view of pittsburgh skyline

7 Local Ways to Volunteer this Year

Pittsburgh is a community of hard-working and wildly supportive people. You’ll see us come together, wearing our black & gold, screaming with pride for our Steelers, Penguins, and yes, even our beloved Pirates! As Mister Rogers taught us, we’ll be the first to help out a neighbor.

When tragedy strikes or our neighbors are in need, that’s when the Pittsburgh community stands together. At Franklin West, we embrace our Pittsburgh roots and share that commitment. With this spirit, we’re sharing the ways Pittsburghers are pulling together to have an impact on those in need.

Where should you begin? Decide how you want to make a difference — whether it’s a monetary donation or lending a hand. Here are a few local options for you to get started.

Stronger Than Hate

After the truly heartbreaking attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue, the community of Pittsburgh has relentlessly shown strength and support for the survivors and victims. You can still help by donating to the verified GoFundMe page. All money raised will go to the survivors and families of the victims, and it will also help with repairing damages to the building. Funds will be sent directly to the Tree of Life Congregation.

photo from Meadville Tribune

A little uncomfortable with online crowdfunding? Here are some direct options:

The Pittsburgh Foundation, through Pittsburgh Gives is also running a #LoveisStronger campaign to raise money toward eight organizations that were directly affected by the attack.

Identified in The Pittsburgh Foundation’s #LoveisStronger Critical Need Alert, these organizations are:

  1. Dor Hadash Congregation of Tree of Life Synagogue
  2. Fraternal Order of Police for the Injured Officers Fund
  3. Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (or HIAS), which assists refugees around the world
  4. Jewish Community Center, which is offering crisis assistance for the families and the community
  5. Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS), is leading the community effort to provide emotional and therapeutic support to the bereaved and injured families and the wider community
  6. Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Victims of Terror Fund to help the families of the victims
  7. New Light Congregation of Tree of Life Synagogue
  8. Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation of Tree of Life Synagogue

Among those listed above, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) was specifically referenced online by the shooter. Initially started to help Jewish refugees, HIAS, one of nine national refugee resettlement organizations,  helps all refugees worldwide guided by a singular mission:  “Welcome the Stranger. Protect the Refugee.” HIAS stands for a world in which refugees find welcome, safety, and freedom. Guided by Jewish values and history, HIAS rescues people whose lives are in danger for being who they are.


This is an organization that supports people with disabilities, and two of the victims of the shooting, brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, received services from Achieva. In lieu of flowers, the family asked for donations to Tree of Life and/or Achieva.

Best Buddies.

This non-profit is on the move to create better opportunities like friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their vision is to be so successful that the services become unnecessary.

Read about the Best Buddies 2020 Initiative.  Best Buddies offers several ways to get involved too through donation or events. Take the initiative and sign up for the Spring 2019 Best Buddies Friendship Walk!

There are so many ways that you can get directly and meaningfully involved in the community around you…

Big Brothers. Big Sisters.

Growing up, there’s nothing more special than having someone you can look up to. Whether it means having someone to hang out with or someone to help with life’s challenges. BBBG of Greater Pittsburgh vows that all children achieve success in life through meaningful mentorship.


Photos from @bbbspgh via Instagram

Headquartered on Centre near S. Highland, Big Brothers. Big Sisters. is located within just a block or two of all of Franklin West’s Shadyside apartments.  Have some time to spare? Walk over and see how you can help!  You can either make a donation or become a Big Brother or Big Sister!

Veteran’s Place 

Dedicated to ending homelessness among veterans in the Pittsburgh region, Veteran’s Place offers homeless veterans a safe, supportive and regenerative environment as they gain the necessary skills to face real-life challenges, secure permanent housing and lead productive and self-sufficient lives.

Located only a few blocks away from Franklin West, we and the Apartment Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh have long supported Veteran’s Place.  The renovations we referenced in our article last November are currently underway and the organization could really use your help!  From cleaning supplies, clothing, toiletries, and food bank donations, to volunteer assistance, the options are endless.

