Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Special Additional G-20 Notes for Visitors

Here's the nitty-gritty for members of the media, dignitaries, protesters, and assorted anarchists. If you're coming in from out of town, you should be aware of a couple of situations:

First, as much as I like Pittsburgh, there is a strange strain of (let's say) xenophobia about it's populace. It's not so much outright antipathy about outsiders (indeed, we love showing off our City to visitors), it's more that we're really sensitive to criticism about ourselves. Don't get me wrong, criticism of Pittsburgh is the #2 Regional Pastime right after professional football... but it's more self reflection hand wringing than anything. We know our short comings; we know what we have to improve upon. We do not need other people informing us of the particular ways in which we suck.

People have tried to make us "better" in the past. Outsiders who are brought into Pittsburgh to "reform" or "redirect" or whatever, are usually stonewalled until they give up in a huff. Imagine(!) the difference between going to your aunt's house and her saying "oh, my drapes look like shit!" and going to your aunt's house and you saying "oh, your drapes look like shit!". One scenario is going to end up with you getting beaten with her walker and tossed out to the curb.

So, note to G-20 visitors: feel free to enjoy the City, but God help you if you speak in less than glowing terms while you're here.

Second, you're not going to be able to get anywhere. Now, I alluded to this in the humorous portion of the visitors' guide -- that Pittsburgh is a near warren of dead end streets, one way boulevards, and 17 way intersections. That portion is all true and useful for day-to-day visiting. G-20, however, has changed all this.

You out-of-towners who have secured hotels a mere five miles away from the conference center are in for a nasty shock. See, as is often mentioned, Pittsburgh is a City of Bridges, but it's also a City of Tunnels and other choke points. From the South Hills of Pittsburgh there are roughly 7 major ways to get to the other side of the hill and 7 different ways to get to the other side of the river. Considering that one of these routes is the major artery connecting Downtown and the Airport, we're getting prepared for absolute chaos. With the road closures, check points, mobs, etc. we're sort of expecting traffic jams of up to 3 hours long. (If you're from D.C. or L.A., this would be a "minor" traffic jam, but for those of us that are used to 15-30 min. delays, this is going to be a nightmare.)

Third, Pittsburghers are a relatively pleasant lot (unless you happen to be a Cleveland Browns Fan), and we're going to be as helpful as possible. Remember, however, that we are bread from the same stock as those of the Whiskey Rebellion and the Homestead Steel Strike. We don't take kindly to people messing up our City and, dammit, there are still enough burly steelworker-types that will bring the fury if you start to cause trouble or try to move someone's parking chair. Pittsburghers are territorial and we don't like to start trouble, but we'll finish it.

Seriously folks, a couple of beers and even the nicest looking, sweetest little babushka from the South Side will mess you up over a chair. More serious trouble makers will be set upon with the same fury as that reserved for visiting obnoxious Cleveland Browns fans.

Fourth, with that said, we've been told to be on our best behavior. We will not, however, tell you the "secret routes" through the City.

Fifth, the National Media should keep the coverage of Pittsburgh's steel history to a minimum. Yes, it was a big deal. Yes, it impacted the region. Yes, we have a football team named after it. However, it's over. Framing the discussion about Pittsburgh in terms of Steel is for lazy reporters, NFL stock films, and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

So, here's the deal people: we didn't ask for this summit; it was foisted upon us. Don't make us regret it.

Or we'll sic our Polish grandmothers on you.


NutellaonToast said...

Turn left on Craig ST to get quickly from East Oakland to South Oakland.

Oh, yes I did!

Also, bred, not bread.

NutellaonToast said...

Shit, I meant Neville.

AlanSmithee said...

I would rather fight a 20 foot eelpout than risk offending your Polish grandmother. Srsly.

Ms. Monongahela, Ms. Chief Editor said...

Alan -- you directed that movie, Death of a Gunfighter, right?