when i lived in pittsburgh i went to school downtown. my dorm was in a skyscraper and i lived on floors 13, 17, and 21 (moving day was, well, interesting). point park university at the time consisted of 3 buildings. our dorm, the skywalk-attached classroom building, and the dreaded library that you had to actually go outside and down the street to visit. i’ve heard rumors about a freshman who won a dare of never going outside for the entire semester. it was the lazy man’s paradise… all elevators and everything you needed was a floor up or a floor down.
of course, if you did go outside, point park was conveniently sandwiched between a halfway house and a busy city intersection (lots of great stories about that halfway house, by the way) in the middle of the city. i lived downtown in that skyscraper for 3 years. during my senior year geoff returned from RIT and we had an apartment in the north side, arguably pittsburgh’s most dangerous neighborhood. there were several shootings on our street – “it’s okay – that happens a few blocks up, and nothing ever happens on this side of the street!” geoff would cheerfully remind me.
i also was born in and, later in my high school days spent considerable time in, wilkinsburg, pittsburgh’s other arguably most dangerous neighborhood. there’s an awesome little venue called roboto where we’d go see shows and hang out.
point park university.
view from the bus window.
needless to say, i’ve spent a lot of time in incredibly seedy and dangerous places. now i’m living on a tree-lined street with a community pool in a well-landscaped suburb of raleigh and i believe i’ve lost my touch. i used to wander around downtown and the north side all the time back in pittsburgh taking photos. i became extremely good at learning when i should be afraid… and i very rarely was. i was often stopped on the street and bus (oh the public transportation memories!) and talked to, but it was rare if someone gave me a hard time. sure, there was the occasional really creepy dude who’d ask where i lived, and the really crazy woman threatening to kill everyone on the 71A, but they were pretty much few and far between.
now that i live here i have to drive an unfortunate 20 minutes to get to actual downtown. we decided to move slightly outside the city to be closer to both of our jobs at the time. i’m downtown all the time but usually at night and usually with a group of people. i don’t walk around aimlessly for hours during the day shooting like i used to. i miss that and i am going to try and start doing it again, 20 minute drive and pain in the ass parking or not.
unfortunately, like i said, i have slightly lost my touch living in the ‘burbs for the past year and have lost a lot of my “street confidence.” of course, you kind of do lose that when two incredibly creepy dudes go out of their way to follow you for several blocks shouting, “you takin’ pictures? i’ll pose for you, baby!” and you have to bust out your cell phone to call your boyfriend at work so he’ll stay on the phone with you til you get to your car which is the most isolated spot of the city you could’ve possibly parked.
so obviously my photo session was cut short today… and i started with the basics of downtown. i figure i’ll work my way up to the seedy areas where i was most comfortable in pittsburgh and stick to the well-lit paved parts of raleigh until i remember how to handle the all the shady scenarios.
the BB&T building.
the indy newsstand.
the lincoln theater (the abe lincoln looks suspiciously like the abe lincoln in ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny youtube video).
the invisible building which is so, so cool.
fountain in front of raleigh memorial auditorium.