Thursday, October 30, 2008

pittsburgh all lit up

Pittsburgh has been putting on some good events lately, especially for its 250th anniversary.

At night, they have been illuminating structures in unique ways - and the structures provide inspiration for what other cities can do to light up the night.

It was inspiring enough that I spent the day there, and picked up some great Indian food in Oakland.

The projection equipment above is a sample of what was used to light up the buildings.

Below is a water-and-light-filled walkway under the convention center downtown, descending to banks of the Allegheny River.

This fountain is beautiful. I'd like to propose slightly relocating the Vietnam and Korea war memorials downtown to the same side of the island as the Civil War Memorial, illuminating them all, and then installing a fountain like this in their place.

Here's the gorgeous Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh (or the temple of ignorance as my one CMU friend calls it). More photos of the building here, but check out how the 42 stories of the 1926 structure are bathed in projected light.

Here are two churches downtown:

And the facade of the William Penn hotel:

and to finish with a question:

if the city of Youngstown was yours to illuminate with light, what places would you illuminate or what similar projects could you see taking place?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

walking 50 yards from PNC headquarters

Well the whole PNC/National City Cleveburgh bank merger is continuing to be discussed in quality blogs, in the newspapers, magazines, and in congressional inquiries.

So I decided to take a walk around the streets bordering PNC's headquarters in Pittsburgh over the weekend, and found three National City branches within 50 yards of the block at which PNC is centered.

Here's a shot along Liberty Avenue, peering past the National City sign to Three PNC Plaza - a rapidly growing component of the pittsburgh skyline:

Then walking over to Philip Johnson's (Cleveland native) PPG Place, here's another one in Market Square:

Then along Wood Street just smack next to the main PNC entrance:

So while PNC's Chairman Jim Rohr (Cleveland native) claims most National City jobs are safe (20 percent annual attrition? - wow) this branch in downtown Pittsburgh was closed and the building was for sale:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

lust felt for our rust belt on 11-11

A good thread is growing on the Rust Belt Bloggers ning site.

While the press release is being worked on, the basic context is this:

In two weeks on November 11th, everyone with a blog in the rust belt region is encouraged to dedicate a post that day to physically describing (with photos or video) your neighborhood or a preferred place in your metro.

Then we all link to each other, even through a central site, to explore each other's favorite places in their community.

people from Buffalo visualizing Butler.
people from Ohio City visualizing Oakland.
people from Milwaukee visualizing Mill Creek Park.

know thyself.

Friday, October 24, 2008

does the PNC purchase help or hinder the image of a Cleveburgh?

attention Youngstown: the signage on one of your downtown's buildings will be changing.

This blog's most recent post concentrated on the necessity and opportunities for the Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, and Pittsburgh regions to come together - known often as the Cleveburgh region.

So while this space will not go into the economic impact from a fiscal or jobs perspective regarding today's purchase of National City Bank (headquartered in Cleveland - largest bank in Ohio) by PNC (headquartered in Pittsburgh - now 5th largest bank in the US).

So a question for all of you:

Does the news today of the emergence of PNC in Youngstown, with an enlarged footprint now including Northeast Ohio, help or hinder the development of "the Cleveburgh mega-regional concept".

On one end, we are witnessing the creation of entities that will share fiscal and philanthropic resources across the 7.1 people in the Cleveland to Pittsburgh belt.

On the other end, will a mentality of "hey those Pittsburgh dudes are screwing us in Cleveland" prevail?

Judging by the immediate reaction of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, one might say the latter option.

From their lead of the PD's story today:
Climaxing a collapse that began 14 months ago, National City Corp. is being sold.

The Cleveland bank, the largest in Ohio, is being purchased by PNC Financial Services of Pittsburgh for $2.23 per share.

The news is among the worst the local giant, with 8,000 employees in Northeast Ohio, could receive. PNC, just 130 miles and less than three hours from National City's headquarters, will almost certainly slash thousands of local employees.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

new c+p+y website up, nov 7th is 2nd event

from the new Working-Class Perspectives blog, a mention of the Tech-Belt:
"Both physically and mentally Youngstown is located at the center of a bi-state region. Despite this fact, Youngstown has long defined itself as being at the edge of two urban centers-Cleveland and Pittsburgh. This perception is beginning to change because our nation and region are changing.

To thrive in this changing world, we must take a long view-looking 30 years ahead to new economic patterns rather than looking back to the industrial world of more than 30 years ago.

The Steel Corridor/Tech Belt is home to 7.1 million people. It is larger that Ohio’s other megapolitan, the “Ohio Valley,” anchored by Columbus and Cincinnati (5.3 million) and is the same scale as the “Carolina Piedmont,” anchored by Charlotte and Raleigh (7.0 million), the “Georgia Piedmont,” surrounding Atlanta (6.9 million), the “Florida Corridor” linking Tampa and Orlando (7.8 million), and the “Greater Metroplex” of Dallas-Ft. Worth and Oklahoma City (7.9 million)"
The next opportunity to hear more about the Tech Belt concept will be at the upcoming Cleveland+Pittsburgh+Youngstown Regional Learning Network summit to be held in Youngstown on Friday, November 7th. You can register here, with the full day schedule here. Transportation to Ytown and vegetarian dining options are available.

Additionally, a new website for the C+P+Y RLN is now up, and is based upon the ning structure - with more than 80 members signed up so far.

At the site you can build a personal profile, watch archived presentations from previous meetings, download powerpoint files, etc.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

mr. peanut bridge is reopened

The Mr. Peanut Bridge is now open to traffic, and the steel truss structure connecting downtown to the south and west sides has been painted red since its closing.

Video on the opening here, news story here, and message board (with pictures) are here.

Also known as the Spring Commons Bridge, and now the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Bridge, the ever-present steel representation of a nutty character is why the locals call it the Mr. Peanut Bridge.

zooming in . . .

As luck would have it, I was there as the sun was illuminating this crimson structure, as government employees were removing the "road closed" signs.

The driver of this white Pontiac Vibe at 5:10pm on 10/17/2008 was the first vehicle to drive across the bridge, giving a hearty "thumbs up".

here then, are a few more shots of the bridge:

Finally, at some point during the day, a solitary red rose was placed at the base of the bridge.