Christos Razhdayetsvya – Slavite Jeho!
Merry Orthodox Christmas!
We have gyros and other Lebanese treats, as we do every Friday, at the Dierkens Pharmacy parking lot, on Main Street at Park Avenue across from Sheetz, from 10 AM until about 6 PM.(But is it impressive …or what …that Oussama is out there today?!! He and his coworker Ata have three rotisseries going – and I think he was implying that it was helpful to have three going as a way to keep warm, but that’s an awful lot of sizzling gyro meat waiting for you to stop by.)
(BTW – Our gyro vendors are not of the Orthodox Christian faith, but they do sell their goods very close to where Namie’s Confectionery once was, and the Namie family, as well as the Solomons, the Haddads, and many others, are descended from Orthodox Christian immigrants from Syria, people of the Anthiochian Orthodox Church, and the food sold at the gyro stand is pretty much the same cuisine as theirs.)
Christmas at St. Nicholas
I had a wonderful time attending the “Nativity of Christ” Christmas service this morning at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church (located on Marne Avenue, at the corner with Sixth Street). Such beautiful music. The air filled with incense. The icon images and shining gold trim of the iconostasis screen giving focus to the front of the room. The heaven-like blue walls and ceiling lit by the deeper blue light coming through stained glass windows. The words all being chanted rather than read. Bits of the Old Church Slavonic language here and there. Shimmering vestments on more than a half dozen congregation leaders. People seated in almost every pew, with bright red clothing here and there. A tall, perfect-looking Christmas tree in the corner and, not far from it, a nativity scene surrounded by bright red and white poinsettias, as well as a large bank of lit candles in the opposite front corner. Some Christmas carols in Slavonic and several more, just after the mass was served, from the traditional English repertoire: O Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night, Joy to the World… but the English words were generally limited to one stanza, sometimes followed by a stanza in Slavonic.
Several things amazed me at St. Nicholas. Maybe most of all was the good turn out (45-50 people – I couldn’t see everyone, especially the choir members singing and chanting from the loft behind me). Congregation members tell me the church is growing. I saw many familiar faces. Sitting in the back row, I also saw at least four different hair colors – gray was one of them, but not overwhelmingly so – many were dark brown, but there was also some red hair (not even counting my lingering remnants from my pre-gray days) and blond.
The church is no longer reflective of just one ethnic group, but families with some Rusin roots predominate, in some cases as blended families. Despite the variety of people, you could still see something of the ancient world of Kievan-Rus in the faces, especially in the smiles and smiling eyes (something like the stereotype of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” but with different colored irises, much deeper in color).
But one of the most striking things was to see that fully one-fourth of the people in the room were younger than college age. In the chancel, alongside the priest, there was a deacon who is a seminarian, plus no fewer than four altar boys – as I was to learn later, the church actually has six altar boys at present, and all were scheduled to serve at today’s service, but two couldn’t get to the service because of the snow.
After mass, the congregation gathered in the church dining hall, below the sanctuary, for coffee, cookies, and bagels. I spoke with old friends with familiar Rusin names – names that have been around Monongahela since even before this congregation was formed in 1911 – such as Lomago and Timko.
St. Nicholas is a church of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese headquartered in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. I believe this denomination is the only Orthodox Church group not tied to an existing hierarchy in another country. They use the name “Russia” and sometimes “Russian” because their culture dates back to Kievan-Rus, an ancient civilization centered in Kiev (Kyiv), Ukraine, although they are from areas over 800 miles southwest of Russia – the homeland of this congregation’s founders is west of Lvov, Ukraine, a city which is 300 miles west of Kiev, Ukraine (the Slavic part of Russia, the next country northeast of Ukraine, is centered on Moscow, 500 miles northeast of Kiev).