412 Food Rescue

Does it make you cringe hearing that humans waste up to 40% of our food globally? That’s over 1.3 billion tons annually. If so, you have to get involved with 412 Food Rescue! The organization’s sole mission is, “to prevent perfectly good food from entering the waste stream.”  You can take action by volunteering, donating food and/or money, and so much more!

Photo from @412foodrescue via Instagram

Literacy Pittsburgh

Education is the power no one can take away and everyone should have the right to it. Literacy Pittsburgh sees a world with, “more inclusion and productive communities driven by access to education.” Last year, this team helped over 4,500 people reach their full potential by teaching reading, writing, math, English language, computer, and workforce skills. Literacy Pittsburgh is always welcoming new volunteers to tutor, aide, mentor, and many other opportunities. You can also help by making a donation, which you can learn more about here.


This season, do more than giving thanks around a table. Spend time volunteering instead of skimming through social media. It’s a lot easier, less time consuming, and much more fulfilling than you’d think.

Join the Franklin West team and the Pittsburgh community in helping the people who need it most. Because when we stand together and stand together for the long haul, real differences can happen.


Header image from Wikipedia: Pittsburgh Skyline

pumpkins in a field

4 Apartment Approved Ways For Beautiful Fall Decoration

The crisp cool air of Fall finally made its debut in Pittsburgh. It’s time to bring out the pumpkins and flannel blankets!

Decorating for everyone’s favorite season can be a little tricky when you live in an apartment. More times than not, there are restrictions on apartment decor. Things like limited space, nailing or taping items are a no-no because it pulls the paint off the wall, so on and so forth.  

What is the easiest way to get into the holiday spirit when apartment living leaves you a little restricted? We gathered a few Fall decor tips just for you and give a few Shadyside shops where you can find them.

1. Subtle Center Piece

You can’t go wrong with a centerpiece full of autumn flowers. Whether you do real flowers in a white vase or fake flowers in a pumpkin. Just make sure you stick to warm colored flowers like oranges, deep reds, purples, and yellows. So be on the lookout for Sunflowers, Asiatic lilies, Dahlias, Gerberas, Berry Branches, and even Wheat.

Toadflax is the place to go for unique items, home decor, and a wide variety of seasonal flowers. Just look at these gorgeous mums from last year’s fall inventory! Their orange color would add a pop of warmth to any room.

If you don’t want to go the flower route, you can’t go wrong with pumpkins and gourds. There are endless possibilities here. We’ll leave it to the professionals on this one. House Beautiful did a wonderful job of collecting 30 different ways to design a centerpiece for your dining table. Whether you have a table that sits 12 or 2, you’ll definitely get inspiration here.

It’s true you’ll find all sized pumpkins at any grocery stores including Trader Joe’s. Though if you’re looking to support local shops, head out to the Shadyside Nursery!

Another option is enjoying a Saturday morning shopping from the local farmers at the Farmer’s Market Coop. of East Liberty!. The vendors have it all including pumpkins, squash, corn stalks, Indian corn decor, fresh cider, and even a variety of Fall meat options.

2. Cozy Up with Patterns

Fall means the air starts to get a little chilly. Nothing beats curling up in a big woven blanket with hot chocolate in front of a fireplace. Here at Franklin West, a large number  of our character-filled  Victorian apartments even have fireplaces! Apartment managers encourage all residents to ask about fireplace safety before using.

Whether your living room is new or full of hand-me-down furniture, blankets and pillows are the perfect fall edition. Drape a hand weaved throw over your couch and pair it with a few plaid pillows.

Feathers located on Walnut Street in Shadyside holds all of your cozy home decor needs. They recently showcased a collection of Fall throws on Facebook!

3. Dress Your Door

From corn wreath to a wooden “Give Thanks” sign, DIYProjects has 21 awesome ways you can dress up your door during this Fall season!

