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Grow Pittsburgh unveils Braddock Farms improvements with help from the Fairmont

Grow Pittsburgh, an urban agriculture non-profit that teaches people how to grow food and promotes the benefits of gardens in local communities, has updated its Braddock Farms site thanks in part to a $10,000 grant from Fairmont Pittsburgh.
 
Fairmont Pittsburgh secured the grant via the Community Assistance and Responsibility to the Environment program, a charitable initiative of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, which allows hotels to support social, community and environmental projects in their local communities.
 
Grow Pittsburgh is the official green charity partner of Fairmont Pittsburgh. Since launching the partnership in 2011, Fairmont Pittsburgh has donated over $27,000 to Grow Pittsburgh for various initiatives including its Edible Schoolyard program.
 
“We are thrilled to count Fairmont Pittsburgh as a key partner as we make much needed improvements to Braddock Farms,” said Grow Pittsburgh Executive Director Julie Butcher Pezzino.
  
The improvements include a custom-built shipping container to be used as a storage facility and office space at the urban farm in Braddock. Grow Pittsburgh also operates an apprentice program at Braddock Farms for aspiring farmers, as well as a summer youth intern program that provides hands-on training to local high school students in sustainable agricultural production. Growing food in an urban environment is an important part of Grow Pittsburgh’s overall mission as it serves as a platform for educational programming and provides much needed access to fresh, local produce in communities that are often lacking access.
 
Julie Abramovic, public relations manager at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, called Braddock Farms an “educational resource center” that teaches school groups and volunteers about sustainability and farming. The grant was able to provide shaded areas and seating for groups assisting at the farm as well as storage and coolers for produce.
 
To unveil the updated farm and conclude the year-long project, Fairmont Pittsburgh hosted a check presentation ceremony and employee workday, where employees assisted with putting the farm to bed for winter at Braddock Farms.
 
Abramovic said hotel management was excited to see the project come to fruition but noted that the partnership is an ongoing relationship and that the Fairmont is looking forward to participating in future Grow Pittsburgh projects. 
 
Source: Julie Abramovic, Fairmont Pittsburgh

Colcom Foundation continues support for Paris to Pittsburgh program with $350,000 award

Paris-style sidewalk cafes and facelifts for Downtown buildings have just gotten more affordable, thanks to a recent gift from the Colcom Foundation. 

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership announced a $350,000 award last week from the Colcom Foundation designated to continue the success of the façade renovations and outdoor dining activations through the Paris to Pittsburgh program. The program provides a 50 percent matching grant, of up to $30,000, to Downtown building and business owners interested in completing exterior façade renovations.
 
"Through their investment in the Paris to Pittsburgh program, Colcom Foundation has demonstrated a commitment to restoring and revitalizing properties throughout Downtown, ensuring that Downtown Pittsburgh remains vibrant and beautiful," said Jeremy Waldrup, PDP President and CEO. "Many buildings and businesses have had the opportunity to benefit from this program and we look forward to working with many more as a result of this gift."
 
Colcom Foundation has supported the Paris to Pittsburgh program since its inception in 2007. Initially, the program was designed to encourage the activation of outdoor sidewalk dining at local restaurants, evoking a Parisian atmosphere.
 
In 2011, the program was expanded to allow for full building façade renovations. To date, the program has funded 73 projects in Downtown Pittsburgh, resulting in $4.7 million in private investment, of which $1.7 million has been funded through the grant program.
 
Waldrup said about 90 percent of outdoor dining in Downtown was supported by Paris to Pittsburgh, with Market Square’s outdoor dining being an especially visible example of the program coming to life. Waldrup said all of Market Square’s al fresco dining options have participated in Paris to Pittsburgh.
 
"By restoring historic facades and opening restaurants to outdoor dining, Paris to Pittsburgh draws on the charm of European cities," said Colcom Foundation Vice President of Philanthropy John Rohe. "It builds community. With eyes on the street, it promotes security."
 
