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Old 09-06-2011, 12:58 PM
227 posts, read 325,854 times
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Any former DC residents who recently moved to Pittsburgh?

Any regrets?

We are currently in NoVA and contemplating a move to Pittsburgh sooner rather than later...
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:10 PM
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At least a couple of us lived in NoVA for a short period of time before moving to Pittsburgh. In my case, I lived in Pittsburgh for quite a while (I came here originally for grad school), but eventually I was working in DC while my wife was working in Pittsburgh (we saw each other on weekends). After a couple years we decided to consolidate in Pittsburgh rather than the DC area. We have no regrets, even though it took me a little while to get a permanent job--since we were very familiar with Pittsburgh we knew what we were getting, and we still think it was the right decision for us.
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Old 09-06-2011, 03:40 PM
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Here's 2 previous threads:

DC to Pittsburgh experience
Considering a move from DC Suburbs to Pittsburgh

Here's my comments from one of them:

Originally Posted by tranceFusion View Post
I moved here early this year from MD and the following things popped out at me:

The bad:

1) Wow, the roads suck. They are curvy. The intersections are bizarre. There are a lot of unwritten traffic rules at these weird intersections fabricated and known only to those people that have been driving them for 20 years, yet they will yell out their window if you don't follow them. The street names often aren't marked. There's potholes everywhere. Yinzers haven't heard of a shoulder, or a merge lane. The rare straight road will change names every 1/2 mile, yet you may make several turns at intersections and still be on the same road. Oh yeah, the construction never ends. There's always cones and signs laying all over the place, and a detour will spring up just when you really need to be somewhere (and of course, there is no notice until you have already committed to the route)... nothing like MD where they do construction at night and pick it all up again by morning! The upside, if there is any, is that there are less people overall on the roads, so if you manage to figure out your little part of town, you will be getting places a little faster than Arlington (assuming a random detour hasn't popped up).

2) There are hardly any minorities or foreigners. I didn't think this was a big deal to me when I moved here, but I have eaten at several "Mexican" restaurants and most ranked barely higher than "revolting" in my book. I hope you like pierogies, sausage, and big sloppy subs, cause that's pretty much all there is to eat around here. I have found some decent Thai, but I had to do some decent hunting to find it.

3) People may be friendlier around here, but you have to hold up your end of the bargain - promptly place a Virgin Mary statue and Steelers flag in your yard.. and don't get caught outside doing something else during a pittsburgh sporting event (pirates are an exception).

4) There's a lot of old people here. Not really BAD but it isn't exactly exciting to younger folks either.

5) Stuff is old. Again, I am undecided if this is BAD. There are plenty of old neighborhoods that look dumpy at first glance that are full of perfectly normal middle class families. But, it's definitely a change from MD where old neighborhood = crime.

The good:

1) Regular people like to hang around downtown. Not just people who live in the ghetto. (Sorry, I am from Baltimore)

2) You can go from urban to rural seclusion QUICKLY.

3) The weather has been amazing so far this year.

4) The waterways are less commercialized. I first noticed the lack of riverfront restaurants and clubs, but was pleasantly surprised at the bike path, kayak rentals, and other more nature-oriented activities.

5) With all the hills, walking the dog will give you some sexy calves.

Looking back I would say it is still pretty accurate. I grew up in Baltimore and then lived in MD suburbs of DC for about 6 years. One thing I would add it this point is that my first winter (this past winter) was horrible for me! So gray, day in and day out. The sun never came out, like it does in MD. I found it extremely depressing. Also, it's usually less than 10 degrees cooler, but those few degrees cause the ice and slush to remain the entire winter, instead of melting after a couple days.

I also have a more positive outlook on the food nowadays. There's definitely a good variety of great places to eat around the city, but you do have to go around the city to find them (unless you live in one of a few east end neighborhoods). Somehow mediocre restaurants seem to persist here much better than they would in MD, so there's a lot more to sift through. I do still find myself shopping at different grocery stores on different weeks to be able to pickup stuff I want because I haven't found a reasonably priced place that has it all.

Lastly, I would add that there are quite a good bit of activities like concerts, festivals and sporting events that are not a big hassle to get to like they are if you are living in a suburb of DC. This past weekend was Pitt game, fireworks, rib festival and free concerts @ Heinz Field, South Park Rib & Wing Festival, and Allegheny Music Festival @ Hartwood Acres park.

