The first time yinz, Primanti, slippy, n'at debuted on Pittsburgh Twitter

Written by Jacob Quinn Sanders on .

It didn’t take long for the friends who lived in my pocket to become my real friends. Twitter made that easier.

Even before moving to Pittsburgh four years ago, I started following some Pittsburgh people as preparation. Food people, networking people, journalism people, academic people, neighborhood people.


I was going to be writing freelance, so finding people was critical to my livelihood and my sanity. They were welcoming and smart and curious and it didn’t take long to start meeting them in person. They wanted to be smarter about their city and more connected within it. Twitter made that easier.

This week, Twitter made it possible for the first time to search every tweet going back to the first one on March 21, 2006. I decided to take a look at how Pittsburgh began revealing itself, its idiosyncrasies, on what was then a very new platform.

My search idea was simple: the first mention of Pittsburghese words and Pittsburgh people in their proper context.

The word “Pittsburgh” first appeared Oct. 24, 2006. Fittingly, it was for networking. A guy in a web series called “Something To Be Desired” was looking for “cool bands” to be on the show.

The word “Steelers” appeared precisely a month earlier.

“N’at” and “yinz” beat “Primanti” to Twitter, which beat “yinzer.”

"Slippy" beat all of those.

“Jagoff” came later but beat “Primanti’s.”

“Gumband” beat “nebby” by a few months in 2008. “Nebby” somehow didn’t make an appearance until that July — in a tweet about cats, because this is the Internet — which seems odd given that four months or so earlier Twitter folks were already nebbing on Rick Sebak.

Not that Pittsburgh wasn’t voyeuristic about other people before that.

It seems a little funny now, with Bill Peduto being the established mayor of both Pittsburgh and its internets, but the first tweet mentioning him was about him dropping out of an election.

But this is what’s cool about Pittsburgh. The tweeters of those first tweets about Peduto and Ravenstahl — they know each other. They’re friends. Mr. Ravenstahl Tweet was one of the first people I met when I moved here. I’ve met the woman who first used “n’at” in a tweet. The first person to mention “jaggerbush” -- the South Side bar in this case, not the semi-aggressive flora, but that’s still pretty Pittsburghy -- is a friend.

And it was a way for people to reconnect, with those words reaching them wherever they went, even if it was a grudging fondness.

I read a lot about Pittsburgh before I moved here that suggested it was a closed society, hard to break into for new people. Cold, suspicious.

Not at all. I found quickly that if I accepted the premise that Pittsburgh could be cool, could be fascinating, people were warmer than family. What they were tired of, protecting themselves from, was uninformed or misinformed perception of what Pittsburgh was and what Pittsburgh was trying to become. Don’t talk if you don’t know. That kind of thing.

Twitter came along at a perfect time for Pittsburgh — collectively, piece by piece, word by word, the city wanted to share itself with the world.

About everything.


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Pittsburgh artist uses coffee as an art form

Written by A Pittsblogher on .

For many of us, especially on a Monday morning, coffee is a definite need, not just a treat. For Pittsburgh artist Gerard Tonti, coffee and tea are his preferred medium:

 Mug2 EspressoDrip2

Those aren't just photos of tea and coffee, Tonti also uses them as paint, and says they give a rich color palette to his images. 

"There are a lot of good artists out there, but you have to find your own unique twist on things," Tonti said recently. "I remember reading about Asian cultures, how use coffees and teas for stains of fabrics and other materials. It took years of alchemy and trial and error to figure out how to get the right blend, to keep the colors from fading."

Gerard has a show opening tomorrow in the gallery space above the Lex & Lynne boutique in Sewickley, from 6 pm. to 9 p.m.  Check out more of Gerard's work here:

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How to control (or not) climate change in Pittsburgh

Written by Ethan Magoc on .

(Ethan Magoc/Post-Gazette photos)

Professor Peter Adams asked for a show of hands Tuesday night.

How many in the audience use energy-saving LED bulbs in their homes?

About 90 percent of hands went up among the 110 or so attending "Building a More Resilient Pittsburgh," a discussion at Carnegie Mellon University that examined climate change and Pittsburgh's future.

"That's pretty good," Mr. Adams said of the bulb usage. "This is not a representative crowd."

And that moment encapsulated the challenge humanity faces in stemming effects of climate change. The global crowd that believes severe changes in weather patterns are already taking place — changes that humans have caused — is not yet large enough to form a critical mass to reverse them.

There also exists a quandary for citizens who want to help but feel limited. You can change a rather small number of energy consumption patterns. Switch in LED light bulbs. Take shorter showers. Live in a potentially more expensive apartment or house closer to your job to save commute time and burned gasoline.

In the end, you can't directly control the industrial polluters, poor existing infrastructure or rising rents that cause people to live further from their jobs.

