Don’t feed the quintessential urban in all of us.

My good friend Jonathan noticed this on the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s website on their Market Square page.

My friends, the official rules of the newly reconstructed Market Square.

Let’s not even talk about the “park hours” because my brain will explode trying to understand why Market Square, a giant slab of concrete, even has official “park hours.” Like, if you sit down to drink a cup of coffee at 5:30 in the morning, will you be kicked out? Kablooey.

Anyway, what I wanted to point out was that last bullet point.

You see, while the pigeon is the very representation of the quintessential urban Burgher, according to the City of Pittsburgh, that doesn’t mean you should feed them.


And speaking of pigeons, this from reader Karen:

Just wanted to let you know… my mother-in-law, 6 year old daughter and 1 year old son went to the Aviary today and one of those evil giant pigeons tried to eat my baby.  He was sleeping in the stroller and I saw the bird looking around, checking for dropped goldfish, I guess.  Next thing I know, the pigeon nibbled Charlie’s toe!  Not so hard that it woke the baby up, but seriously. Please stop eating my baby.

Are you also saying in your head, with an Australian accent, “Maybe the pigeon ate yo baby?”

Just me?

Also, I know there are going to be comments about how yes, indeed, Market Square is a giant slab of concrete and that is stupid, but I beg to differ. It is meant to be a public square. A public meeting place. A place to hold a concert. The Farmers Market. A protest. A rally.  A place where a canopy can be pitched. A wedding can be held. A flash mob can dance.

As it was, it wasn’t really conducive to those types of gatherings, what with the raised grassy platforms, the street right through the middle of it, etc.

As it is now, it works.

Think of it as a piazza like Trafalgar Square in London or the Piazza San Marco in Venice or the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. Then you’ll see its potential for downtown Pittsburgh.

The only thing I wish it had? A fountain. It needs a fountain. Someone get on that.


  1. ari
    September 8, 2010 3:24 pm

    love the way you write.. I look forward to your blog every day! I was away at the beach and I thought.. OH NO! I am missing out on her posts! BUT yes, the Australian accent, “Maybe the pigeon ate yo baby?”

    no just you. haha.

  2. Jagoff
    September 8, 2010 3:34 pm

    No spitting? Do I get fined if I let one slip?

  3. Lauren
    September 8, 2010 3:38 pm

    I think about Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies. “The pigeon ate your BAE-BEE.” I am a dork, LOL.

  4. spoon
    September 8, 2010 3:39 pm

    So what does that mean for people leaving any of the restaurants after 11pm? Maybe the city paid for suction tubes to get you on the T with the left over North Shore Connector money. You can leave after 11pm, just dont be seen.

    Let it be said you can come in drinking in the square, just not in the CENTER of it without a permit. Oh man thats gonna make for a great game when the homeless get drunk and wanna tempt fate

  5. Steverino
    September 8, 2010 3:54 pm

    Come to think of it, I was in the square for lunch and we were eating at the outside tables and I don’t remember seeing ONE PIGEON! Hell hath in fact frozen over!

  6. YinzerInExile
    September 8, 2010 4:04 pm

    Erm, uhhhhhh . . . I don’t know how to break it to you gently but, Piazza San Marco, in Venice?

    People not only feed the pigeons, they take pictures while covered — head, body, and presumably soul — in pigeons.

  7. BeauJacques
    September 8, 2010 4:10 pm

    And they moan that Arizona’s immigration (the same as the Fed’s but enforced) law lends itself to profiling and police abuse!

    Essentially if you’re not seated at a restaurant (paying) table
    get the EFF OUT!!

  8. BeauJacques
    September 8, 2010 4:12 pm

    Ginny, NO WHERE TO SIT!!

  9. unsatisfied
    September 8, 2010 4:16 pm

    am I still allowed to pee on market square?

  10. KGC
    September 8, 2010 4:46 pm

    Idea for a perfect gathering in the *NEW* Market Square.. a pigeon shoot. Of course, we’ll need to get permission to drink beer first!

