Valentine’s Day in the city


Photo by Jordyn Hronec

The lobby of Lawrence Hall was filled with red balloons donning positive messages on a notecard attached to their strings. The university Twitter account encouraged students to "spread the love" by passing along the balloons.

Written By JOUR 257 Feature Writing

This Valentine’s Day, The Globe partnered with Professor Helen Fallon’s Feature Writing class to both spread love and tell stories of love from all throughout Pittsburgh. 

University wears heart on its sleeve

By Jordyn Hronec

For college students, most major holidays are spent back home and away from campus. But Valentine’s Day is one exception, and college students at Point Park go all out.

A walk through Lawrence Hall is proof that love is in the air. Upon entering the building, red balloons lined the main staircase, with small notes of encouragement attached.

“Don’t be ashamed of your story,” one note read. “It will save others. Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Another note read, “You are stronger than you know!”

The notes and balloons were an effort put forth by the university itself, and the back of the notes included a message encouraging students to take the balloons and give them to others as an act of love.

Other Valentine’s Day events included a fundraising event called “I Heart Point Park,” which had a table set up right outside of the Point Cafe to give away Valentine’s Day themed gifts in exchange for donations. This event, according to Point Park’s website, is an annual event that works with the Board of Trustees and collects monetary donations from students, staff, and alumni for things like student travel through the John Fallon Travel Fund.

Another effort for the John Fallon Travel Fund was the annual Flower Sale put on in a collaboration between the Honors Program and the women’s soccer team. The event, which occurred from Feb. 13-14, involved volunteers from both organizations who ventured out into the city, mostly on foot, to deliver bouquets.

Another club, Strong Women Strong Girls, also made deliveries. Madisyn Hale, a sophomore education major and one of the club’s chapter directors, along with Serena Daywalt, a sophomore psychology major, made their rounds to deliver their “Cupid’s Cocoa”.

According to Hale, the small packages consisted of hot chocolate, Hershey Kisses, and marshmallows. SWSG also hosted an event on Feb. 13 from 8 pm-10 pm for the newly trending “Galentine’s Day” holiday. According to Hale and Daywalt, the event included pancakes, nail painting, a photo booth and a movie.

“It was a decent turnout,” Hale said. “We were sharing the love, took some cute pictures, watched a rom-com, ate some pancakes and had a good time.”


Late for a very important date

By Caitlin Hildebrand

On Third Avenue, there was a younger man, Jim Barkley, carrying flowers for his girlfriend.

He looked to be in his mid-twenties as he carried the red roses in one hand and juggled his bags in the other.

He couldn’t stay long as he was delivering the flowers to his girlfriend soon. His girlfriend was named Gillian and lived very close to the Point Park University campus in an apartment.

Barkley met his significant other two years ago while visiting the PPG Place during the winter. It was his first visit there and wanted to see it.

“It was pretty cold so I didn’t plan on staying too long,” Barkley said. “But we made some small talk and then we went inside the PPG buildings to talk more. I gave her my number and we texted then it became more.”

The flowers he carried were deep red roses to match the Valentine’s Day mood. In total, there were a dozen. Barkley claimed he was nervous that the roses weren’t enough.

“I thought about giving her jewelry too, but she never wears jewelry.”

With that, he got in the car, gave a small wave goodbye and drove off.


Red roses and red lights

By Matthew Ryan Miramontes

For some, Valentine’s Day can be a last minute scramble for the perfect gift for your significant other. While this might be a bouquet, or perhaps a box of chocolates, others go all out for their beloved.

In just the United States alone, people spend an average of $3.3 billion on just flowers according to It is predicted that this year there will be 43 million households that purchase flowers on this day.

Anthony Saint, 45, of Pittsburgh, is an on the street floral salesman that operates on Ohio River Boulevard, reaching thousands of customers a day just from the vehicle traffic that hits the long and draining stoplights along the road. Saint does not mind however, as often times the hardest customer is the weather in Pittsburgh.

