Transplants Vs. Natives- A Lehigh Valley Dilemma

In the previous blog entry there were a handful of comments which seemed to amplify the split between Lehigh Valley natives and transplants. For the readers outside of Whitehall and the Valley, transplants are folks who moved to the area from New York and New Jersey. For over twenty years there has been a steady stream of families from NY and NJ moving into the Valley. The cost of living and quality of life is more attractive here and definitely worth a longer commute to work. The migration of these people has brought about a number of changes to the Valley.  Most have been genuinely beneficial and welcome. Some have not.

Although people from NY and NJ have woven themselves into the fabric of the Lehigh Valley and Whitehall and made their mark, tensions exist and not all of the natives are welcoming. On the flip side of the coin, not all of the transplants feel welcome or are likely to try and integrate themselves into the communities they live in. Occasionally, these tensions reach the boiling point and spill over.

Transplants have brought about some major changes to the area. Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton can now be considered the western edge of the NYC empire. They’ve surged out here in droves, eager to find a better life. For the most part they have found it.  The real estate market here, in spite of it’s current woes, has expanded dramatically. New housing developments sprouted up by the bushel and homes were quickly gobbled up by transplants. House prices and property taxes in the Valley are far more attractive than they are in New Jersey or NYC.  Transplants have established a large influence. The appearance of high end stores and new malls can be attributed directly to the presence of former  New Yorkers and New Jersey residents. They want a slice of their former life to be available closer to their new homes. The LV mall would never have been expanded if the Valley was not NY/NJ west. Wegmans, the Promenade Shoppes, Macys, and a host of other stores would not be here either. The demand for them would be nonexistent. Native Valley residents are more likely to shop at WalMart or Boscovs then Macys or Brooks Brothers.

A vociferous group of natives would be happy if all of the transplants just got up and went back to New York and New Jersey. They have not welcomed the changes. New houses they cannot afford. Stores they can’t afford to shop in.  In their eyes the transplants are rude, outspoken cretins who have taken over the Valley and have no respect for the folks who’ve lived here all of their lives. It’s a deep insult to natives that the transplant crowd seems to want nothing to do with the Valley’s rich history.  I saw a serious collision of culture during the 2009 World Series. It was apparent that the Lehigh Valley was as much a bastion of NY Yankee fans as it was a bastion of Philly fans.

Yesterday, there was a discussion between posters on a previous entry that seemed to exemplify the divide between natives and transplants. We have to get along and go on as best we can. No matter if you were born in Long Island or Forks.  This place is home for all of us.

In the words of Rodney King: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

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54 Responses to Transplants Vs. Natives- A Lehigh Valley Dilemma

  1. LV says:

    I do not understand why new york and new jersey decided to dump their garbage in the Lehigh Valley.

  2. I_Hate_Racists says:

    I know I’m late commenting. I was looking for info. on how life is in the Lehigh Valley for NJ/NY transplants, and run into this blog.
    I was thinking of moving to the Lehigh Valley but if more people are like Lou then maybe not. I will always love NY & NJ for being so progressive and the great many different cultures living together relatively in peace. At the same token, I’m not some d-bag who will put down natives of other areas and act like I’m better. I have a brain than can appreciate more than the familiar.
    Its just that where I live now, in Luzerne County Pa, I AM better than many. Not because I’m from NJ, but because unlike most of the locals in NEPA, I’m NOT rude, I appreciate education, quality & ethical healthcare, respect cultural differences & diversity, and I am not a bigot/racist. I’m also not so resistant to change that it impedes an chance of progress & success. I have not seen such immensely backwards & counterproductive thinking, on an institutional level, as I have in NEPA. It’s a 1950’s racist mindset with 1980’s hairstyles, with tons of corruption. Absolutely depressing.
    I was told the Lehigh Valley is far better. I had hopes to move there, but I may just go back to NJ where people are not judgmental, bigoted, jerks who want to see you fail because you are different. Still, kudos to the blog owner for a positive blog. If most people are like you than all hope is not lost for the Lehigh Valley.
    Any NJ/NY transplants who can give me an unbiased view of the area, I’d appreciate it. As long as there is good healthcare, and there is in Lehigh Valley, that I know for a fact, the people appreciate education, and they are decent, respectful people who aren’t judgmental, and especially are not racists/bigots, I can handle not having all the NYC Metro conveniences.
    Bigots, please, no need to respond. All others, thank you in advance. Great day to all!

  3. Rick Cornish says:

    I’m originally a New Yorker who has lived in NY, Maryland, Alabama, New Jersey before settling in the Lehigh Valley. What I find is that there is a quiet, shy, almost rudeness to the area regarding people they do not know. Someone said it’s the Dutch German heritage that is that way….I don’t know. There is a snubb kind of feeling when entering a bar or restaraunt if they don’t know you.

