Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Eye Of The Beholder

A friend of mine from Malvern visited Norristown recently. She posted 2 photos on Facebook, with the caption, "Norristown is so pretty, and so not." One photo was of a pretty Victorian iron gate, painted so that the ornamentation stood out. The other was of a piece of litter on the sidewalk--specifically, an empty Fart Bomb gag wrapper. Which makes a statement all by itself.

Last week I heard a resident refer to the mural at Dekalb and Lafayette Sts. as looking like something out of a B horror movie. Really? Do you actually think the ugliest thing in the photo above is the mural? Does anyone not see the billboard? Last time I drove by there, weeds were growing out of the sidewalk cracks. If I wanted to spruce that corner up, to present a good impression to visitors entering the town, the mural isn't what I'd change. That mural at least sends the message that art and creativity might be found here.

Imagine visitors coming into town from the north end of Markley. Wouldn't it be better to see a bit of bright color on that row of empty buildings at Logan Square, rather than a huge "Space Available" sign?

Driving into the borough from the southeast on Ridge Pike, the first thing that catches the eye is a extra large billboard several stories off the ground. If you don't blink, you might see the small, wooden "Welcome to Norristown" sign on the right.

Coming across the Dannehower from Bridgeport? More billboards, but at least our welcome sign there spans the roadway. Still, this is how thousands of cars enter our town. That first few blocks from Main to Spruce aren't exactly easy on the eyes. Maybe the Markley Street project will help.

Driving down Ridge to Norristown, the U-Haul sign dominates the landscape. Another small "Welcome" sign, that most people miss. The triangle between Airy and Main would be a perfect place for a large, permanent-looking welcome display. It wouldn't have to be funded by taxpayers. I should think enough of our businesses would see the benefits of giving visitors a proper welcome.

The real ugliness in our town comes from litter on our streets. From trash bags and cans that are either put out too early, or not picked up on trash day for whatever reason, then left to sit there forever. From vacant lots in the middle of downtown. From abandoned properties and absentee landlords. From businesses who won't take 5 mintues each morning to sweep and clean the sidewalk in front of their doors. From weeds growing out of parking lots and sidewalks and street gutters--I don't mean the occasional little tuff of grass here and there, I mean foot-high unkempt plants with an aura of urban blight. A lot of the weeds are on borough property.

So quit criticizing the mural until you've cleaned your own front yard.

I'd love to see more murals around Norristown. Again, they don't have to be paid for by taxpayers.  Here's a photo of the Dragon Mural the students of ACPPA Community Arts Center are painting at Riverfront Park. It's half done and already brightening up the area. We could have student murals at the schools, or murals at businesses who have, say, a blank parking lot wall. Even simply giving a fence, or a door, a fresh coat of paint could help change our town's image.

I want my friend to come back to N-town in a year and say "Norristown is so pretty, and so artsy."

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for mentioning the mural that is being painted on our Boat House. We love the mural that ACPPA designed for us! Can’t wait for the final unveil on Sept 21 during Riverfest 2013. The Dragon Boat Club