I lived on Banner Way, a small side street behind the Thunderbird, for eight years. During that time (2004-2012), it was not uncommon for drunk people to stumble down the alley screaming, laughing and generally carrying on without a shred of respect for residents. It wasn't all the time but it was often enough to bear mentioning. The worst incident was a drunk girl pounding on my door early one morning looking for a friend (a Thunderbird employee that lived nearby, I later found out). After I closed the door, she proceeded to honk her horn and scream his name for twenty minutes. If you were to look up "sloppy" or "inconsiderate" in Merriam-Webster, I think there's a chance you might see her picture.
Living on Banner was always a little bit of a fight for the handful of on-street parking spots. It was an unwritten rule that, if you had company or a two-car household, the extra vehicle would park on Willow. It took new people a little while to catch on to the general courtesies the long-time residents paid each other. Banner is an extremely small street but I really liked living there. I can't imagine what events regularly drawing 600+ people would do to the parking situation and general quality of life. The year Art All Night was in the Catalyst Building, we had to park a mile away. That would get old real quick if it was a weekly or nightly occurrence. Lawrenceville probably needs a parking garage before it needs a Mr. Small's.
I have nothing against business growth but the capacity of the neighborhood itself needs to be considered. People can argue this every which way but there's only so much shit you can fit in a five pound bag. The number is pretty close to five pounds.
That's my uncle... :-)
If it were true that people will not go to a bar, restaurant, theater, etc when parking is difficult, then South Side, Shadyside, and Squirrel Hill businesses would be empty. Since that is not the case, the argument that the lack of easy access to parking is detrimental to businesses like the Thunderbird is questionable at best.
I've been doing some math. I've spent more than $10,000 at the Thunderbird. $10,000! That's a lot of money. It goes without saying that the Tbird is a special place for me, of which I have a lot of fond memories, as well as some not so fond ones (and a few nights I have no memory of whatsoever). And I can't support this expansion, even though I want to. What I once saw as an impossible development of a good idea has turned into a feasible development of a bad idea, for reasons mostly noted already.
It's embarrassing for me to see homeowners lampooned for their concerns because I remember a time when I was guilty of similar things as a then South Side renter (albeit with more decency). What I didn't understand then was that places like Butler St. are successful BECAUSE OF THE HOMEOWNERS, first and foremost, who over time will support local businesses with thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars.
John runs a very respectable establishment, but most of Tbird's current patrons would would have been too frightened for their lives (or cars or bikes) to step foot onto Butler St. a decade or so ago. It was those spineless, gutless and nebby homeowners who worked tirelessly and mortgaged their lives away to make Butler St. safe for the rest of us who wear glasses and can't fight our way out of a paper bag, despite all the bravado of anonymous online discourse.
Though not personally impacted, I accept the concerns of immediate neighbors. I'm also concerned that this venture will fail. It may the residents who first complain about parking, but the patrons will soon follow and stop going to shows because they have to drive around for an hour looking for a spot. Carson Street is not a legit comparison because the South Side can absorb a much greater parking demand than Lawrenceville.
If the development goes through, I wish John, the Tbird and residents the best of luck. But from what I saw, the new upscale Thunderbird is simply not a place to which I would go. Maybe that means nothing, but I suspect there are a lot of people like me, whose thousands of dollars will go someplace else. Perhaps I'll give Teabags a second look.
I live in the city. I've always lived in a city. In a city, there are loud, drunk people and parking is really bad. Lawrenceville was never designed for the car (that would be the suburbs). If you look at old photos of Butler Street when the mill was up and running you'll see that it was stuffed with cars. After the mill closed, if you ask old timers about the bars in Lawrenceville, you'll hear stories of "Steelers on the TV and a fight every night." When I first moved into the neighborhood (about 15 years ago) one bar had a sign in its window that read "No Teeth. No drinks." Where the Thunderbird is now used to be Mikalski's (sp?), a 7 am dump of a place. There were no problems with parking because, well, it was a dump. Down the street from my house was The Candlelight. Often, at closing time, the patrons would come out of the bar and shoot guns into the air. There was another bar called "Cool Pepper's Hothouse" a lovely place that had its share of fights spill out onto the street. One resulted in the large window shattering. There also were plenty of empty storefronts, open prostitution (one lady's name was Six Pack, which is a clue you can use to decipher what she charged for services), and drug dealing (one dealer used to push his daughter around in her baby carriage. He kept his stash under her seat). Behind my house was Hatchet Mary. She received that moniker due to having killed her husband with, you guessed it, a hatchet. Her next door neighbor, was running a meth lab (we found out after he moved). So, why am I writing all of this? Simple. The places that you now enjoy in Lawrenceville were, up until about 10 years ago, for the most part, empty storefronts or bars with less than stellar reputations. There was really only one restaurant (Hambones) and we were really excited when the rundown Shell Station was replaced by a Wendy's. So, here's my point. At one time, if someone were to have come into Lawrenceville and said they wanted to renovate an existing bar and turn it into a entertainment venue, they would have been hoisted onto residents' shoulders and paraded down the middle of Butler Street. Now, we have people who complain about what further development will do to the flavor of the neighborhood. Well, I've given you a glimpse of what the neighborhood was like just 10 to 15 years ago and the flavor wasn't all that great. So, you live in the city and you're lucky enough to live in a neighborhood undergoing tremendous revitalization. I, for one, hope that it becomes so hard for me to park that I'll have to empty out my garage.
