There was a lot of excitement in Oakmont last weekend, as the town kicked-off the US Open Celebration. Some of the festivities included a performance by Bill Deasy, street chalk-drawing and, of course, face-painting. But the best, for me, was the spectacular fireworks which went on for quite awhile. since, for once, the display was aimed just right -- I could watch it from the comfort of my front lawn. My neighbors did the same. Oohs and aahs echoed from both sides of the street just as the booms from the fireworks echoed across the river.
In the middle of town, on the tracks between Allegheny River Boulevard and Allegheny Avenue, are parked some of the prettiest railroad cars I've seen. Shiny, burgundy, so pristine they resemble illustrations from a child's storybook, the cars-turned-suites are housing corporate bigwigs, or so the rumors say. It would be nice if they let us regular people peek into one to see the luxury of a specially-outfitted railroad car suite.
Very near my house is Parking Lot C, known in ordinary time as "Riverview Park." Sitting outside the entrance from Second Street is a park attendant looking perpetually bored (and who can blame her?). From Monday through Wednesday, during the practice sessions this past week, Parking Lot C was fairly empty. I understand it was used by the workers and I wonder why they didn't designate it for ticketed guests. Hmmm.
It usually takes me about a half-hour to get to work in the morning. A friendly neighborhood police officer convinced me I should get to work at 6 a.m. (instead of my regular 8 a.m.) because Hulton Bridge (one of the main arteries into town) would be so congested. On Monday, I followed his advice. By today (Thursday) I had learned better. Bridge traffic was easier than in normal times because police were directing the flow. Piece of cake.
I hear a lot of people are making a lot of money from the Open, but it appears that Oakmont merchants are not among them. In fact, most of the shops (not the restaurants) look emptier than usual, since regulars are apparently afraid to head into town. That's a shame. (See related article below.)
This is my first US Open hosted by Oakmont Country Club since I moved to this town some years ago. I'm not a golf (wake me when it's over) fan, but I hope Oakmont is benefiting from this. While it is fun keeping count of the Vipers and other costly vehicles, and the fireworks were cool, I miss hearing and watching the kids playing ball in the park -- excuse me, Parking Lot C. I won't be sorry when this mega-show is over and am looking forward to June 22 and the start of a home-town Oakmont event - the annual Greek Festival!
By Patricia Forest