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East Liberty redevelopment garners international attention

In an article last week, U.K. newspaper The Guardian asked its 9 million international daily readers: What can East Liberty teach us about the transformative power of regeneration?

The article, "How community-led renovation is helping a rundown Pittsburgh neighbourhood fight crime," focuses on the work of East Liberty Development Inc. (ELDI) for its efforts to revitalize and redevelop the East End community.

The article chronicles ELDI’s 1999 launch and ongoing investments to end the worsening crime and resident vulnerability, the organization's strategic purchase of real estate in the neighborhood's most dangerous blocks and the redevelopment of those properties into stable low-cost and market-value housing. 

The article also underscored East Liberty's the drop in crime, citing the results of a Numeritics study. The Pittsburgh consulting firm was commissioned by ELDI to track the incidence of crime against the sites where the group had intervened.

“Between 2008 and 2012, serious crimes against persons -- aggravated assault, homicide, rape and robbery -- decreased by 54 percent in East Liberty’s residential areas. Total crime -- including property crimes and crimes reported in the commercial center of East Liberty -- dropped from 221 crimes per thousand residents in 2008 to 164 crimes per thousand residents in 2012.”  

Read the full article from across the pond.

Students from YMCA Lighthouse Project in Homewood strut their stuff

Teen filmmakers, poets, step dancers, performers and photographers from Homewood will share their talents on stage at the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre tonight at 6 p.m. as part of an end-of-year celebration for the YMCA Lighthouse Project.

High-school students will perform original hip-hop songs, rock 'n' roll acts, film, artwork, fashion designs and culinary treats. The YMCA Lighthouse Project's two hip-hop groups -- Exclusive and Young, Wise & Motivated -- will be selling their albums during the event.

The YMCA Lighthouse Project is an after-school program at Westinghouse Academy, a low-performing high school in Homewood. Despite the high dropout rate at Westinghouse, every Lighthouse Project participant goes on to graduate from high school, according to a press release from the YMCA.

The Kelly Strayhorn Theatre is at 5941 Penn Ave. in East Liberty.

A weekend in Pittsburgh (mostly East Liberty)

"I love this city. There, I said it. Every five years I make a pilgrimage to my college reunion in nearby Westmoreland County, and every five years I stop here and discover another reason — or three or four — to fall in love again.

You may have heard about Pittsburgh’s success story of the 1990s: Steel mills close, waterfront develops, high-tech and research businesses flourish. But after the economic calamities of the past five years, pockets of town were and are suffering. Yet this is Pittsburgh — scrappy, energetic, entrepreneurial — and so I wasn’t surprised to learn it’s actively reclaiming its abandoned places.

I spent three days exploring two neighborhoods humming with growth and energy: East Liberty (locals call it “Sliberty”) and the Downtown Cultural District."


Read the full story here.

Two Pittsburgh restaurants noted in Food and Wine trends article

So this is all it said but still, when was the last time any restaurant in Pittsburgh got mentioned in Food and Wine?

"And in Pittsburgh’s Union Pig & Chicken (unionpgh.com), Kevin Sousa makes sweet-and-tangy baked beans loaded with franks from Sousa’s Station Street Hot Dogs (stationstreetpgh.com)."

Read the full story here to see who else across the country was mentioned.

From Pig to Plate: a visit to Cure for a hog butchering

In an effort to better understand cuts of meat, this blogger went to Cure restaurant where, as "part of the ever creative line up of Sunday events, Justin (Severino) offered a Hog Butchering Demo."

You gotta love it. Read the blog here.

Conflict Kitchen features cuisine from the conflict du jour

"...Rubin and Weleski are used to head-scratching reactions since they opened the Conflict Kitchen, a Pittsburgh cafe that serves cuisine only from countries in conflict with the United States, with a menu that rotates to reflect the war or diplomatic row of the moment.

"The cafe opened in 2010, with Iranian food the first featured cuisine. That was followed by periods of Afghan and Venezuelan food. This month, in a sign of the lingering tension between Washington and Tehran, the Conflict Kitchen is wrapping up another Iranian iteration. One recent Saturday, it featured a Persian dinner party attended by customers in Pittsburgh and diners in Tehran, who were linked via video chat."

Read the full story here.

Leadership Pittsburgh class advocates for Main Streets

The Leadership Pittsburgh class XVIII is advocating for Pittsburgh's Main Streets, which are facing budget cuts, when they head to Harrisburg soon in a day long session to meet legislators. In preparation and with help from the URA, the class took tours of eight Main St. neighborhoods, from West End to East Liberty and shared their impressions in this article.

"Participants said it was an eye-opening day and an education in the challenges of urban neighborhood development."

Read the full story here.

