Here's what you need to know about the Mount.
95% of Pittsburgh "tourists" make a stop in our neck of the woods. There are two inclines that run up the front of the hill, and the cityscape from the aptly-named Grandview Avenue is stunning. There are several pretty excellent restaurants, and some really gorgeous homes and apartments. There are lots of nice parks, and it never takes more than ten minutes to get in and out of downtown.
We can step off our front porch, dogs on their leashes, and in just a few minutes, see this...
I know, right? That part of living in Mount Washington is priceless.
On the other hand... everything has a price.
Close proximity to downtown means that we live in a true city neighborhood. Mount Washington itself isn't a high-crime area, but we rub shoulders with some pretty seedy towns. It's not unusual to watch the news and realize that a shooting took place several blocks away, in Beltzhoover or Allentown. I don't walk around the park alone at night, because let's face it -- my dogs aren't scaring anyone.
As someone who grew up in leafy green suburbs (and whose husband grew up in a semi-rural small town), it's... odd. We both went to Pitt and thus lived in Oakland, which has its both own charms and its own host of scary residents. But that was in college, when everyone lived in dilapidated apartments run by slum lords and we moved in packs from one house party to the next.
In Mount Washington, we live among an interesting mix of "young professionals," blue-collar families, wealthy residents, and people who seem to have no job at all except drinking on their porches. I say it isn't high-crime, and it's not -- but it isn't exactly low-crime either. The police showed up at our next-door neighbors house on New Year's Eve when an ex-boyfriend came and assaulted their daughter, and they've also come more than once to a house across the street for domestic disputes and general drunkenness. Stay classy!
That up above (read about it here)... that used to be a restaurant, which was abandoned and sat as is on lovely Grandview Avenue, for 30 years. It's been demolished now, and they're planning to put a hotel up where it stood. It's about time, too. That corner is prime real-estate, and it's baffling to me that no one fixed it up for so long.
Stuff like this is rampant throughout Mount Washington -- places that are dilapidated but haven't been torn down, neighborhoods that should attract nice families and businesses that should be bringing in lots of money. But don't.
Not yet at least. There are signs this could be changing in the near future -- new housing developments are being proposed and better restaurants are opening throughout the town. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Mount Washington ought to be the nicest city neighborhood of all. I don't believe that because I live there, I believe it because the opportunities are endless. The views are gorgeous. The commute is SHORT. It should have just as many niceties as Shadyside and Squirrel Hill. It just needs an investment of time, faith, and of course, money.
It just needs a little elbow grease. (I'm not the only one who thinks so).
In spite of all its flaws, I could see us living there for five, or even ten more years. Much as I truly love our starter home, one bathroom is not going to cut it. I don't want to trudge up and down four sets of steps in my 70s. We're not living in our forever home, but Mount Washington is growing on me. If things really turned around in the community, and if we could eventually afford a nice, big place -- I could see it being our forever town.