A Day in Pittsburgh, A “Dying” City?
During football season, Steelers fans all over the country show their Pittsburgh pride, displaying hats, t-shirts, and Steelers colors to demonstrate where their football loyalties lie. And among my college friends, several of whom are from the Pittsburgh area, Pittsburgh pride is often expressed loudly, excitedly, and even belligerently. So, what makes Pittsburghers so damn proud?
I’ve heard Pittsburgh compared to Cleveland because of the decline in both cities following the fall of the steel industry, but few Clevelanders are so proud of their hometown. Why does Pittsburgh get such love? I mean, sure, the Steelers are good, but would city pride come entirely from allegiance to a sports team? After spending a day in Pittsburgh with my friend Justine, I was able to hypothesize about why the city is so well-loved by its locals.
We began with a run in Schenley Park, where many Pittsburgh area runners race each year. The park is 456 acres and contains trails, open greenspace, meadows, a golf and disc golf course, a pool, and a variety of other recreational opportunities. Schenley proves the possibility and importance of large greenspace existing in a city setting.
Justine showed me Point State Park next, a historical and geological landmark. This park was named for its shape and geological placement, where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers converge to form the Ohio River. This made it an ideal place for troops to set up camp, so the two historically significant forts of Duquesne and Pitt were located in what is now the state park.
Point State Park in Pittsburgh.
You can’t have a Pittsburgh experience without trying the “Almost Famous” Primanti Bros. sandwich, which includes coleslaw and French fries on the sandwich itself rather than on the side, so that was our next stop.
Another Pittsburgh landmark is the Cathedral of Learning, where we toured the 27 Nationality rooms. Each room represents, and was designed by, Pittsburghers of a particular nationality or ethnic background. The intricacy, detail, and intentionality of each piece in the rooms were impressive and seemed to reflect the pride of the international Pittsburgh community members.
Now, when I think of Pittsburgh I’ll think of Primanti Bros, two rivers converging into one, a beautiful Cathedral representing 27 nationalities, and a huge area of greenspace serving as a perfect place to run. It’s no wonder to me now that people love the city, though I’m sure many love it for entirely different reasons.
As a Clevelander with huge Cleveland pride, I consider it my job to show non-locals what Cleveland has to offer so that when they think of Cleveland they think of something other than a river that caught fire.