As a 30-year resident of Allentown, I’d like to respond to Jeff Miers’ article “90 Minutes-plus in Allentown: Afternoon, evening in old, weird, Bohemian Buffalo.”
One sentence in the article jumped out at me: “Yes, the neighborhood’s population is changing, and the clientele for the clubs and restaurants is mirroring that change.” I couldn’t disagree more. Allen Street has become a bar strip with almost no relationship to the neighborhood that surrounds it. There are no dry cleaners or bookstores but there are plenty of bars – more than the legal limit thanks to zoning variances from the Common Council. And the people who drink at these bars yank pickets off my fence, beat each other up on my street, and expose themselves on the corner. Hardly the behavior of neighbors.
I wish I could agree with Miers that Allentown hasn’t changed. But for the first time in 30 years, I think twice about walking the half-block from my house to Allen Street after dark.
Allentown is one of Buffalo’s most historic neighborhoods. If its character and safety deteriorate under pressure from a bar monoculture, it will be a loss not only for those who live here but for all of Buffalo.
Kristin M. Richardson