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Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Duck That Charmed Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh > your city.

It's a fact. Look it up.

Okay, so Pittsburgh is having a great run this year. First, the Pirates have finally vanquished the Ghost-of-Miserable-Seasons-Past by finally making the playoffs (Hallelujah! Praise Baby Jesus!), bringing long overdue positive attention to our little hamlet nestled in the rivers, and now a bigass yellow rubber ducky has invaded the three rivers to the delight of MILLIONS! Okay, not millions, but damn-near close to half a mill.

it's just so freaking happy!!

As part of the Cultural Trust's Festival of Firsts, dutch artist Florentijn Hofman brought his 40 foot rubber ducky to play in our waters. The ginormous bath toy has been displayed a number of times in international waters, but Pittsburgh is the first city in America to host Hofman's ducky.

That's right. He chose Pittsburgh. 


Suck it, haters.

I was beyond excited. Like, ridiculously geeked to see a 40 foot duck float in the river. I mean, c'mon. How adorable is this thing!

a snap of Marvin on the Allegheny from the artist himself

(watch the PG's video of ducky's birthing on the Ohio river here)

One thing you can say about Pittsburghers, we LOVE a party. And Dude, what a welcome party the Cultural peeps threw! (you see what I did there? I'm en fuego.) The only thing missing was fireworks, which is totally weird because we are utterly MENTAL for incendiary displays and this event kinda screamed for a Zambelli blow out. On second thought, it would have been totally uncool to blow up the ducky, let's call him Marvin, with a rogue firework ember on his first day in the Burgh.

Welcome, Marvin!! Now we will blow your butt to smithereens. WoooHOOOOOO!!! Oh, sorry Dutch Dude with the Swedish Chef sounding name.

Seriously. I can't be the only person who hears the Swedish Chef's voice in my head when I read that magnificent bastard's name?

And now you're doing it too, aren't you. You're welcome.


They closed the Clemente Bridge (formerly known as the Sixth Street Bridge because we love to rename shit over and over even though all of us oldsters STILL refer to aforementioned landmarks by their prior names, i.e. Macy's will alwaysalwaysALWAYS be called Kaufmann's, the Highmark building will be Horne's until the day I die and William Shatner will never stop being Captain Kirk...) .. wait, where was I?

Oh, yeah, they closed the bridge off to motor traffic, set up a big stage in the middle and food booths along the north-bound lane, allowing the minions to dance, eat and buy a crap-ton of ducky merchandise.

our friend, Carl captured Marvin from his car while stuck in traffic
he didn't even know what was going on
clearly, he lives in a vacuum

duck vs bridge

big duck, little ducks

There was an impassable mass of people at the head of the bridge, a jam for which the Squirrel Hill Tunnel would be envious. It took me 15 minutes to maneuver my way through the throng of yinzer humanity to get to the stairs leading to the shoreline.

dusk and duck

All the forced, grit-your-teeth patience it took to press through the flesh to get to the bottom was worth it once Big Ole Marvin floated into view. Gobs of excited people, young and old, lined both shore lines as well as the bridge. Marvin was greeted with exuberant cheers and chants of "Rubber Ducky" lead by Mikey and Big Bob from Kiss radio. Choruses of the Sesame Street standard, Rubber Ducky reverberated off Marvin and his flotilla.

Okay, that bit sounds downright lame, but it wasn't really. You had to be there to get caught up in the gooberness. Who knew the sight of a four-story replica of a common childhood tub toy could bring such joy. Maybe it was the common thread to our collective innocence. Maybe it was the ridiculous scale. Maybe it was that sweet, sweet face bobbing along. Whatever. Folks were giddy.

peeping duck
seriously, how could you not smile at this?

i love this photo
marvin breaks down cultural barriers
only in 'Merica

The festivities continued into the night with the guest of honor bathed in light at the foot of the bridge.

onlookers at the nesting place
(via John Johnson)

super blurry traffic cam
just before the giant spider pounces
for location purposes only
His Yellowness will be nesting at the Point, across from PNC Park until October 26, which means he'll be front and center for the Pirates Wild Card game Tuesday.


(via the geniuses on the interwebs)
aaaaaaarg! quack

I hope someone puts an eye patch and jolly roger on him. How fun would that be? Please somebody make this happen!!

THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!
(thank you, interweb geniuses for jumping on this immediately)

Kudos to the Cultural Trust for hitting the mark. Friday's duckfest was big fun even with the clusterf**k at the head of the bridge. So many people in town enjoying a volume of activities on a beautiful night in a vibrant city. For those who complain there is nothing to do in Pittsburgh... Go home, you're drunk.

Pittsburgh rocks, MoFos!

*quack quack* n'at