Saturday, May 15, 2010

America's Most Livable City

According to the latest survey in Forbes magazine, Pittsburgh is the most livable city in America. This honor has been given to the area in the past and it is truly well deserved. The city is no longer a smokey steel town but is now a city with a diverse economy that includes several outstanding institutions of higher learning, great recreation and sport's teams (excluding the Pirates), a thriving cultural district with theaters and museums and excellent employment opportunities in many fields. We have always loved the area and find the weather to be the only big down side to living here. Three of the seasons are usually great but we don't miss the winters that are cold and snowy. All that said, this is a great place to live or visit.
The view from Mount Washington of "the point" where the Monongahela and Allegheny meet to form the Ohio is one of the most spectacular urban scenes in the country. Because of the many hills and the rivers, Pittsburgh is known as the city of bridges and more than fifteen are visible from this spot.
A panorama of the downtown and, as "yunz" can see, it is a small compact area. When driving into the city from the west, the entrance through the Fort Pitt Tunnel is the only place we have ever been where the city suddenly pops into view as you exit.
The history of the area includes visits by George Washington shown here with Seneca leader, Guyasuta, who guided George to met with the French in 1853. Washington was delivering a message for the British that the French should leave the area. They did not, which resulted in the French and Indian War, known as the Seven Years War in Europe. This is the same war that lead to the expulsion of the Cajuns from Nova Scotia to Louisiana.
A typical street scene of a hilly Pittsburgh neighborhood. Because of the rivers and hills, driving here can be a real challenge, especially if you are used to cities with a grid street pattern.
DeLuca's, a Pittsburgh tradition in "the strip"is as the sign says, home of the best breakfast in town.
A great place to learn about Pittsburgh is the Senator John Heinz History Center. It is a celebration of the region. The banner is for the champions. The chair is one someone used to save their parking spot. Only a "jag off" would steal a marked space. The Racer is a roller coaster at Kennywood. Heinz and UPMC are familiar local companies. The gas pump is Gulf Oil. Bottom is an exhibit on the local glass industry and a typical lunch counter from the 50's. The stainless steel car and the covered wagon where both manufactured locally and the quilt shows many famous icons.
The center had a special exhibit on George Washington who passed through the area several times. It depicts his life from when he was a young surveyor, through his military career where he fought with the British in Southwestern Pennsylvania, to the time of his presidency.
The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the History Center has displays of high school, college and professional sports. Top are some of the famous Pirates from the team's more successful years, Arnie Palmer, and the top ten sporting events in the area. Middle are the helmets of the great high school football rivalries including Washington (where I taught) and Waynesburg, and Franco making the immaculate reception that was the turning point for the Steelers after forty years without a championship. Bottom is a mural of local athletes, a Indy race car owned by Pittsburgher Chip Ganassi, and an example of how serious Steeler fans are about their team.
The Greater Pittsburgh area really is a unique and exciting place that is very much worth a visit.

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