Stan's Market on Penn Avenue in the Strip District of Pittsburgh has long been an icon. I remember taking this image in June of 2003 w/ an old Canon PowerShot that was made during the time digital cameras were taking off.
Yes, that long ago.
But back to Stan's.
Generations have shopped here, all took advantage of fresh produce so close to downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods at great prices and variety. The city had a vibrant Strip District neighborhood for quite some time, dating back to the early 19th century. Strong ethnic roots have been laid in the alleys and main thoroughfares. Early tenants of the Strip District included U.S. Steel, Westinghouse, The Pittsburgh Reduction Company (ALCOA), and later The H.J. Heinz Company (*wikipedia.org). Big industry fueled the local economy and the Strip District flourished into a hub of transport for fresh veggies, meats, bananas, fruits...it was a central hub for the entire Pittsburgh region.
When I picture the Strip in my mind I see it in this frame of Stan's. It brings me to images taken 30, 40, 50+ years ago of the same area that I have seen and b&w suites the atmosphere and the nostalgia. The hand-painted sign, the draping canvas to shun the rain and the seldom sun, racks upon racks of color, aroma and edible varietal.
Today Stan's Market still stands, still packs in the generations of customers. It rings true of "mom & pop" and the small, independent city store and is a staple for shoppers on all the days of the week, not just Saturdays when the suburbs flock to Penn Avenue in the Strip.
Everyone deserves to visit Stan's, no matter if you are buying handfuls of fresh herbs, potatoes, greens or fruits or just window shopping.
It's worth the step back into history and supporting a local Pittsburgh icon.
and while you are searching for Pittsburgh history about the Strip District you can view an episode of "It's Pittsburgh" by Rick Sebak, the episode airing on Dec. 22, 2010 has a feature on the Strip District on the infamous "Saturday before Christmas in the Strip".
"SATURDAY before Christmas in the STRIP!
Cameraman Frank Caloiero weaves his way through the crowds while I stop and talk to anybody and everybody. The Strip still has wonderful characters, stupendous foodstuff and lots of homemade wine!" (*wqed.org).
It's always great to see Jimmy, who's interviewed during the end of the episode and Enrico's too.