I have written about my love for Pittsburgh before. In fact, a Pittsburgh blog picked up a post I wrote a few years ago, which was the first time anything like that had ever happened to me. I am purposefully not going to find that post; I want to write a new love letter to the city I have had long-term relationship with. The impetus: Momalom, a blog written by two sisters who have six children between them (the blog is in my Blog List at right).
My dearest Pittsburgh,
I have loved you since I was a child, living two counties away. Back then you were many things to me: trips to the Buhl Planetarium, a ride on the incline or one of the Gateway Clipper boats, a chance to be on KDKA radio and visit Santa at Horne's during the holidays, the Ice Capades and an occasional child-friendly concert, a show at Heinz Hall and later the Benedum, the arts festival and regatta, and, pretty important to my family, the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In 1984, we had season tickets to see the Pittsburgh Maulers, the USFL team that lasted in the city only one year. I hardly liked football then, but at the time I thought the Flashdancers (the cheerleaders) were pretty cool. Within a year or two my family managed to procure four season tickets for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and my love for you (and football) grew as I now visited you even more frequently.
During my college years at Penn State, I would come to your great city to see friends who went to school there, and it was then that I discovered the nightlife you had. I had such fun dancing and hanging out with friends and one year ringing in the new year. During that time, I also came to love hockey and your Pittsburgh Penguins, which were just more reasons to love you. I attended my first Penguins game in 1993, right after I had graduated from college. It was my first time driving into the city, and I was a little scared, but, Pittsburgh, you had my back.
In the mid '90s, I applied for a job in the Northside at a place near Three Rivers Stadium, home to the Steelers and the Pirates. I figured it was destiny, and with that job obtained, so also was my new hometown. I came to discover various neighborhoods in the Burgh, and I spent many a weekend night having a few drinks and/or singing karaoke.
In addition to attending Steeler games pretty regularly and a couple Pens ones, I also hit some Pirates games over the years, each year hoping that this would be the year they would break .500. Well, love is not always smooth. I eventually came to root for the Pitt Panthers, something I never thought I would or could do. But, Pittsburgh, they are a part of you, so I love them too.
I also spent the late '90s and early 2000s attending various concerts, plays, and musicals. It was so nice being a subscriber to the Pittsburgh Musical Theatre (nee Gargaro) for several years. Before I moved to your fair city, I did not have all these cultural options. Now I had a place that gave me laughter, drama, tears, and romance on stage.
And the food. How can I not mention the food?! Pittsburgh, it was you who led me to try Indian, Vietnamese, Portuguese, and Spanish cuisine. I love them all now! Just as I love a Primanti's sandwich piled with fries and coleslaw and the various coffee places in the area. You sure know how to speak to me, great city.
Pittsburgh, you have also given me the opportunity to stay in shape and
support causes while doing so. From the Great Race, which runs through
Downtown; to the MS Walk, which used to be a 10-mile walk through
several Pittsburgh neighborhoods; to the Run Around the Square in Regent
Square and lovely Frick Park; to runs on the Northside, up the
Allegheny River, along the Mon, and in other places in and around the
city, I have gotten to see places I might not have otherwise.
Now that I have a child, I don't get to many Steelers, Pens, and Pirates games (in fact, 2012 was the first year since I have lived here that I did not go to a pro-sporting event in town), but I am still a die-hard fan, proudly wearing my support, particularly when the Mayor calls for a Black and Gold day in the city. I like to think of it as a way of showing my love for you.
But, Pittsburgh, I now have the pleasure of experiencing you through the eyes of a child. A ride on the incline or on a boat is just as much fun now as it was 25 or 30 years ago. I have played in many parks, appreciating the beauty. I have discovered the Science Center and the other Carnegie Museums anew. I so enjoyed the Children's Museum when my child was younger. And the Zoo and Aviary are wonderful places to learn about and experience animals. I can take my child to see a show at the Gemini Children's Theater and watch her appreciate the singing and dancing. And, just this past weekend, I took my kid to her first symphony at Heinz Hall. She seemed to enjoy it; it almost brought tears to my eyes as it had been years since I had gone to something like that.
Pittsburgh, I hope our relationship continues for another 40 or 50 years. I would miss you so very much if we were ever apart for too long. But no matter what, through the ups and downs (which I won't mention in this love letter), know that I will always love you. Thanks for loving me too.