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A Breath of Fresh Air



The sky is blue; the city is green. Pittsburgh, once infamous for steel mills with smokestacks belching smog and smut, has transformed itself as it transitioned away from an industry-based economy.

Big City Living

The minute I got to my room in the Fairmont Hotel, I pulled back the curtains to check the view. Floor-to-ceiling windows looked out on a varied cityscape – from the 1784 Market Square and turn-of-the-last-century skyscrapers to the mirrored spires and pinnacles of the late 20th-century PPG Place, a collection of buildings reminiscent of Superman’s home on Krypton or the Ice Queen’s palace. Glimpses of the Monongahela River teased between the structures. I couldn’t wait to take to the streets to explore.

I’d been on planes all morning and I was hungry. Heading for Market Square, I spotted several possibilities. In a corner of the Square was a nondescript little building sporting a plaque. Going closer, I read, “Site of Bear Tavern 1827 Oyster House 1871-1971.” It’s still open, with just the fifth owner since 1871, and they still serve great oyster and fish sandwiches. I’d stumbled into Pittsburgh’s oldest bar – at 141, it was already a classic when Oklahoma became a state. And Market Square became one of my new favorite spots in one of my new favorite cities in the world.

Downtown Pittsburgh is squeezed into a triangle created by the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. The rivers lose their identities in their union to become the great Ohio. A walk through downtown Pittsburgh provides a tour of the art and architecture of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Art works include stone, metal, glass, ceramics and murals and range from classical – like the 1888 lions at the iconic H.H. Richardson-designed Allegheny County Courthouse – and abstract, to comical and magical, i.e. Tony Tasset’s 2006 “Magnolias for Pittsburgh” – two bronze trees bearing approximately 800 hand-painted petals.



As impressive as the newer buildings are with their sleek design and shiny facades, Pittsburgh’s classic oldsters were most appealing to me. Up Liberty Street I stopped at Trinity Cathedral (1870-’72) and the English Gothic First Presbyterian Church (1903-05). Farther along this street are office buildings in styles from Italianate and Queen Anne to Richardsonian Romanesque and Classical Revival. In the midst of these beautiful old structures, a huge Brian Holderman (2006) mural in bright colors depicts a fanciful blend of the city’s past and future.

Pittsburgh needs to be viewed by pedestrians who have time to look up at the amazing ornamentation on some of the buildings – and who can walk inside to see details carefully crafted by artisans of an earlier day. The wedding-cake style of the Flemish/ Gothic Union Trust building was enticing, and the interior with its massive stained-glass skylight begged to be photographed. Entering the City-County Building on Grant Street, I admired the fish-scaled tile vaulting before going into the grand public corridor. Wow! They just don’t make buildings like that anymore.

Go for Green

Here’s what they are building in Pittsburgh these days: some of the most environmentally friendly, sustainable structures imaginable. My hotel – the Fairmont – is LEED Gold Certified. From start to finish, care was taken to ensure the highest standards possible. Ninety-nine percent of the waste accumulated during construction was recycled; products used were chosen for safety and sustainability and even shipping distances for items were calculated. But there’s nothing Birkenstocky-looking about the results. The Fairmont’s elegance and amenities earned it a 2012 AAA Four Diamond rating.

A highlight of the visit was a tour of the newly-opened Center for Sustainable Landscapes at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden. This building was planned to exceed requirements for LEED Platinum Certification by achieving net-zero energy consumption and water use. The architects and engineers have created a beautiful and useful space that sits as lightly as possible on the earth. And it harmonizes with both the site and the existing structures, including the original 1893 conservatory.

Pittsburgh boasts over three dozen LEED Certified buildings, including the world’s first LEED Certified (Gold) convention center. Construction is underway on the 30-plus story Tower at PNC Plaza, designed to be the world’s greenest skyrise.

City of the Future – and the Past

While Pittsburgh recreates itself as a city of the future, it has retained the flavors of its various small neighborhoods. One of the coolest areas is The Strip, a market district where you can chow down on the iconic Primanti sandwich – pastrami topped with slaw, tomatoes and French fries on Italian bread, a grab-and-go favorite of working Joes. At Pamela’s, I partook of presidential pancakes – crepe-like creations which are a favorite of President Obama.



All around town you’ll see things named for past Pittsburghers who helped build some of America’s biggest industries – names like Carnegie, Mellon, Frick and Phipps. No visitor should miss the Carnegie Museums; the Museum of Art; Natural History; Science Center and the Andy Warhol Museum.

Sports fans love the city, too. It offers major league baseball, football and hockey. The CONSOL Energy Center is the first LEED Certified arena in the National Hockey League.

For all its big city busy-ness, I found locals to be among the friendliest and most helpful folks I’ve met in my travels. I shared tables with strangers for al fresco lunches in Market Square. And a shop-owner (Nick Mancini of Mancini’s Bakery) turned his store over to an assistant to take me up the street and show me where his great-grandfather once owned a bakery. I thought we were friendly here in Oklahoma, but these people took hospitality to new heights.

Pittsburgh, once the pollution poster child, has grown into a shining example of progress at its best. And in my book, it’s a blue-ribbon destination.