Let’s get to how to hang these wreaths without damaging walls or leaving marks on your windows. You can get common adhesive hooks at your local retail store like Walmart. But sometimes those adhesive hooks don’t come off as easily as they are supposed to.

To hang an Autumn Wreath on your door, we recommend using an over the door, adjustable wreath hanger! They can be found on Amazon for no more than ten dollars. These hangers come in a variety of finishes so you’ll surely find one that looks best with your door.  

4. Nature’s Artwork

Our last apartment decor tip comes with bringing the outdoors in. If you’re into crafts, this is your section.

First, let’s talk about adding a little fall flair to your artwork. On your next walk through local parks, like Frick Park, snatch up a few colored leaves or pine cones. We know, we know.. it sounds weird but bear with us.

On a canvas or thin slab of wood, use the leaves you collected to create a beautiful fall art piece. Just a Girl blog has the tutorial. This one takes a little bit of dedication but it’s so worth it!

You know the pinecones in the store that smell wonderful but cost $30 for 10 little cones? Well, we have a debugging trick so you can decorate with pinecones while saving a ton! It’s as easy as going for a stroll during this lovely Fall weather and picking pine cones. Once you have all your pinecones, take these steps to get them decor ready:

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  • Line a cooking sheet with aluminum foil
  • Spread pinecones on the sheet in a single layer
  • Put the cones in the oven for no longer than 30 minutes

You’ll want to keep a close eye on the pine cones if you decide to dry them using an oven. However, if using an oven makes you a little wary, you can wash them instead. Here’s how to do it:

  • Fill your sink with warm water and add 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • Let your pinecones soak between 20-30 minutes
  • After let the cones dry for 2 or 3 days
  • Rinse the cones with fresh water again
  • Finally, let the cones completely dry over 3 to 4 days


There you have it! From cozy blankets to pumpkin centerpieces and outdoor art, apartment decor may have a few restrictions but shouldn’t stop you from fully decorating your place!

bowl of popcorn

The Silk Screen Film Festival

Anyone with a love for feature films will surely enjoy this annual Pittsburgh event. Introducing the 2018 Silk Screen Film Festival! First created back in 2005, this nonprofit media arts organization showcases Asian Art through music, dance, and film.

The mission behind the Silk Screen is to, “celebrate diversity and multicultural appreciation of the Asian and Asian American experience through cultural events.”

We put a list together of “can’t miss” films happening this weekend! You’ll find a short movie description as well as when and where details. Plus, all theaters are only a 10-minute drive from Shadyside’s east end. 

Thursday, Sept. 27

  • Disappearance

“Disappearance follows a young couple, Sara and Hamed, who is caught between tradition and modernity….At the crossroads of personal morals and the ethics of the community, as they face their uncertain future, Sara and Hamed endure a struggle that couples around the world are still forced to confront.”

See Disappearance this Thursday at 7 pm in the Regent Square Theater.



Friday, Sept. 28

  • Alifu The Prince/ss

“Alifu is a Taiwanese-indigenous, twenty-something man who works at a salon in the city. He has a dream – to fully transition into a woman.”

Alifu the Prince/ss will start at 8:30 pm at the Frick Fine Arts.



Saturday, Sept. 29

  • Ava

“Sadaf Foroughi’s semi-autobiographical film debut focuses on teenager Ava’s coming of age in a strict, traditional society and an even more strict, traditional household.”

Beginning at 7 pm, Ava will show at the Frick Fine Arts.



Sunday, Sept. 30

  • Wrath of Silence

“On a chilly winter’s day in Northern China, a shepherd boy roams the mountains with his herd. Two days later, miner Zhang Baomin hurries back to his home – his son has disappeared in the mountains. Three days later, lawyer Xu Wenjie’s daughter disappears as well. Among the mountains and the wilderness, people lose themselves in a no man’s land in search of their blood in this award-winning film that keeps audiences at the edge of their seats”

Head out for the show that starts at 2:00 pm at the Regent Square Theater



Want to discover more movies? Click here for the full list of the 2018 festival films.

