Unique Streets: 2
Miles Walked: 5.17
Street Names are listed at the bottom now 🙂
I had no idea the Monongahela River could be clear enough that you could see the bottom. So clear in fact, that all of the accumulated trash and debris can be seen from the shore.
I started my walk on the North Shore and soon found myself walking along the cement banks that separate the Mon Wharf from the usually murky water.
I’d never explored this area of Downtown and had no idea what to expect. On dry days of the work week, it is used as a parking lot. On days following heavy rains or melting snow packs, the rivers rise and the Mon Wharf disappears below the surface of the Monongahela River, taking many parking spaces with it. I always wondered about the type of person who would park there. I know I’d be a nervous wreck if I was at my work on a rainy day. Will I get back to my car and find it underwater? Fortunately for the cars and people who drive them, today the river was low.
I walked along the banks that fall in (Monangahela is an Unami word meaning that) and soon found myself looking up at a soot black stone pier belonging to the long gone Wabash Bridge.
I said hello to two men fishing near the pier and headed towards the Golden Triangle via a foot bridge that ran over 376 West.
I came out to the street surface very close to Chancery Way, the entire reason for this walk. I walked this short alley which is only a block long and soon found myself on the Boulevard near the Diocese of Pittsburgh building. I intended to walk through Market Square to see if it changed at all since I’d worked at a restaurant there 19 years ago. I crossed the street and made my way through the wafting clouds of second-hand smoke and body odor left by the congregating masses of the homeless hoping to receive a meal at the card table set out in front of the Diocese. Nothing new here.
When I got to Market Square, I noted how the middle is a public park type setting for people to use on their lunch breaks. When I worked here traffic traveled right through the middle where a tent now sits.
The square is lined with restaurants that always seem to be catching fire. In fact, this side of Downtown has caught fire many times, the worst being in 1845. That fire burned a third of the much smaller downtown and was started by a laundry fire very near to where the Diocese building sits today. Funny how it’s still filled with smoke today.
I’ve always viewed this area between Market Square and the Mon as forgotten. Maybe it has to do with the fire that wreaked havoc on this plot over 175 years ago or maybe it has more to do with the large interstate that runs right through the middle. I wonder what was displaced in the name of interstate vehicular traffic. It must not have meant much to the city planners of the time.
In addition to these ancient images I have burned onto the negative space in my mind, the small area that sits between Stanwix, Grant, the Boulevard of the Allies and 376 always seems devoid of life. The buildings here are very old and shorter compared to the rest of the city and there aren’t many businesses on these short blocks. Compared to the hustle and bustle of Market Square, I half expect to see a tumbleweed bounce by.
Downtown is constantly evolving but if you look closely enough, you can still see signs of its not-so-distant past.
I stopped to look at this old side walk sign and wondered what this spot on earth was like when these words actually referred to the door they lead to?
When was the last time anyone looked down at it instead of the doom scroll in their hand? When was the last time anyone looked up?
When was the last time anyone walked through the forgotten areas and actually paid attention to their surroundings?
See it as it is now and let the vision in your head shift onto another plane of time. Here is then, Now is there. It turns your stomach and it should. This is where the truth hides. The truth has teeth and they are sharp.
But then as it always does, the world tilts back on its axis and all is right for now.
It was a lovely day for a patio lunch. Gist and Guyasuta agreed.
Check out all of the pictures from this walk on Imgur. I’m trying them out for a change and have no idea why my pictures are out of order. I’m working on it.
Street Names (italicized have been walked on another day): N. Shore Drive, Fort Duquesne Bridge, Stanwix Street, 1st Avenue, Chancery Way, Boulevard of the Allies, 3rd Avenue, 4th Avenue, Delray Street, Forbes Avenue, Market Square, McMasters Way, 5th Avenue, Market Street, Graeme Street, Liberty Avenue Wood Street, Smithfield Street, Cherry Way, William Penn Place, Oliver Avenue, Montour Way, Strawberry Way, 7th Avenue, 9th Street, Fort Duquesne Boulevard, Maddock Place, Andy Warhol Bridge, Sandusky Street, E. General Robinson Street, Mazeroski Way, W. General Robinson Street.