Point Breeze North is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s East End and, in this blogger’s humble opinion, might have the most cool-stuff-bang for it’s .2-square-mile buck. Granted, I’ve only been to a fraction of the neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, but Point Breeze North has sure got a gaggle of good.
The neighborhood is composed of residential areas with beautiful houses from all eras and a commercial and semi-industrial area along Penn Avenue. Situated betwixt Homewood and Point Breeze, among the city’s poorest and wealthiest neighborhoods, respectively, Point Breeze North occupies interesting territory: the housing stock is largely ritzy, but signs of abandonment are peppered throughout the neighborhood, mainly in the northern areas closest to Homewood.
the inevitable: point breeze north house-porn and garden tour
Point Breeze North is home to some pretty amazing houses. The neighborhood was originally founded as a suburb, and as such, there are stately Victorian houses that line the wide boulevards. Yes, you read that correctly- Point Breeze North, a neighborhood in a city of narrow streets, hills and alleys, has two wide boulevards with traffic divided by large green patches.
This is what Westinghouse Park used to look like. George Westinghouse used to live on what is now the park named after him. His mansion, which also served as his laboratory, was named ‘Solitude’ and was home to some of the most important electrical experiments ever; four natural gas wells still remain on the property. The mansion’s been gone for 90 years, but some 50 species of trees, including Norway maples, Siberian elm and Amur cork dot the park. (Picture from Christine Davis’ website– she was the archaeologist who conducted the bulk of research on the property)
industrial side of town
The eastern side of Point Breeze North is an industrial area with some great old factories and warehouses.
In one of the old warehouses on the east side of the neighborhood is one of the coolest and most worthwhile businesses in Pittsburgh. Construction Junction ‘promotes conservation through the reuse of building materials.’ Pretty self-explanatory but the pictures explain it better methinks. Below, the scene as you enter the building.
steel city big pour
The Steel City Big Pour is among the very best things in the United States. Construction Junction (see directly below this post) puts on the event and some of the best microbreweries in the country, along with local eateries, artists and community groups, provide 3 hours of delirious bliss. It is the confluence of everything I like.
selected point breeze north businesses
Find the theme:
Free Ride is a bike collective that is dedicated to “recycling bicycles, offering mechanical education, and promoting bicycling by helping people of all ages and backgrounds obtain, maintain, and repair bicycles.”
The East End Food Coop will not serve you fries in your salad. Go here for wheatberry and red quinoa and beards.
Agrecycle is ‘Pennsylvania’s largest source separated composting operation!’ Composting, folks.
Point Breeze North: Greening everything in sight. Keep up the good work.
required sobering post to maintain balance
Point Breeze North isn’t all acai berries and birch-bark toilet paper. The neighborhood has it’s share of neglected or abandoned houses and you still see the occasional lot of industrial trash.
parting shot: point breeze north
This is one of the cooler old buildings in Point Breeze North; the letters really make it.
I’ve always felt that Point Breeze North has gotten the shaft- Point Breeze (its counterpart across Penn Ave) sits next to Squirrel Hill, Shadyside and Regent Square, all among the toniest neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Point Breeze North borders Larimer and two of the Homewood neighborhoods, among Pittsburgh’s poorest. I think that because of its proximity to ‘worse’ neighborhoods, Point Breeze North has not received proper acclaim- it’s as if Penn Ave acts as an arbitrary border, dividing the two Point Breeze’s into the ‘nice’ part of town and the ‘so-so’ part of town.
Whatever the case may be, Point Breeze North seems like a neighborhood that’s figured it out. Old unused warehouse space? Fill it with new green business. Beautiful old homes? Fix’ (most of) ‘em up. It’s a great thing to see.