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G-20 Visitors Guide (Pt. 1)
Hello and Welcome to the Official G-20 Pittsburgh Visitor’s Guide. We hope that you find this guide useful during your stay here or that you plagiarize large segments of it back in your country of origin.
Pittsburgh is a city of about 350,000 people in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region of the United States ; the population of the metropolitan area is roughly 2.4 million, although only 350,000 of them are actual “Pittsburghers,” with the rest being an unclassified subspecies. If you travel outside of the region, you will also find people that refer to themselves as “Pittsburghers” and show some of the same characteristics of “Pittsburghers” but they are not technically “Pittsburghers” — they are traitors.
The City is situated at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, which join to form the Ohio . Of these three, only the Allegheny and Ohio are ever mentioned, because no one can correctly pronounce the word “Monongahela.” Best not to even mention the Youghiogheny River .
Pittsburgh has a rich history, a high standard of living, but is reasonably priced. Locals expect the area to be completely ruined by the end of the G-20 conference.
There are four main districts in Pittsburgh : Northside, Southside, East End , and Downtown. People from Northside, Southside and East End are only allowed to visit Downtown, and not the other districts. Crossing bridges, valleys, and hills within these districts is generally frowned upon. Visitors to Pittsburgh must select a District and may not leave until their visit is complete.
Within these districts, there are 90 official neighborhoods with over 50 additional or sub-neighborhoods which everyone knows about and nobody can easily define. There are also 130 additional municipalities that exist immediately outside (and in one case within) the City proper. These can be safely ignored, for all intents and purposes, unless you need to call the police, get trash picked up, or your house is burning down. New municipalities are always forming in the Region and visitors are invited to form their own local government as a recreational activity.
Understanding Pittsburgh …
The First people to settle in the Pittsburgh Region were the Lenape Native American tribe, who took the wrong exit off a trail and settled at the “Forks of the Ohio .” Their descendants just sort of hung around with nowhere else to go. The region was later re-discovered by the French and then later re-rediscovered by the British, who decided to build a fort, which was determined to be a non-conforming use and was torn down by the French. The French built a larger fort named for the Governor of New France ” Fort Duquesne ,” although his real first name was “Michel-Ange,” which was determined to be a little too French, even for them.
In order to advance his own job security, future American General, Statesman and first-President George Washington started the French and Indian war over the control of this fort. This war was later called the “Seven Years War” in Europe , because of superior marketing ability overseas. The British took control of the Fort Duquesne site, renaming it Fort Pitt , and began expunging proper French pronunciation from the Region. This is why the towns of “Du Bois” and ” Versailles” are pronounced as if you’ve had a stroke.
At some point, steel happened and it defined the Region; then it stopped, which also defined the Region.
The Steelers won 6 Superbowl championships during this period.
Native Pittsburghers are referred to as “Yinzers”. A native Pittsburgher is one who has lived his/her entire life in Pittsburgh , and can trace lineage back to some sort of smelting industry or George Washington. “Yinzer” is a colloquial term from the Scots-Irish meaning “Pittsburgher.” Yinzers speak a language that closely resembles English, if it were spoken through a long tube while drunk and deaf.
A large number of Pittsburghers come from Eastern European stock, but many African-Americans made their way to the City as part of the great black migration in the early part of the last century. Pittsburgh has no other minority groups to speak of, unless you count Hungarians.
Native garb is generally in the form of a Pittsburgh Steeler’s jersey, and is appropriate to wear in all formal or casual occasions. The jersey is usually accompanied by a gold towel with black embossed lettering, which is used as a cerimonial greeting to other Pittsburghers.
Pittsburgh has been called a City of hills and rivers, although this is not true. Geologically speaking, it is a City of *valleys* caused by erosion into the rivers. This is something to consider as you are sliding backwards down a 34% grade in the Be echview neighborhood.
The three rivers in Pittsburgh can be used for recreational purposes or dumping raw sewage. Please note that none of Pittsburgh ‘s Rivers have ever caught fire, a point which you will be repeatedly reminded of if you come from North Eastern Ohio.
There are 1700 bridges in the City and surrounding county; 1650 of them are under construction currently.
* Tourist Information
Tourists are advised to contact the Greater Pittsburgh Visitors and Convention Bureau, unless you speak one of them foreign languages.
