Tuesday, April 30, 2013

National Bike Challenge

by Amanda Virbitsky of Bike Pittsburgh

Do you live in Allegheny County? Do you ride a bike (even just sometimes)? Great news -- the National Bike Challenge starts on May 1, and by joining at nationalbikechallenge.org, you can track your miles, earn free drinks at OTB Bicycle Cafe, and be entered to win prizes!

As someone with a bit of a competitive streak, I’ve found that the Bike Challenge is a fun way to push myself to ride more miles and see how far I can climb up the local and national leaderboards. If you have a short commute to work or school, don’t worry -- the competition points heavily favor daily riders by awarding 20 points per day of cycling (at least 1 mile), plus 1 point per mile logged. It’s a good incentive to get yourself out the door on two wheels as often as possible, even if the forecast calls for “liquid sunshine.” The National Bike Challenge starts on May 1 and runs through September 30, and riders can join in at any time during the competition. Encourage your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues to join, and even form a team together -- the challenge becomes more fun with familiar names on the leaderboard! If you have a smartphone, you can even download a free app to automatically track and log the mileage of your rides on the go. Every ride counts, whether you are commuting to work, biking to the grocery store, taking a leisurely spin around our wonderful riverfront trails, or tearing up the mountain bike trails in Frick Park.

Need more motivation to join? This year, Pittsburgh is going head-to-head with Cleveland for Rust Belt cycling supremacy! By registering for the Bike Challenge with a Pittsburgh zip code, and logging your miles during the competition period, you’ll help the Pittsburgh region bring another trophy home to the city of champions!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Get to know the newest member of the PDP Staff--Russell Howard

Russell Howard, Vice President of Special Events and Development, is the newest employee on board at the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. Find out why he loves Pittsburgh and flea markets!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Our 'Out and About' Goes Virtual!

See which pizza Allison chooses! PDP Intern, Allison Ziegler, does her weekly 'Out and About' run for  the newsletter to IL Pizzaiolo located Downtown in Market Square, and this week we filmed it.

Out and About, featuring Allison Ziegler from Anastasia Farmerie on Vimeo.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Q & A with Famous Pittsburgher - Barbara McNees

Famous Pittsburgher: Barbara McNees--new  Downtown resident!

Company & Role:
President, Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce
What does your organization do?
The chamber advocates in Harrisburg and Washington DC for business climate improvements to enhance our region’s competitiveness, encouraging employers to invest and grow here.
How long have you been doing what you do?
I began my current position January 1997.
How long have you lived in Pittsburgh?
I grew up in Western Pennsylvania and left after college. I moved back to the region in 1980. We moved downtown in January.
What is your favorite thing to do in Downtown Pittsburgh? Why?
We enjoy all the activities in the cultural district and try to take advantage of all the performing arts. And, it goes without saying we attend the professional sporting events.

What is your favorite Downtown restaurant?
That’s a tough question. Depends on what we are in the mood for.  With all the new restaurants, we really like to make sure we try them all. Italian is usually our top choice and Valozzi’s is a great addition, but the diverse menus at Meat and Potatoes and Nine on Nine are favorites too.
At Valozzi's: Photo by, John Altdorfer
Talk a bit about your favorite Downtown Pittsburgh Experience or Memory.
I started coming to Downtown Pittsburgh from Rochester on the train with my Mother most Saturdays when I was growing up. We would go to all the department stores; pick a great place for lunch. I started at a young age really loving Pittsburgh. I feel truly blessed to be in a position to be part of the revitalization of the city and the region.

Tell us one thing about Downtown that has surprised you.
The new demand for residential living that has taken off in the last few years. It was always part of the plan to make Pittsburgh a vibrant downtown, but has happened much quicker than I would have imagined. The other thing that surprises others is that you can walk anywhere in downtown Pittsburgh in 10 or 15 minutes.  I really enjoy walking to work.