Last edited by tranceFusion; 09-06-2011 at 03:50 PM..
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:46 PM
Location: Virginia
423 posts, read 933,434 times
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Wish I could talk my husband into moving from NOVA to the Burgh.
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:29 PM
Location: Western Pennsylvania
52 posts, read 60,868 times
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I used to live in Manassas, Centreville, Savage and Columbia. My move was not recent - I returned to Pittsburgh in 1995.

If you are looking for anything similar to the DC suburbs on either side of the Potomac, forget it. Only the Cranberry area would come close.

Pittsburgh and environs are the antithesis of Washington, DC and its suburbs and exurbs.....which is fine with me because I was able to buy a house, not a condo, not pay sales tax on clothes or groceries, enjoy my favorite sports teams AND - there are lots of back roads that can take you where you want to go, whereas in Northern Virginia, forget about it.
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:38 PM
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I moved to Pittsburgh from NoVA and I regret it every day. Living here is way cheaper, but for me that's the only good thing.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:29 PM
Location: Great White North Hills
10,772 posts, read 13,238,801 times
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Originally Posted by anorak View Post
I moved to Pittsburgh from NoVA and I regret it every day. Living here is way cheaper, but for me that's the only good thing.

So what's the main issue that you dislike it here so much?
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:57 PM
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,523 posts, read 64,599,240 times
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I moved to Pittsburgh from NoVA nearly a year ago (I still can't believe it's been that long), and it's been a breath of fresh air for me on so many levels. The people here overall tend to be much more patient and friendly; they are much more likely to strike up a random conversation with you while in an elevator or in line at the grocery store or bank than what I had experience in Reston, VA. Drivers here are much more passive---a little too passive even at times.

While NoVA's neighborhoods (outside the Beltway anyways) are largely recently-built subdivisions or housing tracts jutting off of congested four-lane roads lined with strip malls, car dealerships, fast-food places, big-box stores, etc. Pittsburgh's neighborhoods (even most of the suburban ones) tend to have a lot of character. This may be a bad comparison, but a lot of the residential areas of Mt. Lebanon remind me of the residential areas of North Arlington (i.e. Yorktown, Westover Village, East Falls Church, etc.) Fox Chapel reminds me a lot of Great Falls. Sewickley and Oakmont would be the closest counterparts to Falls Church City and Vienna, respectively, but the former blow the latter out of the water, in my humble opinon. Penn Hills would probably be most comparable to the Springfield/Annandale areas. Ashburn would be Cranberry Township. I don't really think there's any place that's comparable to Reston or Herndon in Greater Pittsburgh. There are no decent equivalents to Old Town Alexandria or the Ballston/Rosslyn Corridor that I can think of. Walnut Street in Shadyside is probably the closest we have to Georgetown in The District. I much prefer Downtown Pittsburgh to Downtown DC, but that's most certainly subjective. I never was very impressed by DC's "skyline" (i.e. the Washington Monument) while Pittsburgh's skyline view from Mt. Washington was ranked the second-best urban vista in America a couple of years ago if I'm not mistaken.

I was really miserable living in Northern Virginia. I had gainful employment there whereas I'm working two jobs at an average of 75 hours per week here to make ends meet, but everything else in my life has greatly improved. I pay $550/month for a 1-BR apartment with hardwood flooring, exposed interior brick, high ceilings, large windows, a modern kitchen, and a huge walk-in closet on the third-floor of a nearly 110-year-old rowhome in a safe neighborhood within walking distance of Downtown. In Reston I was paying just under $1,200/month for a 1-BR apartment with mice, a dated 1970s-era layout and appearance, and a far-flung location from anything worthwhile (for the record I'm in the camp who doesn't feel as if Reston Town Center ever successfully integrated itself with adjacent areas to be a true "downtown" for Reston). Guys there thought they were too good for me for whatever reason while I had guys fighting over me when I moved to Pittsburgh, either because singles here have lower standards or just more realistic standards for what they seek in a partner.

