Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Deepish Thoughts on Cultural Experience

Rob and I recently decided that sitting on the couch watching episode after episode of The Wire may not be the best way to get our weekly dose of culture. Of course, it is a great way to get your weekly dose of West-Baltimore-on-TV culture, so I'm pretty covered on any information I was lacking when it comes to drug corners and the cops who split time between hunting the dealers and becoming extraordinarily inebriated at the local bars. I have increased my vocabulary and can now confidently use words like "mope", "hopper", and "stash" in a sentence. I have yet to work this knowledge into a prospective client presentation.

Now that everyone keeps saying summer is ending (it's not, by the way), we have decided to get up off the couch and spend some time getting really cultured in our willing city. And in other cities. We went to Pittsburgh for a wedding last weekend. Having never been there, I wasn't sure what to expect from the Steel City. Here are some things I learned:

1. Everyone in Pittsburgh owns a Steelers jersey.

2. Everyone in Pittsburgh is wearing their Steelers jersey right now.

3. Pittsburgh has a 7-story Andy Warhol museum with The Factory re-imagined on the top floor. Velvet Underground music, flashing lights, close-up video of Lou Reed sucking on a cigarette, couches.

4. The cab situation in Pittsburgh is different than that of New York. On Saturday after the wedding reception, we called several cab companies, only to learn that the wait was 2 hours long. (Steelers game. Obviously.) We took a bus and learned about Pittsburgh bus culture.

I really enjoyed the city. The wedding was on the Carnegie Mellon campus and the reception was at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. It was the end of August and absolutely gorgeous out. I told Rob I thought we should spend more weekends simply traveling to an American city and exploring it. He looked at me like I was wearing a Steeler's jersey and said "Right. With all our free time?"

It's true, we do tend to spend our time traveling for work, weddings, holidays to see family, etc. We don't have a ton of free weekends. So for Labor Day, we decided to stay in New York. We both had Friday off and we spent it having lunch at Otto, going to the Whitney Museum, and walking through Central Park. We met John for dinner at a tapas bar ("I thought you said topless," he complained when we arrived.)

We took our cultural expedition to Brooklyn on Saturday, to see Jay, Cameron, and Roan. We grilled out, watched Roan splash in his baby pool, and went to a block party. Okkkk, we walked past a block party. Cultural.

Sunday we cultured our way onto a train and went to Long Island to see my sister-in-law and her three kids. We had a small bonfire in the backyard and ate homemade apple pie.

Now we are exhausted by all of our activity, so we're going to curl up on the couch and watch The Wire. I missed the little hoppers.


Jay Nicolosi said...

Amy and I went to a wedding about an hour outside of Pittsburgh, and we extended our stay to include a day experiencing Pittsubugh itself. After walking around a bit and not finding much of interest, we stumbled accross a Tourism Kiosk. Perfect, we thought. The kiosk was attended by a crotchedy old man who was less than useless. His only advise on what to do in Pittsburgh: "Get a gun." Ummmmm....O...K....I do agree with the Steelers Jerseys. Although other jerseys are owned/worn by Pittsburghers (as I call them). It's just that the city only has 2 colors - black & gold. So, a Penguins jersey may look like a Steelers jersey from afar. As would a Pirates jersey, not that there's really any reason to show your support of that perenial doormat team. I noticed an inordinate number of short, stumpy folks wearing the black and gold as well, but then realized they were fire hydrants, painted with the city's only two colors.

Dan said...

The Wire is soooo good. I mean, Omar? How awesome is THAT guy??

Sarah said...

Jay: Hilarious.

Dan: I know! It's so wrong to love him, though.

Ted said...

Anybody who considers Pittsburg a "cultural experience" has spent way too much time on the couch in front of The Wire!