Friday, September 30, 2011

Hidden PGH: Panther Hollow

One of the things that charms me most about Pittsburgh are the hidden places that are easy to get to, lovely to visit, and beautiful to explore. In college I used to wander down into Panther Hollow at night (somewhat unwisely, I'm sure) and take in the quiet around me while cars sped across the Panther Hollow Bridge above me. Panther Hollow is one of my favorite hidden Pittsburgh places - one that I wanted to share with my friend Carrie, so we took a bike ride from Bloomfield to Oakland and ventured down the steps through the woods to get into the Hollows below.

The Panther Hollow Bridge and Panther Hollow Lake.

Reflection of the Panther Hollow Bridge in the murky, swampy lake below.

Why, if it isn't a quaggle of ducks!

As much as the hills can be killer around the city, they do make for some great hidden spots like Panther Hollow. What are some of your favorite hidden Pittsburgh gems?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

PGH Beautiful: Graffiti and Street Art, September 2011, Vol. 2

A sampling of graffiti and street art from wanderings leaving the Mattress Factory and heading toward downtown.

From Federal Street on the wall of the bridge before the Warhol heading into downtown.
(The best thing about this dino graffiti is that there is a faint pink dick right on top of it.)

Awesome tiger sticker from a fence in the alley outside of the Mattress Factory.

The best kind of graffiti: a black cat. From the same alley outside of the Mattress Factory.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Cheap Downtown Lunch: Go Pretzel

When Dozen closed their downtown location, I was a little heartbroken. I had grown very fond of my tradition of picking up a cupcake (preferably their red velvet with vanilla icing - YUM) and taking it with me to Franktuary for dessert. The spot on Liberty stayed empty for months, until a sign for "Go Pretzel" appeared one day, and I was over Dozen closing in an instant. Hot, delicious soft pretzels available to me on a daily basis just blocks away from work?


I love a soft pretzel, and having this option on the days when I "forget" my lunch at home is wonderful. Though, I do have one request: some sort of awesome cheese dip! I got the dijon mustard on my inaugural visit, which I wasn't too into (as I'm not a big fan of mustard in general). But the pretzel was delicious, so if I have to forgo a dipping sauce, it's not the end of the world. In fact, it's the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

PGH Beautiful: Murals, September 2011, Vol. 2

A sampling of some murals seen on the other side of the Mattress Factory.

A poem painted onto the glass storm door a few homes down the alley from the Mattress Factory.

These two homes are in the same alley, and are side-by-side (obviously) murals with very different feels.

I'm partial to this mural, because I'm partial to any artist's rendering of Pittsburgh's notable sights, buildings, and skyline.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Friday Night Light (on Penn): Evolution of a Main Drag, Vol. 1

A couple Fridays ago I got home from work with time to spare before my plans for the evening started. I was feeling restless. The weather was stunning. I decided to take a quick bike ride down Penn Ave to the East Liberty main business stretch and wander about.

I parked my bike at the new Target. Unlike the Market District, Target has mastered bike racks. There are so many of them. They are not parallel to the building or a foot from the building. Good work, Target.

This mural is directly across from the Target parking garage. There are many things I love about this mural: the various building in the skyline, the people on the street, and the two random German shepherds who are just hanging out unleashed.

Actually, they look more like wolves, now that I've taken another look at this photo. From my experience, wolves are not roaming the streets of Eat Liberty. But I kinda wish they were.

What a great mural. Good work, East Liberty.

I thought this was an interesting choice for the facade of this building.

And this building I thought was just plain awesome. Oh, to have the disposable income to buy all of the beautiful abandoned buildings in and around East Liberty and Garfield and rehabilitate them to their former glory.

Facade of the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. I've never been inside the theater, but I hope that changes soon. Below is a mosaic (I think?) that is right before the main doors into the theater.

I love the long staircase leading up to the house. How very Pittsburgh.

The East Liberty Presbyterian Church intrigues me. I wanted to go in, but time did not allow it on this trip.

Names on the ground outside of the theater.

Two huge murals on the sides of the Novum research building. When you come into East Liberty on Penn from the Bloomfield/Friendship area, this is one of the first things you notice.

Love that these boys are on bikes.