Political inertia is at work, too, noted one of the guests who asked questions of a five-person panel.

What can be done to push politicians to act?

Grant Ervin, the City of Pittsburgh's sustainability manager, pointed to efforts in local communities.

Too often, he said, "practice is ahead of policy," and the public needs to drive the conversation.

Grant Ervin, left, and Fred Brown.

Fred Brown of the Kingsley Association backed up that suggestion. Larimer, a neighborhood in which his organization works frequently, has built a unique relationship with Mayor Bill Peduto. Residents there have his administration's attention for their efforts to create a net zero community.

Some day Larimer will use no more energy than it produces and saves. It's getting there through a mix of efforts, though not because its residents devised a magical way to alter their energy consumption.

Kelly Klima and Peter Adams.

"No silver bullet is going to solve the problem," said Kelly Klima, a CMU research scientist in engineering and public policy. "Solar won't do it."

Solar power is too intermittent, she said, and quite expensive to build the infrastructure needed to harvest sunlight. You'd need a backup in places like Pittsburgh.

Still, Mr. Adams said, there are benefits to shifting away from burning coal wherever possible. He researches the effects of particulates on public health.

"Forget the problems caused by climate change, and there are still benefits to getting coal out of the system," he said.

And what about transportation, a daily thorn for many Pittsburghers? Why can't high speed rail be part of the equation for traveling and getting to work?

"The short answer?" Mr. Ervin said in a deep tone. "Mouuuntains." The area's geography is going to prevent a reality of speeding commuter trains in the short (and maybe long) term.

From left, CMU professor Neil Donahue, Mr. Ervin and Mr. Brown.

As for students in attendance and those who otherwise make up a large part of Oakland's transient population, one asked: what can they do?

Mr. Brown spoke of a moral obligation, even if it's just in a Pittsburgh dorm room.

"Whether you're living here for six months or six years, everything we do has an impact," he said.

Even at the dessert table, there were guilt-inducing reminders of the need to conserve. "Eat what you take," the sign reads.

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Follow the Pirates' Wild Card game, test your knowledge with #pgbucs

Written by Ethan Magoc on .

Welcome to Buctober! Where do you plan to watch the Pirates take on the San Francisco Giants tonight?

Whether you have a ticket, will watch from your couch or a bar, or plan to join the crowd on the Clemente Bridge like these fans last year...

Roberto Clemente Bridge fansJulia Rendleman/Post-Gazette

...we hope you'll enjoy the game with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's social media team. We'll be populating the #pgbucs hashtag on Twitter and Instagram throughout the night.

Why should you join us on your second screen?

Our staff will post a mix of trivia that will challenge your Pirates knowledge, along with compelling photographs of fans, the players and the buzzing atmosphere surrounding this second-consecutive home opening to Buctober.

You can follow our staff covering the game itself: Bill Brink, Jenn Menendez, Brady McCollough, Paul Zeise and Jerry Micco.

And the #pgbucs conversation will happen @PittsburghPG on Twitter and Instagram.

Let's go Bucs.

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Penguins' tradition: Sidney Crosby hand-delivers tickets to fans since 2007

Written by Mila Sanina on .


You open the door. And there before you is Penguins' Sid Crosby himself. 

Imagine that!

It's one of the Penguins' famous traditions -- to send Pittsburgh hockey stars to hand-deliver ticket packages to the homes of season ticket holders. Today is the day when Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and other Penguins have visited some of the lucky Pittsburgh families. 

We have taken a look back at happy faces of Penguins' fans seeing Sidney Crosby at their front door. You'll notice his hair style may look different but it's the same familiar smile.

And remember Alice Kilgore? The woman Sidney Crosby hand-delivered tickets twice for? She didn't believe in her Penguins in 2007 so Crosby brought along the Stanley Cup in 2009.

"I don't think you'll win the Cup this year. Not yet. Maybe next year," she told Crosby.

"I wasn't happy at all," Crosby said of Kilgore's earlier prediction, which stuck with him. "I wanted to win." And they did.

Maybe it's time to visit Ms. Kilgore again?

So here, REWIND.


Carole Darling and her son-in-law Jimmy Cohen present Sidney Crosby with a piece of roofing from the old Mellon Arena Monday in Squirrel Hill. Sidney Crosby had stopped by their family home in Squirrel Hill to hand-deliver season tickets. Carole and her husband Sandy Darling have been season ticket holders for more than 40 years. 


CrosbyTix2013a 2Julia Rendleman/Post-Gazette


Penguins' Sidney Crosby signs memorabilia for Gary Henzler and his family at their Ben Avon home.  Crosby delivered the Gary and Annette Henzler's season tickets and stayed to give autographs.

