Castle Damas

retaining wall on hillside constructed to look like medieval castle, Pittsburgh, PA

Castle Damas, Spring Hill

Rick Sebak’s inevitable future Pittsburgh history documentary Great Retaining Walls of Allegheny County should begin right here, in Spring Hill.

Castle Damas[1], a medieval fortress whose turrets and battlements were formed from mortar and stone rises with a spectacular view of the lands it holds dominion over–through the valley, down to Spring Garden, and across the river to the Strip District.

That these impenetrable walls should stand just up the block from the Spring Hill spring is no accident. The first settlers of Damas Street wisely selected an optimal site for defense, visibility, quality of life, and its free-flowing supply of life-sustaining cleanish natural spring water[2].

house with retaining wall on hillside constructed to look like medieval castle, Pittsburgh, PA

The keep and battlements of Castle Damas

Given the news of the week, we can assume we’ll all be getting a little more familiar with wall-building. On our recent visit, we were fortunate enough to meet the lord or this particular manor, who’s probably got as much wall experience as anyone. This day, our regent was engaged in maintenance of the structure, giving his naves a precious Saturday off and pulling weeds from the parapets himself. Lord Damas [Swiss cheese-for-brains failed to record the homeowner’s given name] told us his hilltop house was built in 1926 and its first owner, a baker, began construction of the elaborate wall around 1933.

Perhaps because it hasn’t been around quite as long as its European cousins, the castle wall and its bungalow-style keep are in impressive condition. Our liege told us he’d had to rebuild the top left half of the battlements and after pointing it out, the different colored mortar makes that somewhat obvious–but there’s enough variance in the stonework that this masonry-challenged blogger probably wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

figure of an owl created with concrete and reflectors, Pittsburgh, PA

The owl of Castle Damas

Brendan Gill, (then) architecture critic for The New Yorker, famously wrote “If Pittsburgh were situated somewhere in the heart of Europe, tourists would eagerly journey hundreds of miles out of their way to visit it.”[3] This blogger’s about as crazy cuckoo coconuts on Pittsburgh as anyone, but even he can recognize hyperbole when he trips on it.

That said, when just any old anonymous hillside street gives us these cross-city views, this public spring, and a terrific faux castle/retaining wall overgrown in beautiful wildflowers and fall colors, birds–even a guard owl–well, who are we to argue?

retaining wall on hillside constructed to look like medieval castle, Pittsburgh, PA

Castle Damas


[1] “Castle Damas” is Pittsburgh Orbit‘s name for the construction–don’t bother looking it up (at least, not by that name).
[2] We’ll note that the construction of the uphill houses on Damas Street was considered a contributing factor to the discoloration and impurity of the sping’s water.
[3] In the same quote, Gill also claims “The three most beautiful cities in the world are Paris; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Pittsburgh,” but if the guy has never even been to Akron, take it with a grain of salt.

Get Out The Voegt: Finding the Spring Hill Spring

natural spring in concrete pedestal embedded in hillside, Pittsburgh, PA

Spring is sprung: Voegtly Spring, The Spring Hill spring

Ask a Spring Hill local how to get to the neighborhood’s newly-unearthed and re-opened natural spring and he or she will make it real easy for you: “It’s right by the boxing ring.” Me: “Oh, thank you very much, that helps a lot. Just one more question: where’s the boxing ring?”

From there, it just gets more confusing. The “boxing ring” is actually the Steel City Boxing Association and Google Maps puts it way down the hill from its true location. Assuming you do find the right place, the stonework is engraved Hook & Engine Co. 53 for its (former?) life as a fire hall and contains no after-market mention of the sweet science.

How about the Internet–a recently excavated and restored piece of local history should be front page news, right? Well, you try a web search for “Spring Hill spring”–it’s un-Googleable! Spring Hill’s Internet presence doesn’t assist at all–there’s nary a peep about the spring from the neighborhood associations or its wiki page. C’mon, guys–help a blogger out!

Rest assured, dear reader: if we achieve nothing else, The Orbit will get you to the Spring Hill spring.

Detail from public mosaic "The German Settlers of Spring Hill" depicting the Spring Hill spring, Pittsburgh, PA

“The German Settlers of Spring Hill” (detail) mosaic depicting Voegtly Spring, Spring Hill

A large mosaic installation titled The German Settlers of Spring Hill welcomes visitors near the corner of Homer and Damas Streets*, one of just a few access points to the hilltop neighborhood. The final section of the four-panel piece features various community members in old world garb gathered around the image of the hearth-like Voegtly Spring, the natural water source that gave Spring Hill its name.

