Pittsburgh part 4

PPG Paints Arena

Center ice at PPG Paints Arena
Center ice at PPG Paints Arena

I watched the Penguins play the Devils, and I was ambivalent about the victor. Jaromir Jagr was my favorite player growing up, and he played for the Penguins during my formative years. Up until college, I would always pick his number, 68, for my own ice hockey jerseys. But I also lived in NJ, so I was partial to the Devils.

For the Penguins’ home games, the stadium is always packed. There’s something special, sitting with a beer in hand, watching the best athletes compete alongside 20,000 other spectators. I was filled with strong feelings of patriotism.

Penguins locker room
Penguins locker room

There’s no checking in women’s ice hockey, and with all the equipment we had to wear, I felt completely safe. I could trip backwards on my head and get up like it was nothing. But certainly, the men’s side is a different story, and colliding against the rigid walls could cause injuries. I was working on a project to make ice hockey safer, and learned that the pro players are superstitious, reluctant to change to newer, safer gear. Hanging on the wall was Crosby’s ratty jock that he must have been using since junior league. No one is allowed to step on the logo in the middle of the floor, and it is pristine. Remarkably, in spite of all the gear being aired out, the Penguins’ locker room is odor-free thanks to a state-of-the-art ventilation system.

Senator John Heinz History Center

Heinz bottle made of Heinz bottles
Heinz bottle made of Heinz bottles

The Heinz Museum covers the history of Pittsburgh, from George Washington’s skirmishes in the French and Indian War to modern times. Each floor has a particular theme. One floor is dedicated to Pittsburgh’s thriving sports franchises. Another is about how Pittsburgh is a city of innovation (and about the history of the Heinz ketchup company).

There is also a rotating exhibit on the lower floor, currently about Prohibition. There was some disagreement as to whether the liquor laws ought to be enforced by the federal government or at the local level, plus there were loopholes in the law. So as a result of poor enforcement and the rise of organized crime surrounding the distribution of illicit alcohol, Prohibition was repealed. Post-Prohibition, annual consumption of liquor sharply decreased, and has remained low ever since (compared to pre-Prohibition levels).

Carnegie Museum of Science

The Carnegie Museum of Science has exhibits on space exploration, water, robots, the human body. The museum is geared towards families with small children, so the information on the posters are at an introductory level. The highlight for me was a robot that threw free throws with a 90% accuracy, which was smoking the 10% accuracy of its human opponents. After each throw, the giant robotic arm would bob up and down, as if doing a victory dance.

USS Requin
USS Requin

Outside the museum, a submarine is docked. Its halls are tight and claustrophobic. All furniture was smaller, as if built for dwarves. I was impressed that 80 seamen could live there for extended tours.

The Frick Museum

There are several buildings on the Frick property, located on the north end of Frick Park. There is a sleek and well-lit car and carriage museum, a greenhouse, Frick’s residence, Clayton, and the art museum. The art museum is modestly sized. There was a temporary exhibition featuring paintings by Van Gogh, Monet, and Degas’ ballet dancer sculpture.

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