Batman Has Taken Over Pittsburgh. Some Love It, Others Hate It

Plum-Oakmont Patch editor Heidi Dezayas spent some time downtown Saturday to watch filming of "The Dark Knight Rises."

Downtown Pittsburgh was a lot busier on Saturday than it usually is.

Pittsburghers crowded the streets throughout the city hoping to catch a glimpse of Batman and crew during filming of The Dark Knight Rises.

While many Pittsburghers are Batman and Hollywood fans, there are some who just don't care. I don't think the thought crossed my mind until Saturday afternoon.

I'm not going to lie — I'm not a huge Batman fan. I've watched Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, but I'm not too familiar with the comics, the backstories or even all of the characters. My trip downtown was based simply on the fact that my sister and I absolutely love anything having to do with Hollywood and show business. It's incredibly fascinating to me, so to not even try to catch some of the action would have been a crime.

We walked around for a while to scope out the environment downtown and to pinpoint where filming was occurring. A huge chunk of downtown was closed off — Smithfield Street was closed the entire way through, as well as its intersecting avenues — so to go by closures was pretty pointless. Following the fake snow (the movie apparently is set during the winter) wasn't going to help either because it was everywhere. Even streets that were open were laced with "snow."

Surprisingly, many businesses were open, but members of the film crew had to escort people to them to ensure they wouldn't run off to where they didn't belong. My sister and I were escorted to Saks Fifth Avenue (which had delicious Batman-themed sugar cookies for guests), and while we didn't mind, some people just weren't having it.

I overheard so many people say they were annoyed with the whole process. Rightfully so. I couldn't have cared less, because I expected it — essentially, the only reason I was downtown was to watch a movie film. However, there were people who had to be there for other reasons, and filming just didn't fit their plans.

I witnessed a woman get a citation for crossing the Boulevard of the Allies when a Pittsburgh police officer told her not to. She said she was late for work, she was tired of being redirected for filming, and so she continued on her merry way.

While we were waiting for a scene to start filming, a film crew member told a man trying to catch his bus that he couldn't cross the barricade. He was looking right at his bus, and though traffic had been stopped for the time being, he still was concerned about missing it. After a few minutes of waiting, traffic got the go-ahead to start moving again. The man missed his bus. Needless to say, he was pretty upset.

I also overheard a lot of downtown employees talking about how much they wished filming would just end because the closures, detours and other interruptions were starting to become a nuisance.

In all honesty, I get it. I don't think people in this area really understand everything that goes into making a huge feature film such as this Batman movie. If this were New York City, I doubt people would really care or be bothered as much because New Yorkers are used to this sort of thing.

I still thought it was really cool, as did all of the Batman fans who had the same idea to come out and watch filming. Pittsburghers endured waiting long periods of time to catch a glimpse of this movie beginning to unfold. One little boy sporting a Batman shirt stuck around for hours hoping to see the Batmobile.

Sure, the technicalities can get annoying, but our city is going to be highlighted in a movie that millions will watch.

That's pretty awesome.


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