Holiday shopping in Polish Hill: books, craft items, music and more

Lili holiday sale

Lili Cafe will have a one day holiday craft sale on Sunday December 14 from 3 – 8 p.m.  Many of the items are by Polish Hill artists and craftspeople.  There are also Lili Cafe gift certificates, so you can treat a friend to good coffee and food anytime they want.

Also in Polish Hill, check out:

Mindcure Records — upstairs from Lili, an excellent record shop with music in many genres, plus releases from the Mindcure label.  Open Tue – Sat 12 – 8 and Sun 12-5.  Phone:  412.621.1715.

Copacetic Comics — not just comics and graphic novels, Copacetic is also a very good small bookstore with lots of good bargain priced books; also cd’s, movies, cards and more.  If you’re not sure what to get, owner Bill Boichel can recommend something.  He can also order anything you want.  Open Mon – Fri 11-5, Sat 11-7, and Sun noon-5.  Phone:  412.251.5451.

Polish Hill Civic Association — t-shirts, holiday cards, notecards, postcards, and other items with a Polish Hill theme.  Items are also available in the online shore.  Sales benefit the organization.  Open Mon – Fri 10 – 6.  Phone:  412.681.1950.

Light Up and Holiday Potluck on Tuesday, December 2

3 trees

Polish Hill starts off the holiday season with three events on Tuesday, December 2.  All residents are welcome to attend!

5:30 – 6:00 p.m. Light Up at Brereton and Dobson Streets
Lighting the big fir at the monument, candy canes for the kids, and maybe some caroling.

6:30 – 8:30 p.m. General Community Meeting and Holiday Potluck at West Penn Recreation Center (lower level)
A short community meeting where the votes for the PHCA board election will be counted and the winners announced.  Then on to the fun:  visiting with neighbors over a big spread of food from some of the best cooks in Polish Hill.  Email us or call 412.681.1950 to let us know what you plan to bring.

Final week of the Three Rivers Film Festival


It’s the third and final week of the Three Rivers Film Festival, the oldest and largest film festival in the region.  The program this year includes sneak peeks, American and foreign dramas, documentaries, indies, restored classics and much more.  Any of these screenings would be worthy of attention; here are a couple that might be of particular interest to Polish Hill residents:

Thursday November 20    9:00 p.m. Mind Cure Records Presents
Polish Hill’s Mind Cure Records presents a night of local music and video collaborations.  This program showcases different ways that bands and musicians based in the Pittsburgh region are using the video medium to raise awareness of their music and themselves.  (At Brillobox, 4104 Penn Ave)
Wednesday, November 19  7:00 p.m.  The Saragossa Manuscript
Adapted from a novel by Jan Potocki, this is considered one of the great masterpieces of Polish cinema.  Co-presented by the Polish Cultural Council.  (At Regent Square Theater, 1035 Braddock Ave)

For more information, check out the festival website.

Historic sign tagged with graffiti


The Mother’s Bread sign, on the side of a house on Dobson Street, is over a hundred years old and is one of the best-preserved examples of an early hand-painted advertising sign in Pittsburgh.  It’s been written about in many articles and photographed innumerable times.

Sadly, last night someone spray painted a large tag on the sign.  Jim Young, who owns and lives in the house, called the police and a report has been filed.  Jim says that he’s been advised not to touch it yet, but already people are thinking about how to remove the graffiti without damaging the original sign.  We’ll be working with the City to get some help on this and keeping in touch with the police in hopes that whomever is responsible will be caught.  A garage down the block on Dobson was painted with this same tag a few days earlier.  and the police might be able to link it to someone.

The Mother’s Bread sign came to light after the neighboring building was demolished in 2007.  The sign, probably painted in the 1910’s, was in remarkably good condition because it had been covered up all those years.  The sign rapidly became one of the most-photographed sights in Polish Hill and people come through the neighborhood just to see it.  Jim Young says, “It’s been photographed constantly since it was revealed in ’07.  It’s a band’s album cover, background for modeling pics, and made it into a coffee table book about ghost signs. I’ve even bought art with my house on it at the Arts Festival. I know people like it as much as I do.  I’ve tried to encourage its lasting integrity with interior sealing of cracks and holes since it was revealed.”

Read more about the sign:

According to a 2011 article in the Post-Gazette, the sign was painted by Maurice “Red” O’Donnell.

Polish Hill resident Mark O’Connor wrote about the sign in a beautifully evocative essay about childhood, published in the Polish Hill Voice in May 2011.

The sign was featured in an article about old hand-painted advertising signs in the Tribune-Review in September 2012.

