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  #1  
Old Posted May 31, 2017, 12:18 AM
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Of Penguins and Kingpins: Uptown Pittsburgh

So, I guess I'm going to start photographing each and every neighborhood in Pittsburgh. This is the second neighborhood of this current series, no telling how long it will take to complete. I'll be spending just a few hours photographing these neighborhoods to try and capture their character. Maybe with this huge photo series I'll capture what it is to truly live in this city and encapsulate this endlessly fascinatingly flawed and inspiring city to its fullest extent.

Anyways, this is Pittsburgh's Uptown neighborhood, which is slowly gentrifying and is also home to the Pittsburgh Penguins. While photographing this hood it happened to be the first game of the Stanley Cup playoffs from yesteday, where the Penguins played their first game against the Nashville Predators and ultimately won. Most people in Pittsburgh don't know that this neighborhood is called Uptown, most consider it to be The Hill, which it never was, but nobody has heard of Uptown. Its technically a combination of the old neighborhoods of SoHo and Uptown. Fewer have ever even heard of SoHo.

The Uptown was first developed by James Tustin, an eccentric English émigré who built an estate in the area in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. His home featured an English taste in architecture and a fruit orchard, and was acknowledged at the time to have been "the most beautiful place in Pittsburgh," according to a 1915 article in the Pittsburgh Gazette–Times. Tustin named his estate "Soho" after his previous residence in Britain, and the name came to be generally applied to the neighborhood. A 1922 guidebook, A History of Pittsburgh and Environs, noted that the area's houses were "old and not attractive, and are largely populated by foreign mill workers and their families", and a 1977 guide remarked that it was once "a pleasant residential area for many wealthy Pittsburghers" but "as industry moved in, the wealthy moved out" The neighborhood was adversely affected by Pittsburgh's urban renewal campaign in the 1960s, and in the estimation of some, "has never been reassembled".

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 7.22.17 PM by photolitherland, on Flickr
The orange indicates neighborhoods I have now photographed for this ongoing series, which I just started a week ago. The Bluff is what I have photographed here, even though the Bluff is technically called Uptown.

Link of other neighborhood photo threads thus far for Pittsburgh.
Homewood

1960 Uptown Rennaissance Hill District by photolitherland, on Flickr
Uptown/the Bluff is at the bottom of this photo. The Penguins Stadium, which was torn down in 2011 or so was being built in this photo (1960), which completely flattened and destroyed the most historic neighborhood in the city, The Hill; and also largely destroyed Uptown because urban renewal was a thing.

Pgh1936 by photolitherland, on Flickr
Uptown is at the upper right of this photo that was taken before the destruction incurred by the Penguins Stadium.

AF5_4716 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4720 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4723 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4724 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4726 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4730 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4733 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4737 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4740 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4743 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4750 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4752 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4753 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4759 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4761 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4765 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4767 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4768 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4771 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4774 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4778 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4779 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4782 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4785 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4789 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4791 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4825 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4827 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4829 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4831 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4835 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4840 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4843 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4844 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4847 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4849 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4862 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4866 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4868 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4869 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4871 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4879 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4883 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4891 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4893 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4896 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4898 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4902 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4916 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4919 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4924 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4926 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4930 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4933 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4938 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4940 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4945 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4955 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4958 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4959 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4960 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4974 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4975 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4976 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4978 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4979 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4992 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4997 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_5003 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_5022 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_5032 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_5033 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_5034 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_5039 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_5042 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_5047 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_5051 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_5053 by photolitherland, on Flickr
Looking down upon the Southside from Uptown.

AF5_5055 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_5057 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_5061 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_5062 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_4805-2 by photolitherland, on Flickr

AF5_5063 by photolitherland, on Flickr
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Last edited by photoLith; May 31, 2017 at 1:35 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted May 31, 2017, 2:07 AM
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There are some attractive wimmin there.

Great shot, good idea for a project, too. But it'll probably take you years to finish it.
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  #3  
Old Posted May 31, 2017, 2:33 AM
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My main project is to finish my project on photographing all the significant and unique churches of Western PA, as I'm publishing a book on that. This is just a side project that won't make me any money and to kill time as I won't be able to travel much in the next couple of months.

And yes they are very very attractive wimmins.
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Old Posted May 31, 2017, 2:48 AM
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Awesome work man! Enjoyed scrolling through the thread. Pittsburgh is definitely a unique city. Congrats on the Penguins making it back to the Cup.
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Old Posted May 31, 2017, 3:16 PM
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This is certain to become my new favourite photo series. Pittsburgh is fascinating to me.

Thank you.
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Old Posted May 31, 2017, 4:58 PM
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As someone who loves urban grit - this thread is just outstanding!



