Alligators, arts among city attractions this summer

Written By Jordyn Hronec, Editor-Elect

The spirit of Pittsburgh is rarely ever as alive as it is during the summer months. The city contains over 90 neighborhoods, each with its own unique happenings and events. The summer of 2019 was no exception. Here’s what happened.

The Great Gator Mystery

Over the summer, a total of four live alligators were discovered loose in several different Pittsburgh neighborhoods. The first alligator was captured in Riverside Park on the South Side. The second and largest, in Beechview. The third, in Carrick. And the fourth, in a Giant Eagle parking lot in Shaler. The Beechview gator made the biggest waves, as police soon identified its owner, who has been charged by police for animal cruelty, as he had over 30 exotic animals in his home, living in poor conditions. It is unclear if gators will continue to pop-up around the ‘burgh into the fall. But as Chris Togneri, the spokesman for the Pittsburgh Police said, “We don’t need alligators in Pittsburgh.”

Festivals and More Festivals

Photo by Jared Murphy
Kai Voit and his mother QingQing at the opening day of the Three Rivers Arts Festival on Friday June 7, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.(Photo by Jared Murphy/Pittsburgh City Paper)

Throughout the city of Pittsburgh, there are festivals galore during the summer. One of the most well-known is the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. The festival was held at Point State Park in June, and it ran for ten days. Attendants enjoyed many different booths featuring the work of local artists, an array of food options and music performances. And it was all free and open to the public. This year, the festival ran during the same time as Pittsburgh’s Pride Fest on Liberty Avenue. Many people visited both as a result. 

The Deutschtown Music Festival was held in Pittsburgh’s Deutschtown (or East Allegheny) neighborhood. It featured two days of free music and plenty of food trucks for attendants to pick from. Another event, held in late July on the Roberto Clemente bridge, was “Picklesburgh”, an annual event dedicated to “all things pickled”. It featured pickle-flavored food, music and merchandise. And it was sponsored by Heinz, with its iconic pickle logo. 

The Three Rivers Regatta, a typically annual festival at Point State Park, was cancelled last minute. This was due to the LionHeart Events Group, which is responsible for several other downtown events such as the Fourth of July celebration, not obtaining proper insurance coverage for the event. This is the first year since 1978 that the regatta has been cancelled.

In Other News

Photo by Jared Murphy
The Pittsburgh Pride Equality March on Sunday June 9, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Murphy/Pittsburgh City Paper)

Other highlights from the Pittsburgh area this summer include the Steelers beginning their annual training camp. The team headed out to St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, as they do every year, in July. This year, the team proceeds without stars Le’veon Bell and Antonio Brown. The Steelers will kick off their season on Sept. 8, at New England, and the Penguins will open theirs on Oct. 3 against the Sabres, at home.

Also making headlines is the monorail track-replacement project happening in the South Hills. Due to this undergoing, several bus routes are being affected. Port Authority delays and schedule adjustments for both bus routes and the monorail can be found on the Port Authority’s website. 

As environmental concern grows world-wide, a Pittsburgh nonprofit, Allegheny CleanWays, worked to collect 11,300 pounds of trash from the Allegheny River. They held 16 cleanups in June, with the most trash being collected from the Sharpsburg area.

The summer months proved to be wet in Pittsburgh, as many days saw rain. This led to flooding in several areas around Pittsburgh. In the North Hills, July flooding caused a large sinkhole to open up just off of McKnight Road. Also in July, Plum, Penn Hills and Oakmont all experienced flooding that impacted families and organizations in the area. July storms also caused flooding in Washington. 

Late in July, Mayor Bill Peduto shared on Twitter a letter he received from a Chicago resident who had recently visited Pittsburgh. The letter discussed the Chicagoan’s initial reaction as they drove through Pittsburgh and noticed that when the traffic lights turned green, drivers did not quickly start to move. Instead, they waited to allow other drivers to make a left turn. The writer of the letter described “The Pittsburgh Left” as Pittsburghers “displaying an unfathomable level of respect for their fellow neighbors”.