Monday, November 15, 2010

Character, Identity, History, and Soul

I needed to find an affordable place to live that possessed character, identity, history, and soul. That is why I chose McKees Rocks. That is why I chose Pittsburgh. People who fail to appreciate those qualities are generally the same people who do not appreciate the city, and may be the reason why those things are so few and far between in the world we live in today.

The people who left Pittsburgh over the last half century were not just running away from the city. They were running away from the blue collar roots it represented, the social stigma, the coal and the steel. They were tying to run away from themselves. And so the city was left to rot, and this is what is left -- ghostly industrial sites, abandoned Victorian buildings, decayed neighborhoods. The gracefully forsaken and neglected city represents more than a collection of ruins. It is everything that has ever been loved and left to die, adored then abandoned, cherished then forgotten. It is, more importantly, a reflection of the the fickle nature, and decline, of America. Perhaps that is why many see Pittsburgh as depressing, rather than as the beautiful symbol of a more glorious era.

What represents the America of today? Walmart, the McMansion, the SUV, Jersey Shore? Take your pick. I'll take what's left of Pittsburgh.


  1. Bravo, Jon!

    I currently live in Northern Virginia, which is the poster child of everything that is wrong with American society today---conspicuous consumption, autocentricity, avarice, squandering our world's scarce resources, no appreciation for what little history we actually have, no foresight for our posterity, etc. I'm moving to Pittsburgh soon on a whim to try to find the REAL America, a nation that was forged upon blood, sweat, and tears by those who intended for us to live much better lives today than communicating only via Smartphone or Facebook, driving gas-guzzling SUVs from a gated cul-de-sac to an office park or big-box store, or becoming so disconnected from one another that we're losing the art of basic human socialization. Pittsburgh is "real" to me, and I hope to reconnect with my own roots once I arrive in a couple of weeks! It's a shame so few can appreciate cities that gave this nation so much!

  2. Jon, I enjoy checking out the blog, photos and video tours. I had a couple questions as I too am relocating to the area. I was wondering if I can e-mail you in regards. I cannot access your e-mail from the profile can you post it please? Thanks if not I will continue to enjoy the blog in the meantime. Keep up the good work and the push to show people what the city is about.

  3. Jon,

    As a native Pittsburgher, I appreciate your site more than you know. I love what this city was, is, and will become. I only wish half of the Pittsburgh population thought more like you! Keep this going!!