As I wrote in my first blog of this series, one of my hopes was to make new friends and see old ones. I pulled into a town just north of Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon and met for the first time, my friend Diana. We have been friends on facebook for a few years and have done some poetry and photo projects together. Within minutes of my arrival, lunch was ready. After lunch, she took me down by the Allegheny River to show me where she gets a lot of her ideas for her photos. It had been a long couple of days before that, so when we got back to her house, I took a nap. Apparently, I slept longer than I wanted because dinner was almost ready when I woke up. I didn’t go into Pittsburgh that night. We had a lot of conversation and went into the city early the next day.
I had done a little research on Pittsburgh and found it is busker friendly, as in no permits are necessary and there are several locations (pitches) available. I wanted to head right to Market Square (it seems every city has one 😉 ) for the lunch crowd. Diana went with me to show me how to get there and where to park. Just a side note, there really isn’t any on street parking in the downtown area- at least that I saw. She was also walking around taking photos. (To see some of Diana’s work, please visit “Life Through Blue Eyes” in my blogroll on the right). We got there right at 12 and there was some goings on for the kids- “Summer in the Square” or something like that. I waited until it was over and got started around 1:00pm. There was still a lot of people having lunch and milling about. After I started playing, a man in his wheelchair had moved over to be closer to where I was. After about 20 minutes or so he was so relaxed from my playing, he was taking a little nap. I used to take that personally, since then though, I take it as a huge compliment! I liked the way the sound bounced off some of the buildings when I was turned in their direction. I like the downtown area of the city, it seemed to me that people were friendly (for the most part) and generally appreciative of what what I doing. Diana took me to the Cultural District, but I think it was too early in the day to play there. She then took me to the Mt. Washington area. I think, that may be my favorite part of the Pittsburgh area, it is a beautiful area with excellent views of the city’s skyline. I played on one of the overlooks for a little while and that was pretty cool. I kinda pretended the entire city was my audience! A woman in an apartment behind me waved to me and wanted to take a picture from her living room!
I went to the South Side the next day. Parking was a bit easier and cheaper. I was out there for the entire evening. I saw a couple other buskers in the area and spoke with them for a few moments. In some areas, it was like taking a step back in time, where some of the old blue collar Pittsburgh remains strong. I felt safe playing down there, even after dark. Again, people were generally friendly. I had a couple of conversations with people and they were diggin’ what I was doing!
I have been invited to have dinner with Diana’s sister and husband while I am here. I had met Shari, her sister, one time down in Savannah while she was in Hilton Head vacationing. It has already rained once today and it will be continuing throughout the day, so I am getting caught up on things and having dinner with Shari and Bob tonight. Tomorrow I will be heading to Buffalo, NY after I play lunch in the South Side.
See you at Niagara Falls!