Win a $25 Gift Certificate!

The other day, reader Matt asked for a response to the closing of 1902 as it related to the construction project.  We are very sad to see some of the businesses struggling during construction and the recent snow but we are glad people like you care so much.  The end of winter and construction are in sight - only two months folks!  But the businesses are hurting now.  If there is a business you care about, go out today and show them you care! Click here for a list of Market Square businesses and links to their sites. Pick your top five and go visit! Then email this message to 10 friends and tell THEM to visit. Support your Market Square.

The PDP is putting its money where it's mouth is.  Shop in Market Square for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to the Market Square merchant of your choice.

Every week in March you'll have two ways to win.

1. Make a purchase
2. Put your contact info on our form (at the register)
3. Drop it in the box (by the register)

Photo Contest
1. Make a purchase
2. Take an awesome photo. Photo must include: purchase, Market Square sticker (ask cashier for one), and you.  Get creative and have fun!
3. Email photo to PDP@DowntownPittsburgh.com (Monday - Thursday)
4. Vote for your favorite (Friday - Sunday) on our Facebook page (we'll make a new album for each week)

Winners get picked on Monday mornings and announced on this blog.  Winners get a $25 gift certificate to the Market Square merchant of their choice.

The more you shop, the better your chances to win the raffle. 
The more creative your pictures, the more votes you'll get (just remember to include the 3 elements - product, sticker, you!)

Check out this page on the PDP website for all the contest details and the PDP Facebook album for sample photos.

Starting March 1, we'll see you in the Square!


Snow Got You Hiding in Your Office?

It's yucky out.  Pittsburghers don't go outside when it's yucky.  This winter is especially yucky.

We asked the merchants how Pittsburghers can show their support but still stay warm & cozy.  Scroll through to see what they sent us:

Lubin & Smalley Flowers website
Camera Repair Service website
Dunkin' Donuts look online then email
Serendipity Accessories website, free shipping on all online orders

Moe's Southwest Grill (Minimum $50 order)
Bruegger's Bagels (Downtown)
Galardi's 30-Minute Cleaners 412-471-7968
Lubin & Smalley Flowers
Bella Sera
Camera Repair Service (they ship any and everything)
Dunkin' Donuts (any business location up to 5 miles from the city and anywhere within the city)
Prantl's Bakery (Free delivery within downtown on orders placed a day in advance)

Moe's Southwest Grill (Contact our Director of Sales Ken Middlemiss at 724-816-4945)
Bruegger's Bagels
Bella Sera
Dunkin' Donuts - up to 300 people
Prantl's Bakery - breakfast, junior pastries or other assorted pastry trays

CALL AHEAD, PICK UP (those with an * also offer curbside pickup)
Moe's Southwest Grill menu, 412-224-4422, please provide 15 minutes advance notice
Bruegger's Bagels menu, 412-281-2515
The Nettleton Shop* website 412-471-5520
Lubin & Smalley Flowers* website 412-471-2200
Bella Sera menu 412-281-6363
Camera Repair Service* 412-261-5225
Dunkin' Donuts* menu & nutrition 412-281-3195
Prantl's Bakery email and they'll fax or email you the menu
The Original Oyster House menu FAX 412-566-1021
Las Velas Mexican Restaurant menus 412.281.8180 (they will be adding catering and deliver services soon)

So go support a merchant without your toes getting cold!


Snow in Market Square

Just like the rest of us, the crew in Market Square have been tied up with snow removal.  I can't tell you how impressed we are with this dedication.  Many construction projects have stopped because of the weather, but the owner of this company said he wants everything cleared up now so they can start the real work again as soon as the temperature and weather permits.  They were clearing snow all of last week!


Won't You Be Market Square's Valentine?

Whether you are surpising your Valentine, rewarding yourself for shoveling snow, or just making it through winter, here are some promotions to sweeten your day!

Lubin and Smalley Flowers
Become a fan of Lubin and Smalley Florists on Facebook and receive FREE delivery on your flower order (Feb. 11 or 12 only) by mentioning you're a Facebook fan!

