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Old 08-05-2019, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
338 posts, read 138,063 times
Reputation: 625

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Hey Yinzers! I just arrived back from a long weekend visit to your city, having previously only driven through the area and stopped through for a quick meal. I am just here to praise your city a bit.

For a city of its size, Pittsburgh has so much to do. Our first night, we camped out in Ohiopyle and did Fallingwater. Once in the city, we did the Andy Warhol Museum, Phipps Conservatory, the Duquesne Incline, Randyland, hiked around Mt Washington, ran the river trail and just explored the Squirrel Hill and Shadyside neighborhoods. By night we went out downtown a bit.

Needless to say, we were not short of things to do for a four day visit (if you include Ohiopyle), and in fact I feel like there were plenty of things we didn't find time for that would warrant another visit. My only regret is not doing enough "foodie" research (I love food, but my "foodie" game is actually pretty bad. We did go to Pamela's which lived up to expectations!)

I also just want to comment on the aesthetic / urban form of your city. I loved the view from Mt Washington (who wouldn't?). I have visited major cities such as Seattle, Portland, Boston, etc. and for me, Pittsburgh's natural setting is second only to San Fransisco in my book. I really enjoyed watching the sun set upon your hills and three rivers. Secondly, I was shocked by how much some of Pittsburgh's urban form reminded me of Philly (in a good and sad way). We stayed on the Northside (Manchester), which had the density, historic rowhome style and Victorian Mansions that all brought me back to home. Like Philly, there were also abandoned and decaying sections.

I only had a few frustrations along the way. Firstly, I was quite surprised by how confusing your roads are. I am sure everyone adjusts while living there, but honestly I found it harder to navigate than a first time in Philly. The trisecting on-ramps when you've gotta figure out where you're going in a heartbeat got me. Perhaps I should blame Google Maps. I was also subjected to some homophobic harassment while walking downtown with my boyfriend. I am sure it is just a random incident that could happen anywhere, but it hasn't happened to me in a long time.

I overall really enjoyed your city. There is so much for which you can all take pride.

Cheers!
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:17 AM
 
515 posts, read 201,476 times
Reputation: 204
Glad you enjoyed your time, I've lived here about 12 years but my family is all from here so have been visiting since I was born a few times a year. Yes, it is likely more a random incident and sorry you had to run into it. I'd say on average Pittsburgh is more accepting than most major cities since we are smaller but those things come up everywhere.


I'm not sure I'd pick Pittsburgh as a destination from across the country but if a decent drive I think it is a great place and yes plenty to do. Personally I don't think we are a great foodie city but I think there have been major leaps the last 5+ years. I grew up in NJ and visited Philly often so I agree to travel here is harder. Roads are dictated by geography and often hard to understand plus if you miss a turn it is often hard to just turn around but you do get used to it pretty quick.
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:18 AM
 
515 posts, read 201,476 times
Reputation: 204
I think for me I'd still take Philly food options over Pittsburgh but that might be my own bias growing up close by.
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
5,985 posts, read 7,359,157 times
Reputation: 3741
Glad to hear you enjoyed your visit here overall! Yes, with the food scene in Pittsburgh, it's definitely best to research restaurants in the area since they are scattered all throughout and not just in one particular area.

Pittsburgh is certainly a pain to drive in. In June I was in Maine and got to talking with a local about her visit to Pittsburgh where she too said she liked it, but found it very difficult to drive in. I'm sorry about the harassment you received too. The Pittsburgh section does have a regular poster who is gay, but I don't think he's ever mentioned having a problem in the city, so it most likely was an unfortunate random event.

Last edited by bradjl2009; 08-05-2019 at 09:54 AM..
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,303 posts, read 67,525,137 times
Reputation: 15963
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muinteoir View Post
I was also subjected to some homophobic harassment while walking downtown with my boyfriend.
I'm so sorry this happened to you. I'm an openly gay male myself. I've faced some homophobic remarks here in the past but have just ignored it. I also overhear a lot of transphobia at my office but don't speak up against it for fear of retaliation (I've already been fired in the past from a major Pittsburgh employer due to my mouth).

