Thursday, April 14, 2011

Development around PNC Park over 10 years

I have a poster in my basement of an aerial view of PNC Park and the surrounding North Shore on opening day in April 2001. The jewel that is PNC Park looked the same back then as it does today. Not a single thing has slipped at this park. But surrounding the park is a sea of jet black asphalt parking lots.

Last night I went to my first Pirate game of 2011. A friend of mine was coming in from Columbus and we set this up last month; I had no idea at the time that it would be the opening night of the Penguins playoff run!

As I was walking to the game from a parking lot adjacent to Heinz Field, I drank in all of the buildings that have sprouted up in the 10 year period of PNC's existence. The development by the Sports and Exhibition Authority, Steelers and Pirates, and Urban Redevelopment Authority has accelerated greatly in the past 5 years. The General Robinson Parking Garage was built to account for the loss of surface parking, due to the development of other various buildings such as Hyatt Place Hotel, Marriott Spring Hill Suites Hotel, Stage AE concert area, and two office buildings (one houses Root Sports/bars/restaurants, the other Starkist operations).

Obviously, it is better to have development instead of a sea of parking. That's part of what doomed Three Rivers Stadium -- the white elephant effect. It's almost as if the Pirates, whether consciously or not, are trying to replicate a Wrigley Field effect at PNC Park. Nowadays PNC Park is nestled into the North Shore, rather than standing out stark for all to see. Not that you overlook it, but it's just a lot more protected than in 2001.

As for the game itself, my friend sprung for seats in the Pittsburgh Baseball Club section, so we got some relief from the cold night by ducking into the interior bar and lounge area (which enabled me to check the Penguins score too). However, after the 7th inning we made a pilgrimage to Manny's BBQ behind CF. My prey was the new Pulled Pork Pierogie Stacker sandwich. How could I be disappointed in two of my favorite things combined into one sandwich? I envisioned making a love sonnet to this sandwich of ecstacy. I wondered if DB~ would feel that I was cheating on her if I professed my love to this delectable treat.

Much like the 6-0 loss to the Brewers, this sandwich was a big disappointment. Here's a cross-section of it after I put some of it in my CAKE CRUNCHER (that's for you 5'ish):

The pork didn't have a lot of flavor. It didn't have a lot of BBQ sauce, nor did it have a dry rub to keep the mess down and the flavor up. Also, the pierogie was extremely salty. The bun was fantastic. It hailed from the brioche family...maybe a 3rd cousin of some sort. The Pulled Pork Pierogie Stacker is going up against a Spicy Sausage/Provolone sandwich. I fear that in the second half of 2011 Cheese Chester, Oliver Onion, Jalapeno Hannah, and Sauerkraut Saul will not have to hear the tortured wailings of their cousins being devoured while they run the bases.

1 comment:

  1. I won't start that diatribe again here....but if your pork was crunching you may wanna check it for hooves.

    "My Third Brioche Cousin" totally sounds like the name of a Morrisey album. Neat.

    (P.S: Cake still doesn't, and will never, crunch.)