Sep 24 2009

Today, I wish I was a bird

Published by at 7:11 am under Books & Events,Schenley Park

Peregrine falcon, Dorothy, defends her territory, May 25, 2004 (photo by Jack Rowley)
Today the fences are up, Schenley Park is barricaded and the black helicopters are circling overhead.  Traveling around town is a challenge.

Welcome to the first morning of the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh.  The heads of state and advisors of the 20 most economically powerful countries will be here for two days.  Plus 3,000 journalists.  Plus who-knows-how-many protesters.

Since the 1999 riots in Seattle, these meetings are always heavily guarded against violent protest.  Most of Downtown Pittsburgh is closed to vehicles.  Pedestrians near the Convention Center must pass through checkpoints.  Schenley Park is closed because of tonight's reception and dinner at Phipps Conservatory.  The National Guard is at the ready (hence, the black helicopters) and police are stationed everywherePittsburgh "welcomes" the world.

After the traffic barriers were announced in August, the schools and a lot of businesses gave up and decided to close for these two days, but WQED's OnQ is producing shows about the G-20 Summit so I must be at work.

Now that I live in a city under seige, I have no interest in these goings on, nor do I want to be near them.  Just for today I wish I was a bird.  I could avoid the traffic, the barriers, the annoyances.  If I was a bird I could fly over all this trouble just as Dorothy flies over Oakland.

But I'm not.  I'm just a pedestrian who will see less of Pittsburgh than you'll see on the news.  Sadly the news is looking for - dare I say hoping for - conflict and that's not the Pittsburgh I live in.

The headline in last Sunday's Post-Gazette was "Why Pittsburgh?"  My question exactly!

(photo by Jack Rowley of peregrine falcon, Dorothy, flying over Oakland at the University of Pittsburgh, May 25, 2004)

...p.s. Click on the photo above to see how Carnegie Museum is protecting their statues against G-20 vandals.  Plus a few sites that describe/show other scenes: A video of downtown, a description of Schenley's barriers.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Today, I wish I was a bird”

  1. Patsyon 24 Sep 2009 at 8:27 am

    That is certainly attractive.

  2. Kristenon 24 Sep 2009 at 4:31 pm

    I teach at Pitt. My building was shut down and barricaded off because of its proximity to Phipps. I’m sitting in my apartment listening to police sirens and helicopters dealing with protester activity not to far away from me. I am all for free speech and the right to protest, but not violence. I wish there was an easy solution to it all.

  3. Robinon 24 Sep 2009 at 7:06 pm

    There’s practically a Hooverville around the Fence at CMU. All these different groups have built weird little shacks around it in protest of G20.

  4. Dianeon 24 Sep 2009 at 11:17 pm

    When I read your blog I was initially amused. But after seeing the news and photos on the internet I can understand why you wish you were a bird! I think you should all come to Delaware for the weekend and enjoy our wonderful birding sites.

    The G20 stuff is so boring to me. I have tried to read the articles but my ADD quickly kicks in!

  5. faith Cornellon 25 Sep 2009 at 4:21 am

    My husband has been in hospital since August 13th. So I was advised not to go in on Thursday or Friday because of all this goings on. He is on standby for another surgery today so I sit here in the outskirts while others talk about our wonderful city. On one of the lower roofs from the hospital room tho after the rain a few days ago one of the hawks was up there in a huge puddle enjoying himself immensely with the water. It was a wonderful thing to see & he was so unaware of the “human” watching him. But the ciry was shiny clean & I travel to & from hospital thru Ft. Pitt tunnel & the lights are so shiny clean now. So we all envy Dorothy up high. Thanks for the picture. Faith C.

  6. Kathyon 25 Sep 2009 at 8:33 am

    Kate, I am thinking of you and all your City. I saw it all on the news. The garbage dumpsters through the streets and the tear gas. It is all so unnerving to say the least.

  7. Kate St. Johnon 25 Sep 2009 at 10:24 am

    Weirdly it’s only a few hooligans (maybe 50-100) who call themselves anarchists and cause all the trouble. I think they get an adrenaline rush from picking fights and breaking things. Apparently many of them are from out of town.

    Oakland is VERY quiet this morning – almost empty. I walked to the edge of Schenley Park at CMU to look at the barriers, then to Craig St to see the damage. The damage is similar to post Super Bowl damage – that is, not much is broken but it is totally senseless. Most Pittsburghers I talk to are really disgusted by both the anarchists and the police state imposed on us for the G-20 summit.

    I took a picture of the barriers around Schenley (click here) because they affect me the most – can’t go birding in Schenley. Each fence section is as high and wide as a door, all linked together by pins on the back. The fences extended for more than a mile to encircle the park.

  8. Kate St. Johnon 25 Sep 2009 at 11:22 am

    This pretty much sums up how Pittsburghers are feeling about the “protesters” who break things:

  9. Anne Curtison 26 Sep 2009 at 12:27 am

    Faith–My very best wishes for a good and speedy recovery for your husband. The consensus seems to be “Why are all these people–diplomats and protesters–keeping us from living our lives as best as we can?” We will go on because we are Pittsburghers! Adopted, in my case, but I’m doing the best I can.

    My sister commented that she saw on TV residents of Lawrenceville high-fiving and clapping for the police as they herded the demonstrators away from Downtown. I also got a kick of the lady in Bloomfield who approached (not confronted) the person who took a hammer to the bank at Liberty and Mathilda. She said “I told them–we wouldn’t do this in your neighborhood; why are you fricking (I think that’s what I heard!) doing it in mine? This is BLOOMFIELD!”

    I can’t wait until they get the fences out of Schenley.


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