Pittsburgh Photo Essays

Pittsburgh neighborhoods: Bloomfield, a photo essay

Until my food tour last summer, I had never really spent any time in the Bloomfield neighborhood. (Well, I did attend a concert there years ago at a place called the Brillo Box but a darkened space where I heard some really loud music doesn’t count as getting to know a neighborhood.)

Like many of the city’s neighborhoods, Bloomfield is brimming with history, although it’s an immigrant, working-class kind of a past of which I love. While Bloomfield was originally founded by German immigrants, it was the Italian immigrants who came to the area at the turn of the last century who were responsible for Bloomfield being dubbed “Little Italy.” Β The Italian flag is a prevalent symbol throughout the neighborhood along with numerous Italian eateries and stores.

One of the things I like most about Bloomfield is that while some city neighborhoods change over time, Bloomfield has stayed the same. Some people claim too many “yuppies” have moved in and thus contributed to an increase in housing costs, and yet while walking along its streets this past weekend, I still encountered many locals who were the exact opposite of yuppie and were simply doing their “Saturday shopping” in the neighborhood. It’s a place where small, family-run grocery stores still exist, where you can get your prescriptions filled from the neighborhood pharmacist (literally, there aren’t Walgreens on every corner), and where the community is still tight-knit one. I remember the tour guide telling us that it was hard to find homes to buy in Bloomfield because residents liked to keep properties “in the family” with homes being either passed down from generation to generation or selling to people you know. Not to say the people of Bloomfield are against “outsiders,” they just have a strong respect for the community.

Judging by the sheer number of restaurants there are on the main drag of Liberty Avenue, Bloomfield is a great place to get a meal-Italian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, artisan pizza-it’s all here.

We were told by our food tour guide that Tessaro’s is the BEST place for a burger in Pittsburgh
The Polish Coats of Arms are on display in the parking lot of the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern

On April 4, 2009 three Pittsburgh police officers were gunned down while responding to a call.

This is the Fallen Heroes Memorial.

Officer Paul Sciullo was a lifelong resident of Bloomfield.

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Jo Ann M.
    March 24, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Bloomfield looks like our “Little Italy” in Cleveland on Murray Hill! I love the little shops and restaurants. I know the US is supposed to be a melting pot, but I love to see these little cultural neighborhoods. It would be a shame if we lost them.

    Great photos! The church is beautiful!

    I know what they mean by the “yuppies” moving in. Glad that they renovate homes and buildings, but sometimes the gentrification of these neighborhoods results in a loss of character and they begin to look too generic.

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      March 26, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Too funny, we have a Murray Hill and a Murray Avenue too here in Pittsburgh! I’m sure in many ways the cities are very similar, minus the hills πŸ™‚

      I agree, there’s something to be said about cultures preserving their unique identities.

      Like everything, there is good and bad to be had from gentrification. At least to my novice eyes since I’m relatively new to exploring the neighborhood, it seems that a lot of the “old” stuff remains which is good.

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