Could the Next Brooklyn Be Pittsburgh?

Ryan Lammie, an artist and founder of the artist collective Radiant Hall in Pittsburgh, which he calls one of the most supportive arts communities he's been a part of. Photo: Ben Filio

Ryan Lammie, an artist and founder of the artist collective Radiant Hall in Pittsburgh, which he calls one of the most supportive arts communities he’s been a part of. Photo: Ben Filio

When the borough you call home becomes known as one the most expensive places to live in America, it’s natural to look around for better alternatives. For a hot, Internet second, Buffalo—which recently made that list of cities that young college graduates are moving to—looked like a fine choice, so long as you enjoy brutal winters and more economic initiatives than jobs. But there is another metropolis the 25-34 cohort is gravitating toward that is considerably more buzzworthy, filled with James Beard Award-nominated chefs, tech startups, and the cool factor of a soon-to-open Ace Hotel. The city that holds all this promise? Pittsburgh. It claims more brainpower than Silicon Valley, based upon the number of its college-educated residents, and offers good jobs and a low cost of living for its young transplants. Think Portland, Oregon, except half the size, and with higher employment.

To find out how Pittsburgh stacks up as a second chapter for Brooklynites in search of greener pastures, I spoke to seven expats. If they all sound a little boosterish, it’s not a coincidence. Pittsburghers seem to have a hard time finding fault with their city, despite being landlocked and getting twice the amount of snow as New York City (on average). Nearly everyone I interviewed who has relocated there speaks about Steel City as if they were on the payroll of the city’s tourism board.

“For so many years, when you said Pittsburgh, the first image that popped in people’s heads was this gloomy, dreary, smog-filled city, and that’s not who we are anymore,” Alexis Tragos, 32, told me.

After working as the manager of patron services at the Whitney Museum for six years, the native Pittsburgher moved back there in 2011 with her husband, Bobby Stockard, 39, the ex-sous chef of Superfine in Dumbo. She is now working in external engagement and social responsibility at American Eagle Outfitters, which is based in the city. Stockard, meanwhile, has been cooking in the kitchens of some of Pittsburgh’s most popular restaurants, from Dinette to Legume, to currently a barbecue taqueria called Smoke, all while planning the launch of his own café and market.

“These restaurants are doing really amazing, creative, locally based work,” said Stockard. “It’s nice to be able to come to Pittsburgh and immerse myself in a community of cooks and chefs who care as much about food as the coastal chefs I’d known working in Brooklyn.”

Lowering their overhead has been another perk. “When we moved to Pittsburgh we got a row house that had three floors and a manicured backyard and a washer and dryer for $1200,” he said–six hundred less than he was paying for his one-bedroom in Vinegar Hill. The difference is a little more than what you’d expect given Pittsburgh’s cost of living index, which is just over half of Brooklyn’s–96.1 versus 169.3 (100 being the mean). When I asked two human resources professionals to weigh in on the reality of that figure, both concurred that the cost of living was more like 45% less than in New York, and that income calculators like Salary.com were pretty spot on in terms of predicting what you’d earn, and how far it would go. Tragos agreed. “The low cost of living here,” she said, “makes it feel like you’re taking home $10,000 to $20,000 more.”

Now they are rehabbing a three-bedroom, for which they paid—wait for it—$65,000, in a neighborhood called Troy Hill. It’s where they also plan to open up their cafe and market this fall, another venture that seems easier to pull off in Pittsburgh. Said Tragos, “While every city has its own bureaucratic red tape, in Pittsburgh I feel like you can actually get to know your building and health inspectors—because they’re just as committed to seeing the city flourish. Whereas in Brooklyn, you’d be just another ticket waiting to be served.”

The $65,000 Troy Hill three-bedroom home Alexis Tragos and Bobby Stockard are rehabbing. The photo, Tragos notes, "doesn't show the stained glass windows, pocket doors, leaded glass door and four fireplaces." Photo: Alexis Tragos

The $65,000 Troy Hill three-bedroom home Alexis Tragos and Bobby Stockard are rehabbing. The photo, Tragos notes, “doesn’t show the stained glass windows, pocket doors, leaded glass door and four fireplaces.” Photo: Alexis Tragos

If you are ready to pack your bags now, wait. The couple does have some gripes about their new hometown.

“Public transportation is horrendous,” said Stockard, referring to the public bus system that provides the majority of mass transit. Given that ridership levels have been down four of the past five years, it seems Pittsburghers agree, though help in the form of a $52 million transit center, and a bike share service, slated to arrive at the end of the month, is on the way.

“You have to leave a half hour early to get where you need to be, just to be sure…You may even walk,” he said, half kidding.

After living in the 24/7 bubble of New York, Pittsburgh’s early closing hours also took some getting used to. “Things just aren’t open late,” Tragos complained. If you’re used to eating out at 8pm, or picking up your clothes after work, you may need to leave earlier, because the dry cleaner might be closed by six, and restaurants generally stop serving food by 9pm on weeknights, though that is changing.

“You just adjust your schedule,” she said. In exchange they get to enjoy a lifestyle they couldn’t have otherwise afforded. “To be able to move back and buy a house and have the potential to start a business in a couple of months, those were things we couldn’t do in Brooklyn.”

Room to Grow

This sense of opportunity and ease seems to pervade every conversation about what is happening in Pittsburgh right now.

“I feel like Pittsburgh is Brooklyn 10 to 12 years ago,”  said Jeremy Waldrup, one of the few non-native Pittsburghers I spoke to. “There are still plenty of neighborhoods [where people can afford] to buy homes, to rent storefronts and really pursue their passions, and that’s something I think is increasingly harder to do in central Brooklyn.”

Waldrup and his wife were about to have their third kid, and had already begun searching for something larger than their Brooklyn Heights apartment when a headhunter called about a job in Pittsburgh. The city had never come up as an option before, but the more research he did, the more it intrigued him.

“Pittsburgh was formed with a similar hand as New York,” said Waldrup, who once worked under Mayor Bloomberg in the Department of Small Business Services and now heads the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. During the steel boom, which for a spell made Pittsburgh one of the wealthiest cities in the country, “Its buildings were built by many of the same people at the same time.”

Like New York, Pittsburgh is also surrounded by rivers and bridges, and has Brooklyn’s same, neighborhoody feel. In fact there are 90 neighborhoods total–more than Brooklyn–and a few are gentrifying at a fast clip. One writer in Ebony magazine lamented the changes, even as he admitted they had made his neighborhood of East Liberty, where the Ace Hotel is opening this summer, better. The Strip District is another up-and-comer, and the neighborhood almost universally compared to Williamsburg is Lawrenceville, for its association with artists and trendy restaurants, like Cure.

