A two hundred mile ahead of me so getting a bold cup of coffee (and an almond mele) seemed a great start to the trip. The whole block was dark except for the welcoming neon and glass doors and window of La Prima Espresso and the neighboring bakery (Colangelo’s). A standing coffee bar with the best coffee in Pittsburgh. A thought of the day on a chalkboard, written in Italian. Italian TV playing above the barista making espresso, cappuccino, lattes. Fresh squeezed orange juice until 2 PM. You can see the newspaper outside on the sidewalk by the front doors.
One of the most recognizable scents
I remember when I didn’t even drink coffee.
A hot cup in my hand before dawn–
all is right with the world.
Especially if it from La Prima Espresso!
Too many churches, not enough parishioners. One afternoon I photographed 8 closed churches on the South Side in one hour’s time. Now a law office, one a Dueling Pianos Bar, two were condominiums, some just locked and empty. I had a plan for a series on the closed churches of Pittsburgh converted for other uses, like the Church Brew Works and Mr. Smalls Theater, the Altar Bar, The Priory etc. but then I abandoned the effort as it just felt sad to me. No shortage of subjects. There are some beautiful and interesting preservation photos of St. Peter and Paul (click here)
Could Have Been Taken Anywhere
East Liberty PA
Once a bustling business
and thriving cultural center.
Gone through decades of changes.
Now some new businesses.
I looked out and saw the closed church.
So hauntingly beautiful in the winter fog and mist.
A recurring theme around the city as I travel between schools- I see chairs. The chairs make me wonder about the owners, their usual occupants. Somewhere in my hard drive I’ve a photo of a high chair near the curb, waiting for pick-up. Chairs have a personality of their own. I love to hear the names of different types of chairs, each evoke an image- wing chair, ladderback, Windsor or Eames. Lawn chair, rocking chair, lounge or arm. High chair, club chair, captain chair, molded plastic, patio or kitchen chair. School chairs are not particularly comfortable. Kids love the rolling ones on wheels. Folding, stackable, side chair or throne. Where do you sit?
Left the house a bit earlier to get to the other side of the city this morning. As I hit the Birmingham Bridge I saw the sunrise. I pulled to the edge, hit the flashers again and sat quietly, and shot the sky over a few minutes time. The other direction I could see cars on the Parkway with their headlights on. A nice way to start the day. But the Red Sky,Sailors Take Warning turned out true as it is snowing (about 3 inches so far) and already they have called for a two hour delay at school. The dark band along the bottom of the photo is the Jersey Barrier. Unretouched photograph!
Arlington Avenue. Driving down the curvy slope, slick tracks under your tires make a distinctive sound. Note the trolley tracks and wires. They still run! I had to turn around and get this inflatable. From the rear. Drove up the hill again and came down, took a shot of him from the front. It was the unexpected sight of a huge Black and Gold inflatable, leaning over the cab of the silver pick-up. This view was the better one. Playoff fever mounts as Sunday night’s game with the Jets is on everyone’s minds. Well, most everyone. It helps us make it through the winter. And if you want to purchase one of these blow up football friends, get down to Mike Feinberg Company”The Party King” in the Strip on Penn Ave. Fans have a variety of ways to express team spirit and I know everyone will sport Black and Gold at school on Friday. Throughout the city! I find team allegiance an interesting study. Where you are born, where you live, family traditions, civic pride. There are photographers who photograph the Steelers Fans for years.
I drive by this structure most days, the corner of Stanton and Negley. It was in bad repair for a long time. Then it started to be cared for and fixed up. Attended some poetry readings here a couple of years ago. The accumulation of soot speaks of another time in Pittsburgh’s history, when the mills ran around the clock,spewing “carbon, sulfur dioxides and gypsum” (residue listed when they cleaned the Cathedral of Learning) . The buildings with the evidence of another time are dwindling. Tomorrow I will get the name of the company who is doing the cleaning and add it to this post.
The Union Project homepage states “Union Project’s purpose is to create connections and opportunities for learning through the arts and through community-based programming intended to serve the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods.” (click here for entire mission statement and more info on space rental and programs, stained glass classes and ceramics)
The right side is already cleaned, and the tower is being worked on now. I was at a red light and got the one man cleaning the tower but turned the corner and pulled over and rolled down the window to catch the other two workers and the contrast of the clean and the remaining visibile sign of the mills.
Diana Nelson Jones wrote an article 12/11/10 in the Post-Gazette about the restoration of all the stained glass windows.
