Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Syria Mosque: A Redevelopment Lesson

The Nullity's humorous musing concerning re-use of local icons prompts recollection of a worthwhile point about InsolvenCity's redevelopment projects: Oakland's Syria Mosque, a wonderful concert venue that still has not been replaced, was demolished on an expedited basis to clear prime land for a rush development project involving developers long on political connections but short on performance.

That was in 1991. Twenty years later, the site is a surface parking lot.

It could have been worse (East Liberty; Allegheny Center; etc.). But Pittsburgh lost a gem, and still doesn't have a good, midsized concert hall for anything more energetic than a Marvin Hamlisch-interprets-ABBA show.

Bonus Question: Was Jim Ferlo arrested while protesting the Syria Mosque's demolition?

Infinonytune: Soul To Soul, Stevie Ray Vaughan (Syria Mosque soundcheck, 1986)


PK said...

I do believe Ferlo was arrested.

Doesn't Pitt still own the land? And whatever did happen to the sphinxes in front?

Anonymous said...

Syria Temple was rebuilt and relocated to Cheswick. The Sphinxes are in front of the new Syria Temple.

Infinonymous said...

Jim Ferlo may have been arrested twice -- once protesting city council inanity, once opposing demolition of the Syria Mosque, both to his credit.

Coincidentally, Sen. Ferlo conducts his annual party at the Shriners' property in Cheswick.

n'at said...

Ferlo, Lubetz and another whose name escapes me atm... All 'Mosque Avengers.'

MH said...

I don't think I've seen a photo of it before. Nor did I know it was here as recently as 1991.

Infinonymous said...

Great venue. Great shows. Great location. Pitt would sponsor concerts for students -- featuring up-and-comers, such as Springsteen -- and promoters liked it for performers such as Mark Knopfler.

Pittsburgh still hasn't recovered from yet another self-inflicted wound. Lack of a Mosque-like venue might explain why Pittsburgh gets the short end of the touring stick these days.

The P-G has reported that Sen. Ferlo was arrested for protesting demolition of the Mosque. One more reason to forgive Sen. Ferlo for Yarone Zober.

Sue Hughes said...

Jim Ferlo, Marshall Goodwin, Albert Petrarca, and John Murdock were all arrested and in a cell together for protesting the demolition the night the bulldozers came to vandalize the front to destroy historic significance of the building.