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Brookline is one of the largest communities in the City of Pittsburgh, with a population of over fourteen-thousand. Located south of Downtown Pittsburgh, Brookline is home to hard-working families of many ethnicities. Brookline Boulevard, the communitys main corridor, boasts many unique shops, restaurants, beauty salons and bakeries. Brookline is home to many active community groups, including the South Pittsburgh Development Corporation, a recently renovated branch of the Carnegie Library, and the annual Brookline Breeze 5k run/walk.

  • Population: 14,318

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Median home price: $71,278 Population: 9,089 Factoid: Named for Brookline, Mass.

We Are Family

With Egyptian cheeses, fresh falafel and open casks of bulghur wheat displayed under gleaming silver hookah pipes, the atmosphere here evokes a Middle Eastern market. Grandmothers in modest headscarves mingle in the aisles with blue-jeaned singles shopping for a taste of the exotic. Both kinds of customers flock to Pitaland, Brookline Boulevard's answer to the bazaar.

Pittsburgh's second-largest neighborhood sits atop century-old coal mines, and its values run equally deep. Perched along the crest of the South Hills, its solidly built four-squares bespeak strong family ties to this community centered at Brookline Boulevard and Pioneer Avenues one hill south of Mount Washington. When the century-old development was laid out, land was so cheap that much of it was sold for cemeteries; that sense of spacious suburban living persists in 1950s-style ranch houses just a few blocks from the business district. If you don't want the hassle of grass-mowing, this neighborhood also offers great apartment buildings.

PitalandFrom Turkish coffee to pita bread, Brookline Boulevard's Pitaland provides Middle Eastern catering and wholesale cuisine.

Nearly 80 percent of Brookline residents own their own homes in this middle-class community, where average home values have risen slowly--about $20,000--in the past 10 years. And new families are finding a welcome here, too.

"It's safe and peaceful and welcoming," says Beth McCracken, a paralegal who works out of her century-old farmhouse on Beaufort Avenue, a Brookline property she purchased with partner Ginny Bell three years ago. The pair stopped almost by accident at its "For Sale" sign a few years back; when they walked in, they fell in love with its woodwork, butler's pantry and big windows. "When it snows, there's almost a race among the neighbors to help you clear your sidewalk or windshield," she says.

Brookline streetBrookline has made an asset of the steep streets that fall away from either side of Brookline Boulevard with Brookline Breeze, a popular 5K foot race that pushes competitors of all ages. Debbie Brust, who's lived on Berkshire Avenue for 16 years, is director of this year's race, to be held Aug. 12.

"It's always been really kid-oriented around here. The more kid-friendly activities we offer, the more families are attracted," she says. Brookline Park is home to strong youth leagues in soccer, football and Little League baseball--the latter given grand status in the art-deco arch leading to the baseball diamonds.

Brookline FirehouseBrookline Firehouse, built in 1909, is one of the oldest standing engine houses in PIttsburgh.

The family feeling attracts second and third generations back to the community. On a sunlit weekday, the folks pushing strollers on Brookline Boulevard or enjoying swings at Moore Park's playground overlooking downtown are likely to be grandparents providing babysitting and spoiling. With the Liberty tubes two miles down the hill, the kids' parents can commute home from downtown in about 20 minutes.

Spacious Brookline Boulevard, with four lanes and plenty of curbside parking, is scheduled for a $9 million facelift in the next few years. Stalwarts like Kribel's Bakery have been joined by newcomer Nico's Coffee Cove, and neighbors like McCracken and Bell often dine at the cozy Moonlight Cafe.

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