(📸: courtesy of Richard Hooper)
Name: Richard Hooper
pronouns: He / Him / Him
Social networks: @downtownpitt
Website: Partnership downtown Pittsburgh
Welcome to The Incline’s “Locals to Know” series. This is when we give way to a local person or organization that has left its mark in the wider Pittsburgh community. Stay tuned for more of these interviews in the coming weeks, and if you know anyone or any organization we need to show, feel free to send them our way.
Today we are talking to Richard Hooper, Vice President of Marketing and Communications Partnership downtown Pittsburgh, a nonprofit organization with a mission to develop programs and initiatives that improve the Pittsburgh Center by ensuring that it remains a living place to work, study, live or visit. PDP is the group behind Picklesburgh and Light Up Night, and in addition to having fun activities, the organization is also working to support economic viability, improve mobility and transportation, and develop other initiatives.
What is your favorite memory of Pittsburgh?
It’s hard to choose. Maybe the experience of seeing the city for the first time (when I first came from the UK around 1990), passing through the Fort Pete tunnels at night. It’s a stunning cityscape that really amazes you when you suddenly find yourself “right there”. Most recently he was on stage for a big fireworks display over the river in Light Up Night – truly spectacular!
Choose your favorite local outdoor experience. What is it? What are we doing? Who goes with yinz?
Outdoor lunches at many downtown restaurants have become a great way to continue to experience the city and maintain our heavy restaurants. Eating a needle in the winter or on the sidewalk in the warm season is a new experience for downtown Pittsburgh, but good. Talking to friends over food and drinks outdoors in the city center is something very unique and fun. Everyone seems to really like the atmosphere.
What is your favorite local Instagram or TikTok account and why?
I really like it @keeppittsburghdope and a wonderful photographic depiction of Pittsburgh’s life in Chancellor Humphrey’s Instagram. He also possesses such great energy and love for Pittsburgh personally, and this is indeed found in his publications. @discovertheburgh also provides a great visual image of things that can be done in Pittsburgh, and makes you hungry for your food images.
If you could only eat one meal at a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I love spicy food, so it has to be a massive curry Nicki Thai Cuisine. It may not be the best move of the rest of my life … but, nonetheless, I love it! We are really spoiled for choice in the city center, because there are so many first-class restaurants!
What project are you working on (large or small) and how can our readers help you with this?
We are currently launching an initiative to support restaurants and retailers called Downtown Pittsburgh EDGE. This is a free card that Pittsburgh City Center workers, residents and students can use to get discounts and shopping offers at a variety of small downtown businesses. We currently have nearly 50 companies presenting offers and incentives. Offers will change over time, so it is also recommended to subscribe to the newsletter. You can check details here.
The card is currently distributed to city center employees, residents and students studying in the city, so when you join this group, go to PG&H near the Market Square and pick up your free card! Help downtown businesses that you know and love, and maybe find some new ones in the process. Also expect us to add some exclusive “time-limited specials” in the coming months that we hope will interest cardholders and support small business downtown.
What are you waiting for this year?
There are so many wonderful things on the horizon. Fantastic events await us this year. Some are reworked, some are brand new, and of course favorite events like Picklesburg and Light up the night of course, will come back next door Yoga in the square, farmers’ and Saturday night markets. We are also particularly excited about the work we will be doing to find a downtown road, and our work to improve key downtown corridors such as Smithfield Street. Some of these things have been developed for many years and will soon be implemented.
Our efforts to support downtown small businesses through protracted pandemic challenges will also continue, and we will create new and innovative ways for people to reconnect with these businesses to help bring such activity to our city.
Are you interested in being represented and want to share your own class project in ‘Burgh? Send an email to [email protected] with the theme “Locals to know 2022” and you can just see yourself in a future newsletter.