Yinztern Catherine is applying for the Millennial Trains Project!

When I read

You might remember last July when Lindsay applied for the Millennial Trains Project with her idea The United States of Pittsburgh. She received a tremendous amount of support and I’m hoping you’ll be able to donate to my campaign too!

I’m going to explore local independent bookstores and public libraries at each of the stops along the trip. Libraries and bookstores are such cornerstones of communities and I want to discover what places in other cities are doing to engage their neighborhoods. I also want to tie it all in with the digital age by seeing the extent that libraries and bookstores use modern technology and social media to get people involved.

My ultimate goal is to share lots of stories, ideas, and photos with everyone and bring some amazing possibilities back to Pittsburgh. I really believe the level of community engagement in Pittsburgh is one of the things that makes it special and such a great city.

Southern map

This year the train stops in Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Kansas City, Louisville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, and Miami, and takes place March 16-26.

I’m almost halfway to my goal and am really excited about possibly going on this trip! Any donation amount would be helpful and I would be incredibly grateful. Sharing my campaign with as many outlets as possible is also super important to it succeeding. All funds must be raised by February 15th, but if I reach my goal by February 1st, they will pay for my plane tickets!

You can read more about my project, donate, or share via the following link: http://crowdhitch.millennialtrain.co/campaign/detail/2550

They are also still looking for applicants so if you have an idea, you should apply too!

Thank you, wonderful I heart PGH readers!

Raising the Jolly Roger

I’ll make this one quick. I don’t have much time to mourn, because it’s midterm week in the Bronx, and I have to get prepared.

It’s been 21 years since the Pittsburgh Pirates have had a winning season, let alone a playoff appearance. I won’t spend much time listing all the things that have happened since then and now, but suffice it to say that it’s been a long time coming.

I wrote for IHeartPGH this summer, hoping to give a die-hard fan’s perspective on the Pirates. I’ll boil down my perspective to this: I want 82. Man, I’ve wanted 82 more than I’ve ever wanted the Steelers to win the Super Bowl, the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup, or just about anything else that I could ever want. In 2013, the Pittsburgh Pirates won their 82nd game on September 9th. I didn’t yell all that loud about it, (except on Twitter) and then, for the first time in my entire life, I started to seriously think about the Pittsburgh Pirates as playoff contenders. And they kept winning games. Between September 9th and September 23rd, the Pirates had won 12 more games. They had guaranteed that Pittsburgh—and, more importantly, that PNC Park—would at last see a playoff game. On October 1st, 2013, they clinched at least two more playoff games in the Steel City, and I only wished that I could have been there. I’ve put everything on hold to watch the Bucs as closely as I could in the past week, and I’ve never been more proud of my team or of my city.

As I’m writing this, Pedro Alvarez has been retired as the last out of the 2013 season, and I’m sad that it couldn’t go on longer, but I can’t deny that I’m at least somewhat pleased with the result. The Pirates have staged an amazing baseball renaissance in the city of Pittsburgh. Frankly, it sucks that the city can’t get more reacquainted with fall baseball, but we don’t have much time to mourn. Baseball’s back in Pittsburgh, and we have to get prepared for 2014.


Meet Jack

You may recognize this Britt from his video last month–“Jack Holden Loves Pittsburgh”. He truly loves the place and is looking for work in our fair city. Here’s a little more about Jack, and what he’d like to do in Pittsburgh.

Profile Pic

Why Pittsburgh? What brings you to the city?

Initially, I came to Pittsburgh to visit my girlfriend from Mt. Lebanon. I didn’t really know much about Pittsburgh, other than what I was told by Dana before my first visit. By the end of my trip I had fallen in love with the city. It is unique compared to any other city that I have been to in the states. It’s got a funky, fresh, and alternative vibe which makes the city pretty exciting to be in.

