One of the unexpected pleasures of Google’s Street View function of Maps is that it allows a nearly literal nostalgic stroll down memory lane. Google recently added more cities to its list of those where Street View works and Pittsburgh was among them. When I lived in eastern Ohio in the mid-90s, I often made trips into Pittsburgh, whether to do shopping in the famed Strip-by-the-River— where in just a few blocks you could get all kinds of Asian, Latin American, or European food ingredients as well as fresh seafood, great meat, and more—or into the college neighborhoods for great restaurants and pubs or the city’s cultural attractions of museums, symphonies, and the like.
While Google Earth and Google Maps have long allowed a top-down view, Street View puts you on the street, looking at storefronts and the people going about their daily business. It’s about as close to being there without hopping on a plane.
I took a virtual stroll through some of my old haunts and recalled places I’d frequented and new places I wish had been there 10 years ago. I could almost smell the fresh tortillas in the Latin American market or the cheese of the Italian grocery or the exotically unidentifiable scents of the Asian foods store. What fun!
Now I just need to remember the names of all my other favorite haunts and check them out once again. This could easily suck up hours of otherwise productive time.