  11. BrianTH
    September 8, 2010 5:10 pm

    Without bothering to do any research, I will guess the hours thing is a legal issue, possibly related to liability.

  12. wckdcll
    September 8, 2010 5:43 pm

    I am wondering how they are going to enforce the whole “NO SPITTING” rule. I would love to see someone go up a real hick type country boy, chewin his Red Man, and tell him not to spit…that will be great times!!!!

  13. gunnlino
    September 8, 2010 6:17 pm

    Call the Spanish . They’ll solve the pigeon problem !

    And we need two guys with big sticks or maybe soap and water hoses to keep the low lives out after 11 PM, you know they are gonna do more than just spit in the square and shorty it will look just like it did before.

    Sorry to take the low road here but it’s the truth .

  14. BeauJacques
    September 8, 2010 6:21 pm

    How about “NO Spandex” ?

  15. bluzdude
    September 8, 2010 6:59 pm

    May I now present, the Matt Spaeth Honorary Fountain.

  16. Lindsey
    September 8, 2010 6:59 pm

    I just read the rules to my boyfriend, a life-long resident of Pittsburgh, and his only response was “Good. Pigeons ruin everything.” I think you two would get along fabulously.

  17. Kristin
    September 8, 2010 7:34 pm

    No booze in the center of the square. Your outside table at Primanti’s is cool, though. I get it, I do, it’s just funny.

  18. Goob
    September 8, 2010 8:41 pm

    I will point out that Piazza San Marco is full of pigeons.

    I do not mind that market square is a park. They had to put the thing in some category; Pittsburgh doesn’t have a zoning designation for piazze (how cool would that be?). I wholeheartedly support any efforts towards a fountain.

    I like the rules for Schenley Quad a bit better, though. They quite clearly say:

    Playing of organized sports in not permitted

    …which, I think, means the only thing left is Calvinball.

    Who wants to play Calvinball?

  19. Virginia
    September 8, 2010 8:43 pm

    ME! ME! PICK ME!

  20. Bram R
    September 8, 2010 9:04 pm

    I haven’t been yet. I felt the way you anticipated about a “giant slab of concrete” but I see your point. Actually the square used to be for standing on a soapbox and giving speeches and handing out pamphlets and being democratic little critters, but we have blogs for that now. So fine, weddings and flash dance.

    Are there benches? Not just attached to restaurants, but public places to sit a spell? Tell me there are. Because no benches + “park hours” = why don’t we just visit the wax museum of cheeseball scaredy cats.

    There’s a fountain at the Tomb of the Unknown Bowler right next door! But water is nice.

  21. Lauren
    September 8, 2010 10:32 pm

    It says we can’t drink alcoholic beverages in the CENTER of the square. So does that mean if we take our Zimas off to the side we’re good to go?

  22. BeauJacques
    September 9, 2010 7:43 am


    No benches, no place to sit unless @ restaurant table.

    Apparently NO sitting in Pittsburgh downtown, anywhere, with the exception of the privately owned (read: expensively privately patrolled) PPG Place, good luck getting a seat.

    Pittsburghers are UNWELCOME downtown except to dine out.

  23. Virginia
    September 9, 2010 7:51 am

    Bram, BeauJacques does not speak the facts here.

    Yes, there are tables scattered about the center portion of the square and pedestrians can sit there as they please. The only place pedestrians can’t sit are the tables on the sidewalks in front of the restaurants. Those are for restaurant patrons. As they should be.

  24. unsatisfied
    September 9, 2010 9:28 am

    “Bram, BeauJacques does not speak the facts here.”

    color me shocked….

  25. BeauJacques
    September 9, 2010 11:40 am

    Tables weren’t there last time I was thru, sorry, I stand
    happily corrected, :-)


  26. toni
    September 9, 2010 1:07 pm

    I see you can’t spit there but Jeff Reed can still pee on a side of a building….

  27. BeauJacques
    September 9, 2010 4:17 pm


    I just checked out Market Square and it has tables and chairs and it’s fine!!

    (but I think I’m going to need Woychek or CS major to show me how to use the hi-tech multi-space parking meter system!)