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the corresponding essays.
I sit there quietly in my tiny café chair. I wish I had a fork so I could stick it in my eye.
The conductor and his light had disappeared! There are those whose hearts would throb faster under such circumstances. We were without light, and far, far under the ground...
It is an unprofitable business, view-hunting; but if any one would enjoy a spectacle as striking as Niagara, he may do so by simply walking up a long hill to Cliff Street in Pittsburg, and looking over into—hell with the lid taken off.
Beneath its soot and grime [you] will discover in Pittsburg one of the most picturesque cities in America. Here [you] will find nothing stolen from Europe--nothing derivative. It is the very quintessence of what one is in the habit of styling "American."
Everything in the hotel was black; not black to the eye, for the eye teaches itself to discriminate colours even when loaded with dirt, but black to the touch. On coming out of a tub of water my foot took an impress from the carpet exactly as it would have done had I trod barefooted on a path laid with soot.
It was your whole body that knew those sidewalks and streets. Your bones ached with them; you tasted their hot dust in your bleeding lip; their gravel worked into your palm and knees and stayed, blue under the new skin that grew over it.
Like a people, a city grows its own legends, passes its lore down to younger generations.
Billowing clouds of fire blossom from the dark to metastasize into orange and scarlet plumes. The sun is coming apart.
The business was a gift from my family to me, painstakingly built over 50 years. As the last person in the line of succession, I felt an obligation not to let that gift slip past me into oblivion.
Our childhood belonged to an age without automobiles, without labor-saving electrical devices, without radio, television, or aeroplanes.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, a man took off his jacket and put on a sweater. Then he took off his shoes and put on a pair of sneakers.
A need to go slowly, to register each detail of violated terrain competes with an urge to get the hell out before some doped-up fool without insurance or a pot to piss in comes barreling out of a side street and totals my new Volvo wagon.
The industrial detritus of a fading culture stretches for mile upon unrelieved mile on these riverbanks: abandoned furnaces, mill buildings, railroad tracks and bridges, storage yards, pumping stations, pipelines, transmission towers. The American steel industry lies dying in its cradle.
I didn't for a second think of what I was doing but I came close to killing him. I felt neither righteous nor horrified, not even saddened, more than anything a little amazed at what I did.
I think about the slow decline of my own accent as a sad contrast to Cope, who, in the face of professional ridicule, not only kept his dialect but turned it into a trademark.
Red Whittaker, like George Patton in World War II, ignited among his troop of rookies a nearly maniacal dedication, as well as an overpowering exhaustion.
Beneath the ruins, we cast about for form and function as if their residue still hung in the air. I believe it did. I knew that men had built and run the machines around us. I could peel back the layers of time, rediscover their work and dreams.
Like so many immigrants in cities all over the world, Seifu Haileyesus, owner of Tana Ethiopian Cuisine, is capitalizing on the romance and sense of exoticism that a foreign culture can bring to a relatively homogenous place.
It wasn't easy being with my grandfather at times. He was the boss: No was no, and yes was yes. He broke rules and bent rules and made new rules along the way. But once part of his world, you hung on tight for every fantastic, unbearable moment.
You could call my family's collection "quaint," "eccentric," "sort of nerdy." "Pickles," you'd say. "They collect pickles. Right." And maybe, anywhere else, it would be strange. But here, we are not the only ones.
People do all sorts of drastic things when they find themselves stuck in a cycle where the life they are leading doesn't add up to whom they want to be: I found myself wearing a giant puppet costume on a stage at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
Hills. Rivers. Steel. Neighborhoods. Art. Football.
Can words explain a city like Pittsburgh, with its rich history, complicated geography, and thriving communities? Over the years, countless writers—who grew up here, or moved here, or were just passing through—have taken up the challenge.
In celebration of the city’s 250th anniversary, we’ve collected some of the best true stories ever written about Pittsburgh and its people. They cover topics from coal mining in the 1860s to the difficulties of being single here in the 21st century—and they all share a fascination with, as Stewart O’Nan puts it, “the real Steel City, the city that’s shared imaginatively by all long-term Pittsburghers. … People and things we as Pittsburghers know, whether they’re true or not.”Some of these stories are old, and some are new — and some are still being written. We hope you’ll find some of your favorites here, as well as many surprises. Happy Reading!