“There are folks who have lived in these neighborhoods for generations, so there’s an authenticity that’s similar to Brooklyn,” said Waldrup. But as a predominantly white city, it lacks the same kind of cultural richness. “I would have to say that I miss some of the vibrancy and energy that the diversity of the ethnic neighborhoods of New York City brings,” he said, echoing a complaint nearly everyone I spoke to expressed.

Waldrup and his wife now live in a neighborhood that sounds like a made-up idyll—Friendship—in a home he said he couldn’t afford if it were in Brooklyn, given its location and five-to-six bedroom size. When I asked how it was possible not to know how many bedrooms he had, he laughed. “We don’t use them all.”

Outings with the kids—something that requires a lot of stamina in Brooklyn—have become way easier, too.

“I remember going to my first Easter egg hunt in Brooklyn and there were 350 to 400 kids, and I was like, ‘Oh my god.’” Their first family-friendly event in Pittsburgh, by comparison, felt so empty, “We were like, ‘Are we here on the wrong day?’”

How does Pittsburgh stack up against Brooklyn? We crunched the numbers. Click above to see all the stats. Infographic: Be Better Studios

How does Pittsburgh stack up against Brooklyn? We crunched the numbers. Click above to see all the stats. Infographic: Be Better Studios

New Tech City

For someone in the business of helping cities grow and develop, Waldrup has arrived at the perfect moment in Pittsburgh, where the unemployment rate, 5.3%, is lower than the national average. All the steel magnates and manufacturers who used to power the city’s economy left a lot of family foundations in their wake, from the Heinz Endownment to R.K. Mellon; today the city claims one of the largest concentration of nonprofits in the country. Pittsburgh has also risen from the steel industry’s collapse through its huge growth in health care jobs, a thriving green economy, and a booming start-up scene, all largely fueled by the city’s greatest natural resource these days–the students coming out of the city’s universities like the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon.

“There is no shortage of talent from an engineering side,” said Ron Bianchini, a born and bred Brooklynite who used to live next to what is now Kings Plaza Mall. The Carnegie Mellon alum spent seven years at the school as a computer engineering professor before starting companies like his latest endeavor, Avere Systems, whose file storage systems are used by Hollywood filmmakers to render scenes in blockbusters like Gravity and Zero Dark Thirty.

Ron Bianchini, CEO of Avere Systems, one of the largest employers in Pittsburgh’s private-sector tech industry. Photo: Tom M. Johnson

Ron Bianchini, CEO of Avere Systems, one of the largest employers in Pittsburgh’s private-sector tech industry. Photo: Tom M. Johnson

One of the main complaints he heard from students in exit interviews was, “‘I’d like for there to be more opportunities to stay.’” Now there are fewer and fewer reasons to leave. Google, which opened a satellite office here in 2006, now employs roughly 350 “Googlers”–a demographic many credit with bringing about Pittsburgh’s second act. Apple and Intel also have small outposts here, alongside startups like Duolingo and Bianchini’s own company. “We want developers,” he says. “We want programmers, but because we’re a startup, we don’t have time to train them.” Hiring local graduates means that they can “come in and contribute to the company immediately.”

There are other jobs that are harder to fill here. Bobby Fry, co-owner of Bar Marco, one of four local restaurants named as a James Beard Award semifinalist this year, and one that recently made headlines when it decided to give its entire staff a salary and forgo tipping, has discovered a shortage of cooks.

“Literally the best chefs are reaching out to chefs in other cities,” he said, trying to lure them to Pittsburgh, which Bon Appetit calls the next big food town. He estimates that a line cook in New York, who may earn around $30,000 a year, could easily make $10,000 more in Pittsburgh because of the demand for restaurant experience in a booming food scene.

Matthew Ciccone, who runs a popular co-working spot called The Beauty Shoppe, and whose small development firm, Edile, is one of the developers behind the new Ace Hotel, can recall that just three to four years ago, “One new restaurant would open and it was a big thing. Now I can’t even keep track of them…What’s happening here is exceeding my expectations,” he said, using Alexis Tragos and Bobby Stockard’s new venture in Troy Hill as a prime example. “I would have never thought it would happen there.”

The fact that Ciccone knew about this upcoming Troy Hill market, which will be called Pear and the Pickle–a nod to the area’s former pear farms and Heinz’s former pickling plant–could be chalked up to the fact that he’s a developer in the business of being tuned into market shifts. But it’s just as likely a case of news traveling fast in a small town. With a population of 305,842—one-eighth the size of Brooklyn–Pittsburgh is equal to roughly five Park Slopes. The greater metro area does boast an additional 2.4 million, but when you compare that to the 20 million people in suburbs circling New York City, the fraction remains the same.

Adam Shuck, on a leafy set of city steps in Troy Hill. Photo: Matt Barron
Adam Shuck, on a leafy set of city steps in Troy Hill. Photo: Matt Barron

A Place to Create

Without all those people, though, there is more wild space to roam. Adam Shuck, 28, who together with his partner decamped from Bushwick to Pittsburgh in 2010 in search of more time and affordable space to pursue creative projects (like his newsletter, Eat That, Read This), doesn’t mind that there “may be a couple more cloudy days in the year,” or that winter can be “long and awful” (an apt description of our winters, too). What makes it all worthwhile are the summers in Pittsburgh, which he finds much more bearable than New York’s “deadening concrete heat.” The city’s hilly topography yields a lot more breezy vistas, valleys, and creek hollows that are all a short bike or car ride away. “It’s really easy, wherever you are, to immerse yourself in nature,” he said.

Not living in a sea of millions has other advantages.

“One of the best things about Pittsburgh is that everything’s extremely accessible,” said Ryan Lammie, a 26-year-old artist who has created a collective for local artists in Lawrenceville called Radiant Hall, which rents affordable, rent-stabilized studio space to members for roughly $250 a month, in a setting that encourages networking and holds regular group shows.

“You go to a few events, and people start to recognize you, and it’s fairly simple to create a place in the community for yourself.” Becoming familiar with the directors of the city’s major art institutions, the Warhol Museum and the Mattress Factory, for instance, is not as out of reach as it would be in Brooklyn.

Lammie grew up in a nearby suburb called Gibsonia and returned to Pittsburgh after getting his B.F.A. from Pratt, and completing an arts residency at Yale, so he has experienced the art world outside of Pittsburgh, and recognizes that an artist would need to market their work in other cities as well in order to thrive. Still, he says, “Pittsburgh is one of the most supportive arts communities I’ve been a part of. It’s a perfect home base for artists to settle in–a place where artists can try things out, experiment and improve their work.”

The tradeoff? “It’s very easy to burn a bridge,” cautions Lammie. “It’s a smaller town where things can spread pretty quickly, and you have to be careful that you’re always professional.”

