Jason Vrabel | Pittsburgh City Paper

Jason Vrabel 
Member since Apr 9, 2013


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Re: “Spreading its Wings: Thunderbird CafĂ© owners want nightclub to grow, but expansion plans don't sit well with Lawrenceville residents

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.

9 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Jason Vrabel on 04/09/2013 at 2:19 AM

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