“I’ve been doing this for over ten years, and nothing makes me happier than seeing people last minute try to make the light and buy flowers at the same time,” Saint said.

As one would often do, customers will see Saint, flag him down, and pull out cash.

“I’ve seen people pull out hundreds of dollars and ask for whatever looked fine,” Saint said. “But then I have also given out flowers over the years just from one Pittsburgher in trouble to another.”

Flowers are often seen as a gift of endearment, and according to Saint, they mean more than just business to him.


“I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it”

By Michael Dean Phillis
Photo courtesy of Frost & Co Diamonds Facebook page

Customers today began to anticipate the sales and Valentine’s Day offerings from one of Pittsburgh’s premier jewelry stores, Frost & Co Diamonds. As the lunch break hour of eleven o’clock to noon began to approach, businessmen and women from the Clark Building on Liberty Avenue began to browse the many luxurious aisles of Abraham Jaffe designer diamonds and custom white gold diamonds.

Eager to bring something of enchantment and awe to their significant other, both single men and women and couples began to pore over the many displays of True Romance designs by Paul Winston and Engagement rings of Leon’s of Beverly Hills.

“As long as people are still falling in love we will always be in business. And I can say this season has been very good for us,” said Steven Slesinger, graduate gemologist and diamond consultant of Frost & Co Diamonds.

With over 40 years of experience in jewelry, he has worked for C.D. Peacock, the oldest jewelry store in the Chicago area, and has worked for Frost & Co Diamonds for 10 years. He said he enjoys helping young men and women have a truly memorable experience in the store and helping them find a gift that will last a lifetime.

Slesinger explained that the average cost in today’s jewelry market for engagement rings is between $3,500 to $5,500, but ensures it is well worth the investment.

Customers buy necklaces and pearl earrings this Valentine’s Day as well, with customers ordering custom wedding rings made of the finest 24k diamonds to be delivered to their significant other. Frost & Co Diamonds look to have many more sales this Valentine’s Day as the jewelry specialists have been selling high quality diamonds and other gems for over two decades.


Reviving the lost art of love letters

By Kelsey Braun

In the age of Snapchat and memes, the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh is bringing back the personal, handwritten love letter.

A love letter writing station has been set up in the living room of the hotel.  Walk through the front doors, go up the stairs to the left, and toward the back of the room, you’ll find a desk complete with lamp, stationary, feather pen, and envelopes.  

Don’t let writers block or lack of inspiration stop you! As Valentine’s Day approaches each year, the hotel searches Amazon for books to stock the writing station.  The hotel is also providing a number of books containing poetry and love letters throughout history featuring works from famous romance poets Rumi and Pablo Neruda.

The Monaco’s Area Public Relations Specialist Christina Palnessa said the last three years that the station has been set up have been in an effort to “bring back the lost art of handwritten mail” and to “give people a break from Snapchat, email, impersonal things like that.”  Palnessa herself said she would be “blown away to get a handwritten love letter.”

Participants can take their letter with them and hand-deliver it, or address the envelope, take it to the front desk, and have them stamp and mail it.  

The station is open to the public 24 hours a day for the entire month of February.


Tales as old as time

By Sarah Gibson

Just because Valentine’s Day’s electric energy is typically garnered by a younger crowd, that doesn’t mean that it’s just for the younger love birds.

Dave and Sharon Stanford have been together for 50 years. Walking through Market Street, they were looking for a place to eat lunch. They planned to visit some museums in Pittsburgh before going to a performance of The Great Gatsby at the Benedum Center.

“We always do something on Valentine’s Day, rain or shine.” Sharon said. Dave chuckled, and added “Or in this case, snow. Have you seen these roads? They’re terrible.”

In the past, Dave and Sharon have seen other CLO shows, gone to Phipps Conservatory, visited family in Indiana, and even visited Las Vegas to take a break from the Pittsburgh air.