* By plane
Currently the USAirways plane to Pittsburgh is delayed in Newark . Plans for a second plane are part of USAirways’ bankruptcy proceedings.
* By bus
Greyhound Buslines serves a new, state of the art homeless and pre-op transsexual hooker population. The architecture of this building is noted for its lack of an electronic billboard.
* By car
You will know that you are approaching Pittsburgh from any direction by the sudden increase in potholes. This is a feature of the Greater Pittsburgh Visitors Bureau to get people to slow down and take in the majesty that is Pittsburgh . Also, it is to help raise rental car tax revenue after you break your axle on the Turnpike.
If you come in from the Southwest or East, you will approach a large, dark tube like structur e through a hill. This is called a “tunnel.” As fascinating as this “tunnel” may be, please do not slow down.
* By train
Trains are available at the Carnegie Science Center . No luggage.
There’s an old saying in Pittsburgh : “You can’t get there from here.” In other Cities this may be a metaphorical expression, but in Pittsburgh it is true. As a visitor to Pittsburgh , you will look at a map, see two streets that intersect and assume that you can turn onto one from another. Or, you may see two roads that run parallel and assume that you can walk from one to another. Or, you may see a road and assume that you can travel its length. These are all myths perpetuated by the evil people at the Rand-McNally corporation. In fact, Pittsburgh roads may be separated by hundreds of vertical feet, an impassibly steep terrain, stairs, or (in one case) a dragon. Therefore, when a Pittsburgher says “You can’t get there from here,” please believe the m.
However, should you be adventurous and decide to ask for directions anywhere, you will need to be aware of the location of “the Old Isaly’s,” “the Old Alcoa Building,” and “the place in the road that goes right, but straightish, and then right again where the gas station isn’t there anymore.” It is vitally important that you commit these locations to memory, as they will be regularly referenced by Pittsburghers. If you make a wrong turn and get lost, you will forced to settle wherever you run out of gas. [This is actually how the town of Wilmerding was founded.]
If you are still foolish enough to persist in asking for directions, only ask *one* Pittsburgher, as different permutations in directions rise exponentially with every Pittsburgher you ask; asking three Pittsburghers will yield 27 different directions, each of which will be advertised as “fastest,” “best,” or “most direct.” No matter which route you choose, however, it will be under construction.
GPS will not help you, no matter how hard you cry.
* By public transit
The Port Authority of Allegheny County runs a restaurant income redistribution scheme and occasionally a mass-transit service, consisting of buses, light rail, and funicular railways.
Buses run on a regular schedule, except on weekends, holidays, if there’s traffic, if there are too many people waiting to board, if the bus breaks down, or if the driver doesn’t feel like it. The exception to this is the 54C route, which has no regular sche dule whatsoever.
Light Rail transit is quick, clean, comfortable and gets riders to exactly where they didn’t really want to go, unless they didn’t really want to go anywhere to begin with.
You can pick up schedules for all bus and trolley routes on the vehicles, except for the schedule for the route you’re currently riding.
* Zones: Fare varies depending on the zone you are traveling to/from, your weight, height, mother’s blood type, and the current phase of the moon.
o Base fare is $2.00 and may be raised without warning.
o The Free Fare Zone covers the Downtown core, offering free bus and trolley service to those that are too lazy to walk all of five blocks.
o The Downtowner Zone requires a $1.50 fare and is used by exactly no one.
There are two Funicular Railways or “Inclines” that run up the side of Mount Washington to Grandview Avenue and back down to Carson Street . That’s it. It’ll cost you $2 each way for that. Despite their obvious age, very few people are killed in incline accidents during any given day.
* By taxi
Taxis are a convenient and rel iable way of making it through the City, provided you happen to be staying in the Pittsburgh International Airport ‘s Landside Terminal. Unlike in other cities, cabs cannot be hailed. The best way to stop a cab is to throw yourself in front of it. Licensed cab companies can still be called for rides that will never show up.
Please note that there are several unlicensed or “jitney” cab companies that also cannot be hailed.
* By car
You can’t get anywhere by car. Seriously. Don’t even try. You will fail.
Pittsburgh has a color coded wayfinder “Belt system” that no one uses, with the exception of High School students seeking to collect signs for elaborate scavenger hunts.
