So, we had an incident downtown. It was tragic and terrible and I know that local law enforcement is working very hard to find the responsible individual(s) and bring them to justice. All of us at Webb Weekly are sending out positive thoughts and prayers to the victims for a quick recovery. However, now I am once again being inundated with rhetoric about how unsafe the city is, especially downtown.
I’m here to tell you that I couldn’t disagree more. I have never felt unsafe – day or night – in downtown Williamsport. As Assistant Chief of Police Tim Miller said last week, “Overall the city’s downtown area is and always has been safe when you take into consideration the sheer number of people who frequent our downtown to enjoy the many unique venues our city has to offer. Compared to the thousands upon thousands of people who navigate our downtown on a daily basis whether it be to work, shop, or to enjoy our nightlife the incidence of violence when taken is perspective is rather low.”
I have spent many nights enjoying downtown with friends and my husband. We check out bands, restaurants and the local galleries. Summer First Fridays are some of my favorite events of the year in Williamsport. There is something amazing about seeing so many people flooding the streets downtown to spend an evening out and about with family and friends. I can only imagine that that was what life was like every day back when downtown Williamsport was in its heyday.
Crime happens everywhere. Police departments work hard to prevent as much crime and violence as they possibly can. I am here to ask you to not let one isolated incident keep you from enjoying all that Downtown Williamsport has to offer. The city has done everything they can to keep downtown as safe as possible. Almost all of the streets are very well lit and the police patrols in the area, especially on the weekends, are often. As long as folks are using a bit of common sense and don’t blame the whole for the behavior of a select few, then spending time downtown is a safe and enjoyable time for all.
I have gone on ad nauseum about all that downtown has to offer, but in case you need reminding here we go…
Restaurants! Holy moly there are a ton downtown! No matter what you are looking for you can find it downtown. Want a good burger? Be sure to hit up The Brickyard (and bonus, their craft beer selection is on point and ever changing.) Craving Mexican? Ozzie & Mae’s and Abrana Maria’s are both awesome choices. Feeling a little fancy? Barrel 135 and 33 East both have great options. (Another bonus, Barrel has one of the best dirty martinis I have ever had!) The Stonehouse and Old School both offer great pizza. From Franco’s to the Bullfrog there are a ton of great choices available. Of course if you are looking for a great cup of coffee Alabaster is the place to go. I haven’t checked it out yet, but I hear that a fantastic little bakery and creamery just opened in Pine Square across from The Brickyard if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth. Do you realize that in the circle that follows Fourth St. from Market to Hepburn and then back down Third St. back to Market, there are almost TWENTY different restaurants/bars/eateries? One of them if bound to be what you are looking for!
Want to get your culture on? There are a few really amazing galleries downtown to get your artsy fill. There is Converge Gallery, Harvest Artisan, Ankleroot Gallery, The Gallery at Penn College, Snowden Gallery at Lycoming College and Rising Crow are just a few, and that’s not even mentioning the artists that are featured within local downtown businesses.
Maybe you are more interested in live music? There is plenty of that to go around also. The Old Corner, The Brickyard, The Stonehouse, Barrel 135, Imbibe, The Bullfrog, Franco’s, The Moon and Raven, The James, The Cellblock and MORE all offer live music regularly. As summer approaches there will be chances to catch live music outside also!
Want to play your own music? The Whiskey Room offers Open Mic Night every Thursday and Franco’s hosts an Open Mic Night on Tuesdays. The Son’s of Italy usually has an Open Mic night once a month and they are open to the public for those events. There is also a ton of karaoke available throughout the week.
Looking to test your smarts? You can play Quizzo somewhere in the area almost every night!
If you are like me, then you really enjoy shopping. Much has been said that shopping downtown isn’t anything like it was 50 years ago, and maybe that is true, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some wonderful shopping available downtown. Gustonian and GG2 always have something different to offer. Patinaz offers a great selection of clothing, jewelry and other artistic creations. There is also a wide selection of jewelry available from many places.
There is so much going on in our area. Check out page 42 for more weekly events, and keep in mind, that’s just the stuff that happens EVERY WEEK! To learn more about what is going on downtown in May be sure to also check out Bernie Katz’s article on page 34.
Once again, please don’t let the actions of one or two dictate your future experiences with downtown. We have a wonderful little hub of activity in the heart of the city that has something for everyone. This Friday is May First Friday and I highly encourage you to pack up the family and take a trip downtown and see what is going on. You never know what you are going to find!