Tube City Almanac

December 21, 2006

East Side, West Side, All Around The Town

Category: default || By jt3y

We're tripping the light fantastic on the sidewalks of The 'Port:

. . .

Nothing for Christmas: Has anyone else noticed the conspicuous absence of two local Christmas displays?

The animated neon displays depicting angels and candles that have traditionally shown from the windows of The Daily News Building didn't appear this year. Neither did the big Christmas tree made of green and white lights that has decorated the side of the Mansfield Building at UPMC McKeesport hospital for at least a decade.

Messages left for UPMC McKeesport's spokeswoman by the Almanac have not been returned. I haven't asked anyone at the newspaper why the neon wasn't put up this year, though maybe someone there wants to email your humble correspondent with the answer.

I have a hunch that the neon from the Daily News may just be in need of repair (those signs have to be 40 years old), while perhaps construction work at the hospital precluded the return of the Christmas tree this year.

Though neither the News nor the hospital are obligated to provide Christmas displays for our amusement, both were very nice holiday traditions that brightened a glum Downtown business district. Let's hope they return next year.

. . .

A sports bar? Really?
Hot Dog!: A tempest in a stew pot erupted recently in the Daily News over a story about the former Sam's Superior Restaurant, the legendary Downtown bar and grill that served its last wiener last Christmas.

The new owner was quoted as saying the old restaurant was full of "junk" and also accusing the previous owner, caterer Philip Haughey, of not having the original recipe for the famous chili that topped Sam's hot dogs.

Haughey fired back with a letter to the editor, saying that the "junk" that the new owner tossed out included the 1920s-vintage equipment that had long been a landmark at Sam's, and adding that he had received the chili recipe directly from the descendants of restaurant founder Sam Pandel.

Meanwhile, the new owner is planning to convert Sam's into a family restaurant and sports bar.

Now, I bow to no one in my appreciation for Sam's, especially under Haughey's ownership --- the man and his crew made some delicious cheap lunches. But the location (on Tube Works Alley, wedged behind the People's Building) is terrible. There's no parking, for one thing.

The Almanac (which always has good ideas for spending other people's money) is on record as suggesting that Sam's should have moved down Fifth Avenue to one of the vacant buildings near the Palisades. A hot-dog shop would be a great asset to the ballroom and the marina, and would have good visibility at the end of the Jerome Avenue Bridge --- not to mention free parking.

And no one asked me, but putting a sports bar --- especially one that hopes to attract a family clientele --- in the old Sam's location might be the worst idea anyone's had since someone at Three Mile Island said, "Hey, what does this button do?" Few people with children are going to want to schlep them to a restaurant in an alley across from a boarded-up parking garage. Even fewer are going to want to park a block or more away.

I wish the sports bar lots of luck --- it's going to need it, unfortunately.

. . .

Regrettably, Harpo Marx did not submit a bid for the animal control contract.
Speaking of Dogs: City council has appointed a new company to do animal control after residents claimed that the previous service was "inhumane." According to the P-G, Triangle Pet Control of McKees Rocks will take over next year from city-based Ferree Kennels.

The complainants were upset that Ferree euthanized stray dogs and cats by locking them in an air-tight box that was fed with exhaust from a running gasoline engine.

Owner Ken Ferree noted that the method was legal under state law, but his testimony in front of council probably didn't help his case much:

"This is an approved method that's used by people who commit suicide," Mr. Ferree said, noting that some people kill themselves by shutting themselves in a garage with a running automobile engine until the fumes overtake them.

Hmm. Well, although that's true, if it were my business, comparing it with suicide would not exactly be the image I wanted to project, but I could be wrong.

. . .

A Bridge Too Far: Come to think of it, I didn't realize there was an "approved method" to commit suicide. If anything, I thought the approved method was to jump off of the Westinghouse Bridge, because (all together now) you can be sure if it's Westinghouse.

Wow --- that was a cheap line, even by my standards.

Your Comments are Welcome!

so you don’t like the rude clerks at the big old mega markets,

well, we have some rude ones at the wally world here in jacksonville, florida, but the clerks at the target store that i shop at are really great, i usually shop early saturday or sunday mornings, and i’m always asked more than a few times if i need help finding anything

i’ve been known the call the managers of the stores where i have encountered rude clerks, but also have called the stores where the clerks have been friendly

happy holidays to ya’ll in mckeesport,

gail schultz rogerson
gail - December 24, 2006

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