Thursday, June 21, 2012

Farewell to Babyland

EAST LIBERTY -- When I moved to Pittsburgh in 1976, my first apartment wasn't far from Negley Avenue and Baum Boulevard.  A few blocks up Negley, at its intersection with Penn Avenue, sat Babyland. I had no need for a store like that back then, but over the years I bought baby gifts there. And I used Babyland as a babylandmark when giving restaurant or store directions to new Burghers, even as recently as a month ago. 

After 61 years at that location, Babyland is moving to a new, as-yet-undisclosed location. So what will happen to that old familiar building? I don't see it crumbling or remaining empty for long. Its neighborhood of East Liberty, just on the cusp of Garfield with it's new and trendy eateries and artist havens, has gotten much more than a new coat of paint recently. In fact the make-over of East Liberty is stunning in its breadth. New housing, shops, library, attitude. The possibilities are that another retail business will move in, or a restaurant, or the building will be torn down to make way for something that I hope will be great.

So, farewell to the old Babyland. In a city where nothing much ever used to change, this is a sign that change is now the new norm.