Not sure I'd trust a hamburger from this guy! Very cool, thanks for posting this John Lavanga and the Pittsburgh City Paper! Thank you very much for the support.
this show was excellent. i do admit covering my eyes as i was caught off guard by some lyrics, but it was delightful to be surprised in this day and age and not be struck by lightning in the process.
come on. this can surely be worked out. no one is up in arms now that restaurants are launching their own food trucks. there are enough customers for everyone. give pittsburgh the chance the grown.
Another amazing poem by Mr. Cvetic. He's the man. Please keep them coming.
OVER PRICED AND MASS PRODUCED
We had a bad experience at Jimmy Wan's restaurant at Freeport Rd. It was like eating at a fast food restaurant. They took our order and immediately brought the food to the table before we got our drinks. It was a 15 minute meal. We complained to the owners. They were not concerned and never apologized for the bad service. The food here is MASS PRODUCED. The food is already prepared; that is why they bring it right away to the table. It is also overpriced. We won't go back.
Yo Paul! People, like communities, change. Do you honestly think the people who lived in the house you currently occupy were cool with every change that went on in their neighborhood? If you do, you are wrong. You cant have your cake and eat it too. Stick around and deal with the inevitable or vote with your feet and move somewhere you can raise kids. You have UPMC in your backyard and your are whining about 1,200 people at a night club. Get real. And quit with the Walmart talk. We all know you have shopped there before. It's cool I wont tell your dirty secret. See you at industry house bruh!
Boo Hoo! My name is Lynn Glover and I cant stand the thought of business expansion! My life is too hectic already to worry if I have to park my car 2 blocks away from my house waaaaaaah! You guys need to move! So many neighborhoods in Pittsburgh would kill to have this development take their community to new heights. The Hill District for one is trying to do this very thing right now. Ever heard of the New Granada Theater? It used to be a destination location for the hill and made that community vibrant before the civic arena displaced 8000 residents and 400 businesses and it all went to hell in the 70's. It has taken them 30+ years to try to bring this very element back. Residents and business go hand in hand in a successful community. Stop whining about parking! Count your blessings or move to Murrysville.
A cover I did of the way- not a patch on the original of course but let me know what you think.
The growth in Lawrenceville has been undeniably amazing over the years and shows a promising future but I remember when the growth started with small business owners who had something different to offer the whole community. Expanding a business that is already such a big part of Lawrenceville will take away the charm of this neighborhood. Coming from a family of small business owners, I am also concerned in what this expansion will be taking away from this neighborhood. Don't get me wrong I'm not tryinng to take anyones bread off their table but this expansion is a bit bizarre. There are 3 businesses that will suffer from this and not to mention tenets that will have to move as well. I agree with whoever said that the best bet would be to leave thunderbird alone and go buy a bigger venue somewhere else.. the couple million dollar loan shows that they are well equipped to do so!
As written on paper, this sounds like an inspired and timely idea, that could be extraordinarily effective. And it's helpful that the endorsement will be earned by a form of popular vote.
The concern is that the convention's organizers are going to make assumptions and calculations about who is going to win the race anyway, resolve that they absolutely must endorse the winner, spend the next month lobbying that candidate to throw its ringleaders a few choice bones of either rhetoric or investment, and then campaign fiercely towards any black Pittsburghers likely to walk in the door that they have a duty to vote for their candidate to show "unity", and that it's crucial blacks don't end up on the losing side. Thus, a self-fulfilling prophecy and another very minor variation on inside power politics.
Hopefully I'm concerned over nothing. But you'd have to be a fool not to be cynical these days.
Somebody should give him a Steeler/Penguin/Pirates stocking cap.
I have "Papa Gene's Blues" in my mp3 player. Really like that song
Truth wins out,
I don't like being called a liar. What do you know about anything? Were you at the meeting on Dec 17, 2012 when Chris Lasky (he's an architect, by the way, not an 'event planner'(?)) uttered the words "standing capacity is 1,200 people". That is undeniable and true. It was witnessed by over 100 people. Whether the place will ever fill to that capacity is a point of opinion.
The actual permissible capacity will be dictated by the BBI, based on a number of factors. If John, or perhaps a successive owner in the future, determines he can sell 600 tickets to an event, or 700 or 1200, and still meet code, they might be tempted to sell that many. He's got bills too. I've been at shows in the Strip District and other places where reputable club owners oversold shows because of demand and or income potential. at those shows, you couldn't move. It happens. I don't know John personally, but I like to think he would not do that.
Don't be calling me a liar when you don't know any better. You know my name, I don't know yours. Apparently you are hiding behind an alias because you don't want me to know who you are.
Dok Harris is running for city council? Is this a joke? Is he going to be able to take time away from getting shit-faced at the William Penn Tavern to campaign?
ANNOUNCING: Fight Back Pittsburgh, a community-based union project of the United Steel Workers has endorsed the Percent for Art Campaign! The partnership has already started, and we are looking forward to the added muscle the union will bring to the campaign.
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