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Archive for the ‘Point of Interest’ Category

One thing that Pittsburgh and Austin are about to have in common: brand-new, state-of-the-art, beautiful hospitals for children. Dell Children’s Medical Center opened in Austin in 2007 and is a truly great place. Austin should be proud to have it.

Now the new Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is opening on Saturday – a spectacular, sprawling, one-of-a-kind facility that now sits in place of the old St. Francis Hospital in Lawrenceville, profiled in the Post-Gazette this week.

“We can’t change what has happened to the children before they come here,” said Dr. Andrew Urbach, medical director of clinical excellence and service, “but what we can do is make the healing environment such that they get distracted, entertained and they have a little respite from what they have to face, making it easier to face whatever challenge it is that they have.”

And a better environment for healing is just what CHP needed.

Anyone who had the occasion to visit the old Children’s Hospital – venerable home of Jonas Salk and Mr. Yuk – knows that the operative word there is “old,” not “children.” Kids who are suffering in Western Pennsylvania needed a place to heal, and still be kids. And it looks like that’s what they’re getting.

It’s light and bright and playful. It’s quiet. It’s designed for what matters to kids.

It’s good.

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Okay, enough moping. Time to get back to business.

Living outside of Pittsburgh, I generally don’t know when new CPOM is coming out until it’s already here. So sure, I’ve seen the previews for Adventureland, but the booths and hot dog stands are nondescript enough that I didn’t realize it was Kennywood until I read about it today in the PG.

OMG Kennywood movie, is this great or what

I totally have weekend plans now, and they involve seeing a movie alone. 

Seriously, isn’t that kind of the CPOM holy grail, seeing Kennywood on the big screen? The whole allure of CPOM is to recognize the things that are special to us, like a little private joke between us and the filmmaker – “Yeah, I remember that too.” And what sweeter memories are there than summers and roller coasters and cotton candy? Kennywood represents those things not just to nostalgic young adults, but also to generations of Pittsburghers who have flowed in and out of its gates, our grandparents and our parents and our kids.

Kennywood is a special receptacle for memories, which is what will make it the place to be again this summer. And will make Adventureland the place to be this weekend.

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I know there are hundreds of thousands of pictures of exactly this. We’ve seen them before, on postcards, tourist brochures, books, everywhere. But you can never look at it too much, can you?

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Second most beautiful place? Don’t be silly.

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Dorothee Trois-Rivières. Motto: Trying out restaurants so you don’t have to.

We kept seeing signs advertising Emiliano’s in McIntyre Square in McCandless, and we figured that now was as good a time as any to be disappointed with Mexican food in Pittsburgh. That’s definitely one area in which Texas has us beat, and if you’re ever traveling to Austin I strongly advise you against eating a lot of Tex-Mex because it will totally ruin Mad Mex for you forever. 

Anyway, we went to Emiliano’s, and I can honestly say that it was the best Mexican food I’ve had in Pennsylvania. Really, it was pretty good, except the salsa which tasted like marinara with cilantro. I did find chunks of potato in my Spanish rice and I couldn’t figure out if they were supposed to be there or not. In Oz-tin, I could feel pretty certain that they got in there by mistake, but this is Pittsburgh, potatoes belong in everything! They actually had a vegetarian flauta on the menu that was filled with seasoned potatoes – like a Mexican pierogi.

Last night for dinner, we finally ate at The Bus’s sports bar (Grille 36) on the North Shore, and if I weren’t pretty sure that you’ve already tried it and discovered the same thing we did, I’d recommend against it. Man, I do not want to have to say this, but Jerome, this place is a huge disappointment. Awful, slow, inattentive service; just marginal food (I think the fries are frozen and I have no doubts that the entrees marked as “Jerome’s favorites” are nothing of the sort); and a strange discordant loudness due to adult contemporary music playing loudly in the dining room, rock music playing very audibly from the bar, and TVs with the volume up running various sporting events.

Some good points about the place: the fact that it was showing the heated lacrosse matchup between Johns Hopkins and Princeton at the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium which made us laugh to no end about Ivy Leaguers tossing a ball around on the same turf where we dismantled the Ravens (we’d had beer), the view:

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and the quote of the day, uttered by Mr. TR who is insightful and to-the-point.

“If The Ben hadn’t made that tackle after The Bus fumbled, this place probably wouldn’t exist.”

Uh, thanks for the lame dining experience, Ben.

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Eight years ago today:

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A few years ago I had occasion to spend some time at The Mellon Institute, that imposing neo-classical trapezoid that inhabits the corner of Fifth and Bellefield. It used to be a separate institution before it merged with the Carnegie Institute of Technology to form CMU.

Its outside is an imposing colonnade of monolithic columns, the backdrop of a fictitious museum in the TV show “Smith” starring Ray Liotta (a little nibble of CPOM that lasted 3 episodes in 2006), and also probably of the wedding photos of someone you know.

But few people outside of CMU science-y types see the inside of this building, which is amazing and beautiful. I took a series of photos there – here are some (these were all taken by me, not the Mr. – no applause please).

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