The Specialty Luggage Company building, located Downtown at 915 Liberty Ave., recently finished a complete exterior façade renovation. With design work undertaken by Peter Margittai Architects, LLC, upgrades included the removal of aluminum panels and the security gate and the replacement of the entire first floor storefront system and the second floor window system. Additionally, the stone façade was cleaned, windows were restored and painted, and new signage and lighting were installed.
 
Source: Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

Trade Union hosts trunk show at Mon Wharf

Trade Union Trunk Show is back for its Autumn/Winter fashion and style event. On Saturday, Oct. 4, the biannual trunk show will bring locally minted goods from clothing to furniture to the Mon Wharf, Downtown— showcasing an urban, uniquely Pittsburgh setting.  
 
Launched this past spring, the Trade Union Trunk Show seeks to bring together the city's established and emerging brands and depict the Made in Pittsburgh moniker as one rooted in creativity and quality.  
 
With each event, Trade Union presents a one-of-a-kind space and local partners to host the day’s activities. For their A/W 2014 Trunk Show, Trade Union worked with lead sponsor, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, to bring the free event to the Mon Wharf. Vendors, food and local DJ sets handpicked by VIA as part of their 2014 festival will enliven the event.
 
“We are always eager to partner on creative re-inventions of space in Downtown,” said Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “The Trade Union Trunk Show again extends our mission to support creative uses of unique urban spaces in our Downtown neighborhood.”
 
Michael McAllister, Trade Union co-producer, said the event is more than the average craft fair. While vendors and goods are local, Trade Union strives to ensure a cohesive, stylized event. From flyers to displays, Harvest & Gather is styling the trunk show.  McAllister explained that he and event co-producer Emily Slagel of Mid-Atlantic Mercantile see design and creativity as “an integral part of Pittsburgh’s future growth and development.”
 
He said they were inspired by stylized trunk shows in other cities and wanted to bring the model to Pittsburgh for products minted and made in the city. About 15 vendors will sell products including stationery, letterpress, furniture and vintage clothing.
 
Vendors include: Mid-Atlantic Mercantile Found Home Collection (handpicked and found homewares); Royal Establishment; Merissa Lombardo/Pete Johnson Studios; Homestead Supply Co. (leather goods); Perry & Co.; Kicky Feet Vintage; Tugboat Printshop; Bones & All; Studebaker Metals (a local designer whose jewelry is available at Urban Outfitters); Sapling Press; Red Pop Shop; Modesto Studios; UpTo; and Spaces Corners (photography books).
 
McAllister said two restaurants are also premiering: TAKÖ, globally inspired tacos from the newest Downtown venture from the Meat & Potatoes team; and 4121 Main, a mixed-use space featuring handmade goods, art and an espresso bar coming soon to Lawrenceville.
 
Trade Union will be held at the Mon Wharf, 1 Ft Pitt Blvd., Saturday, Oct. 4, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

VIA Festival to use Union Trust Building for pop-up event

This year’s VIA Festival, a Pittsburgh-based music and new media celebration, will be held from Oct. 1 to Oct. 5 with 18 events at various locations across the city, including a pop-up event on Oct. 4 at the Union Trust Building at 501 Grant Street, Downtown. 
 
“It’s a music festival, combined with digital culture,” said VIA co-director Quinn Leonowicz. “[It’s] Pittsburgh’s largest celebration of music and digital culture.”
 
Now in its fifth year, VIA utilizes an underused or vacant venue every year. This year, with the help of the Mayor’s Office, VIA has acquired the Union Trust.
 
“We just try to pick non-traditional spaces, something that has been underutilized,” he said, adding that the city approved the venue only about a month ago. In the meantime, Leonowicz, co-director Lauren Goshinski and a team of volunteers have been working quickly to prepare for the festival.
 
VIA will take over a variety of spaces on the first floor and lower level of the building, including installation of a 30-foot bubble in the building’s central rotunda, which is capped by a stained glass dome. The bubble is described as an “immersive audio-visual environment” with ASMR immersive therapy and the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
 
A former department store will be turned into a digital sculpture gallery and will simulate real life and virtual experiences with custom iPad apps, video games and virtual figure drawing classes, using the online platform Second Life.

