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New Leaders Council

Meet Hersh Merenstein 2016 Pittsburgh Fellow


  1. Favorite Book of all time  AND the last book you read?

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to study and learn about cities and urban policy. My favorite book of all-time is The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs, who was ahead of her time when she suggested that vibrant  street life and less reliance on the automobile is crucial to the future of cities.  Recently, I read Ted Glaeser’s Triumph of the City.

  1. If you could master one skill you don’t have right now, what would it be?

If I could, I would love to learn how to sing. My current singing voice is cacophonous, except when I am in the shower.

  1. What’s your Zodiac Sign? If you know anything about it do you think it’s you?

I am a Virgo. Virgos are very meticulous and this trait is illustrative of me. I am a   picky and critical person until I believe something is correct.

       4.   What’s the First album you bought and what media was it on? (CD, tape, 8 track?)

            When first CD was N’Sync’s No Strings Attached, which included the classic “Bye Bye Bye.” I quickly learned the dance for an elementary school talent show. Needless to say, I was not as talented as Justin Timberlake or even J.C. Chasez.

       5.       If you had to sacrifice one of your five senses which would it be and why?

            I would sacrifice my sense of touch. As a foodie, I could never live without my sense of taste or smell. As a music buff, my ears are very important. As a architecture enthusiast, my sense of sight is crucial.

      6.       What was your dream job growing up? Astronaut, cowboy/girl, Science Ninja?

            From a young age, I have always been a politics buff. Ever since I was able to hear then-Vice President Al Gore on the presidential campaign trail, my dream job has been President of the United States.

      7.       Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

            In 5 years, I’d like to remain in role with the City of Pittsburgh that allows me to ensure that Pittsburgh is an affordable, vibrant, and livable city for all residents.

   8.       What’s your favorite thing about Pittsburgh?

            Pittsburgh is either America’s Biggest Small Town or America’s Smallest Big City. It’s big enough to feel vibrant with its distinct neighborhoods, newly reinvigorated food scene and ample opportunities to make a difference. However, it is just small enough for individuals and organizations to make a big difference and to forge strong connections.

9.       If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

            I’d love to visit all of the Scandinavian countries where residents are guaranteed basic rights such as free health care, free college education, and a family friendly workplace. I would like to take the lessons of urban planning and expansion of public transit from Scandinavian cities back to Pittsburgh. 

10.   In what ways are you a leader? In what ways are you a follower?

            Friends and family know that I am often the person who makes plans and takes charge when it comes to planning an event, a trip, a night out, or course of action. However, often times, I admittedly find that going with the flow is much easier than taking action of my own.

11.   If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

            I would love the ability to be in two places simultaneously. Generally, this superpower would come in handy so that I could be at two events in the same evening. Other times, I would be able to be on a beach somewhere and in Pittsburgh at the same time.  

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