The American Douchebag’s Guide to America: Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh n’at

Overview

Pittsburgh was settled in a valley where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet to form the Ohio. This area was originally settled by groups of Hopewell and Adena Indians, along with many others who didn’t steal their names from buildings on OSU-Newark’s campus including Iroquis and Shawnee. During the 1750s, The French forced the British out of the fort they built there, and built Fort Duquesne. However, the French eventually did what the French do best, and  let the British force them out and built Fort Pitt in Duquesne’s place.

Over the next century, Pittsburgh became a large steel producing town. This became important during the Civil War because of the production of weapons. By 1911 Pittsburgh was producing up to half of the nation’s steel. However, over the years the steel mills closed, leaving Pittsburgh a polluted shell of its formal self.

Now a days, However, Pittsburgh has been making a small comeback. During the late 2000s recession, Pittsburgh was adding jobs and their property value was rising. Way to make the rest of the country look bad, Pittsburgh.

Initial Thoughts

For the initial thoughts, you really need to know what it’s like to drive into Pittsburgh, particularly through the Fort Pitt tunnels. You enter the tunnels from one side of a mountain, nothing but concrete, other cars and your fear of cramped spaces around you. And the more you reach the other side, the easier it is for you to breathe. And when you finally come out the other side, this is what you see:

http://old.post-gazette.com/pg/09189/982415-294.stm?FORM=ZZNR2

So, seeing as though that was the image I saw when I entered Pittsburgh, these were my initial thoughts:

“Wow! I’m back! And look at that view! There’s The Point, and over there is The US Steel building. Oh, and that stadium across the river is the one Bane blew up in The Dark Knight Rises. This place has mad History all over it. You better be ready for me, Pittsburgh, cause I’m coming for you harder than if I could ejaculate cinderblocks.”

Accommodations

Usually when I’m in Pittsburgh, I stay in the house I grew up in, but I once stayed in a hotel, so I’ll talk about both.

My old house is incredibly exclusive. You either have to be related to the current residents or at least close friends to them. Unfortunately, this exclusivity does not translate into high class. It was cramped. I slept on a futon. Most of the outlets were outdated and didn’t have the third hole. But on the bright side, the meals were free and they had free wifi. I wish that could make me forget about the insults thrown at me by the staff there, but it cannot. My blog does entertain people, dad. You wouldn’t know because you don’t read it. I AM DOING THINGS WITH MY LIFE! REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS THAT WILL MAKE ME A RESPECTABLE AUTHOR! GET OFF MY BACK!!!

The hotel I stayed in back in 2009 was much schmaltzier than my old house. Here’s a pic that will give you a good idea of how awesome it was.

Get out of the way, Aaron!

If you look at the lower left corner, you’ll notice the armrest of our couch. Then if you look to the right of Aaron, who is the guy clearly ruining this picture, you’ll see the TV. If you look further in the background, you’ll notice that past the barrier are out beds. Yes. Our TV could swivel so that you could either sit on the couch OR lay on the bed and watch it. There is a god, and he wants us to be happy.

Sites

Other than the aforementioned stadium that Bane destroyed, Pittsburgh has a lot of attractions for different members of the family. Kennywood is Pittsburgh’s amusement park and has some of the most historic and exciting rides in the country. Sandcastle is their waterpark, which is pretty run of the mill. You know, water slides and stuff. Pittsburgh is also home to the national aviary, which is essentially one of the more boring parts of normal zoos, just in its own location. If you like heights, go up the famous Pittsburgh Incline and look out at Pittsburgh from the best view in the city. If you’re into Hogwartsian style buildings, go to the Cathedral of learning at the University of Pittsburgh. Only a couple of blocks away is Pittsburgh’s museum of modern art. And last but not least, for you alcoholics, you will want to head over to Station Square and the Southside, where you will find some booze.

Looking down the Pittsburgh Incline

Pittsburgh Skyline from the Incline

University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning

Well, that’s kind of fucked up, University of Pittsburgh.

Hogwarts?

Food

There is a few foods that are Pittsburgh specific: gravy on French fries, city chicken (which isn’t actually chicken because Pittsburgers are weird), but the quintessential Pittsburgh food is, without a doubt, a Primanti Brother’s sandwich.

For those of you who don’t know, a Primanti Brother’s sandwich is what happens when the cook loses his shit and starts throwing all the food onto a plate with his hands. A normal Primanti’s sandwich starts off normally with some meat and some cheese, maybe even a couple slices of tomato. But then the meal makes a sharp left and starts driving erratically down crazy street. The sandwich also has French fries and coleslaw piled on, and the cook only cuts one slice of bread in half.  I didn’t take a picture of my sandwich because I am not an annoying girl on your Facebook homepage, but here is an image from Primanti’s website:

http://primantibros.com/02menu.html

My sandwich was a turkey and cheese, minus the tomato. After I did my best to tear through the meat, fries, and full slice of bread, I finally got to take a bite. It was amazing. The coleslaw was sweet, yet tangy. The turkey and cheese was savory and warm enough to be comforting on a cold day. The fries in all their starchy goodness acted as a balance between the coleslaw and the turkey. Normally, the coleslaw would over power the turkey, but the fries muted the coleslaw’s flavor and helped bring out the turkey and cheese favors. By the end, I wasn’t eating a sandwich so much as a ball of delicious, greasy goodness. Why Primanti’s has not expanded to other parts of the country is a mystery to me.

