News Around the Neighborhood

PHLF: A Virtual Tour of Historic Mexican War Streets

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Thursday, January 20
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Fee: $7.50

This tour will be conducted via Zoom Conference. Click here to purchase a ticket to RSVP and you will receive a login e-mail on January 20. Please log in at 5:45 p.m. to allow us enough time to let you into the tour.

Historic Mexican War Streets

Explore one of the most colorful sections of Pittsburgh’s North Side neighborhood. You’ll learn about the history of the neighborhood, including creation of Allegheny Commons and the Mexican War Streets, and become familiar with the picturesque variety of Victorian architectural styles there. Historic preservation figures prominently in this tour, highlighting how PHLF and the Mexican War Streets Society used preservation strategies to reverse neighborhood decline and disinvestment.

The tour also features historic structures that have been creatively re-purposed by individuals, including the Mattress Factory, City of Asylum/Alphabet City, and the whimsically artful world of Randyland.

Letter from the President – December 2021

Contact: Bob Griewahn |

Greetings from a December morning, as I write this. December brings colder weather and shorter days, so enjoy the long evenings in your cozy home (or the home of a friend). I hope you were able to make it to the Allegheny West Christmas Tree Lighting event at the beginning of the month. We had a lovely time, and the tree looked beautiful. Actually, it still does, and if you missed the lighting, you can still admire the tree at the northeast corner of Western and Galveston Avenues.

Although the tree looks magical, it didn’t get there purely by magic. Many thanks are in order for the volunteers who made it happen. First and foremost, thanks go to Sally Graubarth who coordinated the tree raising and decorating. She also rolled the tree base (an electrical cable spool from Graybar Electric on N. Lincoln Avenue) down Galveston. What a sight that must have been.

She had some elves to help, in setting up the tree and decorating it. Aaron, Trish, Nonie, Carol, Mary, Holly, and Penny were all out there hanging lights and ornaments when I stopped by to “supervise”.  And, I’m sure there were others who lent a hand as well.

Thank you to all the volunteers.

A very special thank you, also, goes to John DeSantis, who allowed us to use his property, and his electricity, for the tree.

The lighting ceremony was well-attended, and several folks brought refreshments for the assembly.  I can attest that all of the cookies were delicious, since I felt it necessary to try (at least) one of each variety.

The tree will be up for several more weeks, I believe.  So, again, if you haven’t yet seen it, please head down to Western Avenue for a look.  I recommend going at dusk or in the evening, if possible, but the tree looks wonderful at any time.

In more mundane matters, we’ll have the final AWCC membership meeting of 2021 on Tuesday, December 14 at 7:30 pm.  This will be a virtual meeting using Zoom.  You’ll find the agenda and Zoom link elsewhere in this copy of the Gazette.

That wraps up my December message.  I wish you all a safe and merry holiday season!

Bob Griewahn
AWCC president

Cocktail Corner

Philadelphia Fish-House Punch

It’s the entertaining season, so let’s make some punch.

Combine in a punch bowl:

  • 1 pound of superfine sugar
  • 16 ounces of lemon juice (or lime juice)

Stir to dissolve. Add:

  • 3 cups of Jamaican rum
  • 12 ounces of cognac
  • 12 ounces of peach brandy
  • 3½ quarts water

Approximate yield: 25 cups

Adapted from the Philadelphia Telegraph, 1880 from a recipe dated 1795.


  • As always, drink responsibly.
  • You’ll need a large punch bowl, since the recipe yields over 6 quarts of punch.
  • Chill with a block of ice.
  • You might be able to use lemon sorbet as well, but then cut back the sugar a bit
  • Any golden, full-bodied rum can be substituted for the Jamaican rum.

Miss the Paper Gazette?

Contact: Cathy Serventi |

You may have noticed the absence of the paper version of the monthly Gazette for the last couple of months.  First, we want to send out our sincere thanks to Karen Beer for her years of service creating the paper version of the monthly Gazette!  If you see Karen out and about (usually with her adorable pup) please take a moment and express your appreciation.  Unfortunately Karen has had to step down from the editor position in October.

Special thanks also to the Sweeneys, the Kutters, Elizabeth Barbush, Tim Zinn, and the Beers for take the time each month to distribute the Gazette to each house every monthly.

We are looking for a volunteer to take over editing and managing the distribution of the paper Gazette to the volunteers who hand them out.  If we are unable to identify a volunteer we will be switching permanently to an electronic version of the Gazette.  If you’re interested in hearing more about the role please contact Cathy at

Calvary United Methodist Christmas Open House

Contact: Brian Burns at either or (724) 388-3246
Date and Time: Saturday, December 18 from 1:00-7:00 pm

Please join us as Calvary presents a Christmas Open House! This free event features tours of the church, live music with choir and organ, a vintage item sale, homemade soups for takeout, cookies and refreshments, a kid’s area with crafts, and a Special Jolly Visitor! Beech Avenue will be open for a self-guided stroll down the historic festively decorated street, featuring carolers.

