Showing posts with label penguins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label penguins. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

3 Important Announcements for this Week in Pittsburgh

1) Today (Tuesday), the parking lease proposals are due. 7 Firms were given the opportunity to submit their bids by 4PM today. Run on over to nullspace to make your proposal guesses now!

2) Thursday, we learn once and for all whether the Civic Arena will be imploded. Who am I kidding? They'll decide to implode it, and then we'll be in for another round of appeals from the "Re-Use the Igloo" folks. Perhaps their best argument so far has been this image:



3) Podcamp Pittsburgh is this weekend. To sweeten the pot, buildasign.com has given me 50 bumper stickers to dole out to my Pittsburgh-crazed groupies. Since I don't have groupies, anyone I see at Podcamp will be eligible for a PghIsACity-themed bumper sticker (while supplies last.)


Made my signs

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why Should We Care about the Igloo?

When Rob Pfaffman, a Pittsburgh architect, shows up to champion the reuse of Mellon Arena, he has two problems. First, he has to convince folks that the building is worth saving. Second, he has to convince folks to care.

Up until now, he has largely focused his public awareness meetings in the Hill District, where he has found, mostly, that folks don't care. Now, he is expanding his radius to the whole of Pittsburgh, hoping that we will fall in love with the idea that the Igloo is to Pittsburgh as the Eye is to Seattle.

They have a very comprehensive website where you can read for yourself and decide if you think the building is worth saving.

I think that Pittsblog captures the general public sentiment:
"The Igloo should go. It is not the Pantheon; it is not Penn Station. It is an eyesore. The space occupied by that building represents an opportunity to re-create and re-invent a big slice of Pittsburgh's urban fabric. (Of course, given Pittsburgh's history with redevelopment over the last 50 years, the city might well blow its big chance.) But that's just me."
But there are some, like me, who have drunk the Kool-Aid. Personally, I find the building to be an icon. Looking out from my deck, I can see the US Steel UPMC building, the Cathedral of Learning, the Igloo, and many other buildings. But it's those first 3 that really stand out, and that I always point out to friends. I will miss it if it's gone. From above, the new arena is another bland block in the landscape.

But mostly, Mr Pfaffman is selling the building and not a vision. One of the foremost plans I've heard for reuse is turning the decrepit arena into a boutique hotel. He says this is not about "nostalgia," but I have to say that the only ones wanting to stay in an over-priced arena boutique hotel are those overcome by nostalgia. For the residents of the Hill District, this would not be an amenity, just yet another reason for rich folks to stop through. Another reuse idea I hear floated about is as a non-professional sporting arena. Folks have championed ideas from a hockey rink to a velodrome. Once again, this is meant to appeal to general area dwellers and is not marketed at the Hill District. These plans will not generate any more or less jobs for Hill District residents than the Penguins plan.

Throwing a bone to Hill District residents, Pfaffman has plans for a walk with interpretive signs.

Needless to say, another multi-multi-million dollar project with some spare change thrown into interpretive signs, doesn't get Hill District residents involved and interested. If Rob Pfaffman and his crew really want to save the arena, they will find a vision for the new site that appeals to Hill District residents. Historians and those stepped-on by history have a chance of creating the momentum that will be needed to sway the Penguins management. How about a Hill District charter school on the site? Or a museum dedicated to the area?

Lastly, may I suggest a compromise? Incorporating architectural elements of the old building into the new development would act as a reminder and a teaching point for years to come. At the Waterfront, we have relic smoke stacks. At Station Square, there is an old train car. While these are not perfect examples, at least it's something. Clearly, it's too early for either side to give in to compromise, but I hope that in the end they find some middle ground.

