The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for July 25th, 2022

stifling age

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pittsburgh’s Brookline neighborhood is where a rented, via AirBNB, set of rooms acted as a regional HQ for a late June trip to the area. I’ve mentioned the topography of Pittsburgh before as being extremely hilly, and the photo above was captured in pursuit of illustrating that particular point.

Photography wasn’t the primary goal of this outing, and I spent most of my waking hours behind the steering wheel of a rented car, tooling around the region.

Region, you ask?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Day one saw me drive about 50 or so miles north of Pittsburgh to a town called Butler, for luncheon with a friend who’s in the real estate business in the area. Our conversation revolved around property tax and the common business practices that typify the rental market in the area. He recommended that we take a look at a nearby town called Kittanning. We ate burgers at a roadside “local.”

In 1727, this community was a Lenape village, which is where the name Kittanning originates from. The Europeans arrived in the area, and during the French and Indian War period – in 1757 – the community was demolished by a gunpowder explosion at a local armory which was heard in Pittsburgh – 44 miles to the south west. Kittanning was incorporated as a “Borough” in the post revolutionary period in 1803. It sits on the eastern bank of the Allegheny River, and pictured above is their 1932 vintage Kittanning Citizens Bridge. Nice little down on its luck sort of town, which hosts a lot of churches along the waterfront, for some reason.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I had been driving since early in the day, and the banks of the Allegheny hereabout offered me a short opportunity to set up the camera and grab a couple of shots. There was a nearby dam which I was desperate to get next to, but there’ll be plenty of time for that sort of thing in the future. This particular trip revolved around getting to know the outlying sections of the “Greater Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area.”

Basically, if it was a named place that’s found on the weather map presented by the local CBS TV affiliate, we were there on this trip. I broke the journey up into the cardinal directions, and this particular day involved north and east. We visited Butler at the North, and Latrobe to the East, and a whole bunch of other places in between. “Reconnaissance” is what the Frenchers would call the effort.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On our way back into the City of Pittsburgh from Latrobe and a bunch of other communities where Trump held his rallies, I had a pilgrimage to make. One of the suburbs of Pittsburgh is called Monroeville, and they have several shopping malls which can satisfy all the banal desires of those happy to be called “consumers.” There’s one location, however, which I had to visit.

When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth… after all…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the best horror movies EVER made is 1978’s “Dawn of the Dead,” wherein a group of survivors sit out a Zombie outbreak in a shopping mall. Director George Romero didn’t shy away from critiquing the consumerist culture of the Pittsburgh he lived in, and his movie was filmed at the Monroeville Mall. It’s been profoundly remodeled several times since the movie was filmed here, as you’d imagine.

How could I not? This is part of why I always describe Our Lady of the Pentacle as “long suffering.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We visited several of the towns and villages which comprise Pittsburgh’s greater metropolitan area, trying to get a feel for the various “zones” and their charms or vices. After a hearty meal at a roadhouse in the quite lovely Bethel Park section, we headed back to Brookline and absolutely annihilated a six pack of ice cold Yuengling beers while sitting on the porch at the AirBNB.

That’s the porch view, from Brookline PA., above.


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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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 25, 2022 at 11:00 am

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