10 Things to love about Pittsburgh's Park Place

Yes, Park Place is an official neighborhood! But I didn't know it until I moved in here and was welcomed by my neighbors.

On most city maps, you'll see us lumped in with Point Breeze, but we are on the other side of Frick Park, running mostly along South Braddock and its side streets from Forbes Avenue to Penn Avenue. (Here's a Google Map of the neighborhood boundaries.) We often partner with our neighbors from Wilkinsburg and Regent Square on everything from free renovation workshops for homeowners to block-watch meetings with local police.

One of our main characteristics is accessibility....it's on the way to everything in the East End, and thousands of people pass through our neighborhood by car, bus, bike or on foot every day. We have an active neighborhood association and we know how to throw a good street party!

One of my favorite things about our neighborhood is how much Pittsburgh history I've learned since moving here, which you'll see from my favorite neighborhood spots.


1. Frick Park
Frick Park Pittsburgh
Ask most of the residents what they like about our neighborhood and the proximity to Frick Park comes up over and over again. This is what attracts people to the neighborhood in the first place. The park is always bustling with people exercising and walking their dogs, and by cutting through it, we can get access to more bike-friendly roads. It's like having a 561 acre backyard! Except you don't have to mow it.

2. Bowling Greens
Bowling Green Frick Park

One of the hidden gems of Frick Park is the Bowling Greens, home to the Frick Park Lawn Bowling Club of Pittsburgh. It's quite a sight to watch them on League Night. Sometimes we hang out just to watch. If you want to try out lawn bowling, the club offers a free open bowling night every Thursday evening.

3. Animal Nature
Animal Nature Pittsburgh
Animal Nature is the neighborhood pet supply store. Owners Wolf and Rachel are serious about providing safe products for your pets. Wolf explains, “We want you to know when you walk in our store, that every product is free from ingredients that could be harmful to your pet. That way you can spend your time thinking about what your pet likes, instead of scrutinizing the labels.” Check out the What We Don't Carry and Why section of their website. In addition to the awesome products and services, it's just a fun place to hang out! At any given time you walk into the store, you might see one of their rabbits, cats, or dogs lounging around. They also have two pet chickens. The day I stopped by, two little girls were training a pet rat to jump over a stick using Cheerios! And it was working!

4. The Old Heidelberg

The Old Heidelberg on Braddock Avenue is one of the most distinctive apartment buildings in Pittsburgh. It was built in 1905, and designed by Pittsburgh architect Frederick Sheibler. People love living there. Resident Adriana Helbig told me, “I like the old world charm. The building has a lot of historical significance. A lot of architectural details that add to it and each apartment is unique. Everyone in the neighborhood knows one another and is welcoming. Everyone seems to rally around social issues and smart urban development. All kinds of people live there from families to students to artists, and it just makes for a positive Pittsburgh experience.”

5. The Park Place Picnic
Park Place Picnic Pittsburgh
This year we celebrated the 25th annual Park Place picnic. Organized by neighborhood volunteers with the help of donations from local businesses and Citiparks, we put out a killer potluck spread, have live music and lots of entertainment for the kids. Yes, that's a bounce house in the background! One of my favorite things about Park Place is the neighbors and their can-do attitudes. Mary Hupe, featured in this photograph holding her grandson, has been organizing parties and block watches for decades. She loves to entertain us with stories about handwriting flyers and delivering them personally to every house. (This makes me personally very grateful for our neighborhood Facebook page!)

6. The Original Location of KDKA
Penn Ave Pittsburgh
The first official broadcast was made on election night in 1920, right here in Park Place! Even though the site is currently unmarked (there allegedly used to be a historic marker here), we know when we walk past the Wendy's on Penn Avenue that we are walking past history.

7.East End Food Co-op
East End Food Co-op Pittsburgh
What's it like to have the East End Food Co-op is your neighborhood grocery store? Always fresh, organic produce, a relaxed shopping atmosphere, and a steady calendar of lectures and events to celebrate and learn about food. I never loved grocery shopping so much until I moved here. The Co-op's Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday October 13, 2012 from 5-7 at the Environmental Charter School.

8. The Environmental Charter School
Park Place School Pittsburgh
The Environmental Chater School recently completed a beautiful restoration of the historic Park Place School, built in 1903 (Another interesting historic tidbit....author Annie Dillard attended elementary school here). ECS has a special mission to teach their students the importance of environmental stewardship and they use Frick Park as their outdoor classroom. Their K-3 students will be starting here in August.

9. Greater Park Place Neighborhood Association
Greater Park Place Neighborhood Association and the food! In addition to our annual summer picnic, events throughout the year always include amazing, homemade food...and if you have dietary needs, you'll be in heaven. I've never been to a Park Place potluck where there wasn't a vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or nut-free option—all carefully labeled with separate serving spoons! And yes, many of the people eat meat, too.

10. Nine Mile Run Watershed Association

You'll see a lot of rain barrels connected to Park Place gutters and the reason is we know we have to do everything we can to protect Nine Mile Run, which flows through Frick Park. Among its many projects, NMRWA sells locally produced rain barrels that will not just prevent flooding on your property, but also help to protect the watershed from too much run-off, thus preserving our beloved park.


About Katy Frey
Katy Frey lives in Park Place with her husband and daughter. She is currently serving as President of the Greater Park Place Neighborhood Association. You will often find Katy with a two-year old in tow, walking through Frick Park or passing out flyers for neighborhood events. Katy works as a Reading Specialist, providing tutoring and assessment services, and as a Barefoot Books Ambassador, selling children's books and organizing fundraisers to promote literacy. She blogs about her adventures in parenting and neighborhood politics at What Has Become of M and K.