October 4th, 2007


My Saturday in Pittsburgh

That's what they call a good day.

Starting with getting around: driving in Pittsburgh is nice. The streets basically make sense, there are enough bridges that none of them become a bottleneck, parking on a Saturday morning is easy to find.

We dropped some quarters in a parking meter downtown in the morning, and I got my intro to The Architecture of Downtown Pittsburgh. The old buildings are big on their arches and sort of gothic motifs... but they mixed in some very Steel buildings from the 70s? and some extremely shiney recent ones too. The beautiful old architecture downtown, combined with the ingrained blackness of years of steel mill spewage, made me think of Gotham City, moreso than Boston or Chicago ever did.

PPG Plaza, the really shiney new buildings downtown, are clearly designed in an homage to the rest of the city's architecture. Black reflective glass panels with silver trim of the future, mixed with the vaulted arches and towers of the past. Wish I'd thought to take pictures of the buildings themselves while I was there, but you can kind of get a feel for the building from this photo of blk. Better yet, take a look at this picture of me that blk took. Look at the reflection in the building behind me to get a bit of the feel.

After a quick tasty fish-and-chips lunch downtown, we drove over to the Duquesne Incline, a cog rail that goes up Mount Washington, on the other side of the Monongahela River from Pittsburgh. Wait. Cog rail up Mount Washington? Did I somehow get transported to New Hampshire? Weird.

Anyway, the view from the top of the mountain, of the city, across the river, was quite breathtaking in the blue sky. blk enumerated the bridges for me, and I suddenly had a bunch of the geography drop into place in my mind; all the driving I'd done in the city over the past week suddenly made a lot more sense. This promised photo of blk's shows the view, and my new t-shirt, quite well, though.

We decided to walk over to the Monongahela Incline and make a loop of it - up one side, walk across the top, down the other side, and walk along the river back to the car. Walking along the ridge, we came across an odd sight - a crane was demolishing a building! We stood there watching for about ten minutes, talking to locals who also came out to see. blk's photos of the event mostly came out better than mine.

More to come.


So when I was in Pittsburgh, I rented a car. But not just a car, an SUV; the Toyota RAV4. Don't tell my hybrid!

It was cheaper than the other options. I wonder if that's a sign of what people generally look for in their rentals these days?

Anyway, it was nice. Comfy, kinda luxurious, and good sight lines. Er, don't tell my hybrid. Anyway, I wouldn't buy one, but I might rent one again. Who knows?