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Going From No. 1 To No. 3 Means Quick Changes

October 26, 1989

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ It’s time to toss out the stationery and tear down the signs touting Pittsburgh as America’s Most Livable City. The title was lost to Seattle earlier this week, and officials had to scurry to pull the slogan from promotional plugs.

After more than four years of top billing, Pittsburgh has slipped behind Seattle and San Francisco in Prentice Hall Travel Books’ 1989 edition of ″Places Rated Almanac,″ which arrived in bookstores this week.

″I’m reading it everywhere I go - ’We’re the No. 1 city,‴ said Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff. ″I’ve used it and it’s been in every speech I’ve made, practically.″

Mrs. Masloff had to revise her speech at a ground-breaking ceremony Thursday morning.

″I said, ’We’re now No. 3, but we believe in our hearts we’re still No. 1.‴

At the Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau, officials were priding themselves on having had the words ″Pittsburgh’s the One″ printed on the latest batch of lapel pins and convention badges.

The bureau had commissioned bumper stickers and pins proclaiming Pittsburgh as America’s Most Livable City soon after the title was bestowed in 1985. None, fortunately, remain.

″We assumed that for a lot of reasons, it wouldn’t last forever,″ said Robert Imperata, the bureau’s executive vice president. ″We didn’t want to get burned. ‘Pittsburgh’s the One’ is a more generic phrase.″

The Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce also is congratulating itself on having waited before ordering new stationery. Printed on the bottom of the current sheets are the words ″The Most Livable City.″

″Of course ... we could have printed some more real quick″ if Pittsburgh had retained its title, said Lance Shaeffer, the chamber’s executive vice president.

″I think what others will do, and what we’re certainly going to do, is to bill ourselves as a very livable city,″ he said.

At Greater Pittsburgh International Airport, a banner reading ″Welcome to Pittsburgh, the Most Livable City″ and other similar signs had been removed by Thursday.

For Mrs. Masloff and other city officials, coming in third among 333 metropolitan areas is still reason for pride. Pittsburgh was ranked fourth in 1981, making it the only city to be among the top 10 in each of the almanac’s three editions.

″We’re very philosophical,″ the mayor said. ″We feel being No. 1 is being like Miss America or a heavyweight champion. You never repeat.

″It’s a title you will always retain and always be referred to,″ agreed Kelly O’Toole, vice president of the Greater Pittsburgh Office of Promotion.

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