Monday, August 28, 2006

Reinventing Yinzerville

Pittsburgh is frozen in time. I'm not sure what time period is preserved. Perhaps the cultural dynamism left with all the people during the 1980s. Really, I'm not that cynical, but I do wonder how Pittsburgh (and the Pittsburgher) is changing. The local politics are mired in mistrust and there isn't much fresh blood to influence a novel outlook.

The New Yinzer thinks otherwise:

The New Yinzer is a literary organization whose mission is to question, develop, and embody the newly emergent identity of Pittsburgh by way of literary discourse while also providing regional writers with a working classroom in which to cultivate their writing from a fresh idea to a finished product.

What has Pittsburgh become? Pittsburgh needs an image makeover, but I don't think the folks at The New Yinzer are talking about the industrial image that settles as a thick layer of soot between the rest of the world and the region's "newly emergent identity."

Some saviors might want to market the essence of Pittsburgh, but I suggest joining those who would reinvent Yinzerville. I can see a time in the near future when locals remember nostalgically the good ole days of the late 1990s and early on in the new millennium, when the true Pittsburgh remained undisturbed.


a couple of nomads said...

cool blog idea, especially for members of the diaspora to check back in on da burgh. i did two stints there and eventually married a local pittsburger. we've since left and don't plan to look back. sure, i feel tinges of nostalgia for the rivers, the hills, the parks. pittsburgh has pockets of sublime urban and natural beauty. but when people talk about pittsburgh having an image problem, well that overlooks so much more. there is a larger identity problem. originally from eastern PA, i've have had my share of experiences with communities living in some other era, but pittsburgh tops them all. you hit it on the mark by questioning which era pittsburgh is living in, i still haven't figured that one out and i'm guessing many of those who still call pittsburgh home haven't either. yet, for those of us who fled, or left, there is something about the city that generates a powerful sense of place, one that's hard to shake. if nothing else, pittsburgh has character, character and grit. and, when you have that, who needs "image."

cheers to your blog.

tannybrown said...

You know how after a few beers, the girl who's a 6 standing next to two 4's suddenly looks fantastic? That can be Pittsburgh's new image, or even our slogan: "We're pretty hot standing next to Cinci and Cleveland."

Okay, that may not work, but I like the idea. My thinking before was to make Pittsburgh the hipster mecca du jour with music, or to market PA as a good place to raise a family to young professionals leaving California.

If you're going after people from DC, you may need to target those who can telecommute or fly into work a few times a week. Apparently people are doing this daily commute between Las Vegas and Los Angeles pretty regularly. The location of Pittsburgh's airport really hurts the city in this regard though -- it's in the middle of nowhere.

Intraregional travel, it's a bitch.

Jim Russell said...

Damon, I raise a glass and welcome your salutation.

Jim Russell said...


If you are a Pittsburgh-based business interested in networking with the DC region, where would you locate?

I think there are two options:

1) Locate in close proximity to the Pittsburgh airport. Of course, Pittsburgh could make commuting to the airport from the CBD much easier. But you can't sit around waiting for that to happen.

2) Locate about half way between the two regions, at the regional economic watershed. Cumberland, MD looks about right to me.

Amos_thePokerCat said...

Tanny, Have you been to CLE or CVG (Cinci) lately? You can actually get dim sum and decent vietnamese food in CLE. Not true in PIT. CLE actually *grew* during the 90's. PIT didn't. CLE lost less total percentage wise during the last 30 years.

CVG is booming. Not Vegas boom, but for the mid-west it is a boom.

tannybrown said...

Hi Amos. I'd been in the Cinci airport on a couple layovers this past winter but haven't really seen Ohio since 2000 or so.

Dirt, I would go with the first option as the flight between Pittsburgh and DC is likely shorter than a drive to Cumberland, from either city (although with these new airport regulations, who knows). Maybe have an office located near Washington Dulles as well.

Amos_thePokerCat said...

I would expect that anything that takes less than 3, or 4 hours to drive might be quicker than flying, depending on where you live, and how far you destination is from the airport, and the direction you are driving from. Which makes my doubt the last part of the MarketPlace piece on the exodus from CA, where they mentioned people commuting by air from Vegas to LA. I have regularly commuted to DEN on a bi-weekly basis, both before and after 9/11. It sucked before, it sucks even more now. That was only one flight leg a week. Imagine ten one-way flights a week. ICK!