Pittsburgh, a city of bridges, the place where three rivers meet, is a lovely city to stroll through on a day off.
As nice as the city is the trip there takes some planning and time. The trip is roughly 5 hours by car, 7 hours by train, and 1.5 hours by plane. I took the train as the time on the train can be used to study and there is more scenery to take in. Both going and coming back I enjoyed the scenic and peaceful trip on the train. This photograph is of the Horseshoe Curve, a unique turnaround in the railroad tracks and also an unsettling image of the contrast between a natural landscape and fertilized/daily-watered and unsustainable landscape.
My day in Pittsburgh started with a simple breakfast of fruit at the hotel. Soon after I enjoyed a cappucino along Penn Ave while waiting to speak with architect Andrew Moss at the reccomendation of a family friend. The hour long “interview” if you will was a nice informational meeting in which we discussed Moss Architects (http://www.mossarc.com/) work, process, recent move, and involvement with the Pittsburgh community. I enjoyed the time getting to know more about the firm, revealing a more active side than portrayed on the website.If you are going to go to firms for informational meetings be sure to make a list before of what you hope to obtain from the meeting and how the firm benefits. I feel that this will help you keep the meeting on track and not stall out at any point.
After bidding goodbye to Moss Architects a day of leisure ensued. A quick trip to the Aldi nearby allowed me to stock up on snacks and apple juice for a picnic in the Pittsburgh Zoo. Of all the exhibits I loved the red panda, shadow leopard, and the aquarium all pictured below.
A short break in the hotel room to recharge my phone and plan the next visits. The only way to visit Mount Washington is to go up the incline train. I chose to go up the Duquesne (https://www.visitpittsburgh.com/directory/duquesne-incline/), walked along the Mount Washington Park trail overlooking an amazing view of downtown Pittsburgh, and then took the Monongahela down (https://www.visitpittsburgh.com/directory/monongahela-incline/). The trains were not half as scary as I recall, I went on a similar train in Chattanooga on a family trip years ago. Once at the bottom of Mount Washington I walked over one of the many bridges towards Mellon Square (https://www.pittsburghparks.org/mellon-square). Mellon Square is a lovely urban landscape. I feel like that plaza is the kind of work I hope to one day produce. At the street level there is sidewalk which opens right onto one end of the plaza. The other end of the plaza is elevated creating more private bench space for the public to use as reading and relaxation space. The sidewalk below is entry for the commercial space underneath the park. While the fountains were down for repair while I visited the park still stood out as a peacefully urban landscape. The photos don’t do justice to the holistic manner in which building, land, and cityscape come together to create this place.
From Mellon Square I meandered through downtown towards Point State Park (http://www.dcnr.pa.gov/StateParks/FindAPark/PointStatePark/Pages/default.aspx). This park could not be more symbolic of the city of Pittsburgh. The landscape traces the footprint of Fort Pitt and leads towards the ironic bridge beneath a bridge which guides you to the final point of the park. The end of the park points directly into the area where the Monongahela, the Allegheny, and the Ohio river meet. This most magical place is one I didn’t know existed and am so happy to have been told about by all my uber drivers as well as Andrew Moss. Water is one of our most important resources and this mixing point has an incredible impact on the design of Pittsburgh and the waterways of America. I will remember this point fondly with the next tea I enjoy and each one after.
After a long day traversing the city of Pittsburgh a good nights rest prepped me for another beautiful scenic train ride back to Philadelphia.