In that depiction, the spring is a flooding outpour overflowing its basin, its output equal to a dozen garden hoses. That’s not exactly what we found. The constant stream of water–there is no Off valve to a natural spring–is more of a dribble or a trickle than the gusher one might expect from the artwork mere feet away. That may have something to do with us visiting after a run of dry weather, so we’ll have to go back to verify after a decent stretch of rain.

masonry enclosure around pipe dribbling natural spring water, Pittsburgh, PA

The spring

Some background, from the Voegtly Spring historic nomination form**:

A stream ran down from the top of Spring Hill, ran through the intersection of Humboldt St. (now Homer St.) and an unnamed street (now Damas St.) and down into modern day Spring Garden (Fig. 4). In 1912 a rectangular stone and concrete structure was built into the shale hillside alongside Damas St. (formerly Robinson Road) to harness the flow of water beneath the ground to provide easy access to drinking water for the residents of the neighborhood and surrounding area.

The nomination form goes on to mention that “the spring water was tested and shut off sometime in the 1950s” and that house construction above the spring “may have contributed to [its] contamination”. Furthermore, “It is reported that during this time the spring water developed a distasteful odor and became a yellowish orange color.”

There’s no official word on whether the discoloration is still in effect, but it looked fine to my admittedly low standards. Despite the warning that “public works does not encourage its use because [the water] is not treated”, it’s certainly right there for the drinking and let’s face it: it’s cool to suck spring water right out of the hillside. Lesser journalists–speculative or otherwise–would turn toward home after snapping some pictures, but this blogger rushed in for a righteous century-in-the-making quaff.

glass of water from Voegtly Spring, Pittsburgh, PA

No discoloration here. Voegtly Spring water.

So…what does Voegtly Spring’s water taste like? Well, it ain’t Perrier, that’s for sure. If it’s not too vague, we’ll describe it as earthy, or maybe minerally. Flavorful–but I wouldn’t describe that flavor as desirable. It’s maybe a little gritty–like a woodsy stream–surprisingly warm, and decidedly different from city tap water (for good or bad). That said, it doesn’t have the natural toe-tingling effervescence of more celebrated waters. I’ll go out on a limb to suggest it’s unlikely we’ll encounter Winnebagos parked on Damas Street with tourists filling five-gallon jugs like you regularly see down in Berkeley Springs.

I’ll be honest: there’s not a lot else to do at the spring. You can drink from it straight like a water fountain and you can fill up a jug. That’s pretty much it. As entertainment, a visit is pretty low rent compared to, say, Pac-Man or The Jumble. Regardless, it’s a neat little old world nugget to trip across if you find yourself hanging out by the boxing ring or, more practically, desperately need some hydration and can’t quite make it down to Penn Brewery.

Here, on this eve of an incredibly important national election, we can only recommend that Orbiteers first get out and vote. And then, if you’re still not satisfied, get out and Voegt.

masonry enclosure for natural spring in hillside, Pittsburgh, PA

Voegtly Spring, The Spring Hill spring

Getting there: Voegtly Spring is on Damas Street, just off Homer. When you see the old Hook & Ladder Company or the big public mosaic/garden, you’re real close. The easiest way to get there (especially on bicycle) is from Spring Garden Avenue, up the hill on Homer. We’ve also added a pin for the spring to our Map page.


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story quoted an August, 2016 Post-Gazette piece on the re-opening of the spring that incorrectly lists Fred and Wilbert Bergman as the builders. The Bergmans took the earliest known photograph of the spring, but construction was done by the city Department of Public Works.


* The mosaic was constructed by a large group at the leadership of Linda Wallen, whose Yetta Street mosaics (also in Spring Hill) we profiled last year.
** A big thank-you to Spring Hill resident James Rizzo for helping to clarify the facts on ownership and construction of Voegtly Spring.

Union Dale Cemetery: The Lamb Lies Down on Baahway

iron grave marker of a lamb, Union Dale Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA

(unknown)

Union Dale Cemetery‘s Division Three, Section b (yes: that’s a lower-case b) lies waaay in the back, at a high point in the park, bordered by treelined fencing that separates the property from nearby Presley Ridge School. Section b is so far removed that it doesn’t even appear on the cemetery’s online maps*.

