Type 2 Diabetic. Cyclist Flâneur.   Coffeeneur.    Errandoneur
A bike / map geek with a gadget obsession and a high-viz fetish.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Two Andy's, Occupy Pittsburgh, Trojan Horse and Bike Police

02/07/12 #21 1h52m 21m
A shorter ride today; I'm playing the Recovery Ride card. I started at the Bastille and wanted to seek some variation in my routine, so I went south over the Duquesne Bridge. I intended to ride the Mon Whorf but Point State Park has a lot of new barriers up, so I took Blvd. of the Allies over to the Smithfield Street Bridge so as to begin my quest for the intersection of Smithfield Street and Strawberry Way, which promised an urban mural.

As I rode along Smithfield Street with the Mon River at my back, I was pretty sure I'd find Strawberry Way but as I continued across town my certainty started to waiver. I started looking for a Pittsburgh policeman or a Fedex driver to ask about Strawberry Way when I saw a bike cop ahead. He was moving along pretty well, but I caught up to him in traffic and he gave me an exact description of where I was heading.

As I came upon the scene, and saw the mural on top of Weiner World. On the street in the foreground, a flower vendor was working his business, and before I took any photos I approached him and said, Hey I want to take a picture of that mural, if you don't mind. I don't mind, he said, but let me get out of the way; don't need to have my picture taken. Which was, of course, exactly why I'd asked - maybe he had called in sick from his other job, who knows.

Here's the photo of "The Two Andy's" from 2005 by Tom Mosser and Sarah Zeffiro at 628 Smithfield Street:

The flower vendor man is standing beside me as I take the photo, and he says You know, I've been standing under that for two days and I haven't really considered it. To me, the eyes remind me very much of 'American Gothic'. I was taken aback; American Gothic, I asked? Being very courteous, he said Yeah, you may not know the title but you've probably seen the photo, farmer and his wife, pitchfork, very severe. I think their eyes are aligned a lot like the eyes in this mural. Funny thing.

And so I came home and looked up American Gothic and checked the eyeballs, and the flower man was quite right about the eyes:

So, it's two Andy's of Pittsburgh, Andy Warhol and Andrew Carnegie, two very different people. To me, Warhol's face looks a bit Marilyn Monroe-esque; I'm not sure what's up with his right hand; the book is by August Wilson, and the back cover seems to represent Pittsburgh and its bridges. Andrew Carnegie's hands are soaking, perhaps to get the blood of Homestead off his fingers (oooooo, I went there!)

So that was very interesting. I rode across town to the site of Occupy Pittsburgh, which is supposed to be vacating the premises of Mellon Park today. The Occupiers have erected an apparent Trojan Horse, complete with unicorn horn and brushy tail and left it in the park:

It was a very quiet and a fairly desolate scene, there were still a half-dozen Occupiers on the scene, mostly packing up and moving a few tables off the Mellon property on onto adjacent public space. See the photo at the top of this post. No agita, everybody was very nice, no police presence visible of any kind. Several news vans standing by.

Continued on Grant Street toward the Mon, where apparently a vehicle drove into the PNC complex about an hour after I passed through. Rode the Jail Trail to the Hot Metal Bridge, and continued south past the Steelers training facility.

I passed a cyclist on a recumbent, and I was passed in turn by a rider on a hybrid/touring bike carrying heavy panniers and a full trunk bag and boy he was moving at a good clip, and he was in a pretty vertical position too. From his baggage I thought he was a through rider going to DC, and as I approached Keystone Metals he should have been about a minute in front of me at the dead-end but he was nowhere to be seen. I guess he must have portaged over the tracks to Route 837.

Continued north on the SouthSide Trail where I exchanged happy Hello's with bicyclist Frank, then crossed the Fort Pitt Bridge, and the Fort Duquesne Bridge. Approaching the Bastille I encountered two more Pittsburgh police officers patrolling on bicycle, I think that's a great thing.

On a weight-loss note, Doghouse Diaries completely describes my problem with their award-winning weight loss solution.

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