As a recent transplant from New York to Pittsburgh, I’ve found some surprising similarities between the city that never sleeps and the city that loves to sleep. Just take these with a grain of salt. I am new here after all 🙂

1) They’re Both Ahead of the Times. Last week when I visited New York for the holidays, I thought I saw a self-driving car strolling around, and then realized….this isn’t Pittsburgh. We always hear about how much New York City is doing, and how much innovation starts there, but Pittsburgh is surprisingly similar. In both cities, there are museums you can’t find anywhere else, and everything from ethereal art festivals to awesome bars. In both cities, there are blooming startup scenes, and technological and social innovations that aren’t yet taking place in other cities, and the people don’t shy away from them. For example, a few months ago we asked over 2,000 adults nationwide if they would feel safe in a self-driving Uber.

In all, 64% of adults said they would not feel safe driving in a self-driving car, even if there were someone at the wheel. Among Pittsburgh residents, however, that number was only 52%. Pittsburghers are fearless! 

2) My One Qualm – They Don’t Handle Snow Well. This may just be because I’m originally from Boston, but both cities are not so fantastic when it comes to snow. We saw our first snowfall here in Pittsburgh within the last few weeks, and although only a few inches, the streets were not such a fun place to be driving. In New York, just a few inches of snow can make travel unbearable, and cause people to hibernate for weeks. Though both cities are beautiful under a snow blanket, the cities aren’t quite Boston when it comes to dealing with winter.

3) They’re Fashion Forward. Though Pittsburgh was voted the third worst dressed city by GQ a few years back (Yikes), my experience here has actually shown otherwise. Like New York, designers here take risks, there is a lively fashion week (though of course, not on the same scale as New York), and there are countless fresh-find boutiques and stores. The styles are different, definitely, but fashion forward all the same. From a data-driven perspective, we can see this as well.

Nationwide, we’ve asked:

Only 4% of people nationwide follow trends in fashion very closely.
When only focusing on New York and Pittsburgh residents, however, the numbers take a turn. Among New York City residents, 6% say they follow trends and current events in fashion very closely, while 27% follow them somewhat closely. Though slightly less dramatic, the numbers among Pittsburgh adults are interesting as well. Though only 4% follow trends very closely (the same as the national average), a slightly higher number, 25%, follow trends in fashion somewhat closely. Predictions show that interest and innovation in fashion may continue to grow in the area (fingers crossed)!

4) Food is Everything. Both cities love food (understatement). Most people think that New York City has the best food in the world. I can vouch – it’s great. But did you know that Pittsburgh’s food scene ain’t too shabby itself? In fact, Zagat rated Pittsburgh the #1 food city in the country this past year. Yes, you read that right. One of my personal favorites: Apteka. Check out the other best restaurants around!

5) They’re Both Beautiful. If you’ve ever driven into Pittsburgh from the airport, you think you’re in the middle of nowhere and then suddenly you exit the tunnel and…wow. Stunning. As someone who loves art, there’s something about both cities that is incredibly inspiring and breathtaking. When I first moved to Pittsburgh, I really didn’t understand how scenic and alluring the city is. It may not do them justice, but here are a few photos I’ve snapped of both cities recently. 

The New York Skyline at Sunset.

The New York City Skyline at Sunset through a large window.

A view of Pittsburgh from Mount Washington.

So moral of the story: The Big Apple and the Western PA mecca aren’t so different after all – except for roughly 6 million people or so. But I’m not complaining – more food for me!