MixStirs Cafe
Stop in MixStirs anytime during the month of February for "Cupids Delight" - a chocolate-cherry dream-in-a-cup!

Prantl's Bakery
Surprise your co-workers with delicious heart-shaped cookies, cupcakes and cakes. website

Bella Sera Urban Trattoria
"Dark Romance" Prix Fixe Five-Course menu for $48/person, beer and wine pairings available.  Saturday, Feb. 13, with seatings at 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. For reservations, call (412) 281-6363.

Dunkin Donuts
"Latte Love" Buy a hot latte and get one for your love FREE! On Valentines Day only. website

Your local businesses are showin' you some love!  Let's love 'em back!


The March of Time

The PDP is working with some Pittsburgh historians to delve into the history in and around Market Square.  Yesterday they reported their preliminary findings and it was so exciting!

The Square (then called "the Diamond") was already in place in 1784.  You can see it here (the big open spot in the middle) in the original plan for the City laid out by George Woods and Thomas Vickroy, surveyors from Philadelphia.

226 years ago.

Market Square existed before the American Constitution! (The Constitution we have today was not created until 1787 at the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia.  Yeah, that's right, PA was a high roller.)

Market Square started out as an open area.  Then the space was filled with the City's first court house and a semi-circular market structure with open stalls on both sides.  Eventually they turned it into two Market Houses.  After suffering fires in each building, the Market Houses were rebuilt on an even larger scale.  These are the buildings some Pittsburghers may remember or have seen in photographs (Forbes Avenue runs as a tunnel beneath both buildings and there is a pedestrian bridge over Market Street - a good picture in our Galardi's Dry Cleaning posting in December).

Most people think of old Market Square as the buildings in the center but there was a huge amount of transition and activity in the properties all around them, too.  Set out in 1784 as the square for the City, it was, from its very beginning, a place for everyone in Pittsburgh to mix, mingle, and conduct business and social life - the melting pot for the entire City.  There were businesses owned by blacks, Irish, Germans, Italians... A hotel, a beer and soda distributor, a butcher, oyster bars that evolved into ice cream shops and lunch counters as America's tastes changed... At one point people came to Market Square for activities as diverse as buying freshly made pasta, drinking at one of the pubs, watching a prize fight, or attending a classical concert!

I am holding off on pictures here but rest assured, you will see many in the future! 

We see the Square evolving right in front of our eyes today.  But this is just one day, in one year, out of two hundred and twenty-six.  The Square will be here long after we are gone and future generations will think the photos we take today are a charming look at a time gone by.  When we share photos of the past in this blog, think about this... one day we will be the people in those pictures.  When they were here, their lives were vital, they were contemporary, they were entrepreneurs in the heart of Downtown, they were taking charge of their own lives, just as we do today.  All things change.  With the rennovation of the center of the Square and the many buildings ajacent, today is going to be one of the points in history people look back to as significant.  We remember the dates the last Market Houses were built, we look at the date the Market Houses came down, the date PPG Place was built... these are the touchstones historians and communal memory treasure. One day, history will place 2009-2011 in that category and we were here to see it and live it.

Change is hard.  But Market Square's entire story is about change.  It has existed and evolved since the very beginning of our City, and America's youth as a country.  We are part of that today.  That's pretty spectacular.

Special recognition to: Laurence Glasco, Carmen DiCiccio, John Ford, and Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation for any historical content referenced in this post.  They are doing great work and I look forward to sharing more of it with you.


Watch the Progress...

We are really seeing some progress out there despite the cold temperatures.

The belgian block crew has gotten all the way to Primanti Brothers.  That's amazing progress when you consider how much time it takes to set the sand base, make sure the grade is right so that water flows towards the inlets, set the sand/cement mix and let it cure and doing it in below freezing temperatures.  Heck, just think about how much time it takes to move the rocks themselves around!  Those things are heavy!  The granite curb has been installed all along this southern half of Market Square so now the team is filling in the space.  Here are some pictures of what they're doing now...

What a strong roadway!

 Shoveling the sand bed...
Backbreaking, detailed work. 
See the yellow guideline to keep the horozontal pattern straight?  After the stone is down in the sand they tap it into place with a mallet.