Monday, March 15, 2010

6: Fineview

Another North Side neighborhood, Fineview is a residential community that sits on top of a hill above East Allegheny and the Central North Side. It has a little overlook with this view (taken last fall):
I took the rest of these photos on a walk in March 2010. I started from my own neighborhood, East Allegheny, and walked up several flights of city steps to get to the top.
This view is from about half-way up, taken from the city steps. The big yellow building in the center is the School House Apartments in East Allegheny. Veteran's Bridge is to the left.
WPXI used to be located in Fineview but moved in 2007 to Summer Hill. Below you can see the TV antenna behind the houses.
Like so many Pittsburgh neighborhoods, there are huge, grand homes like this one that sit vacant because they're so expensive to fix up. So sad.
Also like many Pittsburgh neighborhoods, there are some woodsy areas in Fineview. I like that this looks like the road leads to Downtown.
Image below from Wikipedia.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pittsburgh Neighborhoods Featured in Bridge to Nowhere

Everyone with an interest in Pittsburgh should see the movie Bridge to Nowhere. It's not a very good movie, but it was filmed in Pittsburgh and features the city prominently. It takes place mainly in Pittsburgh's North Side, with a lot of filming done in neighborhood streets that are so perfectly representative of the city's gritty working-class neighborhoods. There are also some gorgeous shots of Downtown and of South Side and Mt. Washington neighborhoods.

Among the things I loved about the movie:
  • The opening features a Pittsburgh-themed rap song. Yes, a Pittsburgh rap song! Must buy the MP3.
  • Unlike movies that film in Pittsburgh and make the city look completely different, this one gives an honest look at Pittsburgh. If anything, it makes Pittsburgh seem pretty ghetto, which is pretty funny.
  • Sally Wiggin makes an appearance as herself on the local news.
  • There are some good lines using Pittsburghese. "Yinz" and "jagoff" are both used.
  • The actors drink Iron City and I.C. Light.
  • There are lots of shots of authentic Pittsburgh things like city steps, bridges, hills, and dramatic views of Downtown.
  • There are scenes shot in the cemetery on top of Spring Hill, one of my favorite places in the city.
It's worth seeing the movie to see Pittsburgh in it. After Adventureland, which was filmed at Kennywood, this may be my favorite movie filmed in Pittsburgh.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

5: North Shore

Just a few years back, I remember signs for "North Shore" popping up and being puzzled. Why were they calling the North Side the North Shore? Today, of course, the North Shore is the section of the North Side that people are most likely to visit. This long, narrow section of the city right beside the Allegheny River is home to many of the city's most popular destinations, including Heinz Field, PNC Park, Carnegie Science Center, the new Rivers Casino, and the Andy Warhol Museum.

I couldn't find anything to support my claim, but I believe the North Shore is Pittsburgh's newest neighborhood, with the name being given around 1996 to mark all the development in the area. (This article from 1996 talks about the "new North Shore development.") No, it's not a traditional Pittsburgh neighborhood with parking chairs on streets, city steps leading to houses on hillsides, and independently owned businesses, but it's part of Pittsburgh and is unique as an entertainment and sports destination.

My favorite part of the North Shore is the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, a 21-mile pedestrian trail that cuts through the North Shore. It's popular year-round for walking, jogging, biking, and enjoying the scenic views of the city all along the trail, like these...

Fishing is popular on this part of the trail closest to the river. Photo by Dave. There's a lot of great views of the city from the North Shore. Photo by Dave.
The Alcoa building and the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Photo by Dave. Replicas of the Nina and Pinta ships were docked at the North Shore in the summer of 2009. Heinz Field and Carnegie Science Center are in the background.
The Fred Rogers memorial statue was unveiled in the summer of 2009.
One of the biggest reasons people come to the North Shore--to see Pittsburgh's beloved Steelers at Heinz Field. Downtown, taken from the North Shore.
Another shot of Downtown taken from the North Shore.
Railroad bridge crossing the Allegheny River; Canadian geese enjoying a swim; part of the Convention Center.
Sunset over PNC Park. Photo by Dave.
One of my very favorite buildings in Pittsburgh, this one designed by architect Frederick John Osterling is behind the Alcoa building.
Photos of the North Shore during the February 2010 blizzard.
Map of the North Shore from Wikipedia.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

4: Spring Hill

Spring Hill is a neighborhood of views. Rising from the Spring Garden and East Allegheny valleys on the North Side, it's a calf-burning, breathless hike to the very top, where a cemetery offers some of the best views in the whole city (the photo in this blog's header is from Spring Hill).

