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It’s (Mostly) Always Sunny in Pittsburgh

So here are a few random observations from my five day stay in the Iron City:

1. The store fronts are washed out, many of the doors and windows are broken or rigged, and a majority of lots are neglected.   At first glance, the city appears blighted.  My friend drove me through all parts of the city Thanksgiving night and when he told me we were going into one of the “poorer” areas, I expected some sort of Sarajevo side street.  I was pleasantly surprised to see it looked like any other blue collar main street.  Particularly, when you get out of the car and walk around you notice some of the most washed out areas are also the most vibrant.  People walking at a brisk pace is always a good sign.  Bustling food carts of multiple ethnicities in the absence of  skyscrapers is another good sign.  I checked out .gov’s unemployment numbers and as of September Pittsburgh is below the national average at 7.6% and actually fell from 7.9% in August.  Presumably, at least part of that is from those who no longer consider themselves looking for work, like we saw when the national average actually dipped by a few tenths of a percent in the summer.

2.  The presence of recent MIT and Pitt grads is very apparent.  There is an abundance of warehouses and empty churches and the creative utilization of these seems to be a direct result of former engineering students, if not in designing them, then in demanding them.   I couldn’t find any data on a quick search, but I’d imagine their retention rate of graduates is higher than say Philly where grads tend to bail for DC, NYC or their outlying Philadelphia hometowns. The Heinz Ketchup factory has converted half of its factory into the “Heinz Lofts”.  My friend lives in the “Cork Factory”, which, surprise, is a former cork factory.  The building has tons of memorabilia–old corks, photos from the warehouse, and a few spray painted doors leftover from before the renovation.  The skywalk is still in use between the two buildings and I’ve been told Hines (who really needs to change the spelling to Heinz) Ward lives here, and they have complimentary coffee in the lobby.  I want to commute to NYC from here.

3. Pittsburgh is the only burg you spell with an “h”.  They love their sandwiches, pancakes, cheese, meats and of course their STEELERS.  I must have heard the bar-bandy rock Steelers fight song coming from at least three store fronts in my time here.

Here is a picture of the Cork Factory:


One Response

  1. […] 11. It’s (Mostly) Always Sunny in Pittsburgh […]

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