The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for April 28th, 2022

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

One enjoyed a momentary sit down for a couple of minutes after the CSX train passed me by, along the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia. I guess that I’m an Internet troll, as this photo was captured from under a bridge…

The point of view is looking (presumptively) south at the path we’ve explored over the last few posts, with the JFK Blvd. bridge, the Market Street Bridge, and a bit of the Walnut Street Bridge peeking through.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The stout masonry bridge which I was taking five under is a railroad bridge, which I understand to be called the SEPTA Schuylkill River Bridge. It carries four sets of tracks into 30th street Station. SEPTA is Philly’s MTA – the South Eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. The bridge, I’m told, is 385 feet long and 125 feet wide.

Apparently, this span is part of something called the “Center City Commuter Connection.” The history of this bridge is somewhat obscured by several urban renewal projects, but I’ve found a source or two that dates the structure to July of 1903.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Heading north (presumptively) and the sky began to noticeably darken while the wind was picking up speed. Whereas there had been occasional gusts all morning, the wind had now grown steady and in some moments – quite blustery. The forecast had indicated rain for later in the day, but things began to look dire a bit earlier than the prediction indicated.

This section of the Schuylkill River is a bit wider than the one which I had been walking along all morning. It had to be “lunchtime” by now, and a humble narrator had long ago consumed any liquids purchased at 7:30 a.m. when I had arrived in Philadelphia.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Vine Street Expressway Bridge, pictured above. Built in 1959, and rehabilitated in 1989, Vine Street carries Interstate 676/US 30. It’s fairly huge, with a total length of 887.2 feet and a width of 83 feet. There are three steel spans which are supported by 2 piers.

Highway traffic is fed onto the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76), and onto local streets at JFK Boulevard at 30th street. It carries about 60,000 vehicle trips annually.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As far as that ambitious shot list I had scribbled down, I was about an hour behind my extremely optimistic schedule at this point. I was also extremely thirsty and getting quite peckish for a bit of luncheon. Luckily, I always have a pack of gum with me. The gum helped the “spit start flowing” and the peppermint flavoring of the stuff ameliorated the desire for sustenance.

Saying that, I had accomplished most of the Schuylkill section of my list, but I wasn’t done yet. I happened upon another opportune spot to have a quick sit down as I continued heading north.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While sitting down, I soon realized that this seemed to be one of those urban areas where sensitive young men meet to discuss art and jazz with each other, in a somewhat private setting, not unlike the rambles section of Central Park. Being an insensitive old man, I got back to walking along the waterfront. To each his own I always opine. Mazel tov.

North, ever north (I think) scuttled a humble narrator through the city of Brotherly Love, and I now understood why they call it that.

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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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 28, 2022 at 11:00 am

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