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“Remembering The Igloo” Exhibit Chronicles Civic Arena’s End

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

CRAWLEY Dave Crawley
Dave Crawley joined KDKA in April of 1988 where he reports on the...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Civic Arena wasn’t built in a day. The same goes for the demolition.

But when the roof came down at last, a Highland Park photographer captured the moment.

David Aschkenas shares his photos with KDKA’s Dave Crawley:

In fact, David Aschkenas captured many moments, as he chronicled the dismantling of the Pittsburgh landmark. Three dozen of his photographs are on display at 707 Penn Gallery, in a Pittsburgh Cultural Trust exhibit called “Arena: Remembering the Igloo.”

“I probably made about 10,000 photos,” the photographer says. “I actually worked up and printed close to 700. And for the show, I tried to make it a combination of what the Civic Arena looked like while it was still in business or you could still go on the inside, and also show things the public never got to see. Like, who knew there was a department in the basement that just repaired seats?”

Working countless hours, he gained access that made his photos shine.

“To be able to be in the dark,” he says, “and see the city of Pittsburgh glowing in the background, in the twilight, was pretty exciting.”

His photos fill the pages of a book authored by Pittsburgh writer Abby Mendelson, coupled with reminiscences by those who once attended events in the Arena.

Though Aschkenas never went to a Penguins game or concert, he says, “What I just realized and remembered, I graduated Peabody High School in 1968, and our graduation was at the Civic Arena.”

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