Mar 1, 2008

PGH's Prodigal Sons & Daughters

There was an interesting piece in Saturday's Post-Gazette about a native's return to Pittsburgh. There are some parallels with my situation, the main one being "what is it about this place?" Growing up here, it gets under your skin. For me, however, getting out was a priority from the age of nine. At nineteen I moved to NYC and lived there for over two decades before moving to LA four years ago.

Now I'm back, more or less, with a wealth of perspective that could only be gained by living in a larger, more cosmopolitan city (or two.) And Pittsburgh is cool. Not in an easily identifiable way if you are looking for parallel experiences of places like NYC or LA or even Austin or Seattle.

It has many unique aspects that are peculiar and indigenous to the area, tied to its specific history. What's different here is there is no national media commodifying its cultural and social attributes. Local media and word of mouth are the conduits for this information, and they are pretty good at it too. But it stays local, giving it a certain cache, although a true Pittsburgher would never think of it in that way. (That's my innah Big City Perspective tawking.)

People don't flock to PGH "to make it big." But if you're looking for a liveable, low-key, ideally located medium-to-small city where, as the writer of the above mentioned article states, "normal" people can afford to own a home, then PGH is for you.

Of course it has its challenges too and it's still reeling from the steel industry's exodus a generation ago.

What's great to see is that the local blogosphere is thriving.

Burgh Blog, 2 Political Junkies, Burgh Diaspora, Angry Drunk Bureaucrat, Pop City and Pittsburgh Dish have got it covered.

However, the Pittsburgh edition of Metroblogging (a fairly heavily visited site in larger cities) seems to be a bust here.