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Old Posted May 31, 2017, 5:34 PM
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Great set, but I wish you took some more pictures of not just the blight, but the new construction. Flats on Fifth is in the background of one shots, but not front and center. Then there are the two new affordable housing buildings on Fifth, that godawful new condo building around the same area, streets like Mitenberger which are mostly not blighted, etc.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the blight is more interesting to photograph, but I think the overall picture selection makes the neighborhood look a bit rougher than it currently is to someone who isn't local to the area.
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Old Posted May 31, 2017, 5:58 PM
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^
Uptown is pretty gritty for the most part.
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Old Posted May 31, 2017, 6:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photoLith View Post
^
Uptown is pretty gritty for the most part.
Absolutely true. It's shockingly gritty considering it's the only neighborhood between Downtown and Oakland. That said, it's considerably less gritty than it was only five years ago, when aside from a couple artists the neighborhood was nothing but a blighted mixed-race ghetto once you got east of Duquense University and UMPC Mercy. Fifth Avenue Lofts opened in 2012, Flats on Fifth was finished in 2015. There's the two Action Housing projects which were finished last year, the ugly three-unit condo right on Fifth, and a upcoming 35-unit apartment building at the corner of Fifth and Pride. Not to mention the new mini-steam plant being built on Our Way soon, the planned expansion to UMPC Mercy, and further expansion from Duquense, the new coworking space StartUptown/Paramount Film Exchange, etc. It's still mostly a blighted ruin of parking lots and decrepit rowhouses, but that's not all it is any longer.

Last edited by eschaton; May 31, 2017 at 7:38 PM.
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Old Posted Jun 2, 2017, 2:07 AM
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Count me among those following this series.

I tried this with Winston-Salem, several years ago. I remember researching and photographing different neighborhoods, between 2003 and 2005. I think I photographed roughly 60% of the neighborhoods and only posted 40% of them. A different neighborhood each month. Grit and the city's homes from the mid-1700s through the late-1800s seemed to be the most interesting on the forum. At the time, I was learning about different architectural styles and studying the history of the city. I do remember the rough neighborhoods weren't as rough (at least during the day) as people would say and occasionally, seniors would stop me and talk for a long time, as I watched the sun move lower in the sky. They would often provide something worth adding to the thread, though. I loved doing this. I can remember people with older homes, built before 1850, would often see me and run outside to take things off the porch and prepare their home for whatever historic publication they thought was there to photograph their home. I can also remember going in search of remnants from lost buildings, as part of the series. Today, I can look back on this to see the changes.
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Old Posted Jun 2, 2017, 2:31 AM
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In the rougher hoods people are usually really nice after at first being suspicious and then you tell them what you're doing and they open up. In the country when I take photos I get chased down by redneck trucks or get yelled at or shot at. In the hood I've never had that happen no matter what city I've been in. Although I did see a guy get shot and die right across the street from me a couple of years ago in a ghetto hood in Pittsburgh and had to testify in court but at least they weren't aiming st me.

I've already photographed nearly all the neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, just never loads in each one enough to make a thread.
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Last edited by photoLith; Jun 2, 2017 at 2:45 AM.
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2017, 2:57 AM
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Nice pictures. The arena is in the neighborhood, correct? I would think a couple pictures of the main architectural element of the neighborhood would be shown. It seems to be one of the premier venues in the NHL.
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2017, 5:02 AM
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I only had my 70-200 on and the area is in the neighborhood and it's in the background of many of those photos is a rather boring white monstrosity on the outside. Looks like a generic convention center so the exterior is nothing to write home about.
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Old Posted Jun 4, 2017, 3:00 AM
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I love the idea of the neighborhood series. Even if it takes years, you're the one to do it justice. Who knows, you might make money from it yet. And DAMN, you covered a LOT of ground in a few hours.

Quote:
The Penguins Stadium, which was torn down in 2011 or so was being built in this photo (1960), which completely flattened and destroyed the most historic neighborhood in the city, The Hill; and also largely destroyed Uptown because urban renewal was a thing.
Well put.

I remember seeing that stupid 'last gas' sign every time I was heading downtown.

My wife (then-girlfriend) almost rented a place in Uptown once, without knowing the neighborhood. But the floor had holes in it and was sloping so severely we decided against it.
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Old Posted Jun 29, 2017, 2:14 AM
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I was with you until all that black and yellow appeared.

Despite that, loved this thread.
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Old Posted Jun 29, 2017, 4:18 AM
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I don't know why I didn't know Pittsburgh's had neighborhoods so worse for wear like this. Some of it looks Baltimore-levels of decay, though obviously over a much smaller area.
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Old Posted Jul 5, 2017, 8:04 PM
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This is fantastic.
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Old Posted Jul 7, 2017, 3:05 PM
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nice job...my life has taken me more and more towards appalachia and up the ohio valley lately, plan to explore cincinnati again this summer, hopefully i can make it all the way to PGH.
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Old Posted Jul 7, 2017, 7:26 PM
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Cool.
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Old Posted Jul 7, 2017, 9:14 PM
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my only complaint is that the great photos are too big to see all at once at my screen(s) resolutions.
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"think of the multitude of lies by which the people here in new spain were led into error. not for only four hundred years, not only for eight hundred years, it has been for much time in the past. alas my heart suffereth much…when I think upon how great is the hatred of the tzitzimitl (demon of the air) and of satan."
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