Friday, October 19, 2012

Pittsburgh Day 5 - And the magic continues

Right before the trip Gabi and I had a very serious talk about our expectations for this trip. We had a magic week in spring when so many crazy awesome things happened that we could barely believe ourselves and we were very aware that you cannot consciously create this type of magic and that it is not repeating itself besides the fact .... that it does.
Of course this journey (the term fits much better than "trip") is significantly different in many aspects than the one in spring. We stay in a different place, we do different things, it is a different time of the year (fall is so beautiful here!) - and most importantly it feels differently because our relationship to the city is changing. We are involved on a different level and our knowledge about Pittsburgh grows and gets to a different level, too.
But then there is the one thing that did not change and that is the fact that again crazy awesome things happen to us e.v.e.r.y  s.i.n.g.l.e  d.a.y.

Let's talk Wednesday.

This morning Gabi and I went seperate ways. While she went to visit to the Warhol Museum I jumped off the car in downtown. When I was walking from Liberty Avenue up to the Console Energy Center I realized I was walking without map, without directions or anything. I just knew my way and that is kind of weird feeling so far away from home and I LOVE IT!

At the CEC - to be exact in front of "Le Magnifique" I met with  Stevie of High Heels & Hockey. She is one of my favorite hockey writers and when she asked me if she could interview me about how it is to be a misplaced Pittsburgh sport sfan running on 6 hours time difference, I of course said "Yes. Sure!" But before we started talking hockey I first had to snap the October 2012 version of my favorite downtown shot:

Then we went together into the Pens shop inside the CEC and spent too much money - of course. Two female Pens fans only some feeds away from all the goodness - there was zero chance that we would NOT go in there and buy things we do not really need. 
Once we had stocked up on shirts and other stuff, we dived into our discussions about the lockout (YAK!), the effect of social media on your life as a sportsfan, favorite Pens moments live and on TV, favorite games, players and scenes and so on. It was a LOT of fun and almost a relief. If there is no hockey too watch it helps a bit to at least talk about it with somebody who loves it as passionatly. We had a GREAT time and I will link here to the article once it is live. 

After lunch Stevie and I walked over to PNC Park and the view on the bridges and ballpark really never gets tired  - especially not on a sunny day like this.
I met Gabi again at the Warhol and we jumped into our car and drove back to the Strip for an really extraordinary adventure. 

This time we did not stay in the wholesale and retail area we know very well now, but drove down a couple of more blocks, where the headquarter of the Pittsburgh Opera is located. The opera company performs at the Benedum Center in the Cultural District, but has its adminstrational and rehearsal facilities at the former Westinghouse Air Brake Factory in the Strip District. Together with the Pittsburgh Ballet and the Attack Theater the opera company adds a whole new aspect to the neighborhood with featuring the performing arts. 

At the Pittsburgh Opera thanks to our friends of Neighbors in the Strip Shawn Fertitta, Director of Operations and Resident Artist Coordinator was waiting for us to show us how you turn an air brake factory into the headquarter of an opera company.
But before we focus on the building let's get to the Alice in Wonderland feeling I had enjoying the chance to sneak "backstage" and watch an opera company work off stage. Alone the costumes ....

And of course there were artists in the house. This is resident mezzo soprano Samantha Korbey rehearsing. 

You can see here also already parts of the amazing building. After the reconstruction for the opera the Westinghouse Air Brake Factory was awarded with the LEED Silver Certification and is the oldest green building in Pittsburgh

It is absolutely amazing how the existing materials and structures were used to form facilities that meet the needs of an opera company. Gabi and I were  fascinated and think it is a great
 example for the reuse of an industrial structure in a whole different context with still preserving the special character of the building. 

Gabi made a lot of very impressive photos and I cannot wait to share those pictures with you, but you will need to give us some time to work on all the material we collected here, but we are really looking forward to it because it's seriously great stuff. 

But of course while Gabi was taking pictures I took again my little Panasonic, too to give you a little preview how this wonderful building looks like. Sadly I had no chance to escape the evening sunshine for a better picture of the entrance:

Brick, steel and wood - that is what Pittsburgh is made of. 

Probably my favorite part of the building - the roof construction:

After leaving the opera company stunned and happy that we got a chance to visit, we quickly stopped by at Pavement for some shopping and finished then the long, long day off with a fantastic dinner at Las Velas (fish tacos!) with Pittsburgh's finest and funniest ladies. We had so much fun and even if there would not be one billion other reasons to come back - these girls would be reason enough!

All polaroids by Gabrijela Obert

This is Matt at Espresso A Mano. The man that made me - at least temporary - a morning coffee drinker. Who what have thought that this would ever happen?


  1. I learned something. The Opera is in the former WABCO building. WABCO (now WABTECH) has a long and storied history. It is still around and outlived Westinghouse Electric. WABCO moved to Wilmerding in 1889 and has been there for over 140 years. A visit to "the castle" in Wilmerding has some value. It was Wabco headquarters for over one hundred years and now houses the George Westinghouse Museum. it is not the Warhol admittedly. Geo Westinghouse was a great industrialist who should be venerated more.

  2. I'll definitely put the George Westinghouse Museum on my list of things I want to do.

    That is the thing with PGH and the Greater PGH area ... you'll never get done with all of this.