Of particular note is the so-called “Pittsburgh Left.” At traffic lights, a driver wishing to turn left will do so as soon as the light turns green, regardless of whether another vehicle has the right-of-way. Drivers will indicate their intention of performing a “Pittsburgh Left” by slowly nudging up prior to the light change and slamming on the gas the instant the light changes. Visitors to Pittsburgh are invited to challenge those performing this manoeuvre at their own peril.
Fear not, however: the best and brightest minds in Pittsburgh are working on new and ingenious ways to develop the 10-way intersection in order to stymie any remaining traffic that isn’t doing 15 mph through a tunnel.
* By boat
While Pittsburgh has several miles of Riverfront, nobody travels by boat u nless they are hauling coal, drunk on Lite Beer, or Bruce Willis.
* By bicycle
Pittsburgh has an extensive network of biking trails, most of which run along the rivers. Unless you are a particularly suicidal biker, you will stick to the trails as roads are generally narrow and filled with gaping, man eating potholes. Cyclists are advised to weave in between traffic, dart out from parked cars suddenly, and stop without warning.
Given Pittsburgh ‘s topography, certain hills have been known to induce cardiac arrest in bikers cycling uphill and sudden face-pavement fusion in bikers going downhill.
Additionally, be aware that Pittsburgh drivers are let off with a warning if they kill a cyclist.
* By trebuchet
There is a working medieval siege engine on the Carnegie Mellon University campus. Those who wish to make a one-way trip by trebuchet are advised to land on someone fat, which shouldn’t be hard.
Things to See…
Pittsburgh is home to many museums devoted to Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh related areas, including the world renowned Pittsburgh Museum of Pittsburgh Museums.
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is noted for it’s collection of old fossils, which make up the core of the local Democratic Committee. The Andy Warhol Museum contains the world’s largest collection of penis drawings (non-animated) by a single artist and a stuffed dog. If you are inter ested in the colonial era history of Pittsburgh , be sure to visit the Fort Pitt Museum , which currently closed because of ongoing dick wagging in the State Capital.
The Zelienople Historical Society is also open for those who will be unable to cope with the thrills of The Castle Shannon Historical Museum. [Check out the exhibit on the town’s founder Arthur Q. Zelienop, who established the settlement as a tax dodge.]
The Architecture in Pittsburgh is eclectic ranging from Georgian through Richardsonian Romanesque to post-modernism. All of the various forms, however, share a common element — that of being largely torn town. Of particular note is the early 18th century architecture Downtown, which was torn down after the Great Fire of Pittsburgh and they replaced by 19th century rail yards, which also burnt down and was replaced by 20th century skyscrapers and a highway. Architecture buffs should visit the historic Syria Mosque in Oakland which was also torn down to make way for parking lot.
Particularly repugnant pieces of remaining architecture include the University of Pittsburgh ‘s Hillman Library which looks like a furnace filter and Carnegie Mellon University ‘s Scaife Hall which looks like a discarded potato chip. Visitors are asked to kindly ignore the obviously phallic shape of One Mellon Center . Most of the suburb of Robinson Township should be avoided at all costs.
Approximately 70 miles south of Pittsburgh is Frank Lloyd Wright’s modernist masterpiece “F allingwater,” which was built on a dare after drinking three bottles of whiskey. This structure is famous for its long cantilevered terraces, as well as smelling like an old dog after it was caught out in the rain. If you visit, be sure to stay for the Amway presentation at the end of the tour, where you will be parted with any remaining money that you did not spend in the Frank Llyod Wright gift shop.
Pittsburgh was the capital of the “insul-brick” industry in the 1920s, then later the aluminum siding industry, then even later the vinyl siding industry. Remnants of these industries can be seen throughout the various residential neighborhoods.
* Parks and outdoors
Despite its reputation as a smokey City, Pittsburgh enjoys hundreds of acres of parks and green spaces that have been underfunded by either shortfalls in local sales tax allocations or the aforementioned mentioned dick wagging at the State Capital. Pittsburgh ‘s four large city parks are excellent places to bike, jog, walk, or play with yourself in front of bikers, joggers and walkers.
At the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela is Point State Park , which is currently under construction and will be for the foreseeable future, at great cost and unimaginable inconvenience. Visitors to the park can still, however, enjoy the smell of urine along the park outskirts.
Oakland ‘s Schenley Park is notable for being the only City Park in the United States created indirectly by statutory rape.
