As for the name, NEXTpittsburgh? It was on our minds even as everyone asked what was next for me back in November. We nabbed the url in December. But in a surreal moment, I woke up one morning while in Thailand in January to a bunch of texts with the subject title: Peduto’s Next Pittsburgh.  Turns out our newly inaugurated mayor decided to use the same phrase to brand the city as he takes over the reins.

Can I just say there’s nothing like e-mailing the new, very busy Mayor from the other side  of the world (when I had all of 20 minutes to spare and a slow internet connection) to tell him that the publication I had mentioned to him was called the same?

Within a day he responded and told me all was well, that we would work it out to our mutual advantage. Certainly, our mission was the same. And then he added that it didn’t surprise him to find us both in this place at this time.

You gotta love the guy.

And you gotta love this city. At this time. At this place. Forces seem to be converging and the timing seems right to advance to a whole new level. NEXTpittsburgh isn’t going to do it; we’re reporting about the people who will. We are fortunate, though, to have many of them in our corner; we have had outstanding help from brainy, generous, wonderful people from this creative and classy community every step of the way and we cannot thank them enough.

At a recent party I met the artist Ron Donoughe, whom we profile in this first issue, who is working on a cool project painting one neighborhood at a time in alphabetical order with a goal of completing all 90 of them in the city.

As I left , he wished me well in this new venture and said, “You will be surprised how the stars will align for you.”

I thought of those words countless times through highs and lows in getting to this place. And now it is what I wish for–and believe will happen—to Pittsburgh as we forge ahead.  The stars will align for us.

It’s a new era for Pittsburgh. And we’re thrilled to be part of it.

Welcome to the Nextpittsburgh.