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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > TV > Cities > Industry > Neighborhoods > North Side Story (WQED Multimedia – Pittsburgh)

North Side Story (WQED Multimedia – Pittsburgh)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: B     Main Program: B



Across the river from Downtown Pittsburgh, the North Side has its immediate business and residential district, but the former City Of Allegheny is made up of several dozen neighborhood towns and North Side Story (1997) unravels this little-told story about an important area.  While telling about its past and formation, including using some very old (and great) film footage, it explains the past while cutting back to showing the present.  This works well enough.


The show uses an effective approach, but in this case, I wish there was more about the past because the industry and very wealthy people who used to live there are too unexplored.  Some of the streets where they lived (to avoid the pollution of the mills many of them profited from) have even been destroyed because lesser forces refused to give them the landmark status they deserve, thus are the limits of this show for someone in the know.


Still, it is excellent for what is there and maybe a sequel is possible.  With a wave of rebuilding going on over there with two new sports stadiums to boot, it just might be time for it.


The 1.33 X 1 image is nice shot in professional analog NTSC video and looks pretty good and the transfer is about as good as it is going to get.  There are some color and definition limits, plus the stock footage is going to cause variance, but it is pleasant enough to enjoy.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has no surrounds, but is nicely recorded and Sebak’s narration is never too forward while interviews are clean.


Extras include promos for this and dozens of other great programs from this and related series WQED has produced, then adds the (premature?) implosion of Three Rivers Stadium, Steeler tailgating, Del Monte still producing products at the old Heinz food factories, the Allegheny West House Tour & Miniature Railroad & Village attractions there and an Observatory Hill visit which is a location of broad land that epitomizes the land and neighborhood the area continues to be.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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