Skip to main content
Stanley Cup Final

Stanley Cup Final postcard: Pittsburgh

NHL.com Director of Editorial Shawn Roarke explores city on riverboat ride

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Director of Editorial

An hour spent on the water beats a day spent in the office.

I'm not sure if anyone has uttered that little nugget of philosophy before, so excuse me as I claim credit for it.

For the past week, life has revolved around trips to an ice rink at least once, if not twice, every day. You won't hear any complaints as an ice rink is among the best places in the world for a hockey writer to be.

But it's nice to mix it up every once in a while.

So Wednesday, I took my option for the morning skate, deciding that my colleagues could cover the news as ably as always when I set about seeing this beautiful city in a way I never have before -- by its majestic rivers.

A short walk from the hotel to Station Square put me on the dock of the Gateway Clipper river boat operation. A few minutes later, I was aboard the Three Rivers Queen, a three-deck river boat with open-air seating on the top deck, which is where I headed to enjoy a near-perfect afternoon of bright sunshine, light wind and temperatures in the mid-70s.

Captain Joe and narrator Leah were my guides as we explored the Golden Triangle formed by the three rivers that surrounded and define the city.

We explored bits of the Monongahela River, the Ohio River and the Allegheny River, taking in the city and its landmarks in the manner most befitting a place defined by the surrounding waterways.

It was an opportunity to see the city at a macro level, instead of the micro level that occurs when walking its streets.

The city is defined by its architecture and there is no better way to see it than on a boat ride like the one the Three Rivers Queen provided.

I walked past the Renaissance Hotel countless times and had even wandered a few times for press conferences held by visiting teams, but I never knew the building was built with an arch in order to provide the ability for the most possible open windows since it was built before the advent of air conditioning.

I walked over the Smithfield Street Bridge to get to the river boat, yet had no idea it was the oldest bridge in the city, and second oldest steel bridge in the country.

My hotel is not far from Market Square, which is anchored by the PPG Place, a complex of six building spread across three blocks. I realized it looked like another famous building, but not England's Parliament until Leah mentioned it in her speech.

I have been up and down the Duquesne Incline more than once, but did not realize that there was once 22 such inclines in the city, used not by tourists, but by miners to get their coal down to the riverbanks and onto the ships that carried it from the city.

I also learned that there is a World War II-era submarine docked outside the Carnegie Science Center, the USS Requin, which served as the U.S. Navy's first radar picket submarine.

The submarine visit will have to wait for another day, however, as the hour-tour -- and a quick lunch at the nearby Bob's Subs, an iconic sandwich shop right near Point Park University -- is all I could carve out before my thoughts needed to return to hockey.

Game 2, after all, is in a few hours.

View More