Things to Do in Pittsburgh …
The City of Pittsburgh is home to two world class professional sports teams and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Levels of devotion to the Six-time Superbowl winning Pittsburgh Steelers is nearly unrivaled in other markets, with fans signing up their children at birth for the wait list for season tickets. Football fandom is taken seriously in Pittsburgh , and visitors are routinely randomly quized about their knowledge of the nickle and dime defenses. Pittsburgh is also home to the current Stanley Cup Holding Pittsburgh Penguins, who are currently building a new arena despite the best efforts of local politicians to help them. Back closer to the Steeler’s stadium, is a fabulous baseball stadium, PNC Park , which has sat unused by a major league team since its’ construction in the early 2000s, with the exception of one All-Star game.
The University of Pittsburgh also boasts two highly ranked football and basketball programs, both of which have better baseball record than the Pirates.
* Arts and music
The Pittsburgh music scene is dominated by one man — Donnie Iris. Rumors abound that Donnie Iris rocks so hard, that concert goers regularly leave missing hats, jewelry, and their faces. That’s right: Donnie Iris has been known to rock people’s faces off. Other, minor acts such as The Clarks, Rusted Root, or the Mellon Jazz Festival are allowed to perform with Donnie’s permission.
The Downtown Cultural District is home to terrific live music and other performances attended by people who otherwise wouldn’t otherwise dare to set foot in the City.
Other up and coming neighborhood arts districts along Butler Street in Lawrenceville and Penn Avenue in Garfield-Friendship, smell vaguely of patchouli, but are worth a visit if you want to get mugged while watching women with phalluses glued to their foreheads mud wrestle.
Also along Penn Avenue is the Pittsburgh Glass Center , which if you break, you buy.
Pittsburgh holds a number of arts and cultural festivals, including the Three Rivers Arts Festival and Anthro-con.
* Outdoor activities
A particularly enjoyable activity for visitors to Pittsburgh is to stop any one of the denser, more compact neighborhoods and try to move chairs, traffic cones, and other objects from the street outside residences. This must be done quickly as, if the owner of the chair/traffic cone/other object sees you, he or she can either challenge you to fisticuffs or a race through the neighborhood. If you win, you get the right to park your car in the space previously vacated by the chair/traffic cone/other object; if you lose, the owner gets the right to pummel your car with a tire iron.
Several walking tours of Downtown and Oakland are available for people that wish to explore the area on foot. A Segway tour is also available for people that wish to look like pretentious douches.
Just Ducky Tours will verbally assault pedestrians with malicious quacking.
Learning in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is home to two world renowned Universities — Carnegie Mellon University (formerly Carnegie Tech) and The University of Pittsburgh (formerly Dan Marino’s All-You-Can-Eat Chicken Buffet). The Region is also home to several lesser renowned universities and at least one who’s graduates barely have the intellectual capacity to drool all over themselves.
Student housing in Oakland has been compared favorably to the slums of Mumbai, while student rents are responsible for 98% of the bail money for slum landlords.
Working in Pittsburgh
Despite it’s low unemployment rate compared to the national average, there are no jobs for you in Pittsburgh . So stop asking.
Shopping in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh ‘s popular shopping d istricts include
– The South Side – Shopping for young, hip urbanites
– Shadyside – Shopping for older, ironically hip urbanites
– Squirrel Hill – Shopping for Jewish, hip urbanites
– Downtown – Shopping for urbanites that need hip replacements
Each of these shopping Districts looks down on the previous.
Also of note is Pittsburgh ‘s Strip District, where on any given day shoppers can find everything from fried fish entrails to cardboard cutouts of Jerome Bettis.
Most of the suburban shopping malls have solved their zombie problem.
Eating in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh cuisine has been honed after many generations of research and testing to a point where it can kill you. By “kill you,” we don’t mean in a Jack Nicholson/The Shining kind of way, but more a Kathy Bates/Misery way: long, drawn out and filled with painful suffering, and possibly broken legs. Ordering a “Pittsburgh Salad” (complete with chicken, french fries, cheese, and ranch dressing) is akin to running with the bulls in Pamplona with a big red sign on your back saying “Gore Me!”.
Polish cuisine, a popular favorite which includes pierogis (potato dumplings in butter and onions), haluski (cabbage in butter and onions), and kielbasa, is thought to have been developed 70 years ago as revenge against the local German population for starting WWII;=2 0several Polish chefs in Pittsburgh were indicted on culinary war crimes, before they all dropped dead of massive coronaries. According to local legends, this is why the Allegheny River separates Polish Hill from Deustchtown.