We are looking for donations for cookies and homemade soup. Also, volunteers are needed for setup, cleanup, crafts, food sales, cookie and refreshment table, question/answer time, and carolers. Please contact Brian Burns at either or (724) 388-3246 with any questions or if you would like to help out with a donation or volunteer.

Visit our website for more information! –


01:00-7:00 pm — Vintage sale, soup takeout, refreshments, kid’s crafts
03:00-3:15 pm — Music
03:15-4:00 pm — Tour, questions, and fellowship
04:00-4:15 pm — Music
04:15-5:00pm — Tour, questions, and fellowship
 * 5:00 pm — “Special Jolly Visitor” arrives *
05:30-6:00 pm — Final tour, questions, and fellowship
06:00-7:00 pm — Final purchases, church closes at 7:00pm

Bell’Art Ensemble Live in Concert

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Bell’Art Ensemble: TREASURES

Monday, December 20th
7:00 pm

Think for a moment about the struggles of the world in these past two years. What did we learn? What did we cherish the most? Were these thoughts precisely the ones that inspired this journey of music that evokes hope, loved ones, optimism, laughter—all the things we treasured along the way. Bell’Art Ensemble will explore all these cherished emotions and memories through stirring song. City of Asylum fans will remember their intimate virtual concerts last year and their soothing in-person performances over the years, live from our stage. You choose which way to watch them now.

Music by: Händel, Finzi, Adams, Guastavino, Amaya

With flexible instrumentation, guest musicians and eclectic programming, the Bell’Art Ensemble commits to breaking down preconceived ideas about classical music in order to connect chamber music with a new audience. They produce the Living Room Chamber Music Project, a decade-long series of concerts designed to bring classical music out of the concert hall and into intimate spaces.

SiriusXM Real Jazz’s Mark Ruffin

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Bebop Fairy Tales: On Jazz, Intolerance, and Baseball

Wednesday, December 1st
7:00 pm

Mark Ruffin, known as the afternoon drivetime DJ for SiriusXM’s Real Jazz channel, joins us virtually live to read from his collection of “jazz short stories,” Bebop Fairy Tales. A scintillating blend of historical fiction with jazz and, yes, baseball—the collection weaves connections between the two great and uniquely American pastimes, and explores how both are an expression and arbiter of race in America.

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This program is a conversation with a true jazz expert. Moderated by Dr. Aaron Johnson, musician and Professor of Jazz at the University of Pittsburgh. Learn more.

Kamratōn and Nicole Mitchell in Concert

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Kamratōn Concert with Nicole Mitchell

Sunday, November 21st
6:00 pm

Pittsburgh-based chamber ensemble Kamratōn was founded to center women-created new music, challenge the boundaries of new music, and celebrate the role of women as leaders in the arts. Sunday’s concert is the culmination of a year-long focus on the work of flutist and composer Nicole Mitchell, Chair of Jazz Studies at The University of Pittsburgh. The concert is the premiere of a new work by Mitchell, followed by pieces curated exclusively by Mitchell.  Featuring Pittsburgh musicians Jeff Grubbs (bass) and Anqwenique Wingfield (vocals) for works by Nicole Mitchell, Yvette Jackson, Brittany J. Green, and others.

See a 2020 original commission by Nicole Mitchell @ City of Asylum and catch her newest piece live on 11/21.

There are two ways to watch the program: in-person at our venue Alphabet City or live-streamed online. You can make a reservation for dining before, during, or after the program at the in house restaurant 40 North. Make a reservation via Open Table.

A Powerful Film for Educators, Parents and the Community

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Antibias Education and Beyond: 
Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Thursday, November 18
6:00 pm

Join P.R.I.D.E. (Positive Racial Identity Development In Early Education) for a documentary screening of Reflecting on Anti-bias Education in Action: The Early Years and a discussion with the filmmakers. 

A new film, Reflecting on Anti-bias Education in Action: The Early Years (48 minutes), produced by Debbie LeeKeenan and John Nimmo,  features vignettes of anti-bias strategies in early childhood classrooms interspersed with teachers reflecting on their practice.  Debbie and John partnered with filmmaker Filiz Efe McKinney of Brave Sprout Productions to create a film that shifts the focus away from the talking heads of experts and on to the voices of teachers committed to equity on a daily basis. By taking viewers into diverse early childhood classrooms, the film seeks to demonstrate the importance of teacher reflection on identity, context, and practice in anti-bias education and provides a much-needed resource for teacher education and professional development. 

PRIDE LogoP.R.I.D.E. is a program within the Office of Child Development at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. Our goals are to help young African American children develop a positive racial identity, support teachers and parents by building their racial knowledge, and raise awareness of the impact of race on young children. We provide them with various learning opportunities, including educator trainings, Parent Village sessions for Black children and their families, Speaker Series events to educate the community and art festivals created to immerse young Black children in a space designed to celebrate them.