The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. - Wm. Blake

Friday, July 03, 2009

Pittsburgh apparently drives outsiders nuts.

OK, thanks to Sherrie Flick, I discovered this incredibly annoying article in an SF alt-newsite. It's ostensibly about how the G-20 coming to Pittsburgh will be problematic, but it turns out mostly to be about how the writer has a lot of issues, including classism and ignorance. She's already appended a note apologizing about the classism, but there's no corrections to her factual errors, so:

I appreciate the apology and the frank admission of classism, but I'm actually more annoyed by the factual inaccuracies.

The Eastside development (it's a distinct property that is actually in upscale Shadyside, although it's popularly considered East Liberty) has not razed a single "historic brick building" - not one. It has, however, spurred the renovation and redevelopment of no fewer than 6 nearby historic properties, 1 of which houses a good Caribbean restaurant and 2 of which house Pittsburgh's first Ethiopian restaurants, run by immigrants - not exactly the stuff of gentrification.

Meanwhile, Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, which is exclusively staffed by longtime neighborhood residents, has mostly bought up vacant and blighted properties, as well as a bar that was nothing more than a front for drug dealing (the suburban building owner claimed ignorance). The 50 new, single-family houses they're in the process of building in the neighborhood are subsidized and targeted for below-median buyers (a single mother who rented on my street moved to one because, although the neighborhood was "tough," she was looking forward to owning).

The bottom line is that, in a city that has lost over 50% of its population in 50 years, there is no threat that an influx of new residents will gentrify and drive out the well-established local culture.



Blogger zak822 said...

Minor quibble, but "Eastside" used to be East Liberty on city maps. And to everyone who live in either Shadyside or East Liberty.

I've been in and around East Libery for all of my 60 years, and that side of Center Avenue was East Liberty when the Yellow Cab garage was there.

Shadyside merchants wanted to change the post code back before it became the Zip code to make that area Shadyside, because they didn't want monied customer thinking they were too close to East Liberty. That's where the po' folks lived, in their view and they didn't want too close an association.

5:14 PM

Blogger JRoth said...

I appreciate the detail. I hadn't looked at older neighb maps, saw in current ones that the boundary was Centre (which makes its own kind of sense*), and figured it had been ever thus.

*My impression had, in fact, been that the busway was the dividing line, but I was willing to buy that the City had always used Centre, because the City tends to divide neighborhoods down major streets (like Bloomfield and Garfield staring at each other across Penn) without much concern for facts on the ground.

10:13 PM


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