On my first weekend of my first visit, we went to the Strip District on a Saturday morning. That was pretty special. I usually go to a market regularly in London where it’s overflowing with culture and smells of ethnic foods. But in Pittsburgh, it was surreal as there was heavy snow on the ground and this market going ballistic. Most of all, the friendliness and kindness of the people is the main attraction. You don’t get that everywhere, and there is this local feel and buzz in a relatively big city. [Read more…]

#UheartPGH- You told us what U “heart” about Pittsburgh, now it is time to vote!

Last week we wanted to know what you love about Pittsburgh and took nominations for our first ever #UheartPGH. Now it is time to vote! Below we have listed the nominees and the polls for you to vote for what you think is Pittsburgh’s best.

Voting ends Friday August 9th. Winners will then be announce and profiled next week.

Best Happy Hour Draft Special
Church Brew Works
 – Located in Lawrenceville, ½ off drafts from 4:30 to 6:30 Monday through Friday.
The Library
 – Near the Southside Works, their special boasts $3 drafts from 5 to 7 and 9 to 11 everyday.
Mad Mex
 – Get ½ off draft beers from 4:30 to 6:30 Monday through Friday at any of their locations.
The Sharp Edge
 – On Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6:30, you can get ½ off Belgian drafts and $1 off large drafts.
Fox and the Hound
 – Get ½ off drafts from 5 to 7.

Best Day Trip
Ohiopyle State Park
 – Enjoy hiking, biking, rafting, fishing, and camping. There are even restaurant options.
North Country Brewing
 – Located in Slippery Rock, this brewery offers food, music, and even community service.
 – Designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is found in Stewart Township, Fayette County. Is on the    Smithsonian’s list of places “to visit before you die”.
North Park
 – This county park boasts a golf course, ice skating rink, swimming pool, and tennis courts. Located  north of Pittsburgh in Allison Park.
Volant, Lawrence County
 – Come here to see the Amish country of western Pennsylvania!

Coolest Bathroom
Jerome Bettis’ Grill
 – One-way mirrors above the urinals allow guests to look out into the bar.
The Mattress Factory
 – Found in the basement of the museum, it certainly is interesting.
North Country Brewing
 – The faucets have a unique design of a wooden arm holding a watering can.
Harris Grill
 – The men’s bathroom has a urinal that looks like the Rolling Stones lip logo.
Oh Yeah! Ice Cream and Coffee
 – The door to this restroom is a one-way mirror so that outside guests can’t see in.

Best Neighborhood Festival
St. Malachy Nationality Food Festival
 – In Kennedy Township, this festivals features food from Italy, Germany, Poland, Mexico, and Greece,  as well as carnival games for the kids. Takes place in October.
South Park Rib Fest
 – Takes place Labor Day Weekend
Bloomfield Italian Days
 – In the streets of Pittsburgh’s Little Italy, enjoy food, music, sidewalk sales, giveaways, and more.
Southside Works I Made It! Market
 – This festival features over 65 local artisans as well as music, food and drink, sidewalk sales, and  kids activities.

Best Pierogi
Pierogi Plus
 – In McKees Rocks, these pierogies are self-proclaimed to be the most authentic, next to going to  Warsaw or Krakow.
Forgotten Taste
 – With three locations in Moon Township, Wexford, and Cranberry, there are many varieties, both hot  and ready or frozen for later.
Church Brew Works
 – Try their pierogi pizza!
 – You can purchase these handmade, authentic pierogies at a variety of farmer’s markets in the  Pittsburgh area.
The Pierogi Truck
 – These pierogies are on wheels!

Best Thrift Store
All of these nominees have unique finds that change everyday. Where have you had the most successes?
Goodwill, Lawrenceville
Goodwill, Monroeville
Goodwill, Banksville Rd.
Goodwill, Southside
Red, White & Blue, Saw Mill Run
Red, White & Blue, Ohio River Blvd

A Football Town With a Soccer Problem

Despite three Stanley Cups championships and five World Series titles to its name, Pittsburgh is undeniably a football town. Every time Monday Night Football comes to town, Pittsburghers are treated to hearing ESPN’s crew praising our city’s blue-collar work ethic, as well as noting how that work ethic is reflected in our football team. They’re not wrong. The Steelers have a unique bond with their city that few other teams in the NFL, let alone in the whole of professional sports, can claim. For example, the Terrible Towel, originally a tool for supporting the Steelers, has become just as strongly associated with the city as a whole.