Bobby Stockard and Alexis Tragos in their new hometown. Photo: Libby Hilf Photography

Bobby Stockard and Alexis Tragos in their new hometown. Photo: Libby Hilf Photography

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Size, it seems, is Pittsburgh’s double-edged sword. “We still need more humans,” said Matthew Ciccone. “There are not enough humans…The more people you have, the more vibrant a place can be.” He does sense things changing, though, noting that in the past, almost everyone he met who had recently arrived in Pittsburgh had actually grown up in the city or its suburbs, and had “boomeranged” back. Now he’s starting to meet more people who aren’t natives.

Bethany Tucke, a 37-year-old boomerang herself who recently moved back to Pittsburgh after a dozen years in New York, has noticed that the dating pool has grown thanks to local university grads staying in town after school, and the transplants that region’s “Eds, Meds and Tech” industries are attracting.

“I think the dating scene is picking up,” she said. “If you went to Tender–a popular cocktail bar–one night, “and threw a velcro ball around, you’d hit more people in couples or out on a date.”

And unlike the men in Brooklyn, said Tucke, “The guys in Pittsburgh are a bit more family-oriented, a bit more ready to meet somebody and not quite as into serial dating.” This is one person’s generalization, but the Pew Research Center did recently rank Pittsburgh one of the top 10 cities for women looking to marry an eligible (i.e., employed) bachelor. Though Tucke thinks the options for women start to dwindle outside of the early 20s-30s sweet spot.

“Most people my age either stayed in Pittsburgh after school and are celebrating their 15-year anniversaries or have moved back after coupling up, ready to settle down to start or grow their families,” she said.

Adam Shuck, the Bushwick transplant, senses that the queer community is growing too, thanks to the new transplants, though he still sees many of the same faces at popular parties like Honcho or Hot Mass. And while he arrived in Pittsburgh already coupled up, he said, “I hear frustrations from single gay friends about the dating scene, but it doesn’t strike me as particular to Pittsburgh. Yes, it’s smaller but it doesn’t seem any different than the dating foibles I experienced in Brooklyn.”

Unless, of course, a relationship sours. Alicia Kachmar, who used to live in Brooklyn (and write for Brooklyn Based), moved back to her hometown between 2010 and 2014, and experienced what was life was like in a small city, post-break up. “If you have a boyfriend that you break up with,” she said, it’s hard to hide from him because “there’s only like three bars that your circle of friends go to… You will run into people almost every day that you know.”

This is a high point of the city as well, she said, especially during the summer, when food fairs like the Pierogi festival and the Three Rivers Arts Festival are held. The latter, coming up this June, takes place over 10 days and features acts like Neko Case, Jenny Lewis, The Felice Brothers and Milo Greene–all for free. That’s a pretty good lineup, at a very good price. As long as you’re OK with bumping into someone.

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117 Comment

  • is everyone in Pittsburgh white and heterosexual? just curious.

  • Correction: Pittsburgh is not “half the size” of Portland. In fact, it is significantly larger. Pittsburgh’s number is misleading because the footprint of the city limits is very small and only included about 350,000 residents. In fact, the Pittsburgh metro area is home to roughly 2.5 million.

    Otherwise, this article is spot on and as someone who’s lived all over the country I can tell you that Pittsburgh is, indeed, blowing up! Check it out!

    • Hi Scott–Thanks! But for the purposes of the piece, I’m just comparing city limits. Portland also has 2.3 million in its metro area, but 609K in the city itself.

      • Great article. Not sure if you were aware of this little fact:

        The architect of the Brooklyn Bridge was John A. Roebling. Roebling also built Pittsburgh’s unique Smithfield Street bridge 40 years earlier than the Brooklyn Bridge. A test run, if you will.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_A._Roebling

      • To be fair, I think Scott’s point is well made that it’s a misleading way to compare the two cities based solely on Pittsburgh’s historic (read: never expanded) city limits. And it’s relevant and helpful to readers to understand this because Pittsburgh has really cool neighborhoods that actually fall outside of that (in this context, meaningless) political boundary, and the attributes of which contribute to the points made in the article (see Millvale, Braddock, Homestead, Aspinwall, et al.). Comparing the metropolitan areas is more accurate, and by that standard, Pittsburgh and Portland are almost identically sized, as you’ve pointed out.

        Thoroughly enjoyed the article; interesting comparison. And yes, sadly, public transportation in Pittsburgh is horrendous.

      • That makes sense and that said the city of Portland is 145 Sq miles vs. city of Pittsburgh’s 58 Sq miles. If Pittsburgh could annex all of Allegheny county it would be the 8th largest city in America.

      • You can’t look at just the central city’s population. You have to incl. the suburbs. The central city and suburbs have a symbiotic relationship today; one cannot do w/o the other.

  • Look, here’s the thing:

    Pittsburgh doesn’t want to be the “next ‘Brooklyn.” It doesn’t want to be any part of New York, Seattle, or Los Angeles, and it sure as hell doesn’t want to be Portland.

    If you would like to live in a quirky, charming place with a lot of old-school sensibilities and new visions, please, hop on board. If you want to move somewhere and try to transform it into something else, you’re going to have a fight on your hands.

    We are who we are, and we’re wonderful. If you’d like to be a part of that, we can’t wait to meet you. If this is a “I love you, you’re perfect, now change” scenario…stay where you are.

    • Very true, Bunny. Don’t wanna see my hometown change with people just looking for cheap rent and a “scene.” It’s great as it is! Also, Pittsburghers are the kindest, most genuine people.

    • Thank you, Bunny, for saying what I was going to say.

      Pittsburgh is a place where you get bought drinks the second time you go into a bar, where people respect the parking space chair marking the space you shoveled out, where pretentious people are called what they are – jagoffs.

      Most people like those in the story create very derivative food services and art, but bring the Brooklyn money in to make it unaffordable for everyone else and destroy the quirkiness they claim to covet.

    • Well said Bunny!

  • As a single 40-something hetero male that left Pittsburgh a few years ago to start living (literally and figuratively) in Brooklyn, I won’t disagree with anything in this article. Pittsburgh is an ideal place to settle down (in all senses of the term) and raise a family. But if you want to feel like life isn’t passing you by, I think Brooklyn will hold that edge for decades to come.

  • What a love letter to my city! Brooklyn is nice too. I’ve lived there.

    Yinz are welcome anytime. Youse would have to start sayin’ Yinz.

  • Pittsburgh sucks. don’t move here. I just did from Asheville, NC. it sucks too. don’t move there either… /your research

    • Sounds like you need to immerse yourself into the culture, make some friends, and find your fit. There’s something in Pittsburgh for everyone. Let me know some of your hobbies and I’ll help ya out!!

    • Indrid….Pittsburgh is fantastic…. this article is spot on… the only downfall is public transportation…. sounds like you are just miserable anywhere.