"A hipster batcave where inventors work on secret gadgets"? It must be DeepLocal

Communications Arts, a site known for its creative hotlist of careers in the creative arts, flagged Pittsburgh's DeepLocal for mention in its fresh section this month. 

See what Communication Arts had to say about the outside-in creative digital design company.

Google's Bakery Square offices named one of top cool tech spaces in the country

While Google has cool offices everywhere, the Pittsburgh office in Bakery Square was cited as one of the top 15 cool tech spaces in the country. Here's a tour in a photo slide show.

A Kabul of the stomach

CS Monitor recently looked at Conflict Kitchen in East Liberty's second iteration, Bolani Pazi.  The piece explores the ways in which Bolani Pazi attempts to engage the public, via its collective stomach, in a dialogue about Afghanistan's culture, within the sphere of the contemporary geopolitical situation. 

Click here to read the entire article.

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Once PA's third-largest shopping district, East Liberty is making a comeback

The New York Times reports that the slumbering East Liberty neighborhood is reawakening.

In the 1950s, the neighborhood was the state's third-largest shopping district behind Center City Philadelphia and Downtown Pittsburgh. However, urban renewal schemes like high-rise public housing and ring roads drove the area into a "40-year coma." Now, the area is seeing a rise in economic attention. Mosites Company's Eastside and Eastside II developments have introduced Whole Foods, Walgreen's and Borders to the area; a 145,000-square-foot Target is set to take the place of a demolished public housing building; and the Bakery Square office and retail project has landed Google as its anchor tenant.

Sabina Deitrick, a co-director of the Urban and Regional Analysis Program at the University of Pittsburgh, says East Liberty's fortunes finally seem to be on the rise. "Pittsburgh grows so slowly that gentrification means something different here," she says. "The recent stages of development could be a way to reunite neighborhoods that were separated by urban renewal."

Read the complete New York Times article.

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Dinette's Sonja Finn announced as rising star chef James Beard Award semifinalist

Sonja Finn, chef and owner of East Liberty's Dinette, is in the running for a James Beard Award, a top national culinary honor.

Finn has been announced as a semifinalist in the "rising star chef" category, against the likes of Kevin Gillespie, a runner-up from season six of Bravo's Top Chef.

Dinette focuses on local, seasonal and organic pizza and wine, and is located at 5996 Penn Circle South.

The James Beard Foundation's Restaurant and Chef Committee selected the nominees from 21,000 online entries. An independent volunteer panel of more than 400 judges from across the country will vote on specific award categories to determine the final five nominees in each category. Those nominees will be announced on March 22, following which the same panel of judges will pick the winners, announced at the foundation's annual gala on Monday, May 3, 2010 at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall.

Click here to read the complete The Food Section blog post.

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Dinette chef, owner named national rising culinary star

Dinette's chef and owner Sonja Finn has been named a "top 40 chef under 40" by the Mother Nature Network. The chefs in this list were honored for not just their food, but also for their commitment to sustainability. Other big names include Jose Garces (the newest Iron Chef), Kevin Gillespie (a top-performing contestant on this season of Bravo's Top Chef) and the assistant chef at the White House.

Dinette's Finn made the No. 10 spot on the list of 40.

Finn started as a prep cook and garde manger at Baum Vivant in Pittsburgh., worked at restaurants across the country, and returned to Pittsburgh in April 2008 to work on her own pizza-and-wine place, Dinette, which opened in East Liberty in October of that year.

Dinette embraces sustainability through recycling, energy-efficient appliances and local, seasonal, organic ingredients. Also, employees are paid a living wage and are eligible for health insurance benefits.

Click here to read the complete Mother Nature Network article.

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Pittsburghers offer insider tips to American Airlines in-flight magazine

Pittsburgh celebrities--from IheartPGH.com blogger Lindsay Patross to Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership President and CEO Mike Edwards--offer insider tips for American Airlines' magazine on navigating the city's food, nightlife, outdoor recreation and more.

To live like a local, be sure to check out Point Breeze's Point Brugge Café for brunch, East Liberty's Shadow Lounge for great soul music and Dreadnought Wines for $12 tastings.

To read the complete article go here.

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Artist entrepreneurs: deepLocal and Electric Owl Studios

Two Pittsburgh companies, deepLocal and Electric Owl Studios, are profiled in a Primer magazine article about the next generation of businessmen--artists.

Both Carnegie Mellon University spinoffs, which run out the Liberty Bank Building, a no wall productions property in East Liberty, promote creative culture, collaboration and passion above the kind of business savvy taught in a classroom, say CEOs Nathan Martin of deepLocal and Fred Gallart of Electric Owl.

To read the complete article go here.

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