The lower level of the Union Trust Building will turn into a multi-stage nightclub for audio-visual performances featuring local, national and international artists such as Zebra Katz, Blue Hawaii, L-Vis 1990, Traxman, Cakes da Killa, Cities Aviv, Diode Milliampere and Troxum.
 
While entertainment and experiences will vary from audio showcases to film, VIA also has an educational element. On Oct. 3, a conference at Carnegie Mellon University will feature artists discussing Ableton Music software, workshops and musical performances.
 
Leonowicz said he sees VIA as an umbrella for future events, including upcoming VIA performances in Chicago. Although Leonowicz said VIA will always be based in Pittsburgh, he hopes this collaboration between Pittsburgh and Chicago will form an artist exchange. He compared it to other arts events that start in cities like New York and spread across the country.
 
For more information about VIA, please visit, via2014.com.
 
Source: Quinn Leonowicz, VIA 

Snap up some style with Project Pop Up: Fashion in Market Square

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is bringing a day of pop-up retail to Market Square tomorrow with Project Pop Up: Fashion.
 
Men's and women's clothing, jewelry and accessories from 13 local designers, fashion trucks, screen-printing vendors and Downtown retailers will be on sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the PDP’s third Project Pop Up: Fashion event. DJ Pandemic will play dancehall music during the downtown lunchtime event.
 
Fashions range from vintage to handmade to high-end, with a price point for every budget, said PDP Vice President of Marketing and Communications Leigh White.

“What I really like best about [Project Pop Up: Fashion] is there’s something for everyone,” White said.
 
As a special incentive, Larrimor’s will have a cash booth in the square, giving away cash and gift cards to shoppers who pre-register at the Downtown boutique by picking up shop President Tom Michael’s business card. 
 
Project Pop Up retailers include Boutique 208, Boutique la Passerelle, Larrimor's, Macy's and Serendipity. Other participants include Identity Crisis Legwear, Cassidy Girl Collection, DeadBuryDead, Mallet Hill and New York New York. And mobile boutiques Broke Little Rich Girl, Style Truck and The Vintage Valet will be on hand, too. 
 
White called the PDP’s midday pop-up events unexpected fun for Downtown workers. 

Source: Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Leigh White

Pittsburgh PARK(ing) Day is back Friday with installations throughout the city

For one day only, parking spaces will transform across the city into small parks, green spaces and even a beach in an effort to get citizens talking about sustainability and transportation.

Tomorrow, Sept. 19, is PARK(ing) Day, an annual, international one-day event where artists, designers and citizens can transform parking spots into small parks and art installations.
 
This is PARK(ing) Day Pittsburgh’s seventh year. The event began in San Francisco in 2005 and its message has travelled around the world. PARK(ing) Day is an opportunity to get communities talking about improvements, green space and transportation while thinking creatively.
 
This year, Pittsburgh’s pop-up parks stem from neighborhood improvement initiatives and fun. PARK(ing) Day Committee Member Thor Erickson said the Polish Hill Civic Association will use traffic cones to create a discussion about street traffic.  Erickson said the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, Pittsburgh Parking Authority, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Penn Future, Design Center and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership are collaborating in the 900 block of Liberty Avenue, downtown, to showcase urban improvement efforts.
 
Mayor Bill Peduto and City Council members will transform their parking spaces into a beach, according to Erickson.
 
The Lawrenceville Bike and Pedestrian Committee organized a mini golf course along Butler Street, between Doughboy Square and 39th Street, as part of the neighborhood’s PARK(ing) Day initiatives. Breakfast, lunch and dinner golfing sessions will be offered, with a party and music by DJ Duke to follow in the Iron City Bikes and Franktuary parking lot from 6 PM to 8 PM.
 
To find PARK(ing) Day events in your neighborhood, Parking Day Pittsburgh has provided a map with events and times listed throughout the city. 
 
 
Source: PARK(ing) Day, PARK(ing) Day Pittsburgh, Lawrenceville Pittsburgh, Thor Erickson, Lawrenceville Bike and Pedestrian Committee 

Fairmont Pittsburgh Chef Jason Dalling will host a one-day, pop-up BBQ stand Friday

Fairmont Pittsburgh Executive Chef Jason Dalling will launch a one-day, pop-up BBQ stand at Andys Bar on Fri., August 29.
 
