For those who aren't from here, I live in one of the big party central areas of town, so when the Steelers won, ~20 blocks of the main street of my neighborhood (E. Carson St) got blocked off for the post-Superbowl win party people. After we got home a bit shy of 11pm, I headed in with my camera to capture the party, both the drunken jocularity, and the obvious police presence.
When I got to the line of riot police at around 26th and E. Carson, I saw a guy with a professional video camera, the kind that labeled him as "news", behind the line. He saw me going towards it, and said, "I wouldn't go in there." I responded, "I've been in worse!"
The riot police, when I got there, were standing in their row, but were otherwise pretty casual. As you can see in one of the pictures, people were even just taking their own photos with them as the backdrop. The mounted police were waiting just off E. Carson, their horses barely tolerating the flashbulbs aimed at them every few seconds. To me, this police presence was entirely tame at this point; the police weren't yelling at anyone, and they were entirely putting up with the silliness.
Then I wandered into the crowd. We quickly ran into a friend from the neighborhood (@psylum on Twitter), and he joined us in our wanderings (we also ran into dirque briefly). The crowds were mostly in waves east of the Birmingham Bridge, but the closer we got to 10th, the more dense the crowd became.
After the Birmingham Bridge, the crowd seemed to be almost rotating in a counter-clockwise slow parade around the streets, with one major stopping point outside someone's open windows blaring all of the Steelers Anthems (magentamom, they even played the Polka!) where they would literally dance in the streets. Inside the crowd was a trombone player leading various chants with his instrumental versions; the primary one being the infamous "Here we go Steelers, here we go!"
The bars that were open were packed to the point of spilling out onto the street. Those that weren't open seemed lonely. There was only one broken window I saw in McCoy's Sandwich Shop, and one turned over garbage can in the now-closed video store near 11th. I saw no fires, but two guys were selling t-shirts in the street. Mostly what I saw were a bunch of 20-somethings looking for as many high-5's they could get from everyone they passed.
We turned around at 10th and headed back up the street; it was after midnight at this point and going home seemed like a good idea. Passing the party out the window again, I heard sirens coming up the street. Watching the police car try to make it through the outside dance party was interesting; they did largely let it through with minimal harrassment. Soon after that we encountered the mounted police, followed by the riot police row, followed by a line of police cars forced us to turn around and seek a side street off E. Carson to Sarah St in order to make it home.
And that's my Southside after the Superbowl story!