Easton, Pennsylvania is a river town on the crest of revitalization, an old industrial boomtown gone bust, now making a comeback. Located just 70 miles due West of New York City at the convergence of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers and 60 miles from Philadelphia, Easton is just over the border (the Delaware) from Phillipsburg, New Jersey. The city has a rich role in our nation’s history, being one of only three cities where the Declaration of Independence was read aloud at its Centre Square. In the 1800s, Easton was the key hub where pioneers in the North would load up their covered wagons before heading West, lining up end to end along Northampton Street to shop Easton’s many grist mills and farms, stocking up on everything from flour to salt pork, whiskey to wool. Being a river town, Easton played a key role in transferring supplies to troops fighting in the American Revolution, and stockpiled and shipped arms to Union troops during the Civil War. It was also the site of important treaties with the Lenape and Shawnee Native American tribes. Dubbed “The Little Apple,” in the 1900s, the city gained a colorful reputation during prohibition for its plentiful speak-easies and bordellos as New Yorkers would regularly catch the train to go play in Easton after Broadway shows and boxing matches in Manhattan. Because of its history, Easton has always been a multicultural city, with sizable Black, Latino, Lebanese, Italian, German and Dutch populations among others. New Yorkers who have relocated here list diversity, walkability, proximity to New York, an easy-going pace, and affordable historic housing as a key reasons for making Easton their home after life in the hustle of “The City.”
About Neighbors of Easton
Neighbors of Easton started in 2007 as an email list of neighbors interested in revitalizing the West Ward neighborhood, and the town of Easton. The list grew so fast that it quickly evolved into a community blog that started with 150 readers in 2008 and now enjoys 9,000 – 10,000 pageviews per month. Although the majority of its readership is in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, NOE also currently enjoys readership in 41 countries and 34 states across America. A “neighbor of Easton” is anyone living in Easton, or near Easton, or–since we live in a globally-interconnected world these days–anyone facing the same challenges as the residents of Easton, a town which is pretty much a microcosm of everything going on in this country. Neighbors discuss and debate local news, as well as national and global issues that pertain to the lives of local residents–issues like potential water contamination from fracking for natural gas, the prospect of union busting, education, health care, job creation, taxation, peak oil and alternative energy, politics, crime prevention, responsible urban planning and smart growth, and the need to support local businesses and strengthen local economies. The life blood of the blog is the discussion, debate and brainstorming that ensues through reader comments. It is an exercise in community building through self-education, information sharing and independent thought. Neighbors of Easton has gained a reputation for being a forum where all perspectives are welcome and encouraged, and readers tend to debate passionately but civilly. The blog seeks to promote resident engagement in the local democratic process, and advertises for local businesses and local real estate exclusively, seeking to connect readers as local customers with local businesses to help localize Easton’s economy.
About Noël Jones, Creator & Host
A native of Alaska, and having lived in New York City for 13 years, Noël Jones moved to Easton, PA in 2006 and bought an historic five-bedroom Victorian house in the West Ward of Easton “for the same price it would have cost to buy a rat hole studio apartment in the boroughs” of New York. Blogger, poet, fiction writer, songwriter, community organizer, educator, public speaker and national slam poetry champion, she thrives in a town that is “a little rough around the edges and in need of some TLC, but brimming with potential for any artist or entrepreneur with creative energy and an industrious spirit.” An independent thinker and passionate advocate for the exercise of reason, Jones encourages readers of all perspectives to post comments to the blog, and to not shy away from disagreeing with her. “I am absolutely unattached to my perspectives, and I love to be persuaded–if anyone can make more sense to me than I make to myself, I am happy to adopt his or her opinion. It would be boring if everyone agreed all the time, and we all learn from each other by not wasting our time preaching to the choir…the discussions are always better when a commenter is not clinging to his perspectives like a pit bull with its jaws locked on the last vestiges of a shipwreck, but we get those too…it’s all part of the healthy conversation of a community hashing things out. The conversations on this blog are far more constructive and less polarized than the general debates conducted by our government, and if Congress followed the example of Neighbors of Easton, they might actually get something done.”