Sunday’s Open Streets just the beginning
Pittsburgh’s first Open Streets event, held Sunday in Downtown, went so well that organizers, including the mayor’s office and Bike Pittsburgh, are already planning a series of Open Streets events for next summer.

“Despite it being the first one, people really seemed to understand the nature of the event,” says Bike Pittsburgh’s Ngani Ndimbie. “It came with a spirit of looking at the space in a whole new way. We had lots of families show up and people taking part in the group activities.”

Ndimbie estimates that between 3,000 and 4,000 people attended the event between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Sunday, taking part in everything from yoga in Market Square to hula hooping on the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

“Even without the Pirates crowd, it was pretty busy across the entire way,” says RustBuilt Co-Founder Kit Mueller.

Ndimbie and Mueller both confirmed that a slate of three or four Open Streets events is in the works for next year, with Mueller adding that organizers plan to regroup early next month to begin planning.

The Woodlands set to open at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

The Woodlands, the first completed section of the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, will open to the public on Friday, August 1.

Comprising 60 of the garden’s 460 acres, The Woodlands includes more than three miles of trails and showcases a vast array of trees and plants which are native to Pennsylvania and thrive in its temperate-forest climate.

“It’s on 60 acres on property that was once totally clear cut by mining companies,” says Kitty Vagley, the garden’s director of development. “In 2010, only 30 of the 120 native tree species that should have been there were there. We’ve planted over 5,000 native trees and shrubs, and reintroduced 50 native tree species.”

The garden’s first public section also includes a historic homestead, which attempts to recreate the look of western Pennsylvania life in the 1780s, an heirloom apple orchard, a dogwood meadow with a gazebo of white cedar and a lotus pond, which will support its own ecosystem of aquatic life and plants.

It also includes the first five of what Vagley calls “family moments”—pieces of interactive infrastructure which allow visitors to closely examine and better understand the nature they’re experiencing.

The next section of the garden, which contains a chestnut-beamed barn dating to the 1870s, is undergoing restoration and scheduled to open in October.

The Neighborhood Flea coming to The Strip
Carrie Nardini is no greenhorn when it comes to craft markets. She’s the co-founder of Pittsburgh’s popular I Made It! Market, which allows local crafters to showcase and sell their homemade wares.

Now, Nardini is putting a new spin on an old concept with The Neighborhood Flea—an open-air, pop-up marketplace which will showcase scads of micro-businesses, crafters, retailers and food vendors in a flea market-style setting. The Neighborhood Flea will offer shoppers everything from repurposed furniture and pieces made from reclaimed wood to curated selections of vintage clothing and housewares.

“There’s a really fun, eclectic, curated mix of items that people can expect,” Nardini says. “You never know exactly what you’re going to find.”

Based on the successful Cleveland market, The Cleveland Flea, the first installment of The Neighborhood Flea will include between 25 and 30 vendors and run Sunday, July 27, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot at 2300 Penn Avenue, directly opposite Marty’s Market.

Future incarnations of the flea market are scheduled for August 24 and September 28. Retailers interested in participating are invited to apply through the market’s website.

Matthew Wein is a local writer, editor, blogger, storyteller and proud native Pittsburgher. Once described as "a man of things," he covers city design, spirits and craft beer for NEXT, where he keeps all of the editorial meetings light-hearted and interesting. His interests include sorting books, looking at old things and candles which smell like old-growth pine forests.