Julie Abramovic, public relations manager at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, says the pop-up menu will be "simple" and stems from Dalling’s “love for this type of casual cuisine.”

The limited menu will feature a house smoked, grass fed brisket sandwich with pickle and tomato aioli and a peanut braised pulled pork sandwich featuring pineapple and jalapeño aioli — both sandwiches are $12 and come with a side of “old school” coleslaw. All items will be available to-go from a street-side stand along Fifth Avenue.
 
“I came up with the concept because we’re already doing a lot of these house-smoked items for [events], and I wanted to bring them to a larger audience," Dalling says. "Andys is a great outlet for this concept because it is casual and accessible. Depending on how popular the BBQ is, we may decide to offer it more regularly.”
 
Abramovic invites BBQ enthusiasts and the downtown lunch crowd to celebrate the unofficial end of summer and take advantage of this one-day event. She adds that the possibility of future events will be true to the pop-up concept, only announcing the occassion a few days prior.
 
For more information, follow social media campaign “Meat Us at Andys” on Twitter at @FairmontPGH and @AndysPgh.
 
Source: Fairmont Pittsburgh, Julie Abramovic                        
 

Name that suite! A new hotel downtown invites 'Burghers to do just that

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is opening its first boutique hotel downtown in October, Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh. But before the Steel City’s guests arrive, prospective patrons have the opportunity to name the luxurious one-bedroom spa suites. 
 
From Mon., July 21 to Wed., July 30, the virtual community will be able to submit recommendations for the suite name. The hotel will offer 13 suites. One suite will be titled the Majestic suite, the Monaco’s take on a presidential stay. The other 12 suites will be referred to with the online competition’s winning moniker.
 
The Facebook contest is open to Pennsylvania and Ohio residents. To enter, one must “like” the Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh Facebook page and then post their locally-inspired name on the page’s wall with the hashtag #SoundsSoSuite.
 
Three finalists will be selected and another round of voting will run from Aug. 4 through Aug. 11.  The grand prize winner — with the most likes for his or her suggestion — will be the first to stay in the suite on the hotel’s opening night in October and be awarded dinner for two at the hotel’s restaurant.
 
Six random contestants or fans of the Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh page will also have the opportunity to win a prize.
 
“Aside from the grand prize, three people who submit names will win an overnight stay with us and three people who vote on the finalists will also win overnight stays,” confirmed Rob Mallinger, Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh general manager.

This 248-room hotel will mark the 11th Monaco site for Kimpton nationally — other cities to boast a Kimpton Hotel Monaco include Philadelphia, Washington DC and San Francisco.                                       

Mallinger says the suites are double the size of a regular hotel bedroom, have flat screen TVs and luxurious bathrooms, including a deep-soaking tub. Kimpton hotels also incorporate local themes in their design. The Pittsburgh hotel’s meeting rooms are named after notable Pittsburghers and the rooms have a black and gold, with hint of turquoise or emerald, color scheme.
 
“One of the great things about Kimpton is the way hotels take on a local identity,” Mallinger says. “As a native of this great city, I could not be more proud to be opening this unique luxury hotel in my hometown.”
 
Mallinger says he is also excited about some of the hotel’s other features debuting this fall. In addition to the warm and courteous staff, Mallinger says the hotel offers complimentary daily wine, there will be a couple of bikes available for guests to cruise through downtown and an “excellent” chef driven restaurant.  The Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh will also accommodate pets, offer a 24-hour fitness center and the front desk will be equipped with everything from hair straighteners to heating pads to computer chargers, available for little or no charge through Kimpton’s signature “Forgot It? We’ve Got It” program.
 
“Generally speaking, I thinking the Kimpton is bringing something new to the city,” he says. “We want guests to experience everything we offer.”
 
The Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh will open downtown in the Reed Building at 620 William Penn Place in October. For more information and updates, please visit the hotel’s website at www.monaco-pittsburgh.com.
 
