Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pedestrian Pittsburgh - West End Village: Taming the Dragons

[Pedestrian Pittsburgh is a collaborative effort between Eric Lidji and me. We're gonna walk all over this fantastic city. Check out his blog for his account (which will be much more elegant and whimsical than my account that follows). Also, we have a tumblr and a twitter.]

You may remember a post from a few weeks ago, where the City Paper noted the uncharted-ness of Pittsburgh's West End by denoting it on a map with a "Here There Be Dragons" icon. Eric and I made our second PedPGH trip to the West End recently and discovered there are no dragons, but there is a colorful and interesting neighborhood hidden from view because of the valley it lies within.

Driving into the West End we were treated to a sliver of a rainbow, barely visible in this picture, but we took it to be a welcoming sign.

Mural on the side of the police building in West End Village, the first of several murals we would encounter. (I'm a fan of any mural that captures the confluence of the three rivers and the city's skyline from the point. There could be 100 of these throughout the city and I'd fall in love with each and every one of them.)

A mural fading away.

This mural represents cultural diversity and was painted by several people who are depicted in the picture below.

The West End's branch of the Carnegie Library was one of the first libraries Carnegie built in the city of Pittsburgh.

Another mural in the West End.

Train tracks run above the streets of the West End.

We walked down a few empty streets and came upon this little creek and lush greenery that sit in the West End's backyard.

The West End Village used to be called Temperanceville once upon a time.

One habit Eric and I have been making on these PedPGH walks is to explore a staircase when we come upon it. Such was the case in the West End, and we climbed this very long set of stairs that took us on an adventure through the woods(!!) of Elliott.

This path came out of nowhere, and was completely isolated. It really felt like we were in the Laurel Highlands, but we were within the Pittsburgh city limits.

We came out from the path and found another path leading to the West End Park. When we got to the top of the hill that the park lies on, the sun had started to set, and the sky looked amazing.

This mosaic was great, and when I looked at it up close, I realized it was a mosaic within a mosaic within a mosaic, and so on.

One of my favorite things about the PedPGH walks, especially on ones in neighborhoods I've never before visited, is realizing that Pittsburgh, as a whole, is one of the most interesting places around. The West End Village feels a little remote, and getting in and out of it was no easy task, but it was undoubtedly a Pittsburgh neighborhood, filled with color and a personality all its own. There were no dragons, but there was certainly plenty to discover.

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