2019 Summer

Survival of the Fittest

Fran and Steve are hiding in the Monroeville Mall, spying on its creepy patrons—gray-skinned zombies who’d once been suburbanites, judging from their apparel. One of the walking dead, a woman, staggers from an appliance store mindlessly dragging a new toaster by the cord. “What are they doing? Why do they come here?” Fran says. “Some …

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King of the Woodpeckers

The pileated woodpecker burst out of nowhere just as I thought my students’ field exam was over. As soon as we were aware of it materializing from the canopy of a tree on a green at the Pittsburgh Field Club, it flew like a black bolt into denser woods and disappeared again. A great last …

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Bell, Link, Bachar, Logue, Gould, Dressel, Koverola

Maurice Bell is chief of operations at the Port Authority of Allegheny County. His public and private sector transportation career spans more than 25 years and includes work in fixed route, paratransit operations, airport shuttle management, and shipping and delivery logistics. He came to Pittsburgh from Keolis North America in Dallas, Texas, where he was …

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The Fly Fisherman’s Workout

Big-woods trout fishing takes the fisherman to spectacular natural places. Wild brook trout, in particular, demand we hike deep into the forest, improving our physical and mental health by walking long distances, relaxing our minds and feasting our eyes on one beautiful vision after another. The sun’s morning rays angling down through dark green hemlock …

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Bringing Back Pittsburgh’s Steps

Along Schenley Drive in Oakland, the Frick Fine Arts building looks like a Renaissance villa, well suited to the grandeur of the adjacent Carnegie Museums and Library in the cultural part of Oakland. At the parking lot in back, though, you find the public steps down to Joncaire Street, a descent of 130-some treads into …

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Short Takes: “Imagining the Modern,” “The Best Seven Years of My Life”

“Imagining the Modern” is a gorgeous book about a period that not everyone thinks is beautiful: the postwar design of Pittsburgh. It is a truth universally acknowledged that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, and the popular consensus holds that East Liberty, the Hill District and a key part of the North …

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A Meditation of Life in Twilight

Certain Pittsburghers could read Stewart O’Nan’s “Henry, Himself” just for the satisfaction of having their world described by a masterful writer. The Pittsburgh native’s novel, his 17th, takes place largely in the pleasant precincts of the East End, from well-tended houses in Highland Park to the Phipps Conservatory Flower Show in Oakland, Calvary Episcopal Church …

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History, Charm and Vitality

Saxonburg was founded as a German farming settlement in 1832 by brothers Friedrich C. and John A. Roebling, immigrants from Mühlhausen, Prussia, who purchased 1,582 acres. Destined to become history’s most famous Saxonburg resident, John had studied surveying, engineering, architecture and hydraulics in Europe. He soon lost interest in farming and began developing a crucial …

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The Next Five Years and Beyond

For this special feature, we invited the presidents of the region’s leading institutions of higher education to respond to the following: What will be your strategy in the next five years to address the needs of students in the future? Their responses follow. CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, Geraldine M. Jones California University of Pennsylvania gives …

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Beavers Don’t Get Headaches

“A beaver sits on the riverbank watching all of this unfold.” —from “Cairo” by Sara Miller In my small and random survey, people know, at the very least, that beavers chew wood, build dams, have big teeth and large tails. That’s about all I knew, until beavers moved into our farm pond. Turns out North …

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The Joshua C. Whetzel, Jr., Trail

There is a beautiful new trail to hike, just outside Confluence, a quaint town in the Laurel Highlands situated at the confluence of the Casselman River, Laurel Hill Creek and the Youghiogheny River, in Somerset County. Confluence is a popular area for hiking, paddling and fishing, and it is one of the notable stops for …

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Lisa Schroeder, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Foundation

I was born and raised in Baltimore and lived in Pittsburgh, twice. The first time was in the 1980s, for just a few years. It was a challenging time for the city. The economic repercussions of the collapse of industry were dominating everything. I returned in 1999, just as a group of 44 extraordinary citizens …

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Crown Jewels of the Commonwealth

A stand of old-growth hemlocks with trunks nearly four feet in diameter towers over a trail cut along a creek shrouded in mountain laurel that ripples through Laurel Hill State Park, part of one of the largest state park systems in the nation. It rose from a Depression-era work program that employed young men desperate …

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Famous Last Words…

Editor’s note: Oil and gas man Michael L. Benedum and his wife Sarah created the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation in memory of their only child who died in 1918 at the age of 20. On the anniversary of the Foundation, which has distributed more than $500 million in philanthropy to Pittsburgh and West Virginia, we …

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An All-American Tradition

Everyone has their favorite hot dog shop, the ones they swear by because they spent their youth eating there. Western Pennsylvania has a number of them. In a culinary landscape dominated by high-profile chefs, these nostalgic hot dog counters remind people of the type of food their ancestors ate while leaving the mills or mines. …

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The Seeming Vastness of Summer

During a 15-minute break from a recent Friday night poker game, a friend and I were discussing medical things when the question arose: What would you do if you found out you had two years to live and would be in basically good health until the end? The conversation soon attracted a wider group, and …

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A Pittsburgh Treasure

At 90, Francis Nowalk has a sparkle that rivals the magnificent crystal chandeliers hanging over his head in room after room. And that’s just downstairs. Upstairs in his Bloomfield showroom are the “bigger” things, including a Sicilian donkey cart. “I don’t know why I have that,” he says with a shrug. One suspects there are …

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Steak Night at the Firehouse

Sunday dinner at Station 17 in Homewood was supposed to be around 5:30. Maybe 6 at the latest. Because this is Steak Night. They almost never get to do Steak Night. Which is why John and Bill started peeling onions, slicing mushrooms, getting the meat and the baked potatoes and the green beans ready almost …

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New & Noteworthy: Siempre Algo

Siempre Algo is the main attraction on a developing block on the North Side’s East Ohio Street. In a historic building with a pressed tin ceiling and sporting an open kitchen underscored with an accenting geometric pattern, this funky establishment exudes warmth. At Siempre Algo (Spanish for “Always Something”) there is “always something” sublime and …

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Best Stadium in Baseball

It was a bone chilling January afternoon when Kevin McClatchy climbed to the top of Three Rivers Stadium in 1996. McClatchy, the new owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, posed for some magazine photographs with the cavernous soup-bowl-shaped stadium that within two years would become rubble. He smiled frequently, shivering in the cold wind as he …

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Recession and the Fed

We’ve asked the region’s top wealth managers to respond to two questions: 1) If the current economic expansion lasts past July, it will be the longest in U.S. history. When do you expect the U.S. economy to enter into a recession? 2) After raising interest rates steadily for more than a year, the Federal Reserve …

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New & Noteworthy: Pie for Breakfast

Trevett and Sarah Hooper have done it again, executing on their entrepreneurial vision by adding a third successful venue on North Craig Street in Oakland. Fans of Legume (their adjacent bistro) and Butterjoint (their bar/casual food concept) have anticipated the opening of this nourishing new diner. The Hooper hallmarks—a simple spot serving carefully sourced food …

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