Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pitt Stops; the concept and origin

About 8 years ago, a bunch of folks were sitting in Piper's Pub on the South Side having a couple of beers. The conversation turned to trivia and Big Al claimed that there were 88 neighborhoods in the City of Pittsburgh. Of course, we had to start naming them. After filling up a couple of napkins with places I'd never heard of (like Windgap, Fairywood) or didn't know were city neighborhoods (like Brookline or East Carnegie). I realized that I didn't know Pittsburgh at all.

Now, I thought that I knew the city pretty well. I was born in the Pittsburgh suburbs and visited the City alot growing up. At the time, I was in graduate school at Pitt and felt I was savvy to the City. It turns out I was just an East End Kid. Sure, I was familiar Oakland, Shadyside, and Squirrel Hill, and would even venture to Polish Hill for a beer or three. But I didn't know anything about the North Side beyond The Penn Brewery. I'd never been to the West End. Ever. I decided that I had to get out and explore - and what better way to do it than with beer?

The idea was hatched to have a drink in every neighborhood in the city. Not in one night - that'd be tough - but over the course of a summer. We started talking about it, but the idea lost steam over time.

Well, it just feels like now's the time. The City of Pittsburgh has nicely taken the time to identify each neighborhood, which makes things a lot easier. Now we don't have to wonder where the boundaries of Friendship are. We'll just know. The blueprint is all laid out for us. We just have to start visiting bars.

I've set up this account as a way of coordinating the proceedings. I'll try and update with every neighborhood visited and give fair warning of when and where the next outing will be. I've set up a spreadsheet listing planned stops for various neighborhoods for the Gmail-enabled among us. If you've got a suggestion for your favorite local watering hole, drop an email to pitt.stops.2007@gmail.com.

After the first couple of stops, it became apparent that the summer goal was a bit ambitious. Vacations, work schedules, and other distractions kept getting in the way. All the better. We'll spread it out over a whole year if need be. Now we have plenty of time to drink slowly and breathe in each neighborhood.

If you see us scheduled to be in your neighborhood, send an email or stop on by. This is one venture where the more is definitely the merrier.

Jim D.

1 comment:

Noreen said...

You were "just an East End kid?"
I'm sorry that you are from McKeesport, but that is certainly not the East End. Don't start giving the East End a bad name.