SO, I’m moving. Again. Moving sucks, but thing time it’s in the hands of a moving company, so I won’t be calling on the help of friends who bail at the last minute.
Just as I was getting used to Pittsburgh, I’m moving to Atlanta. I’m a Yankee through-and-through, but I can’t pass this job offer up, and location is a compromise between myself and my girlfriend.
Funny enough, this website was just featured as an example of a Pittsburgh blog in Pittsburgh Magazine (July issue, page 52). As one of the other guys was apt to point out, it is ironic that my departure comes as I’m published in a regional magazine. But hey, I’m not claiming to post Black & Gold content here; I just appreciate the town that’s hosted me for over four years now, and continues to be home for my folks.
So, (I notice I like to start sentences off with “so” a lot) I figured I’d recap on the things I like most about Pittsburgh in no particular order.
1. The Bar Culture
Thanks to the era of blue-collar, industrial work (particularly in steel) that put the `Burgh on the map, a demand was created for alcohol long ago. To accommodate, a bar has opened every thirty feet within the city. These aren’t frilly Las Vegas bars (although some try), they’re “sit down and have a drink” bars. The way God intended when He gave mankind beer.
2. The Cynicism
Pittsburghers are accustomed to criticizing their own town, be it traffic, the weather or it’s mayor. Especially its mayor. But somehow, Pittsburghers like it. They like to complain, and that’s what seems to keep people together here. It seems kinda’ funny, but another crappy sports year just keeps folks busy talking until the next season. Traffic may suck in some areas, but it’s predictable, and it makes good office banter. “Man, parkway west was murder today.” Feel like bitching? You got ninety other topics to run with. Try looking outside, and talk about the weather.
In this way, I can’t imagine living in a place like San Diego. Too pretty, too perfect. I like grit, and genetically, I like to complain too. I’m your typical Northeasterner.
3. The Road Maze
You take three rivers, and put the heart of a city in the wedge of the forking rivers (forking rivers sounds like a euphemism, I know). Now build a road system.
People complain about the roads in Pittsburgh, but in looking at the challenges it’s faced, you have to give it some credit. First, with the way the snow and salt tears roads up, it’s surprising there aren’t more potholes. If you go to anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line, people don’t know what the hell road salt is, even if they need it.
Second, like I was building up to, you try building a road system here. To be honest, from the three addresses I’ve lived at here, I can usually find three different routes to take to get wherever I’m going. Really, I can’t complain about it too much.
4. The Setting
The one thing that really sold me on Pittsburgh to begin with (and I’m gonna sound like a tourism ad here) is the mix of city and country it has.
I came from New York City originally – a community in Brooklyn – where three trees on one street constitutes as a “rustic setting.” Granted, I’m a city boy by birth, but I’m a country boy by heart. Pittsburgh’s basically a spot of city, a glob of communities and a whole lot of surrounding country. Pennsylvania itself is one huge farm to begin with, so driving 30 minutes in any direction from Pgh. will get you right square with the Amish.
5. My Friends and Family
Last and not least, props to my friends and family.
Anytime you move, you leave behind someone. Here, I’m also leaving my parents. It gets less difficult with age, but it’s still not easy.
Ce la vie.
From here, the story is transition. You know, you’re in a new place so you have to find the nearest supermarket, Sam’s club, decent bar, reliable mechanic and so on. In time, I’m sure Hotlanta will grow on me. If not, at least I’ll always have something to bitch about around friends (or here).