Steel Town, USA!
My first love is Ohio. I was born and raised a Buckeye in the beautiful city of Columbus. I went to school in good ol’ London, Ohio but spent a fair amount of time in the city where my Dad, Granny, and Grandpa lived. At 18 years old, and a few months after graduating LHS, I packed my bags and headed off to Pennsylvania.
The third college visit I ever went on was to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and from the very first time I ever drove through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, I was in love. This is such a beautiful, magnificent, strong, proud, and hard working city, and I’m lucky to have spent eight years of my life here. I lived in the city, outside the city, moving every single year I was there, and it was exhilarating. Not having a college campus allowed for me to use the city as my playground, and I took advantage of that to a full extent.
Dear Primanti Bros, I Love You.
Again, I am obsessed with sandwiches… here is more proof. Unfortunately, the old saying, you never know what you have until it’s gone, is very true in this case. There are no Primanti Bros here in Raleigh, or in North Carolina, and I never thought I would miss them as much as I do! I was a regular to the location in Market Square, where I walked through every day, but the 24 hour location in the Strip District saved my life a few times 🙂
I was 18 when I moved to the 412 and 26 when I left. When I look back I feel like I was such a child when I arrived; as any 18 year old feels when they move off to college, I thought I knew it all. Those 8 years changed my life. My family changed, friends, outlook on life, and my dreams and goals morphed into something I could have never imagined for myself when I was in high school. I made friends that turned into family. I fell in love, then out of love. I cried on Mt. Washington looking down and out at the city, more times than I can recall. It was always so soothing and peaceful to see the city lights reflecting in the Three Rivers. I also laughed, drank, and hung out on that mountain too many times to count. I am a better, stronger, more amazing person because of the time I spent in Pittsburgh, PA.
Life can be hard. No one really talks about what happens when you graduate college; except for the getting a job, house, kids, marriage, etc., part. From the time I turned 22 until 26 when I left for Raleigh, was the most confusing time in my life. Not knowing what’s next, or where I wanted to be, or what I wanted to do, was an emotional roller coaster. The only advice I have is to be strong, and stay strong. Carefully select people to be in your corner that will help you recover every time you fall. I’m very lucky to have such strong minded people in my life, and if it weren’t for them and their pep talks, I don’t know how I would have survived.
I often caught myself staring into the Three Rivers, gazing in amazement at how beautiful life was in this city. When the sun would rise behind the concrete jungle it was hard to look away, and when it faded on the water it was even harder to ignore. I was in film school so everything seemed like art to me at the time. The sun behind Mt. Washington, or the city lights reflecting in the water, it was all too surreal sometimes.
Two days after we, The Steelers, won the 2006 Super Bowl is a day I will never forget. I had left my apartment in Allegheny Center, behind PNC Park, with multiple layers on because per usual, it was about 4 degrees, and when I got to the the 6th St. Bridge, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I knew there was going to be a parade I just didn’t understand or realize that THE ENTIRE CITY was going to be there. I did understand that “The Last Bus Stop”, was a really big deal, like huge, but I didn’t know classes were going to be cancelled because you literally couldn’t walk through, or drive, the streets that day. It was all very awesome. I bought a t-shirt from some guy on the side of the road, threw it on over my long, big black winter coat, looking like a ridiculous crazy person, and got as close to the action as I could down on 5th Ave. There were people in the trees, the parking garages were so full it looked like fans were going to start climbing up the side of them like mountain climbers, just to get a good view. You could see, and almost hear the people on Mt. Washington screaming from above. It was so loud, and I’d never experienced anything like it in my life. I have goosebumps right now as I write this, just remembering how loud it really was when 50,000 + people were all screaming, “Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go” all at the same time. And then we got to do it again in 2009, but this time it was for the Steelers, and the Pens. I picked the right time to live in Pittsburgh.
I walked everywhere when I lived here. I walked over and through, across and under, so many bridges that I could probably do it blindfolded and still not run into anything.
Sometimes when you love something, you still have to leave it. I am in love, and will forever love this city but, I had to go. This blog entry is important to me to pay homage to this city that I feel, helped raise me. It was rough, nitty and gritty, unforgiving, and beautiful all at the same time. It taught me to trust others, but not to be in denial of the truth. The streets and people walking them taught me that if the Steelers or Pens lost, it was going to be a rough and grumpy day. The traffic was the worst part. Understanding that it was going to take you an hour to get somewhere that was 15 minutes away, never set well with me. The food taught me to appreciate everything at hand, and that good food takes time. The food scene here also taught me that something cheap is just as good as something expensive, especially when you’re a struggling college student. Late nights in the South Side meant you stood in line at 2AM for french fries and gravy. (I never knew that was a thing until I became a Yinzer.)
When you’re a cheese addict, and donut lover, Pittsburgh is definitely the place for you. Look at this cheese log!
Also, if you’re trying “clean eating”, Delucas might not be for you. Their serving for 1 could feed a family of 4! I love this little diner, it’s been there forever, and everyone goes here, literally. (Cash only, don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
Before I end this post I am going to leave you with a couple more photos, and a video. Market Square was where I walked through everyday to get to college, then where I worked those 4 years after college. I stared and photographed the glass castle obsessively, and took more pics with the Heinz Dino than I’m proud of. Rather it be Light Up Night, the 4th of July Fireworks, Steelers Game Day, or any ordinary night in this beautiful city, I still look back in amazement and joy that I was able to spend some of my life here, and call this place home. I love you PGH, I really, really do.