 
Source: Jacklin Rhoads of Cashman & Associates,  Rob Mallinger

NOLA's grand reopening promises to make this summer even hotter

From the summer weather, to hot jazz, to spicy sauce, NOLA on the Square’s grand reopening promises to bring the heat.
 
NOLA, Pittsburgh’s downtown destination for New Orleans, La. — NOLA — cuisine and live jazz music, announced the entertainment line-up for its reopening celebration, kicking off July 15.
 
Opening in 2011, NOLA was a Market Square staple until a fire forced it to close its doors on Feb. 24, 2014. Just less than six months later, NOLA is ready to start serving Cajun and Creole favorites again.
 
“Luckily, we were very organized about it,” says John Ajay, corporate beverage director for The Big Y Restaurant Group, general manager of Perlé and assistant general manager of NOLA, about the renovation. “We were able to move pretty quickly on this.”
 
The reopening will feature several events, including a weeklong JazzFest — a nod to New Orleans’ popular spring music festival. NOLA’s JazzFest will run from July 15 to July 19 and feature a different artist every night. The Fri., July 18 and Sat., July 19 events will host multiple performances.
 
“Friday and Saturday are sort of a jazz marathon,” says Karen Poirier, president of KeboWorks and NOLA media preview.  She explains that the Friday performances will run from 4PM to midnight and Saturday’s acts are all day from noon to midnight.
 
After JazzFest, NOLA will return to its regular live music schedule with performances Wednesday, Friday and Saturday beginning at 8PM.
 
On July 30, NOLA Chefs Andrew Hebson and Leonard Pisano will go head-to-head in a Chef vs. Chef battle of the hot sauces contest to be decided by a panel of Pittsburgh celebrity judges. The panel includes WQED’s Director of Programming and host of QED Cooks Chris Fennimore; popular food and drinks writer Hal B. Klein; and comedian and WDVE morning show personality Bill Crawford.
 
The chefs will use dueling Louisiana hot sauces Crystal and Tabasco creatively in their recipes. Patrons have the option to join in on the fun and order from the hot sauce battle menu or stick to NOLA’s traditional menu.
 
NOLA will also debut Speakeasy as part of its reopening. Dedicated to craft whiskeys and beers, Speakeasy is a companion bar to Perlé, NOLA’s upstairs neighbor, also reopening July 15.
 
Poirier calls Speakeasy “a new destination” and private event venue for NOLA. She added that “Speakeasy is the mancave complement to Perlé,” which Poirier describes as a romantic, late-night tapas lounge. Decorated in a dark, masculine style with club chairs, Speakeasy will operate Friday and Saturday nights from 8PM to 2AM.
 
In addition to the launch of Speakeasy and Perlé’s comeback, the bars will also introduce a Vintage Champagne Room — located between Speakeasy and Perlé. The Champagne Room will host upwards of 500 bottles from Dom Pérignon to Moët & Chandon to Ace of Spades.
 
While the paint is fresh and the art is new, NOLA is still the Market Square restaurant Pittsburgh knows and loves — complete with its popular open-air kitchen.
 
“We’re just really looking forward to opening back up," Ajay says, noting that both customers and neighboring businesses have shown encouragement during the renovation process. "We’ve had a lot of support over the past few months. It’s a nice little neighborhood we have in the Square.”
 
 
Source:  Karen Poirier, KeboWorks, John Ajay

PNC Financial tops off its new global headquarters Downtown

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. celebrated the topping off of its new global headquarters, The Tower at PNC Plaza, Tuesday. Officials, labor dignitaries, construction workers, PNC’s employees and project partners gathered to sign the final steel beam before it was placed atop the building structure.  

The 33-story, 800,000-square foot tower—located on the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street—will house approximately 2,200 employees upon its opening in fall 2015. The building will help accommodate PNC’s growth and support further business development in Downtown Pittsburgh. PNC says they expect 2,500 people to be hired during construction of The Tower at PNC Plaza.   

“The tower’s construction is a reflection of PNC’s commitment to Pittsburgh and a testament to our tremendous growth over the past decade,” says PNC Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Demchak. “The new headquarters will serve as a statement about the importance that we place on sustainability and innovation and on providing the best-possible environment for our employees.” 
 
