After 25 years in New York, the author moves back to his hometown and discovers a new world lodged in the old one . . . Sometimes the strangest destination is home.
Real Pittsburghers don’t cross bridges, they say, meaning people stay in their own self-contained enclaves.* That was true for me growing up. Those cross-river neighborhoods might as well have been two or three states away. The North Side, for example, was alien territory surrounding Three Rivers Stadium, where I ventured occasionally to see my beloved Pirates play, retreating back to familiar ground immediately after the game.
Some months after moving back to Pittsburgh, I got a temp job that took me north, to Spring Garden/Troy Hill, writing copy for a flight simulator company. Something about the area, which I had never even been near, fascinated me. Every smoky vista and perilous concrete staircase illustrated the convergence of location and destiny, and how a different neighborhood in the same city is really another world.
*That’s also true for Brooklyn, as well as other cities pocked with diverse and far-flung neighborhoods.
Exile in America (Parts 1-4)
More Images of Pittsburgh (Slideshows)