Kievan-Rus was once a powerful and expansive empire. The people in and around Ukraine referred to themselves as “Rus” before the outlying areas now known as “Russia” and “Belarus,” became separate countries, and centuries before the area closer to Kiev became a separate nation and took the name “Ukraine” (ironically sometimes translated from Russian usage as “frontier,” as if Ukraine were now, somehow, on the outskirts of Russia, a country that started off like a “suburb” of Kievan-Rus, to the far northeast).
Ukraine is an area referred to as a “breadbasket,” a large landscape of thousands of farm fields, appearing in aerials as gently sloped, 100% productive farm land. The Rusins are mostly from a section west of Ukraine (in the mountains, where trees and wood industries, traditionally needed to support manufacturing and shipping, take the place of some of the farm fields and farms found in Ukraine). Most of the Rusins have been within the national boundaries of Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, and some other countries for centuries, because the boundaries were moved to place the rugged mountains in those countries. The denomination was once referred to as “Greek Catholic,” meaning from Catholic countries but culturally Orthodox as the Greek half of the Roman Empire has remained since the “Great Schism” of 1054 A.D.
The history of St. Nicholas, as given on their web site, includes information on which villages they came from and lists the names of some of the founders: “They arrived in America seeking a better life for themselves and their families from the villages of Swierzowa Ruska, Dlugie, Radosyna, Vysna Polianka, Nizhna Polianka, Jedlinka, Mikulasova, Dobova, Mykulivci, Kopynivci, Kal’nyk, Chopivcy, Andrijivka, Benedykivci, Ivanica, Nove Davydkovo, Velyki Lucky, Brid and Irshava. The names of the founders listed in the newspaper Amerikansky Russky Viestnik are: Andrej Dzamba, Peter Karmazin, Stanislav Kopko, Georgiy Kachmarik, Peter Durkota, Tomko Dubets, Onfry Dzhuba, Tomko Kovalko, Georgiy Yatsina, Vasily Stanko, Fedor Legeza, Ivan Roman, Grits Goydan, Michail Levkulich, Georgiy Kopko. The first cantor (dyak) was Fedor Glagola.”
New Stores Still Opening
New stores keep opening. I don’t know how they’ve found so many nooks and crannies to put new stores in.
A sign went up in the last week on the space in the Gertrude Flats Building, next to DeVore Hardware, where Bartman Plumbing is. In addition to remaining an office/headquarters for Bartman Plumbing, the storeroom will house a new consignment business run by Tim Bartman, dealing in lightly used sporting equipment and similar items (think balls of various sizes, baseball bats, gloves, maybe some golf clubs). The sign says “Dis-or-Dat”
ALSO COMING SOON – There are rumors of a new Hoagie place that will open before long in the Main Street area. This may even relate to a certain “Coming Soon” sign already hanging in a store window on Main Street in New Eagle. The sign doesn’t specify what is coming soon, but new melamine-clad counters have already been installed.
Wineries And It’s “Wine O’Clock” Somewhere
People were busy at work today delivering more containers at the new Dead Head Winery, which should be opening soon. My guess a month ago was that they seemed to have about 100 of these 100-gallon vats, and they were almost all full of wine. I’m told the number of vats is fewer, but a better number to go on is that they already have over $1 million worth of wine made and ready to go when the permits are issused allowing them to open to the public.
But we also learned this week about a “homeless” winery. In the part of the village of Large that is back from Rt. 51, where the cluster of former workers’ houses/company houses is, there is a business known as “Wine O’Clock Somewhere Winery” which has lost it’s lease and is looking for a new home. They are only looking for a few hundred square feet. Does anyone out there have some suitable commercial space for rent? (Check their Facebook page for other details.)
It’s Great To Have So Many Friends
We’ve seen a spike in the number of people asking to friend our Facebook page. This is a wonderful sign. But if they are asking to friend the ArchivioCalliopica page (which is the parent page of the Monongahela Main Street Program page, MMSP), I also have to remove some of our 5,000 followers to make room. Please consider hitting “Like” or “Follow” on the MMSP Facebook page directly for now. It takes quite a while to fish out inactive followers (apparently, when we have 5,000 followers, and someone turn off their Facebook page, it becomes a “ghost” friend – I have to find it and remove it. Also, sadly, I must remove the link to pages still in existence that belonged to followers who are now deceased.
