Plus, Pusadee’s Garden is back in bloom.
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🏘 From doomscroll to roomscroll

Plus, Pusadee’s Garden is back in bloom.

Hello and welcome to Friday — the 800th, sorry, eighth day of 2021.

Lots of you shared your plans for the new year with us recently, and almost all of them involved a return to some kind of normal. 

Getting vaccinated. Christmas in July parties. Live sporting events. Concerts. Sight-seeing. Going somewhere other than the grocery store. (Stefan voice: "Pittsburgh's hottest club is aisle two of the South Side Aldi …") 

And you're not alone. City Paper asked local artists, musicians, politicians, and community members to share their post-vaccination plans. They listed hugs (real ones, not the air variety), gatherings (in-person ones, not virtual), and all manner of bygone human contact. Find the full wishlist here.

The good news is that COVID-19 vaccines are now a reality. The bad news is that vaccine distribution, while ramping up in states like Pennsylvania, is off to a slow start. 

Pennsylvania hopes to vaccinate 70 percent of its population when all is said and done — that's nearly 10 million people. As of this week, around 135,000 Pennsylvanians had actually received theirs. Keep scrolling for the latest COVID-19 news. 

Here's what else we have for you today: A landless land bank, party animals, Heinz Field isn't a free agent yet, the Zillow *room-scroll, a vintage Pittsburghese primer, and the first I Spy of 2021.

What Pittsburgh is talking about

Do it. | Tag #theinclinepgh to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @citylifeadventures)

4-ish things to know today

➡️ Some UPMC employees have already received both rounds of the COVID-19 vaccine as members of the state's top priority group. “I feel like it’s the first step in ending this,” nurse Ally Okonak told TribLIVE. But a letter to the editor penned by an ICU nurse at UPMC Shadyside accuses the healthcare giant of downplaying the virus' impact on its hospital system and staff. 90.5 WESA spoke with her about the letter and life on the front lines.

  • Related: Allegheny County investigators are looking at five New Year’s Eve parties, some with more than 40 attendees and each linked to multiple COVID-19 cases already. TribLIVE has more on the tracing effort.
  • Related: The first case of a new COVID-19 variant believed to be more contagious has been reported in Pennsylvania. Find the details here, via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

📓 Pittsburgh Public Schools wants to resume in-person learning later this month, but Superintendent Anthony Hamlet says remote learning could continue through the end of the school year if Allegheny County's COVID-19 test positivity rate stays where it is. The district wants the rate below 10 percent before bringing students back — the rate is now hovering around 11 percent. PublicSource has more on the calculus here

🍅 Heinz Field will keep its name a little longer. The Steelers and the Kraft Heinz Co. have reached a one-year extension for the stadium’s naming rights, which were set to expire at the end of this football season. The financial terms of that extension are unclear, but naming rights are big business these days. The old, 20-year, $57 million naming rights deal inked for Heinz Field in 2001 would be worth two to three times that amount (or more) in similar markets today. Axios explains.

  • Related: A COVID-19 outbreak on the Cleveland Browns could have implications for Sunday's wild card game at the Steelers. What might it take for the league to postpone a playoff game? Yahoo! Sports says we may soon find out.

🏚 The Pittsburgh Land Bank was created with one purpose in mind: Get blighted and abandoned properties back in use and back on the tax rolls. But nearly seven years after its founding, the land bank has yet to buy, clear, and sell a single piece of property. Now, a new and more formal partnership with the Urban Redevelopment Authority is being eyed as a remedy. 90.5 WESA takes a look at the proposal and the problem.

4 things to make you smile 

🔎 Apparently we aren't the only ones scrolling home listings on Zillow at 2 a.m. Pittsburgh has a serious Zillow-scrolling habit, 90.5 WESA reports. Here's more on the new form of escapism

🗣 A Pittsburghese primer from 1977 is a great translator for our regional romance language. Find your copy here.

❄️ The voice of Olaf in the Frozen movies experienced his first winter while a drama student at CMU. I can't wait to mention this during my family's one-millionth screening of the films and then be promptly shushed by a seven-year-old. 

🍽 Beloved Lawrenceville Thai spot Pusadee’s Garden is back open (finally) and still sporting some of the best outdoor dining spaces in the city. Good Food Pittsburgh has the update.

🔓 Unlock I Spy

Become an Incline Insider today

Today our members are getting an exclusive round of I Spy in their newsletters. Do you like I Spy? What about early access to our voter guides? Or hand-curated apartment and job listings? Unlock that content and more by joining us as an Incline Insider right here.

Things to do 

Submit your events to our calendar.


🎭 Tune in for performances, interactive workshops, and more with EQT Children's Theater Festival @ Home — multiple dates (Online)


💡 Bring your words, ideas or just listen and offer your thoughts at the return of The Poetry Atelier, a weekly and free Zoom event — multiple dates (Online)


📜 Hear stories from behind "The Wall" in this Doors Open Pittsburgh virtual event about Western Penitentiary (Online)


🎹 Explore the people, places, and stories that make Pittsburgh unique with jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams in this event for early learners (Online

🎤 Drop by the first installment of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh's four-part virtual series on global choral traditions with experts in Appalachian, Gospel, Bulgarian, and South African choral music — multiple dates (Online)


🔮 Take on the new year with a free vision board workshop from the Pittsburgh Professional Women group (Online)

Friday, Jan. 15

📣 Join Pennsylvania's Second Lady, Gisele Fetterman, and The Ellis School for a discussion about activism and high schoolers making authentic social change (Online)

One more thing ....

Don't know about you, but I'm still a few weeks from taking down my Christmas tree (mostly because I don't want to put away the ornament we wrote about here).

But I won't wait too much longer. Pittsburgh residents have until Jan. 26 to get their live Christmas trees recycled and turned into magnificent mulch that will be given away to the public next spring. 

Pittsburgh Magazine says the city collected more than 109 tons of trees last year and is offering the same service again as part of its Climate Action Plan 3.0, a portion of which works to keep materials out of landfills.

Here's a list of drop-off locations and hours.

Thanks for reading to the bottom. We'll see you back here on Tuesday.

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