I had some doubts 23 years ago when I moved here innocently enough for a 12-week internship at The Pittsburgh Press. The first “Most Livable” award had just been made. I came for a job as a reporter, lucky enough to start at Scripps Howard’s best newspaper.My first front-page story that year was a strike at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel. At that time, Pittsburgh was in the teeth of “The Change.”
Now, to me at least, the recent ranking of Pittsburgh again as America’s Most Livable City makes perfect sense — as opposed to the first one, a provocative choice designed to get attention for the report’s publisher, Rand McNally. Yes, Pittsburgh has problems, as every city does. But look at the solutions under way. City/County government consolidation. Neighborhood restoration. The Pittsburgh Promise. And look at the leadership that has emerged. Mark Roosevelt with the city schools, UPMC with the Pittsburgh Promise, and a new generation of leadership at many of our foundations.
Look at Pitt. Under Mark Nordenberg, it is one of the nation’s truly great public universities and is in its own Golden Age. As is Carnegie Mellon. Between Pitt, CMU and UPMC, Pittsburgh is breaking new ground on a daily basis. The fact is, what’s happening here is exciting.
What a time to celebrate 250 years of exploration, challenge, victory, resilience, art, science and industry. And what a time to enjoy autumn in Pittsburgh. This, our Pittsburgh 250 issue, reflects the abundance of excellence in the offing.
We have 32 features in the issue. Bob Nelkin, the new leader of the United Way, issues a challenge. Manfred Honeck, the new conductor of our great Pittsburgh Symphony, gives his refreshing view of life. Paul Wiegman, an old friend of the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail, describes the creative and relentless effort that has connected Downtown with Washington, D.C. The trail’s magnificent beauty is captured in Wiegman’s photos, both on these pages and in an extended slideshow at Pittsburghquarterly.com.
Art may be a man’s name, as Andy Warhol once quipped, but it is also in full flower in Pittsburgh this fall. There are so many terrific shows that we had to keep adding pages. Start with the Carnegie International, then go to the Frick and the Westmoreland and even the Cultural Trust’s Festival of Firsts. I’m afraid critic Graham Shearing will needa cortisone shot from the exertion, but his stories are worth your time and the exhibits, worth your visit.
If you want history, read Bill Dietrich’s piece (illustrated by many of the works in the show at the Frick). Bill Hunt takes a look at the Pittsburgh of 1958, on its 200th anniversary.
This issue also includes four new regular features: Neighborhood Joints, a delightful take on out-of-the-way eateries; Global City, a feature on the region’s international culture that focuses this time on Brazil; Building a Better City, which highlights a nonprofit that is doing as the title states, and finally, to take the edge off, a wine column.
And all of that is not even half of the issue. In short, I believe you have a treat ahead of you, both with this issue and with what’s coming in Pittsburgh this fall.
Thanks for reading.