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Zipping through grit to find a renaissance of reuse

Zipcar’s online magazine zips through several Pittsburgh landmarks and discovers a story of grit-turned-grandeur.

In the article “How Gritty, Industrial Pittsburgh is Leading a Renaissance of Reuse,” Ziptopia writer Jeffrey Tanenhaus explains the evolution of local fixtures including the Grand Concourse Restaurant, Church Brew Works and The Andy Warhol Museum.

“Factories and warehouses still populate the riverbanks, but urban renewal – fueled by artistic initiatives and gastronomic growth starting in the 1970s – is turning Pittsburgh into a laid-back post-industrial playground,” Tanenhaus writes.

Tour Pittsburgh through Ziptopia’s lens here.
 

The Atlantic profiles exiled writers in City of Asylum

Following its 10-year anniversary, City of Asylum on the North Side is featured in an in-depth profile in a recent issue of The Atlantic magazine.

Along with the exiled writers who have found refuge in Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum, Atlantic reporter Deborah Fallows tells the story of Henry Reese and Diane Samuels, founders of the City of Asylum on Sampsonia Way.

“The lane feels like a Midwest version of a hutong in old Beijing,” Fallows writes about the former crack house where Reese, Samuels and the writers they harbor now live. “It sits in the close-in north side section of Pittsburgh known as the Mexican War Streets (with street names from battles and generals from the Mexican American War), a kind of gentrified Bohemian row-house neighborhood with many writers, artists, eclectic personalities and interesting people.”

The article goes on to describe the evolution of Sampsonia Way’s homes, painted with text-based art and reflecting the dreams of the neighborhood.

Curl up with this yarn of a story here.
 

Buzzfeed names Pittsburgh No. 9 most incredible, most underrated

In its top 10 list of America’s most incredible and underrated cities, Buzzfeed ranked Pittsburgh No. 9, just ahead of Ft. Worth, Texas, but behind Baltimore, Portland and Milwaukee.

High-quality and high-quantity bars, sports, and hangouts lend Pittsburgh this special place of honor on the Buzzfeed list. The website also notes that Pittsburgh’s beer prices are 12.2% lower than the rest of the United States.

“This city’s also got a quirkier side, with the many used bookstores of the South Side and the Andy Warhol Museum located on the North Shore,” offers the article.

Get a load of the full list here.
 

Dead bees, nail clippings, and priceless art in Warhol's 'Time Capsules'

NPR covers the slow process of uncovering the past of Pittsburgh's favorite Pop artist by dissecting hundreds of his old personal items, stored in cardboard boxes and saved with the intent of someday being an art piece.

"Marie Elia likes to describe her job this way: She is the secretary to a dead man. As one of two catalogers for Andy Warhol's Time Capsules, it's her job to go through the 610 boxes he left after his death in 1987. In one box she found a mysterious small tin. 'I opened it and it was full of fingernail clippings, dead bees and those little holes that come from a hole punch,' she says. The fingernail clippings weren't Warhol's. They were sent to him by a fan. 'I don't know why. Somebody mailed that to him. Somebody thought that he would like it.'"

Some of the boxes are even opened in front of a live audience on a small stage inside the Warhol Museum.

To read more about the Time Capsules exhibit, click here.

How Randyland revived a street and more

The happy-go-lucky renaissance man and proprietor of Randyland is featured in RoadsideAmerica.com.

"Lack of forethought has never bothered Randy, who told us repeatedly that he knows nothing about painting, art, or gardening. He has nonetheless used all three to transform the formerly derelict street corner into a showcase of outsider art, although he insists that it's merely proof that anyone can do anything if they just give it a try."

To read more about Randyland and how it helped revive a community, click here.

Pittsburgh and Its beautiful one-of-a-kind ballpark

"Of all the new/old ballparks, PNC is the best," writes this blogger.

"I always was a little wary of Camden Yards in Baltimore. Maybe it was because it was the first of the retro parks, and it was celebrated so wildly that it got turned into a cathedral almost overnight. But there is something merrily organic about the park in Pittsburgh, not least because it fits so generally into the old brick neighborhood around it. There’s also something giddily irregular about its bends and angles, and it’s designed so that the outfield bleachers are low, and the view is dominated by the long stretch of the Allegheny and the skyline rising off the other bank."

To read more of this ode to PNC Park, click here.

100 Museums to visit before you die features Mattress Factory and the Warhol

Save yourself the task of toggling through 100 pages to find them. Here's what they had to say about the two museums from Pittsburgh included in the list of 100 Museums to Visit Before You Die,

"The Andy Warhol Museum is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist. Paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs, and films fill the museum's seven floors and endlessly innovative exhibitions. Their rich collection and archives shed light not only on the Pittsburgh-born pop art icon, but include other influential artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Robert Mapplethorpe. With a room full of silver balloons and excellent cupcakes in the cafe, this museum's fame will far exceed 15 minutes."

