Type 2 Diabetic. Bike tour guide. #NextBurgh Flâneur.   Coffeeneur.    Errandoneur
A bike / map geek with a gadget obsession and a high-viz fetish. by Vannevar Bush       about       /       murals       /       Pgh-DC bike maps new

Thursday, October 4, 2012

From Bras to Braddock

10/4/12 235# 43M

Beautiful weather for a bike ride. Started at the Bastille, road around the Casino wondering why there were hundreds, maybe thousands of brassieres tied to the fences. Came to American Eagle's corporate campus on the SouthSide and saw this arrangement - the photo doesn't show it, but the display is constructed out of bras, and to the left there's a bra-tree.

The notion goes, we're raising awareness of breasts to raise awareness of breast cancer, and after we leave this (used) underwear out in the elements for two weeks we're going to donate to poor women.

First: does anybody thing that America needs even more attention paid to boobies? Second: who leaves used underwear out in the weather for two weeks, gives it to poor women, and considers that a good work? This is just brightly-colored marketing with a high-gloss frisson of pseudo-charitable titillation. (sorry) It's telling that the only places doing this are commercial properties. < / rant off >

My first coffeeneuring expedition of the 2012 Coffeeneuring Challenge:
drink: Espresso Tusk
shop: Commonplace Coffeehouse, commonplacecoffee.com
location: 5827 Forbes Avenue, Squirrel Hill
date: 10/4/2012
ride details: bras, murals, braddock with S. The shop was unusually crowded because a local geek incubator had a fire alarm go off and they all brought their laptops over to sniff the wifi.
mileage: 44 miles

A beautiful private mural by Julie Webb on Douglas Street, viewed from a common alley:

"Trainscape: Community and Industry" in Swissvale, by Anthony Purcell.

A mural at 7510 Dickson Street in Swissvale, by the Busway, by Nicholas Hohman and Ashley Hodder. I'm most intrigued by the activity in the top-left corner, where an old muscled man in a hardhat seems to be sitting across a chess/checkers board from an infant in a perambulator. Also, there seems to be a coded message in an alphanumeric block on the right side.

Murals occur in poor distressed neighborhoods. Nobody's painting murals in Sewickley or Fox Chapel. Murals go up in places like Swissvale, where you see signs like this one.

Four murals along Rankin Blvd, no artist identification:


Welcome to Braddock, by James Simon (of Gist Street)

Shepard Fairey, in Braddock:

Commercial mural, Mele's Flowers, 518 Braddock:

This is the result of a 30-artist "graffiti mural day". According to John Morris, Braddock mayor John Fetterman had been apprehensive that street graffiti would be a negative for Braddock, but relented and permitted one former department store to be used.

New Guild mural in Braddock:

By Anthony Purcell, (on the mayor's house?), click here for a making-of sequence.

In a shady, fenced courtyard which is the Mayor's house, the same building as the Greetings from Braddock mural (above), is a mural by Chris Stain:

On Braddock avenue and John Street:

At 910 Braddock Ave, "The World is Yours" by Noah Sparkes

From Unsmoke Systems in a former Catholic School building, by the artist Swoon:

This is a mural by Mary Tremonte, better photo here; and more.

We encountered James Simon (of Gist Street, Welcome to Uptown, and Duq. Univ) and Luke repairing and restoring a tile mosaic of theirs in the Verona Street Mosaic Park:

A SpongeBob SquarePants mural, "Just Keep Swimming" in the Kaboom Playground, next to a daycare facility:

This is a James Simon sculpture for the Nyia Page community center, and when I Googled Nyia Page I read a heartbreaking story of violent evil and a very well written hook line.

This was cool. Artist Anthony Purcell (who did the train mural in Swissvale) is about to paint a "greetings from historic Braddock" mural; a photo of the artist and his blank tablet.

This is apparently a hospital mural, which is ironic because all the hospitals have abandoned Braddock and left town. Maybe it's so people in town can remember what hospitals were. Glad to see the recently-delivered Mum has a Penguins jersey on.

This is outside of Braddock's Carnegie Library, which was the first Carnegie Library. (not the only Carnegie-Warhol collabo).

The figures spell out, "Road to Recovery", on the side of the Turtle Creek Mental Health facility. A staffer came out and explained the mural: it was designed by people in treatment at the facility, whose initials are included in the work. The facility is not allowed to present advertising so they could not explicitly present the name, "Turtle Creek", but you may notice a subtle turtle depicted in the creek. The theme, "road to recovery", evokes a new trend in mental health services that emphasizes recovery as an outcome.

Departed Braddock via the Rankin Bridge, a little bit of Route 837, the Waterfront Trail, Sandcastle, Keystone Metals, and the Hot Metal Bridge. Rode up Junction Hollow to Oakland, saw famous Burgh Biker Yale Cohen riding his bike, stopped for an ice cream cone.

Back down to the Jail Trail, took the trails around the Point to the Convention Center. Saw a bicyclist taking a bike nap in the sun in the Convention Center Riverfront Plaza, wanted to take a photo but it felt a little bit too skeevy to be taking pictures of sleeping ladies without their knowledge.

Rode the wonderful convention center Waterfalls Trail up to the streets, and over to Liberty Avenue to complete the day's documentation of James Simon artwork by checking out his "Liberty Avenue Musicians" at 947 Liberty Avenue, the former location of the Tambellini Building:

Almost too much to write about. A tremendous ride, all over town. Congrats to S who crossed 5000 miles for the year during the ride.

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