  • I moved to Pittsburgh from San Francisco because I was priced out of the Bay Area housing market. I’m a 50 something native San Franciscan who lived my entire life in the Bay Area prior to my move to Pittsburgh in late 2012. I chose Pittsburgh because it had wonderful old houses that cost at least 75% less than I’d pay for a similar one in SF. Pittsburgh’s hills and three rivers reminded me of home. SF was a much more blue collar city when I was growing up and Pittsburgh was once the quintessential blue collar town. There’s a vibrant arts community in Pittsburgh and I had been very active in the arts in the Bay Area. I do miss the Bay Area and I’m sad and angry that it has become unaffordable for all but the wealthiest people. But I have no regrets about my choice to live in Pittsburgh. I have a good life here. The only thing that would make it better is California liquor laws and Bay Area summer weather. Oh, and having all my Bay Area friends and family move here too.

  • Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh. These asinine articles come out every few months or so. It’s been called the next Portland, the next Brooklyn, probably the next Philly (shudder). Just let it be what it is. Affluent white people always need to take ownership over places the they move to, places that make them feel like “pioneers” and then they write articles like this where they act like they discovered something precious and new when other people have been living here forever. I grew up on Mexican War Streets (a neighborhood in Pittsburgh with a name that may also sound “made up”) and lived in Brooklyn and now live in LA. Pittsburgh is only like Pittsburgh. Or as Jack Gilbert, one of the best poets from Pittsburgh wrote:

    “The village is not better than Pittsburgh.
    Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh.”

    • Couldn’t of said it better myself–coming from someone who currently lives in the Mexican War Streets

    • Minor correction: NEW YORKERS always need to take ownership over places they move to … etc. As someone who lived in NYC for years, I never tired of the moniker “cute” or “interesting” being applied to any place not NY, London, Paris, etc. The irony, of course, was that it was usually applied by “Native New Yorkers” (i.e., those who were most likely to have hailed from Wisconsin, Michigan, et. al.)

  • Hey, no one asked me. Ft. Greene (NOT DUMBO) born, Bushwick (NOT E. Williamsburg) raised. Been in Pgh since 2004 for med school, married and started my family here. Actually met a few Brooklyn natives, including Puerto Ricans like myself, who have made this home. The “Brooklynites” interviewed in this article are among the transplants who made it not feasible to go back. If the intent here is to do what was done there, no thanks. Already starting to see the resultant gentrification and displacement. You took Brooklyn, keep it.

  • ” “I would have to say that I miss some of the vibrancy and energy that the diversity of the ethnic neighborhoods of New York City brings,” he said, echoing a complaint nearly everyone I spoke to expressed.”
    Then he’s not looking. The city is a hodge podge descendents of the multiple ethnicities to come here to work in the steel mills and coal mines. Just wait for summer and the festivals. Slovak, German, Italian, Hungarian, Irish, Polish. Many who can also name their ancestor who came in the 1700’s and 1800’s to settle this area. And many of those named came in servitude, and worked their way up. These are proud people. Polish Hill didn’t get it’s name from being bright and shiny. Look around. It’s a very diverse city. A city of people rich in heritage, faith, values and proud of all.

    • Yes…and insanely white. When you visit other cities, you understand what diversity truly is. Your view is SO truly Pittsburgh and the reason that so many of us that moved there for work eventually leave. I want my kids to understand the world they are going to go live in….not the world of yesteryear where everyone was white and African Americans were discriminated against and segregated.

      • What exactly do you feel your children are missing being around descendants of European whites who worked hard to build this country into the greatest in the world? Pittsburgh is full of generations of coal miners, steel workers and servants of the public and none of them ever owned a slave in their entire family history. We are glad you left Pittsburgh, John. Don’t come back.

        • They just benefited immensely from slavery.

          • Bill, the immigrants who built Pittsburgh generally came here after the end of slavery. As such they didn’t benefit from it in any sort of direct way. No more and no less than everyone else who immigrated to the US after 1865.

            As an aside, there is a vibrant Indian community here (from all areas of India). There is also a growing Bhutan community and we have a few hundred Somali Bantus living here as well. Are we as diverse as, say, Brooklyn? No. Not at all. But if you look for it you will find it.

      • Yes, and no. First, a group of people who are all “white” can still have ethnic diversity. I remember going to the Pittsburgh Folk Festival decades ago, and you’d see people maintaining the traditions of their home countries like Ukraine, Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Germany, and others.

        And while Hispanics are still pretty rare here, there is a significant African American population, relatively large Russian and Jewish communities, and significant and growing Indian, Chinese and even Japanese communities, partly due to the number of good universities in Pittsburgh.

        And because it is so affordable, Pittsburgh is relatively economically diverse.

        • very true . You have to learn your pirogues too, Since each culture makes them differently but calls them by the same name.

      • Completely on point. I lived in Pittsburgh for the first 30 years of my life, and I loved every minute of it. But diverse we are not. I don’t think it’s Pittsburgh’s “fault”. It just isn’t there.

  • This article is a hoot! More brain power than Silicon Valley? The San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area has a population of 8,000,000 people, almost 4X that of Pittsburgh. Even if it had half the college graduates as Pgh, it would have the same amount of brain power! In point of fact, 29.4% of people in Pgh have a bachelor’s or higher, while San Jose-Sunnyvale has 45.1% and San Francisco-Oakland has 43%.

    350 Google employees, out of a total of 46,000? That’s not even 1% of the entire Google workforce!

    • I really don’t think Pittsburgh claims it has more brainpower than others. Those were the words of the author. Please refer to her source, Forbes, which used a formula that included, as its greatest factor, growth in educated people. Pittsburgh ranked second in the country, behind Boston, primarily because of growth. The SF area “brainpower claim” may be justified, but its growth is nearly flat.

      More important than quoting statistics is understanding them. Pittsburgh’s percentage of college grads is lower mainly because of its demographics. Historically, this was a blue collar town. Those who weren’t forced to move out of town when the steel industry imploded, were retired. The 29.4% statistic is skewed because it includes all persons over age 25 years. Our parents and grandparents didn’t need a college education to live comfortably in Pittsburgh. If one looks at the 25-34 yo range, Pittsburgh jumps to the imperial top ten with the SF region. Presently, our blessed elder community is dropping, so the overall stat is changing quickly.

      I’d rather be in a city of growth with a fair cost-of-living, although we could use more sunny days. At least southwestern PA won’t ever exhaust its water supply.

  • That’s odd because I remember in the 80s, Pittsburgh had the 3rd largest homosexual community, after SF and NYC.
    And its def not all white. Due to the high tech engineering schools at Pitt and CMU, its had large Asian communities forever. And one of the very first traditional Hindu Temples built in the United States is in The Burgh.

