Notes from the Road: From Wall Street to Quakertown, Pa.

Fallout on Main Street series

McClatchy NewspapersOctober 10, 2008 

As Tony Pugh of McClatchy Newspapers travels from city to town over the coming days, he'll be offering his impressions of what he experiences. This is the first of them:

Down on Wall Street, traders, investment bankers and others bolt out the doors at closing time and stride past the throng of cameras and reporters awaiting them, without a hint of acknowledgement. It's like watching a defendant in a highly publicized court case eschew public scrutiny.

A few workers oblige interviews, but the overwhelming majority does not. Some even yell insults at the media, blaming us for the economic problems. Others politely ask us to leave them alone and let them do their jobs.

It wasn't always like this. When the market was strong, these guys couldn't wait to address the media. But now they clearly realize that public sentiment is strongly against them. And they're also worried about their jobs.

After leaving New York yesterday, I arrived in Quakertown, Pa. to join the camera crew for our latest piece. Quakertown is southwest of Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and Nazareth, the former steel towns that are now part of America's ailing Rust Belt.

The loss of jobs and industry in this area goes back many years, so the current economic problems are nothing new to these folks.

Fortunately, the air in Quakertown is full of promise.

The folks here are all fired up about the Phillies-Dodgers matchup in the National League Championship Series. Dreams and talk of the fall classic permeate the air after Thursday's 3-2 victory by the Phillies.

At the local Giant Supermarket, a little boy is decked out in a Phillies cap, tee shirt and matching red shoes. I asked the little guy who his favorite player was and his father stepped in to reply, "Jimmy Rollins." The boy concurred.

Like father, like son.

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