Morning number one (and morning number two for that matter) was a good excuse for breakfast at Ritter’s, a classic Pittsburgh diner. Thus fed, we proceeded to tour the entire city, bridge to bridge, tunnel to tunnel, and neighborhood to neighborhood. A good bit of this happened on foot, which was a blessing after too many days in the car.
I was particularly fond of the Strip District, which is an old market and industrial area which has not yet completely succumbed to gentrification. There are still markets and warehouses and factories around, although the coffee shops and trendy bars are starting to pop up.
One particular building here just sent me into fits of ecstasy for some reason. It was formerly the Armstrong Cork factory, and is now abandoned and just waiting to be taken over. Too bad that it will probably be ruined by some developer who will clean it up and make it all nice and pretty for new upscale tenants. But I love it as is it is, in all its faded glory.
Another favorite was the Hill District, once Pittsburgh’s own little Harlem, with theatres and clubs, and restaurants. Now, it’s pretty much a standard urban ghetto, but it’s still possible to catch glimpses of what used to be.
I decided that the south side Mount Washington area would be the place I’d most likely end up living if I moved to the city (which is not as unlikely as it might sound). But I’d most likely find myself doing a lot of boy-watching around Pitt and Carnegie-Mellon as well. Of course, there’s a lot to be said for Shadyside and Oakland too…
Late afternoon activities centered around the university area: bookstores, boy-watching, the Cathedral of Learning and more. The campuses of Pitt and Carnegie-Mellon are more or less on top of each other and they make for a lively urban area. The bookstore at Pitt is a wonderful thing, which has not yet been taken over by a chain.
At twilight, there was Schenley Park. The “cruising park”. Hmmm. Of course there was a visit. I was amazed; it was mobbed. The proximity to the universities and the easy automobile accessibility are definite pluses as far as the crowd goes. Nice trials. Nice collection of people. I might never have to hit a bar.
Actually, I could not tell you about the bars. That’s on hold for a more lengthy visit. It didn’t seem a priority for this trip, although I remain curious.