Saturday Diary: I love Pittsburgh, except for the things I hate
Everybody loves a parade, right? Well, I don’t ...
January 30, 2016 12:00 AM
Revelers go green at the 2012 St. Patrick's Day Parade Downtown.
By David Garth
Ah, Pittsburgh. The land that I love. The most livable city in America with the friendliest folks in the world. Born and raised here, I know the ins and outs of the region — its lovable quirks (the inclines, sandwiches with fries and slaw on them) and its unlovable drawbacks (traffic, weather). To me, there’s no better place to be.
But that doesn’t mean all is perfect here, especially for a curmudgeon such as myself. There are things I despise about this region.
What is up with the sudden push to make this city the two-wheeler capital of the world? Mayor Bill Peduto is on a roll when it comes to creating bike lanes in the city. The most annoying one goes through the heart of the Cultural District in Downtown, making busy Penn Avenue a maddening one-way street and causing numerous motorists to make loops through town in a guessing game of Where to Turn? And the mayor is aiming for even more bike lanes on our narrow and meandering roads. Sorry, Bill, but some of us have places to go.
References to Pittsburgh being a blue-collar town make my skin crawl. It’s some sort of urban myth, or maybe suburban myth because that’s where everyone my age has moved. Pittsburgh once was a city of people with rough edges, but let’s be honest, we’ve lost our edge. Our fathers would go to the bar to have a shot and a beer. Now, we are more likely to go to a tapas bar. Our fathers toiled in hard hats. We gallivant in bike helmets. Even our pastime, football, is losing ground to soccer. Last time I checked, the Riverhounds still exist.
Pitt football fans
Speaking of being stuck in the past: Pitt football fans actually believe the program has tradition. Maybe 30 years ago it did. Its current tradition is a half-full Heinz Field for its games and a new head coach every other year. Maybe Pitt fans annoy me because I’m a Penn Stater, but maybe they do because they don’t live in reality. Do the Pitt sports-information people still claim to have nine national championships in football?
Light Up Night
The start of Sparkle Season doesn’t bring a smile to my face. All I can think of are bills, bills, bills and an endless amount of annoying Christmas songs. This invasion of the Downtown area is an attack on sanity, what with more than 200,000 people packing the Golden Triangle to see fireworks, tree lightings and holiday window displays. It’s often called a family event, but it is really just a means to attract shoppers to Downtown. I really don’t see the attraction.
Everybody loves a parade, right? Well, I don’t, but I’m clearly in the minority in this town. The St. Patrick Day’s Parade here is claimed to be the second-largest in the world. Heck, people in Canonsburg put chairs out days in advance to reserve spots on the route of that town’s Fourth of July Parade. That’s just sick. Parades have everything I truly hate — noise, smiling and waving politicians, marching bands and a large group of people watching nothing happening.
So, you see, there are a few things to hate about our beloved city, but there is so much more to cherish. So, Mr. Peduto, Pitt fans and all those parade-loving natives, I vow that my Pittsburgh pride will always eclipse any of the annoyances you inflict on me.
David Garth is a Post-Gazette assistant managing editor (firstname.lastname@example.org,412-263-1767).
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