As promised, here is a second list of things that I like about PIttsburgh. Also as promised, no food places.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the Jansons era was among the best in the country IMHO. We haven’t been to Heinz Hall that much in the last few years, but I haven’t heard anything to indicate that things are much different now that Jansons is gone. The only thing that keeps this band down is an apparent requirement for unimaginative repertoire. If you have any interest in Classical music at all, you owe it to yourself to go.
The Y Music Society
An excellent series of chamber music concerts at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. This is the other major place to see and hear great music.
North Park is a mile from my house and when I ride my bike at all, two out of three rides start out through the park. While not really a perfect place to ride, it does lead to what IMHO is the best road riding area in the Pittsburgh area. The park itself also makes for a great loop that mixes flat roads with some good climbs.
As a city, Pittsburgh is not so much a sprawling urban metropolis as a loosely organized group of small neighborhoods, each of which has its own character. I like this about the place because each area of the city is somewhat self-contained with respect to activities, food, services, and shopping. You hear the joke about people who live in the area and never leave their neighborhoods, and such stories have a ring of truth to them.
A fabulous public library. You should go.
Filmmakers runs three of the local independent movie theaters in town and in addition it also provides film, photography and related classes for the local universities and colleges. When I got back into photography as an adult, I took the three basic black and white classes that they teach here, and they were well produced in addition to being really fun.
A huge sprawling green-space right in the middle of the city near CMU. Apparently there is a huge cult of people who do nothing but train their dogs here. There is nothing quite like this in other cities I’ve been to. Other cities have parks, but they look like parks. Frick looks like the woods. A particular place of honor goes to “The Blue Slide” playground, with its huge blue slide built into a hill.
I was working Downtown when I took those black and white photography classes, and I used the area as the subject for the the last portfolio that I did for that class. The city has a great quality of light, especially on cold winter afternoons. This makes for great urban landscape and architectural shots.
One of my favorite pictures is a shot I took just off of Grant Street for the class project. The picture captures the late afternoon light shining down on the side of a building, creating wonderful specular highlights on just the edges of the windows. I had seen light like this in Paris all the time, but could never get it on film. It took an afternoon in Pittsburgh for things to work out. Sorry, I don’t have a scan of the print, so you’ll just have to imagine it.
My house has a huge floorplan and a huge lot and I can ride 100 miles on my bike from my driveway. What more could you ask for? One of the major reasons I will never move to California is because my house in California would cost seven to eight figures, and that’s just stupid.
The Strip on Saturday Morning
Really, this isn’t for the food. It’s just a great place to sit and watch the world go by. Probably the most interesting area of Pittsburgh to just stand in on any given day.