With a double-skin facade and a solar chimney, the tower is anticipated to ventilate naturally at least 42 percent of the year and consume 50 percent less energy than a typical office building. The building’s floor-to-ceiling windows and narrow floor plates will allow daylight to illuminate 90 percent of all open workspaces, and a water recycling system is expected to decrease the tower’s annual water consumption by 77 percent.  PNC says they believe that the building will exceed Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification and set the new standard for green building. 

“In 2000, the 650,000-square-foot PNC Firstside Center opened as the first U.S. LEED-certified financial services building and the largest LEED-certified building in the country,” a statement from PNC explains. “Since then, PNC has certified 225 projects to LEED standards, including more newly constructed LEED-certified buildings than any other company."
 
Source: PNC

Giant Chess, Jenga and Connect Four are coming downtown this summer

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is introducing Project Pop Up: Play through its Pop Up program on Fri., June 13 in Market Square.
 
In 2012, more than 90 artists, entrepreneurs and nonprofits submitted proposals to activate downtown storefronts. Finalists were invited to “pop” into downtown for limited engagements. After the pilot year, three of the Pop Ups signed long-term leases.
 
Project Pop Up was envisioned to be replicated and its reach includes one-time events and programs to create strong public places in Downtown Pittsburgh. Previous Pop Ups have included fashion, night markets, food and nature events.
 
“As an organization we enjoy doing unique, fun things,” says Leigh White, PDP vice president of marketing and communications. “We do them to activate downtown.”
 
Project Pop Up: Play is an initiative to help relieve workday stress with a game break. On June 13 in Market Square, during lunchtime, stop by to play some cornhole, super-sized chess, life-sized Connect Four and mega Jenga.
 
“Every adult wants to play,” White says. “It doesn’t matter if you are in a suit or … work clothes.”
 
All games are free to anyone who wants to participate. The PDP is planning to pop up the games several times a week all over downtown. White calls the games “great stress relief“ and a “great way to meet people.”
 
In addition to Pop Up: Play, the PDP is also currently hosting Project Pop Up: Patio and Project Pop Up: Fashion will be back again this year on Fri., July 18 in Market Square. Last year, Pop Up: Patio was located in Strawberry Way. This year, the Patio and Play initiatives are rotating.
 
“The biggest thing for us is that we want this to be a public participation event,” says White about how Pittsburghers have the power to request where they want the games and patio in downtown.
 
The PDP wants input about where to pop up with the fun. You can suggest a location on twitter or facebook by reaching the PDP with the hashtag #PopUpPlay for the games and the hashtag #PopUpPatio for the patio — the patio is currently located at the Gateway PAT station parklet during the Three Rivers Arts Festival — you can also email the PDP with a location request at pdp@downtownpittsburgh.com.
 
Social media will also be used to announce where you can find the games next.
 
 
Source: The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Leigh White

Pittsburgh to host 25th annual meeting of the Intelligent Transportation Society

Last week, the Intelligent Transportation Society of America selected Pittsburgh as the host city for the 25th Annual ITS America Meeting and Exposition next year.
 
The Intelligent Transportation Society of America is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to advancing the research, development and deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems to improve the nation’s surface transportation system. Founded in 1991, ITS America’s membership includes more than 450 public agencies, private sector companies and academic and research institutions.
 
Taking place June 1 - 3, 2015, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh, the event is expected to draw more than 2,000 of the nation’s top transportation and technology policymakers, innovators and engineers, investors, researchers and business leaders to Pittsburgh to address the critical role of technology in the nation’s and region’s transportation future.
 
“ITS America is thrilled to host our 25th Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa. — a city that is at the forefront of researching and developing high-tech transportation solutions,” says Scott Belcher, president and CEO of ITS America. “Pittsburgh is leading the way in advancing technologies such as smart sensors for parking, real-time traffic and transit information, advanced vehicle and robotics technologies and smart mobility applications that are revolutionizing transportation as we know it.”
 
Nashville, Tenn. and Washington, DC have both recently hosted the annual meeting and exposition.
 