Thanks to Eve Picker for putting together an informative panel and generating a lively discussion on the future of the Igloo at the monthly CityLive! event. If you haven't been to a CityLive! event and you care about issues in the city, you're really missing out on a great time. Next up, on June 29, Eve and her crew are tackling the issue of water in the city. RSVP today. Bonus? The events are free.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Cyber Monday

In the blog world, Cyber Monday is more of a celebration day than Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Day recorded the least number of hits to my blog pretty much ever, but today everybody is back and surfing the web in a miserable fit of back-to-work blues.

Ways to make the working person feel better while wasting some time today yet avoiding saving money on deals?
Go surf and celebrate.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Falling in Love

When I first moved to Pittsburgh, I loved all its shiny amenities. I loved the view of its skyline from Mt Washington. I loved the old steel mills re-purposed as shopping malls and night club destinations. I loved the churches re-purposed as restaurants and music venues. Within weeks, I was a rabid Steelers fan.

18 Months later, I knew more about Pittsburgh. It was winter and even though Pittsburgh gets very little snow, the snow it gets completely debilitates the the poorly maintained, ridiculously planned roads. I was beginning to see the chinks in Pittsburgh's armor. But I had also discovered Penn Avenue's Unblurred, dozens of quaint neighborhoods, shopping in the Strip District, and I was in better shape than ever from the built-in stair-masters surrounding my street. I started watching hockey and was crushed when the Penguins were trampled by the Redwings.

Fast-forward another 18 months to today. This year, I've cheered on the Steelers to the Super Bowl and the Penguins to the Stanley Cup. I've also watched rain pour into my 100-year-old fixer-upper, entered dozens of battles of the will with the city's 311 line (often winning), saw the true awful state of the city's pension, and have made some good friends. I'm only finally starting to live in the city. And I'm finally starting to cheer for the Pirates. I've learned their history as a mega-team, and I've accepted that they're bad now. My 13-year-old brother-in-law who lives in Alaska (and is visiting for 3 weeks) has taught me the wonder of buying cheap tickets and sitting in the stands, enjoying a summer day. Every time they win, it's a small victory, just like when I call 311 to fix a street light, and it actually gets fixed. Do I wish that Pittsburgh was more like the Red Sox with loads of money and talent? Of course, I do. But have I grown to love poor old Pittsburgh with its incredible history and transient population? Yup, I have.

Last night, only 11,741 people showed up to cheer the Pirates on to their latest small victory. Tickets start at less than $9. Buy a ticket. And remind yourself why you love this city. Anyone can be a bandwagon fan and root for the Steelers, it takes someone who loves the city to root for the Pirates - or a 13 year-old kid.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pride & Penguins

Today was the Pride Fest parade in downtown Pittsburgh - it garnered 5,000 folks - a respectable 30% increase over last year's attendance.

How many multiples of 5,000 will show up for the Penguins parade tomorrow? If the shenanigans on Carson St the past two nights are any indication, I think downtown will be pretty damned crowded.

Personally, I feel I should support the rights of my gay friends as much as I support the Penguins.

So: Go Pride!

Friday, June 12, 2009

To the Underdog

As if anyone didn't know, tonight, the Penguins face Detroit for the Stanley Cup. As was shown in the Super Bowl, being a more successful city (in terms of population, jobs, etc.) doesn't translate to higher odds of winning sports championships. (Of course, baseball is its own beast.) When Pittsburgh was facing Phoenix for the Super Bowl, there were a lot of city comparisons and inevitably Pittsburgh came out on the bottom. Now, the tables are turned, and Pittsburgh is the top dog with Detroit's economy making Pittsburgh look like the best city in the world. It's all relative. And you have to wonder how much officials are worried about the cost of victory parades.

I will be rooting for the Pens tonight. As a transplant, I took longer to come around to rooting for the Pens than the Steelers, but here I am with a plastic penguin sitting on my front porch. However, I'm not rooting against Detroit. They've had too much shit hit the fan, and they have a great hockey team. (Plus, my brother is a die-hard Red Wings fan.) And if there are any Red Wings fans around tonight, try not to give them too hard a time.

All that said: GO PENS!