Monday, August 24, 2009


What an incredible Sunday
In Pittsburgh!!!

ABOVE: November 24, 2007, Pope Benedict installs former Pittsburgher, Daniel DiNardo as the youngest Cardinal in the world! It's not often that you get to have a fellow alum who is on the Pope's short list of closest friends! ABOVE RIGHT: The logo of the former Bishop's Latin School that unfortunately was closed in 1973. BELOW: Alumni President, Tony Fisher, presents the gift of a crozier from the alumni association to Cardinal DiNardo at the beautiful St. Stanislaus Koska Church in the strip district. This magnificent church is a must see for any Pittsburgher.

"P.B. & G." photos by Gary Gayda

ABOVE: An obviously-delighted committee member, Ria Whitehill of Pittsburgh, gets to pose with Cardinal DiNardo.

I spent all day Sunday with another fellow alum, Gary Gayda '71, (our featured photographer here at "P.B.& G.") at the "Bishop's Latin School Alumni's Cardinal Wright Vocations Mass and Awards Dinner". First we had a very inspiring Mass with the Principal Celebrant being our most famous alum and former Pittsburgher, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo (now of Houston, TX). At that Mass, Bea Vallone, mother of Fr. Lou Vallone '65, was given the first "My Mother, My Rock" award in a very moving ceremony. Pittsburgh's own terrific Bishop, David Zubik, along with dozens of alumni priests and the seminarians from St. Paul's Seminary in Crafton then attended our annual awards dinner.

ABOVE: WTAE's Mike Clark was one of three recipients of the Bishop's Latin School's most prestigious honor, the "Cardinal Wright Award," named after the school's founder and one-time Bishop of Pittsburgh.

It had to literally be one of the greatest high school reunions ever held by any high school. After the dinner was over and all of the awards had been presented (including among others, to WTAE's anchorman, Mike Clark and BLS grads Deacon Stephen J. Byers'71 (now of the University of Pittsburgh) and Dr. Barry Wentland M.D.'73) Gary surprised me by giving me a copy of this print of PNC Park that we had published just a few weeks ago.

ABOVE: Oh yeah, that'll look good hanging in "The Male Bonding Room" at my place!

Our alumni association each year has a very successful silent auction at our dinner featuring Pittsburgh memorabilia from my son Don's "Steel City Auctions Gallery," and this year, for the first time, we also had a quantity of Gary Gayda's Pittsburgh portraits matted and ready for framing. The sales were very strong and both of these lines offer a great fund-raising potential for both non-profits and charity groups alike. If your organization would be interested in having a fundraiser that is both risk-free and trouble free, contact Don at the Steel City Auctions Gallery at: or visit his online gallery at Gary Gayda can be reached at and you can also contact him if you wish to purchase any of his photos published here each week.

This week we have a shot that is classic Pittsburgh. I'll never forget several years ago, my wife and I visited Puerto Rico and the "Hotel El Conquistador Resort" and after arriving we learned that the hotel had its' very own funicular. They had signs everywhere that said: "Funicular ahead", "Funicular right" or "Funicular: Leaves every ten minutes." So what was this funicular?

ABOVE: Photographer, Gary Gayda

ABOVE: It's pretty steep and the view is certainly impressive, but for pure terror, Pittsburgh's wins hands down because it's an antique! You always have that doubt lurking in the back of your head: Is today the day the cable's going to snap?

ABOVE: Your view of the marina area as you head down the El Conquistador funicular.

ABOVE: The funicular connects the El Conquistador Resort with golf course and casino (top) and their marina and oceanside rooms (bottom). Quite the setup.

Main Entry: fu·nic·u·lar
Pronunciation: \fyu̇-ˈni-kyə-lər, fə-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin funiculus
Date: 1664
1 : having the form of or associated with a cord usually under tension2 [New Latin funiculus] : of, relating to, or being a
funiculus3 : of, relating to, or being a funicular


ABOVE: Yeah, that definition really helps explain it.

To answer the question "What is a funicular?" in pure Pittsburgher terms, GARY GAYDA comes to the rescue with a shot of one of our own, one of the very few in existence in the entire world. So without further adieu, here's this week's installment of PITTSBURGH: THROUGH THE LENS OF GARY GAYDA!

#13...... "THE FUNICULAR"

photograph copyright 2009, Gary Gayda

ABOVE: Now this my friends is a funicular! Another reason why the G-20 Summit is coming to Pittsburgh. Views like these aren't seen in many places around the world and there aren't many funiculars around either. The Duquesne Incline figures to be getting some extra ridership during this event. Hopefully the incline rides will distract a few of the professional protesters who most assuredly will be in attendance. In the distance, the West End Bridge crosses the newly-formed Ohio just upriver. The funicular in Puerto Rico was great, but for sheer drama and antiquity, you can't beat Pittsburgh's Duquesne or even Monongahela Inclines!


photograph copyright 2009, Gary Gayda

ABOVE: As the Duquesne Incline continues to proceed down Mt. Washington, there is one thing that you can make book a few minutes you'll see its' sister car heading back up the mountain!