Every reporter at the Trib had to come up with a few holiday brights — or stories that entertain while they educate. Here’s one of mine. I had seen this Strip District body shop in the summer and noted that it looked like it belonged in Florida, with palm trees planted in front. I wondered how the owner keeps them alive during the harsh Pittsburgh winters. Spoiler alert: He doesn’t.
Steve Schaffer dreams of the day he buys a second home in Key West, Fla.
Until then, the native Pittsburgher makes his own tropical paradise for as long as it lasts — planting palm trees in the spring and then, at this time of year, watching them wither and die.
“It creates the illusion that we’re somewhere we’re not,” said Schaffer, the owner of City Collision II auto body shop in the Strip District. “I call it a cheap vacation, every time I look out.”
A few hardy Pittsburghers are willing to do what it takes to bring a little bit of the tropics north of the Mason-Dixon line — even if that means keeping up the Sisyphean task of buying tropical plants each spring.
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