I’m staying in an AirBnB in the Mexican War Streets Historic District , an up and coming section of the city that still has some significant “up” ahead. Having finished my night of canvassing, I desperately needed a bite. With few options, I stumbled down the block to Casellula, a tapas restaurant, only to discover it is connected to City of Asylum, a book store and community center with a mission to provide sanctuary to endangered literary writers, so that they can continue to write and their voices are not silenced. That evening they were hosting a forum to showcase two poets (one from Bangladesh and one from Burma) and the maestro, artistic director and performers for an upcoming showcase of Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, The Creation, by the Pittsburgh Philharmonic Orchestra.
I woke up the next morning and walked to the Mattress Factory, a contemporary art museum and experimental lab featuring installations created by artists in residence from around the world. It was fascinating, perplexing and well worth the visit.
On the way I passed “Randyland” a whimsical folkart creation and project of love by a true eccentric.
After a ride on the Duquesne Incline cable car for a view of the city, I returned to the Mexican War Streets district to go to the National Aviary, an indoor zoo with more than 500 birds from around the world, many of them endangered in the wild.
This eclectic mix of experiences all arose by happenstance or recommendations of individuals I met on the streets of Pittsburgh. Not bad for less than 24 hours.