South Side.

Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood is a mix of mainly two elements; gentrification, and proximity to colleges and universities. The main street is East Carson, which hosts many shops and tattoo parlors, but is mainly about the 85+ bars that run from Station Square to 33rd St. The neighborhood is divided into the Flats, the (topographically flat) area which is nearer to the Monongahela River, and the (hilly) Slopes. The Flats costs roughly 50-100% more in rent, and began to be gentrified around the year 2000. The neighborhood is vibrant and photogenic by day, and a drunken hellhole at night, especially on the weekends, where the streets run orange with vomit, urine, and blood. The community members who wish to protect their inflated investments from revelers bicker and complain at monthly meetings, to some avail. As professionals and students came in greater numbers to live in the hippest part of the city, the artists, musicians, and service-industry workers were pushed to the Slopes, the other half the South Side. The old people just died in the Flats. The bums are still there.

The Slopes is the name for the clapboard worker houses that litter the adjacent, switchback mountain at impossible angles, and pepper the goat path streets they share with the ghosts of Hunkies and their disappearing little wives. That’s where the founding creative-types of the flats were pushed first, and they have since been pushed to Polish Hill, Lawrenceville, or Bloomfield. It is just as likely that they have been pushing baby carriages, as many of the first hipsters have aged out of the game, anyway. The slopes are now hosting college students for high rent, or latecomers to a “scene” ten years gone. Some old people are still alive in the Slopes, too. No bums are up there, but some service industry workers are still taking girls back to their stinking Bob Marley pads after the bars close for God-knows what.

I thought an interesting interpretation of Kevin Lynch’s term “node” to be “pivot point.” How is this for a node, Professor Lynch?!


That is the Beehive, an eclectic coffee shop that started the Golden Age immigration of artists, students, and homosexuals to the South Side. The first place of its kind on a street that used to be for former mill working drunks and end of the road bangers.

This next picture is a dirt trail off of Muriel St. The “pathway” actually traverses an “edge,” so it is a combination of two of Professor Lynch’s concepts in that sense. The people who use it provide clues as to why the mix of devices.


The path that crosses the railroad tracks and the bike trail. It leads to a the river, where the train kids and former Occupy activists go to fraternize, deal drugs, and use drugs. They hang out at a sort of encampment during the day, and come into the town proper at night to shake down anyone they can for anything they can get. They play guitars and banjos and ukuleles, and many of them sing rather well. These young transients also have very interesting looking, loyal dogs. It is no coincidence that these young people specifically cross two finite boundaries to get to their operations venue.

Gary Musisko


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