The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Gateway Clipper excursion boat I was a passenger on executed its turnaround on the Allegheny River and started back towards the confluence it shares with the Monongahela River where they both transmogrify into the singularity of the Ohio River. My visit to Pittsburgh was winding down, and a humble narrator had been working behind the camera, and marching around, more or less continuously for about 48 hours since arriving in the city via Amtrak.

As regular readers of Newtown Pentacle will tell you, it’s normally all Queens and Brooklyn most of the time, and it was a genuine pleasure to see sights like the ones above for a change. Learning new things, too. Miss that.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Right about the moment when we passed by the monument to Fred Rogers, another native son of Pittsburgh memorialized on the waterfront, that’s when I said “screw it” and found the onboard bar. An ice cold bottle of Yuengling Beer in my grasp, for the first time in a couple of days I switched the camera to “off” and just chilled out on the boat for few minutes. “Yiz got’s to stop’s and smell’s da roses every’s now and den” as they’ll tell you here in Pittsburgh.

It actually had been a wonderful day, in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

September found me in several places, and I’ve detailed the travels, photos, and brief research I’ve done on these places in recent weeks.

72 hours in Burlington, Vermont: leaving from NYC in ultimate abyss, exploring the Lake Champlain shoreline in awed sessions, the Ethan Allen Homestead and Intervale in immemorial lore, Church Street and downtown in waxen mask. Burlington was analyzed during sunset in doubly potent, we visited Shelburne Farms in appalling seething, reel irresponsibly, took a boat tour onboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen on Lake Champlain in viscous end, returned to the downtown Burlington area in grew hoarser. I found a rail yard and an epic sunset in new equilibrium, and returned to NYC via Amtrak in white fungi.

In untellable secret, the camera and I attended a wedding in Watertown, NY.

7 hours in Washington D.C. saw me boarding a train and heading to the Capitol in swelled alarmingly, arrived at the National Mall and explored a bit in slackened speed, hovered about, whereupon a look at Union Station was offered in rolling hills.

I’ll put together a similar list of all the Pittsburgh posts at some near point in time. I had to board a train at about 6 a.m. the next day to get to my next Amtrak destination. It ain’t over till it’s over, lords and ladies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After rounding about the Golden Triangles’ Point State Park and onto the waters of the Monongahela River, the Gateway Clipper boat returned to its pier at Station Square on the south bank of the River. That volatile Pittsburgh weather I’ve mentioned several times got to work again, and the temperature dropped into the low to middle 50’s. I was, of course, wearing shorts. Since I was traveling, I had no pants, just shorts.

A quick jab at my phone summoned a Lyft rideshare car to my aid, which got me back to the AirBNB acting as my home base for the stay. Images were downloaded off the camera, batteries charged, phone calls back home made. I washed up, relaxed for a few minutes, and went back out in search of dinner. Cheeseburger, and another Yuengling – that was my agenda, but I had one last thing to do first.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I decided that it would be an excellent idea to firmly locate the relative position of the Amtrak station’s location to my AirBNB. I was so severely sleep deprived when I got to Pittsburgh that I barely remembered how I got from point’s A to B. Given that I’d have to be back out on the streets when it was still dark out to catch my train… a bit of advance wayfinding was engaged in, and just look at what I came across!

Pictured above is what was once the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Pittsburgh Union Station. It’s still called that, but these days it’s a ritzy apartment building and has been since the 1980’s, whereas the modern day train station – called an annex, officially – is… well… ahem… it cannot be described as being architecturally distinguished. It’s actually reminiscent of a two story Soviet doctor’s office with Amtrak logos nailed to the walls, and a couple of escalators that lead to a train shed.

Union Station in Pittsburgh opened in 1903, 4 years before it’s namesake in Washington D.C. and 7 years before NYC’s Old Penn Station. The two Union Stations in Pennsylvania and Washington were designed by a Chicago architect named David Burnham.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This was pretty much the last photo I captured on Day Two in Pittsburgh, which is kind of appropriate – no?

As mentioned, I had an early call with Amtrak. It was time to start stuffing all my clothing and camera gear back into the bags, and loading my carry back up. A bit of straightening up in the AirBNB followed, whereupon a set of clothes was set out for early morning deployment and the next adventure. After a meal, and a quick inventory of my bags, sleep ensued.

Another far away destination still stood between me and home.

More tomorrow, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 11, 2021 at 11:00 am

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