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Yes, well the skyscrapers were replaced in the 70’s, but actually there was a huge issue back in the 1990s, the first time many of us heard the term “Eminent Domain” when the mayor, Tom Murphy attempted to tear down the “Fifth and Forbes Quarter” (the area in the photo) by taking all the land off of the owners. Downtown Pittsburgh, in the 1970’s, 80s, and 90’s was a seedy place, full of prostitutes and drug dealers, openly going about their nefarious business; ‘good folks’ didn’t go downtown after 5. The area in the modern pic that is now a park on the bottom left was once home to “International Wigs”, a place where hookers and transvestite hookers ‘sold their wares’ nearby.
Problem was, Mayor Murphy really just tried to use the argument that the businesses on that strip catered to scuzzy people, and he went ahead, sent eviction notices and buy out letters to business owners, and giving the reigns of development to a Chicago based developer. Turns out, Pittsburghers don’t like it when government steps in and kicks out businesses, finding that practice far more morally depraved than the dirty bookstores and bars the city wanted to close.
Well, the developer from Chicago got in all kinds of trouble in another city for demolishing a bunch of stuff and ripping off his clients, and Pittsburghers moved to political action, and although that corridor of Downtown slowly developed into a much nicer strip, the Eminent Domain bulldozer was derailed. The buildings in the old photo have been replaced by new skyscrapers housing PNC’s corporate headquarters and K&L Gates inc. Interesting note…part of what saved the corridor is that the first ever movie theater, or [“Nickelodeon”](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickelodeon_(movie_theater) was built in that area, but up the street a bit.
Pittsburgh has been through a lot of changes. Growing up,(i’m 41) folks avoided downtown at night like a plague, now, I just heard someone say that you cannot get a hotel room in downtown Pittsburgh for less than $500 a night. Also, Pittsburgh has the most tree cover than any other large US city, at 40% coverage. Dirty city, my ass. Sorry, that one guy was dissing on the burgh…I love my town.
EDIT-I accidentally wrote the 1980’s…I meant to say 1990’s…apologies, all around.