A Late Night Stroll Through the City

A late night traffic jam Saturday afforded me the opportunity to see Pittsburgh in a whole new way this weekend.

I met a former WTAE employee – who’s now working in New Orleans – for drinks at Station Square and it was a chance to catch up and talk about what’s new in our lives. Once I left and headed back to my car, I found the sight no one wants to see when they are ready to go home after a night on the town — a car back-up that guaranteed it would take a half hour to get out.

I could either sit in traffic — or use the time to do something constructive. I chose the latter. I decided to do some walking. Having never really taken a walking tour of the town in which I work, I started walking. I went from Station Square, across the Smithfield Street bridge into downtown. I walked through Market Square and through Gateway Center to PNC Park. Mind you, this was all happening about 11pm.

So what did I see that would be so different from what you would witness if you were walking down the street at 11am. I saw how beautifully illuminated the city is at night, how few people are walking downtown Pittsburgh but how many are in restaurants having drinks or enjoying pizza at one of the small pizzerias in town. I saw couples holding hands as they strolled between bars – the women in sundresses to take advantage of the warm summer night. I saw a group of people who had just finished dinner and posed for photos in front of the water display at PPG Place.

Most of all, I saw a city that has a different feel and flavor and sound than it does during the daylight hours and during the early evening when people are going to shows in the cultural district.

I must have walked a few miles before I finally returned to the Station Square parking garage. I was able to get into my car and leave now that the traffic had dispersed.

I know this is hardly “breaking news” and probably wouldn’t lead off any channel 4 news broadcasts, but sometimes the most revealing things on life are the simplest. Sometimes, you need to take time to smell the roses and notice your surroundings. What I noticed is how beautiful this city is at night — when there are not a lot of people. When you feel as if you have the city to yourself, that’s when you learn the most about the city in which you live.

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