Painting a new image for Deutschtown

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

Deutschtown denizen Randy Strothman, one of Walkabout’s eyes and ears, wants to change the way people see the North Side, with a focus on the part the city still calls East Allegheny. He’s been active and involved there for many years and was one of the first people I knew who was on Facebook.

He had his own page and was networking like crazy when I was still plugging VHS tapes into the slot on an old TV. Oh wait. I still do that every once in a while. But the point is, he was an early bird and posts with vigor.

Recently, with friends Jen Saffron and  Rachel Booth, who runs, he started a “Welcome to Deutschtown” Facebook page, hoping to change the conversation about what’s happening there.

It’s all about the good stuff. When you live in a neighborhood that gets dissed all the time — in this case, any neighborhood on the North Side — you have an uphill fight to sell your ‘hood. As most of us know, perception is what guides people’s thinking.

If reality shaped people’s decisions about where to live, more of them would think twice about some “cool” high-profile neighborhoods that have high crime rates against property and not a little physical crime as well.

We all have it but some neighborhoods seem coated with Teflon.

This photo, courtesy of Randy, is of East Ohio Street’s south-western-most block, which also includes a Rita’s. Across the street, in the former JR’s Bar, Renee Tokar opened the Muddy Cup Cafe in March.

Deutschtown’s a place more people have been finding in the past decade or so. It has a lot more retail than any other North Side neighborhood and, as Randy writes, it is “just across the river from Pittsburgh’s Cultural District and next to the new North Shore. Our neighborhood is historic, real, surprising and developing...”

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