The 2007 Asador Vacation: Part IV

Continued from Part I, Part II, & Part III

“Pittsburgh? Pittsburgh!? You’re going to Pittsburgh!??! Why???”

I heard that about 50 times before hopping on a plane to eat turkey leftovers for a week. Most of them had never even been there while those had, visited, not lived, mumbled it as being the armpit of something or other. I get excited about visiting unexplored cities, so I’d have to see for myself, but I wasn’t looking forward to swapping 80ºF temp for 30ºF bone-chilling hell.

Although we didn’t actually stay in Pittsburgh, about twenty miles out, we did make about three trips to the downtown and surrounding areas within a week. That was enough to fill me with sights of beauty, not armpits. Not a place where I would take up residence, (uh, you live at the bottom of the world) but definitely a location where I would be happy with a month of free time and a camera. Everywhere I looked, I had the surreal feeling of being on some movie set. Maybe that’s because quite a number of movies have been filmed there, I don’t know. I probably sound like a giddy lunatic, and so many places in the middle or northern U.S. must look the same or better, but haven’t been around those parts much.

Pittsburgh has a lot of history, much of which I have no clue and if I did, you would still be spared. I do know that Iron/Steel City was extremely prosperous until the steel production fallout in the 1970′s. The outcome of that left many areas looking as if they were frozen in time. However, the large presence of elite financial, tech, and medical institutions is turning the once sooty city into a revitalized cultural hot spot. Well, that’s what I was told.

The blend of architecture is absolutely amazing. Just so you know, my knowledge of architecture ranks right up there with Britney Spears’ parenting skills, but I could definitely sense deep influences from Germanic Europe meshed with American colonial. Then there are the bridges. Pittsburgh and the surrounding area must be the bridge capital of the world.

What impressed me the most is how much of that architecture is preserved. Although gentrification is rearing its head in many neighborhoods or “sides”, restoration trumps demolition. If that’s not possible, than some sort of facade or influence appears to remain as you can see in the second image here. Unlike Buenos Aires, where developers, property owners, and city officials could give a rat’s ass about preserving even a minor detail of something that has the slightest hint of historical significance.

You can read more about greed’s destruction on the following posts

another one bites the dust
just one more
The Gods…they must be crazy
Out With The Old…
Out With The Old… Pt. 2
Another place gone
Any doubts as to a real estate boom in Barracas?

So overall, I thought Pitt was a great city and the people were some of the friendliest I’ve ever encountered in one area. Not sure if I’ll ever be back there, but a nice place to remember.

Continue to the wrap up

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