Constantly changing sign atop the Waffle Shop, one of a few Carnegie Mellon University projects scattered around this area of the neighborhood.

I believe this is the building that will be coming down in order to build a small-ish movie theater. (I say small-ish because I've read it's only going to have 5-7 screens, which I'm totally in favor of. Not having to go to the South Side or -ugh- the Waterfront to see a movie will be day.)

Not really sure what this is, but I couldn't help but stop and look at it for a few minutes to try and figure it out. Eventually I decided I just enjoyed that he was trying to play lacrosse with these butterflies.

A fake movie poster in the window of the MT Theater, yet another CMU art project.

Most of the businesses have murals on the gates that protect their businesses after hours. Which means that after business is done for the day, this stretch of Penn gets even more colorful.

I got back on my bike and started back toward Bloomfield, but I had to stop and take a picture of this amazing sunset. It was a beautiful night to get out of the apartment and see some things I'd forever taken note of while passing by. Along the way I got to discover a little more of this stretch of Penn Ave. I rode back up the hill and had to make myself focus on the traffic around me. The sky was just too hard to ignore, and I kept looking up taking it all in.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Nite Club: Celebrating the Release of the Neighbours EP

Not to brag, but I have some incredibly talented friends.

Four of these friends are in a band called Neighbours, and they have just released their first EP, which is a collection of fun, awesome, amazing tunes.

Neighbours celebrated the release of this EP at September's Friday Nite Club, a new semi-monthly (I think?) night out that combines live music and dancing at Pittsburgh's Irish Center, which is basically like hanging out in your grandfather's really awesome den with free beer. This was a great time, made greater by excellent company and excellent music. (And drinking straight from a bottle of cheap champagne - always makes one feel classy.)

Here are some photos from the night, taken by another very talented friend of mine, Brian Taylor.

Friday Nite Club promises free beer - until supplies run out.

Andy (Neighbours drummer) and Carrie chat in the foreground, while John Chamberlain and I discuss biking and downtown Pittsburgh in the background.

Carrie and I, opening our bottles of champagne - let the fun begin!

Corey - taking a swig of delicious champagne.

DJ Jordan K played the tunes that made us all bop around before and after the bands played their sets.

Neighbours band meeting: Andy, Mike, Ross, and Joe.

Neighbours doing their thing - and doing it exceptionally well, at that.

Seriously so proud of these boys, especially Ross and Mike, who I'm known for almost a decade now. Great people making great music. Pittsburgh.

More photos from Brian here.

More Friday Nite Clubs will be attended in the future. More cheap bottles of champagne to drink. And - hopefully - many more Neighbours releases to celebrate. Good work, everyone involved.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

pghpghyeah: Debuting on September 24 at Hartwood Acres!

When I was a kid, my mom taught me how to cross-stitch. She was a master cross-stitcher; the proof of which adorns the walls of my childhood home. She made hundreds of intricate and complicated works of art throughout her 63 years, but all I could ever grasp were the basics, which I got bored with pretty quickly. Fast forward many years and I found myself wanting to pick the craft back up and give it another go. Again, I got bored quickly, but the desire to make SOMETHING remained strong. I toyed around with a couple different ideas, but finally found a craft that feels like my own, a craft that I'm continuing to explore and improve upon - and one that I'm now confident enough (mostly) to share with the world.

I've partnered up with my Pedestrian Pittsburgh/extremely talented friend Eric to create pghpghyeah, which combines our handmade creations that celebrate Pittsburgh. We're debuting these little creations at the I Made It Market taking place on September 24 from 12 n - 4 p.m. at the Hartwood Acres Hay Day Fall Festival.

Here's a sampling of what I've been working on. Everything is handmade! No machines were used to do any of the sewing.

So, there you have it. Some of the fruits of my labors over the past few months. I'm not sure about pricing yet, as I have been internally arguing with myself over what these are worth, both framed and unframed. But, if you're around this Saturday, come visit Eric and me at our booth. I can promise that we will have yummy cookies baked by Carrie and me. I can also promise that there will be all sorts of fun things to do: hay rides, pony rides, petting zoo, MOON WALKS, and a book fair. Sounds like a perfect way to spend a Saturday in the fall.