York Urbanist

Pittsburgh – Day 1

July 5th, 2012

First Impressions: After a pleasant drive on the wide I-79 right-of-way, through the lush green mountains, Pittsburgh’s vista explodes on the windshield - tall glass buildings, three rivers, sports stadia and asphaltic concrete. On July 3, the day prior to a national holiday, traffic is light, a great feeling for a car traveler new to the city. But an unexpectedly few commercial establishments were open, despite a Pirates ballgame, theatre and anticipation for events surrounding July the Fourth.  After being rejected by one restaurant, we found a cafeteria style eatery that allowed us time to walk the downtown.  $2 beer was a surprise and yet the dinner was good.

Second Impressions:  The Benedum Theatre interior left us agape. The gilt interior was an unexpected contrast to a comparatively bland exterior.  This jewel box showcased the musical Annie, a show worthy of the extensive renovations of the former 6000 seat movie hall.

After the show and with prior knowledge of Pittsburgh, we headed to the dancing waters of Station Square. This is the former warehouse district that has been converted to an upscale or say, trendy galleria of restaurants overlooking the downtown across the wide expanse of the Monongahela River and an active freight rail line. We were drawn to the rectilinear brick fountain that was overspilling with water jets dancing to the music of a loudspeaker. We could have stood watching for longer, but were fearful that the last of the open restaurants would close before we could enjoy a late dinner. Our second impressions of Station Square did not meet our expectations.

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