Get your friends, grab the popcorn, and enjoy the amazing feature films brought to Pittsburgh by the Silk Screen Festival.

Join Us in Celebrating the Beloved Legacy of Mister Rogers

“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor…”

Everyone’s favorite neighbor is being celebrated this year on Wednesday, March 20 during Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day.

Fred Mcfeely Rogers made a lasting impact on the world, but ask any Pittsburgh native, and we’ll undoubtedly talk your ear off about his wonderful legacy.

Let’s not forget, production of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood happened right in our local area! Just imagine it, Mister Rogers strolling through Shadyside in his famous sneakers to take classes during his lunch break at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Our property manager, a Pittsburgh native who has been with Franklin West for 20 years, even had the opportunity to meet Mister Rogers. She recalls, “One day, while showing apartments, I saw him strolling down Shady Avenue … I was so excited that I had to stop, apologize to the client,  and go introduce myself. It is “up there” as one of the most exciting moments of my life!”

Plus, over the years, cast and crew members even lived in Franklin West apartments. Oh, if only walls could talk, the stories they would tell.

His Kindness Legacy

Did you know Fred Rogers was also a composer and author? According to the Fred Rogers Company, Rogers wrote several children’s books. Publishers Weekly praised his last book, Mister Rogers Parenting Book for the “qualities of warmth and attentiveness that translate very well into this brief yet thorough parenting guide.” Also, a composer and lyricist of over 200 songs, he actually wrote all of the music for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Simply wanting to spread kindness, compassion, and learning, Rogers became an American television personality, musician, puppeteer, writer, and producer. All of which he implemented through Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Using mass media to encourage his kindness message, Fred Rogers defended the $20 million federal funding for national public television in front of the Senate Commerce Committee, which was at risk of being cut in half. Watch Fred Rogers testify to Senate in May of 1961:

He graciously accepted several awards for his life’s work including two George Foster Peabody Awards, Emmys and others from special interest groups in education, communication, and early childhood. Rogers’ also notably received the TCA Career Achievement Award in 1997 for his inspiring work on television and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002 recognizing his contribution to the well-being of children.

His life work and achievements stem from the idea that it continues to live on. In 1971, Fred Rogers created the Family Communications, Inc, a nonprofit company, which produced Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Today, this company has transitioned into The Fred Rogers Company and moved toward non-broadcast materials reflecting Rogers philosophy and purpose. That purpose remains to encourage the healthy emotional growth of children and their families.

Continue reading about Fred Rogers life accomplishments here.

Celebrations around Pittsburgh

Here’s how you can celebrate Mister Rogers legacy on what would be his 91st birthday, March 20, 2019!

Tune into WQED at 7 pm for Be My Neighbor day and become a volunteer to help families in need. Read more about the pledge here.

Admission to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh will be free from 10 am to 5 pm today. Plus, CMOP will also host many programs to honor the great Fred Rogers including neighborly themed kindness activities! Get more details here.

Starting at 12 pm today, volunteers with Awesome Pittsburgh will hang around Downtown, Northside, and East End giving away $10 to Pittsburghers to encourage small acts of kindness. Read more here.

Don’t forget, Heinz History Center, located in the Strip District, has a Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood display and has plans for a 50th-anniversary celebration during the month of March with special exhibitions and programs.

Want more ways to celebrate Mr. Rogers Birthday? Click here!

4 Ways to be a Good Neighbor:

Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of work or family needs that being neighborly may take a back seat. Especially if you live in apartments. But, while Mister Rogers kindness message in mind, here’s how little actions can have monumental outcomes.   

Simply be considerate. There are some obvious ones like not stomping or slamming doors. Sometimes though, you just can’t help it. Let’s say you’re in the mood to redecorate. Moving furniture or hanging pictures on the wall at 2 am may be something to avoid. However, if you’re doing it during the day, give those around you a quick visit to let them know and apologize if the noise is inconvenient. This also isn’t a bad way to meet your neighbors!