  4. Andrea says:

    Wow, such hostility!
    Before we criticize, we should seek to analyze what we do not understand. 🙂

  5. Robby Eichenberger says:

    My family and I moved to Coplay from Staten Island and we stayed less then a year before moving back. That town was a cesspool. The people were all ignorant uneducated mutton. If you didn’t like to drink beer and watch HS football then they wanted nothing to do with you. The town was a ghost town after six PM and there were a lot of unsavory people walking around. The culture in the Lehigh Valley area is nonexistent. No museums or anything like that. Nothing but a casino and a minor league baseball team. I’m glad I’m back in NYC where there are things to do. Screw Pennsylvania and the hicks that live there

    • Transplant Myself says:

      Ummmm, FYI, S.I. is the Cesspool of NYC. The rest of NYC think you are all a bunch of uneducated, mutton head hicks. NOTHING to do on S.I. either except cook up meth and dump bodies in the swamps.

  6. Whitehall Proud says:

    It looked like Black Friday last weekend in Whitehall. MacArthur Road was packed and the LV Mall and other shopping centers were full. I have no desire to go out of my way to shop at the Promenade in over priced stores. Whitehall has more to offer and has certainly faired better than most municipalities during this recession. My Whitehall’s tax rate at 7.95 mill is a lot better neighboring towns who pay 12.5 mills or more.

    Grape Street restaurants are always packed.

    • Transplant Myself says:

      Good Point. There is always room for improvement, but it could be FAR worse. I think things will only get better.

  7. Johnny says:

    I was going to post a comment about how transplants are a pain but I’m not in the mood. My friends and I are all worried about a friend of ours in Japan. No one has heard from him. His name is Miyagi. He was last seen on a beach practicing karate with some caucasian teenager. We hope he’s okay and wasn’t swept out to sea. If anyone has any info please email me at


    • Transplant Myself says:

      WOW! Human Beings are DEAD AND MISSING, and you think this is funny?
      You are a sick, twisted person who needs serious psychiatric help.

  8. Transplant Myself says:

    To all: Brooklyn clearly has emotional issues and I would suggest ignoring him or her. Brooklyn made the CHOICE to move here and is clearly bitter because people don’t think he/she is JUST MARVELOUS! Maybe Brooklyn should move back to Bed Sty to a tiny rent stabilized apartment. Clearly that would be better to him/her than getting off their high horse and trying to make some friends and build a life in the area they choose to live in. (Little tip: when you put people down, they don’t want to be your friend)
    Don’t get me wrong, I love NYC, It’s where I’m from, where my family is from, and part of what helped shape me into the person I am, but I love the LV too and all the wonderful people I have in my life here. Brooklyn, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM AND GIVE THE REST OF US A BAD NAME.
    Lou and the rest of you who bash transplants: YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM AND GIVE THE GOOD PEOPLE OF THE LV A BAD NAME.

  9. Chris DeLand says:

    I’m a transplant but live in Palmer so I’m just five minutes from my home state. It’s like being in NJ but with cheaper taxes LOL

  10. Ally Epstein says:

    If you want a good restaurant in the Valley then go to the Promenade Shoppes in Center Valley. Melt is the best.
    I find myself going to New York City on weekends. I’m a LV girl true blue but there’s nothing that can compare to a night on Broadway or a Rangers game at MSG. We just don’t have that here

  11. Frankie Coffeecake says:

    Can’t get a good slice of pizza anywhere in Lehigh or Northampton and their hot dogs suck. Yocco’s is trash.

    • Transplant Myself says:

      Not true. palace pizza in Whitehall is great and Bianca’s in Bethlehem is wonderful. I have to agree I am not a yocco’s fan though.

  12. Geoff Murray says:

    This entry sure has touched a nerve. I’ve lived here most of my life. I like it. EVerybody should be more thankful. It’s a great place to raise a family and is not as built up as it is in NJ. Things change here in part because of all the new people living here now. That’s not a bad thing.

  13. Brooklyn Transplant says:

    Watching the quake and tsunami coverage on CNN. I wish a tsunami would come and wash away the dirt here.

    • Chris DeLand says:

      I couldn’t help but snicker at your inappropriate remark

    • Transplant Myself says:

      Why are you here Brooklyn? Seriously, why are you living in a place you hate so much, around people you hate so much? Riddle me that batman?

      • Brooklyn Transplant says:

        I am in the Valley to take advantage of your cheap taxes and cheap houses. $700k goes a lot further here than back home

      • Transplant Myself says:

        Well then Brooklyn, IF all you want is “cheap” housing and don’t want to try to be part of a community, make friends etc; then you have no right to be pissed & bitter because people aren’t nice to you. You’ve given them no reason to think you are a nice person or that you want to be part of the community. You get what you give.

  14. Tony From Montclair says:

    I haven’t seen any shows on TV called “The Lehigh Valley Shore” or “Real Housewives of Allentown.” But I do see tv shows with an NJ theme. Jersey is something your area will never be: Popular.

