Pittsburgh was surprising!
The city is cleaner, more modern and more culturally sophisticated than I anticipated. My vision of Pittsburgh was dated and at odds with what it is at the present. It was my underestimation of the place that made me elect to make this stopover a brief one; big mistake.
Pittsburgh was deserving of a more considered visit.
I stayed on the South Side of the city; at the base of Mt. Washington. The area is noted for lots of ethnic restaurants and a vibrant bar and club scene. I missed it as my stay focused on the downtown/cultural district. That area was easily accessible via public transportation and the Holiday Inn provided complimentary shuttle service to anywhere within a 5 mile radius.
Pittsburgh is a sports fan’s fantasy; beautiful stadiums for baseball and football; just steps away from downtown and public transportation. I was in time for the home season opener of the Pittsburgh Pirates. I’m not much of a sports fan, but it was opening day so, I did attempt to get tickets the legal way; at the box office. No luck there and the scalping rate was beyond my means.
The area is also home to the River Casino (I won $32.80!!!) and there is a lovely landscaped walkway for biking and strolling along the waterfront.
The Cultural District is the home of several theaters, concert halls and museums; including the Andy Warhol Museum. Pittsburgh was Warhol’s hometown and he got his start as a commercial artist at a local department store. It was great to see his iconic works, up close and personal. Additionally, many personal artifacts of his life are on display; as are works of many of his contemporaries and current artists with a similar pop-art aesthetic.
The Word of God: Sandow Birk’s American Qur’an is currently on view; as part of a larger project related to religious traditions. It was amazing. Sandow used very American images to illustrate/illuminate 114 Suras of the Qur’an. A visual
interpretation of the Qur’an; the holy text was made accessible like Eugene Peterson’s interpretation of the Bible in The Message. I was disappointed that there wasn’t an exhibition catalogue for purchase. I would have liked to have added it to my library for further enjoyment of the words and images.
My other disappointment was not getting to Primanti Brothers for “their everything but, the kitchen sink” sandwiches. There just wasn’t enough time to take it all in.
I must make a return trip to explore more.