Keep in mind saying hello or giving a smile can go a long way. Mister Rogers once said, “Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.”

Trade small favors. Have an elderly neighbor? Find out if he or she needs anything the next time you run to the store. Offer to share your umbrella when you and a neighbor head in the same direction on a rainy day. While winter months are coming to an end, Pennsylvania weather still likes to surprise us every now and then, so offer to help clean the snow off a neighbor’s car.   

Random acts of kindness. Buy a book of the Forever postage stamps honoring Mister Rogers and give one stamp to each of your neighbors.

Out of everything he accomplished, Fred Rogers made the choice to dedicate his life’s work for the benefit of children and their families. Whether you are new to Pittsburgh or not, get to know Fred Rogers and his legacy. We can learn a lot from him and his teachings.

“Won’t you please, please won’t you be my neighbor?”


Say Cheese! Celebrating National Pizza Day

National Pizza Day is on Saturday, Feb. 9th this year, and we’re celebrating the only way we know how—with a slice (or four), of course!


Pizza… Where would we be without that holy trinity of dough, cheese, and tomato sauce? If the tomato hadn’t been introduced to Naples in the 16th century, we might very well know the answer to that question.

Luckily, we don’t have to speculate. Since the addition of tomatoes to Italian flatbread, the history of pizza has only grown more colorful—literally! As legend has it, pizza maker Raffaele Esposito created the first Pizza Margherita in 1889 to honor the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. The pizza was garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil to represent the red, white, and green of the Italian flag. Whether fact or fiction, it is undoubtedly a delicious tale.

Pizza soon made its way across the pond in 1905 when Gennaro Lombardi established America’s first pizzeria, Lombardi’s, in New York City. And, as they say, the rest is history.

Today, pizza is so celebrated that it’s been awarded its own national holiday! Fortunately, there are countless places to grab a slice in the East End and Shadyside, many of which are within walking distance from Franklin West apartments!

In fact, if you take a short stroll from Centre Avenue to S. Highland Avenue, you’ll see that there are no fewer than five restaurants that primarily serve pizza, and each is different!

Here are a few to try if you haven’t already:

Slice on Broadway
Pizza Taglio
Capri Pizza
Vento’s Pizza
Pizza Parma
Pizza Perfectta

If you travel just a few blocks over to the Western end of Shadyside on Walnut Street, you’ll find several more top-notch pizza places, from Mercurio’s to Shady Grove and likely many more spots in between!

However you celebrate, we hope you find a slice that makes you smile!

Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History 2018: Free Museum Sundays & Much More

Pittsburgh’s contagious creativity is fed by its renowned cultural institutions, such as the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History.

As the snow flies, it’s good to be inside, and the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History just made it a bit easier. Throughout the year of 2018, the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History will be free to the public the third Sunday of each month.

If you’ve never visited the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA), it’s as expansive as it is inspiring. The art museum takes visitors through a comprehensive timeline, from ancient sculpture to contemporary installations. The permanent collection stars more than 30,000 visual art objects, from painting and sculpture to film and digital imagery.

Beyond touring the museum’s permanent collection, here are a few current exhibits you can explore this winter:

William Henry Fox Talbot & the Promise of Photography: This is the largest US exhibition of Talbot’s photography in the last 15 years and, due to the fragile nature of the photographs, exhibitions of Talbot’s work are rare.  Don’t delay, this first-ever opportunity to see these photographs will end on February 11, 2018.

Bradford Young: REkGONIZE: Through a three-channel video installation and a meditation on photography, memory, and movement, cinematographer Bradford Young finds inspiration in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood. During the early 20th Century Great Migration, African American culture and artistic development flourished in the Hill District, inspiring August Wilson, Charles “Teenie” Harris, Errol Garner, and many others. On display until March 4, this unique installation is not one to be missed!

