There’s a puzzle out there. They call it “Pittsburgh”. It is a puzzle of geography, rivers, ravines, hills, roads, and steps. It is also a puzzle of people, living side by side, mostly in harmony, but sometimes not. I’m trying to put this puzzle together. I’m assembling it run by run. Sometimes, I don’t understand. How does this work? But I do know one thing… I know the pieces fit!
I’d been puzzling over this little enclave of Pittsburgh for some time now. Just out of Riverview Park, the area between Watson Boulevard and Perrysville Avenue kept thwarting me. Every time I planned to do it, I’d invariably experience a setback; I’d forget my watch, forget my phone, have severe knee pain, get a nail in my tire or experience one of other 1,000 reasons I couldn’t fit this piece of Pittsburgh into the big picture. It was my personal Bermuda Triangle. But not today.
I must say, the Perrysville North Bermuda Triangle did put up a good fight. I started in the 95 degree heat at Riverview Park’s entry steps. In spite of the heat, my knees weren’t warmed up yet and complained vociferously that first quarter mile.
A slight mistake on the route took me onto Watson Street. Argh, it looked like this piece would win again! Then I noticed Talco Street and it realized I needed to do that one, too. It was more like a long shaded driveway than a road. Getting back onto Watson, I spied the Sigma Street Steps. These steps aren’t on Google Maps, or OpenStreetMaps. But they are there in reality. Pounding up the stairs, I noticed one jigsaw puzzle piece, then another and then a few more. I could just envision a small boy walking up the steps, holding an opened puzzle box by his side, with pieces dripping out. I felt a bit sorry for those trying to put it together.
The stairs, Sigma Way, must have been the key to this Bermuda Triangle, the key to getting back on track. I popped up on Delaware Street, just opposite Portola Avenue. I was not waylaid on Wayland Way; in fact it was a pleasant, wide brick lined alley. Here, just a small adjustment to my planned route took me around to Chemung Street and Orleans Street as originally intended.
Orleans Street hooked around to Viola Street. So far, the run had been flat, but that was about to change. Viola swoops like a roller coaster to Milroy Street. Here, once again, I was connected to the bigger picture by views, steps and crazy curves.
Cars labored to navigate Milroy’s steep curves. The bottom of Milroy crosses I-279 on a high bridge. For pedestrians a magnificent staircase provides a shortcut. One poor house, off of the winding stairs, has been half-eaten by grasping vines.
On Viola Street, I noticed an imposing red brick building. On closer examination, it was in disrepair, with broken windows and boarded up doors. However Milroy House was built to last and hopefully will see better days.
Clambering up the shaking wooden steps to Perrysville Avenue, I ran back to my car. I even tried to put on a burst of speed and ended the day with four solid miles. Another piece of Pittsburgh experienced.