  • Welcome to my beloved hometown! Traveled the world but live here. Still have friends from early childhood and new ones from SF, TX, IA and more! Everyone of them is thrilled to be here. They have put down roots, become active forces in the community and found that we are genuine neighbors. Need help getting somewhere, if we have the time, we will take you there.
    A couple of caveats…we give directions by landmarks and left and right. There are no straight lines in the city, it’s just too old. We have our own language and while people make fun of it don’t make fun of it to our faces. N’at, dawntahn, jynt iggle, stillers and more are all part of language. But we have great food, great sports and even though winter isn’t our favorite either, Spring, Summer and Fall are spectacular.

  • The only people who would move to Pittsburgh thinking that it’s some sort of low-cost paradise are fools. You get two choices in Pittsburgh: expensive or dumpy. The low cost houses are usually built in the 1920’s and need years worth of work and thousands in repair. Not to mention salaries are less than half of what you’ll make in NY or the Bay Area.

    It’s just like the rest of the US: you get what you pay for. If you want real low cost living that doesn’t come with a laundry list of asterisks move to Omaha or Des Moines.

    • I tell people that if you double the price of my house and add a zero, you’ll get what a similar house would cost in San Francisco. My house in Pittsburgh is 115 years old. It has gorgeous period details including original stained glass windows, woodwork, hardwood floors, tile, fireplaces, etc. It’s in a good neighborhood with good schools. It was in decent shape when I bought it. The previous owner had updated the electrical and installed dual pane windows. I remodeled the kitchen and added a second floor laundry room. I paid well under $200k for it. I feel I got a lot of bang for my buck. I would have had to win the lottery or marry money to afford a similar home in the Bay Area.

  • And at what price was all of this paid for? Look at the city’s history from the late 40s to present and see who lost the most for this current “gain”.
    Then enjoy your visit.

  • I live in Brooklyn and grew up in Pittsburgh for 23 years- This article really misses everything about Pittsburgh that people should know before moving plus the real pros and cons, not just because it’s.. ‘cheap.’ This article missed the mark for sure.

  • Great article. Often times, I refer to Pittsburgh as “my city.” It is indeed an idyllic place to raise a family. In particular, I love its vibrancy and yes, it’s ethnicity. There is certainly no shortage of European culture, the bedrock of southeastern PA. However, it’s not a destination for everyone. On a recent visit, I couldn’t help but notice that the Mexican War District appears to have fallen victim to economic setbacks; otherwise, most neighborhoods seem to be thriving.

  • To be fair troy hill is a pretty sketchy place, and to even get there you have to dodge countless potholes that would wreck your car. That’s why it’s so cheap.

    If you go up towards Wexford, land becomes more expensive due to the good school districts and the easily accessible north park.

  • What a disappointment that the perspective of a person of color was excluded. It’s not hard to find a person of color living in Pittsburgh who once lived in Brooklyn. Ask Ryan Lammie if he knows artist Alisha Wormsley,
    or interview Kristen de Paor, Director of Development at Pitt’s School of Public Health. Or, perhaps, for recommendations, you could’ve reached out to native Pittsburghers who currently reside in NYC like MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ winner Kyle Abraham. There are tons of us – both in Pittsburgh and in Brooklyn. WE EXIST!

    Here’s an article featuring African Americans who moved to Pittsburgh from various cities. We love the city, too, but many of our perspectives differs from those featured in the Brooklyn Based article.

    http://www.pittsburghquarterly.com/index.php/Regional-Indicators/african-americans-in-pittsburgh-the-newcomer-experience.html

  • Alexis!!! Good luck with your new house and venture.

    I am a 57-yr-old Pgh native who just moved back after living in Connecticut for 22-years. Hubby (a Rye, NY native) looked all over the country for a city to land as semi-retired empty-nesters. We looked at Brooklyn, New Haven CT, Portland, New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston, Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh (specifically Squirrel Hill) won because we could get exactly the house we want in our budget, walk to everything for daily life, take buses, or drive 10 minutes to everything else.

    There is so much to do we don’t have to spend a single evening at home if we don’t want. We love the art world here (that’s how we met Alexis… she worked at The Mattress Factory), the restaurants, theater, lectures, music, entrepreneur networking functions, parks, festivals, professional sports, rivers, and on and on.

    I loved Pittsburgh when I left 22 years ago. It is even better now.

  • Love the article. Come to Bellevue — on the northwest city limits of the city of Pittsburgh. We are retro, quirky and a little bit kitschy. Our circa – 1900’s slogan is Live-Worship-Shop — clearly a sound mantra for one’s life!!! We are more racially and ethnically diverse than many Pittsburgh neighborhoods and already have a mom and pop retail district that would welcome an infusion of new blood and ideas. We are currently undiscovered by the newbies flocking to the Burgh. Houses are huge in this walkable neighborhood and average around $100K or you can buy a 4 unit pre-war apartment building for under $200K and have your renters pay your mortgage. We have lots of those less-than-great bus routes that to go into the metro area — or you can easily bike to it. We’re currently more renters than owner-occupied. We love both groups but would love more people to put down permanent roots in our community. We want to grow — but without losing the authentic charm that make us US. Like another comment said — we don’t want to be someone else. We just want to evolve to be who we are meant to be. Join us to make that happen.

    • I love Bellevue!

    • With no offense meant, I used to live in Bellevue and also surrounding communities of Avalon, Emsworth, West View, growing up, as a renter, and a homeowner. It has gone way downhill IMO over the last 20-30 yrs. it may be a good place to live and party if you are under 30, but I would not raise a family there or move there if it wasn’t me. The area is dying IMO. It is more diverse if you count the criminal element that have moved on in. It’s a good place to get started as a single person with transportation (as there is no night life unless you go to the same crappy dive bars) as Bellevue is a dry town. It’s a dying town. So you will probably want to drive to the strip or south side, or at least the North Hills, which is true North.

      Speaking of which(North), I would look for a house here that’s affordable from $90k – $400k. 400k getting you a new house McMansion style. Look right out of the city wih a short comute time within the townships of Ross, McCandles, Shaler, Pine, Wexford, Hampton, Richland, etc. Especially if you are moving here with a family. – I.e. School age children.

      If you’re looking for true “city limits” then do your research, as there are decent and up-and-coming areas and areas that you don’t want to live in. Pittsburgh is a nice city, as I lived here all my life. It is cold in the winter. Winters are long, suck, and are sometimes brutal. You get a few “good months” here – June, July, August, September. Sometimes October.

      As someone else said, did I mention it was cold? We are looking to move to south Florida within the next five – ten years and we are “relatively young” in our eyes (forties).

  • Fascinating article. As someone that has done two tours of duty in Pittsburgh (as a single 20 something and then again as a married father of two), this article misses a few key points for me.