Pittsburgh itself and Allegheny County overall are LGBTQ-friendly; however, we are surrounded by very rural and very socially conservative counties. After all, this is still Pennsylvania. I mean I grew up in Luzerne County, and it is very much like Alabama up there, which is why I moved despite feeling depressed daily knowing my aging relatives need me.

Those more conservative country folks tend to come into the city on weekends for sporting events, concerts, museums, dining, etc. while we more liberal city-dwellers flood OUT of the city to hike at Ohiopyle or check out Fallingwater or camp or do the beach in Erie or something.

Overall I love Pittsburgh. I've lived here since 2010. I've found that outside the urban core of the city proper (i.e. neighborhoods contiguous with Downtown and Oakland, which is our smaller version of your city's University City) we're NOT a "progressive" city, though, which is contrary to what I was led to believe. There was a lot of support for President Trump in my neighborhood, for example, and I'm walking distance to both Oakland and Downtown. Our rather moderate incumbent city councilor crushed her more progressive challenger in the recent primary, much to my chagrin.

A lot of people in the outer city neighborhoods and suburban areas are averse to bike lanes; are religious to the point of being judgmental; are parochial (have always lived in Pittsburgh and fear newcomers); and think calling our metrosexual mayor homophobic names on Facebook gives them "cred". I try to argue with many of them, but my supposedly large number of fellow city liberals don't back me up (their apathy explains a lot why Hillary lost), so I get vastly outnumbered and back down.

I'm glad your visit overall was a positive one, though. In terms of Manchester in particular that neighborhood is currently gentrifying, and a lot of the abandoned edifices you see there will be either razed or restored within the next decade.

Pittsburgh packs a big punch for a smaller-sized city. The road network/infrastructure are indeed awful, but it would cost billions to widen I-376 and/or expand our light rail network. That would require a tax increase, and the bulk of the natives simultaneously decry systemic problems here whilst refusing to pay one additional cent to fix them for future generations. As a transplant myself I try to be as lenient as I can on local roadways when it comes to letting others pass/merge.

If someone was looking for a liberal/progressive MSA I wouldn't recommend Pittsburgh. Otherwise there's a lot to be proud of here. Thank you for visiting us and spending your money here. Please return!
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,303 posts, read 67,525,137 times
Reputation: 15963
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knepper3 View Post
Glad you enjoyed your time, I've lived here about 12 years but my family is all from here so have been visiting since I was born a few times a year. Yes, it is likely more a random incident and sorry you had to run into it. I'd say on average Pittsburgh is more accepting than most major cities since we are smaller but those things come up everywhere.


I'm not sure I'd pick Pittsburgh as a destination from across the country but if a decent drive I think it is a great place and yes plenty to do. Personally I don't think we are a great foodie city but I think there have been major leaps the last 5+ years. I grew up in NJ and visited Philly often so I agree to travel here is harder. Roads are dictated by geography and often hard to understand plus if you miss a turn it is often hard to just turn around but you do get used to it pretty quick.
Pittsburgh from when I moved here to now is like night and day different. Lawrenceville is barely recognizable, and the Strip is getting to be the same way. Downtown has vastly improved. Yes, there are more homeless and mentally ill and addicts and "crusty punk" types running amok, but you'll see that in every major city. They're still human beings who deserve compassion and respect.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Knepper3 View Post
I think for me I'd still take Philly food options over Pittsburgh but that might be my own bias growing up close by.
I mean Philadelphia's metro area is more than twice the size of Pittsburgh's, so naturally they'll have a lot more to offer. Pittsburgh's diversity is also lacking overall---we're still mostly a zebra MSA (white & black) with just a token amount of Asians and Hispanics in a select few pockets. In terms of peer cities/metro areas I find Pittsburgh to be superior in terms of culinary offerings to Cincinnati, Columbus, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Charlotte. I can't speak for Denver, but I know we have another regular who grew up in the suburbs here who can and who will probably confirm that Denver's culinary scene is superior to ours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradjl2009 View Post
Glad to hear you enjoyed your visit here overall! Yes, with the food scene in Pittsburgh, it's definitely best to research restaurants in the area since they are scattered all throughout and not just in one particular area.

Pittsburgh is certainly a pain to drive in. I'm June I was in Maine and got to talking with a local about her visit to Pittsburgh where she too said she liked it, but found it very difficult to drive in. I'm sorry about the harassment you received too. The Pittsburgh section does have a regular poster who is gay, but I don't think he's ever mentioned having a problem in the city, so it most likely was an unfortunate random event.