Hot Metal Modern: Design in Pittsburgh and Beyond: On display through April 1, Hot Metal Modern is a showcase of great design objects from around Pittsburgh, and the stories of innovation and industry behind them.

Looking for an evening out that is a little different from the norm?  Well, you might want to put “Third Thursdays” on your radar. On February 15, not only will CMOA feature Valentine’s Day-focused fun, all CMOA exhibitions and collection galleries will be open to falling in love with all night long. This is not a “one-off.” On the third Thursday of every month, CMOA keeps the art galleries open late, turns up the volume, and welcomes partners throughout the city to create exciting one-of-a-kind programs. Explore the exhibitions, enjoy music, indulge in a late-night café menu, and more! Don’t forget to register online and get your tickets in advance!

To fully experience the breadth and diversity of the world-renowned Carnegie Museums, journey next door to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to discover an epic collection of artifacts, objects, and scientific specimens used to broaden understanding of evolution, conservation, and biodiversity.

The museum is a marvel of halls ranging from botany and birds to African and Arctic wildlife to minerals, gems, and geology to prehistoric mammals and dinosaurs. “Carnegie Museum of Natural History generates new scientific knowledge, advances science literacy, and inspires visitors of all ages to become passionate about science, nature, and world cultures.”

As you explore, check out the traveling exhibition Kwel’ Hoy: We Draw the Line!, which explores the struggle of Indigenous leadership to protect water, land, and our collective future. In Pittsburgh through March 28, the House of Tears Carvers and members of the Lummi Nation have traveled across North America with a hand-carved totem pole to raise awareness about threats to the environment and public health for the past five years.

There is truly something awe-inspiring for everyone. Within a stone’s throw of Franklin West’s Shadyside apartments, and perhaps on your way home from work or school, the Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History in Oakland are worth a pit-stop (hey, on weekdays after 3 pm, admission is half-price!). After you’ve been to these once, we’re sure you’ll want to become a member so that you can enjoy free admission to all of the Carnegie Museums—plus, the Carnegie Science Center, and the Andy Warhol Museum—year round!

We Proudly Support Veterans’ Place

Franklin West, Inc. is proud to support the work of Veterans’ Place.

On December 20th, the Apartment Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh (AAMP)—of which Franklin West, Inc. is an executive board member—presented Veteran’ Place with a contribution of continuing support for anticipated extensive facility renovations, including a new class rooms, laundry facilities,  and an expanded food bank area.

Veterans’ Place is located on Washington Blvd., only a few blocks away from Franklin West’s Shadyside office. They offer a wide array of services dedicated to addressing issues that our veterans face in the Pittsburgh region, including a day program, a transitional housing program, and an employment program.

Franklin West, Inc. also made a donation yesterday, remembering some of our family of employees and friends who proudly served.

Mr. Franklin A. West (U.S. Army)

Mr. John M . Boering (U.S. Air Force)

Mr. Alvin P. “Butch” Lauer (U.S. Army)

Mr. Carl E. Mills (U.S. Air Force)

Mr. Bernard M. McGivern II (U.S. Navy)

Mrs. Gene McNamee Kincaid (U.S. Marine Corps)

Franklin West hopes that these contributions aid the mission of Veterans’ Place in ending homelessness among Pittsburgh veterans.

The holidays can be very difficult for veterans, for those interested in supporting Veterans’ Place, please visit their site here.

Happy Holidays from Franklin West, Inc.

Shop Local: Small Business Saturday in Shadyside

Black Friday gets all the press this time of year. Promotions flood emails and social channels.

At Franklin West Inc., we believe in the importance of raising up local small businesses. So, please join us in sending love to and supporting these neighborhood stops and shops, which bring so much life to the East End community. If you follow us on Instagram, you’ll also see these places take center stage on our page, as we highlight the very best Shadyside’s East End has to offer.

Let’s take a look at some of restaurants and shops that are so near and dear to our hearts.


