The Rebirth of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA
Attractively situated at the confluence of the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers, surrounded by wooded hills, Pittsburgh has cast off its industrial past and is now one of America’s most attractive cities.
Industry began here in Pittsburgh the early 1800’s with the building of iron foundries to process local ore and coal. Soon it became the world’s largest producer of steel, a city of belching chimneys and grime, continuing until the 1960’s. Now the mills and furnaces are quiet, the factories demolished or transformed, and the banks of river have attractive green spaces amongst the modern high rises.
There was big money made here and the cultural legacy of Andrew Carnegie, the Mellon bankers, the Frick coal merchants and the Heinz family lives on. You’ll find impressive Art Galleries, including one devoted to Andy Warhol, the city’s most famous artist, and a brand new Moonshot Museum dedicated to space exploration. Immigrants were drawn here to work and their influence is reflected in the diverse food on offer.
An excellent way of getting to know the city is to take a bike on the Great Allegheny Passage or GAP Trail along the traffic free riverside paths. It will take you through parks, over bridges and past amazing murals. If you’re feeling keen you can cycle all 335 miles to Washington DC. If not, relax with a beer at the Sly Fox brewery.
Close to downtown, on the banks of the Allegheny, the warehouses of the Strip District have recently been converted to house a variety of ethnic food stores and cafes. A ‘Burgh Bits and Bites tour allow you to taste the specialities of the city’s many immigrants. Of course there’s an Italian meat shop but there’s also Middle Eastern Hummus and Pita bread, plus Greek specialities as well as Empanadas and Tamales from Reyna’s Latin American grocery.
The Carnegie Museum of Art was probably the first to start collecting the “Old Masters of tomorrow” and is one of the leading institutions in America. Its spacious halls with high ceilings are ideal for displaying what was once called Modern Art with impressionists, cubists and surrealists rubbing shoulders with American landscape artists.
Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh and the largest museum in the world dedicated to a single artist spreads over seven floors of a converted Victorian warehouse. As well as iconic pop art and portraiture, it has archival collections of Warhol belongings.
The Mattress Factory takes alternative art forms to another level with installations, videos and performance art. It’s notorious for pushing the boundaries of both artist and viewer. Exhibitions in 2022 include “Shrine” – a celebration of Black motherhood – developed with local Pittsburgh arts residency “Sibyls Shrine,” and installations from international artist Doreen Chan.