Making like the Syria Mosque

Yesterday the Sports and Exhibition Authority voted unanimously to tear down the Civic Arena.

I don’t know.

Is it wrong of me that I’m okay either way?

I would be okay if it is repurposed and I’ll be okay if it’s torn down.

I’ve said it before, I waver on this one.

Both sides have legitimate points. Both sides are equally passionate that their view is the correct one. Both sides are armed with data that seemingly proves their point and shoots munchkin-sized holes in their opponent’s.

In this case “munchkin-sized” means “donut-hole-sized,” not “little person-sized.”

In some cases, I look at the Civic Arena and I think it would be a shame to tear down such unique architecture, but then I look at this picture and I think, what the hell are we going to do with two giant arenas right next to each other?!


That just doesn’t even LOOK right. Could you imagine if they built PNC Park and Heinz Field on either side of Three Rivers Stadium and then left it standing?

But then again, PNC Park and Heinz Field are right next to each other and it looks fine.


I don’t know, you guys. I honestly just don’t know.

This is one issue I’ve got to be Switzerland on.

There will be legal maneuvers right up until the detonator is pressed and it’s going to be contentious and maybe even downright ugly as accusations are already being thrown around that the SEA board’s pockets are being lined and at yesterday’s vote, someone shouted out “Gestapo.”

Lovely. Really.

I don’t know about you, but I’m staying out of it.

If it comes down, I’ll thank it for the memories, and then make new ones in the Consol.

Preferably memories that start with Stanley and end with Cup.


  1. calipanthergrl
    September 20, 2010 2:13 pm

    I wish there was a “Flag as Inappropriate” button on this blog. Holy crap.

    I fully respect everyone’s right to express their opinion – whether or not I agree with it – but when that opinion starts to border on hate, well …

    Rather than waste my figurative breath feeding the resident, lunatic troll (though kudos to @Lauren for her well thought out replies), I will just say that #8 pretty much summed up anything I would have said, anyway.

  2. houndogg
    September 20, 2010 2:55 pm

    scott (comment #96) hit the nail on the head…

  3. bucdaddy
    September 20, 2010 3:02 pm

    Nobody listened to my idea for reuse either, which was to build PNC Park ON TOP OF Allegheny Center Mall, since the (failed) mall already offered levels of parking and retail space. You’d pull into the parking garage, ride an escalator up to a floor of Pirates-themed merchants and food courts and bars, and then escalate up one, two or three more levels depending on where your seats were. Instead they leveled another neighborhood, rundown and seedy though it was, and the parking lots stretch for miles.

  4. Al Lambrini
    September 20, 2010 3:13 pm

    @ bucdaddy that would of been great especially if they would of kept that Orange Julius in there. I used to love that place as a kid.

  5. John in the Rocks
    September 20, 2010 3:29 pm

    Someone needs to get BeauJacques off the IV Red Bull he’s obviously been on since last week.

    Look, do I trust the SEA and the city planners? Not, not really (one of the many reasons I’m glad I don’t actually live in the city but in the ‘burbs), but the fact remains that the upkeep of the Arena is gonna cost a lot of money that’s going to come out of Pittsburgh/Allegheny County residents’ pockets.

    I, too, have many great memories of the Arena. I saw my first concert there, the Monday Night RAW when Chris Benoit and Eddy Guerrero debuted, Jagr’s goal in OT to beat Jersey in the playoffs the year we thought the Pens might go away and so on. Will I miss it? Of course, but it’s a cramped, smelly, old eyesore. If you want to commemorate it somehow by leaving part of it standing (like what happened when Gate D was still standing after Three Rivers went kablooey) then fine.

    But the fact remains that outside of the Souper Bowl, there’s practically no where around Consol Energy Center to have a bite to eat before or after the game. Just take a look at all of the development in and around PNC Park and Heinz Field. Look at all of the restaurants and hotels that have popped up. Know what those provide? Jobs. Know what development on the Arena site would provide? Jobs.

    I know that progress is a scary thing in a city that is still stuck in the 1980s, but the Arena has to go. Thanks to BJ, I’m even more convinced.

  6. Butcher's Dog
    September 20, 2010 4:26 pm

    I, too, was thinking BJ would benefit from decaf.

  7. Bram R
    September 20, 2010 8:09 pm

    Would love to see that picture in the arena’s “open” state. I’m actually for a kind of reuse that either leaves up only a portion of the arena or leaves it wide open as default.

  8. Bram R
    September 20, 2010 8:11 pm

    Oh, yeah, and $50,000 is joke money in these terms. They spend more than that monthly on coffee filters at the SEA.

