Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Keep Your Clothes On

The "End of an Era", indeed. As long as I have been old enough to understand what a strip club was, I have equated the concept with Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. I never visited one; I just assumed that they were always there, and that they would always be there. Whenever someone spoke of going down to Liberty Avenue, especially at night, you just knew what they meant.

And now, it is all gone. This should have happened years ago. Unlike New York's Times Square, where a well-publicized sweep of the porno places was a major (heh) offensive by the Giuliani administration, Pittsburgh's porn row has been quietly fading away. The neighborhood was dirty, and not just in the moral sense; I know that whenever I walked across town and had to pass along that section of Liberty, I felt like I needed a bath. And so did the street and the buildings.

A block of former porn shops is the future site of an African American Cultural Center -- a much better way to represent Pittsburgh's urban culture than the establishments that it is replacing.

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