Six real reasons NOT to move to Pittsburgh

Earlier this week I posted six real reasons to move to Pittsburgh, specifically the things I miss about living in Pittsburgh. But before ChicagoNow rips up my contract I should point out that there are definitely things I do not miss about Pittsburgh. Below are six reasons NOT to move to Pittsburgh.

Oh, remember in the previous post when I said I had a lot of friends in Pittsburgh? That may not be true after they read this list (particularly item 6). But first…

1. Blue laws

I hate when I find myself at Trader Joe’s before 11 AM on Sunday and realize I can’t buy wine. People in Pittsburgh don’t have that problem because they can’t ever buy wine at Trader Joe’s. Or most grocery stores. Or convenience stores.

In Pittsburgh you generally have to go to a state store to buy wine and liquor. Oh, and if you want some beer too? Well, you’ll need to go to another place for that. And buy it by the case.

2. Smoking in bars

yes-smoking-signPittsburgh banned smoking in restaurants which includes bars that make a certain percentage of revenue from food, but straight up bars still tend to be smoky. Smokers would likely prefer this be on the “reasons to move to Pittsburgh” list, but for me it’s on the negative side.

There was a time when I was used to coming home from an evening out reeking of smoke even though I hadn’t been smoking myself, but now that I’ve lived in two cities with wide scale smoking bans (DC and Chicago) I’ve come to enjoy going to bed without being disgusted by the smell of my own hair.

3. Culture of drunk driving

Public transportation in Pittsburgh serves limited routes with a focus on access to and from downtown during weekday rush hours. This means that visiting friends or going out on weekends is difficult to do via public transportation. There used to be an “ultraviolet loop” bus route that went between several bar heavy neighborhoods on Friday and Saturday nights, but it was discontinued.

Chicagoans or folks from other big cities may say, “Just take a cab.” Good luck with that. Taxis in Pittsburgh can’t be hailed. You have to call them and hope that they actually show up a half an hour later.

Because of the lack of viable public transportation or available taxis people tend to drive everywhere. Even when they are going out drinking. I’m very lucky to have not lost a friend to that.

Please be safe yinz guys.

(I realize my first three points all had to do with drinking. Just remember that I went to college in Pittsburgh. Technically I went to college in Pittsburgh three times.)

4. Drivers who do not maintain speed through tunnels

Pittsburgh maintain speed through tunnels
Tshirt available on Zazzle

The primary ways to get into the heart of Pittsburgh from the east or south involve going through tunnels, so you would think Pittsburghers would be good at driving through them. They’re not.

Particularly during rush hour, game days, or before big concerts the entrances to the Squirrel Hill and Fort Pitt Tunnels are basically just rows of brake lights, but immediately on the other side of the tunnel there is very little traffic. Why? Because the traffic jams at the tunnels are due to people slamming on their brakes just as they enter the tunnels only to accelerate as they exit.

It’s even worse when it’s raining, which makes no sense. When it’s raining the tunnel is the only place the road isn’t slick! You should go faster through the tunnel in the rain!

5. North Versailles

Despite most Pittsburghers knowing that Duquesne is NOT pronounced Doo-kwez-nay they still pronounce the suburb of North Versailles as North Vur-Saylz. What’s up with that? And is there a South Versailles?

6. Pirates fans

(This is where I lose those most of my Pittsburgh friends.)

Pittsburgh Pirates Fans
Photo credit: RJ Schmidt / Foter / CC BY-ND

Cubs fans understand the dashed hopes of a bad season, so they understand the emotional mess that Pirates fans have been for the past couple of decades. Still, Pirates fans, has your team won the World Series in the past 100 years? Then shut up.

What’s more obnoxious than Pirates fans during a losing season? Pirates fans during a winning season, or so I’ve learned this year.

After every win (and, yes, there have been many) my Facebook and Twitter feeds get clogged with variants on the idea of raising the Jolly Roger.  “Raise it!” “RTJR.” Or the implied profanity of “RTMFJR.” (They’re pirates, get it?) When I see those posts I am inclined to quote Jay Cutler a la Paul M. Banks, “Don’t Care!

Bonus reason not to move to Pittsburgh: It’s not the same

A personal reason not to move to Pittsburgh is that it’s not the same city I remember. It has changed. It even started before I left.

The Rib Cage became Jerome’s which became Bar Eleven. The South Shore Diner moved to the north side of the street then became the South Side Diner then became Tom’s Diner, which expanded into the next building but eventually closed. Penn Avenue Theatre closed (although those people have gone on to do awesome stuff elsewhere).

The USX tower became the UPMC building, which is not quite as jarring the Sears Tower being called the Willis Tower, but it’s still weird.

The point is many of the places I have fond memories of are gone or have changed drastically. When I go to Pittsburgh it doesn’t feel like home anymore. It feels odd. It feels like going home to find it filled with someone else’s furniture.

Plus all the Pirates fans I know just unfriended me.

RELATED POST: Six real reasons to move to Pittsburgh

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