Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.



Editor’s Note: After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez has made the difficult decision to discontinue her “PittGirl” blog and column. We thank her deeply for her invaluable contributions to the magazine — and to the city. A new voice (another Pittsburgh favorite) will appear in this space beginning next month.

T
he thing with Pittsburgh is this: It gets you.

If it doesn’t yet have you, there eventually comes a time when it will reach out ... and get you.

And it will keep you.

No matter how far you wander from it, to the ends of our earth, you will still be gotten.

I don’t know when Pittsburgh got me, but I do know it didn’t always have me. Growing up here, you take things for granted. You cross a bridge. Shoot out of a tunnel. Ride an incline. Eat the salad fries. Take in a Bucs game. Walk a path along the shore. Feel the breeze off the river. Hear a kind voice. Witness a selfless act. Do work. See beauty. Feel love.

Often what regularly surrounds you isn’t fully appreciated until that comforting presence no longer is enveloping you with warm familiarity. When you’re without it, feeling the chill, that’s when you hungrily seek it out with fresh, appreciative eyes.

I went to Texas for four years. Left Pittsburgh behind to study. To get educated. To learn who I was 1,000 miles from a city that didn’t yet have me.

When I came home, I gradually realized Pittsburgh was more than bridges, inclines, rivers and sports. It was a story. A saga. It was a reinvention — scratching and clawing out of the mire of the steel collapse. It was determination. It was lovingly clinging to blue-collar roots. It was pride. It was promise. It was work-weathered hands joining to hold together that which threatened to fall apart. It was strength. It was brains. It was a city on a path to greatness from which it would not stray.

So I walked along that path, and as all of those realizations dawned on me, I stretched out a hand. I learned when you reach out just a bit to Pittsburgh — lean a little, open yourself up — that’s when Pittsburgh reaches for you. That’s when it gets you, and it carries you with it.

When you learn the history, volunteer to help its suffering people, get involved to try to affect a small positive change, create something beautiful and meaningful here ... your eyes open. You realize the richness of the history and how it shaped us into a community of neighborhoods. You become unable to ignore the incredible value and unmatched strength of people who need a little help. You realize the ease with which change can take place, with just a little elbow grease. Your creation is supported and valued and lifted up by others, for others to see and love. Your widened eyes open your softened heart, and Pittsburgh gets you.

That’s how it got me. I learned the history. In my 20s, I often sat alone by the fountain at the Point during lunch. I leaned toward her ... heart open, eyes closed, breeze welcomed. In my 30s, I cared enough to get angry at the aspects that were not what they could be. To help. To feel a burning passion to have any small part in making Pittsburgh into a city unlike any other.

And Pittsburgh had me — really had me and would not let go.

I say this not to sound melodramatic or to wax eloquent, but because it’s the only way I can adequately describe to you my love for our city: Pittsburgh is in my soul. I know it so well, value it so pricelessly, want so much for it that it has become half of me. The rivers course through my veins, the fountain erupts in my heart, the bridges connect all of the parts of my identity, the inclines rise and fall with every breath I take. It is one of the most valuable relationships in my life, and it has shaped me into who and what I am.

When Pittsburgh really has you, you’ll feel that way too.

If it doesn’t already have you, I hope Pittsburgh gets you soon. I hope you’ll lean just a bit toward her. Soften, change, reach, so that she will reach back to you and show you the gleaming glory and character-shaping pain of her past. Why she’s worthy of your hard work to better her, why she’s deserving of you becoming the best, most loving kind of neighbor you can be, and why, once she has you, she’ll take care of you for as long as you take care of her.

Pittsburgh reached out for me. It has got me. It will never not have me, no matter what comes next.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for loving Pittsburgh as much as I do.

I’ll see yinz around the neighborhood.

 

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Director and “Mr. McFeely” Discuss “Won't You Be My Neighbor?”

The director of the forthcoming Mr. Rogers documentary sits down with the longtime Mr. McFeely and Pittsburgh Magazine.

Pittsburgh Teen Chess Phenom to Host Her First-Ever Tourney

Chess enthusiast Ashley Lynn Priore hopes to enrich the Steel City’s involvement in one of the most classic and challenging of board games.

Hungry for Something Good, Pittsburgh? Where We're Eating in June

We're obsessed with Greekfreez vegan frozen treats, taking a first look at the new menu at Independent Brewing Company and traveling to The Tavern on the Square. Plus, we talk to Poulet Bleu pastry chef James D. Wroblewski II.

Working in a Steel Mill Turns Fantastical in 'The Glass Lung'

Pittsburgher Anjali Sachdeva’s first book blends the normal with fantasy in nine short stories.

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.

Pittsburgh Flicks and Nightlife in June

PM Nightlife Editor Sean Collier explores the popularity of Coughlin's Law on Mt. Washington and the future of Jump Cut Theater.

Pittsburgh's Can't Miss Concerts in June

The Pittsburgh music calendar is packed this month. Check out some of our suggestions for the best ways to spend those steamy summer nights.

June: Best of Culture in Pittsburgh

Check out some of the finest stage plays, dance performances and exhibits taking place this month in Pittsburgh.