    The weather simply sucks. Cloudy and grey. Though the early spring is nice.
    The people are very nice. A true Pittsburgher will go out of their way to help you.
    The people are incredibly close minded and provincial, especially in the suburbs.
    If you have kids….sports is valued much more than education…even in the so called “high performing” school districts. When we left my straight A kids were fully 2 years behind in math, science was a disaster, and pretty much a year behind in everything else. Two years and a lot of work t catch them up.
    Did I mention the weather sucks?
    As a single person, I was able to find my group and have a nice life. Then I moved to a large east coast city and my social life was so much more diverse and fun. In Pittsburgh you run into the same people at everything.
    The whole population thing is a typical Pittsburgher’s reaction. Pittsburgh’s population in the city is half of what it was a generation ago.
    The city is NOT diverse at all and does not embrace diversity. Very, very white. And the suburbs are worse.
    Public transportation sucks. And don’t even think of trying to find a taxi!
    The cultural amenities are really great and they are easy to take advantage of.
    The suburbs are dreadful. Subdivisions and strip malls. Mt. Lebanon tries to make itself out to be this great town where everyone shops downtown. Reality: Uptown Mt. Lebanon is not a place for errands; all of your errands will be done at strip malls. Oh…and the schools are mediocre at best. (Compare them to east coast suburban districts and you’ll get the picture.)
    Oh yeah, and the weather sucks.

  • SORRY but Pittsburgh is all full. We recommend you try elsewhere but feel free to visit.

  • If you didn’t grow up or go to college in the ‘burgh, yinz won’t won’t “get it”. There’s diversity and culture here but no snootiness. People are friendly and don’t care if you think you’re spectacular. If you think “you’re all that”, stay in Brooklyn. Pleez.

  • Great article. Just a correction, tho. Pittsburgh has 2.4 million residents, whereas Portland has 2.3 million. So we’re not “half the size”; the 2 MSAs are comparable in size. But otherwise, good job!

  • I’m surprised with the comment made about little ethnicity! Pittsburgh was “built” by immigrants. Perhaps some of the transplants are not aware of that the Steel Valley, Southside, Troy Hill, Lawrence illegal and Bloomfield were all ethnic neighborhoods. My grandparents came from Slovakia, and my husband’s came from Italy. I can tell you which part of each of those areas mentioned above were which nationality. Braddock, in the Steel Valley, had every nationality concevable lined up along the main drag. Every nationality had its own Church. So I am quite surprised by that comment. Those transplants need to do more neighborhood exploration.

  • Please stay way. I beg you.

  • This article explains it all:

    Lawrenceville secedes from City of Pittsburgh to form First Hipster Republic

    http://www.breakingburgh.com/?p=47

  • This article is ridiculous. Stay in Brooklyn. Pittsburgh built a lot of cities throughout the steel boom.. The city is just fine without your influence, I promise.

  • I’m a Pgh native… my friend in Philadelphia calls us the “urban rednecks” and I’m not really insulted by this…

  • Great place if weather doesn’t matter, second grayest place in the USA. Ugly winters, rainy springs and hot and humid summers

  • Pittsburgh is a great small city. I’ve lived here for 35+ years, and think it is probably better than ever.

    First, there’s lots to do — really more now than ever before. And that’s partly due to young people like Bobby and Alexis coming from out of town and setting up shop here. The food scene is incomparably better than it was even 10 years ago: it used to be mostly mediocre Italian restaurants, a few inexpensive Middle Eastern places, and a couple of barely OK Chinese restaurants. Now, there are more good restaurants opening up than I can keep track of, and there are even better food trucks now than restaurants 10 year ago.

    The tech scene is also much improved. It’s much easier to do a startup here now, and companies like Google, NetApp, Westinghouse and IBM provide significant alternative employment options along with a decent talent pool. The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon also are significant contributors here.

    Pittsburgh is vastly more affordable than any part of NYC, and there is no traffic that even remotely compares with NYC or LI traffic.

    And last, but not least, Pittsburgh is probably the most friendly and least pretentious place I’ve ever spent significant time in. Of course, those other places are New York, Boston and Sunnyvale, so that’s not quite the high bar you might think it is :-) Still, this town’s pretty great.

  • Diversity in Pittsburgh is like the baby you gave up for adoption in high school

    NO ONE wants to talk about it.

    This place is cool if you’re older and white… and want nothing but people who look like you around you. Knowing the TRUE kind of diversity in Brooklyn, the good ol’ Steel City will neverrrr make the cut.

    It’s a “salt-and-pepper” city, with a huge gap between the two shakers. Pittsburgh was just ranked the second-worst city in the nation for African Americans economically. Other racial disparities are painfully obvious.
    ( http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2015/01/15/the-cities-where-african-americans-are-doing-the-best-economically/2/ )
    ( http://www.pittnews.com/news/article_e66dcd5c-9ba5-11e4-8a8b-ab80fbbe5179.html ).
    Blacks are confined to the Hill District, Homewood, and the North Side. If you watch the local news, those are the areas made to be the worst places on earth. That’s really about it as far as diversity.. The far eastern population seems to stick to Oakland: they’re either at CMU or UMPC for medical treatment. Either way, it’s temporary. Oh, Squirrel Hill is home to the Jewish.

    The fact that it’s whiter than most cities isn’t my issue; You can’t necessarily help where people end up. It’s the strange Yinzer justification that’s the turn-off. If you talk to a Lifer in regards to Diversity, they’ll give you the “50 Shades of White” response: they’ll list a bunch of western European countries whose original immigrants died GENERATIONS ago. Those who remain adapted to the local culture so much that there’s nothing unique about them besides their last name. It’s not like you walk the streets and hear Polish or Italian, Portuguese, Greek or any other language- everyone speaks Pittsburghese.

    • That last part about hearing no other languages in Pittsburgh is untrue. I have heard and seen Nepali, Vietnamese, French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and probably several languages of India being spoken on the street, on buses, in restaurants, in universities and in nightclubs.

  • Sounds great. You might also try Beacon, NY. It is much closer and has an amazing mix of artists!

  • To whom is the “we” referring? Is it a collective “we” or only the “we” who displaced many of the Brooklynites who have held it down for decades in the absence of much? Since housing is so affordable, maybe the displaced should replace the “we.”

  • Here’s a reason to come!

    Pittsburgh Set To Be First City Run By Google

    http://www.breakingburgh.com/?p=366

  • If you come here I hope you like fireworks cause the Yinzer LOVES fireworks . We have fireworks for everything and anything. It seems like at least 100 days out of the year . On holidays every little town, village and bough has a fireworks display and since there are about 400 little neighborhoods in the metro area you get a lot of fireworks. Also the Holiday Season goes on forever ( at least in my neighborhood) with 2 Christmases the traditional and the Orthodox are both observed .