This is not strictly about Downtown Monongahela – in fact, it’s the far opposite – but it’s something I’ve been working on, so I thought I’d mention it. I am a board member of the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania. In mid-June, this group visits a different part of the state each year and hosts a tour of barns in that area. The tour guide booklet, which comes with your registration to participate, is a full-color 60-plus page book analyzing the styles of barn architecture in the area being visited, including a complete profile of each barn on the tour. I had offered about 4-5 years ago to host a tour in our general area, and my tour was supposed to be in June 2020. It was canceled, of course, because of the lockdown, technically postponed until June 2022. The event will be from Friday, June 10th through Sunday, June 12th.
The Friday venue will be West Overton Village Museums, between Scottdale and Mt. Pleasant. On Saturday, there will be an all-day tour, beginning near West Overton and coming as far west as the Prentice farm in Forward Township, just over the ridge from our city. On Sunday, two historic barns closer to Greensburg will be open for a drive-on-your-own tour.
Pothole Quickly Patched
Several days ago, there were a couple of posts on Facebook about cars that had been seriously damaged when they hit a large, growing pothole that was just upriver of the Ellsworth Branch Railroad Tracks where East Main Street crosses the tracks near Sheetz. The hole was patched pretty quickly, I presume by either the City Street Crew or by PennDOT personnel. Many, many thanks, either way, for keeping our Main Street business traffic running smoothly.
Where Has All The Winter Gone – I Guess It’s Here Now
Last week, I had a tidbit entitled “WHERE HAS ALL THE WINTER GONE – TAKING FOREVER TO GET HERE.” Ok. As of last night’s snow storm, which was not as bad as the 3-6 inches predicted, but still put nearly two inches on the ground around where I live, …I guess it’s here now. But, stay faithful. February 2nd is now not that far away. (I just hope it’s enough to keep the insect population in check – I saw more ticks last summer than ever.)
For More Detal On Events: Check Out Our Online Calendar
The Monongahela Main Street Program now has a Google Calendar posted on our organizational web page, https://monongahelamsp.org/calendar_list_style/, listing downtown-related events. The online calendar is a project that several members of the Main Street Board have been addressing for quite some time. Screen captures of the listings over the next two months are in the attached photos. Feel free to send us a note about whatever events you may be planning that relate well to bringing people downtown. When the organization was publishing a one-page wall calendar each month, across a period of about three years, up to 2018, the events listed added up to over 900 scheduled activities worthy of being included each year.
Don’t forget to spread your dine-in or takeout business around during this “unprecedented time” in American and worldwide history. Here’s some contact information for some of the restaurants that are open at this time:
- Italian Village Pizza, 169 West Main Street (724) 292-8170
- Angelo’s II, 111 Third Street (724) 292-8375
- Di’s Home Town Deli, 218 West Main Street (724) 292-1001
- Sweets by Mrs. C., Ice Cream and More, 260 West Main Street (724) 292-8392
