The Duck

This weekend I found myself headed into downtown Pittsburgh for the second time in six weeks to see an art installation.  My college roommate lives outside of the city and I was headed to spend the weekend with her and her family.  The original plan was to watch my godson play football but a torn ACL in the first game dashed that plan.  We found ourselves with no plans for Saturday and the ability to spend all day together, no kids and no other commitments which has not happened in a long, long time.  With that said we had to find something fun to do!

The conversation went something like this:

Candace: We could go see the duck.

Me: What??

Candace: There is a giant rubber duck floating in the river downtown as an art installation.  (At this point she googles it on her phone to show me)

Me: (After looking at the pictures) That is crazy, I’ve never seen anything like that!

And so, it was added to our agenda.  We started by doing a drive by of the Abby Lee Dance Center because being the reality tv junkie that I am I thought it would be fun to go see the studio in person.  I was amazed to find it looked exactly the same in person as it did on tv.  There was a cop car leaving as we pulled in so they must patrol regularly to keep crazies like me from stalking the studio.  Anyway, it was a Saturday afternoon and the parking lot was full.  There was a giant Cadillac very close to the back door so I’m going to go ahead and believe Abby Lee was actually there but who knows?  I got out of the car and snapped a quick back before we made our get away before the cops came back.

Next we went to a shoe store for a little retail therapy.  Only my college roommate’s mom would have her own shoe salesman but that’s another post for another blog.

And then it was time for the Duck.  First, I have to say (and this hard for a true blue Cleveland fan) that downtown Pittsburgh kicks Cleveland’s behind.  There had been a Penguins game that was letting out and there was going to be a Pitt game that night and, of course, there was the Duck.  There was more traffic down there on a Saturday afternoon then on any given work day in downtown Cleveland.  The other thing Pittsburgh does way better than Cleveland is to take advantage of the water and they only have rivers, we have a whole darn lake.  And, I know we like our arts in Cleveland but this is the second public art exhibition in 2 months that has brought people, not only from Pittsburgh but from out of town, to the downtown.

We made our way very slowly to the general area where one could park to go see the Duck.  Now, we could see it as we were driving around because the Duck is 4 stories tall but we needed to go check it out on person.  We lucked out and found a parking spot, put on the raincoats and headed to the Pointe where the Duck was floating.

I will admit a 4 stories floating rubber duck is a sight to see but the most interesting thing were the crowds of people.  It was the Duck’s last day, apparently it is being taken down during the Steelers game today and is headed for an undisclosed location to be cleaned and I guess reappear somewhere else (hint, hint, it would look great in North Coast Harbor!!)  The souvenir stand was practically sold out and you could barely get close enough to get a picture.  People were climbing over embankments to get closer.  It was a crazy scene.  We each snapped a few shots and my roommate got all crazy and we took a selfie.  We are way too old for selfies as I don’t think either of us is looking at the camera and it’s way off centered but hey we like it!

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And here is the duck in all its glory!

We were going to be super cool and eat at a local place downtown but there was not one restaurant that we could get into before 10pm so we headed back to the burbs for dinner.

Cleveland could take a couple of notes from what Pittsburgh what is doing with the downtown space and let’s get some public art installations around town!

Walking the Bridge

I took advantage of the extra day off this week to hop in my car and make the 2 hour drive to Pittsburgh to check out Knit the Bridge.  I had heard about it awhile ago and really wanted to check it out.  What I read was that a knitting guild in Pittsburgh had received permission from the city to “yarn bomb” one of the many bridges in downtown Pittsburgh.  For those non-knitters, yarn bombing is covering public objects in knitting.  It is basically a public art installation.  They seem to be catching on in a number of places.  This is the closest I’ve been to an organized yarn bomb.

But then life was getting in the way, it seemed I had plans for all the weekends it was going to be up.  I also wondered exactly what was going to be bombed.  If it was just a few blankets hanging on the bridge I was not sure it was worth the trip.  The pictures from the bridge once all the pieces were installed were amazing and I knew I must try to find a day to go see it in person.  Heck, I’ve traveled to NYC for knitting shows, I should be able to drive 2 hours to see this bridge.

Turns out I had no plans for Labor Day.  My mom was looking for something to do so I picked her up and we headed out.  First stop was lunch with my college roommate.  We met at restaurant near the Ikea (for those familiar) called Burgatory.  I picked it because we don’t have them here in C-town.  It was good – a little bit of a B Spot rip off but very tasty.  When they bring you the bill they bring fortune cookies.  My mom handed them out to and my roomie.  I opened mine and it said “fill in the blank – we took a break”  What???  I have no fortune.  Both my mom and my roomie had actual fortunes.  I’m still a little disturbed…

And then it was off to the bridge.  Funny side story – my mom is not a fan of bridges and I tend to forget this.  When you drive into Pittsburgh through the Fort Pitt tunnel you come right out of the tunnel onto a bridge over the river.  We’re lucky I was not actually relying on her for directions because we may still be driving around Pittsburgh.  That was not her idea of a good time!

We found the Andy Warhol (formerly known as the 7th Street) Bridge and drove over it and back over and then parked in a lot at one end.  My mom hung out at the car and I took my camera and my phone and headed out to check it out in greater detail.  I got to the bridge and took off the lens cap to the camera and hit the on button only to realized my freshly charged battery was sitting on the bookshelf at home.  Lucky for me my phone takes good pictures.  Here are a few of my faves!

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And these were great too!

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I was really shocked at the number of people who were also there checking out the project.  It was really great to see that many people out.  The squares were all so different and showed a wide variety skills, techniques and color choices.  I was also happy to see them holding up so well over time.  I believe I read the blankets are being donated to homeless shelters and animal shelters once they are taken down.

We stopped to get soda and then hopped back on the turnpike.  Fun note from the trip home: there were issues in the EZ Pass lane in Ohio and as I went to drive through the arm came down and bounced off my windshield.  It seemed like it was covered in plastic so no harm done, except for my mom who thought I was busting through the gate.  It was the perfect way to spend a day off!!