East End Runners

So many decisions could have been bad!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

January 25 Run: Strip to Lawrenceville starting at parking lot at 21st and Liberty

Next week will be a "real" (says Virginia) Lawrenceville run, starting at the parking lot at 21st and Liberty, with the traditional Italian stand-up coffee at La Prima.

Last week we had only a moderately-Lawrenceville run, since we ran through it pretty quickly and headed over the longish, scenic and historic 40th St. (aka Washington Crossing) Bridge to Millvale - this time checking out the original Pamela's (we must have breakfast there sometime), the place that used to be the weird acrylic furniture store (things that are not there anymore), the Grist House Brewery, which is next to a canal-appearing waterway evidently called Girty's Run (which has its own Facebook page, updated 7 hours ago!)  Aimee said it was a bit like the Netherlands in Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh being the operative word.)  Also spotted:  an inflatable to rival Our Lady of the Inflatables (see earlier post) - Santa and his entourage up on a rooftop.

Various thumbs up for Espresso a Mano cafe where we could set up a long table (great attendance!) and endorse:

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 18 Run: Rite Aid parking lot on Butler at 40th St. in Lawrenceville

Next week we'll have a Lawrenceville run, starting at the Rite Aid parking lot on Butler St., corner of 40th St., to check out its new shops, restaurants and galleries, get some great coffee at Espresso a Mano, and generally get in touch with our inner hipsters.  (We'll deal with our hips some other time.)

Last Sunday we ran through Highland Park, through some frigid temperatures and in some new directions - not all of them deliberate - all of which seemed to go uphill.  At the top, when we reached the icy reservoir, we found our reward:  certainly one of the most glowing sunrises RG has come across, captured perfectly here by Aimee.  More rewards:  passing many tastefully restored old houses, a solid 4.8 miles traversed, and of course a leisurely coffee at the exceedingly cozy Tazza D'Oro.

General exhilaration resulted in many endorsements:
  • The Pittsburgh Hiking Meetup, inspiration for Joanne's aforementioned brave freezing dunk off the Mon Wharf.
  • New and old potty-training methods
  • Honey cardamom lattes and ginger hot chocolates
  • Sweden!
  • Addictive watching: The Returned on Netflix (the French Twin Peaks)
  • Addictive listening:  Serial (this is already so popular that if you Google the word "serial" you will see nothing else for pages)
  • Many books!
    • All the light we cannot see
    • Love in the time of cholera
    • Tomorrow and Tomorrow
    • The Position
    • The Joy of Sex
    • The debt to pleasure
    • The happiest toddler on the block
    • The Boston girl
  • And the new bookstore in Squirrel Hill - Classic Lines - ironically opened by the guy who brought the Internet to Carnegie Library years ago

Monday, January 05, 2015

January 11 Run: Highland Park starting at Tazza D'Oro on Highland

I only know the basics because I was in NYC for the last 2 runs:  this coming Sunday, we'll start at Enrico's Tazza D'Oro on Highland Ave. near Bryant.  Joanne - this run's for you!  Not only because we really like it when you lead the HP run, but we are celebrating your New Year's bravery.  (But if you can't come, we'll understand and celebrate it anyway.)

I only have one endorsement: mine! Article in Grist.org about international running maps.  Full disclosure, my daughter Eve just got a job there, and is getting health insurance!  Also, I have the answer to the author's Boston question:  it's because almost everyone who lives there is under 25.)

Monday, December 29, 2014

January 4 Run: Later changed to: 5 Points Bakery on Wilkins - also New Year's Day Holiday Run at 7:30 a.m. from Starbucks on Forbes and Shady

Next runs: the default New Year's Day holiday run Thursday at 7:30 a.m. from Starbucks at Forbes and Shady (figuring that other places will be closed?) - and the Sunday run from our new go-to coffee location, the 61C Cafe on Murray. [Later changed to 5 Points Bakery on Wilkins.]  I have no idea where it will go, just where it will go to.

Last Sunday, as I set off in the midst of a steady rain, I thought - oh, boy, I really shouldn't have said that about never raining on the run - was just tempting fate - and now I have to go because I offered to lead - yech.  But, lo and behold:  five minutes after we started, the skies cleared, and we were hardly damp.  So again, ye of little faith!  Although it's true many of us are out of town. We had a small but as always loquacious group, traversed Larimer, Point Breeze, Shadyside, East Liberty, Friendship, and Garfield, and again got to witness the Moravian stars shining through the gloom at the corner of Hastings and Selwyn. 

