This covers only half of yesterday, for I had an awesome visit to a historic mansion that one of my friends just bought, and then a wonderful multi-course Hungarian dinner, and one of the guests happened to be a Big Macher in Pittsburgh. But more on that tomorrow. Yesterday morning and afternoon I roamed around downtown admiring the architecture of the city, which is underappreciated. Here are some buildings:
The Union Trust Building (1915-1916), erected by Henry Clay Frick, originally designed as a shopping arcade (the malls of their day). I love the neo-Gothic roof, which reminds me of the Tribune Tower in Chicago (the world’s only Gothic skyscraper):
I believe this logo is made out of real vegetation, but I may well be wrong. It seems to be for the PNC Bank in Pittsburgh. Perhaps it’s Astroturf after all, for how would they mow it?
A hidden little Art Deco building;
The diversity of architectural styles in Pittsburgh:
“Meet me under the Kaufmann’s clock.” Kaufmann’s Department Store. The Pittsburgh store, built in 1887, became the first of a chain, and is now owned, as is Marshall Field’s in Chicago (also with a famous “meet me” clock), by Macy’s. As Wikipedia notes:
The original clock which was installed in 1887 was a large free standing four faced clock. It immediately became a popular downtown meeting place, with the oft-used phrase “Meet me under Kaufmann’s clock.” With the expansion of the store in 1913, the current clock was installed.The clock is a Pittsburgh icon, and is often featured in visual materials representing and marketing the city. Both the Kaufmann’s flagship building and the clock are designated as Pittsburgh Historical Landmarks. Upon announcing the 2006 retirement of the Kaufmann’s name and the downtown store being rebranded as Macy’s, the store gave out tote bags printed with the Clock’s image and its phrase “Meet me under the Kaufmann’s clock” to honor the store’s 135-year history.
The 64-story U.S. Steel Tower, completed in 1970. It’s a rusty steel building, but designed to be that way. As Wikipedia notes:
The U.S. Steel Tower is architecturally noted for its triangular shape with indented corners. The building also made history by being the first to use liquid-filled fireproofed columns. U.S. Steel deliberately placed the massive steel columns on the exterior of the building to showcase a new product called Cor-ten steel. Cor-ten resists the corrosive effects of rain, snow, ice, fog, and other meteorological conditions by forming a coating of dark brown oxidation over the metal, which inhibits deeper penetration and doesn’t need painting and costly rust-prevention maintenance over the years.
A closeup of the partly rusted Cor-ten steel.
Time for lunch at last! And what better place for a light lunch than Primanti Brothers, a Pittsburgh landmark and now a chain. Michael Stern’s description and review at Roadfood notes that Primanti’s weird custom of including french fries and cole slaw within the sandwich began when the restaurant (which has another branch in the busy “Strip” district) was servicing truck drivers. (It’s open 24 hours a day.) The drivers had no time for a sit-down meal, so the cole slaw and fries were simply stuffed into the sandwich along with some Russian dressing. (One also adds a vinegar sauce to spice it up.) That sounds icky, but it was actually quite good. Primanti’s is a Pittsburgh Institution.
I ate early and had a pastrami and cheese sandwich, shown here in normal view and cross section: