Who is he? Sunday, “he” was me. I was running in Oakland and decided to pay the remnants of Forbes Field a visit. The first remnant was the outfield wall, 457 feet from home plate. The second was home plate itself, preserved under plexiglass in the floor of Posvar Hall. Sleepy studying students looked askance at a bundled up runner traipsing in, taking a picture and running out.
But, as Pitt has built up Oakland, “he” could also be every student, parent and professor drawn to its burgeoning educational, medical and research center. Here is Pitt’s research page, where you can see for yourself how large it has gotten. I’m a graduate of Pitt myself. But this day, I was just a runner, trying to capture a few more streets. Old Oakland is hard to see here, but there are glimpses.
After a few miles I stopped by the Cathedral for a few trips up the stairs.
It was cold, even on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Starting in Squirrel Hill, as I often do, I ran toward Schenley Park. It’s a beautiful, heavily wooded park with winding roads, hills, playgrounds, a golf-course and a lake.
After a couple of miles, I emerged into Central Oakland. This part of Oakland is dominated by student housing of all sorts. There are upscale condo/townhouses and street after street of apartment buildings and houses re-muddled into apartments. The area is pretty flat and the streets are relatively long, straight and in a grid. The area was busy with students. I remembered that as a student, I was always worried about money, classes, jobs, homework, girls and family (not necessarily in that order). As a father with college age children, I want to say to them “Don’t worry too much, do your best and you’ll be fine”. However, I do know that their lives are opaque to me, I don’t know their struggles and that they will have to find their own way. So, I just run past, nodding a silent greeting. Who knows if they gave any thought to the old guy lumbering past them?
And lumber past I did, cutting down Neville Street as it plunged into Panther Hollow. I ran under Schenley Drive and Forbes, eventually emerging in North Oakland, with its large institutional buildings, museums, churches. I found my way back along Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside before turning up Negley Avenue back home.