 

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Calendar

April 2019

Meet all the Princesses at The Oklahoma City Fairytale Ball. This magical event is full of memorable moments you won't want to miss! Dance with Cinderella; read with Rapunzel; share sweet...

Cost: $25-$60

Where:
La Bella
6701 W Wilshire Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73132
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Sponsor: Pretty Princess Parties & Project Princess
Telephone: 405-777-2411
Contact Name: Brooke Potter
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Cost: Free

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
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Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
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Cost: Free

Where:
Crossings Community Church - OKC Campus
14600 North Portland Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73134
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Sponsor: Crossings Community Church
Telephone: 405-302-1258
Contact Name: Lori Bunyar
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Contact Name: Jenni
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Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
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Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
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Sit down with the Mod Quad Collective creatives for a fun afternoon of bunny making! Come and go. Tickets on our website.

Cost: $15 per person

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
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Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
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Oklahoma City Community College's Paul W. Sechrist Signature Lecture Series will feature David Grann, the New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon. This lecture is free...

Cost: Free

Where:
OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center Theater
7777 S May Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73159
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Sponsor: Oklahoma City Community College
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Grab a friend and join us as we celebrate the launch of our 2019 Summer Collection.  Hosted with influencers Aubrey @thedandyliar, Jen @houseofkubes, and OKC's local rental clothier,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kendra Scott
5810 N Classen Blvd #2
Oklahoma City, OK  73118
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Sponsor: Kendra Scott
Telephone: 405.241.4203
Contact Name: Casey Barnes
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The National Summit on Homeland Security Law, 2019, in collaboration with the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL), is bringing to you two days of programming presented by homeland...

Cost: $0-$125

Where:
Oklahoma City University School of Law
800 N Harvey Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Oklahoma City University School of Law
Telephone: 405-208-6300
Contact Name: Allison Rabon
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
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Cost: $5

Where:
amshot
428 Dean A McGee Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: amshot
Telephone: 405.594.7642
Contact Name: Lexi Belvis
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  Verbode Urban Core Artists: Local art show to benefit The Homeless Alliance opens at Verbode on April 18 A new art show, Verbode Urban Core Artists, will benefit The Homeless...

Cost: Free

Where:
Verbode Urban Core Artists
415 North Broadway, Suite 101
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: Verbode, Valor Bank, Hive Design Team
Telephone: 405.604.7947
Contact Name: Christie Owen
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Michael Sims established The Lawrence Lithography Workshop in 1979 in Lawrence, Kansas, as a contract printing and teaching facility for local and regional artists. He will show a collection of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
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Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
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In anticipation of the 2019 grand opening of The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, New York Philharmonic Principal Trumpet Christopher Martin will join the Oklahoma State University Wind...

Cost: $10

Where:
Seretean Center
132 Seretean Center
Stillwater, OK  74078
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Sponsor: McKnight Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 405-744-9999
Contact Name: Katy Fabrie
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Just in time for tax season, Carpenter Square Theatre presents “Death Tax,” Lucas Hnath’s darkly comic tale about death and taxes and how we live with both.  ...

Cost: $5-$25

Where:
Carpenter Square Theatre
800 W. Main
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
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Sponsor: Carpenter Square Theatre
Telephone: 405-232-6500
Contact Name: Rhonda M. Clark
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Cost: Free

Where:
Elk Valley Brewery
1210 N. Hudson Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: VHSANDCHILL
Telephone: 405-503-0050
Contact Name: Sean Peel
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

The National Summit on Homeland Security Law, 2019, in collaboration with the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL), is bringing to you two days of programming presented by homeland...

Cost: $0-$125

Where:
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800 N Harvey Ave
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Sponsor: Oklahoma City University School of Law
Telephone: 405-208-6300
Contact Name: Allison Rabon
Website »

More information

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Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Skirvin Jazz Club is an immersive live music experience at the historic Skirvin Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. We transform The Park Avenue Grill a swinging jazz club. We stage the band...

Cost: Free

Where:
Park Avenue Grill @ The Skirvin Hotel
1 Park Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: OkSessions
Telephone: 405.694.8843
Contact Name: Christian Pearson
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Just in time for tax season, Carpenter Square Theatre presents “Death Tax,” Lucas Hnath’s darkly comic tale about death and taxes and how we live with both.  ...

Cost: $5-$25

Where:
Carpenter Square Theatre
800 W. Main
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Carpenter Square Theatre
Telephone: 405-232-6500
Contact Name: Rhonda M. Clark
Website »

More information

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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

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Cost: 11.50

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Orr Family Farm
14400 S. Western Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73170
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Telephone: 405.799.3276
Contact Name: Lauren Daughety

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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

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Cost: $23.95

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Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
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America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
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Just in time for tax season, Carpenter Square Theatre presents “Death Tax,” Lucas Hnath’s darkly comic tale about death and taxes and how we live with both.  ...

Cost: $5-$25

Where:
Carpenter Square Theatre
800 W. Main
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Carpenter Square Theatre
Telephone: 405-232-6500
Contact Name: Rhonda M. Clark
Website »

More information

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