  • Statiscally speaking Pittsburgh is the whitest metro of its size in America. I literally heard this over the weekend. Frankly, I find Pittsburgh’s old white male domination to be mind blowing and very 1950’s. The sad part about it is that now that young white males (their sons, I think) are taking on leadership roles, Pittsburgh is hip and cool. I moved here from NYC, and it seems that because I am white, everyone assumes I’m racist. I have never been in a city so RACIST and segregated. I thought the new mayor was going to be a different kind of change agent, but I am disappointed that he seems to be a talking head too. By the way, I moved from NYC, I’m not looking for Pittsburgh to become NYC. Heck yeah, I’ll borrow a few things, like public transportation and diversity, but I love that it’s not jam packed,

  • Also cmon over because the hill District is ripe for gentrification!

  • Well, let’s also look at some not-so-convenient truths about the ‘Bugh:
    -a so-called non-profit dominant healthcare provider (UPMC) that holds patients hostage, denying them access to healthcare facilities and doctors that were built by taxpayer dollars and charity.
    -the biggest “non-profit” employer in the City (UPMC) that denies its workers the right to legally organize, while paying its executives multi-million dollar salaries.
    -a school system that is struggling, because “nonprofits” like UPMC do not pay taxes, while using city services, and then closing their doors to city residents. But the UPMC execs who live in the city have no worries. They send their kids to exclusive private schools with $30K/year tuition. or they live outside of the city in the suburbs.
    -a tale of two cities where neighborhoods like Braddock, Hazelwood and Homewood are racked by poverty. And our non-profit public charity UPMC helps out such struggling communities by closing hospitals in them because they weren’t making a buck.
    -a city with one of the highest income inequality when it comes to African-Americans.
    Yes. I am proud of my City especially its biggest non-profit employer UPMC.

    • And yet UPMC prominently features black Pittsburghers in its advertisements – they cover all the demographic bases: a charismatic church preacher, an elderly lady who plays the piano, and even the president of the local NAACP chapter…all jump on board to shill for the extremely profitable nonprofit medical empire (reminds me a bit of how Tavis Smiley takes money from WalMart). I’m sure they had to disable comments in this video
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92k9VKYFxVk because there’d be too many people noting the mental disconnect between Connie Parker and the way UPMC treats its black employees.

  • Pittsburgh is the antithesis of Brooklyn – a borough I was proud to call home for 10 years. I consider ‘boomeranging’ back to Pittsburgh after 13 years in NYC to be one of the biggest mistakes in my life. Whatever people say to the press about how ‘unique’ & ‘quirky’ this town is, what they won’t admit to are: the dearth of good jobs with creative companies that pay a decent wage; the fact that seemingly everyone over 25 is married (usually with a kid or three) and will never be willing to hang out with a single person; the public transportation ‘system’ is abhorrent; the weather sucks (at least 70% of the days here are cloudy); and if you are one of the ‘cool’ people who is a cheerleader for Pittsburgh, you are likely making crap money working insane hours at an arts institution that could not give two shits about your dedication (I’ve been there, done that). If you want a ho-hum existence that includes a handful of decent bars & restaurants – and little truly great art, plus no potential for friendships (unless you have children), move here. If a great job, artistic and culinary stimulation, and half-decent weather are on your agenda, steer the f*** clear of Pittsburgh. I wish I had.

  • not sure where you’re getting info but Pittsburgh has had WAY less snow than NYC in the past several years!

  • Really interesting post! I learned so much for these two places.. Thanks for sharing!

  • No.

    Pittsburgh? Nothing to see here. Move along.

  • Gotta tell ya. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh my entire life. The mantra used to be “get an education, move out.” Also had no idea what to do on weeknights or when to go to the handful of restaurants. Now, there’s something, usually more than a handful of events, to do in the region every night and I’ve never seen such restaurant growth. It will never equal the level of activity of NYC and, yes, the public transportation here sucks, but, it’s amazing the recognition Pittsburgh is getting. Proud to be from here.

  • Born and raised in this area so happy to see the resurrection….have feeling in my stomach saying take me back….45th st and Butler was a favorite place when I was growing up…the Pgh. Boys club was a life saver for many boys in the area…sure helped me…thanks for all the memories….
    John

  • Having lived most of my life about an hour outside of Pittsburgh, I’ve never understood the allure about the city at all. Especially in recent years. That city is a complete and utter dump. There is garbage everywhere, and there are so many trashy, grating people that going there is almost unbearable. The roads are awful, much of the outlying areas are run-down and poorly maintained to the point where it’s such an eyesore it almost hurts to look at it. Stupidity, in the form of binge drinking and driving, fighting, and doing drugs, is culturally celebrated in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has one of the worst heroin and prescription painkiller epidemics in the country. It is simply now “no big deal” in Pittsburgh to crush and snort OxyContin pills as part of a fun night out.

    Most Pittsburghers worship professional sports, especially the Steelers, to the point of psychotic fanaticism. People have committed suicide over postseason Steelers losses. The food in Pittsburgh sucks and so does the service. Pittsburgh really has very little to offer anyone with an IQ above 90 or so. The few attractions and neighborhoods of the city that are worthwhile to visit get old quickly, and are overshadowed by the fact that you have to sit for hours in traffic and deal with literally hundreds of idiots to get to them. Pittsburghers have no class, taste or pride in their surroundings (since they litter constantly), and are PROUD of their ignorance. “It’s a Burgh thing, n’nat” is what you’ll hear. Whatever.

    Pittsburgh is an insignificant, small former steel city in Appalachia that’s received a lot of positive press in recent years, primarily due to the national economic downturn and the city’s perceived “affordability”. It’s a real shame seeing so many young people from other places being duped into coming to Pittsburgh only to leave disgusted a couple of years later. Pittsburgh will never be gentrified. It will never live up to the hype. It is a dump, primarily because of the collective stupidity of the locals who run the city. Don’t be fooled. Look elsewhere. Unless you’ve got a vaccine for borderline retardation, don’t bother moving to Pittsburgh with the intent on making it better. Unless you’re offering cheap Steelers merchandise, heroin stamp bags, or bad beer to the moronic majority that inhabit that God awful city, they’re not gonna be interested.

    • Jay, I am kind of getting the feeling that you don’t like cities in general. Do you think Pittsburgh is the lone city with these things you mentioned? Absolutely not. I’m sure you can find more than a few junkies in Brooklyn and fanatic sports fans all over the country. As a cultural geographer for the gov’t, I have been given the pleasure of studying urban areas for a large portion of my college career, as well as for my job. I have studied Pittsburgh extensively and I can say that the renaissance that Pgh is going through right now is definitely legitimate. The place is not dirty, an eyesore, or any other thing that you mentioned. The only real eyesore I can really think of is the abandoned neighborhoods in Detroit and Cleveland, and even Cle is razing those places for more green space. There is no “celebrated binge drinking and fighting” in the city, as well as there is no more of a heroin problem as in any other city; see Vancouver. The food is delicious, ethnic, and politely served, just like many other places. Do you not like traffic? Go to D.C. or Boston during rush hour. See how long that takes you, especially the day before thanksgiving. I doubt you even know what attractions are even there either, considering your distance away, and obvious distaste for the place. There are educated people everywhere, and Pgh definitely has their fair share. The best part of all of this is that Pgh is not trying to be better than anyone. The city is not trying to be the next this or the next that. All of what is written about the place is that it is very unassuming of its growing status as the next big thing and it has certainly earned it. It will continue to gentrify, as more and more neighborhoods are rebounding.

