An Introduction to Pittsburgh …. Thanks to You!

Boy, when I ask for help, you blog readers really come through. I have gotten more than a few suggestions for ways I should show Pittsburgh to a newcomer. They came from this blog and also from my Facebook page and they came in mass.

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Showing someone their new home in one afternoon? Thanks to your suggestion, I have a game plan for showcasing Pittsburgh.

For those of you wondering what this is all about, on my blog Tuesday I asked readers to help me. The best friend of a high school friend of mine just landed a job here in Pittsburgh. She has not been here in quite sometime and I have been asked to show her the city she will now call home. While I think I know Pittsburgh as well as anyone, I still want to make sure I present the most positive image of our town. So I asked you to suggest stops to make and things to see Sunday afternoon when I serve as host of this guided tour.

I got about 30 e-mails suggesting everything from letting the city speak for itself to not letting anyone with a Pittsburgh accent get within 30 yards of this woman. While there were many different suggestions, there were a few things that it seemed everyone suggested.

Mount Washington:  Almost everyone who sent me an e-mail says the tour should include the $64 billion view of the city from Mount Washington. While that price tag may have dropped in value because of the economy, the view is still priceless. Many of you said its the perfect place to tell anyone the story of the city of Pittsburgh, although I doubt she will be listening when looking at this view.

The inclines: While there are faster ways to get down from Mount Washington, none is more unique that riding the incline down. As one person told me “it brings the past and present together as you slowly descend down from Mount Washington”.

Just Ducky: I like this idea because I don’t have to drive. It takes about an hour and you can see the city by land … and by water. There is the amphibious Just Ducky Tours or the more traditional Gateway Clipper.

Pittsburgh museums: From the Heinz History Center to the Carnegie Science Center, nothing gives you a better understanding of our town than the museums that we have. They tell the story of the history, the pride, the sports and the people of western Pennsylvania. Plus, given the temperature outside, they give us a chance to cool down and spend a few moments indoors.

The Fort Pitt Tunnel: OK, this is an easy one. Pittsburgh is the only city with an entrance … and what a view it is. However, that’s what I think everyone who comes to visit expects to see. One reader suggested that instead I take the back way up Mount Washington …. the winding roads all the way to Grandview Avenue and to the view of Mount Washington.

But perhaps the best and most unique suggestion I got was one in which I would be driving and talking. Try this on for size: Downtown to PPG, then cut through Liberty and head down Grant street to the Boulevard of the Allies. From there, head to Oakland, down Forbes Avenue and circle the Cathedral of Leanring. Next stops: Carnegie Mellon and through Schenley Park. Follow the winding roads down through Bates Street at across the Hot Metal bridge to South Side Works. Thanks Rico. Hope I got that right.

I was also told to avoid a number of places: west end construction and the tunnels before the ball game. However, one person said I should show off the orange cones.

Thank you for all your suggestions and ideas. I think one thing is clear from every submission I received: Pittsburghers are proud of their town and that pride can be shown in many different ways. So many that I know I cannot show all of them in one day … so why try. I’ll take some of your suggestions for my tour on Sunday.

I like to think the greatest thing about Pittsburgh is that you can be here a day … or 14 years like myself …. and learn something new. Maybe, with apologies to Michael Chabon, that is the true “mystery of Pittsburgh”. It’s thinking you know the city, but always being pleasantly surprised.

I’ll lety you know how the tour turns out.

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