05 May 2010

Pittsburgh Named Most Livable City

My hometown has once again been named America's most livable city. After reading the article I have my doubts that the authors actually visited Pittsburgh and suspect that it might have actually been written by our convention and tourism authority.

Before you pack up your belongings, kids and pets to move to my beloved hometown, let me fill you in on a few things the article doesn't mention. After reading my take on this hell hole, you may just want to stay safely within the confines of Cleveland, Kabul or wherever you call home.

1) The weather sucks. No, I mean it really sucks. We get more annual rainfall than Seattle and when it isn't raining, it is cloudy. Sunny days are so few and far between that we actually have a local phenomenon known as "sun glare" that can slow down rush hour. Imagine waking up and hearing the traffic report that states you are going to be late to work because it is sunny outside- no, you can't imagine it because you live in a normal part of the world that gets more than 35 minutes of sunlight per year.

2) The average citizen is 87 years old. We have the oldest population in the United States. Go ahead and look it up if you don't believe me. The reason our vaunted crime rate is so low is that geriatrics are unlikely to commit robberies and murder (except when Matlock was cancelled.) Forget about doing anything quickly. True frustration is standing behind one of our grey panthers at the grocery store as they explain to the clerk they want their ham "shaved, not chopped or sliced, I want it shaved 1/8 of an inch thick, you cut it too thick last time, more like half an inch and Irving didn't like it but we are on a fixed income so we had to eat it...." Oh for fucks sake lady, just grab your god damned ham and get out of the way.

3) Our infrastructure is horrible. Many people around the world are unaware that Pittsburgh was carpet bombed during the 2nd world war by both Germany and Japan. Their bombers left massive craters on strategic structures like our 3,224 bridges and overpasses. I tried to make my case at the Hague that Germany owed me for a broken tie-rod and shock absorber and am still eagerly awaiting the outcome. As the old saying goes, the shortest distance between two points in Pittsburgh is under construction.

4) We have some of the highest taxes in the country. Part of the benefit of living in America's most livable city is also that you get to live in America's least livable state. When you become a citizen of our Commonwealth ("common" being a tip off that the state is going to share all of your income with your fellow citizens) you get to establish a direct deposit account so that everything you make can be quickly and easily deducted to pay for school taxes, local property taxes, local wage taxes, state income taxes, state sales tax, fuel taxes, county taxes and whatever else they have thought up since I started writing this. Very quickly, you come to understand that this equals 115 % percent of your income so you need to take a second job, which only puts you in the hole deeper.

5) Nobody actually lives here. You know why our real estate is so affordable ? Because half of the homes are on the market. Anyone with any sense in their head is packing up and running for the exits. The city is broke, the county is broke and the state is broke. Last one out of town, turn off the lights. What is the best graduation present for a new college grad ? A plane ticket (or a bus ticket, whatever works for you.) As soon as my kids leave the house at 18 for college, prison or wherever they are headed, we're off to New Mexico, which by that time could actually be part of Mexico.

Still want to move here ? Don't say you weren't warned.


  1. As a former inhabitant who promptly fled the scene the minute I graduated high school and never looked back (not true), I wonder why the author hasn't moved to Cleveland.

    Here are a few possible reasons, in no particular order:

    The greatest football team in the world.

    People who, though on average old, are stand-up, warm, and generally honest.

    Primanti brothers' sammiches.

    Our parents.

    The schools.

    The Penguins.

    Sure, I'm sentimental about the place because I haven't lived there in 25 years, but compared with the places I have lived (the nyc and seattle metropolitan areas), Pittsburgh is quaint and extremely affordable. I'll grant you that the town might no longer work without Myron Cope to make it all gel, but let's face it: the idea of moving to Cleveland (or many other places for that matter) is laughable.

  2. The problem I have with that article is the sub story that most of the "most livable" cities in America are college towns- great restaurants, cultural assets (which, I will heartily agree Pittsburgh has.) But what about jobs ? No, not jobs at Pitt, or CMU, or UPMC..what about good old fashioned $ 35,000 per year jobs ? What about jobs if you aren't in the sexy fields of robotics or medical research which, again, Pittsburgh excels in. Pittsburgh is a shadow of its former self in terms of job growth and opportunity crushed by taxation that has driven companies to the south and southwest. Still, I'll admit that you're right in Primantis and my parent being good reasons to stick around !