Unique Streets Walked: 22
Miles Walked: 2.53
Streets Walked: Alwyn, Bellaire, Berwin, Brookline, Dahlia, Eathan, Edgebrook, Fitch, Flatbush, Gallion, Gallupe, Glenarm, Gonsha, Metz, Milan, Querder, Rossmore, Scroll, Starkamp, Whited, Witt, Wolford
My second day of walking (these won’t all be consecutive days depending on my childcare) I found myself in the South Hills area. I was in Upper St. Clair at the South Hills Village mall and took a look at the map to see which neighborhood was closest. Brookline it was!
I haven’t spent much time in Brookline (more than Windgap to be fair) and really couldn’t remember what it was like. Driving up Sussex I remembered that Brookline Boulevard is the main business thoroughfare of the neighborhood. I decided to cross the boulevard and park on Starkamp Street. My parking break engaged, I exited the vehicle and ignored the barking dog alerting his family that someone new was in the area. I went back up to Brookline Boulevard and see a man walking his tiny Labrador puppy.
In Fitch Alley, houses on the left are high, those on the right are low. I see a man outside of his garage struggling with a collapsible ladder. I say “Do you need some help?!” He says this ladder always gets stuck open and he has to use a screwdriver to jimmy open the catch so he can close it. I help him hold it steady while he does this. He seems exasperated but pleased with his work.
I make my way onto Dahlia Way, another alley but this one is much longer. I see contradictions all around me. A spray-painted garage next to a backyard that holds a trampoline supported by one of the nicest retaining walls I’ve ever seen. I round the corner and see a fake blood-covered machete that has been broken into pieces. Never bring a fake machete to a block on Brookline.
Black and Gold Flamingoes perch in front of garage with Steelers and Penguins curtains hanging in the small windows.
Walking on Edgebrook, I see a woman standing next to an open cardboard box across the street. I cross and ask what’s going on. She says she thinks a porch pirate stole this box off of someone’s porch and when they discovered it was full of medical supplies, they tossed it out of their car window. She’s getting the address off of the box so she can hopefully get a phone number to let them know where their box went.
On the other side of Edgebrook I can see the streets surround a valley and then go back up to the general elevation that most hills in the area reach. In most cases, you should never give up the high ground, but I go down so I can cover Gonsha Way. I love alleys on hills because usually you can see the entire height of a house on the high side. Since Gonsha Way is effectively in a valley, houses on both sides are fully exposed. From the front, these houses appear to be standard two stories with an attic. When viewing them from the back, you can see that the basements actually have doors to the backyards. The result is a comically tall house. Normal from the back, tower in the back. Obviously, most houses with basements are like this, it’s just that half of the house is underground.
Out of the alley and steadily ascending, I start to move slow and notice what people have in their front yards: The Virgin Mary; St. Francis of Assisi; a Soldier on bended knee in front of a cross. One yard has a bit of everything: sleeping deer; a toadstool; totem poles; a turtle. Then I notice a “yard” that I can only describe as a sort of makeshift camp. It’s across Metz Way from a small house that couldn’t possible have more than 2 bedrooms. It seems like someone cleared a section of the valley woods and started using it as their own personal playground. I check the County Property website and see that the parcel is actually owned by the City of Pittsburgh and has been since 1949! I swear I even saw a rusty shack/trailer on the land next to a patio table with an umbrella.
Up Wolford and over to some questionably plowed alleys, I realize that my phone is dying and I need to wrap it up before I get lost. That’s not hard to do in an area where tall streets seem to go on forever until they end with a ‘No Outlet’ sign. I turn onto Rossmore to see a mailman on his daily business and I am in immediate awe of his job. This is one of the steepest streets I’ve ever seen. I do some quick searching of the steepest streets in Pittsburgh and according to a list on PennLive.com, Rossmore doesn’t rate. Flatbush does, however and I will soon wonder why it has ‘Flat’ in its name.
I (finally) get to the top of Rossmore and hope I’m going the right way up Flatbush (my phone is now officially dead.) I see Repeal Way and wonder why it’s so short. I take a look at the G. M. Hopkins Maps and see that it used to extend 2 blocks but part of it was cut off. In 1923 it was called Rural Way.
Finally, I see my car and realize that once again, I have forgotten to lock it. Maybe the barking dog from the beginning of my walk deterred a would-be robber. #dogismycopilot