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Old 11-28-2011, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Upper St. Clair
660 posts, read 490,754 times
Reputation: 337
Default Polish Hill...

I have heard that things are turning around for Polish Hill, I was wondering what you all knew or thought about that, I used to spend a large amount of time there growing up, it was my home away from home to speak... Love to hear what has been going on there in the last 35 years or so!
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,217 posts, read 45,870,912 times
Reputation: 11049
Quote:
Originally Posted by WINDCHIMES View Post
I have heard that things are turning around for Polish Hill, I was wondering what you all knew or thought about that, I used to spend a large amount of time there growing up, it was my home away from home to speak... Love to hear what has been going on there in the last 35 years or so!
As far as I know I'm the only member here who lives in Polish Hill. Q-Tip Motha used to live here prior to buying a home he is currently restoring in Troy Hill as he raises his family (a path I may also have to take next year if the real estate market here remains tight).

I live on Brereton Street, just a few doors down from Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, which is the epicenter of the community. Outside of someone careening down the hill and taking out a couple of parked cars a few weeks ago (including minor damage to my own) life here has been largely uneventful, which is a blessing considering our proximity to the Hill District.

The Polish Hill Civic Association is the most active neighborhood improvement organization I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Their president, Terry Doloughty, works tirelessly to help reinforce the neighborhood's assets while simultaneously mitigating any impending threats. We're currently in the final stages of enacting our multi-year and multi-faceted long-range community plan for the neighborhood, which will make us eligible to receive additional grants in the future to help us to achieve our goals and our vision. Some noted areas for improvement include the eventual stabilization and rehabilitation of the former Immaculate Heart of Mary School on Paulowna Street, a revamp of the intersection of Brereton and Dobson Streets into a "piazza", more public art and/or art in public places, and traffic calming measures which may be as drastic as to close access to Finland Street from Bigelow Boulevard as well as access to Melwood Avenue via Gold Way (we've become QUITE the cut-through neighborhood in the growing East End).

Some assets we should be very proud of:
  • West Penn Park: Including a pool, a skateboard park, baseball field, walking trails/track, and a recreational center with a fitness center that is free for city residents.
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary Church: This landmark is visible from numerous other neighborhoods and municipalities and serves as a very unique attraction for those interested in architectural tourism.
  • Business District: While still very tiny we've embraced several new businesses in the past two years that include Copacetic Comics, Mind Cure Records, Lili Coffee Shop, Urban Gypsy Gifts, and perhaps one or two more in the works to complement our existing Polish specialty foods market, bars, and a few offices.
  • Views: There's a view from nearly every nook-and-cranny of our neighborhood, thanks to our hillside locale. Some of my favorite views include the "peek-a-boo"-like views of the large green dome of the church as you idle in traffic on Paulowna Street and look to your left between some of the homes, the view of the Allegheny River Valley as you near the top of Herron Avenue at Bigelow Boulevard or from Frank Curto Park, the view of the Downtown skyline from the 28th Street Bridge, and more.
  • Serenity Within the City: I've noticed deer in the neighborhood, especially in and around West Penn Park, on numerous occasions. It's amazing to have such flora and fauna available within walking distance to the Downtown of a major U.S. city.

Some challenges:
  • Litter: Oh my God, the LITTER! Our dedicated volunteers will be out there with trash bags and collect record amounts of refuse only to have aluminum cans, fast food wrappers, plastic bags, cigarette butts, etc. clogging up our arterials within weeks. I can't understand what's so appealing about being a pig.
  • Blight: As noted in another thread our neighborhood has an epidemic with property owners "sitting" on vacant and/or derelict properties, allowing them to decay into oblivion, instead of being good city stewards and attempting to sell them to someone with vision for the neighborhood.
  • Housing Composition: In its heyday Polish Hill was probably amongst the city's densest-populated neighborhoods. There were rowhomes in every nook and cranny, and many of those rowhomes housed a family on each floor. For example, my own rowhome is approximately 700 square feet per floor, and I feel as if my top-floor apartment, with its generally open floorplan, is spacious enough for two people. My landlady lives alone in the floor below mine, and she's in the process of renovating the ground-level floor, perhaps for some sort of home business. Just feet behind our rowhome used to stand another three-story rowhome that faced Phelan Way, the alley behind our home, and we shared a tiny brick courtyard. Now many of these large rowhomes that remain are inhabited by elderly who are "aging in place". It remains to be seen if modern families would consider it to be attractive to renovate these historic rowhomes to fit today's trends. Here's one promising similar example of how a single-family-detached dwelling was updated:

    CONTEMPORARY RENOVATION (http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/apa/2719597889.html - broken link)


All in all I'm very happy living here. I feel like I'm in the last remaining "bargain" neighborhood of the East End.
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Old 11-28-2011, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Upper St. Clair
660 posts, read 490,754 times
Reputation: 337
Thank you so much, I remember the big catholic church, my first boyfriends mom used to go there almost every day, she baked and volunterred there her entire life...Its a beautiful church I must of walked every street a million times in Polish Hill The views were beautiful, even more so when it rained for some reason.

Ahhh..The hill, yes that was the area we never walked or drove into, that was 35 years ago too! I do remember alot of kids in the neighborhood would go there for beer and drugs even...it was the 70s, 80s...it was a crazy time, thankfully we never got involved in that
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:54 PM
 
1,516 posts, read 1,650,906 times
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[quote] Ahhh..The hill, yes that was the area we never walked or drove into, that was 35 years ago too! I do remember alot of kids in the neighborhood would go there for beer and drugs even...it was the 70s, 80s...it was a crazy time, thankfully we never got involved in that [quote]

*This year the Hill District is SW PA's Murder Capitol with 11 homicides thus far in the year...
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Upper St. Clair
660 posts, read 490,754 times
Reputation: 337
Huge shock!
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:56 PM
Status: "Go Bucs!...ugh" (set 12 days ago)
 
Location: Northern panhandle of WV
1,573 posts, read 1,479,707 times
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Hey Polish Hill still has Gooski's one of Pittsburgh's greatest dive bars what else needs said lol. Well yeah I agree the church is very neat too...I've just never been inside it. .
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,217 posts, read 45,870,912 times
Reputation: 11049
Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderlust76 View Post
Well yeah I agree the church is very neat too...I've just never been inside it. .
Neither have I, believe it or not. I've been in the basement area to vote in elections. I'm Protestant (ducks flying shoes!)
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Old 11-29-2011, 04:39 AM
 
Location: Troy Hill, The Pitt
1,152 posts, read 741,634 times
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[quote=Uptown kid;21892283][quote] Ahhh..The hill, yes that was the area we never walked or drove into, that was 35 years ago too! I do remember alot of kids in the neighborhood would go there for beer and drugs even...it was the 70s, 80s...it was a crazy time, thankfully we never got involved in that
Quote:

*This year the Hill District is SW PA's Murder Capitol with 11 homicides thus far in the year...

When I lived in Polish Hill I worked in the South Side, and walked back and forth through the Hill District for exercise on my way to and from work. Even walked through the Hill (as opposed to the strip just for some different scenery) on my way downtown with a broken arm in a sling for a time. Never had a problem. Lots of nice people, day or night. If I had the money to do a full gutting/remodel and we hadn't found our current home I would rehab a certain house on the corner of Heron and Wylie in a heartbeat. The place isn't exactly the warzone people in the burbs make it out to be. Same thing goes for the north side.

As for Polish Hill its a good place to live. The crime from the Hill District is drug related for the most part and doesn't really cross Bigelow, so if you aren't dealing you don't have too much to worry about. I used to live down the hill on Brereton from where SteelCity is at. Had the nicest neighbors in the world, and still miss them almost a year later. Proximity to the strip is definately a plus, and the commute downtown by bus or car is a breeze.