Some things I hate about Pittsburgh?
  • The litter. Oh my God the LITTER! I drove down a street today in Garfield that literally looked like a trash dump. Cigarette butts are everywhere. It seems like no matter how much garbage I pick up while working in East Liberty it's just replaced by even more litter in hours. I saw some ghetto trash walking down Halket Street in Oakland the other day while making a delivery to Magee Hospital. He was with about seven children, and he just tossed an empty bottle onto the ground in front of me, oblivious to the look of contempt I was giving him.
  • Smoking. I notice that many more people here smoke than back in NoVA. I started another thread about this very topic where a couple of posters assumed I was being too judgmental, but for one of the nation's most educated and literate cities to also be home to so many smokers is mind-boggling to me. I'm sick of having to turn my head away from people as I walk near hospitals especially. Ironic that those entrusted with caring for us when we're sick are also willingly sickening themselves.
  • Yinzers. I'm in a love-hate relationship with them. Their obsession with the "Stillers", binge drinking, swearing in public, being resistant towards change and progress, and using their own slurred dialect, amongst other "uniquities" turn me off, but the fact that there IS an "identity" to Pittsburgh thanks to them is something I'm also grateful for. I never really felt any cohesive "culture" in Fairfax County. I felt like I was living in the East Coast's version of "The OC". Where was the "Reston Pride?", for example? There was none. There IS "Pittsburgh Pride", though.
  • Employment. Yes, there are TONS and TONS of "jobs" here in Pittsburgh paying $9/hr.-$12/hr. Most of these jobs offer little or no opportunity for advancement, few (if any) benefits, and little security. Getting your foot in the door with a career opportunity commensurate with a college education is a much more difficult goal to conquer. All I personally want is a position paying a $30,000 salary, health benefits, and some sense of security. I've been searching since moving here, and here I am still working 75 hours per week at two dead-end jobs. Every time a recruiter gets my hopes up they smash me back into the ground. I don't have health insurance and can't afford it. I'm a very fastidious worker with a Bachelor's Degree, nearly two years of experience in the field, and a kind heart. Is there room for me in Pittsburgh's skilled employment sector? Not apparently.

Nevertheless I don't regret moving out of NoVA. There's just a different breed of people down there. I moved away, and nobody gave a damn. I sent out a farewell e-mail to my office, and only two people replied (one of whom wasn't at my office). I was going to throw myself a little going away gathering at a local tavern, and I canceled it due to lack of interest. Nearly nobody ever calls me or checks in on me. People down there, by and large, are selfish, career-obsessed, overly image- and status-conscious, and will do whatever it takes to "succeed" in life despite how their deeds will detrimentally impact those around them. My therapist was fully booked with other patients who were having difficulty assimilating to life in NoVA. I've received several DMs since moving here, along with some private Facebook messages, with people asking if the grass really is greener up here in PA because they want out, too.

Pittsburgh has saved my life. I'm loved here and love back. I feel like my life has a sense of purpose up here. My only regret is that I wasted over a year-and-a-half of my life in NoVA in the first place.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:43 AM
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Many people moving to Pittsburgh might be looking for an apartment with air conditioning and hot water. That might set them back more than the $550 that you are paying. Any apartment in Pittsburgh is going to be hot in the summer, particularly a third floor walk up, as you have learned. It's not everyone's cuppa to live without hot water and air conditioning, no matter how cheap the apartment.

Pittsburgh has too many gray days for me. I hate months and months of drizzle and cold without the sunshine break days. It's like living in Seattle, except with colder winters and hotter summers, but the same month after month of gray days.
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Old 09-07-2011, 04:16 AM
Location: McKeesport
4,460 posts, read 6,955,384 times
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Originally Posted by Denton56 View Post
It's not everyone's cuppa to live without hot water and air conditioning, no matter how cheap the apartment.
I've never heard of an apartment that did not have hot water. My first apartment, a studio in Chalfant, was a third floor walk-up in a building built in 1913. It had hot water. I only paid $325 a month for it, and all utilities were included.

Air conditioning is easily achieved with a window unit.

Pittsburgh has too many gray days for me. I hate months and months of drizzle and cold without the sunshine break days. It's like living in Seattle, except with colder winters and hotter summers, but the same month after month of gray days.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of sunny days here. If you want to see grey skies, try Michigan. Pittsburghers really have nothing to complain about, weather-wise, compared to places like Michigan. Then again, I like cool, grey, rainy weather, so I wouldn't complain to begin with.
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