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The New Metropolis

Welcome to the City that will never sleep! The new Metropolis! Malvern in disguise as Manhattan!

It was a dark and stormy night. Windshield wipers were keeping metronome-crisp time to classical music on the radio while driving past the many streetlights and decorated storefronts shimmering in the rain like stars falling from the sky. Shops, boutiques, and a trendy restaurant mingle with family established pizza joints, dry cleaners, and antique dealers in true metropolitan fashion. High rises loom and thrust themselves forth shadowing drivers as they make their way through the Big City.

Honk! Beep!

This is no Manhattan, in fact, it’s Malvern! Not the Malvern of the Little Red Schoolhouse, nor of the Hire’s Root Beer factory; nor the Malvern, (as one writer coined in the 1970’s,) “Where the main line meets the sewer line.” No, this is the ‘new and improved’ Malvern, with tiny shops and flats and the Taj Mahal of train stations.

It’s surreal. And I don’t mean that in a good way.

Some folks think that older ‘Malvernites’ are stuck in a nostalgic time warp and that the good old days cry out to be replaced with bigger and better new days of modernization. The outskirts of town will soon boast of a new storage facility where the newcomers living in their Eastside Flats can store all the stuff that won’t fit in their high rise apartments.

Parking will be difficult, but no worry, there will be walking paths aplenty in the future: from town to Wegman’s, Target, and the new movie theater and the availability of biking from Malvern to Exton or Manayunk. Heck, gather some friends and march from the Monument Grounds to Valley Forge to re-enact the historic Paoli Massacre and the winter tragedy of Washington and his troops!

Driving through town will resemble a stream of ants trying to carry a watermelon back to their underground buffet table. However, newly minted townies will enjoy the ambience of fresh produce, festivals and events under the gazebo in midtown, Vera Bradley picnic ware, Gucci tote bags, and Smartphones to light up the night sky.

Interspersed between traffic jams and exhaust fumes, residents will delight in the shopping experience for procuring organic chocolates, remedies, and body products at Kimberton Whole Foods. And, as the evening ends, ‘happening and hip’ folks will meander to the The Whip Tavern for sticky toffee pudding and a hot toddy before heading home to sweet slumber; the sonorous lullaby of Amtrak ten feet from your bedroom window while visions of stuff in storage dance in your head.

The City that will never sleep. The new metropolis!

Ah, progress! Ah, modernization! Ah, Malvern!