Co-hosted with ITS Pennsylvania, the 2015 Annual Meeting will feature keynote speeches and panel discussions with the intelligent transportation industry’s premier thought leaders and rising stars, and provide attendees the opportunity to experience the latest transportation innovations through interactive technology demonstrations, a bustling exhibit hall, technical tours and networking events.
 
“ITS Pennsylvania is excited to have the City of Pittsburgh selected as the Annual Meeting location," says ITS Pennsylvania President Dan Corey. "With a surge of activity in recent years in university research, technology transfer and robotics, Pittsburgh is transforming itself into a center of intelligent transportation activity. There has also been a tremendous ITS focus on transportation, safety, operations and mobility issues throughout the state that we look to share with our colleagues. ITS Pennsylvania thanks ITS America for the selection and is ready to help make this meeting a success for both our organizations as well as the region.”
 
 
Source: Intelligent Transportation Society of America 

Try Vinyasa flow or the Grape Vine this summer in Market Square

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and Lululemon recently launched Yoga in the Square, a free yoga practice which will be held every Sunday in Market Square throughout the summer. The series kicked off Sun., June 1.
 
“Yoga in the Square is a unique, new and healthy way to experience downtown,” says Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the PDP. “We look forward to many yoga practitioners from around the city enjoying the urban oasis that is Market Square. We hope following practice, visitors will stick around and enjoy brunch and a great Bloody Mary at one of downtown’s delicious brunch venues.”
 
Each week, a different yoga instructor will lead the class geared toward yogis of all levels — from beginner to expert. Teachers from studios throughout the city will offer people the opportunity to sample a variety of yoga experiences.
 
Leigh White, PDP vice president of marketing and communications says Market Square offers myriad events, including those like Yoga in the Square that promote health. She says the yoga series is intended to get people active and downtown.

“We are really encouraging people [of all yoga levels] to come down and give it a try,” she says, calling herself a “yoga novice” who herself will be trying something new.
 
The inaugural practice was led by Wendy Foster Elliot of Salt Power Yoga last Sunday and Dezza Pastor of the Yoga Hive will teach the session this Sun., June 7.
 
The hour-long yoga session begins at 10AM and will occur every Sunday through August 24. Yoga will be dependent upon weather. Lululemon and the PDP will provide notification by 8AM on Sundays with weather cancellations listed on the event Facebook page and on the PDP social media outlets, www.facebook.com/DowntownPittsburgh and Twitter @downtownpitt.
 
White says the PDP is also excited about the program because it gives residents the opportunity to start their Sundays downtown. She adds that she hopes Yoga in the Square can become part of a Sunday morning ritual.
 
However, if you're more into cutting a rug than hitting the yoga mat, Market Square is also hosting Dancing in the Square every Friday afternoon throughout June from 5PM to 7PM
 
The PDP and the Pittsburgh Chapter of USA Dance have partnered to bring ballroom dancing to Market Square. Dancing in the Square will feature free ballroom dancing instruction, as well as performances by students and professionals from local dance studios.
 
Similar to Yoga in the Square, Dancing in the Square will rotate instructors and feature various styles of dance. In addition to traditional ballroom dances, favorite group dances such as the Electric Slide, Cha Cha Slide and the Cupid Shuffle will be taught and danced each week.
 
This Fri., June 6, instructor Chris Drum with DJ Brian Lee, will kick off the series. Performances by the Chris Drum Dance Team and USA Dance Pittsburgh Youth from the Woodland Hills High School Youth Program will follow the class.
 
“USA Dance is happy to share the excitement of dance in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. There will be dance lessons in Market Square, along with performances by Yes, You Can Dance!, Woodland Hills School Youth Program and Embrace Dance [Project] — designed for amputees with prosthetics,” says Ramona Corey, of USA Dance Pittsburgh.
 

Source: The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Leigh White

Market Square Farmers Market opens Thursday with flower bulb giveaway

The Market Square Farmers Market returns on Thurs., May 15, for its 10th season. Presented by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, the market features more than 30 vendors selling locally grown produce, plants and small batch foods.
 
To kick off the season, The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy will give away thousands of tulip and daffodil bulbs at the reopening of the market. The bulbs will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis with a limit of two-dozen bulbs — they are anticipated to run out fast, according to the PDP.
 