Never had any problems while in the neighborhood aside from some jerk down the hill harassing one of my friends for parking in front of his building. I guess he thought they were headed to Gooski's. We probably would've bought a home in Polish Hill had the real estate prices not been so dramatically higher than what they were in our current neighborhood. Parking is a bit rough in the neighborhood, but that's living in the city for you. The only thing I would prefer is that the neighborhood had more businesses that were convenient to everyday use. Sure the slightly overpriced coffee shop, the little polish market, the consignment store run by an overtly nice lady, or the punk bar run by extremely rude people with good food across the street from my old place are nice but you just dont' have cause to visit these places on a weekly basis.
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Upper St. Clair
660 posts, read 490,754 times
Reputation: 337
Thank you Q tip...that was interesting
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,217 posts, read 45,870,912 times
Reputation: 11049
Quote:
Originally Posted by Q-tip motha View Post
When I lived in Polish Hill I worked in the South Side, and walked back and forth through the Hill District for exercise on my way to and from work. Even walked through the Hill (as opposed to the strip just for some different scenery) on my way downtown with a broken arm in a sling for a time. Never had a problem. Lots of nice people, day or night. If I had the money to do a full gutting/remodel and we hadn't found our current home I would rehab a certain house on the corner of Heron and Wylie in a heartbeat. The place isn't exactly the warzone people in the burbs make it out to be. Same thing goes for the north side.
I'm presuming you mean the Flatiron Building on the corner of Herron & Wylie? I, too, would love to own and renovate that place. I've always held a deep affinity for unique architecture. I haven't ruled out buying my first home in the Upper Hill District, actually---either along Herron Avenue or further east into Schenley Heights. I have a few friends/former co-workers who live there along Iowa Street, and it seems like a pretty stable part of the overall neighborhood. The views from the backyards of the homes along Finland Street in the Upper Hill are breathtaking, too. I also thought it would be really neat to live in the "hidden" areas between Polish Hill and the Upper Hill along streets like Ajax, Monroe, Bismarck, Ridgway, Colmar, etc. It's so lush through there, and you feel like you live in the country while being right next to Bigelow Boulevard.

In regards to the crime in the Hill District bear in mind you walked down Herron Avenue (and then presumably right down Centre Avenue?) to get to South Side. From Herron Avenue on east into Schenley Heights the Hill District is very stable, for the most part. Venture a few blocks into the Middle Hill District, and that's where all of the violent crime tends to occur. Also, though, people tend to forget that the vast majority of violent crime in Pittsburgh is NOT random. If you're one of the unfortunate souls who is murdered in the Hill District each month, then most likely you knew your assailant and were probably involved in some shady and/or illicit activities yourself. I've used the Hill District's library semi-frequently, and I will probably patronize the new grocery store on Centre Avenue when it opens as well to help support it. Other than some stares from people and some people coming up to my car window and panhandling I haven't had any other issues.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Q-tip motha View Post
As for Polish Hill its a good place to live. The crime from the Hill District is drug related for the most part and doesn't really cross Bigelow, so if you aren't dealing you don't have too much to worry about. I used to live down the hill on Brereton from where SteelCity is at. Had the nicest neighbors in the world, and still miss them almost a year later. Proximity to the strip is definately a plus, and the commute downtown by bus or car is a breeze.

I actually think you must had lived up the hill from me if you lived across from Gooski's, as I live in one of the last few houses on the same side as the church before you hit West Penn Park. I agree that I'll miss our neighborhood's convenience to other areas when I move. I won't be able to walk to Downtown, the Strip District, North Shore, Station Square, etc. from Shadyside the way I can now from Polish Hill.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Q-tip motha View Post
Never had any problems while in the neighborhood aside from some jerk down the hill harassing one of my friends for parking in front of his building. I guess he thought they were headed to Gooski's. We probably would've bought a home in Polish Hill had the real estate prices not been so dramatically higher than what they were in our current neighborhood. Parking is a bit rough in the neighborhood, but that's living in the city for you. The only thing I would prefer is that the neighborhood had more businesses that were convenient to everyday use. Sure the slightly overpriced coffee shop, the little polish market, the consignment store run by an overtly nice lady, or the punk bar run by extremely rude people with good food across the street from my old place are nice but you just dont' have cause to visit these places on a weekly basis.
Sure enough our neighborhood still has those good 'ole-fashioned yinzer attributes like "respectin' the chair" and whatnot, but it's that outdated mindset that sort of endears me to this place. I agree it sucks that we keep getting new businesses that are more or less destination businesses intended to draw in patrons from other neighborhoods rather than businesses that we could actually USE on a day-to-day basis. If I need to do laundry I have to pack up the car and schlep to Shadyside. There's no bank/ATM here. No drugstore. No barbershop. No grocery store. We do have an architectural firm, records store, comic book store, consignment store, coffee shop, etc., though.
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