Survey says, Lancaster is sexy


    Lancaster is known for its Amish community, outlet shopping and growing arts scene. But what about sexy? 


    Lancaster is known for its Amish community, outlet shopping and growing arts scene.

    A few years ago, the city’s high concentration of police surveillance cameras made national headlines.

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    But sexy?

    According to real estate website Movoto, Lancaster’s in the top 10 nationally.

    The company considered average temperature, hotel availability, adult entertainment options and nightlife in determining a city’s sexiness.

    Lancaster ranked eighth overall in the recent roundup of cities with between 50,000 and 60,000 residents.

    That fact alone surprised locals, including lifelong residents like 30-year-old Jon Smokowicz.

    Even more unexpected: Lancaster’s strongest performing category is adult novelty shops per capita, according to Movoto.

    “That doesn’t really fit with the image I have of the city, and what it’s all about,” Smokowicz said. “That’s also not really sexy, right? It’s kinda creepy.”

    Some people must disagree with Smokowicz because enough such businesses exist in Lancaster that the city ranked third for its per capita offerings.

    Just two are located in downtown Lancaster, however. Movoto representatives said most of the 140 cities surveyed have just one, if any.

    The website’s Lists Blog doesn’t profess to be scientific. It’s “the lighter side of real estate”, assigning job titles like “nerf herder” and “armchair economist” to staffers involved in compiling the lists, which publish every week or so.

    They named Lancaster one of the “most exciting small cities” at the end of 2013.

    That ranking and the most recent one both note Lancaster’s nightspots, the fourth most per capita of cities examined. Movoto counts 70 bars, restaurants, clubs and live music venues.

    Bob Shoemaker, who heads the Lancaster City Alliance, said leaders aren’t going for “sexy”, per se, in their planning, marketing and development efforts.

    “That’s not in my vocabulary,” Shoemaker said. “But the city looks to have an intimate relationship with its clientele: trying to meet students, visitors, workers and such, where they are. Customer service does involve intimacy and giving people an experience that’s repeatable.”

    Even if the mention might project an image of Lancaster that’s not an exact match with city leaders’ vision, it proves those efforts have paid off, according to development consultant Chris Leinbeger.

    “This falls under the category of: ‘Quote me right, quote me wrong, just quote me.’ Just get some attention,” Leinberger said.

    Details seemed to matter more to people who live and work in Lancaster city proper, though.

    Donal Lally, who moved to the city 18 months ago from Ireland’s sixth-largest city Galway, said dating options that don’t involve alcohol seem limited in Lancaster.

    Lally, 24, said he finds people in Lancaster attractive. But he observes a weak dating scene from behind the bar at Tellus360 and while socializing downtown during his time off from the new Irish pub known for its green roof, occasional second floor art gallery and packed live music schedule.

    “Lancaster’s not bad for its size, but it seems like everyone’s in a relationship,” he said. “Working the bar, you see a lot of wedding rings.”

    Lally attributed the overwhelming monogamy to the city being more conservative and religious than he’d expect in what he described as a “hipster town.”

    Others meanwhile say they find Lancaster’s dating pool anything but tepid.

    “Sex is very easily available,” said James Haviland, who works The Den – one of two adult novelty stores on Prince Street.

    Dating, sex, romance, attractiveness – none of that was factored into Movoto’s assessment.

    Instead, the company focused on the proliferation of restaurants and night spots like Tellus360 and adult entertainment options like The Den.

    “I guess it really just depends on what you’re looking for,” Lally said.


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