“Plus, she’s got a mad gambling hand. You should see this one on the slots.” Dave said.

“David! Don’t listen to him. He’s a rat.” Sharon said.

For Donnie and Anna Grant, a couple in their 50s who were married just three years before, Valentine’s Day is old news.

“Oh, Valentine’s Day is a sham.” Donnie said. Anna rolled her eyes at him, and whispered, “I don’t think it’s a sham.”

They were in Pittsburgh to attend a doctor’s appointment for Anna, who has had trouble walking because of her lower back pain.

“The best part about having him in my life is being able to lean on him. He’ll never admit to this, but sometimes when my back’s really bad, he’ll carry me around the house.” Anna said. Donnie shrugged and added “She’s really light.”

When they go home, Anna said that Donnie would be preparing her a chicken pot pie, her favorite meal. Donnie made sure to mention that this was not for Valentine’s day.

“She’s my girl. My lady. If she’s not happy, I’m not happy, so it’s my job to make her happy every single day. Not just one day out of the year. That’s lazy.” he said.


PPG skating rink holds Valentine’s Skate

By Nardos Haile

While many associate ice skating with the winter holiday season, ice rinks don’t close after Christmas is over.

This Valentine’s Day, the MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink at PPG Place, located on Third Avenue in Downtown, is hosting a Valentine’s Skate.

“We do a small Valentine’s event from 7-9 p.m. every year,” said Nathan Wendel, one of the managers of MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink at PPG Place. “We have a radio station come in, they set up in a little tent, and just play music and do the standard radio broadcasting stuff for Valentine’s.”

Every year the rink has a different radio station host the Valentine’s skate. The radio station Q92.9PM will be there tonight to host the event.

The rink is open its regular hours from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and will close until the evening. It opens again for the rest of the night from 6-10 p.m.

The rink’s prices also stay the same for the event as well. Admission fees are $10 for adults, $9 for children, $9 for seniors, and $9 for service members with valid military identification. Rental skates are $4.

Wendel mentions annually they typically have about 100 people, “if we’re lucky.”

“Once the Christmas tree comes down off people kind of forget that we’re here and that we’re open. Especially since Valentine’s is the middle of February, people often think that the rink is just closed,” Wendel said.

Wendel encourages people to spend their evening at the rink tonight.

“We’re still open, we’re happy to have you come down and we wish everybody a happy Valentine’s Day.”


Chocolate anyone?

By Tiara Strong

Looking for freshly chocolate dipped fruit to share with a loved one today? Edible Arrangements located in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty shopping plaza can help with that.

Cathy, an Edible Arrangement associate listed smoothies, fruit cups and diced apple bites cones as some of the items featured on today’s to-go menu. These exclusives are available for in-store pickup only. The prices on the to-go Menu range from $5.99 to $11.98.

There are many options available online that can be delivered. The most expensive Valentine’s Day special is priced at $131.99 and titled “For My Sweetheart.” This package includes a Belgian Chocolate pop, grapes, heart shaped pineapples and strawberries (some chocolate dipped and some undipped.) Topping this off are red, white and black balloons with a “Happy Valentine’s Day” message on them.

Buyers looking to put more thought into their purchase can walk into the store located at 6401 Penn Avenue and customize their order, which includes items from the everyday menu as well. There are chocolate dipped apples, chocolate dipped donuts and even a small teddy bear. If you want to send the arrangements to a loved ones’ job The buyer can also customize messages to attach to the edible arrangements or teddy bear if they choose to send it to their loved one’s job.


Jim the Flower Man

By Rachel Love

When thinking of Valentine’s Day, often times flowers and chocolates come to mind. While there are many big businesses nearby which sell flowers, there are also small businesses too.

On the corner of Wood Street and First Avenue, a man who goes by Jim sells flowers. He stands outside by a parking lot every single day selling them.

