Arlington is a neighborhood located in Pittsburgh’s hilltop. The neighborhood is mainly residential, with Arlington Ave. acting as a commercial strip along the neighborhood’s northern border. The housing stock is varied with older brick homes sidled up next to newer frame houses.  Mainly laid out on a loose grid, most of the streets rise and sink dramatically along steep hills.


If you’re in Arlington, and you’re at a bar, you’re at Nagel’s. Before I happened upon the bar, I was lost while biking around and asked a passerby for directions:

Me: “Hey there, I’m lost- could you help me find Parkwood Rd?”
Passerby: “Sure. Head down Arlington and then you’re gonna make a left and pass Nagel’s.”
Me: “What’s Nagel’s?”
Passerby: (Stunned silence) “So you’re not from around here, huh?”

arlington one stop house-porn and garden tour

There are a few beauties in Arlington, but this one stopped me in my tracks. It’s on Arlington Ave. and I’m pretty sure it’s just inside the official neighborhood borders. Wow. According to tax records it’s from 1898 and has 2 bedrooms and 3,500 feet. So it apparently has the two biggest bedrooms ever made. The house is home to Maria’s Ideas, the business of Maria DeSimone Prascak, an artist who does murals, mixed media and pet portraits. Leave your snarky comments at the elegantly framed door; the pet portraits appear to have paid off.

hilly streets of arlington

An even mix of brick Foursquare, frame and low lying brick houses dot Arlington’s hilly streets.

abandoned arlington

Arlington is home to a decent amount of abandoned buildings, both residential and commercial. The picture on the left shows a building on Arlington Avenue that’s been boarded up and covered in gang tags. The picture on the right offers evidence that the neighborhood used to have a little bit more going on. I couldn’t find any info on the Spring Lane Hotel but it’s a safe bet that it hasn’t been around for a while.

the steepness

From Arlington Ave. southward, the streets slope down steeply; pedestrians are offered stairways with handrails to make the descent a bit easier. These steps could use some stimulus package.


On Arlington Ave, in a great old building, sits Stella’s Pizza. This place is good eating. I had the ‘Pittsburgh Steak’ which I was told is steak and cheese with fried peppers and onions. It was bomb. So is this accurate? Is a ‘Pittsburgh Steak’ just a cheese steak with peppers and onions? Thoughts?

parting shot: arlington

Barely legible in the above picture, ‘Last of the ’48 rail cars- 1968′ is written on the mural. The mural is joined on this building by several other murals of ‘Arlington Memories.’

Also in the above picture you can make out a few of the remaining businesses on Arlington Ave. What you can’t see in the above picture are the vacant storefronts that line many other parts of Arlington Ave. Murals of memories are great- it’s always nice to recall a place’s heyday. But what if the memories didn’t have to be just memories? Wouldn’t it be better if the mural just said ‘Arlington’ and had images of things that were happening in the neighborhood currently?

Arlington is by no means a forgotten neighborhood; people are still huddled outside of Stella’s waiting for their pizza, kids are still going nuts in Arlington Elementary’s schoolyard. True, rail cars don’t cruise up and down Arlington Ave. anymore and some of the neighborhood’s historic buildings are no longer, but wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate the life that remains in the neighborhood and take steps to ensure that things don’t just end up as more memories?


2 Responses to Arlington

  1. If you go with to-days memories the only thing that would dominate the scenes is RIP Bro signs everywhere…………

  2. Heather says:

    Love this blog… I work in nearly every pittsburgh neighborhood as a mobile therapist and find the pictures breathtaking and the descriptions pretty accurate. I only ask one thing of the author… Give a shout out to Choung’s on Arlington Ave.
    Miss Choung is so sweet ad has weathered so many storms and is a fixture in the community! The next time you are in Arlington stop by…a throw back to the mom and pop run stores of centuries past 😄 looking forward to more of our city!!

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