But if you can make it out to Union Dale’s far northeast outpost, the tell-tale shapes of lambs popping up on gravestones and laying down in the grass will tell you you’ve reached the right spot. The creatures will be calmly resting, their little lamb ears pointing out at the sides. Each one of them will face the same direction.

weathered gravestone with lamb, Union Dale Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA

Wm. B. Henderson

weathered gravestone with lamb, Union Dale Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA

Jane Lee Blumfeldt

Listen here: when we shoot the sheep, we’re not talking about any jive-ass 2-D cutaways or bas relief lambs, either–though there’s plenty of those loitering on newer stones in the same neighborhood. No, this is full-on, worn-to-nubs marble and granite lambitude.

Two of the specimens (Kirk and Klein, photos below) seem to be the same general make and model, but otherwise each gravestone is unique. That’s not to say the lambs don’t look alike–they do–but there’s enough variance here to suggest these weren’t simply off-the-shelf lamb-on-a-box markers.

weathered gravestone with lamb, Union Dale Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA

Kirk

weathered gravestone with lamb, Union Dale Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA

Ralph A. Klein

Jennie Benford, our Concierge to the Dead, says “The lambs were very popular but almost exclusively for children’s markers.” The Internet backs her up on this claim, as does the anecdotal evidence of the dates we can see on the (still-legible) stones here. The deceased were all between months and just a few years old when they arrived at Union Dale and given the concentration in this one small area, we have to wonder if Section b was earmarked as plot for children.

The association of lambs with the death of children has a number of explanations, but the most common seems to this passage from the Bible:

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.  — John 1:29

weathered gravestone with lamb, Union Dale Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA

(unknown)

weathered gravestone with lamb, Union Dale Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA

June Ann Reese

There are other similarities. Every one of the markers (that we’re able to read) is dated from the same decade. Jennie assures us “The lamb stones are not strictly 1920s–I’ve seen them used much earlier than that and for some time after,” but it’s an interesting data point.

The lamb is always sculpted alone and awake, but in a resting position with its legs folded underneath. I imagine there is a practical aspect to this–sculpting those spindly legs from delicate marble is likely very expensive and accident-prone. That said, one has to accept that the feeling of innocence is even more pronounced with the gentle creature in repose. What could be more harmless and vulnerable than a kneeling fluffy white lamb?

Perhaps most curious, every single lamb faces to the left (as the visitor faces the stone)**. Now, that may just be a coincidence in our small sample, but if so, it’s equal to flipping “heads” ten times in a row. Still, reading any dramatic symbolism into facing left vs. right seems like a major stretch. Left, in this case, is also north, since all the stones face the same direction–west, or downhill and towards the only small access road. Again: likely not a planned coordination.

weathered gravestone with lamb, Union Dale Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA

(unknown)

weathered gravestone with lamb, Union Dale Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA

Catherine Achey

Union Dale Cemetery is an intimidating place to explore. It covers a huge area–likely equal to the size of Allegheny Cemetery or many (larger) city neighborhoods. The full plot is divided by Brighton Road and Marshall Avenue/Rt. 19, which effectively turns the park into three separate cemeteries. [Union Dale labels each of these a division.]

It’s hard to imagine there’s any best or worst way to take in Union Dale for the newcomer. That said, like so many things in life–or, it seems, in death–there’s nothing wrong with ending up at Plan b.

weathered gravestone with lamb, Union Dale Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA

John Buckalynn


* Section b should not be confused with Section B, right by the entrance. Also, it looks like Union Dale’s PDF maps may have a page 2 that just didn’t make it to the web site.
** Two of the markers photographed are simply freestanding sculptures without an engraved headstone, so there is no left or right.

Get the Gist: The 1917 Manchester Bridge Sculptures

Preserved Manchester Bridge sculptures in their new location near Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA

The Manchester Bridge sculptures in the drifting yellow fog of the Color Run cleanup

Has anybody seen the bridge? Robert Plant asks on Led Zeppelin’s 1973 time-scuttling pseudo-funk jam “The Crunge,” Where’s that confounded bridge? It’s a preposterous rhetorical question–an inside joke, to be sure–but it wasn’t so funny when this blogger found himself in the very literal position of being unable to locate the bridge he was looking for.