Alcohol

Yeungling. If you’re in Pittsburgh and you like beer, that is what you have to drink. I mean, sure, Pittsburgh has other beers: Rolling Rock, Iron City Beer, probably others.  Yeungling, however,  is the best. However, If you want to go against my always right opinions, then go ahead and drink an Iron City (Rolling Rock is now a national brand, so it doesn’t count). If you do choose Iron City, then you need to either drink it in their iron bottle or in a regular can. The iron can changes the flavor of the beer, but I cannot remember which one tastes better. But it’s not like it matters anyway; you aren’t even considering drinking Yeungling like I suggested, so why would you take my Iron City beverage container advice. Seriously, the whole point of a travel blog is to listen to my experiences and heed my advice. But whatever. Don’t listen to me, but don’t come crying to me when you realize that Iron City or Rolling Rock isn’t the greatest beer ever, you ungrateful bastards.

People

The first thing you need to understand about Pittsburgers is that they have their own accent. Well, actually, it’s not so much an accent as it is a dialect. If I were to describe it, I’d say that it’s somewhere between Midwesterner and Appalachian Hills people. Watch the first few minutes of this video to get an idea of what Pittsburghese sounds like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kOnYpxfZDs

Having introduced Yinz to how people talk in an around dahntahn Pittsburgh, let’s talk about the locals n’at.

The people there, are awesome. Granted, I know people there, and I got to hang out with them, but still, they’re amazing. For instance, here are my friends Julian and Danielle enjoying a nice dinner with me in Forest Hills:

They were pretty excited to see me.

Then here’s Dan Miller at the Primanti’s after we got done watching The Dark Knight Rises. He was pretty excited to see me:

“MINIGAN GODDAMN BLACKWOOD!!!!! I MISSED YOU!!!”
-totally what Dan said

Then of course I got to hang out with the Newlyweds Julie and Mark Lechliter and their gang of crazy friends. I’ll give you a hint of how this played out.

Minigan- Julie!!!!

Yay!

Julie- Oh Jesus…

Minigan-Ha ha! No, it’s Minigan!  I know, I know, my hair has gotten long, and I do look miraculous, but it’s just me. Plain old Minigan Blackwood: Doctor of Awesome.

Julie- No, Minigan, I know who you are. I’m just surprised to see you back here after they told you not to come back after that last time.

Minigan- Laws don’t apply to me, baby. You should know that. And besides, I left the Slappin’ Dick Machine with my friend Della, so it’s totally cool that I’m here to celebrate your Birthday!

Julie- Well, as long as you’ve found someone that’s willing to keep after it and you didn’t bring it back here…

Minigan- Oh yeah, Della totally has it under control. We’re mentally linked, so it will probably listen to her.

Probably…

Mark- [rushes up to Julie, not noticing Minigan] Julie, we need to get out of here, now. Apparently Minigan found out that we’re going to be here tonight and [now noticing Minigan] Holy Shit! Minigan! How did they let you back in PA?!

Minigan- “Let” isn’t the right word. It was more like I “forced” my way back into Pennsylvania.

Julie- We aren’t going to be arrested by talking to you right now, are we?

Minigan- Not unless you call the cops.

Mark- And if we do call the cops?

Minigan- if you do call the cops, I’ll just show them the proof that you smuggled me into PA.

Mark- What proof do you have?!

Minigan- When have I ever let that stop me before? [throws his hands up defensively] But look, I’m not here to send anyone to prison this time. All I want to do is Party with you guys for Julie’s birthday. Now, let’s do some shots. [runs off to find a bartender]

Julie-[calling after Minigan] Wait, Minigan! I can’t drink; I’m pregnant!

[Minigan came back with a tray of shots, the waitress he took the shots from silently weeping into her hands.]

Minigan- I got us the drinks! Julie, the orange juice is for you because you’re on your period or whatever you said.

Julie- Thanks, I guess…

Minigan- To Julie for her birthday, and for both of you wonderful bastards for getting married![they each do a shot. Minigan does two.]

Mark- [once his face returned to normal after the shot] so how did you get kicked out of PA, Minigan?

Minigan- Well, I created a machine that had a spinning wheel of dildos that  started trying to kill people. You know, it was a whole thing. I’ve put that behind me. Like a month behind me.

Slappin’ Dick- Machine- [comes in looking like a Wall-E with a hat of dildos, waving its newly attached robotic arms frantically and hitting people as it passed. It’s voice came from a Speak and Say attached to its backside. It yells] Minigan! Della is the worst human ever. All she does is insult everyone and throw things at me. It’s horrible.

Minigan- Yeah, she’s an awful, awful person.

Mark and Julie- [simultaneously] What’s wrong with people in Ohio?

Minigan- It’s really just Della. She is just a terrible person. [Mark and Julie say nothing, just look at each other. Minigan turns to the Slappin’ Dick-Machine and says] OK, SDM, which is what I’m going to call you for now on. I’ll let you stay with me and not with Della on two conditions: You cannot try to kill all humans and you must do everything I say. Do you understand?

SDM- I understand. What do you need, master?

Minigan- First, I like the whole “master” thing. Keep up with that. Secondly, go get me a drink.

SDM- Yes, Master. [SDM rolls off, attacks a waitress holding a beer and grabs it before she drops it, and rushes back to me] Here you are, Master.

Minigan-[takes the drink turns to Julie and Mark and says] And that’s how you train your murderbot.

And then we all partied and had a great time.

Overall Atmosphere

Now, I may be biased since I grew up in that city, but the atmosphere of the ‘Burgh is definitely welcoming, and friendly. Even though all of the people I talked to were people that I have known most of my life, the people there act like they’ve always known you. It is, simply put, an amazing  city.

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1 Comment

  1. […] you show up. But something bad always happens when you do, and it’s usually your fault. Julie- You ruined my birthday party this year when your [gesturing to the Slappin’ Dick-Machine] robot- t… Minigan- But it came to find me because Della was mean to it! Della- Because it destroyed the […]


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