Located on S. Highland Ave, Noodlehead is truly a Pittsburgh hot-spot for — you guessed it — noodles! They specialize in dishes inspired by the street markets of Thailand, with a beautiful atmosphere to match. After your first visit, we think you’ll be hooked!

If you’re interested in having a drink with your meal, we suggest bringing a bottle along since Noodlehead is BYOB. For more information and a look at their tasty menu, visit their website here.


Right next to Noodlehead is Penhollows, a locally owned and operated shop filled with an ever-changing collection of home furnishings and books — new and rare. Here you’ll find both vintage treasures as well as new items as they celebrate the works of local artists and writers.

Penhollows also incorporates a full Interior Design Center in the shop to help customers create the perfect environment in their home. Read more about the services and how to schedule an appointment here.

If you have an eye for design, this charismatic shop, is the perfect place for you. Truly a gem for our residences looking to add local charm to their home!

Pizza Perfectta

If you continue strolling down S. Highland Ave, you’ll soon see Pizza Perfectta. If a slice of pizza is what you’re craving, skip the large chains, and stop in here. They’ve been serving unique tastes, warm eats, and fresh bites to the community for over 25 years.

Pizza Perfectta is another local favorite, with loyal patronage and love from the neighborhood. On days when you’re set to stay inside, or if you’re ordering food on the fly, you can even order online! You can check out their extensive menu here.

Alex’s East End Floral Shoppe

Alex began selling flowers in 1983 as a street corner vendor in Oakland. Today, he owns and operates his store on Shady Ave, which is now a full service florist. What a flower-filled journey!

In search of personalized gifts or planning an event? Alex’s trusted staff will help you pick out the perfect flower arrangements and flower bouquets for any occasion, big and small. Their wedding bouquets and wedding arrangements have won numerous awards from WeddingWire! Quite the shining accolade.

Since his start 34 years ago, Alex’s flower shop has expanded to include plants, balloons, fruit, munch and gourmet baskets. See some of his shop’s stunning arrangements here.

Four Winds Gallery

On Walnut Street, you’ll find the sublime, eye-catching designs inside Four Winds Gallery. Established in 1974, this gallery offers exceptional Southwestern Native American materials — both historic items and pieces by contemporary artists.

These materials range from photographs from the Edward S. Curtis Estate to jewelry, pottery, paintings, weavings, folk art, and more. This is merely skimming the surface of the renowned and one-of-a-kind items you can find in Four Winds Gallery. To truly get a sense of the breadth of this gallery, visit their site here.

This Small Business Saturday, it’s not just us celebrating small businesses, but the whole Shadyside community, as well! Stop by the Holiday Pop Up Shop on Walnut Street and shop specials all day long at a number of wonderful businesses.

We are so thankful to be a part of such a vibrant and thriving community. Let us all continue to support these locally-owned shops, restaurants, and galleries, for they are truly what make Shadyside’s East End so spectacular.

Shop local this holiday season.

Franklin West Apartments: A Tour Down Shady Avenue

If you know Shadyside, Pittsburgh, you know it’s stately, Victorian homes, tree-lined streets, unique shops, amazing restaurants, and bustling nightlife. What you may not know, is that in the early 1960s, parts of Shadyside were in disarray. With an abundance of neglected homes,  Millionaire’s Row and the surrounding area suffered at the rise of suburban development and mass-produced housing.

Enter: Franklin “Frank” West Jr.

Trained in architecture at Carnegie Tech and city planning at Yale, Frank West saw the potential of Shadyside’s historic houses and location. As highlighted in 2017 edition of Shady Ave Magazine, Frank West was a “pioneer in preservation” and “urban visionary,” raising Shadyside up to be the renowned neighborhood that it is today.

More than 50 years ago, Frank bought his first investment property on Shady Avenue and his vision for building a company that stands the test of time lives on. Today, Franklin West Inc. is the proud steward of 68 buildings in Shadyside—from historical houses with original architecture and details intact to contemporary loft-style apartments.