Ah, humanity.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Regina DiLabbio Klugh King February 26, 2013 at 09:12 PM
The little acorn falls not far from the tree! Brava from Ye Olde Malvern Monitor, the Brenda Starr and Lois Lane of days (and nights) gone by!
Larry February 26, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Driving East to West on King and seeing that huge building in progress really makes you wonder what sort of town is Malvern. Seems like they are trying to cram West Chester in it.
Kristin Thomas February 26, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Well written. Fun to read. I enjoy "progress", but also wish to stay true to our size and past - a small town village only 1.3 square miles. One correction - The Whip Tavern is out. No news about what other restaurants are considering opening up. If you'd like to see a really obnoxious view of the new building check out the last photo in my blog post - http://malvern.patch.com/blog_posts/east-king-st-project-will-it-increase-or-decrease-property-values-96dbafc7
Ronnie Pratt February 26, 2013 at 11:51 PM
I wonder what the writer of "The New Metropolis" was smoking prior to writing this piece. What conjurings, what fantasy, what PR! For years Malvern was described as a village; now overnight we are a metropolis. We're neither. While officials have tried for years to put a label on our one square mile within Willistown, they've destroyed most of what made Malvern, Malvern. Malvern's historic significance has been sacrificed in the past altering its character but adding parking lots and more modern buildings meant to look old. Downtown Malvern is pocked with empty shops; why should we suppose that new sites will thrive? The almost 200 new flats that are known as the East King St Project will fill the streets with lots of traffic on the already overwhelmed two lane street and perhaps Kristen's metaphor of "ants" carrying away watermelon is the closest image of what we can expect from our new addition to a town that can't seem to make up its mind what it is.
Kristen Klugh Cannella February 27, 2013 at 06:15 PM
Hi Ronnie- This is your 'smoke/tobacco' free writer...reiterating that yes, we are not a Metropolis. We used to be a village. The Malvern identity crisis started years ago with Ye Olde Victorian stylings and now is trying to trend into some post-modernistic Manayunk-ish type of place. Let's hope she finds herself soon....
Paula K February 28, 2013 at 01:38 AM
Wow checked out Kristin's new photo she links to in her post....it is surreal--looks like a giant wooden movie set looming on the horizon. i remember the pretty renderings of the King St side during the township approval dog and pony show. Obviously no one asked what it would be from the back. Ronnie is right that Malvern has a real identity crisis. Author Kristen---love your line about marching from Malvern to Valley Forge on the trails. You would feel like a soldier if you trudge from town to wegmans, buy groceries and trudge home--uphill!
Butch Beals February 28, 2013 at 10:09 AM
Great piece; captures the entire process perfectly. Erin and I were traveling down one of the side streets several days ago, heading towards King. I think it was Church. As you approach King all you see is that huge wall of a building; all the world abruptly stops; very dark and ominous. I could be off-track here but you have to wonder. Both of these projects, the storage facility on Old Lincoln and the East King St. project are being developed by Eli Kahn. Why is Malvern; as small as it is and as "village-like," the focal point of all this development. Too me it seems like a wholesale sell-off of the integrity and quaintness of a once attractive area. Prior to moving to Malvern, we lived in the tiny borough of Royersford, another village-like area with small town quaintness. There they plowed in every available piece of farm land to build housing developments and strip malls. Now, as I assume will happen in Malvern, it's impossible to drive through this once very appealing little town. I believe that we all like progress; it adds vitality and appeal to the community. But a wholesale sell off of the community without any type of foresight by the elected body can be destructive. In reference to your comment about Manayunk, I really hope it doesn't become as such. I was always hoping for something more in the line of Narberth. Is it too late to include a Woolworth's in the new plans where you can pop a balloon to find out what you will pay for the banana split?
ep March 09, 2013 at 05:34 AM
Malvern is as similar to Manhattan as it is to Mars. So there is another, gasp....BUILDING within 180' to your home? Yeah that's......well that's pretty normal. "Normal" would be a whole lot closer, actually. I may be mistaken but, judging from your view, you likely live in a twin? You don't mind sharing a wall with strangers, but strangers parking their car 180 feet away is a major issue? Your concern for privacy is understandable. It's also easily attainable. They're called curtains. You probably have them on every other side of your home.
Kristin Thomas March 09, 2013 at 02:04 PM
ep - if that is truly your real name, thanks for jumping on late just to write comments that are not at all helpful. We have a yard that was once private and it doesn't have curtains. But thanks for your inconsiderate and empathetic suggestion. You should comment on all Patch articles with such helpful and insightful comments - I am sure all of the residents in our town will greatly appreciate your opinion.
ep March 09, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Hearing another's point of view should be helpful to you. But you don't want "helpful," you want to vent and feel sorry about yourself and this devastation that has fallen to you and your children. Sheesh. Don't assume everyone feels like you do, nor that they agree with you about my insight and opinion.
Kristin Thomas March 09, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Yeah, your comment about buying curtains - not helpful. Landscape suggestions - possibly helpful. The real issue is with our property value and our neighbors property values. No one wants to buy a house behind a parking garage and even with the restaurants and shops, many of us (not just myself) do not see the value of homes increasing, but rather decreasing because of this project. Privacy is one thing we will have to work around, but we can only cross our fingers that our home values don't decline because of the height, lack of privacy and the illuminated 2-story parking garage in our backyards. We are all 15-20 feet downhill and the back of the building (with it's submerged parking) looks to be about 70 feet tall. Your curtains can't help us with that.
Tom Fox March 12, 2013 at 05:15 AM
Elli Kan is also planning the new storage facility on rt 20 and old lincoln. hope there is not one here after the other night.
Independent Geoff June 21, 2013 at 09:20 AM
Thanks for the article it brings some humor to an increasing issue that needs to be addressed by the borough administration. Unfortunately the council's answer to the traffic & parking is no answer at all. Monument street might as well be closed and be made into a pedestrian mall since it has become a parking lot rather than a roadway. With traffic already terrible it is mind boggling that the council doesn't address the problem by at a minimum limiting parking to one side. And by eliminating one parking spot at the main intersection in front of the saddle shop traffic could move easier through the village. But the administration & council finds neither a viable solution. Certainly there is a need to eliminate the eye sore building that sit empty and to increase tax revenue which development can help address but with those decisions come other responsibilities that the council must take up.

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