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Remember: Andrew Kleiner and his Blog

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Andrew Kleiner and his Blog

In April of 2009 I was in my 16 month at Starbucks in Macungie as a shift supervisor. It was a job that provided me with experience but was without enjoyment in nearly every capacity. It was announced that April that my store would be closed and that I would be laid off. At the time, I reacted with a mix of shock, worry, and excitement. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do but I sure was happy I’d be out of there.

Two things that would end up defining my future also happened in April. The first thing was that after a three year fight, my medical withdrawal was granted and I was reinstated as a student at Penn State University. In October of 2006, I fell ill. The illness itself was not unexpected; it has been a constant in my life as long as my memory allows me to remember. The severity however was entirely new. I did not know what to do then and in the course of sickness I made many academic and financial mistakes that I would spend the next three years dealing with and trying to reverse. This April, the thing I wished for everyday for three years came true. I could speak of these events in the past tense and a world of difference was given to me.

The second was a random visit to Trexler Park. My brother accompanied me and he was telling me that morning about the world of blogging he was currently embroiled in. This was an entirely new thing for me. I heard stories of crazy posts and even crazier reactions and I have to admit I was intrigued. I couldn’t believe that there were people out there that were passionate about the city of Allentown. I had made two blog posts in January but not much had come from it but I decided I was to try again. I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. Then, I looked around.

When I was a kid my family used to take my parks all the time. The earliest park memories I have are of my grandparents taking me to ride the swings at Trout Creek Parkway. I grew up in places like the Lehigh Parkway, Canal Park and Cedar Beach. I can remember clamoring to make my dad drive down to the boat launch at Canal Park and get the car close enough to illicit a scream from my mother. I spent a lot of time in our park system growing up and I even took pictures. My dad would find crayfish in the creek and trust me; it was the most exciting thing ever. After I got older, in my early teens I would go to Muhlenberg Lake with my friends and attempt fishing. We never caught anything but we went all the time. I had my junior prom pictures taken in the Rose Garden. I’ve taken many a date to these parks.

So, I looked around Trexler Park and decided to do exactly what I have always done but to post about it on a blog. I was going to go to our parks, take pictures of them and write about my experiences. A simpler premise, I could not devise. I went to the parks office, found a map and began my journeys. Truthfully, my agenda then was to go to our parks, witness them and share observations. I imagined I would get a couple of readers and that would suffice nicely.

Three short months have passed since then and I have experienced an entire set of circumstances I had no foresight to envision. My hits began growing as I continued my postings and I started to receive communications from various people in the city of Allentown who had read my blog and were impressed. I was genuinely surprised by the reaction.

Thanks to this blog, I have met some great people. I have had the doors open to allow me access to some wonderful opportunities. This fall, I will begin study at Muhlenberg College for Environmental Science and in two years I should graduate with a degree and a teaching certificate. Had I not been laid off, I would not be heading in that direction at all. I am so excited to be headed back to school again and being able to go to Muhlenberg is fantastic.

There is a world of information I am slowly steeping myself into. Occasionally it can feel overwhelming but at all times it feels invigorating. I look forward to the coming challenges and I especially look forward to sharing what I learn and what I struggle with here, with you.

At its start, this blog had no defined purpose. It existed only to expose the great resource of the Allentown park system to many people who did not know it well, or did not know it at all. I know some folks read my park logs and headed to the parks themselves to check them out. That became the purpose of this page. To expose our parks again, to let people really see why we are “Pennsylvania’s Park Place.”

I have sponsored two meet-ups and people have shown up. (The second one will be posted tomorrow) People are interested and they are involved. I want to raise the stakes with this blog. I want more people to care about the parks the way I do and the best way to get them to do that is to allow them to see the parks through my eyes, and now that is this blogs purpose moving forward.

There are issues severe enough that I can calmly state that some of our parks are near crisis. There are deep environmental problems throughout the park system that have to be addressed and studied. I realize that there is a current hot button issue with the proposed renovations at Cedar Beach Parkway and while I will update on construction and other goings on; from here on out this blog will remain neutral.

I will do my best to contact the people in the know about our waterways and park systems; and I am excited about doing so. I hope to raise a new awareness of these issues especially in people of my age. I feel like Allentonians in their mid twenties and thirties have become disconnected to the parks around them and the issues these parks face. It is time to change that.

Going forward, I want to thank you, my readers, for helping make this a page that has become noticed. There are some particular people that I have met because of this blog that I will owe thanks to for the rest of my life. Thank you. I have some very exciting projects planned and I am sure the results of which will be worth a read. I’m going to keep on going here and I hope you will keep going with me.

As always, leave any comments or suggestions. I look forward to reading them.

The Park Logs:

One: West Park

Two: Trexler Park
Trexler Park Supplemental

Three: South Mountain

Four: Lehigh Parkway
Lehigh Parkway part 2
Lehigh Parkway part 3

Five: Keck Park

Six: The Fish Hatchery

Seven: East Side Reservoir

Eight: Cedar Beach Parkway
Cedar Beach Parkway Part 2
Cedar Beach Parkway Part 3

Nine: Trexler Park 2 and Beyond

Ten: Union Terrace

Eleven: Trout Creek Parkway
Trout Creek Parkway Part 2

Twelve: Canal Park

Thirteen: Jordan Park

Fourteen: Fountain Park
Fountain Park Part 2

Fifteen: Percy B Ruhe Park

Sixteen: Bucky Boyle Park

Seventeen: Jordan Meadows

I will be visiting the rest of the parks, playgrounds and play lots in the fall. I'm looking forward to it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have lived in Allentown my entire life and I want to thank you for doing such a great job visiting our parks. Your insight is wonderful.

August 2, 2009 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger SpicedBerry Speaks said...

Andrew, while you may not care what I think, but I am so proud of you!
Your blog is amazing! You are truly a much more positive person then the man I knew at Starbucks. And I have full confidence that you will do amazing things in your lifetime.
Since leaving Starbucks I too have gone back to school. I am pending approval for the ARRA program. I will have my Medical Assistant license and an AAS by 6/2011. I should be a RN by 2013 if all goes well. And if Starbucks hadn't come in and ruined a good year of my life, that never would have happened.
I didn't grow up in Allentown, but I recently showed a few of my out of town friends your blog so they could see the area I live in. They were amazed that PA could be so rich. And I was proud to be able to not only show them where I live but also a bit of the person I used to work with. I look forward to future blogs, and possibly future walks if you keep doing them.

August 3, 2009 at 1:27 AM  
Anonymous monkey momma said...

Andres, that's an amazing story. Just goes to show that things always turn out for the best.

August 3, 2009 at 8:08 AM  
Blogger LVCI said...

Andrew, thanks for taking the time to share and personalize your blog.

August 3, 2009 at 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Capri said...

word life.

August 3, 2009 at 8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You state in your Sunday entry from this moment on your blog will remain neutral. Does that mean you will no longer pursue the environmental disasters that face aspects of the city's parks? What about all those essays on the eroding banks and the poo water and the trees in harm's way? No more? Why?

May 2, 2010 at 1:44 PM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

This post is from last August.

May 2, 2010 at 2:14 PM  

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