      What you are Jay is simply a hater who does not live anywhere near Pgh. You are a troll who does not see any value in what the place was, is now, and what it will become. I’m not quite sure where you are from, but if you do not like the region, go somewhere else. As for the rest of the folks reading this reply, definitely give Pgh a try, have a good time there, and experience the place. I advise you to make no comparisons to Brooklyn, or any other place. I travel extensively, and keeping an open mind to every place you visit will make your experience exceptional. I have relocated to Pittsburgh after stints in D.C. Atlanta and Jacksonville. If you happen to be considering Pittsburgh as a place to live, you will not be disappointed. I am able to afford my traveling because of the exceptional value the place offers, as well as have everything that I need for a very enjoyable home life. I can go on for a long time with this, about what you can expect, and what it is really like if any of you would like to know more. I hope you find a place you love Jay, because with your negativity, I think you could make Mr. Rogers frown.

  • Who cares where you snotty college people go. Pittsburgh sucks anyways. Racist, police state that has nothing to do but offer expensive restaurants and low wages and no publlc bathrooms. Be warned

  • If you open the article with-
    “Nearly everyone I interviewed who has relocated there speaks about Steel City as if they were on the payroll of the city’s tourism board.” and then proceed to interview someone who relocated but is also the head of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, then yes… they actually are on the payroll to say nice things about Pittsburgh.
    Pittsburgh is a great city, there is no reason to rely on paid cheerleaders to spread the word.

    Pittsburgh isn’t the next, Portland, Brooklyn, Austin or whatever next city is the flavor of the month. Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh, and it’s a great city to live in. It needs to stop bragging about being Next City 2.0 Just be Pittsburgh and be happy with that.

  • You forgot to mention the amazing performing arts scene here, including the world-renowned Pittsburgh Symphony.

  • “Think Portland, Oregon, except half the size, and with higher employment.”
    The Portland, Vancouver, Hillsboro Metro Area’s population is estimated at 2,348,247 in 2014.
    Pittsburgh Metro area’s population is estimated at 2,356,285 in 2010.
    Pittsburgh density 441.05 persons/sq. mi, Portland is 326.33/persons sq mi.
    The city of Portland’s population of 583,776 lives within 133.43 sq. mi. The city of Pittsburgh, 305,704 in 55.37 sq mi.
    Growing up in the Pittsburgh area, one knows that the city has a small footprint compared to most cities. They are trying to merge with Allegheny County, like Miami-Dade., Allegheny County has a population of 1,223,348.
    Pittsburgh is not half the size of Portland, as borders have little consequence.
    Just sayin’

    • I lived in Pittsburgh for 8 years. I’m originally from Cleveland, via Chicago and Seattle. I knew we were in trouble when upon arriving in Pitts in Oct of 2004, I went to beverage store for a six pack only to learn, you can only buy beer by the case. We then discovered all sorts of weird rules and customs…that we’re strange to us – mainly the provincial attitudes and almost a xenophobic response to outsiders. Now mind you we were in our late 40’s…not the open mindness that comes with younger people. In fact, I clipped well with young – but the folks my age – ugh…never quite clicked. Not being a sports person, family=oriented (even though I’m married w/grown kid) or religious – created like a wall of some sort making it difficult to relate. However, we loved the parks and exploring so many interesting sites around the area. Miss the co-op and some fine eateries and the Frick. Our house was great – but the neighbors…uh duh. The only friends we did have were originally from cleveland…that means we only had three friends. It was like people were stuck in their hovel, both in their mentality and geographically. We thought nothing of exploring south side, north side, out east, out west…whereas most people never venture outside of their burough. Okay, maybe I’m overgeneralizing. In short, if you’re young, awesome town, if you’re middle age AND middle income, may be more of a challenge – if you want friends and a sense of community. BUT, if you lvoe sports, family stuff and are religious – you’re good to go!

  • Yeah! All those college kids can just add to all the adverisity .. AND GENTRIFICATION.
    #gentrifiedpittsburgh

  • As a native Pittsburgher, we do not want to be your “next Brooklyn”. Please leave us alone.

  • Public transportation is horrendous and part of the reason for the like of ridership quoted above is because the Port Authority itself cut so many routes. A new transit center isn’t going to help that. How about making a t line to all areas of the city. How about reinstating some routes. How about having some during the actual day time! How about getting some clean and comfortable buses. And last but not least how about sending your miserable drivers to some training on how to fake being nice!

  • No. Stop moving here. You ass hikes are running the place
    Fuck back off to your respective hellpits & leave us alone.
    PITTSBURGH DOESN’T WANT YOU

  • Pittsburgh sucks more and more every year. The same charm that drew everyone here is quickly disappearing.
    Not to mention, it is getting super expensive. Real Pittsburghers are just waiting for this bubble to burst so
    all you self-proclaimed ‘yinzers’ can leave us alone.

  • There is Nooooo music scene here. Expect most bands to bypass Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is going through this resurgence because all the “cool” cities are becoming too expensive. I have been here for 5 years after living in Austin (another town that has become expensive. Sometimes the cloudy weather becomes too much. The sun doesn’t shine from December to March.

  • who invited all of these outsiders to begin with.? as a native 50 something Pittsburgh, we are a simple people we like our beer cold, our streets blue collar, and our housing cheep, if i hear one more of you transplant band wagon jagoff mouth off about “Pittsburgh is the next someplace else” i am going to show you what Pittsburgh are like when they are not so nice, stay in the places you have destroyed, don’t bring it here, we don’t need you

  • Little to no research done here. I actually snorted when she addressed the restaurants in Pittsburgh, so very , very few survive.
    Good luck moving from NY & finding comparable employment.

  • Please, don’t move here.
    Having priced yourselves out of one up and coming neighborhood/city, don’t come here and mess this one up too.

  • Pittsburgh is a sh*thole. Got the hell out in 08 because there was nothing going on. Moved to Portland. No music no night life unless you were a Dbag frat boy. Lived there for 13 years. the place is run down and everyone is angry and pissed off all the time. NYC gets a bad wrap for rude people….nah….pittsburgh way way worse. The winters are awful. So lame.