CrosbyTix2011b-8 2


Bob and Sherrie Koch with their sons Josh, 12, and twins Matt and Ryan, 13  take a photo with Penguins' star Sidney Crosby after he delivered their season tickets to their Bethel Park home.

CrosbyTix2010a-5 2Robin Rombach/Post-Gazette


Here is a smo-o-o-och! Sidney Crosby receives a kiss from Alice Kilgore after he delivered her season tickets. To Ms. Kilgore's surprise, Crosby also had the Stanley Cup with him. That was the second time Crosby visited her home. This is why.

CrosbyTix2009-4 2Nate Guidry/Post-Gazette



In this photo, Sidney Crosby is shown the score sheet from 1967 by lifelong season ticket holder David Disney after Crosby hand delivered Mr. Disney's season tickets this afternoon.  Disney has been a season ticket holder since 1967.

CrosbyTix2008b-3 2



Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby hand delivers a season tickets package to season ticket holder Alice Kilgore.

That was his first ticket delivery as Pittsburgh's team captain, the position Crosby assumed on May 31, 2007. (Photos by Pete Diana/Post-Gazette)

CrosbyTix2007b-1 2


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How Pittsburgh's tree canopy affects neighborhood surface temperature

Written by Ethan Magoc on .

Tree coverage is sparse on parts of Pennsylvania Avenue in Central Northside and Manchester, which are among the city's hottest neighborhoods, according to a 2010 land surface thermal image. (Ethan Magoc/Post-Gazette)

Which are Pittsburgh's hottest, least tree-covered neighborhoods?

It's that time of summer in Pittsburgh when the sun and humidity make everything generally unpleasant by noon.

The hotter temperatures can be more pronounced in parts of the city where little shade coverage is available, but exactly how much of a difference does a tree canopy make?

Tree Pittsburgh, an environmental advocacy group, enlisted a University of Vermont researcher in 2010 to try to find the answer. Using a satellite, the researcher created a surface thermal image. The one-day snapshot is not a direct correlation to how many trees each neighborhood does or does not have, but it is illustrative of what Tree Pittsburgh calls "urban heat islands."

"It seems to be more correlated with where there are impervious surfaces," said Jen Kullgren, a community forester with Tree Pittsburgh. "Large scale rooftops, dark rooftops, things like that — things that would retain heat in that area."

Many of the North Side neighborhoods, such as Manchester, are among the city's hottest, as is South Side Flats.

A landsat thermal image from Sept. 2, 2010. Click for a larger version. (Courtesy of Tree Pittsburgh)

There has not been a similar image captured since 2010, but the City of Pittsburgh is updating a tree inventory and will finish by summer's end.

City forester Lisa Ceoffe is creating the inventory with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. It's the city's first effort since 2005 to discern a precise count of how many trees it owns in each neighborhood.

And Ceoffe said it's not just a couple of interns driving around, counting trees.

"You need to have a lot of knowledge," she said. "These are skilled arborists who have to be very familiar with tree species and how to look at a tree."

She said 22,000 city trees have been planted through TreeVitalize since the 2005 count. That 2005 inventory actually indicates Manchester and Central Northside have the one of the highest counts of city-owned trees per neighborhood acre.

(This obviously does not include trees your neighbors own.)

Neighborhood Tree count per acre Acres Tree count
Friendship 3.60 68.297 246
Manchester 3.40 179.566 610
Central Northside 3.36 166.475 559
Shadyside 2.70 592.104 1601
Allegheny West 2.52 90.841 229

More than one Pittsburgh neighborhood name contains a nod to trees or, more generally, green space: Greenfield, Oakland, Oakwood, Homewood and Shadyside (and as Brandon points out below, also Beechview, Bloomfield, Glen Hazel, Hazelwood, Fairywood, etc)Glen Hazel, Hazelwood, Fairywood, Beechview, Bloomfield.

Which neighborhood do you think is the city's warmest or least leafy? Let us know in the comments below.

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Chalking up America, one share at a time

Written by Kim Lyons on .

Grant Gordon and Ezra Gold are traveling the country in a 2001 Toyota Echo that also happens to be a mobile chalkboard.


The two are working on a documentary about their experiences with the ChalkCar project, documenting the sharing economy, as part of the Lyft Creatives program. In every city they visit, they couch-surf (crash on couches offered by strangers) and they encourage people to express themselves creatively on the car's surface.
They plan to end their journey in next month in Nevada, at the Burning Man festival. "It's a place people go to create experiences with others," Grant said, which is part of the mission behind the chalkboard-coated car: creative expression.




Unfortunately, when they stopped in Pittsburgh on Monday, it was an overcast day that turned rainy. But between rain showers, they still managed to make a pretty picture.



Check out the ChalkCar project at their website:


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