Every shirt has a story.
Recognized on the international stage with a storied history of innovation, and the smallest city in the world to have an operating subway system, Rochester is usually passed off as just another Rust Belt city, or worse, Upstate. Neither of these labels are actually true: show me one reference to Rochester being called a Rust Belt city that wasn’t written by a Rochesterian, or where our steel mills were located. And geography-wise, Upstate is a matter of perspective. Would Syracuse, Albany, Buffalo, Watertown, Plattsburgh, or Potsdam call us ‘Upstate?‘
Since 2013, I’ve been sharing stories of my city with life-long residents, transplants, and visitors alike, seeing firsthand how much pride Rochesterians feel about their hometown. I’ve featured neighborhoods, subway stops, seasons, city nicknames, even urban legends. I’ve also been a nomad, setting up pop-up shops at various art shows and festivals, working to celebrate as many city neighborhoods as possible without feeling confined to set my shop in only one.
In 2016, I sought to expand my formula to other cities. My two requirements were that they have or had some form of public rail (subway, trolley, streetcar, public rail being a sign of urban prosperity), and a community of people proud to say they’re from that city. Enter Pittsburgh.
The Steel City has been a long time favorite of mine, and with the former Buffalo, Rochester, and Pittsburgh Railway connecting our two cities, it felt like a natural fit. After two years of development and applying to shows, I was given a VERY warm welcome by the yinzer community and continue today exploring and sharing the history culture and pride of Pittsburgh alongside my hometown.