If you’re a visitor to Erie, PA, here’s some “local knowledge” that might just help make your stay more enjoyable.
Business: Erie’s claim to fame for over 100 years was our rich manufacturing base – machine shops, tool & die shops, toy makers, plastic shops as well as several very large manufacturers such as Bucyrus-Erie, Steris (formerly American Sterilizer) and General Electric. For the most part, much of Erie’s manufacturing base has eroded quite steadily over the last 10 years, with GE still being the exception. Erie has struggled to regain its soul as so many high-paying manufacturing jobs have slowly vanished. A few bright spots remain along with GE that include Hamot and St. Vincent hospitals and Erie Insurance.
Churches, Bars, and Non-Profits. No problem – there’s at least one of these if not a combination on almost every corner. An estimated 40% of Erie’s tax base is uncollectible due to “non-profit” status, according to the Mayor’s office.
Newspapers. Erie is served by one newspaper, the Erie Daily Times.
Airports. Just one, Erie International (I think it’s called “international” because they serve pizza there). It’s a lot tougher to get in and out anymore sinces US Air lost it’s Pittsburgh hub. In many cases it’s just easier to fly in and out of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or Buffalo airports and rent a car for the 2-hour drive to Erie.
Climate: Heaven = Erie from June 1st to October 31st. Hell = Erie from November 1st to March 30th. Purgatory (if you’re Catholic) = April and May. We know that people are praying for us to make it till June.
Getting around: Very easy, especially if you’re from “the big city.” Plenty of parking, plus cab service and bus routes. There are very few places in Erie where you even have to worry about locking your car.
Safety. For the most part, the only major crimes are committed by thugs who kill each other. Very few muggings and assaults probably due to the fact that Erieites like guns and will blow you away if you decide to do something stupid like break into a house. Note: If you are a crook or a thug, you might want to stay away from any house that has over 10 deer heads mounted to the wall, or a “fresh kill” tied to the hood of the car.
Health / Fitness: Many residents believe that a real workout is doing “reps” at the Plymouth Tavern on 25 -cent “draft night.” “Cardio” is when you scream at the big-screen TV when the Browns lose again. Also, smokers will save money during their visit here because they won’t have to actually “pay” for cigarettes – just walk into a bar and breathe the air.
Politics. 99.9% Democrat, mainly fifth-generation left-over allegiances from Erie’s “big union” days of manufacturing.