- Little City Coffee, 418 West Main Street (724) 258-6285
- Two and a Fry, 1115 West Main Street (724) 310-3182
- Hog Fathers Olde-Fashioned Barbecue, 243 East Main Street (Catsburg) (724) 310-3757
- Lenzi’s Italian Restaurant, 228 Gee Street (just off East Main going east from the Pigeon Creek Bridge, before the first light) (724) 258-9885
- Detorre’s Pizza, 915 West Main Street (724) 258-3306
- Eat’N Park, 1250 West Main Street (724) 258-4654
- Great Wall Chinese Restaurant, 201 West Main Street (724) 258-8358
- Hills Restaurant, 107 Main Street, New Eagle (724) 258-5422
- Pizza Station, 187 Chess Street, New Eagle (724) 310-3191
- Cox Market, deli counter for take-out, 711 Rt.481 (724) 258-4900
- Ponce’s Place, 715 Rt.481 (Park Avenue Extension/Pigeon Creek Road) (724) 258-6654
- Pho Valley, 1160 Country Club Road (724) 310-3948
- Fox’s Pizza Den, 1235 West Main Street (724) 310-2080
Here’s my latest list of stores in Monongahela that have been selling clothing, especially those that have been marketing various kinds of clothing fashions:
- Uncommonly Beautiful
- Sparkles by Shell
- Mon Valley Safety Equipment
- Bella Bug Bootique (an online shop for now, hoping to reopen in a building later)
- LuLaRoe by Amber Smittle
- Just 4 You Gifts and Cards
- Main Street Gypsy
- Di’s Home Town Deli
- The Bubblery Pittsburgh (children’s consignment in the back room)
- Alpha Outfitters Equine Supply
- Octane Martial Arts (martial Arts clothing)
- City Mission
- Dollar General
- Family Dollar
Here’s a list of the 35 STORES that have opened or are in the process of opening in the Monongahela – New Eagle Main Street area in the last 39 months (this list does not include the ones that opened and closed in that period, of which there were at least three or four):
- The Bubblery Pittsburgh – soap shop with handmade soap, hand sanitizer, lip balm, etc., since Sept. 2018, 212 West Main, (724) 258-2598
- Cedarwood Insurance Options – Anthony Bottino III, insurance broker (upstairs from Bottino Financial/Allstate Insurance), since Nov 2018, 442 West Main, (724) 310-3695
- LuLaRoe by Amber Smittle – casual clothing, open by appointment, since Nov 2018, West Main Street at Fourth Street, (724) 678-3913
- Main Street Gypsy – gifts, jewelry, clothing, and furnishings, since May 2019, 219 West Main, (724) 292-8366
- Sweets by Mrs. C, Ice Cream and More – also has baked goods and nostalgic candies, since Aug 2019, 260 West Main, (724) 292-8392
- Alpha Outfitters Equestrian Supply – Western-wear and horseback riding items for the rodeo crowd, since Sept 2019, 168 West Main, (724) 366-0642
- Julie’s Hair Haven – haircare by appointment, since Oct 2019, 202½ Fourth Street, (412) 952-5177
- Octane Martial Arts – martial arts studio, sports/athletic training, and pro-shop selling related clothing, since Oct 2019, (724) 310-2090
- The Potter’s House – event facility, since Oct 2019, 234 West Main, (724) 219-3290
- Bella Bug Bootique – casual clothing and costume jewelry, since Nov 2019, 416 West Main. (The first storefront location, at 10th Street, closed in 2020, but the business remained very active online, and then reopened at 416 West Main, in October 2021), contact Kate Runac, owner, through the Bella Bug Bootique Facebook page, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just drop by to visit during the day, next to Little City Coffee.