  9. BeauJacques
    September 20, 2010 9:00 pm

    Ditto Bram R.-

    I’m actually for a kind of reuse that either leaves up only a portion of the arena or leaves it wide open as default.

  10. Cassie
    September 20, 2010 9:08 pm

    I’m with Scott (#96). Driving 28 sucks, especially with that eyesore. I hope those people who fought so hard to keep it don’t ever have to drive it, and if they do, they better not ever complain about traffic.

  11. Thee dude
    September 26, 2010 1:46 am

    Two words for paying for upkeep of the arena… Naming rights. there is room for two arenas. I read an article about an arena that was built elsewhere for the pens when they threatened to move. It is very successful because every night is available for whatever concert or other event they felt like and not have to worry about a hockey schedule. Would anti-monopolies laws apply here?

  12. Thee dude
    September 26, 2010 1:49 am

    I also feel it will be another vacant lot. It would be cool to have the three rivers arts festival inside since it rains most years. But if it is sunny of course open the roof!

  13. Thee dude
    September 26, 2010 1:58 am

    Last post. Would having two arenas help us get the olympics here?

  14. Cynthia S.
    September 27, 2010 2:09 am

    As a long-ago Pennsylvanian now living in Northern Cal, what a shock to realize I’m one of the few ordinary folk to actually perform at both the Syria Mosque AND Civic Area. The former, I was a young Ukrainian dancer performing with my Arnold church’s dancers at the Pittsburgh Folk Festival in the early 60’s. What a thrill that was – I still remember the thousands in the audience, and the dark underground passageways backstage. The latter, the Civic Area was brand new, and my piano teacher arranged for her students to perform at this huge Pianorama, with dozens of pianos, 2 performers per piano, and all playing at the same time. Without my sheet music! I remember, it was Hungarian Rhapsody #6 I believe. Nothing today is as it was then, but at least I have sweet memories of a wonderful time in my life. My family moved out west, and nothing was ever the same. Now 58 years old, I think of Pittsburgh with longing and sadness at all that was lost.

  15. Cynthia S.
    September 27, 2010 2:28 am

    One more thing – how did I even stumble upon this website and issue? I was re-decorating my guest room, and found an old wooden suit hanger in the closet, stamped with “Carlton House Hotel, 550 Grant Street, Pittsburgh 19, PA”, probably “borrowed” by a family member, long ago. My insatiable curiosity let me to Google Map its street-view address – sadly it’s now long-gone, of course, and that led me to all the rest above. I applaud progress, but the Syria Mosque dissolving into a parking lot is anything but. Why does this bring me such bittersweet feelings now? Not just the Mosque being gone, or the hanger from the ghost hotel, or the fact that my father couldn’t attend my Civic Arena performance since he was already transferred to Las Vegas as a government nuclear scientist, where our family had to move that summer. It’s made me think about my long-ago childhood and powerful feelings of loss, when all I wanted was a small glimpse of what once was.

  16. Jimmy walker
    September 27, 2010 2:12 pm

    I love this issue and the outrageous comments it sparks.The sense of entitlement to what the Hill District residents should have in their neighborhood is appalling.If you want the Civic Arena so bad take it with you to where you live!

    While your at it take the Consol Energy Center,The Boy Scouts of America and The Old Connelly Centre with you!In case you didn’t notice we don’t like hockey and monster truck pulls.

    Imagine for one second if the residents of the hill district attempted to comment on development projects in let’s say Shady side.There would be hell to pay lawsuits you name it!If you do not own or rent property within a mile of the arena you have no skin in the game.Let it go you purchased your tickets enjoyed your games you got your moneys worth enough already!For Pete’s sake you need two arenas because you want to have fond memories get real!

    We want shops and office space also known as jobs!Don’t build bars and garages,shops and office space maybe a Sam’s Club.If you want bars use 5Th ave like the rest of us.

    The hockey arena brings crime to our front doors.Buy your drugs in your own neighborhood and maybe our neighborhoods crime rate can go down.The arenas do not supply jobs for our community never have never will all they bring are drug addicts in hockey jerseys.The Hill district will rise again one college degree at a time.Talk about the blacks in Pittsburgh all you like we don’t care about you like you don’t care about us. For every one we lose to the streets two get college degrees.We will head the bargaining table and i promise you your transgressions shall not go unpunished

  17. Matt DC
    October 2, 2010 6:53 pm

    Thanks, Jimmy. That certainly shut everybody up for a few days!