I got up early to see what Braddock is like during the morning rush hour.
First stop was Al’s Market, a little convenience store that has been in operation for over thirty years.
Al’s is a gathering place for locals as they stop in for coffee, breakfast or just to gab and gossip with friends. About 15 regulars came and went as cars and trucks poured down Braddock Avenue passing closed down businesses and abandoned building as they took a shortcut to avoid the rush hour traffic on the main interstate.
It seemed hard to believe that a city with that much traffic flowing through it could be so depressed.
I spent most of the time just getting acquainted with some of these guys, explaining who I was and allowing them to get comfortable with me. I did make some images of an old timer named George McAllister who has lived in Braddock all his life. I plan to spend more time with him.
I spent a bit more time roaming around town before a meeting with Mayor Fetterman’s wife, Gisele, who founded and runs the Free Store in Braddock.
Opened in October 2012, The Free Store receives clothing donations from individuals and through partnerships with companies such as an organization called Kids in Distressed Situations, out of New York. The store also receives regular donations from companies like Costco and McGinnis Sisters.
With her husband running for U.S. Senate, neither of them had much time to spare on this trip, but I plan on visiting again at the end of April. This was mainly a visit to get acclimated to the town and to meet a few of the residents.