Let’s take a stroll down Shady Avenue and explore a few of these buildings we hold so dear.

272 Shady Avenue

Built in 1888, 272 Shady Ave was the home to Alfred Hunt, the founder and president of Pittsburgh Reduction Company (now ALCOA). Purchased in 1965, it is now the offices of Franklin West, Inc. This beautiful landmark serves as a testament to the life and history of a building—beyond its four walls—to those who lived and worked inside over the years.  Not only are we seeking to preserve the architecture, but the living history of the community.

513 & 517 Shady Avenue

513 and 517 Shady Ave were Frank West’s first and second purchases. Built approximately in 1877, the two buildings were constructed as mirror images of each other. Their mansard roofs, dormer windows, and cornices supporting decorative brackets reflect the Second Empire Style that was very popular at the time. Standing side-by-side one another, these three-story brick houses are aptly referred to as the “sister” buildings.

260 Shady Avenue

Built in 1874, 260 Shady Ave was the once home to James Hemphill, a partner of Alfred Hunt. Referred to as “the maker of Pittsburgh” by Henry Clay Frick, Hemphill went on to manufacture one of the first aluminum mills for Pittsburgh. Another glowing example of Second Empire Style, this building has been described as “an example of Pittsburgh’s livable excellence” in the 2012 edition of WHIRL.

500 & 512 Shady Avenue

500 Shady Ave was first built in 1888 for a prominent railroader, James D. Layng, and has had several distinguished owners since. In 1979, Ronald McDonald House Charities bought the Queen Anne Victorian, serving as temporary housing for families with children being treated at the Children’s Hospital. The charity purchased its neighbor, 512 Shady Avenue, 12 years later.

Anticipating the completion of new Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the charities moved to Lawrenceville in 2008. As noted in Pop City, Franklin West, Inc. purchased and renovated these properties soon after. Both buildings boast contemporary units, while retaining their historic charm and character.

521 Shady Avenue

Here we end our tour at 521 Shady Ave, built in 2008. Contrasting the renovated Victorian properties, 521 Shady Ave is a modern marvel. You’ll also notice a sculpture situated outside the property. Entitled “The Walk,” the sculpture was created as a memorial to Frank West by his cousin and Pittsburgh sculptor, Jim West.

“In discussing the sculpture’s meaning, James West says that “Franklin West left a great legacy: the balance between the past, present and future… He always looked at the impact upon the present day and of the future while keeping traditions alive.”

As Franklin West, Inc. goes into its second fifty years of development, renovation and preservation, what stories of the neighborhood will it have to preserve and share for future generations?

East Liberty: Pittsburgh’s Shining Star

Have you heard the news?

TIME Magazine has just listed East Liberty as the #1 coolest neighborhood (shared with Lawrenceville) in America right now! Read the article here.

We’re thrilled that the rest of the country is seeing what we’ve known for 50 years. Straddling Shadyside and East Liberty, Franklin West, Inc. has always been a active participant in the neighborhoods we call home. In fact, Frank West was a founding member and avid supporter in the Shadyside Action Coalition and the East Liberty Quarter Chamber of Commerce.

Believing strongly in the importance of preservation of history, architecture, and the character of a community as being a force for positive economic development from within, Frank West was also a founder of the East Liberty Valley Historical Society.

Speaking of The Historical Society, tonight (October 6th at 7:30 pm) marks the second lecture of The Society’s Fall 2017 series. Kenneth Kobus, photographer and author of Steel and Railroad History, will present Allegheny Valley: Its Industries and Railroads.

These enlightening First Friday lectures are free and open to the public, and aim to enrich the lives of the community. Make sure to follow The Society’s Facebook page to stay up-to-date with local events and educational articles published.

To this day, we strongly support these local grassroots organizations. Their continued efforts are a big reason why others are seeing what we already know. We think it’s really cool, too!

We urge all those who live, work, and play in any of Pittsburgh’s many cool neighborhoods to take pride in being a part of the preservation of local charm!