I was making a pot of soup when the phone rang. “What are you doing? Some tickets just dropped in our lap!” It was Barb S asking if Steve and I wanted to see opening night of Rain A Tribute to the Beatles. When? 7:30. I looked at my clock on the stove. It was 6:38. We had ten minutes to get down the hill to there house and off we went to Heinz Hall. The roads weren’t too bad. I figured no two hour delay in the morning. After the show I walked across the 6th Street to document the fun evening. It was nostalgic. Good energy. Unexpected live music! We stood and swayed, singing along “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” Given the snowstorm, I was surprised how full the theater was!
Driving through Oakland. A snowstorm. Lights in the night. An enormous Diplodocus accumulating snowfall on his back. Sporting a red knit scarf. Pull to the curb. Forbes Avenue. Turn on the flashers. Get out of the car. Focus. Shoot. Find the beauty of winter.
On the way home from school this late afternoon, crossed the Bloomfield Bridge, down Howley Street past the Shur Save and turned to the right instead left. Too much traffic by the new Children’s Hospital. On Pearl Street the car ahead of me was stopped. It took a long time for the parallel parker to get into the space. Thought the row of houses on the right had some good repetition and rhythm.
In Lawrenceville. As I walked over the 40th Street Bridge I looked up and saw all these houses packed so closely together.. There was no air between the rooftops. Reminded me of a difficult jigsaw puzzle.
And the birds flew up into the shot. I was wishing I had taken my new fingerless gloves from Christmas. Just left the Millvale Post Office (no line!) to mail Joanne’s Christmas box I’d been driving around for three weeks. And the cards that each needed an additional 5 cent stamp. As I came back over the Allegheny I saw the light stream down onto the city. Pulled into the Bus Stop indentation at the end of the bridge, put the flashers on and walked to the center. Fortunately the light was still there. Could have used a filter, too, but it was a stunning late afternoon in winter. Could feel the bridge vibrate as I stood out on the walkway.
The holiday lights down below give the clue as to the time of year. Two gatherings Friday night. Live music at both. Extraordinary piano playing. Walked up to the third floor and out the door onto the roof. Propped the camera up on the deck railing and shot without the cable release. The lights felt magical. A beautiful cold winter night.
Had just left the bookstore and was walking to my car. I could see the Cathedral of Learning in Oakland from the parking lot on the roof. Smoke rising, silhouettes, a stunning sky. This is my 444th post today.
I had to put the car in reverse and pull over. Yes, it seemed blog worthy. I have shot the laundromat before. I drive by it most days. Grateful for a washer and dryer in my very own basement. I like the smell of laundromats. Clean laundry. You could get Chuckles in the vending machine in the one on Highland Ave. One time I went with some friends to see a little play in a laundromat in Shadyside. Figures made from dryer lint. I wonder who thought to drape the sting of lights on the sign.
Coming back from training in the West End I pulled into the Cigna lot and took a couple of chilly shots. Although a color photo it appears to be black and white. Looked for lights in the city but the snow blocked the view. You can see the snowflakes against the river background. The railroad tracks, partially covered, made for nice lines. The best thing about being asked to drive across the city in the snow (when it feels like you shouldn’t get on any road!) is that you get to see a view you wouldn’t have seen if you hadn’t made the trip. You might remember the blogpost - same vantage point- without the snow.
He looked straight at me. I don’t think he wanted me to take his picture. I heard a deep camel growl. The streetlight behind outlined his head shape just so. There was an ox and a donkey, I’d say they were “lowing”. An angel passed out candy canes. I went inside and the sanctuary was filled with the sound of Go Tell it on the Mountain. Christmas has come to the city, right on Penn Circle North, across from Home Depot! There was a second camel who seemed less agitated by the whole scene. People were crossing the street and taking pictures with their cell phones.
Left school so late that it was dark. Drove a circuitous route home to check out the lights in Morningside. The house I have photographed the past two years didn’t have a single light. Thinking about the possible reasons for no lights this year but maybe they just moved. This house up the street looked lovely in the snow with the greens and ribbons on the white fence.
No one seems worried about the electric bills! The days are growing shorter and the light displays increasing.
South Side. There is a house sandwiched between storefronts and bars on Carson. Here is how it looked Friday night. In this view you can’t see the Jockey lawn ornament by the life-size Santa and Mrs. Claus.
We watched A Christmas Story (1983) over Thanksgiving.
Friday night I walked by this window on Carson St after listening to Don Hollowood and the King Cobras at Excuses. Saw the display and thought anyone who has seen this holiday movie would enjoy the picture. Found out it was shot in Cleveland. When I was in high school I used to listen to Jean Shepherd on the radio. I never knew anyone whose tongue stuck on a frozen flagpole.
Driving from one school to another I vary my route. Not specifically looking for photos, just trying to find a good way to go with the least traffic flow. Colorful bird houses dangling from the branches of a city tree made me smile.