Giant Rubber Duck made hope float in Pittsburgh
Bidding adieu to the duck is a mistake.
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust dropped disappointing news on Friday. Despite calls to extend its stay, the 40-foot-tall fowl that has been floating in the Allegheny River for three weeks is departing.
The duck, the centerpiece of this year's Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, will be towed to a warehouse for storage Sunday night. The move is sure to upset more people than the folks at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Extremely Large Inflatable Animals.
That's because the duck has had a profoundly positive effect on the region.
Basking in its inherent cheerfulness, we barely noticed the federal government shutdown and the debt ceiling crisis. We were at The Point taking photos from angles that had the illusory effect of making it appear as though 4-foot-tall children were patting a 4-story-tall duck's head.
The duck's mysterious soothing powers seemingly knew no limits.
Shortly after its arrival, the lame tossed aside their crutches and took up line dancing. The Crips and the Bloods vowed to put away their weapons and settle any future differences with a shirts-skins basketball game. Magee-Womens Hospital reported that women no longer needed anesthesia during childbirth.
Perhaps most significantly, there wasn't a single instance of self-immolation during the Steelers' recent four-game losing streak. How often does the team go winless for a month without anyone lighting themselves on fire?
Contractually, the duck can't be displayed in another city until January. So throw a few extra dollars at Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, who conceived the project, and let the duck continue to work its magic by transporting it to locales such as:
• The August Wilson Center for African-American Culture
The Downtown center, millions of dollars in debt and undergoing foreclosure proceedings, attracts about six visitors a month. Put the duck on the center's roof, open the duck souvenir stand in the lobby and — voila — foot traffic!
• The Parkway East
The duck probably could keep traffic moving smoothly if adorned with a large electronic message board that urged drivers to maintain their speed when entering the Squirrel Hill Tunnel. People would be happy to do the duck's bidding.
• Outside of Pittsburgh's City-County Building
The duck's winsomeness might have a magnetic effect on outgoing Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Seldom seen on Grant Street these days as his term winds down, Ravenstahl might want to see the duck before it's packed up for good and perhaps even stop in his office while he's down there.
In other words, the famed duck might lure the lame duck.
Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 4 ejections, benches-clearing scrum mark Pirates’ win over Reds
- Steelers’ Harrison awaits go-ahead from Tomlin before practicing
- Zimbabwe alleges Murrysville doctor illegally killed lion
- Steelers notebook: WR Bryant sidelined after minor procedure on right elbow
- Pirates notebook: Burnett says ‘surgery is not an option’
- Inside the Steelers: Roethlisberger strong in goal-line drills
- Slot cornerback Boykin should give Steelers options in secondary
- Inaugural Geibel STEM camp gives pupils interactive, fun science experience
- Lawrence power plant being converted to gas from coal
- McKeesport prepares for Relay For Life
- Sen. Casey pushes for expansion of research into rare pediatric diseases