2016 Winter

The new Westmoreland

Early in October, looking out over the view of Greensburg from the newly reconfigured Westmoreland Museum of American Art, someone remarked that a building’s foundations had been discovered recently in the old parking garage, which is being turned into a garden. In England, such work recently turned up the body of King Richard III, slain …

The new Westmoreland Read More »

Sports town bragging rights

Go to any city with a professional baseball, football, basketball or hockey franchise and chances are you’ll find at least one guy in a bar who’ll argue his is the best sports town in America. It’s likely there’s even one in Charlotte after a Hornets victory and a few too many beers. The guy in …

Sports town bragging rights Read More »

J. Kevin McMahon, Arts & Culture Executive

It’s not a secret, but I actually was born in Pittsburgh. I don’t talk about it, not because I’m not proud of Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh is great. But in Pittsburgh, if you say you were born here, everybody expects you to know everything about it. When I was a little kid, my family moved, so I …

J. Kevin McMahon, Arts & Culture Executive Read More »

Cheers! from around the world

Consider how the weather transforms our lives. As the thermometer drops, so too do our windows and doors as we make the seamless transition from shorts to sweatpants, smoothies to soups, flip-flops to snow boots and a cotton blanket to a 16-pound down comforter. What we often enjoy most about this season are the traditions …

Cheers! from around the world Read More »

The New Sound

Steve Hackman, 35, is an emerging phenomenon in the world of music, fusing classical and popular pieces. Hackman is creating and conducting his hybrid concerts with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Jan. 27 and March 9. A native of suburban Chicago, he has an undergraduate degree in piano performance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and …

The New Sound Read More »

Global Glamour

It took Phileas Fogg 80 days to go around the world in Jules Verne’s classic novel. It took closer to three years for a Shadyside couple to complete their residence, a mélange of influences from their international lives and travels. The result is a journey of a different sort; a home that reflects both their …

Global Glamour Read More »

Diversity Through a Local Lens

Earlier this fall, more than 3,550 southwestern Pennsylvanians shared their views on racial and ethnic diversity in a region where the population of African Americans, Asians and Hispanics—and the slice of the labor force they hold—are among the smallest in metropolitan America. What emerges from the Pittsburgh Regional Diversity Survey is a complex portrait of …

Diversity Through a Local Lens Read More »

Life on the Monongahela

In the last Ice Age—10,000 to 110,000 years ago—what is now the Monongahela River flowed north across Pennsylvania into the St. Lawrence watershed. At some point, an ice dam gave rise to Lake Monongahela, which was 200 miles long, 100 miles wide and hundreds of feet deep. Now, a series of locks and dams largely …

Life on the Monongahela Read More »

Clouds gathering over Pittsburgh

As his rowboat swept over Penn Avenue, Charles H. Allard looked for the bronze tablet on the Horne’s building. The object commemorated the high water mark of the Flood of 1907, previously the most severe flood to ravage Pittsburgh. Allard, reporting for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on March 18, 1936, couldn’t see it. Allard and two …

Clouds gathering over Pittsburgh Read More »

New Zealand

Like everyone else who saw the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy, I was somewhat stunned by the dramatic beauty of New Zealand. But I’d never seriously considered visiting until Christmas 2014, when my oldest son was home from Shanghai and said, “Let’s go fly-fishing together in New Zealand.” I’ve always loved fishing, but not …

New Zealand Read More »

Beyond difference

Even before the performance of “Land of Oz” begins, it’s obvious that different rules apply here. Eyes dart around the auditorium and settle down in focused “listening”—sight is the primary way people here share information. To get someone’s attention, wave a hand in the air. To ignore someone, at which the high schoolers are particularly …

Beyond difference Read More »

The Year of Humanities

A multicolored logo flashed over Heinz Field’s immense scoreboard on a bright fall day as a booming voice declared 2015-16 the University of Pittsburgh’s “Year of the Humanities.” The crowd of 45,000-plus fans cheered loudly. Whether they were celebrating the academic year proclamation or the fact that Pitt’s football team was beating up on the …

The Year of Humanities Read More »

Transhumanism

It was my first interview with an artificial intelligence—a talking head without a body. The conversation was awkward, but considering that Bina48 is an android, it went better than I expec-ted. Bina48 is a synthetic replica of a real woman named Bina Rothblatt. We met at a Juniata College conference called Our Transhuman Future. The …

Transhumanism Read More »

Our New Downtown

I was dining the other night at Poros, the fourth Downtown restaurant opened by Yves Carreau. The elegant new space connects PPG Place and Market Square, and as I watched passersby outside the wall of windows, I was struck by how much Pittsburgh has changed. Soon the ice rink at PPG Place will reopen and …

Our New Downtown Read More »

Howard, Bairnsfather, Hand, Li, Riley, Fullerton

Christopher Howard will become president of Robert Morris University on Feb. 1. A native of Plano, Texas, Howard comes to Pittsburgh from Farmville, Va., where he has been president of Hampden-Sydney College since 2009. Howard previously was vice president for leadership and strategic initiatives at the University of Oklahoma, and has worked for General Electric’s …

Howard, Bairnsfather, Hand, Li, Riley, Fullerton Read More »

A New Kind of Volunteering

As many consider year-end charitable gifts, one old Pittsburgh company with a new name is spurring new ways to build a better community. Covestro—until this year Bayer MaterialScience—is investing in a new concept called “skills-based volunteerism” designed to benefit nonprofits as well as companies and their employees. The idea is that Covestro, and hopefully other …

A New Kind of Volunteering Read More »

The Eastern Bluebird

Sometimes winter brings surprises. Some are massive, like a burying storm; and some are almost unnoticed, like an unexpected bird on a branch. Now is the season to look for the Eastern Bluebird, whose flash of color can be as brilliant as a winter sky after a big snow or as delightful as an early …

The Eastern Bluebird Read More »

Helen B. Katz Natural Area

Although colder temperatures and snow are upon us, there are still many things to do and places to see in our beautiful western Pennsylvania landscape. One is the 284-acre Helen B. Katz Natural Area near Meadville in Crawford County. Part of protecting our region’s rivers and streams is conserving the surrounding land in key locations. …

Helen B. Katz Natural Area Read More »

4 reads for the Pittsburgh winter

Theresa Brown, a nurse from Point Breeze, is already nationally known for her 2010 nursing memoir “Critical Care” and years of writing online for The New York Times about her profession. Brown’s new book, “The Shift,” should cement her reputation as a reliable and compassionate explainer of modern American heath care for the general public. …

4 reads for the Pittsburgh winter Read More »

The shrine on Troy Hill

The story of how St. Anthony Chapel in Troy Hill came to house the largest collection of Christian relics outside of the Vatican begins in the 1850s with a young man from a wealthy Belgian family. After attending medical school, Suitbert Mollinger became a Catholic priest who followed his vocation to America. By 1868, he …

The shrine on Troy Hill Read More »

Millvale’s Grant Bar

Amidst the worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings,” says the Tao Te Ching, the Chinese book of philosophy and religion from 6th century BC. Despite the separation of millennia, the ancient author could have been inspired by the comings and goings at Grant Bar in Millvale. Since 1933, Frank Ruzomberka and his …

Millvale’s Grant Bar Read More »

Monsignor Rice’s trampoline

To understand how I, a lapsed Catholic from the East, came into possession of a small, slightly cracked trampoline that used to belong to Pittsburgh’s most famous “labor priest,” you must begin, as South Hills summers always do, with the St. Anne’s Fair. Glimpsed from a seat on the outbound Castle Shannon T, the fair …

Monsignor Rice’s trampoline Read More »

Top