To be fair, The Orbit was actually just trying to find some ornamentation–not, you know, an entire bridge. Still, we were on the hunt for three giant bronze sculptures that originally adorned the Manchester Bridge, and are now on display on the North Shore. We had only the most minimal of directions–“near Heinz Field”–but they couldn’t be that hard to find, right?

Well, it took wheeling around the entirety of the stadium, down along the riverfront, and then a befuddled dose of Googling to actually locate the new installation. [Readers: fear not, we’ll make it easier for you–see below.]

Black and white photo of Manchester Bridge in 1918, Pittsburgh, PA

Manchester Bridge as it looked in 1918, the year after the sculptures were added (photo: Wikipedia)

The story goes that the old Manchester Bridge–which spanned the river between the point and where Heinz Field is now–was erected between 1911 and 1915 and then had these sculptures added a couple years later in 1917. When the old bridge was replaced by the much larger Fort Duquesne Bridge in 1969 someone thankfully had the wisdom to put the big bronze decorative pieces in storage instead of the scrap yard.

It’s kind of amazing that now–forty-seven years later–the sculptures should finally move off the shelf to out on the street where everyone can see and enjoy them[1]. The location–in the literal shadow of Heinz Field–seems a little goofy. It’s really only convenient if you happen to already be walking in to a football game or urinating before a Kenny Chesney concert. However, it is within a stone’s throw of where the old Manchester Bridge touched down on the North Side, so in that way it makes pretty good sense.

Detail of frontiersman Christopher Gist from the preserved Manchester Bridge sculptures, Pittsburgh, PA

Frontiersman Christopher Gist (detail)

And what of the sculptures? Well, on one side you’ve got Christopher Gist, the “frontiersman” who mapped the Ohio River valley in the 1750s crouching with musket, buckskin, and one very manly beard. Up close, there’s a deep, dazed look in his eyes and remarkable detail considering how high the piece was suspended above the bridge deck.

Opposite is the figure of Guyasuta, who was also involved in the colonial exploration of the Ohio[2]. The Seneca chief acted as local guide to one George Washington, in his pre-father of the country role as a young officer on a mission to survey what was then The West. Guyasuta’s posture is a near mirror image of Gist: hunkered down on one knee with a weapon at hand (in this case, bow and arrow), ready for action, but not yet drawn.

detail of Chief Guyasuta from the preserved Manchester Bridge sculpture, Pittsburgh, PA

Chief Guyasuta

Between these two figures is an enormous representation of an unfurled banner reading MCMXVII (1917) Manchester Bridge. Below it is a full-on 3-D version of the city crest and seal, complete with its checkerboard pattern (these are blue and white when they appear in color), “three bezants bearing eagles rising with wings displayed,” and “a triple-towered castle masoned Argent.” The seal is very much not the required black-and-gold[3]. Rather, the whole thing has turned the fabulous weird green of oxidized bronze, which looks pretty terrific.

Worth the trip? Certainly, at least if you’re already down on the North Shore walkway, at Heinz Field, or Stage AE for any reason. Or you can just pick up the twofer with the next Color Run cleanup, like we accidentally did. And if you see this wayward blogger gasping in the clouds of technicolor dust, maybe you can show him the way out, just like Gist and Guyasuta.

Manchester Bridge sculpture detail including a triple-towered castle masoned Argent from the seal of the City of Pittsburgh

Detail: the “triple-towered castle masoned Argent” of the seal of the City of Pittsburgh

Getting there: The newly-installed Manchester Bridge sculptures are indeed right by Heinz Field. They’re on North Shore Drive, just about where it meets Art Rooney Ave. (the little ring road around the stadium), in the small greenspace between the gates and Stage AE.


[1] The new installation only includes the sculptures from one end of the bridge. There is another set with different figures (including Joe Magarac!) that was also saved and is yet to be made public.
[2] Gist is presumably the namesake of the tiny cross street in Uptown. Guyasuta also has an un-remarkable eponymous residential road in suburban Fox Chapel. This seems like a bit of rip-off for both explorers when similar colonial-era players Forbes and Braddock got such prominent main drags.
[3] Between looking up Gist, Guyasuta, the Manchester Bridge, clarifying Led Zeppelin lyrics, the city flag and seal, and then definitions for “argent” and “bezant”, this post set some kind of Orbit record for its orgy of Googling obscure minutia[4].
[4] Note: no, we were not Googling “orgy”. That’s for later.

