I arrived in Pittsburgh ten days ago and landed in the middle of a party. The entire city seemed to have turned out, crowding the Clemente bridge over the Allegheny River. Music blared. Boats made lazy circles. Kayakers moved into the center of the waterway then stopped, bobbing on the easy current.
On the bridge, the crowd was almost as thick as the smoke from the food that rose into the still, cool evening air from the food tents pressed next to each other. The whole thing had the tone of a state fair…or a city-wide party. Even though Pirate fever had the city in it’s grips, I didn’t think this was a celebratory thing–the Pirates had yet to play their won-or-done game to get into the post season (they eventually won–now THAT was a party–Pittsburgh does love it’s sports teams).
“What’s the occasion?” I asked my friend, wine in hand as we both gazed down on the throng from the perfect vantage point: her apartment overlooking the river, high above the fray. “I bet, if we’re willing to fight for it, we could score a funnel cake. Or maybe some crepe pancakes from Pamela’s.” Taking in the incredible confluence of three major rivers, I eyed the boats which were multiplying as we watched. “Who are they all waiting for?” I’m thinking some dignitary or the other, like the Emperor of the Universe, is the only thing that could pull this many folks out–Pittsburgh ain’t that big.
“The duck.” My friend announced as she freshened my glass of wine.
“Hmmm,” she said with a twinkle in her eye as she nodded toward the view through the window.