Photos from the Immaculate Heart of Mary School Reunion reception

On October 18, graduates from the Immaculate Heart of Mary School gathered to attend a reunion Mass, followed by a reception in Rosary Hall. In attendance were graduates from the 1930s until 1997, when the school closed. IHM Church and volunteers provided an impressive spread of food, and many people contributed photos and memorabilia to decorate the room. About 200 people attended the mass, and the reception hall was crowded and lively as people gathered to reminisce with old friends and family. The reunion was a big success and many people were heard to say that they wished it could happen ever year!

 (all photos by Leslie Clague for the PHCA)

Represent Polish Hill in the Bloomfield Halloween Parade!


On Thursday, October 30, we’ll be participating in the Bloomfield Halloween parade leading a group of Polish Hill residents and friends and a brass band including Lungs Face Feet and members of the May Day Marching Band.  This will be the third year we’ve participated in the parade and we’d love to have you join us.  Anyone is welcome.  Come in costume and meet us in front of Alexander’s restaurant (5104Liberty Avenue) in Bloomfield at 7:00 p.m.  The parade will begin at 7:30.

For more information, call us at 412.681.1950 or email us.

Fill out the Polish Hill traffic calming survey!


Some of the most difficult issues facing our neighborhood are related to traffic, particularly the number of vehicles that cut through Polish Hill and the speed at which many drivers move through our streets.  We’ve been working with Zone 2 traffic division, District 7 Council office, and the City of Pittsburgh to find ways to slow down and perhaps reduce the traffic that comes through our neighborhood.

To request traffic calming improvements such as crosswalks, signage or speed humps, we need to have data to make the case, including as much input as possible from residents.  To that end, we’ve created a traffic calming survey.  If this is an issue you care about, please take a few minutes to fill out the survey.

Fill out the survey online, or pick up a paper copy at the PHCA office.

And if you use the East Busway, you might want to check out this mindmixer document from GoBurgh.  You can add your own ideas to the document, which was created for residents to talk about what they like and don’t like about the bus way and the areas surrounding it.

Halloween plans — please join us!


The PHCA has a couple of cool things planned for Halloween and we’re calling for residents to join us. Whether you are interested in helping with traffic calming efforts or just want a chance to show off a really great Halloween costume, we’ve got something for you.

On Thursday, October 30, we’ll be participating in the Bloomfield Halloween parade leading a group of Polish Hill residents and friends and a brass band including Lungs Face Feet and members of the May Day Marching Band.  This will be the third year we’ve participated in the parade and this year, we’d like to take an even bigger group to represent Polish Hill.  If you have kids who would like to be in a parade, you and your friends or family have an idea for a fun costume, a float, a drill team, or if you just want to come along and help hand out candy, we’d love to have you there.  It would be great to have Polish Hill really represent in the biggest and best nighttime parade in Pittsburgh!

And on Friday, October 31 the PHCA will be doing a traffic calming event from 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. Volunteers will be handing out candy to safe drivers to remind them to slow down while passing through Polish Hill.  Volunteers will be stationed at Melwood and Finland and (if enough people volunteer) on Dobson street, either at Herron Avenue or at Hancock street.  We did this last year and got a really great response.  There will be a meeting for traffic calming volunteers at the PHCA office on Monday, Oct 20 at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on either the parade or the traffic calming, call us at 412.681.1950, or email

(Photo by Mark Knobil)

Calling all Polish Hill parents!

Calling all polish hill Families

Anyone who lives in Polish Hill has probably noticed that there are a lot more kids around these days. If you have school aged children, you probably know that our neighborhood feeds into the following public schools:
— Woolslair K-5,
— Arsenal PreK-5,
— Arsenal 6-8, and
— Milliones 6-12 (also known as University Prep)

Student achievement at all of these schools is in the lowest 15% of Pennsylvania’s public schools.

A group of Polish Hill parents hope to create a network of families in the neighborhood who know one another, want to enhance Polish Hill’s amenities for children, and who are interested in demanding better learning environments for our children in the public schools.

Join them for a brainstorming session about what this could look like on Tuesday, October 28 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at 3029 Pulawski Way. Children are welcome. RSVP if possible to

Harvest Moon Pet Parade on October 26

Harvest Moon Pet Parade Oct 2014

Cindi Hickman and her grandson Axler had a great idea for a fall event and they asked for our help in getting the word out.  They’re planning a Harvest Moon Pet Parade to take place on Sunday, October 26th.  Anyone interested in walking with them should meet at noon at the intersection of Melwood and Finland.  Costumes — for you and your pet — are not required, but certainly encouraged.

Cindi says,”All pets & neighbors please come & share the celebration of our incredible Polish Hill, the fall season and our beloved pets!”

For more information, message Cindi on Facebook.

Coming up soon, an opportunity to participate in another parade.  We’re looking for residents who would like to march with us to represent Polish Hill in the Bloomfield Halloween Parade.  If interested, contact us at 412.681.1950, or email