more Pittsburgh

Whew: we had a big day walking Pittsburgh, starting with the Point State Park and carrying on through downtown. The Point is where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet and form the Ohio; it’s a geographical point of significance in the city’s history, because of its obvious military strategic importance, for one thing. It’s a lovely space, and site of the Fort Pitt Museum, which we each toured (taking turns, so that somebody could be with Hops at all times. Hops, my dearest ball and chain).

Then we walked on through downtown, visiting Market Square, seeing lots of old buildings (with Karen as tour guide), including the ornate old jail and courthouse…

And the old train station, whose astonishing rotunda totally captured my heart, which is why here are a bunch of pictures of it.

Gorgeous, gorgeous.

We took a little rest in the afternoon, and then I met (quite by accident) a neighbor of Karen’s who is a former Pittsburgh Steeler and celebrated local artist. I accompanied Baron on an ‘art drop’ to leave a painting at a local park for some lucky hiker to find.

I snuck in a couple of beer-related stops –

and Karen treated me (with guests Brian and Baron) to my first ever MOTH Story Slam! I’ve attended some MOTH-style events, but never a MOTH proper.

It was the perfect way to close out my busy time in Pittsburgh, a city I’d be happy to visit again.

busy busy in Pittsburgh

I have been having the nicest visit in Pittsburgh with my friend Karen! (She is much better at taking pictures than I am, too, so that’s a boon here.) We’ve been seeing a lot! First of all, I got into town specifically to go see Matthew Ferrence read from his book Appalachia North at City Books. I am so excited about this book – my review is forthcoming at pagesofjulia, and hopefully a fuller version elsewhere as well.

Matt’s reading was truly special. He picked short pieces from his book to read – out of order – and rolled straight from one into the next seamlessly; and indeed they read seamlessly, too, so that he patchworked a fresh, new essay from the book as if designed for it. I was very impressed; this seems like an art form in itself, choosing selections to read, in a way that so neatly showed what his book is about. I am a fan all over again. Don’t miss this read, y’all. I’ll try and repost a link here to the review when it goes live.

From here Karen took me on a driving tour of Pittsburgh in the dusk, including up to Mount Washington, where we rode the incline down to the edge of the Monongahela River and back up again. My fear of heights was present but not prohibitive. It was a gorgeous view of the city!

Although we’ve just begun our tour, I feel warm already toward this city with its beautiful, old architecture and humble, working-class story. Rivers and hills and old brick: what’s not to love?