Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On the Road II-Pittsburgh, PA, at the Confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers


It was after visitng the recent Brooklyn museum exhibit on the later  works of Andy Warhol that we thought about visiting Pittsburgh, the city of Andrew Warhola's birth and the site of the Andy Warhol Museum. Pittsburgh is a lovely, liveable city, but a long drive from NY, so we decided to spend the first evening, at roughly the 3.5 hour mark, in Harrisburg, PA. The next day we continued onward and spent a few days in the City of Bridges. To give you an idea of how far west in Pennsylvania we are, Pittsburgh is built on a triangle of land formed by the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, which form the Ohio RIver west of the city.
Aside from a plethora of small neighborhoods, there is a thriving art scene downtown and in other locations around the city that , like in other cities, are filling the vacuum left by demographic and economic changes. However, Pittsburgh continues to offer a colorful, vibrant, and seemingly mellow place to live in far western Pennslvania.

Among the many charming features, is the city's funicular, like in the song "funiculi, funicula". Originally steam powered, the Duquesne Incline was built to carry cargo up and down Mt. Washington in the late 1800s. It later carried passengers, particularly Mt. Washington residents who were tired of walking up footpaths to the top. Inclines were then being built all over Mt. Washington. But as more roads were built on “Coal Hill” most of the other inclines were closed. In the 1940s, only the Monongahela Incline and the Duquesne Incline remained.
The Dusquense Incline, which originally connected the factories in the valley below with the workers' homes on Mount Washington above, still provides transportation alternatives and offers fabulous views of the city, especially at night. 


This sure beats the IRT for charm and scenic views.

Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle, downtown business, cultural and corporate center
In 1962, the incline was closed, apparently for good. Major repairs were needed, and with so few patrons, the incline's private owners did little. But local Duquesne Heights' residents launched a fund-raiser to help the incline. It was a huge success, and on July 1, 1963, the incline reopened under the auspices of a non-profit organization dedicated to its preservation.
The incline has since been totally refurbished. The cars, built by the J. G. Brill and Company of Philadelphia, have been stripped of paint to reveal the original wood. An observation deck was added at the top affording a magnificent view of Pittsburgh's "Golden Triangle", and the Duquesne Incline is now one of the city's most popular tourist attractions.

English lyrics: 
Yesterday evening, O Nannina [short for Carolina], I climbed up,
Do you know where?
To where an ungrateful heart can no longer vex me!
Where a fire is burning, but if you flee
It lets you be.
It doesn't chase you, doesn't melt you, with just one glance!
Let's go, let's go, let's go to the top,
Let's go, let's go, let's go to the top,
Funiculì, funiculà, funiculì, funiculà!
Let's go to the top, Funiculì, funiculà!

Italian lyrics: 
Aieressera, oì Nanninè, me ne sagliette,
tu saie addò tu saie addò
Addò 'stu core 'ngrato cchiù dispietto
Farme nun pò!
Addò lo fuoco coce, ma si fuie
te lassa sta!
E nun te corre appriesso, nun te struie
sulo a guardà.
Jamme, jamme 'nc
ppa, jamme jà,
funiculì, funiculà


Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the state of Pennsylvania and is thecounty seat of Allegheny County.Its population was 334,563 at the 2000 census; by 2009, it was estimated to have fallen to 311,647. The population of the seven-county metropolitan area was 2,354,957 in 2009. Downtown Pittsburgh retains substantial economic influence, ranking at 25th in the nation for jobs within the urban core (and is 6th in job density). Pittsburgh is the largest city located in Appalachia.
The characteristic shape of the city's downtown is a triangular tract carved by the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahelarivers, where the Ohio River forms.Pittsburgh is known colloquially as "The City of Bridges" and "The Steel City" for its many bridges and former steel manufacturing base.

While the city is historically known for its steel industry, today its economy is largely based on healthcare, education, technology, robotics, and financial services. The region is also becoming a hub for oil and natural gas companies' Marcellus Shaleproduction.[14] The city has redeveloped abandoned industrial sites with new housing, shopping and offices, such as the Waterfront and the SouthSide Works. While Pittsburgh faced economic troubles in the 1980s as the steel industry waned, modern Pittsburgh is economically strong. The housing market is relatively stable despite a national subprime mortgage crisis, and Pittsburgh added jobs in 2008 even as the national economy entered a significant jobs recession. This positive economic trend is in contrast to the 1980s, when Pittsburgh lost its manufacturing base in steel and electronics, and corporate jobs in the oil, electronics), chemical  and defense ) industries. The city is also headquarters to major global financial institutions.
Major publications often note Pittsburgh's high livability compared to other American cities. Most recently, in 2010, Forbes andYahoo! both listed Pittsburgh as the most livable city in the United States.  A lovely city. Next - the Andy Warhol Museum.

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