Along the way are roads and houses clinging to the hillside that you can reach through a series of city steps. At the top, just below the cemetery, are several streets with cute, well-maintained homes, clean streets, kids playing on the sidewalks, and people out walking dogs. It has the feel of a cozy family neighborhood. On the back side of Spring Hill is a very small business district, composed mainly of a bank (with views to the East End) and a convenience store with very limited hours.

One of many city steps climbing up from East Allegheny to Spring Hill.
View from Spring Hill of Spring Garden in the foreground, Troy Hill behind it, and the 16th Street Bridge, Mellon Arena, and the Hill District in the far distance. Houses on the hillside in Spring Hill. Photo by Dave.
Zoomed-in view of the cemetery at the top of Spring Hill, taken in Troy Hill near the Heinz plant. Photo by Dave. Cemetery marker in the Spring Hill cemetery. Photo by Dave.In the cemetery looking out over Route 279 North. Photo by Dave.
In the cemetery looking toward Downtown Pittsburgh. Spring Hill homes are in the foreground.
Once you get to the top and catch your breath, it's a pleasant walk through the cemetery, especially on a warm fall day like we had this year.
Me, relaxing and enjoying the views in the cemetery. Photo by Dave.
Map of Spring Hill from Wikipedia.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

3: Troy Hill

Troy Hill has, in a nutshell, everything I love about Pittsburgh's neighborhoods in general: city steps surrounded by urban forests; old, grand homes mixed with small, modest wood-framed houses and a few sad vacants; narrow streets perfect for exploring; no-nonsense businesses like the Uni-Mart and laundromat; public art; urban grit; proud senior citizens happy to tell you about the old days; parks and green spaces; historic buildings and landmarks; and an honest-to-goodness community vibe. Perched on a plateau high above the Allegheny River in Pittsburghs' North Side, Troy Hill has sweeping views of Downtown and other neighborhoods.

Much has been written about Troy Hill. For an overview and history, check the City's web page and Wikipedia. For an in-depth look at the daily lives of citizens in this close-knit community, I highly recommend The Women of Troy Hill: The Back-Fence Virtues of Faith and Friendship by Clare Ansberry. Learn what's going on now in Troy Hill's blog.

I live at the base of Troy Hill and love to explore this neighborhood. While most people know of the neighborhood that sits high atop a hill, the H. J. Heinz Company, Penn Brewery (which occupies the former Eberhardt and Ober Brewery buildings), River Avenue (running parallel to the Allegeny River up to the 31st Street Bridge), and parts of Route 28 are also considered part of Troy Hill.

Several sets of city steps wind up to Troy Hill. Photo by Dave.
Some steps lead to houses that are only accessible via the city steps, like these.
The base of Troy Hill, looking across Route 28 from the Heinz plant. Photo by Dave. The Heinz Lofts in the Heinz complex. Photo by Dave.Penn Brewery and Troy Hill houses behind it, taken from the opposite side of Route 28.
Penn Brewery.
Houses high above steep Troy Hill Road, the main road going up to Troy Hill. Photo by Dave.
View of Polish Hill and the Strip District from Goettman Street.View of the 31st Street Bridge, Lawrenceville, and Bloomfield from Goettman Street.View of Downtown at the intersection with Troy Hill Road and Goettman Street.
In 2009, a public pool no longer in use was converted to a spray park, the city's first.
View of Downtown from the baseball field.
North Catholic High School.
Hughes Funeral Home, a historic landmark built in 1877 and the former residence of John P. Ober.Lowrie Street, the main business district, is home to pizza shops, bars, a pharmacy, a coffee shop, a restaurant, and other neighborhood-serving businesses.Most Holy Name Rectory, a historic landmark.Saint Anthony's Chapel, a historic landmark, includes thousands of religious relics.Troy Hill houses.Sprout Fund mural on a building on Lowrie Street. Intersection with a war memorial, Billy's Restaurant, and the Troy Hill Firehouse – Engine Company 39 (the oldest firehouse in the City of Pittsburgh and a historic landmark).Marker noting the site of the former Troy Hill Incline at Fidelity Bank.
Voegtly Cemetery. Photo by Dave.St. Nicholas Church, the first Croatian Roman Catholic parish in the United States, has sat vacant pending plans for the demolition of all structures to widen Route 28. I am unsure of the status; I've heard that alternate plans were proposed to save the church. The church may be saved, but the dilapidated, vacant houses in Troy Hill on Route 28 like these are already starting to be demolished.

Map of Troy Hill from Wikipedia.