Inside Look at the STRATA Life in Downtown Allentown

Name: Michele O’Grady
Location: STRATA Symphony – Allentown, PA 
Years Lived at STRATA: Nine months

What made you move Downtown?
We relocated to Allentown from Omaha, NE for a professional opportunity for Kevin. Kevin has lived on the East Coast most of his life but, except for a brief time in upstate New York, I’m a Nebraska girl. After living in a historic downtown district in Omaha, we knew we wanted another urban, walkable live-work neighborhood.

Where is your favorite place to grab a drink?
We are most often at Tacos y Tequila or The Dime for drinks…..although I’m a fan of QCB’s [Queen City Barbeque] frozen margarita on a hot summer afternoon.

Best place to grab a bite to eat?  
Tacos y Tequila, QCB, and The Dime are restaurant faves.

What are some small things about living at STRATA that make your day better?
It’s just so easy to live at Strata Symphony! Robert, Kaitlynn, and Meagan are great resources and Mike and Mark are always on top of any maintenance requests. The common spaces and community rooms are beautiful. Discounts on services, food, and entertainment like the Miller Symphony Hall spoil us and encourage us to spend our dining and entertainment dollars downtown. I absolutely love walking to/from work through the ArtsWalk and [Arts] Alley!   

What’s your favorite spot to shop downtown?
I can’t choose one favorite shop!  There are always treasures to take home from RE:findSorrelli, and The Perfect Fit resale boutique.
What is your ideal way to spend the weekend in Downtown Allentown?
An ideal weekend in Downtown Allentown kicks off on Friday night with Jazz Upstairs at Miller Symphony Hall. Hopefully, it’s a “sleep-in” Saturday then time in the STRATA gym and fresh juice from GreenMouth. I’m a fan of balcony picnic lunches followed by a trip to RE:find or Sorrelli to see what’s new, have a manicure with Kim at NailPlay, or see Amanda at ReVive! for haircuts. Dinner and listening to music at The Dime is a fun Saturday night. On Sundays, we walk around the neighborhood to imagine what the row houses could be if City Center renovated them.

How do you relax after a hard day at work?
The best way to relax after work is to watch the sky show from our rooftop terrace or loft windows…cocktails optional.

How did you make your apartment, home?
Making our first friends, Kaitlynn from Strata office, Jon & Ron at RE:find, and Amanda at Revive was a wonderful start in adjusting to Allentown. Furnishing our loft with art and furniture from RE:find had the most impact on making our new apartment a home. Visits from family and entertaining friends filled our home with laughter and happy memories. 

What is one thing you love about STRATA that most people haven’t heard of?
You can access RiteAid and NailPlay through Strata West. The view from the 5th floor is pretty amazing. You can see the fireworks at Coca-Cola Park.  

Favorite event in Downtown Allentown?
Our favorite downtown Allentown event was Brews, Blues, and BBQ.  Our son came from Iowa for it and it didn’t disappoint! Is it too fan girl to say that I like the City Center ribbon cuttings?

What’s something you’ve been meaning to try but just haven’t gotten around to it?
America on Wheels is on our list to explore.

What’s the best way to start your day at STRATA?
Each morning, BabyCat and I run up the loft stairs to look at the mountains to the north and south. They’re so beautiful and there’s often something going on. If the rooftop prairie is in bloom, there will be several types of birds to see. On weekends, when the weather is nice, we like to have breakfast picnics on the balcony.

What is the most relaxing place at STRATA?
Hands down the most relaxing place at STRATA is our terrace! It’s surrounded by the living roof and is really peaceful.

Where do you usually hang out when you have friends visit?
We take family and friends all over downtown…there’s something for every personality and interest. They’ve all been enthusiastic about the growth of downtown and a few have expressed outright jealousy over the ArtsWalk.

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