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Old 04-22-2008, 07:59 PM
9 posts, read 27,944 times
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Hello Everyone. My family and I might be relocated to Pittsburgh for my husband's job. I really love the town depicted in Gilmore Girls, a sort of small town feel, with a main street, a town centre, a walkable town. Are there any areas in or around Pittsburgh that have this sort of small town feel? We are currently in Hazlet NJ, it's nice but I have to get in the car even to go get milk. I would love to be able to walk to do errands (groceries, drycleaning, etc.) and not have to always drive to a strip mall. Schools and Safety are really important too. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-22-2008, 11:04 PM
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Just for clarification:

You could be looking for a city neighborhood like that, or a suburb, or an actual small town. Do you have a preference?
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Old 04-23-2008, 08:54 AM
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Default City or Suburb

Hi Brian:

City or a suburb neighborhood would be good for me. I think that a Small town would mean a far commute (I'd like to keep the commute no more than 40 minutes - he would be at Mellon Bank at 500 Ross Street). I've read the other posts re: Pittsburgh neighborhoods and Squirrel Hill is way too expensive for us. I think we could be able to afford Mount Lebanon which looks like it might be a good fit for us - but I was wondering what other areas to look at. We are an Irish Catholic family originally from Staten Island, NYC and now live in Hazlet, NJ which I find difficult. Where I grew up there were sidewalks to play on (none here), two corner stores for quick stops for milk within a few blocks, a small park where we had two yearly town festivals and an atmosphere where everyone on the block pretty much knew everyone else and would look out for the kids, etc. We would play kickball in the street at the corner because traffic was so light and everyone was friendly. I'd really like to have that sort of neighborhood for my kids (ages 3 and 1). Last time we were in Pittsburgh (visiting friends last year) we drove through a neighborhood that was somewhat across the water from the Zoo which had a really nice Catholic Church (sorry I can't remember the name) and looked like a cute neighborhood but for the life of me I can't remember the name of the neighborhood or any other particulars.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 04-23-2008, 09:19 AM
Location: Pittsburgh, the Iron City!!!
803 posts, read 2,865,783 times
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Well, I'm in the process of moving there from NYC myself (Bronx), and have travelled alot throughout the area in the last 6 weeks or so.....

If you want something that is akin to a New York-ih neighborhood (*but without all the derelicts and trash), the strip & parts of Lawrenceville might be to your liking, but if its good schools, a homey and walkable downtown, and suburbia within range OF downtown you want, then I would recommend Dormont, Greentree or Mt. Lebanon HIGHLY!.... Good access to transportation, and very charming areas... also orthy of mention would be Mt. Oliver & Castle Shannon, although they're a bit further out from the central city....

We actually found the area near Carson Street in the Southside Flats/Slopes to be very likeable and "homey", while still retaining some of the "grit" that makes a city seem like a city.... nothing scary or threatening, but just gritty enough to seem "real" and unsanitized.... but that's OUR preference, of course....

I hear that Millvale (Up on the northern side) has the least amount of crime of the entire area, although some of the areas near it are somewhat sketchy...

If you have a chance, take a trip out there and look it over before moving... there are alot of unique neighborhoods, all with their own character, and there's surely something to fit your needs...
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Old 04-23-2008, 09:25 AM
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Default Thank you.

Thank you so much - I'll look up those areas mentioned. And yes, we will definitely be taking a trip out there soon. My husband has to go for an interview out there in a few weeks and I want to contact a realtor to show me around some areas, but I wanted to be armed with some knowledge first. . . I don't want the realtor to show me only the more expensive areas - I've seen a lot of listings in the $145,000 - $200,000 range that look nice but my budget allows me up to around $280,000 for a house. I'm afraid that once I say that to a realtor, he/she will only show me houses in that range and skip over some other areas.
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Old 04-23-2008, 09:47 AM
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By~Tor has already recommended some great suburbs. I would note one of the chief attractions of the suburbs is that they often have better public schools than the City, although the City has a few decent schools, plus a good magnet school system, plus charter schools, plus some relatively inexpensive private schools (e.g., some Catholic schools). So, I personally wouldn't rule out the City just because of schools.

I believe the neighborhood you are mentioning across the river from the Zoo may be Aspinwall, which could be a good option. I don't know all that much about Aspinwall, however, so hopefully someone will chime in.

A more familiar (to me) option in the City would be my neighborhood, Regent Square, which could be within your budget (the most posh houses in the top locations are a bit more, but you might be able to find something quite nice in the 200s). Regent Square pretty much is exactly what you described: it has a very small town feel, with tree-lined streets, houses with front porches, and neighbors walking around. There is about a two-block commercial area including a corner store, deli, dry cleaners, several restaurants and bars, and even an arthouse movie theater. It is right next to Frick Park, and on weekends you will see the neighborhood kids on the playsets or in Little League games, people walking their dogs, and so on. Regent Square is right off I-376 so it is easy to drive to Downtown for work, although many people use the 63B, an express bus which can actually be as fast or faster than driving during rush hour since it uses a dedicated busway to get Downtown.

Another city neighborhood to consider given your budget would be Highland Park, which is right next to the park of the same name. That Park is the one with the Zoo and Aquarium, and again Highland Park is generally a small townish neighborhood popular with families (it doesn't quite have as much commercial development as Regent Square, however).
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Old 04-23-2008, 10:50 AM
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Thank you so much. Regent Square sounds right up our alley. At the very least, now I have several neighborhoods to take a look at when we come up for the interview. I appreciate all the help!
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:12 PM
Location: Pittsburgh, USA
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Aspinwall is a nice community about 7 miles from downtown Pittsburgh which you can get to about as fast as you can drive, 10 or 15 minutes. It has lots of parking meters in it's commercial area and the houses are close together - not very big yards or much privacy. Kids can play in the streets although they are always lined with parked cars. It's in the Fox Chapel school system. It has a Pgh. zip code but is a suburb. You can buy a nice home there for much less than you're willing to spend. There's a shopping center with a super market less than half a mile away.

Oakmont is another suburb to be considered. It's 12 miles from downtown. It has about everything. Walk to the schools (Riverview school system), a park by the river with a playground for kids, picnic shelters and grills, organized sports for the kids, another park at the top of the hill with nature trails (Dark Hollow), world famous country club plus a public course, gas lanterns along the main street, family movie theatre, sidewalks and it's safe to walk around even in the middle of night, restaurants, a lot of brick streets, police and fire depts., banks, post office, library, lots of churches including a large Catholic church and I think children go to school there through 8th grade. It's a very charming town in an old fashioned way. Population is nearly 7.000. Homes are available in all price ranges. Generally, the higher up the hill you go the more expensive it is.

A few photos:
Oakmont, PA pictures from pennsylvania photos on webshots

Other info:
Oakmont Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce

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Old 04-23-2008, 09:36 PM
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Be advised if you look within city limits, there is an extra 3% income tax. If you look in the suburbs, it is 1%.

Sidewalks seem to be rare in Pittsburgh.

There is a humongous park 20 minutes north of the city called North Park.

You might want to take a look in Sewickley as well.
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Old 04-23-2008, 09:53 PM
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Default Mt Oliver???

Not sure if By-Tor is confusing his areas, but I'd avoid Mt. Oliver. It's not a very nice area in my opinion, although I wouldn't consider it very far from downtown at all, in fact it is completely surronded by the city of Pittsburgh.
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