Alien Landscapes: Color Run Cleanup

Peak of PPG Place seen through a cloud of yellow dust, Pittsburgh, PA

These colors don’t run…but they may blow away in the wind

You’ve seen them–heck, maybe you’ve been them. (Generally) young people in sunglasses and jogging outfits with wild random splashes of color criss-crossing the full lengths of their persons. Nothing is spared–clothing, exposed skin, face, and hair have all been haphazardly doused in iridescent blasts of paint dust. They’re on foot, winded, giddy, and/or dazed–appearing as if recently exposed to supernatural radiation or looped on a new dancehall hallucinogenic.

yellow dust covering street and sidewalks, Pittsburgh, PA

Yellow brick (err…cement) road (and sidewalks)

The Orbit has no idea what “The Color Run” is all about*–we stopped following trends after opening the closet to a wardrobe full of acid wash. What we can say is that it’s some kind of well-organized group event** that involves throbbing disco music, inflatable rainbow-shaped arches, many bold statements suggesting–perhaps, demanding–participants be HAPPY, and yes, lots and lots of deeply-hued paint dust.

Whateverthehell these folks are doing, I’ll tell you one thing: accidentally running into the Color Run aftermath is bizarre…and it’s a hoot.

orange dust covering sidewalk and bushes

Planet Orange

Streets of gold! Phosphorescent shrubbery! Day-glo pavement! Bike trail loose gravel mixed with electric blue dye and formerly hum-drum parking spots tattooed in technicolor. For one, brief, shining post-Color Run moment, the general area of the near North Side, around the stadiums and those new office buildings, was transformed into a Star Trek set, a fever dream, a visionary environment, an alien landscape. The future really is here right now…or it at least it was last Saturday.

man pushing an electric blower kicking up yellow dust from The Color Run, Pittsburgh, PA

Spell-caster/dream-maker/Color Run cleanup crew member

When the big custom sweeper/blower machine rolled through, I couldn’t race fast enough to catch the billowing clouds of bright yellow dust filling the sky and temporarily blocking out everything in sight. A couple decent shots with downtown Pittsburgh nearly enveloped and then it all disappeared in the wind as fast as it had flown up. The Orbit‘s only regret is that we didn’t make it around to the other discarded dust patches in time to collect the whole color set. We’ll not make that mistake next time.

wooden letters that spell HAPPY, seen from behind

They even have their own language. YPPAH.


* Yes, we are well-equipped to Google “the color run,” but Orbit readers have come to expect a level of “speculative journalism” that doesn’t weigh the reader down with undue facts or research.
** The trucks packing up in the parking lot all had Salt Lake City, Utah addresses on them, so we assume this is some kind of franchised, touring operation.

More Time for the Skyline

Art installation of Pittsburgh skyline as large cut-outs with black and white patterns projected on them

Spirit Lounge Pittsburgh 200th Birthday Celebration

Back in January, we posed the question is the Pittsburgh skyline that distinct? No definitive conclusion was achieved but it became clear that we’re dealing with an extremely popular subject. In only the few months since, we’ve seen new examples of the same profile appear over and over–in art, in industry, in history. Here are The Orbit’s favorites:

Spirit Lounge‘s 200th birthday party for the city was an orgy of Pittsburgh in-joke goofballery. The flashing, multi-color downtown skyline diorama looked great in all of its phases, but especially this high-contrast, two-tone number (above)–amazingly with just one building’s profiles caught on the bias. Hats off to whoever put this great display together.

Airbrush painting of the Pittsburgh skyline seen from the North Side

Warhola Recycling, North Side

Warhola Recycling would have to include a North Sider’s view of the city. The big touch points are all there: PPG, Fifth Avenue Place, Point State Park and its fountain–even one of the party boats on the river. This mural, airbrushed on the big steel doors on the side the building, is a great example of the skyline potentially popping up just about anywhere.

fantasy skyline with various Pittsburgh elements included

Energy Innovation Center (former Connelly Technical Institute), Hill District, c. 1930

The depiction of Pittsburgh in this arched doorway mural from the old Connelly Technical Institute is terrific in a number of ways. First, it’s just very much of its time–a pseudo-realistic depiction of the city in full industrial might: a place of buildings reaching to the skies, bridges that can ford any span, industry cranking out…stuff, and glorious rolling green hills as far as the eye can see.