What is one great idea you have to make Downtown Pittsburgh better?
I would like to see smaller circulator buses as part of the transit system. We did a study a number of years ago on either electric or natural gas vehicles that provide linkages to bus stations. This would keep the larger buses on the outer rim of the city.

Describe Downtown in 3 words.
Beautiful, safe, and now vibrant.

Photo by, Anastasia Farmerie

Thursday, April 4, 2013

SMD Jewelry Shares Their Night Market Experiences

Pittsburgh’s Project Pop-Up Night Market III was my second experience with the Pop-Up Market, and despite the snowstorm it brought out quite the crowd.  I’m the owner of SMD Jewelry, I create hand-forged metal jewelry featuring gems and a wide range of other materials. I travel around to events all year long, and I’m always pleasantly surprised at how many people I meet, and how many new products find. Each market I vend with provides a different experience, and I think PDP has one of the most well rounded markets in Pittsburgh. At this last event with PDP I’m pretty sure I had the best cookie of my life from Bluebird Kitchen, creamy chai tea flavored filling between two chewy ginger cookies. Unforgettable. Everyone raved about the music that night--cover songs done by a string quartet—it was the perfect fit for a cold snowy evening in downtown Pittsburgh. On both occasions vending with Project Pop-Up I was fortunate to meet so many inspiring people, vendors and patrons alike.

I’m convinced markets that utilize otherwise vacant lots and buildings aren’t just putting on a fun event, with every market they are revitalizing those areas by helping to build a healthier local economy through encouraging consumers to purchase local and handcrafted. At the same time these events are bringing people from all walks of life together to enjoy live music, food, performances and an array of local artisanal goods.  I’m proud to be part of Downtown Pittsburgh’s Project Pop-Up movement because I know how much events like these enrich the community. Needless to say I’m looking forward to vending at the next Project Pop-Up Night Market, and hope to see you there!"

Night Market IV is scheduled for Friday, April 26. If you'd like to participate, Vendor Applications are being accepted until 3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 5. Visit the PDP Website to download your application today!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pittsburgh Pie Guy Shares Why You Should be a Vendor at Night Market IV

For us at the Pittsburgh Pie Guy, the PDP Night Markets are our beginning as a business. It was at the second-ever Night Market that we got our start—our first chance to sell our pies to the public to see what they thought. It was a test run, so to speak, to see whether we had a viable product that people would be interested in buying. And boy, were they! The Night Market proved to be the best possible environment for first day, as it drew many hungry and curious passersby our way. That night was a huge success for us. Not only did we sell all of the pies we brought, but we had a constant queue going of eager customers who wanted to know why and how a new pie-baking business hit the scene in Pittsburgh. And all of that happened in an exciting atmosphere, with live music and energetic people wanting to do something more for their community.

That was all possible thanks to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, who gladly accepted us regardless of our lack of previous market experience. Now that we have participated in another Night Market since our first experience, we are more than ever looking forward to the next one in April! For us, these markets are a source of guaranteed customers, since they draw loads of people curious to see what all the hubbub is about, eager to see what’s for sale from the variety of vendors.

The Night Markets are the perfect place not only for people like us, new businesses, but also small, local artisans and craftsman looking for an outlet for their wares and art. People looking to become vendors who may not have the opportunity in bigger markets where there are long waiting lists should apply to become a vendor at the Night Market.

And for those looking for a place where they can support local businesses and artists, look no further than the Night Markets! All of the vendors are from Pittsburgh and are actively working towards making their community a better, more vibrant place, and need the support of customers to help them towards this goal! This makes the Night Markets an exciting, diverse place with many different things for sale, all made here in the ‘Burgh.

To say the least, we at Pittsburgh Pie Guy are looking forward to yet another chance for us to participate, to bake a bunch of delicious pies and offer them to people looking for a taste of something different in Pittsburgh. 

Night Market IV is scheduled for Friday, April 26, 2013.  If you would like to be a vendor, please visit the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's website for the application and complete details.