When I told my former boss that I was leaving for a job at the York Daily Record (and thereby moving to York), he told me about the city’s crime. I said it couldn’t be any worse than Harrisburg. He raised an eyebrow, as if to say, “Oh dear.”
York city gets a bad rep for violence — reading the newspaper or browsing through ydr.com can tell you that — and that crime discourages people from moving into its limits.
Most of the violence is senseless, and it can be unnerving to read about a carjacking or shooting on a street nearby. I don’t deny that. But I weighed the pros and cons of living downtown and made the move. And I don’t regret it:
- My apartment is awesome. It has warmth and character from its hardwood floors and stained glass windows. It has quirk from its sky-blue ceilings and sea-foam-green bathroom tile. It has incredible natural light. The complex I looked at in West Manchester Township was so cookie-cutter and beige it made me sleepy. Of course, in the city, you can also hear just about every siren in a six-block radius. It bothers my guests (Sorry, Mom), but after six months, I’ve tuned it out.
- I can walk downtown. Central Market, the library, dinner at White Rose, Bistro 19… I don’t have to worry about finding a metered spot or the risks of getting behind the wheel after a few drinks. You do need your wits about you when walking home, and it’s best to travel in numbers. But whether you’re looking for craft beer, indie music or a comedian at the Strand, it’s likely within walking distance.
- There is a baseball stadium. In the middle of the city. Does it sometimes create minor traffic snarls in the summer? Sure. But sitting in the stadium gives you an entirely different perspective on the city. And whether you care about minor league baseball or not, live sporting events are always fun — especially for $13 or less per ticket.
- People are genuinely excited about York’s future. From groups like Think Drink and YorIt to new businesses like Mudhook and Park Street Pantry, almost everyone I’ve met is pumped about how the city can grow. Reviving downtown is happening now (Downtown Inc is a great publicist of that), and my hope is that it continues its forward movement.
So when I meet people who raise eyebrows when I tell them I live downtown, I really just want to run down this list. Like any other city, it has its pros and cons — but I stand adamant that those pros are plentiful.
Do you have any things to add to the list? Whether you live there or not, what do you like about downtown York?