Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Up Or Down

When I go for a walk in my neighborhood, I decide on a direction - up or down. That's life on the South Side Slopes. My sidewalk is stairs. My street is deadly with a dusting of snow. This dead-end motorist trap intersects with two sets of stairs headed down to the South Side Flats and one trail headed up to Allentown.


Today, I'm taking the trail since others will say more about the flats than I can. On election day, I took the trail and saw two bucks, two turkeys and a squirrel. Who says you have to go as far as the Laurel Highlands to be in the wilderness? I was only accompanied by squawking birds on this cold morning.

At the end of the trail is a potential park. Or maybe the next Grow Pittsburgh location. Now, it's a vacant lot with a great view.

Heading into Allentown proper, I look for signs of life at the future police station.

I may do some last minute shopping at Schwartz Market. "Downtown" Allentown has Chinese take-out, a florist spanning 3 storefronts, a video store complete with DJ booth in the window, Paisano's where the man stacking pizza boxes waves at me, a hardware store, a pharmacy which somehow hasn't been taken over by the Rite-Aid-Walgreens-CVS bonanza, multiple hair salons, and a professional photographer. Yet it somehow feels like all of these places are on the verge of going out of business with their hand-painted signs and aging workers.

If it's Friday or Saturday, I buy some meats and cheese at Michelle's Diner. The old-fashioned diner feel is alive and well at Michelle's with overflowing amounts of Pittsburgh and Coca-Cola paraphernalia and a long bar with shiny ruby-red seats waiting for you to sit. They serve a mean cheeseburger.

After my downtown stroll, I take the "urban" route back home and enjoy a view of my "neighborhood". With the leaves continuing to fall off the trees, this view gets better every day. In truth there are many more stories to tell and pictures to take before you can get a grasp of this one Pittsburgh neighborhood. Who can explain the gleaming white geeses littering the well-manicured lawns? Or the graffiti plaguing the old houses? Theresa's crib is flying a new flag for Thanksgiving. A hawk circles above while church bells ring in the distance. This is my neighborhood.

This post is courtesy of Rust Belt's neighborhoodwalk day.


Justin Kownacki said...

So THAT'S what's up there... It's always heartening for me to know that people actually shop at the mom & pop style stores, rather than the massive chains. If you're ever in Bloomfield, try the food at Donatelli's -- some of the best homemade stuff in the 'burgh.

jonathan goldstein said...

Thanks for sharing the variety of your 'hood. May the Schwartz be with you.