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Stoop City: Celebrating Porch Culture in Bloomfield

Stoop city graphicOn October 10, residents of Bloomfield, Garfield, and Friendship are invited to Stoop City, a decentralized festival that celebrates the area’s stoops and porches as unique community and gathering places.

Why stoops?  Certain cities have iconic architectural characteristics. New York City has rooftop water tanks.  San Francisco has its rows of Victorian houses.  Here in Pittsburgh, we have the front stoop. Stoops represent the spirit of a true American community.  Whether in the form of a porch, steps, or a lawn, Stoops mark the public and private connection between the American family and their neighbors.  Stoops are Pittsburgh’s own form of the white picket fence.

Stoop City, being promoted by Bloomfield Livable Streets, celebrates this often underutilized and under-appreciated Bloomfield amenity.  From musical acts to lawn games to children’s puppet shows, Stoop City is an open invitation for residents and businesses to activate their front porches, creating a safer and more livable street.

During the daylong family-friendly event, Bloomfield is divided into three sections based on three staggering time slots, making Stoop City as walkable as possible.

From 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., Stoop City kicks off in the North East section of Bloomfield, north of Liberty between Graham and Gross. Starting at 2 p.m., porches north of Liberty between Gross and 40th St. will have two hours to show-off their porch pride.Lastly from 4 pm. until 6 p.m., the lively porches south of Liberty will wrap up Stoop City.

Bloomfield Livable Streets hopes that this time framework keeps Stoop City decentralized, allowing the community itself to respond to it.  Unlike a typical street festival, Stoop City sees this celebration “for the people, by the people” that characterizes the d.i.y. spirit of Bloomfield and its neighboring communities.

Complete details, including a map and sign-up forms, can be found on the Bloomfield Livable Streets website.

Residents looking to share their stoops are encouraged to reach out to the creative community and “host” an act.  Acts can range from bands to poetry readings to children musicals.  Hosts can register their stoop and their acts on the website.

Acts or bands looking to showcase their talent, but don’t know of a porch, can also sign up on the website.  Efforts will be made to match them with an appropriate host.

Bloomfield Livable Streets is an independent community organization composed of concerned residents and business owners. BLS advocates for infrastructural enhancements that promote accessibility and safety for all users of Bloomfield streets.  BLS meets monthly on the 4th Tuesday of the month, 6pm at the East End Book Exchange, 4754 Liberty Ave.

– By Bruce Chan, Chair, Bloomfield Livable Streets