Surprisingly enough, this won’t wind up being a post about football, so much as it’ll be about fútbol. Considering Pittsburgh’s passion for the sports world (maybe “passion” is the wrong word to describe our relationship with the Pirates in the last twenty years, but bear with me), it surprises me that our own Pittsburgh Riverhounds don’t get more in the way of love from the ‘Burgh’s historically spirited fanbase.

Okay, fine. Maybe it’s not all that surprising. Most Americans—not just Pittsburghers—have had a tense relationship with the game of soccer since we gave up the game in grade school. (Admit it, you only played for the orange slices at halftime. I know I did). I get it. You want touchdowns and home runs. Even hockey goals are more exciting than soccer goals, partially because you know the names of the guys who are scoring them, and partially because the powers that be have made it impossible for hockey games to end in a tie. Ties are boring, and any game that offers the outcome of neither a win nor a loss must also be boring. Period. End of discussion.

Hold on a second. The Steel Army would like a word with you. On Sunday, I headed down to Station Square to see the Riverhounds square off against Antigua Barracuda FC. The Hounds trounced Antigua, by a score of 4-1, but the highlight for me was the passionate supporters group who gathered on the bleachers behind the goal line, and spent nearly the entire game shouting, chanting, singing, beating drums, waving flags, and generally stirring up a ruckus, the likes of which I don’t think I’ve ever seen on a sustained level at a professional sporting event. Sure, every once in a while someone will get a good chant going, (“Let’s Go Bucs, “Let’s Go Pens,” “Here We Go Steelers,” etc.) and I won’t deny that 65,000 people waving Terrible Towels in unison is a pretty exciting sight to see, but it always seems that, eventually, stadiums are awash in a “Too Cool to Care” attitude, and the fan participation dies down after about a minute and a half. What I witnessed on Sunday in Highmark Stadium (the capacity of which is around 4,000 bodies) was almost a full 90 minutes of unabashed engagement, from truly passionate fans. The Steel Army takes its cues from traditional English supporters, (no hooligans though, as far as I could tell, so feel free to bring the kids) and even though their numbers are significantly smaller, they make up for it by being very loud and very invested in the outcome of the game. I get the feeling that if you spent some time with the Army, you’d become just as invested. Even if you don’t see the appeal of soccer as a game, or if you don’t understand it completely, I’ve said it before: there’s something exciting about a group of people bonding over city pride, and the Army has city pride in droves.

One of the banners found in the Steel Army supporters section

One of the banners found in the Steel Army supporters section

If I still haven’t convinced you by way of my “passionate soccer hooligans” argument, (even though they really do seem like lovely people) at least do yourself a favor and go check out the stadium. Situated in Station Square, Highmark Stadium opens out onto the Monongahela River and offers a really awesome view of the Point that faces opposite Heinz Field and PNC Park on the Allegheny. The Hounds carry their ten game unbeaten streak (unfortunately, that does include ties) into a match against the Charlotte Eagles on the Fourth of July at 7:00 PM. Tickets start at $9.50. What better way to celebrate your country’s independence than with cheap semi-professional soccer? Then, toward the end of July, (July 19th, to be exact) Wigan Athletic comes to town. For those who are unfamiliar, Wigan Athletic is a club from across the pond in Merrie Olde England. They’re also the reigning FA Cup champions, which is kind of a big deal. Think March Madness multiplied by eleven or so. Every football club in England (all 758 of them) automatically qualifies, then they duke it out for the oldest association football championship in the world. So now the victorious Latics are bringing the FA Cup to Pittsburgh, and would probably be missing out if they weren’t given the whole Pittsburgh sports experience that one might receive at a Steelers, Pirates or Penguins game.

But if you really must avoid the association football, you can head down on July 3rd  at 6:30 PM for a free concert and a great view of the Three Rivers Regatta Fireworks show. At least you can be sure that the fireworks won’t end in a tie.