02/Feb/2006 – The Steel City   5 comments

The Steel City

That’s “Black and Gold,” not “Black and Yellow”

Photo of Heinz Field on a quiet Sunday

Sunday January 8, 2006 — The Holy Shrine of the Steelers, Heinz Field, is quiet this Sunday. They played and beat the Bengals in Cincinnati to advance in the NFL playoffs.

Image close up of a big Primanti's sandwich

The menu at Primanti Brothers is pretty much just sandwiches — all the same (local Italian bread, fries, cole slaw and tomato with your choice of meat) — served on wax paper. No plates or cutlery. I don’t think one can say they have experienced Pittsburgh unless they have had a Primanti’s.

Image of Steeler-colored loofahs

You know you’re in Pittsburgh when… Walmart has Steeler-colored loofahs.

Image of two girls, one holding a terrible towel.

Photographer: “Two of the youngest Pittsburgh Steelers fans along Penn Avenue in the Strip District of Pittsburgh, PA last Saturday afternoon.”
Photo by btezra This photo is licensed Some rights reserved.

I’m not from around here.

I don’t have parents or grandparents living in Bloomfield or Upper St. Clair. They didn’t work at J&L Steel down on Second Avenue. I don’t speak Pittsburghese, but have come to understand it.

I’m a transplant.

But, having lived in Da ‘Burgh for a little more than six years, I think I can share an observation or two.

The Big Small Town

Because of the natural topology, Pittsburgh is geographically small. Two rivers and a hill hem in the downtown area, called the Triangle. The World Trade Center plaza would cover the whole Triangle. The rest of the city is built on the hillsides and occasional flat bits.

The people are friendly and the city is relatively safe. I have been known to complain about the traffic here, but only in relative terms. Pittsburgh’s beats D.C. or L.A. traffic by leaps and bounds. The cost of living and pace of life are a dream. The weather is temperate, which provides all four seasons mildly delivered (usually.)

There is a lot going on in the Steel City. Museums, science center, art galleries, theater, symphony, parks, the National Aviary, shopping (after a fashion — we have the only IKEA for 200 miles,) universities. With lots of outdoor activities, too.

Three major league sports teams call this city home. For real. Even though it’s small, all three teams play in Pittsburgh. You will find fans of the Pirates and even the Penguins, but always on top, are the Pittsburgh Steelers (pronounced correctly as “da Picksburg Stillers”.)

The Drinking Town with a Football Problem

I read an interesting article in The Seattle Times today, “A passion forged in the Steel City.”

A telling excerpt from the article:

“The other day, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a poll asking an intriguing question: ‘Which would you least rather have happen — the Steelers lose the Super Bowl or the Penguins [the struggling NHL franchise] leave town?’ It came back 50-50.”

The history of the game here is thick and runs deep in the hearts of folks. Once seen first-hand, one is bound to ask, “Why?” Is it because, in the day, a football scholarship might give a teenage boy the chance for a better life than working in the mills or mines? Maybe.

Truth is, I don’t know the reason for Pittsburgh’s football fervor. I just know it exists. And it is infectious.


Posted Thursday, February 2, 2006 by Grant in Random

5 responses to “02/Feb/2006 – The Steel City

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  1. Nice story and pics about Pittsburgh, Grant. Always nice to read something about one’s place of living. Awhile ago I enjoyed Lydia’s view and pics about Pittsburgh as well. Thank you. 😀

  2. GO STEELERS!!! A dear friend of mine lives in Pitt so I must root for them. My youngest son is a Penguin fanatic, so I feel like Pittsburgh is a part of my life – even though I live in Texas. I would love to visit some day, those are some great pics, Grant. Thanks! 🙂

  3. @ Joy: Thanks.. and you’re welcome.

    @ Kerri: Well if you haven’t visited, yet, put Da ‘Burgh on your list. May through October are best (unless you’d like to experience the winter, but start with the nicer monts first.

    — Grant

  4. Tte small ciyt is always more comfortable for living than bigger ones.

  5. forget the blog..lol..i love your new picture, what a cutie you are, your friend, judy

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