Primanti Brother’s sandwiches have gained notoriety as being an “authentic Pittsburgh sandwich” and are served with coleslaw and french fries on white bread. Under no circumstances are patrons permitted to order a sandwich without coleslaw and french fries or on a different type of bread; local health code ordinances have been amended to allow for a small percentage of blood to be spilled in these restaurants over such matters.
If you are in need of a light snack, order the large fries at the “Original Hot Dog Shop” in Oakland . If you are there after 1 AM, stay for the nightly drunk knife fights.
Of particular sacra-liciousness is The Church Brew Works in the imposing former St. John the What-The-Hell-Was-I-Drinking-Last-Night Catholic Church. For those that do not wish to piss off Jesus, please note that the structure has been desanctified, and you’re probably going to hell anyway, so drink up.
Pittsburgh neighborhoods are full of local Mom & Pop style restaurants, which will berate you for not visiting or calling more often, tell you to eat because you’re all skin and bones, let you know how well your cousin Maury is doing up in Brooklyn, and nag you to get married and make some grandchildren already.
More pedestrian fare can be found in outly ing suburban mini-malls, for those that enjoy hot dogs in their macaroni and cheese.
In complete defiance of his own preventative health care proposals, President Barack Obama has expressed a particular affinity to the pancakes at Pamela’s in the Strip District. These pancakes will also kill you.
Drinking in Pittsburgh
Drinking in Pittsburgh is a serious past-time. Originally developed during the heyday of the steel industry by researchers at Carnegie Tech, drinking has become integral to the regional “Eds & Meds” economic cluster strategy, by providing binging opportunities for students and drunk driving organ harvesting opportunities for doctors. Visitors to Pittsburgh are legally required to do a shot every time they cross a bridge. Vomit receptacles are available along every wall, gutter, mailbox, or shrubbery in the South Side.
Amateur drunks are recommended to go to the South Side, Oakland , or Shadyside while professional drunks are recommended to go to Homestead , Sheraden, or Carrick. Most bars are now smoke free, so you can concentrate on ruining your liver and brain instead of your lungs and you can be free to enjoy the dank.
Pittsburgh is famous for its beers that are no longer brewed here, including Iron City and Rolling Rock. Visitors are advised that Monongahela River water is an acceptable substitute for both. Tastier beer can be found at the Penn Brewery, which is also closed. There are a lso several other microbreweries in and around the City, with various degrees of pretentiousness from “hipster douchebag” to “tenured professor”.
Pennsylvania operates under arcane liquor control laws that prohibit the selling of alcohol any places convenient or logical. Beer can be purchased by six-packs in bars or by 24-packs in beer distribution stores, as PA State law requires drinkers to be slightly buzzed or passed out, on the floor drunk. Wine and liquor cannot be bought under any circumstances as, according to the liquor control board, this causes the drink to “go bad.”
In Pittsburgh , as in nearly all States, the drinking age is 21, unless it’s St. Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest, Steelers’ Sunday, a wedding, a funeral, or an exceptionally dank bar.
When drinking, a traditional Pittsburgh toast suitable for all occasions is “Fuck Dan Onorato!” and then spitting on the floor.
Hotels and Lodging
Downtown goes to sleep at approximately 6 PM on weekdays, but on weekends it stays up to the wild hour of 7 PM. Unfortunately, during the G-20 conference all of the Downtown Hotels are booked for world leaders, with the exception of the Indian Prime Minister, who is crashing on some dude’s couch in Lawrenceville.
The Northshore Riverfront park is available for camping until the police come to kick in your skull.
While Pittsburgh has its share of urban crime, it is generally considered to be one of the safest cities in the United States . Visitors are warned, however, to avoid “Cleveland Browns” regalia.
Coping with Pittsburgh
Since the introduction of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s “PG+” online news service, there are no longer any newspapers of record in the region. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review company does publish a bird cage lining product on which one can sometimes make out outlines of crude, primitive (albeit spiteful) facts. In a pinch, the back sections of the Pittsburgh City Paper can be used as porn.
Pittsburgh is home to world class hospitals and other medical facilities. If you are in need of urgent medical care, please stagger into an office building in Oakland , as there’s a greater than 50% chance that it is owned by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.