Perhaps the number of endorsements is inversely correlated to the number of endorsers? Probably it's just that I can only pick up one conversation at a time -

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 28 Run: Bakery Square Coffee Tree - and Christmas Day Holiday Run: 7:30 am Commonplace Coffee on Forbes

Don't forget the holiday run on Christmas Day - 7:30 a.m. from Commonplace Coffee on Forbes (but we'll have coffee afterwards at Starbucks, since they'll be the only place open.)
And on Sunday, I'll call this one, since we didn't make a plan:  meet at the Bakery Square Coffee Tree, (map) for a 5-neighborhood run with Moravian stars. 
And, a reminder for all you early-birds who love the thrill of racing down a hill in pitch darkness, the 5:45 a.m. Wednesday and Friday runs from Forbes and Shady are still happening! 

On Sunday, our traditional holiday dahntahn event had an excellent turnout and good weather, and we ranged over the usual sights.  I have to say that the run itself seemed somewhat uninspired this year - maybe because all the downtown construction has the place looking disheveled, or because the Macy's windows were pathetic, the new Mellon Square was fenced off, the sound sculpture was NOT fixed, Market Square looks like a Shantytown, and the City menorah was STILL crappy.  We took a quick tour inside Macy's, which was OPEN, and which may have depressed everybody. OK, let's suppress the grinch: there were bright spots.  The crazy Steeler-paraphernalia vendors were ready to go at 7 a.m., the carols wafting out of the subway stop were sweet, and the quick illegal entry into the almost-done hip new Kimpton Hotel was kind of fun.  And of course the always beautiful dawn views over the river.
And, there were many endorsements!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 21 Run: Annual downtown holiday run, starting at PPG Place Skating Rink

Sorry guys - it's Hanukah!  And pre-Christmas!  Crazy-time!  So this is a little late.

Next Sunday's run is the long-awaited Annual Downtown Holiday Run - starting at the PPG Place Skating Rink (map) at which we will tour dahntahn's glorious festive decorations and hope against hope that those crappy PVC-pipe menorahs have been upgraded to something decent.  Also that the captivating sound sculpture on Strawberry Way is operational.  Coffee most likely at the Market Square Starbucks.

Last week was further proof that, despite all appearances, it never rains on the run - o ye of little faith!  And just to symbolize the faith that we did have, it was highlighted by the largest inflatable Mary possibly ever seen.
Cheryl led our trusting group on a magnificent art-and-architecture-studded run through the Mexican War Streets, California-Kirkbride (I think), Manchester, and Allegheny West.  Too many adorable and fascinating things, and views,  to catalog here - you'll just have to come along the next time.  Except I will mention RandyLand, which gave us the chance for only a slight trespass as we climbed up to peer through the gates - below.  Relaxing coffee but the holidays have me too frazzled for endorsements - will be more relaxed by Sunday, so remember to bring some.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

December 14 Run: Mexican War Streets starting at Crazy Mocha on the North Side

This coming Sunday, Cheryl has graciously offered to take us around her new neighborhood - the North Side Mexican War Streets and maybe a bit of Manchester, and we'll meet at the Crazy Mocha on 2 E. North Street (map.)

Last Sunday on the strip our run started under the flight of hundreds of crows across the early dawn sky, and ended with the sight of a giant transparent moon setting by the river.  We ran down Penn Ave., crossed the 31st. St. Bridge (reportedly the longest bridge... somewhere?), visited the homes of random Steelers on Herr's Island, followed Laurie through our customary trespass to get on the trail back to the 9th Street Bridge and a straight shot (tip for future runs: top notch restroom at the Hampton Inn on Smallman) to the promised La Prima, amazingly busy at 8 a.m. on Sunday, as we squeezed in around a stand-up table, helping ourselves to just-baked almond meles.  This produced many endorsements:
  • Kukicha Tea, only available at the East End Food Coop, provides more calcium than just about anything
  • S&D Polish Deli for all things Polish, including fabulous pirogies and pierogi-making classes
  • Dreadnought Wines has a Casual Friday night wine tasting event that sounds delightful - suggestion was made for RG to attend en masse - how about the 19th??
  • Movies:  Interstellar (the future) - Moonstruck (the past, including Cher!)
  • Brass Quintet concert at Phipps
  • Nationality Rooms annual holiday event - the afternoon after the run - belly dancing, African drumming, guys in Lederhosen, bagpipes, samosas, strudel, and a once-a year tour of a hidden secret room based on the House of the Seven Gables - don't miss it next year -