Sunday, November 15, 2009

1: East Allegheny

I wanted to start my journey of Pittsburgh's neighborhoods in my own. Trouble is, my street is the border for three different neighborhoods, so it's always hard to say which is mine! But according to the city map, I live in East Allegheny. Map is from Wikipedia.
My street, Wettach Street, is in East Allegheny but is also the border of Spring Garden and Troy Hill. Here you can see the Heinz smoke stacks on the other side of Route 28. Photo by Dave.
A lot of houses in East Allegheny have good city views. Here's the view from our roof, with Shiller School in the foreground (behind our guardian owl, that is.) Photo by Dave.
East Allegheny, also known as Deutschtown, is bordered by East Street, East Ohio Street, Goehring Street and Vinial Streets, and "West Deutschtown," which extends from Cedar Avenue to East Street and from the Norfolk Southern Mainline to Dunloe Street. Route 279 splits the neighborhood in's a little mind-boggling to think how much of the neighborhood was torn down in the 80s to make way for the mammoth highway system that filters North traffic into and out of the city.

View of East Allegheny from steps on Vinial Street in Spring Garden, going up to Troy Hill. Far left is Shiller School at bottom, Downtown behind; Allegheny General Hospital is far right; all visible houses between Downtown and AGH are East Allegheny.
The vibe varies with the housing stock. Some large, historic, brick homes have been renovated and have attracted young professionals who love the location but don't want to pay Mexican War Street prices (that's us), as well as retirees and even a few hipsters. The majority of my neighbors have lived on my street their whole lives and are fiercely proud of the North Side. One of them, Herm, often says, "You're either in the North Side...or you're out side!" Other homes are vacant or shabby and run-down, attracting a transient, poverty-level population with no money or inclination to care for their homes. These homes are mainly in the section of the neighborhood east of 279 bordered by Chestnut Street. Homes in the section west of 279, bordered by Cedar Avenue and West Park, tend to be bigger and better cared for. There are some new construction homes in this area, as well as The School House apartments, a former school converted to apartments.

Middle Street, west of Route 279.
Sad vacant house, east of Route 279. Photo by Dave.
East Allegheny's business district is on East Ohio Street. Many of the commerical buildings are large, historic, and architecturally interesting. Businesses are mostly stable and serve the neighborhood, including Isaly's Deli, barber shops, banks, restaurants, bars, and a liquor store. Park House is a very cool bar and restaurant with free popcorn and peanuts, home-made soups, and vegetarian stuff like falafel and veggie burgers. The Priory Fine Pastries bakery always has gorgeous wedding cakes in their windows. Bistro to Go has inexpensive, home-made meals.

East Ohio Street business district.
In the residential area north of East Ohio Street, there are a few destinations. Amani is a cute coffee house and cafe located off East Ohio Street on Foreland Street. Also on Foreland Street is Artists Image Resource, the city's destination for print-making. (If you want to make your own t-shirts or posters, stop by their open studio on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.) The two big restaurants in this same area are Max's Allegheny Tavern, serving up German favorites, and Legends of the North Shore, which has great Italian food.

Obey mural by Shepherd Fairey beside Artists Image Resource on Foreland Street. Photo by Dave.
The area south of East Ohio Street has three residential streets of large, old historic townhomes lined with brick sidewalks and large trees. The Priory Hotel, named one of the Top Ten Hidden Gems by, is in this area.

Houses and church on Avery Street.

Learn what's going on in the neighborhood at the Deutschtown website.


  1. What a great first post! Smart move to start with your own hood. I did not realize where you live is technically East Allegheny. Very interesting and informative. Love the photos! I'm looking forward to your next journey.

  2. Lovely pics. You always do such a great job of capturing the lovely aspects of Pittsburgh so well. Btw, my blog is back, keep checking from time to time :)