To see the Warhol Museum, click here.

"The name is deceiving—the Mattress Factory is less of an industrial establishment, and more of a cultural one. The Factory was founded in 1977 in two refurbished buildings on Pittsburgh's historic North Side and boasts that it "is one of few museums of its kind anywhere." The Mattress Factory is home to a number of room-sized installation works created on site by American as well as international artists. The installations at the Mattress Factory range from a one-story high teddy bear head to room-size architectural projections and fully immersive environments. The nature of the Mattress Factory sets itself apart in its form and specificity. The museum is striving and attempting to activate more than just the audience's sense of sight. Among the museum's diverse programming is a growing permanent collection that includes artists such as James Turrell, Winnifred Lutz, and Yayoi Kusama, among others."

To see the Mattress Factory, click here.



Pittsburgh with kids: an education in fun

How much fun is Kidsburgh for kids?

Read the story here.

Pittsburgh seeks to expand riverfront access to the public

"Pittsburgh exists for three reasons: the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio," writes Pittsburgh-based writer Christine O'Toole in the New York Times. "In the 20th century, the banks of those rivers were controlled by industrial behemoths. They largely lost that identity after the waning of the steel industry in the 1980s. Over the last two decades, however, the city’s progress in clearing and cleaning its waterfront has created 12 miles of recreational trails, three professional sports stadiums, several boat landings and an influx of nearly 2,000 new downtown residents.

"The city has managed to leverage a $124 million investment in publicly accessible riverfront into $4 billion in corporate, public, nonprofit and entertainment development downtown.

"That success has renewed a debate that would have been unthinkable in Pittsburgh’s polluted industrial heyday: how best to expand public access to the shorelines of the three rivers. Projects proposed for two of the largest tracts left to be developed on the downtown fringe illustrate the opportunities and limits of public-private partnerships..."

Read the full story here.


Pittsburgh named as Under the Radar Cultural Destination

The Scene: Struggling industrial center turned cultural breeding ground.

The Signature: Museums. Visit the iconic Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky St.; warhol.org) for an infusion of pop art, the Carnegie Museum of Art (4400 Forbes Ave.; cmoa.org) for an upcoming exhibit on modern decorative arts and the Mattress Factory (500 Sampsonia Way; mattress.org) for “room-sized” installations of contemporary art. 

Insider Knowledge: While Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater (fallingwater.org) is the city’s most famous architectural landmark, H. H. Richardson’s Emmanuel Episcopal Church (emmanuelpgh.org) is worth a visit. The building features Tiffany windows and a wood interior reminiscent of an inverted ship’s hull.

Don’t Miss: The Pittsburgh Glass Center (5472 Penn Ave.; pittsburghglasscenter.org), where visitors can tour galleries of ornate glasswork or take a glassblowing class themselves.

Read the Pittsburgh and other blurbs here.


PNC Park noted for best ball park food for Primanti's and Iron City

Travel and Leisure magazine cites PNC Park, along with 11 other stadiums, as having some of the best ball park food in the country, recognizing--what else?--the classic Primanti Brothers sandwiches and Iron City beer.

Read the full story here.

So that's why they call it Kidsburgh

When this vacation blogger came to Pittsburgh, she wondered why they called it Kidsburgh. After her family visit, which included the Aviary, Primanti's and the Science Center, she knew why.

Read the full story here.

Children's Museum MakeShop featured in makezine.com

The Children's museum is becoming a community hub for making, reports make online. Read about one family's very happy experience with MakeShop here.



City of Asylum: A refuge for writers, catalyst for North Side revitalization

City of Asylum is highlighted by The New Yorker as a leader in the North Side's renewal.

"In 1980, when [City of Asylum founder Ralph Henry] Reese bought his house, the North Side was a blighted district, in a city whose name stood for deindustrialization and urban decay. It was a strange place for the owner of a successful telemarketing firm to live--but Reese, who wears a bow tie and unkempt hair, is an unusual man," the New Yorker post by George Packer reads. "Three decades later, Pittsburgh has stabilized its decline (attention should be paid by Detroit, Cleveland, and other urban apocalypses), and the North Side is enjoying a modest renewal, thanks in part to Reese and his wife, Diane Samuels, an artist, who bought four other row houses on their block of Sampsonia Way."

The homes in which the organization's persecuted international writers find refuge are marked by unique facades that brighten Sampsonia Way with Chinese calligraphy, Burmese script and a cityscape mural.

Click here to read the complete New Yorker article.

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