West Reading Avenues Winter 2017 - 24
IN THE COMMUNITY //// there goes the neighborhood
Thoughts on Living in
By Denise Drobnick
t just came to me one day when my life was in need of a
shake-up: I'm going to move to West Reading. One Googlesearch later, and I was meeting Brett Bagenstose at his family's
for-sale-by-owner home and DONE. There are times I do believe
in fate. Now I'm a member of this community of roughly 4200
people and 2000 residences. We lean slightly liberal, with 70% of
our approximately 2400 registered voters registered as Democrats
according to Andrew Kearney, who was running for mayor of the
borough at the time of this writing. We also like home ownership,
with about 50% of us living in owner-occupied homes, an increase
of 5% over the past 8 years per borough councilman Philip Wert.
Not to be minimized, the 50% who rent homes and apartments,
often as a conscious, deliberate choice, are essential members who
take the stewardship of the community just as seriously
In general, we seem to know we have
a good thing going here, and we want
to keep it that way.
Speaking of good things, I hit the neighbor jackpot when a "fun
single guy," as I described him to friends, bought a place around
the bend in my neighborhood. That's right: Joel Lerch - the man,
the myth, the legend - is my neighbor. Joel is the official "Man
About Town" in West Reading, and can be found at various spots
surrounded by his loyal posse. He claims to have the only residential
in-ground swimming pool in the borough, and although I have
not been able to get 100% confirmation of this, let's just call it
an alternative fact and go with it. Why is this significant? Pool =
Pool Parties! While floating on blow-up swans and unicorns and
Avenues Winter 2017
sipping cold beverages, our friend circles collided and summers
became a lot more fun. Joel has a biting sense of humor but a
good heart, and a somewhat ill-behaved goofball of a chocolate
lab named Griff that he adores. It's official - the neighborhood
will keep both of them.
Festivals and special event days in West Reading are truly something
to witness when you reside here. You will not only see every neighbor
you know, but a few thousand out-of-towners will crash the party
as well. Recent festivities included the Reading Radsport bike race
and Fall Fest. As a townie, you have the benefits of not having to
drive or park, stopping home as needed to walk dogs, and making
a quick change if you accidentally spill pumpkin beer on your shirt.
You will inevitably be invited to a pre-fest gathering at Donna and
Alan's, or a lunchtime cookout at Tien and Rita's, or possibly an
after-party at Frenchie's. Your phone will blow up with friends
who want to meet up at the beer gardens at Barley Mow or Bistro
614 while they are in your neck of the woods. You'll take a break
for hoppy fries at Chatty Monk or maybe some empanadas from
La Abuela. The day will be all magic and music and everything
happy and delicious.
Snow days are also a special treat here in the 'hood. The funny
thing is you won't feel the least bit snowed in, assuming you can
get your front door open and enough walk shoveled to escape.
Neighbors tend to help neighbors dig out, and then the fun begins.
Friends will converge on foot so smart businesses in town make
sure they can open, putting key personnel up at the Candlewood
Suites or having them sleep on air mattresses in an upstairs office.
You know you can count on Brewers to be open and ready to
welcome hungry, thirsty borough peeps after they finish shoveling.
You may even be able to squeeze in some hot yoga at Bikram West
Reading, although there will likely be a modified schedule. And
the West Reading Tavern successfully conducted Duck Duck Beer,
its annual duck weekend, during the blizzard of 2016. It had the
feel of a private party, and townies were most appreciative to the
Tavern for opening its red door.
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