Opinion Cities
Philadelphia Skyline from Ben Franklin Bridge Mihai Andritoiu/iStock.com

A view of the Philadelphia skyline from the Ben Franklin Bridge.

September 22, 2016

11 reasons Philadelphia is better than Pittsburgh

Here we go again.

First, much like its football team did in the Super Bowl against the Seahawks, Pittsburgh cheated its way to victory in a cheesesteak poll.

Now, we get word that a writer who covers “life and culture” in Pittsburgh – I know, culture in Pittsburgh, lol, right? – produced an “11 reasons Pittsburgh is better than Philadelphia” listicle. Oh fun.

You should read it. It’s adorable in a “look, my kid traced his hand and brought a ‘turkey’ drawing home for Thanksgiving break” way.

This being Philly, and me being me (challenged to do so), here’s a point-by-point rebuttal using the established categories, because – real talk – being barely better than Erie doesn’t qualify a municipality to enter into civic competition with the place where America was born.

1. NFL teams. Sure, any city that won a single Super Bowl can claim superiority over Philly. But if you’re going to hinge a list on an upcoming football game, you should probably admit – as your own Steelers Depot has – that the Steelers haven’t won in Philly since 1965.

For life-and-culture reference, this was the No. 1 song in America when the Steelers won that big game at Franklin Field. Fitting.


2. Nicknames. “Steel City is hardened and prepared for battle,” eh? Yeah, it better be hardened to have its nickname based upon an industry that Rust Belt’d the city. Thanks for admitting that “The City of Brotherly Love” is a sweet name, though. It’s also the Greek translation of Philadelphia itself. We celebrate a worthy life tenet; you let Donald Trump tease you with the promise of reviving an industry that abandoned you. Good luck with that.

Anyway, here’s a steel-industry interlude from “The Simpsons” just because:


3. Rivers. Derp, derp, derp, we have more, and longer, rivers, derp, derp, derp, the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers are “wimpy,” derp, derp, derp. Tell that to George Washington, who crossed the Delaware during the war that gave all of America its independence from a future of fish-and-chips drive-thru restaurants. Same goes for talking to any rower who competes in a regatta along our other river. They don’t think it’s too wimpy, either. Also, we have otters in the Schuylkill, and otters are cuter than any human being born in Allegheny County.


4. Food. We are a top six “food city in America.” You put side dishes on your sandwiches and call it fine cuisine. Also, our pierogies are damn good, too. Pipe down over there at the kiddie’s table, the adults are trying to eat.

5. Cost of living. Sure, it’s much cheaper to live in Pittsburgh than Philly. There’s a reason for that: Sane people would much rather live in Philly than Pittsburgh so that whole supply/demand thing kicks in. Would you rather live an hour from the West Virginia border or an hour from the ocean? That's what I thought.

NoneSean Pavone/iStock.com

6. Traffic. Yeah, traffic sucks here. That’s why we use public transportation not attached to the side of a hill, ride bicycles and walk. You have a Light Rail (so does Palmyra, New Jersey!); we have two subway lines (and God knows how many trolleys) that get you all around town. Stay in your lane, Pittsburgh; your desperate jealousy is showing.

7. Education. Really classy to use school kids as a listicle prop, Pittsburgh. We know we have problems with public schools here; we’re working on it. Also, a counterpoint: We have an Ivy League institution; you have a university with a chapel named after ketchup.

8. Amusement parks. When you typed those words, that was the moment you wished you'd already told your editor this should be a “7 reasons Pittsburgh is better than Philadelphia” list, wasn’t it? Sure, amusement parks are cool, but are they really a source of civic pride? Also, your “if you have to cross the state border to get on a quality roller coaster, it really doesn't count” is bunk. Idlewild is as far away from your city as Six Flags Great Adventure is from ours. And Six Flags kicks Idlewild’s simple ass.



9. Architecture. Bridges and the second-tallest collegiate building in the world? Adorbs. The gems we have here warranted the creation of an “Architecture of Philadelphia” Wikipedia page. You have an architecture page on VisitPittsburgh and a vague, hyperlinked list on Wikimedia Commons.

10. Andrew Carnegie. Back to the industry that hath forsaken you, huh? I didn’t know Carnegie, but I’m sure he was a good guy, what with his role in “establishing free libraries for public use.” But guess what, folks: He did the same thing here. To wit: “Over the years, numerous neighborhood libraries have been added to the Free Library system, many of them funded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who donated $1.5 million for neighborhood library construction in 1903.” 

This is the equivalent of claiming Dr. J as your own because of that funky disco movie.


11. Technology. You have self-driving Ubers that will serve as a benchmark in the rise of the robots, the first movie theater and broadcast radio station. Well, the first commercial digital computer was born in Philly, which helped pave the way for your list to be written and shared widely. Also in Philly: the first permanent theater house and strong ties to Philo T. Farnsworth and Vladimir Zworkin, who are widely credited with developing the modern electronic television set.

Anyway, good luck to your football team of questionable moral makeup at the Linc on Sunday.

Don’t cry when Carson Wentz leads the Birds to a win. I was gonna predict a 24-20 final score, but as we've established here today, Philly is at least 11 points better than Pittsburgh, so 31-20 it is.