This past Saturday afternoon my roommate entered our apartment wearing a bicycle helmet and announcing that he had just impulse-purchased a new cycle. “Wanna go for a ride?” he asked me.
He had stopped by a renowned bike shop in our neighborhood and picked up a new ride, one that puts my entry-level hybrid from a sporting goods store to shame. I asked if my 2 AM cycling joy ride last week had finally motivated him to pull the trigger on the new bike but he assured me that it was some recent commuting frustrations that had forced his hand. Even though his new wheels greatly outclassed my own, I couldn’t refuse a spontaneous afternoon bike ride. So I took the lead as we navigated our way down the riverfront trail and over to Point State Park downtown. Fall arrived in Pittsburgh this week in undeniable fashion: cooler weather, longer shadows, the whole shebang. So it was a great, crisp ride to inaugurate the season.
This weekend was also Homecoming weekend at the University of Pittsburgh. That Saturday evening was Pitt’s annual homecoming fireworks display which includes pyrotechnics being launched directly from the Cathedral of Learning. From our South Side apartment my roommate and I have a fantastic view of the Cathedral over in Oakland. So after our bike ride we got dinner then headed back to the apartment to catch the fireworks.
I have been fascinated by the annual fireworks display ever since I moved to Pittsburgh, in part because the elegant-yet-imposing edifice of the Cathedral helped draw me to Pitt in the first place. I always wanted to stakeout a spot in the student union building across the street for an elevated front row perspective of the show, or hideout in the Cathedral to get a view from inside the building itself. None of my previous apartments in the city had clear line-of-sight of the Cathedral, although in Bloomfield I did once watch the Homecoming display from the top level of the West Penn Hospital parking garage. But even that vantage point pales in comparison to the view from my current living room.
The fireworks started just after 9 PM and we were treated to an even better-than-expected perspective. These photos here aren’t great quality and clearly don’t do the display justice (photos of fireworks rarely do…although my roommate captured some video that did a better job), still I have included a few here.