Today in particular is a very busy day for him.

“Lunch break and after work for people is when I get the most business,” he said. “Often times couples come together and get flowers.”

While Jim does get a sufficient amount of business on this love-themed holiday, he did say that Giant Eagle is his biggest competitor. “Often times people just stop at the grocery store before or after work,” he explained.

It is important to support small businesses and Jim supports this claim as he is witnessing firsthand the competition from chains.

The collection of flowers he sells can vary but he is currently selling multiple colors of roses for Valentine’s Day, including purple, pink, white and red.

Even when the holiday is over, Jim will still be standing on the street corner selling flowers to anyone who wants them.

A little further away, on Sixth Street, there is Oliver Flower Shop, which is also a flower hotspot today.

This little shop has a variety of different flowers and the shop will have them delivered to that special someone. This Valentine’s Day, think of supporting local small businesses.


Big evenings ahead

By Megan McKenzie

Pittsburgh undergoes a transformation on Feb. 14, featuring all kinds of special décor from red and pink heart-shaped balloons on signs to people walking briskly through the cold with flowers and chocolates tucked under their arms. It’s Valentine’s Day and Pittsburgh has come to life for this annual celebration of love.

Along with Valentine’s Day comes several key traditions for couples both young and old. A romantic dinner at a nice restaurant is essential on this day. Lucas Derr, a host at the Pittsburgh-themed restaurant City Works in Market Sqaure, reflects this sentiment.

“We’re pretty much all booked up,” Derr said when asked about the restaurant’s night ahead. Although there are no special Valentine’s day deals taking place at City Works, people are not dissuaded to make reservations for dinner. “We get a lot of big parties and couples.”

Another Valentine’s Day tradition is a quintessential pampering for those getting ready to spend a romantic night with their partner. Cardamone’s Salon at 300 Forbes Avenue is geared up for romantic pampering all throughout the month of February.

Their Valentine’s Day special runs until the end of February and includes a facial and a manicure, along with a microblading special.

Jill Coughenour, manager of Cardamone’s Salon, says that it’s “advertised as a nice gift” in the spirit of Valentine’s day.

“We’re busy today,” Coughenour said.

As people get ready for special dates with their partners and loved ones, salons like Cardamone’s Salon see plenty of business, and restaurants like City Works receive plenty of couples looking for a romantic meal.


“Flower delivery for uhhh…”

By Nicole Pampena

It’s hard to miss a big red cart clunking its way down the sidewalks of Pittsburgh. Some are filled with top-heavy roses barely held down by glass vases while others can have a balloon rising from the cart and bobbing up and down in the wind.

The occasion is not only Valentine’s Day, but also an annual fundraiser planned by the Honors Program to raise money for the John Fallon Travel Fund which financially assists students in travelling through Point Park both domestically and abroad.

The Honors Program is tasked with dozens upon dozens of flowers arrangements, both big and small, to be delivered throughout the Downtown area on Feb. 13 and 14. It’s a task barely manageable by one organization, so this year they recruited help from the women’s soccer team.

A filled cart takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to deliver. Almost every office building in Pittsburgh has a different protocol for security and the handling of the flowers. Some recipients don’t answer the phone, some are caught up in meetings and others aren’t even trackable in their building’s directory.

Those who do receive flowers greet the students delivering with a mix of reactions.

“We don’t do these kind of things,” one woman said of her partner while being handed her bouquet. She shook her head but a small smile played at the corners of her mouth at the sight of the surprise.

“I told him not to send them to my work,” another woman commented. Yet she shared that same reaction of being pleasantly surprised.

And others look on with eyes of expectation—sometimes going so far as to pry the delivering students if there is bouquet is for them. A question that consistently gets the same half-hearted, sheepish answer from just a bunch of college students trying to raise some money:

“Not sure… but maybe we’ll be back later!”

Or maybe, we’ll just have to be back next Valentine’s Day.