Undercover: What We're Reading in June

Reviews of Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance by Mark Whitaker and Abandoned Pittsburgh: Steel and Shadows by Chuck Beard

Perspectives: How Cold Is Too Cold for Spiders to Live?

A former Marine and Pittsburgh firefighter comes face-to-face with his biggest fear.

Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Faces Centennial Challenges

This year marks a milestone anniversary — and questions regarding the emerging digital economy — for the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh.

Highmark Stadium Struggles To Accommodate Music Fans

The Station Square venue could be a good place to see a concert. It's not there yet.

CMU Launches America’s First Degree in Artificial Intelligence

Starting this fall, undergraduates at Carnegie Mellon will have the option to earn a degree in one of the world’s fastest growing fields.

Hog Wild at Fallen Aspen Farm

Owners Jake Kristophel and Desiree Sirois are committed to compassionate animal husbandry at Fallen Aspen Farm.

This is Where ‘Pittsburgh's Paul Bunyan’ Would Have Lived

The living emblem of Pittsburgh steelwork, immortalized in a Braddock statue, has been reborn with a titular space in Bloomfield.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Director and “Mr. McFeely” Discuss “Won't You Be My Neighbor?”

Director and “Mr. McFeely” Discuss “Won't You Be My Neighbor?”

The director of the forthcoming Mr. Rogers documentary sits down with the longtime Mr. McFeely and Pittsburgh Magazine.

Comments

Pittsburgh Teen Chess Phenom to Host Her First-Ever Tourney

Pittsburgh Teen Chess Phenom to Host Her First-Ever Tourney

Chess enthusiast Ashley Lynn Priore hopes to enrich the Steel City’s involvement in one of the most classic and challenging of board games.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Lorelei Will Open in the Former Livermore/Pines Space

Lorelei Will Open in the Former Livermore/Pines Space

The owners of Independent Brewing Company and Hidden Harbor plan to bring a beer hall and cafe to East Liberty.

Comments

An Inclusive Community Breaks the Ramadan Fast at Salem's Market & Grill

An Inclusive Community Breaks the Ramadan Fast at Salem's Market & Grill

The Strip District restaurant draws a diverse community to its nightly ifṭār buffet.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places to Introduce Children to the Performing Arts

Best Places to Introduce Children to the Performing Arts

When you see a show at one of these organizations, you may enjoy it as much as the children.

Comments

The 4 Best Sports to Try This Spring in Pittsburgh

The 4 Best Sports to Try This Spring in Pittsburgh

Looking to switch up your physical activity now that it finally feels like spring? We found four sports you can play locally that you may never have considered.

Comments


Highmark Stadium Struggles To Accommodate Music Fans

Highmark Stadium Struggles To Accommodate Music Fans

The Station Square venue could be a good place to see a concert. It's not there yet.

Comments

Take a Tricky Trip To Mars at Escape Room 51

Take a Tricky Trip To Mars at Escape Room 51

The new escape room in Pleasant Hills is a great game for newer players.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Here We Go? Steelers Have More Than a New England Issue This Time

Here We Go? Steelers Have More Than a New England Issue This Time

At this time last year the Steelers perceived themselves, and rightfully so, as a team that was a mere win over the Patriots away from returning to the Super Bowl. This year, the focus is elsewhere.

Comments

Surprising Pirates Proving to be an Acquired Taste This Season

Surprising Pirates Proving to be an Acquired Taste This Season

For the time being, at least, fans continue to send owner Bob Nutting a message wrapped in apathy.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

The 400-Word Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

The Star Wars series experiments with telling an origin story, with mixed results.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Pope Francis: A Man of His Word

The 400-Word Review: Pope Francis: A Man of His Word

The careful documentary is a valuable document of the pontiff's philosophy. As a film, there are issues.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Wine Classes Keep the Pre-Wedding Celebration Classy

Wine Classes Keep the Pre-Wedding Celebration Classy

Palate Partners School of Wine & Spirits offers a chance for brides- and grooms-to-be to explore libations before (or instead of) a night on the town.

Comments

He Recovers from Stroke to Officiate Granddaughter's Wedding

He Recovers from Stroke to Officiate Granddaughter's Wedding

It was always Ashley Watkins’ dream to have her grandfather perform her wedding ceremony — but a serious illness almost got in the way.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
From Milan to Pittsburgh: These are the Kitchen Concepts of the Future

From Milan to Pittsburgh: These are the Kitchen Concepts of the Future

Local interior designer Lauren Levant traveled to Italy for the influential Salon del Mobile show featuring the latest innovations in the furniture and design industry. With an emphasis on quality over quantity, these are the kitchen concepts she says will be making their way stateside.

Comments

Get Creative: Pittsburgh Podcast Inspires 'Girl Bosses'

Get Creative: Pittsburgh Podcast Inspires 'Girl Bosses'

Thinking about starting a creative business but don't know where to start? From photography to interior design, Gamechangers, the new podcast from local textile designer Savannah Hayes, gives a behind-the-scenes look at the design industry from the female perspective.

Comments