The city of Pittsburgh can hardly wait for the G-20 summit to begin. Along with humidity, constant rain, and murky skies, the atmosphere is a mix of anticipation, dread, annoyance, and excitement.
In fear of the destruction that could occur between police and protesters, some businesses are boarding their windows and glass doors. Others have chosen to remain open. In the Strip District, a few shops, including restaurants and art galleries, have posted signs in the windows announcing, “Will be open for G-20.” Much of downtown, though, has chosen to board-up.
For the past few months, local officials, the media, and most anyone else with some kind of an audience locally, has been speaking out about what the G-20 means for Pittsburgh, and how it is a chance for our city to showcase itself to the world. It will be a chance to tell our story of success, they have said.
Yet when world leaders get here tomorrow, Pittsburgh will seem more like a ghost-town, or a police state, or some weird Walt Disney studio set, than a place anyone calls home.
The city has installed banners and ads over vacant store-fronts in an attempt to make the abandoned spaces seem more appealing and vibrant–like a band-aid. However, they seem to draw more attention to the amount of empty and unused spaces that downtown actually consists of (which is contrary to the narrative of a vibrant, reinvented Pittsburgh).
At the Carnegie Museum of Art, and Natural History, civic art—such as statues of Shakespeare and Galileo, a large replicated dinosaur, and other abstract sculptures–have been either covered in bags, or boxed in by wood. There is a real sense of fear that anarchists will destroy parts of Pittsburgh.
More stories and photos will be posted throughout the coming days. Check back soon.
Post and Photos by Andrew Moore