I mean I have experienced homophobic remarks in Pittsburgh. I've just chosen not to dwell on them. The transphobia here is much more discouraging, though, and I witnessed someone get passed over for a job opportunity because of it.

Someone's sexual orientation or gender identity are NOT choices, and, as such, people should not be admonished for diverging from the norm on those fronts. In terms of sexual orientation people seem to fall onto a spectrum. I was in a brief physical relationship with a "straight" dude back in Virginia, for example, who was just curious/questioning. I've lost touch with him. Is he married to a woman with kids now? Is he married to a man with adopted kids now? Who knows, and, quite frankly, why would it even be my business?

In any event the RARE homophobia I've experienced in Pittsburgh doesn't overshadow my love otherwise for the city---sans the weather (these glorious past two weeks notwithstanding), the litter, and the aging infrastructure.
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:10 AM
 
515 posts, read 201,476 times
Reputation: 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCityRising View Post
I mean Philadelphia's metro area is more than twice the size of Pittsburgh's, so naturally they'll have a lot more to offer. Pittsburgh's diversity is also lacking overall---we're still mostly a zebra MSA (white & black) with just a token amount of Asians and Hispanics in a select few pockets.

Yeah in terms of food that is my issue, I am sure there is great food but I want food I wouldn't make at home. Between my wife and I we cook 90% of the time so I'm not looking for something I can make at home even if not as good as some chef might do. I loved the food when we lived down in FL, so many cultures and good food. I'd love some more food diversity here, specifically south American/Caribbean.
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:20 AM
 
515 posts, read 201,476 times
Reputation: 204
Not going to make this political but as I am sure no one likes being grouped together also don't group together all Conservatives as being non progressive and anti LGBTQ. Many of us more conservative are so for the financial and economic reasons and do support many of the more traditional liberal social aspects. Sad fact is there is no in between in this country when you are talking about the upper levels of government to vote on so you pick the one who has more in common even if you disagree with 49% of what they say.
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
324 posts, read 323,486 times
Reputation: 409
Before summer ends, make another trip through.
Here are your 2 requirements to include in your itinerary:
Spend a day at Kennywood, get the *Two Bill* sandwich from Big Jim's in the Run.
Make sure it's the original Big Jims (201 Saline Street Pittsburgh PA 15207=lower Greenfield).


I don't believe the Two Bill is on the menu at their 'new' location (by Southpointe) & the food is better in the run.
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,303 posts, read 67,525,137 times
Reputation: 15963
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knepper3 View Post
Yeah in terms of food that is my issue, I am sure there is great food but I want food I wouldn't make at home. Between my wife and I we cook 90% of the time so I'm not looking for something I can make at home even if not as good as some chef might do. I loved the food when we lived down in FL, so many cultures and good food. I'd love some more food diversity here, specifically south American/Caribbean.
Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knepper3 View Post
Not going to make this political but as I am sure no one likes being grouped together also don't group together all Conservatives as being non progressive and anti LGBTQ. Many of us more conservative are so for the financial and economic reasons and do support many of the more traditional liberal social aspects. Sad fact is there is no in between in this country when you are talking about the upper levels of government to vote on so you pick the one who has more in common even if you disagree with 49% of what they say.
Again, agreed. Sorry. When I see someone experienced an incident of homophobia (or transphobia, or racism, or prejudice, or anti-Semitism for that matter) I become a bit passionate/heated. I just felt embarrassed that someone said a remark like that to a tourist. My apologies.

I think a lot of Allegheny County Republicans are socially moderate to socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I also think many Allegheny County Republicans have more Libertarian tendencies (albeit nobody really votes Libertarian, so they align themselves with the Republican Party). The socially conservative Republicans are generally further out---where their more limited experiences with minorities makes them more susceptible to influence by social media, "fake news", etc. to glean insight on those groups instead of having real-life day-to-day interactions with them. People in urban areas tend to be more tolerant of minorities because we're exposed to them more regularly. I mean go out to Armstrong County or Butler County or Fayette County and you're generally going to be in townships that are almost exclusively white, Christian, non-Hispanic, and heterosexual.
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