But it’s also a perspective that doesn’t actually exist–and never did. The painting is a fantasy view of Pittsburgh combining real-life entities (downtown’s Gulf Tower, the Panther Hollow Bridge in Oakland, steel mills, farmland) plucked out of their actual habitats and re-combined in a close-shouldered collision. It’s like a regional greatest hits album that lacks any cohesive flow, but still sells because it’s got all the good stuff people want to hear.

city skyline painted on concrete tennis practice wall, Pittsburgh, PA

Garland Parklet, East Liberty

This skyline, painted graffiti-style in a park in East Liberty, is almost so abstract that we can’t count it–it could be Anytown (O.K. any city), U.S.A. There’s no recognizable Gulf Tower or U.S. Steel Building, but the central point is arguably Fifth Avenue Place’s giant hypodermic needle. They’ve also got a generic bridge in there, though it doesn’t really look like any of the “three sisters” suspension bridges. In any case, this blogger thinks it counts. Plus, it ended up on the backstop of a tennis practice wall in East Liberty, which is a pretty neat place to turn up a city mural.

Pittsburgh skyline mural painted on cinderblock building

Red Star Ironworks, Millvale

Excuse the weird cropping here, but there was a glass block window and a competing mural to work around. The entire front of Red Star Ironworks’ Millvale workshop has been painted as a giant tribute to big dudes working with hot steel. The split pair of Pittsburgh skylines that bookend the mural are really just a decorative afterthought. But they’re still there, and you won’t have any trouble picking out the now-familiar key players.

mural on brick wall including the downtown Pittsburgh skyline

Mural, Art All Night 2016, Lawrenceville

We could have filled an entire post–maybe several–with depictions of downtown Pittsburgh entered into this year’s (or any year’s) Art All Night. But we went with the one that will go down with the ship: a mural painted directly on the brick wall of the 39th Street Arsenal Terminal building that ain’t long for this world. New condos await, right there at the foot of the 40th Street Bridge, but they’re not going to make it into this skyline.

Golden Babies: The Final Chapter?

golden baby hanging from electric line, Pittsburgh, PA

Golden baby #4 (aka “Clement Baby”)

Almost as soon as this blogger’s index finger migrated January’s More Golden Babies! post from “draft” to public record even more tips on the mysterious street art/prank started rolling in. Three of them, in fact, one right after the other. Another golden baby had been spotted just off Main Street in Bloomfield/Lawrenceville, a second over on The North Side, and yet a third down in the 10th Ward on Butler Street. That last one turned out to be duplicate report of Butler Baby (golden baby #3), but, as a famous realist–and entrée–once said, two out of three ain’t bad.

silhouette of baby doll dangling from electric line over row houses, Pittsburgh, PA

Golden Baby #5 (aka “Sampsonia Baby”)

Oh, you can believe that chops were licked and hootenannies kicked into high gear to confirm these reports. Orbit readers who’ve already perused the included photographs will note that we were not let down in our pursuit.

Golden Baby #4 is (still) dangling from the electrical infrastructure on tiny Clement Way, just off Main Street, right next to The Shop and Liberty Beer. Golden Baby #5 was caught hanging loose in the Mexican War Streets on the very block where both The Mattress Factory and City of Asylum houses are. In both cases, the baby dolls seem to perfectly match their siblings: same gold paint, same white onesie, same dangle by the ankle.

The jump across the river for #5 was especially interesting as it meant our perpetrator(s) may be, you know, “city-wide,” rather than concentrated purely in the Penn and Butler stretches of the East End. How many more would there be? We’d just have to hang back, wait, and see what else turned up.

golden baby hanging from electric line over brick building, Pittsburgh, PA

Golden baby, blue sky. Clement Baby

Well…the calendar turned from February to March, we ate a bunch of fried fish and mac & cheese, and now we’re half way into April and there’s been nary a peep from any more golden babies (or their spotters). The 1-800-ORBIT-ME hotline sits silent, phone bank operators idly twiddling their well-intentioned thumbs. We can’t get a grainy cell-phone baby photo tweeted at us to save our lives. Sigh.

Is this it? Is this the way it all goes down? If so, that’s O.K.–we had a good run. I’m tempted to say, like a famous minstrel–and heartbreaker–once did, don’t do me like that. But, you know, that ain’t how it is. No, Mr. or Ms. Golden Baby dangler, you did me pretty good. Yeah, you did The Orbit pretty darn good.

golden baby, electric lines, and sky, Pittsburgh, PA

Upside-down you’re turning me. Sampsonia Baby