By Justin Criado
Alphabet City to be open by next summer
City of Asylum’s Alphabet City project in the former Masonic Building on W North Avenue in Central Northside has been in the works for over five years with construction just starting months ago. The $10.5 million redevelopment of the long-abandoned historic building will include Alphabet City literary center, a restaurant and eight rental apartments.
Alphabet City will give City of Asylum a new home and year-round place for programs. The literary center will be creating a hub for the city’s literary arts, jazz, artistic experimentation and global culture, serving as a place where Pittsburgh meets the world and the world meets Pittsburgh. Alphabet City will include City of Asylum’s offices and spaces for readings, performances and workshops; a bookstore; and a second location of New York’s Casellula restaurant.
The timeline for construction to finish is next summer. The organization will be running periodic photo-tours of the site as construction progresses.
There’s also a 7-minute video tour of the building that describes the renovations and the project in more detail.
City of Asylum to host first ever house tour
On Nov. 21, 2004, Huang Xiang and City of Asylum dedicated House Poem, the first City of Asylum House Publication on Sampsonia Way in Central Northside. Eleven years later, the anniversary will be celebrated with City of Asylum’s first House Tour and Wine Tasting Nov. 21. Spend an evening touring each of City of Asylum’s four House Publications, learning more about the stories of the exiled writers in the sanctuary program, and sampling newly-released Beaujolais and Beaujolais Nouveau wines.
In each house you will be greeted by the resident writer or a COA host who can tell you about the history of the house, as well as sampling of different wines. The wines will only be released a few days before, so tour-goers will be among the very first in Pittsburgh to taste them.
The tour will end at at founders Diane and Henry’s house where Helge Lunde, the Executive Director of the International Cities of Asylum, who is coming from Norway, and representatives from Las Vegas and Ithaca Cities of Asylum will join the group.
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online.