Positive About Pittsburgh

Over my 13 years in this town, I have met some people who don’t have a positive image of the town they live in. From the city itself, to its traffic to its lack of culture, some people who live here just “poo poo” it.

Now I know why.

This morning’s “USA Today” has an article about our city called “Pittsburgh Forges Ahead”. While it’s supposed to be a positive spin out the “New Pittsburgh”, it winds up slinging more barbs about the ‘Burgh than bouquets. One quote from a visitor from Seattle in the first paragraph says it all: “Pittsburgh’s pretty. Too bad it has such a bad image”.

A bad image. That’s apparently what the rest of the planet has about Pittsburgh, but I’m not sure why. We’re about to turn 250 and undergoing a renaissance like none seen before. You know we have been chosen as “America’s Most Livable City” and such …. and yet, people out the region still think that a trip to Pittsburgh won’t amount to much more than a time warp ride back to the turn of the century. The 19th century.

I am living proof that Pittsburgh is a city with which you can fall in love. I came here 13 years ago, before Pittsburgh’s current boom, and dreaded the prospect of spending 3 years of my life here. I was from the east coast and the reputation of Pittsburgh was of that “Steel Town”. However, through my time spent here, which now totals 13 years, I consider myself fortunate to be a part of the place.

The city from the North Shore: One of the more underrated views of Pittsburgh ( courtesy : Associated Press )

I love the people, the teams, the neighborhoods, the quirks and the craziness. I love a town where you are only one relationship removed from any resident. OK, I hate the traffic which seems to be getting worse year after year, but right now there is no place I would rather be. This is more than where I live. This is my home.

I think the solution to converting the country’s thinking about our town is to keep getting people to visit. One weekend in Pittsburgh may not make you a “Pittsburgher”, but it will make you see what we see about our town. Whether it’s another major sporting event, a convention or if you invite an old college friend to come visit, get people to come to this town. One stay is guaranteed to change any person’s mind.

It changed mine.

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