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Old 02-20-2012, 05:30 PM
 
99 posts, read 83,163 times
Reputation: 68
Default Considering a move from WDC

Hello all!

I am enjoying perusing the forums here and reading all about Pittsburgh. I have been living in Washington, DC for the past decade or so, grew up just outside DC in the burbs. While I love this city tremendously, the cost of living is getting pretty ridiculous here. Plus, I feel there is a sort of overall condescending attitude from some of the people living here... not very neighborly, kind of "hard" and "cold" if that makes sense.

Anyway, I am 30, have been working in the administrative / office management field for about a decade, and am also a photographer. I still want to be in an urban area, just maybe smaller, with lower cost of living, but having still a decent arts scene. Does that describe Pittsburgh?

Don't know what I really want to do, but ideally, would love to works in an arts center, museum, etc if at all possible. Maybe one day open a gallery? Just thoughts really... but wonder how possible it is there. In DC it would be impossible, as all the galleries are pretty much getting shut down or moved out to the burbs because of the rent prices here. Other things like book stores, camera shops, and record stores closing because of the rent... it makes me sad. feels like DC is losing it's flavor and would love to be in a place that still has some of these things, cool coffee shops, art galleries, etc.

Lastly, I do know some people in pittsburgh so It wouldn't be completely scary in that regards. Pretty much all of my extended fam on my mother's side lives up there around Pittsburgh and surrounding suburbs (she grew up there although does not live up there now).

Sorry for the long post, but based on what I have written do you think Pittsburgh would be a good fit for me? I'm going to go up soon and kind of scope it out a little.. take a weekend or something and get a feel for it.

Thanks all!
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:11 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh PA
1,128 posts, read 940,333 times
Reputation: 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by wdcgirl View Post
Hello all!

I am enjoying perusing the forums here and reading all about Pittsburgh. I have been living in Washington, DC for the past decade or so, grew up just outside DC in the burbs. While I love this city tremendously, the cost of living is getting pretty ridiculous here. Plus, I feel there is a sort of overall condescending attitude from some of the people living here... not very neighborly, kind of "hard" and "cold" if that makes sense.

Anyway, I am 30, have been working in the administrative / office management field for about a decade, and am also a photographer. I still want to be in an urban area, just maybe smaller, with lower cost of living, but having still a decent arts scene. Does that describe Pittsburgh?

Don't know what I really want to do, but ideally, would love to works in an arts center, museum, etc if at all possible. Maybe one day open a gallery? Just thoughts really... but wonder how possible it is there. In DC it would be impossible, as all the galleries are pretty much getting shut down or moved out to the burbs because of the rent prices here. Other things like book stores, camera shops, and record stores closing because of the rent... it makes me sad. feels like DC is losing it's flavor and would love to be in a place that still has some of these things, cool coffee shops, art galleries, etc.

Lastly, I do know some people in pittsburgh so It wouldn't be completely scary in that regards. Pretty much all of my extended fam on my mother's side lives up there around Pittsburgh and surrounding suburbs (she grew up there although does not live up there now).

Sorry for the long post, but based on what I have written do you think Pittsburgh would be a good fit for me? I'm going to go up soon and kind of scope it out a little.. take a weekend or something and get a feel for it.

Thanks all!
Welcome to the forums, I want to start off by saying that you are in one of the most informative forums on the website, and that people will lead you in a good direction (there are actually a few regular posters on this sub-forum that moved here from DC.)
Here are my 2 cents:
Pittsburgh is smaller than DC obviously, but for the most part it does not feel all that lacking (with the exception of our transit authority and airport that aren't in the greatest shape.) Many in Pittsburgh are more friendly than DC residents, but not overly in your business the way that you get in small town Iowa. There are MANY places within the city that are affordable and are waiting to be picked up, actually the mayor of one of our inner ring suburbs (fifteen to twenty minutes from downtown) is advertising his town for artist: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/ma...pagewanted=all
We are also a short drive from DC so visiting friends who still live there wouldn't be difficult at all. Anyway, I wish you the best of luck with your search and I hope that you can find what you need in our beautiful city
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:20 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,783,894 times
Reputation: 2819
Quote:
I still want to be in an urban area, just maybe smaller, with lower cost of living, but having still a decent arts scene. Does that describe Pittsburgh?
Yep, that's Pittsburgh (at least if you want it to be--other people want relatively inexpensive suburbs with good schools, or so on).

Of course as you probably know it is tough all over for arts these days, but there are definitely still plenty of places in the core area of Pittsburgh with cheap rent where you can open a gallery, funky shop, and so on, and lots of people with an interest in arts. And although I am not directly involved on a daily basis, I do get the sense it is largely a mutually supportive and not cut-throat arts community.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:24 PM
 
156 posts, read 181,076 times
Reputation: 41
The arts scene here is growing, as I understand it, in several city neighborhoods such as Lawrenceville.

Lawrenceville | History in the Remaking, a Neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Here is a 2009 New York Magazine article about Pittsburgh's emerging arts scene:

The Weekend Escape Plan - Pittsburgh -- New York Magazine

Good Luck!
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:59 PM
 
99 posts, read 83,163 times
Reputation: 68
Hi all

thanks for the replies so far! re: cut throat art scene. Yes, that is what it feels like here sometimes! so I'm glad to know it's not like that so much there.

Lawrenceville looks quite nice. I had not heard of that neighborhood before. A friend was also suggesting I check out Bloomfield, and I have heard a lot about southside (downtown I guess).

I am excited to go up again and really take some time to look around and get a feel for it.