“We have been so pleased with the success and growth of the Farmers Market, making it one of the best attended and most diverse markets in the region,” says Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “The market ushers in spring for so many people, bringing excellent produce, fantastic entertainment and sunny days.”
 
In addition to vendors, the market features free, weekly entertainment, including performances from a variety of local festivals and groups such as the Pittsburgh Blues Festival and the Pittsburgh Opera. Singer-songwriter Joel Lindsey, will kick-off this performance series Thursday, with a set from 11:30AM to 1:30PM.
 
The market will occur each Thursday from 10AM to 2PM. and will run through Oct. 30. New this year, the streets surrounding Market Square will be closed to through traffic during the market, starting at 8AM each Thursday.
 
To keep up with the schedule and other details, please follow Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership @DowntownPitt or visit www.downtownpittsburgh.com/.
 
Source: the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

Mellon Square is reopening after a $10 million spring cleaning

More than 3,500 daffodils are emerging from planters in Mellon Square, heralding the imminent completion of a three-year, $10 million construction project to restore a historic landscape site to its original, 1950s elegance.
 
The project to rejuvenate Mellon Square in downtown was born from the efforts of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh with funding from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and BNY Mellon. Heritage Landscapes lead the design team.
 
Restoration of the space has remained true to the mid-century design of its principal creators, John Ormsbee Simonds of Simonds & Simonds and James A. Mitchell of Mitchell & Ritchey. In 1955, they completed a revolutionary concept put forth by Richard King Mellon and Mayor David Lawrence.
 
The space was developed to anchor the city’s business hub and spur economic development during Pittsburgh’s post-World War II renaissance. The project also provided a memorial to Richard King Mellon’s father, Richard B. Mellon, and his uncle, Andrew Mellon.
 
Despite efforts by the city to maintain the space, “lack of resources, time, weather, use, pigeons and vandalism took their toll on Mellon Square,” and the park began to deteriorate, according to the Parks Conservancy.
 
The damage was not just cosmetic, explains Susan Rademacher, parks curator for the Parks Conservancy. By 2007, when plans to renovate the park were initiated, the original, cold war technology was beginning to fail. Corrosion corrupted the fountain, mechanical, electric and plumbing systems were broken and some terrazzo paving had deteriorated.
 
“By the end of the 20th Century, much of the original elegance had been lost,” she says. “Our overarching goal is to bring back Mellon Square as an urban oasis.”
 
New features from the restoration include the Interpretive Wall — telling the story of Mellon Square and its relationship to the Mellon family — and the construction of an elevated terrace overlooking Smithfield Street based on an original concept by Simonds and Mitchell. New lighting has also been installed for nighttime viewing and to set off plantings and architectural features.
 
“Mellon Square was created to be a refreshing oasis in the heart of the city, and throughout our restoration process we have carefully honored the legacy and intent of its visionaries,” says Parks Conservancy President and Chief Executive Officer Meg Cheever. “Visitors will see the grand Central Fountain once again animating the square with choreographed water displays pouring into its nine, 3,500-pound bronze basins, each of which has been repatinated. The signature terrazzo paving has been repaired, and people at street level will see the Cascade Fountain spilling its way through basins along Oliver and Smithfield.”
 
A $4 million permanent investment fund has been established as part of the $10 million project for long-term maintenance of the Square. This, together with an agreement with the city giving the Parks Conservancy a significant role in the ongoing management and maintenance of the space, will help to ensure that the restored Mellon Square will endure.
 
Rademacher said the park is meant to serve those living and working in downtown. She noted that the space was intended to be enjoyed two ways, looking below from a towering office or “looking up.” She said the panorama from the Square creates a view of Pittsburgh’s iconic architectural drama.

The rededication and grand reopening of Mellon Square will be Wed., May 28 and Thurs., May 29.  A cocktail reception is planned for the evening of May 28. The public celebration on May 29 will also kickoff the Thursdays at noon summer jazz series in the square.
 
Source: Pittsburgh Parks Conservatory, Susan Rademacher, Ellis Communications
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