Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Home Sweet Home

It's 8:20; a string of advertisements drones in the background.

The Steelers just took the field, and as they gamboled all over the field reveling in their Super Bowl XL victory on the cusp of the new season's commencement, the camera pulled back. The blimp shot revealed every building in the city lit up in celebration, fireworks launching from behind PPG 1's spires, spot lights lining the river and the Fort Duquesne Bridge waving beams of light hither and yon, and the crowd, the Terrible Towel waving crowd.

I am the last person to lionize professional sports, especially on the day we lay to rest Mayor O'Connor, who was taken tragically in the first year of his long-sought tenancy of the Mayor's office, but it's simply impossible to ignore how beautiful my city looks tonight.

Pittsburgh, its best foot forward, is resplendant under the klieg lights; a smug glow suffuses me at the thought of how strangers to Pittsburgh all over this nation have turned to each other in the last twenty minutes to remark on how stunning our city really is. As well they should. This flawed, bankrupt rust belt town is gorgeous, and has so much to be proud of.

A born New Jerseyan, I've had the luxury in the course of my life of watching each of "my" teams win at least one championship in their respective sports -- the Devils, the Mets, the Giants. But never has my pleasure in those occasions matched my pleasure last year when the city turned out to celebrate the Steelers' fifth Super Bowl victory or the unanticipated pleasure I feel right now watching the nation celebrate this city for a few glorious moments.

The rush of civic pride I felt when the camera pulled back, as it does just now, my own office illuminated like virtually every other office in the skyline, is something completely singular in my experience. And just now I couldn't be more thrilled to live here.

UPDATE: Today (the next day), from a conference room, I espied three of the pennants atop the convention center in a slot between two towers. As would be expected on this occasion, they were bedecked by alternating flags of black and gold. But despite the festivities they bespeak, the flags fly at half mast in honor of our fallen Mayor. An apt memorial for the Mayor billed as that of the common folk.

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