Hometown Nostalgia: Pittsburgh Edition

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Bwoggers are a nostalgic bunch. As much as we’ve adopted an Empire state of mind, we’re fiercely loyal to our hometowns. New York may be the greatest city in the world, but the snow here gets grimy way too quickly. So, until break comes crashing to a close, we’ll be taking trips down memory lane with a series of back-to-your-roots blurbs—some essays resurrected from the Blue and White and a few more current creations. Warm and fuzzies abound! In this first installment from the B&W feature that inspired all this hometown nostalgia, Lauren Glover defends Pittsburgh, PA. And of course, feel free to send in your own anecdotes and photos to [email protected]

In October, TIME magazine published an article saying that my hometown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was “in better position to withstand [an economic] downturn than many other places.” However, it was no brilliant bit of economic planning that was saving Pittsburgh from the recession. Pittsburgh’s economy has been floundering for the 20-odd years since the collapse of the local steel industry, so when the national economy began to plummet, Pittsburgh just had a relatively small distance to fall.

We Pittsburghers loved this, and not just because it meant we were doing OK in comparison to the rest of the country. The idea that the city’s middling status was ultimately beneficial sums up how we always have felt about our hometown. Our city is not a booming metropolis, but by God, we are fiercely proud of it.

“Why?” you East Coast metropolitans may ask. “Isn’t Pittsburgh another one of those generic middle-of-the-country cities, like Cleveland?” First of all, no, and never compare us to Cleveland again. Pittsburgh is the overcast urban oasis of the Ohio River Valley. It’s the kind of place where you can run into 11 friends in three blocks. We eat French fry sandwiches, and speak in a local dialect that foreigners find totally indecipherable. If you and your friends want to go to a football game, yinz need to go dahntahn t’see dem Stillers play at Heinz Fill’d. Get it?

The Steelers, unlike French fry sandwiches, are an incontrovertible point of pride. In a city that is eager to celebrate its insular idiosyncrasies, imagine the effect of resounding, national victories. In the run-up to the Steelers’ conference championship game against the Baltimore ravens, our mayor legally changed his last name from Ravenstahl to Steelerstahl. After the Super Bowl, as if to one-up the mayor, the City Council temporarily renamed the entire city Sixburgh—a reference to the Steelers’ six Super Bowl wins. How could I not go home?

That Sunday night, I ran through my slushy hometown, screaming and whipping a piece of yellow terry cloth above my head, and I was not alone. Thousands of my fellow Terr’ble Tahl-wielding citizens took to the streets, beaming with the knowledge that the rest of the country would understand how great we always knew our strung-out Steel town was—if only for one night.

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  1. Can you write at least something

    that pertains to everyone, fucking realize it already.

  2. wiz khalifa

    Yeah, uh huh, you know what it is
    Everything I do, I do it big
    Yeah, uh huh, screamin' that's nothin'
    When I pulled off the lot, that's stuntin'

    Reppin' my town when you see me
    You know everything
    Black and yellow, black and yellow
    Black and yellow, black and yellow

  3. who gives a sht about your home towns?

    given today's fast changing world and sporadic economy, people are constantly changing, constantly moving, constantly seeking new ventures, constantly trying to improve the life of them and their family, constantly adapting themselves to a new environment.

    does anyone actually stay "loyal" or still get emotional about their hometowns a few years out anymore? you develop ambitions. you move on. you find new opportunities. you have places to go. the competitive world we live in is too competitive and fast paced for us to look back.

    you go to Columbia for a reason. you're in New York City for a reason. having a beach as my backyard was great when I was 16. but not anymore. not anymore.

    my heart is in new york city or anywhere else that opens doors for me and brings me closer to my dreams.

    • Anonymous

      home is a place to return to. take care, my love, your savor strongly of bitterness.

    • ha...

      You had a beach for a backyard when you were 16? As someone who grew up in New York, I envy you.

      • yes

        haha yes I lived in a small beachy town in California where sunny days were frequent, the blue and white waves were beautiful, the sound of the tides was music to my ears, the life was easy going, days were slow and relaxing, it's senior high schoolers were lazy and lacked ambition, traffic was slow, it's inhabitants lacked any real dreams, and everything was just SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO DAMN BORING.

        I mean, if that's your cup of tea, then by all means GO FOR IT. But damn! Not my kinda thing. AT ALL.

  4. Anonymous

    I visited Pittsburgh 4 years ago. It was boring.

  5. Pittsburgh?

    More like "Sucks-blergh!"


  6. Anonymous

    uh, yeah. that comment spoken in a certain "dialect" just makes you sound uneducated.

  7. Anonymous

    Top 5 worse places to be from in the US, in no particular order:

    1. El Paso, TX
    2. Fresno, CA
    3. Detroit, MI
    4. Pittsburgh, PA
    5. New Jersey (All)

    • woah

      Is that a list from some magazine or are you actually from El Paso? One has to see to believe that place, although lately it's grown on me.

    • too soon

      false! why do you think half of new york city goes to new jersey (hoboken counts!) for shopping (and other reasons, but let's be real, mostly shopping)? and the shore! not wildwood an sleaze-side, the real shore, like cape may and point pleasant.

      plus, we have the most state pride, mostly because everyone else hates us.... just listen to the first 30 seconds of less than jake's "never goin' back."

      • Anonymouse

        Did you really just try to make the claim that Point Pleasant is anything other than a slightly less dirty Seaside? Cause I'm pretty sure New Yorkers only go to either of those places when they want to get wasted and laid after prom.

  8. CAPS


    Speaking of which, do DC--the city that is overtaking ny

  9. Pittsburgh  

    is a beautiful city. Seriously scenic. And small enough that you can actually see most of it in a day. I do remember that it was almost impossible to find somewhere to eat downtown at 8:30 PM though.

  10. Pittsburgh, my hometown.  

    known for its fattening sandwiches, unique dialect, and sports teams has a lot more to offer. Many museums including the Andy Warhol, Mattress Factory and a number of Carnegie Museums. It also has a unique craft beer industry including East End Brewing, Penn Brewing and was the original home of Iron City. Pittsburgh has been voted the most livable city by Forbes. I loved going home to Pittsburgh and visiting its unique strip district, and strolling through the University of Pittsburgh's campus, where you'll find one of the tallest academic buildings. Pittsburgh does not compare to NYC but it's home to me and some of the other people who read this blog, and is truly and amazing place.

  11. baltimore ravens

    please don't hurt me!

  12. the

    bridges are the best. Do not forget about them

  13. pittsburgh

    sucks. period. i seriously hate that place.

  14. Anonymous

    love it.

  15. Anonymous

    i fucking love pittsburgh. and this article BASICALLY surmises how i feel. i moved here a few years ago and i despised it initially, but it's genuinely such a spunky, tenacious town that it grows on you. before you know it, you're painting your face black and yellow and getting weepy/a huge stupid grin on your face whenever wiz comes on the radio.

  16. Anonymous  

    I grew up in Pittsburgh, and I have to say that it's one of those cities that is hard to love initially, but once you spend some more time in it, it really grows on you. It has all the friendliness of a midwest town, but the business and technology of a northeastern city. Don't hate!

  17. Anonymous

    wiz khalifa isn't the only great rapper from pittsburgh... check out mac miller as well

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