was from here.

Bethlehem- Hmm, Musikfest is awesome, and a nice downtown. Seems to be in a bit better shape than Allentown.

Erie- I haven't even been close to Erie, actually.

Harrisburg- I've been here a few times. It's a pretty neat place with all the state offices; the capitol building is one of the best I've seen out of the state capitals I've been to.

Lancaster- I've been here a couple of times. It's a nice city, has a much better feeling to it than Reading. I once went to an art exibit there in a school that used to be a parking garadge. Nice downtown!

Reading- Once (and to a certian extent still is) a very important city in PA, the inner-city problems here are worse than Allentown and probably just as bad per-capita as Philly. I don't think I like it quite as much as Lancaster.

Scranton- I've only been to downtown Scranton once, it seemed pretty nice. I went to park in the Steamtown Mall and I was wondering "I wonder how much it's going to cost me" when I found out it was Free! That's plus one for Scranton right there. I also saw a movie there and chatted with a homeless guy about good places to eat in town.

State College- Dispite living not that far away in Williamsport, I've never actually been here. I'll have to visit sometime.

Wilkes-Barre- I've not been to the downtown, but I've seen a few concerts at the Wachovia Center.

York- I haven't been here either, just drove by on I-83, so I don't really have an impression.


So, I guess I'm going to have to give Scranton the nod although Lancaster came awfully close. A lot of my decision about Scranton has to do with its place in history as a city (like Youngstown, OH) that helped to build America and then America turned around and forgot. I think Scranton has a lot of potential for the future as well if people's mindsets change.
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Old 09-02-2008, 07:52 AM
 
11,169 posts, read 8,080,611 times
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Allentown: Very much like Reading except alot more sprawled out. It's got Dorney Park and nice western suburbs with alot of shopping. It's crime is about as bad as Reading.
Reading: Crime in the city but great suburbs and shopping and lots to see and do especially in the surrounding county. Sports, shows, concerts, they have it.
Lancaster: Smaller Reading type city but again, awesome suburbs and surrounding county with lots of attractions. Crime not quite so bad. Shopping is great, county wise.
There's a pattern here, the prior 3 cities all have dead downtowns in evenings but the surrounding burbs are crawling with great eateries and shops and stores.
State College: Pennsylvania's college town. Huge campus, scenic county, awesome football stadium.
Harrisburg: Traffic sucks here. Even for Pennsylvania their highways are poorly laid out. Nice convention farm/ arena. I hear their downtown is good for eateries but I have to wonder then how the suburbs are?
York: Driven through it on Route 30 on the way to DC and Baltimore and Gettysburg. Reminded me a little of Lancaster but I don't think there's anything there to go see as a destination.
I have to choose Reading if only because it was once such a great city and because it has a great county still keeping it alive. And location wise, its in the middle of an area with so much to see and do.
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,431 posts, read 46,729,505 times
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"Ain't no party like a Scranton party 'cuz a Scranton party don't stop," says Steve Carell from "The Office."
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,431 posts, read 46,729,505 times
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Allentown: I'm honestly not very familiar with the city other than the fact that it is the setting for one of my favorite Billy Joel songs. I have heard though that the crime here is the worst in the Lehigh Valley, but I suppose that also comes with the territory of having well over 100,000 residents. From what I've seen from MSN Virtual Earth and WikiMapia though it has a rather unappealing downtown and tremendous urban sprawl---which most educated people know is NOT something worth touting at the dawn of the age of eco-conscious. Where are all of the lofts and mixed-use developments?

Altoona: This is a city I've been meaning to visit for quite some time. When my high school's state Science Olympiad competition was hosted in nearby Huntingdon, we stayed at a hotel in the suburb of Hollidaysburg, but we didn't venture into the town proper. I've heard that the economy here is even worse than it is in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, hence why it didn't garner a vote from me.

Bethlehem: This is truly an incredible city in my eyes and has undergone tremendous redevelopment over the past two decades. One thing I didn't like though was the absence of sub-neighborhoods. Yes, you have the West End, South Side, North Side, and Downtown, but when I was wandering around for my photo tour I didn't come across any quaint "neighborhood" like areas. See my description below of Scranton for more detail. Bethlehem does have a much nicer downtown than Scranton does though; it nearly edged it out for my vote.

Erie: Another city that I wish to visit, perhaps as a college graduation gift to myself by finally taking my long-anticipated journey across the state's Northern Tier via U.S. Route 6. I've heard awesome things about Presque Isle State Park.

Harrisburg: Harrisburg is most certainly a city on the rebound with some awesome history and a bustling downtown, but the relatively-high crime rate for a city of 50,000 and the generally poor public school system are both turn-offs to me.

Lancaster: I'm not very familiar with the city proper of Lancaster. My family and I headed into town to eat at a brew pub and check out the homestead of former president James Buchanan, but otherwise I don't remember much other than the fact that the surrounding countryside was a mess of sprawl.

Reading: The Double-A minor-league affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies plays here in a very nice stadium. Several old factories have been converted into trendy outlet stores. However, the extremely high crime rate in the city proper of Reading leaves much to be desired.

