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Remember: Secret Union Terrace

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Secret Union Terrace

On June 21st 2009, my brother and I walked deep into secret Union Terrace. I took some pictures and upon saving them to my computer, promptly lost them. Yesterday, as I was making the slide show for youtube, I rediscovered them in a mislabeled folder and today I can finally share that journey with you.

On the Allentown Parks and Recreation map it is considered part of Union Terrace. Thing is, of our many parks, Union Terrace isn’t the wildest. It is a recreational green space created during the W.P.A park expansion projects of the 1930’s. This part of Union Terrace is very different and without a path, boundaries, or even a sign; it is almost a secret.

It certainly isn’t tame.

Here, stumbling around the dense growth of mid summer, the truest beauty of an ecosystem is revealed. That beauty is succession, and in this section of Union Terrace, it is everywhere.

An important key to that unbelievable process is decomposition, and it was strikingly evident here:

It was hot that afternoon, but the crowded growth felt cool. No asphalt to absorb the heat, nothing paved, no concrete.

Trees, vines, shrubbery, all the eye could see

Hard to believe, I was standing in a city and barely a football field from me was MLK Boulevard.

The best experiences, the moments worth writing a blog about are in these half hidden places that seem to glow with the ability to extend the consciousness, even for a brief second.

You can get lost in less than two city blocks, but there is always the reminder that even here, in the thriving succession of an ecosystem, the mark of humanity is never far away.



Anonymous Sue said...

Sarah, should a switch back be cut and a path paved with asphalt so all can get to the summit of Hawk Mt.? How about the great A.T., paved from Maine to Georgia, ADA ready? Already someone on REMEMBER wants to pave the Lehigh Canal Tow Path. That's really a wonderful idea! And the fact that drainage is wrong around the asphalt paths that ring the Mirror Ponds, next to the Rose Garden, and so water pools up and will freeze that way? No problem, an extra dose of salt applied right there along the banks of Cedar Creek should take care of that. Salt,good for the Creek, the plants and delicate stream side life. [ And how will the Police Dept. patrol that small road that takes the place of the Tow Path as it runs from Allentown to Bethlehem? Just wondering.]

February 2, 2010 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...


I agree with most of your points but I think you commented on the wrong post.

February 2, 2010 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger Red-Hot American Justice said...

Glass half-full/glass half-empty. Some could look at those steps, and imagine that life will go on, with or without humanity.

February 3, 2010 at 12:26 AM  
Anonymous Capri said...

Damn Andrew, all that green makes me impatient for spring.

February 3, 2010 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

Soon Capri soon. At least after another snowfall... 6-12 this weekend, I'm hearing.

February 4, 2010 at 1:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: paving the canal towpath:
Relax cupcake, it was a joke.

February 5, 2010 at 10:31 AM  

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