- Di’s Home Town Deli – deli meats, chicken salad, egg salad, lunch specials, etc., since Dec 2019, 218 West Main, (724) 292-1001
- Busta Suds Laundromat – laundromat (behind Two-and-a-Fry Hotdog place), since Dec 2019, c/o Two-and-a-Fry Hotdogs, 1115 West Main, (724) 310-3182
- The Compound Steel City – youth center for training in sports like wrestling, weight lifting, cheerleading, etc., since Jan 2020, 121 Railroad Street, (724) 426-6768
- Sambol’s Bakery – baked goods, cookies, lunch specials, since May 2020, 230 West Main, (724) 250-0100
- Candelore’s Barking Beauties – dog grooming salon, since July 2020, 111 West Main, (724) 292-8360
- CPC Chiropractic – Dr. Christa Peifer, Chiropractor, since October 2020, 314 West Main, (412) 953-3103
- Santa’s Secret Shoppe – Christmas decorations, other holiday season items, and plenty of small gifts, since October 2020 (open seasonally), 211 Second Street, (724) 554-3514
- Chloe and Me Candles – handcrafted candles and similar items, since November 2020, 205 West Main, (724) 298-8696
- Rocky Top Photo Op – settings for photography shoots at the Gottselig farm at the top of Ridge Avenue in the First Ward, the only farm located within our City Limits, a family farm where you can come and take your own photos – they have a very wide variety of unique props for all seasons, since December 2020, Contact them (Judy Lovell) through Facebook
- The Dog Emporium/Sit-Up Doggie Treats – gift shop for dogs, locally baked treats and dog biscuits baked by the shop owner at his other facility, since Feb 2020, 310 West Main Street (“downtown”), as of 26 January 2021 (previously was 118 Main Street, New Eagle), (724) 258-7297
- Dusty’s Discounts – household items and gadgets, Kitchen-Aid mixers, umbrella’s, etc., since March 2021, 406 West Main Street (next to Tattoo Savior), contact Dusty Bradshaw Aldous via Facebook / Messenger, or at (724) 787-1516
- Red Boot Home – household decorative items, from throw pillows to sine bottle stoppers, since March 2021, located within Red Boot Antiques, Jessica Homa, contact Marcia Homa or Jessica Homa at Red Boot Antiques, 905 West Main Street, (724) 884-7509
- Noel’s Primitives and Gifts – Antiques, primitives, and décor items, 202 West Main Street, (724) 825-9525
- Aanarchy Ink – tattoos, since April 2021, 202 West Main Street Suite B, (724) 610-8460.
- MICRO Mushroom Market, since April 2021, 1235 West Main Street (the warehouse behind Fox’s Pizza and LaVie Nails), (412) 667-2874.
- Fox’s Pizza Den, since May 2021, 1235 West Main Street. (724) 310-2080
- City Mission Thrift Store – since July 2021, 211 West Main Street. (724) 292-8377
- Dubtown Vapes – since July 2021, 1235 West Main Street
- Mon Valley Alliance offices and Business Resource Center, since November 2021, 235 West Main Street, (Ben Brown, CEO) (724) 565-5636
- Dead Head Wine Bar, 300 Second Street (former Bebout and Yohe Funeral Home building, corner of Second Street and Chess Street) (Dead Head Winery should be fully open in early 2022; it opened partially in the fall of 2021 only as an event venue for weekend music shows), contact Mike Kisling at (724) 292-8260
- Hog Fathers Olde Fashioned Barbecue – restaurant and bar, since 20 Jan 2020, 243 East Main Street (Catsburg), (724) 310-3757
- DW Auto (formerly Sal’s Quality Auto Care) – auto detailing and repairs, since May 2020, 130 East Main Street, (724) 310-2038 – Reopened recently under a new name and with more emphasis on mechanical repairs.
- Industrial Farmhouse Living – home décor, repurposed found objects, since Jan 2019, 144 Main Street, New Eagle, (724) 565-4447
- Full Circle Glass & Door Service – glass installer, since Aug 2019, 102 Main Street, New Eagle, (724) 998-7437
- JMS Photography, in business since 2017, began moving into this location around December 2020, owner Jenna (Quattrone) Sluk, 139 Chess Street, New Eagle, (724) 263-1323
36. M&R Chocolates, to open soon, on Park Avenue at Peno’s Plaza, since January 2022.
37. Dis-OR-Dat, to be in with Bartman Plumbing next to DeVore Hardware, 443 West Main Street, (724) 350-2092, since January 2022.
38+ A couple of other possible surprises still brewing.
(As of 5 December, I heard about two more that I hadn’t heard about before – a shop that is about to open in early 2022 and another that is likely to be coming.)
MMSP BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The current Board of Directors of the Monongahela Main Street Program is as follows:
Tobias Provan, President
Janet Roslund, Vice President
Walter Seal, Treasurer
Dan Tregembo, Secretary
Non-Voting: Terry Necciai, Exec.Dir.
WE HAVE A WONDERFUL CITY!
Terry A. Necciai, RA, Exec.Dir., MMSP