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Naked City 

A Guide to Pittsburgh Corridor of Shame

click to enlarge Kaufmann's Clock
  • Kaufmann's Clock
When you think of Downtown smut, the usual suspects come to mind -- strip clubs and what could charitably be termed "specialty-video stores." But in our midst, just above our heads -- not to mention those of children! -- are dozens of nude and might-as-well-be-nude representations, integral to some of our city's most respected buildings.

Even more shocking, these disturbing images are clustered along Downtown's financial- and civic-power streets -- a section of the Golden Triangle that should be called what it is: Pittsburgh's Corridor of Shame.


Kaufmann's Clock

Corner of Fifth Avenue and Smithfield Street

Ever meet your granny under the Kaufmann's clock? Sounds charming -- until you notice that the two shiny gold men braced against the timepiece are nude but for a fig leaf and appear to be purposefully flaunting their gym-toned physiques.


Oliver Building  

535 Smithfield St.

This structure was built as a memorial to Henry W. Oliver, but we hope that the metal frieze on Smithfield Street (above the doorway to current occupant NorthWest bank) is no literal testament to the late industrialist. We don't know who this full-frontal naked male figure is -- nor why the scattered letters around him suspiciously spell out c-o-m-m-e-r-c-e.

click to enlarge Oliver Building
  • Oliver Building

Dollar Bank

click to enlarge Dollar Bank
  • Dollar Bank

Corner of Fourth Avenue and Smithfield Street

This structure's fabled stone lions are guarding more than the bank's entrance. Who are these party girls above them, their breasts bared, their privates barely girdled in leaves, and raising their arms as if at a Cancun spring-break kegger?


First Lutheran Church

615 Grant St.

We hope that when we meet the Heavenly Father, we'll be wearing more than an unpinned diaper, as depicted in this statue titled "Resurrection."

click to enlarge First Lutheran Church
  • First Lutheran Church

click to enlarge County Office Building
  • County Office Building

County Office Building

440 Ross St. 

This building is the disgrace of our city, a virtual cornucopia of perversion. On the southern corner along Ross near Fourth, a circular inset depicts a nude little girl; at the opposite end of the building, a similar adornment improbably suggests that our region's bridges deserve the support of a huge naked man with six-pack abs. Along Forbes Avenue, the depravity continues: On one corner a shirtless man holds the sacred Ten Commandments, while at the other corner, a topless woman with disturbingly erect nipples pats the head of a naked little boy.

click to enlarge The Park Building
  • The Park Building

Above all the building's public entrances is a metal frieze proffering disturbing representations of our region's celebrated industrial past: a naked man brandishing a hammer while caressing a steel beam, matched with a blueprint-wielding engineer, whose nether regions are barely disguised by a clinging sheet.


The Park Building

355 Fifth Ave. at Smithfield

They're there, looking down from the upper floor -- 30 super-sized naked men. Architects call them "telamones" but we say they're disgraceful. What's wrong with using columns?


Parkvale Bank

click to enlarge Parkvale Bank
  • Parkvale Bank

Corner of Wood Street and Fourth Avenue 

Each of the two corner entrances to the former People's Bank is topped by nude and partially clothed figures. We're not sure which people would prefer banking where overly sinuous naked men clutch large shafts: It's certainly nobody we know.


City-County Building 

414 Grant St.

For once, we'd like to commend the gang at the City-County Building. A quartet of nude and barely clothed individuals -- including a well-built naked man brandishing a scary cutting tool and woman touching her bare breast and the Ten Commandments -- in a frieze above the main entrance has been understandably covered up recently with black netting. One hopes that the scaffolding means workers are busy removing these affronts to our civic decency -- or at least putting some clothes on them.

click to enlarge City-County Building
  • City-County Building

Inside, the city has rightly placed security personnel near sets of elevator doors that offer disturbing images of naked children and barely draped men embracing notable civic structures.


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