Of the inclines in my life which am I inclined to more?
Might it be this one?
Ranked the second most beautiful place in America (I need to find out which is number one, don’t I?), Pittsburgh knows how to strut its stuff. Directly across the Monongahela River from downtown Pittsburgh is 367-foot-high Mount Washington. This is where we went recently to get the “grand” view. Known as “Coal Hill” in Pittsburgh’s early days, Mount Washington was originally the site of many prosperous coal mines. More than a dozen inclines once carried passengers and freight, even vehicles, between the coal mines and neighborhoods of Mount Washington and the city of Pittsburgh and railyard at Station Square. Two of the oldest of these inclines still survive.
The restored Mon Incline
(short for Monongahela), built in 1870, carries residents and tourists between Mount Washington and the popular Station Square shopping complex. About a mile down the road, at the other end of Mount Washington, the beautiful Duquesne Incline
still retains its original, 1877 ornate wooden cable cars. The top station is a must-see for visitors, featuring many excellent displays and photographs of Pittsburgh history, as well as a gift shop and outdoor observation deck.
The dramatic vigor of Pittsburgh’s Phoenix-like rise from the dead after the steel and coal companies burned out is as breath-taking as the view. Jack and I ascended and then descended the incline. In between we strolled Grandview Avenue and leaned on the railings of the overlook decks that jut out for views of Pittsburgh’s landmark skyscrapers nestled at the point where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers flow together to create the Ohio.
Image by roger4336 via Flickr
The confluence of the mighty rivers is a wonder but not as wondrous as the capacity of our country for renewal.
Take courage during these trying times, be inclined to compromise, and look at what Pittsburgh has become.
And, while I’m at it, I’ll use the rivers as a metaphor–I’m strongly inclined to do so thanks to that Mount Washington Incline.
The Ohio derives great energy from the Allegheny and the Monongahela. Those skyscrapers represent a huge amount of wealth. And the extremely wealthy in our country have a role to play current financial crisis. A small story about one such wealthy person caught my attention. David Tepper, a hedge fund mover and shaker from The Hamptons dropped his ATM slip. The wind took it and someone picked it up. And found a story to tell. The story went viral, not because Tepper had to pay a $2.75 ATM fee, but because of the balance he carries in his checking account. 100 million dollars. Well, 100 million minus that ATM fee. The wafting in the wind ATM slip underscores the difference between the Very Wealthy and The Rest of Us. The effective tax rate for the David Teppers in our country has plummeted by nearly half in recent decades, even as their pre-tax incomes have grown five times larger, new IRS data show. This needs to change.
Imagine the power of the confluence of those three rivers and then imagine the increased power to our revenue stream of a raised tax on the Very Rich, the David Teppers of our marvelous country, a country founded on the premise that taxes will be levied to assure the health and prosperity of all.
The issue of health and prosperity brings me to my least favorite incline–the one I ratchet myself up on. The treadmill, at the gym. Although now that I’ve learned to change the gym television from Fox to CNN I’m better able to tolerate my 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on an incline. (I’m pretty sure Fox wouldn’t have shared the ATM story either.)
So: Visit Pittsburgh! And keep your eye out for wafting ATM slips; they’ve got stories attached to them, if you’re so inclined.