Scranton: Where do I begin? Scranton is truly an eclectic mix of sharply-defined neighborhoods---each with their own story to tell a wandering traveler. Hyde Park was originally an independent town that was annexed by the growing city of Scranton, hence why it has its own schools, churches, downtown, etc. The city just oozes historic appeal with a downtown replete with brick buildings and neighborhoods such as Green Ridge and The Hill, both of which are a haven for Victorians, Tudors, and other historic homes. Public schools consistently rank at or above-average, violent crime is amongst the lowest for Pennsylvania's larger cities, and the city's downtown is finally bouncing back after years of decline. It's amazing to me that this city still has such a terrible sprawl problem when the city core has so much going for it.

State College: This is easily the best college-oriented city in the nation in my eyes (perhaps only being rivaled by Ann Arbor or Madison), but I don't consider the city proper to offer much outside of the campus community. Yes, the surrounding suburban townships are excellent places to raise a family, but from all of my visits to State College and walking for miles on end, I didn't see many truly working-class residential neighborhoods---just funky shops, ethnic restaurants, dormitories, art galleries, etc. It is an awesome place to live, in my opinion, but the PSU presence is just a bit too suffocating for my tastes.

Wilkes-Barre: I must say that Wilkes-Barre, which used to warrant the scorn of myself and many others in NEPA, is starting to turn a new leaf. The downtown is brimming with redevelopment initiatives, including the near-completion of the long-anticipated RiverWalk project and hundreds of lofts and condos being developed in formerly-abandoned buildings over the next several years. The city is becoming a "college town," with nearly 7,000 college students spread amongst two rapidly growing universities in a city of 40,000. The crime rate here has traditionally been much higher than Scranton, but this year Scranton has been a haven for violence whereas Wilkes-Barre has been very quiet.

York: I don't have much of an impression of York other than the fact that I love York Peppermint Patties and that the surrounding county is being devoured by Maryland commuters.
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,509 posts, read 11,244,957 times
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ScranBarre wrote:
State College: This is easily the best college-oriented city in the nation in my eyes (perhaps only being rivaled by Ann Arbor or Madison), but I don't consider the city proper to offer much outside of the campus community. Yes, the surrounding suburban townships are excellent places to raise a family, but from all of my visits to State College and walking for miles on end, I didn't see many truly working-class residential neighborhoods---just funky shops, ethnic restaurants, dormitories, art galleries, etc. It is an awesome place to live, in my opinion, but the PSU presence is just a bit too suffocating for my tastes.
I moved away from PA many years ago, and I rather doubt that I will ever live in PA again. IF, and that's a BIG IF, I ever did move back to PA, it would likely be to State College. Even though I voted for State College in this poll, I don't think it is the best college-oriented city in the US. Several other places come to mind that I personally like alot better than State College, such as: Boulder-CO, Eugene-OR, Missoula-MT, Madison-WI, Ann Arbor-MI, Boone-NC, Charlottesville-VA, Blacksburg-VA, and Ithaca-NY. If I had to vote for the best on that list it would be a tossup between the new-agey mecca of Boulder, and the laid back ambiance of Blacksburg. Of course this is all very subjective. No matter how you cut it, State College seems like it would be a great place to live. It is my personal favorite PA town of any size.

Last edited by CosmicWizard; 09-02-2008 at 02:37 PM..
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Old 09-02-2008, 03:13 PM
 
2,486 posts, read 1,032,253 times
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I lived in Denver and thought State College was much more nice and livable than Boulder, Co.

You just seem to have some harsh bias on PA towns.

Boulder was 100 times for expensive, full of those liberal, yuppie, hippies. Was fake as all hell, and State College just had a much nicer calmer feel to it. Especially in the fall.

I been to many college towns around this country. Some are nice, but State College can definatley go down as one of the top nice college towns to live in.
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:50 PM
 
Location: wilkes-barre
1,974 posts, read 3,334,793 times
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These "best city" polls are never accurate, because most of the people that vote, vote for thier city or the one closest to them (just like I did). I've been to all the other cities mentioned eccept Erie. And out of all of them, I liked Lancaster the best (after Wilkes-Barre of course). I didn't see all of Lancaster, but I did see the downtown (historic?) area. And it reminded me of an old world, victorian city, like you'd expect Ben Franklin, or John Adams to go strolling by. I've always enjoyed that old historic charm. Through in the beautiful countryside, and the Amish horses and buggies and I'm sold. #1 Wilkes-Barre,#2 Lancaster.
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Old 09-02-2008, 11:08 PM
 
Location: wilkes-barre
1,974 posts, read 3,334,793 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W-B proud View Post
These "best city" polls are never accurate, because most of the people that vote, vote for thier city or the one closest to them (just like I did). I've been to all the other cities mentioned eccept Erie. And out of all of them, I liked Lancaster the best (after Wilkes-Barre of course). I didn't see all of Lancaster, but I did see the downtown (historic?) area. And it reminded me of an old world, victorian city, like you'd expect Ben Franklin, or John Adams to go strolling by. I've always enjoyed that old historic charm. Through in the beautiful countryside, and the Amish horses and buggies and I'm sold. #1 Wilkes-Barre,#2 Lancaster.
Oh yah, I also like State College, but I fell that without Penn st, it wouldn't be much of a city at all, so I don't think it should count... IMO. It would probably look alot more like a small town like Lock Haven or Lewisburg, but that's just my opinion.
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,509 posts, read 11,244,957 times
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W-B Proud wrote:
These "best city" polls are never accurate,
How can they be? Polls are subjective by nature. Keep your sanity and take it with a grain of salt. See it for the game that it is, and simply have fun.
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