I look on craiglsist just to see what kind of housing they have, and just want to weep at how inexpensive it is. of course jobs probably don't pay as much as here, but it's unbelievable how little you can get a 1br, or even a HOUSE for (if roommates). crazy!
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:39 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,783,894 times
Reputation: 2819
What we call "Downtown" is just a small triangular area where the rivers (Allegheny and Monongahela) meet. The South Side is across the Mon and upriver (to the southeast) a bit. It is a lively Victorian-era neighborhood with lots of bars/restaurants in addition to boutiques and such.

Lawrenceville and Bloomfield are right next to each other and a little less established than the South Side, but definitely part of a growing arts corridor.

For orienting yourself with respect to neighborhoods, this map can be handy:

Pittsburgh Map
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
3,781 posts, read 3,261,766 times
Reputation: 1739
Quote:
Originally Posted by wdcgirl View Post
Hello all!

I am enjoying perusing the forums here and reading all about Pittsburgh. I have been living in Washington, DC for the past decade or so, grew up just outside DC in the burbs. While I love this city tremendously, the cost of living is getting pretty ridiculous here. Plus, I feel there is a sort of overall condescending attitude from some of the people living here... not very neighborly, kind of "hard" and "cold" if that makes sense.

Anyway, I am 30, have been working in the administrative / office management field for about a decade, and am also a photographer. I still want to be in an urban area, just maybe smaller, with lower cost of living, but having still a decent arts scene. Does that describe Pittsburgh?

Don't know what I really want to do, but ideally, would love to works in an arts center, museum, etc if at all possible. Maybe one day open a gallery? Just thoughts really... but wonder how possible it is there. In DC it would be impossible, as all the galleries are pretty much getting shut down or moved out to the burbs because of the rent prices here. Other things like book stores, camera shops, and record stores closing because of the rent... it makes me sad. feels like DC is losing it's flavor and would love to be in a place that still has some of these things, cool coffee shops, art galleries, etc.

Lastly, I do know some people in pittsburgh so It wouldn't be completely scary in that regards. Pretty much all of my extended fam on my mother's side lives up there around Pittsburgh and surrounding suburbs (she grew up there although does not live up there now).

Sorry for the long post, but based on what I have written do you think Pittsburgh would be a good fit for me? I'm going to go up soon and kind of scope it out a little.. take a weekend or something and get a feel for it.

Thanks all!
Pittsburgh does seem like a good place for you. Many city neighborhoods/suburbs have a couple galleries and in Downtown on Penn and Liberty Ave. there is the cultural district which is home to more galleries and many theaters for all sorts of plays and musicals. Pittsburgh would also be good in the sense that you are a short drive from home at about 4 hours. There are a few posters, as already mentioned that have lived in DC too so they could do a better job at the comparisons between the cities and what you will "gain and lose" by moving here.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:26 PM
 
Location: ELFS
4,562 posts, read 2,940,628 times
Reputation: 3426
Quote:
Originally Posted by wdcgirl View Post
Other things like book stores, camera shops, and record stores closing because of the rent... it makes me sad.
It's no better here. The only record store left here sells only records. Every other store that sold music has been done in by the internet. Same with bookstores and camera shops. It's not the rent; the internet has simply made these places unnecessary to 90% of the population.

I don't have a turntable, so I literally haven't gone shopping in a store for music (CDs) in maybe five years. It's amazon, baby, all the way. There is a bookstore, a Barnes & Noble, in a suburb that's as distant from where I live as Old Town is to Dupont Circle, or one on Pittsburgh's equivalent of Rockville Pike. So again, amazon (though I'd return every last byte of digital cybercrap in a heartbeat if I could go shopping at Olsson's one more time). The camera store I used to go to is now a franchised massage parlor. When's the last time anyone got film developed?
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,043 posts, read 45,031,453 times
Reputation: 10850
DC and Pittsburgh swap a lot of transplants between one another. Many native Pittsburghers flock to DC for career opportunities. Many long-time DC residents (including those in the NoVA and the MD 'burbs) are exploring Pittsburgh as an alternative for a big city without the big city hassles. jay5835, BrianTH, and I are all Pittsburghers who moved here from DC and who all really enjoy living here. I believe we have a few others on this sub-forum who moved here from DC, too, but I can't remember right now.

I gave up a promising career in DC to follow my instincts and move to Pittsburgh, and I'm very glad I did. You only live once so why not try something new every now and the to satiate your curiosity? I couldn't hack the astronomical cost-of-living in that area any longer. I was paying nearly $1,200/month for an outdated 1-BR apartment that I shared with mice in a far-flung VA suburb. I was living a worse lifestyle there on a $50,000 salary than I am here earning much less. In addition I have far less traffic headaches here, enjoy people racing to strike up idle banter with me in elevators and in lines, and I find the recreational/cultural amenities we offer, while sparser than what was available in DC, to be sufficient to meet my needs.

There is a strong artisan/artist community in a string of city neighborhoods from Lawrenceville and Garfield down through Friendship and Bloomfield and on over to Polish Hill and the Strip District. All of these neighborhoods will have cheap rentals available (save for the Strip District which trends more towards chic industrial lofts). South Side has become too expensive, in my opinion, for someone looking to get established here as an artist. You may also want to check out the Central Northside and Manchester.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:31 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,043 posts, read 45,031,453 times
Reputation: 10850
Quote:
Originally Posted by jay5835 View Post
There is a bookstore, a Barnes & Noble, in a suburb that's as distant from where I live as Old Town is to Dupont Circle, or one on Pittsburgh's equivalent of Rockville Pike. The camera store I used to go to is now a franchised massage parlor. When's the last time anyone got film developed?
You do realize the City of Pittsburgh has two Barnes & Noble locations, right? One is in the Waterworks Shopping Center and one is near Duquesne University in Uptown/Bluff/SoHo/Card-Carrying Identity Crisis Neighborhood Anonymous Member.
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