    • Transplant Myself says:

      OMG! Are you REALLY touting the shows Jersey Shore & Real Housewives of NJ as a selling point???? REALLY??? Holy Crap! THAT is the funniest thing i’ve seen in a long time, especially “Jersey Shore” those people are low class garbage…

    • Transplant Myself says:

      Another note, NYC & NJ have the same tension between themselves. I grew up in NYC where the mindset is “No self-respecting New Yorker would move to NJ” The magazine “The New Yorker” had a great cartoon years ago that went like this:

      Question: Why are New Yorkers so depressed?
      Answer: Because the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey.

      I’ve noticed the most crass, profanity laden posts on here are coming from the NJ Natives. Can’t you have a civil debate? Your point would be more credible, and why are you here if you hate it so very much anyway? It’s people like you who make it hard on the rest of the transplants who are trying to become a part of the community.

  15. Whitehall Mall Is A Dead Mall says:

    You can say what you want about New York and New Jersey but their retail and malls are lightyears ahead of what’s here.

    • Transplant Myself says:

      Funny, when my friend from North Jersey needed a wedding dress, she drove all the way to Whitehall to be able to go to the Alfred Angelo Bridal Salon because THAT is the only place that had the dress she saw in the bridal magazine.

  16. Jersey Pride says:

    No respected New Jersey native would ever settle down in the Lehigh Valley. Nothing there but muff cabbage!

    • Transplant Myself says:

      WTF is “muff Cabbage”? C’mon you are no better than the people on here busting on NY & NJ. If you don’t live in the LV which your post indicates, you have no opinion worth noting. Don’t like the LV, don’t come here…

    • Tony From Montclair says:

      They’re garbage, pride!

  17. Lou says:

    If you were born here, spent your life here and now are tired of the NY/NJ idiots taking over you ain’t alone. A family from new York City moved on my block last summer. Now all you hear is ghetto music at all hours of the night, and suspicious people visiting. Drug dealing I bet you.

    • Transplant Myself says:

      I’m from NY and I am not a drug dealer. I’m a responsible member of the Whitehall community. Lou, you should take people on a person by person basis. I’m glad my neighbors are not like you. They are welcoming and friendly. Where do you live Lou, 7th street?

    • Tony From Montclair says:

      Fuck you, you pennsylvania hayseed

  18. I Prefer Yocco's Not Nathans says:

    No, I doubt we will ever be able to get along. Country people vs City people and we all are trying to make like we’re suburbanites. It doesn’t work. New Yawk and Joisey have their own culture. Pennsylvania has it’s own. Integration is failing here.

    • Transplant Myself says:

      “Integration”??? Really??? Oh and you must have NOT ever been to the country, because the LV is NOT country…

  19. I'm From Jersey says:

    You’re right with some things you said in your article. Alot of the Valley people are rude to outsiders. When they find out you came over from NY or Jersey they treat you like they’re superior. It’s alright when you help build up their economy and spend money here though. My husband has been talking about moving back to NJ. Its not cheap but I’d prefer it.

    • Lou says:

      Go back there, we don’t want you here

      • Transplant Myself says:

        Maybe closed minded old cranky, bitter A-holes don’t want them here, but many people aren’t you Lou… You seem mean spririted and incredibly bitter.. What’s your problem???

  20. Bronco Nagurski says:

    I work in Center Valley for a company that wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the “transplants.”

  21. Art On 4th says:

    Whitehall is run by native residents. Always has, always will be. That’s why it seems like it’s 1990 here. They have no vision.

  22. Brooklyn Transplant says:

    Gimme a break, Jim. You know how much crap transplants get from the natives. They make fun of our accents, blame us for everything that goes wrong and despise us because we can buy houses they can’t afford. Then when jerks like Lou come on here and say some really out of line things, his buddies come and stick up for him. If it wasn’t for transplants, this place would be a backwater podunk.

    • Transplant Myself says:

      Seriously Brooklyn, GROW UP and show an ounce of respect for the families that built this valley. Allentown is the 3rd largest city in the state. It isn’t and wasn’t a “podunk” area. If you hate it here and the people so damn much, why are you here? I don’t get it. Wasn’t moving here your choice? You want people to show you and your “culture” respect, you should start with showing some. I come from NYC too. Born on 7th ave at the Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn and were I come from, we show manners. Remember the expression : ” When in Rome, do as the Romans” It is not the natives job to assimilate to you. On the flip side, People should be welcoming to new members of their community, give them a chance and not paint them with a broad brush, but rather accept them on their own merits.

    • Transplant Myself says:

      One more comment, I have many, many really wonderful friends here. If you are not having the same experience Brooklyn, you might want to stop and ask yourself, “What am I doing that is turning so many people off”?

    • Lou says:

      I said it before and I’ll say it again. Go back to Brooklyn. You’re probably mafia.

  23. Valley Native says:

    People from NY brought their trash with them when they came here. Crime is running high in Allentown, and a lot of the criminals moved here from New York City. Things are bad here. Drugs, crime and violence happen every day and its almost always a transplanted New Yorker to blame.

  24. Amy Yost says:

    This post is going to be a time bomb LOL I’m a Valley girl and lived my whole life here. I never had a problem with any transplants but yeah, there are some people who’d like to see them all go back to New York. Ignorant but people don’t like change

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