The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for October 4th, 2022

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Normally, when I show you a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge, it’s the full sized one and it’s overflying the East River. Instead, having driven some 400 miles from NYC to the Pittsburgh area, and then to one of its smaller neighbors – Saxonburg – I encountered this version of the “Great Bridge” at the John A Roebling House and park. There’s an 1832 vintage wooden cabin preserved there which the great engineer used as a workshop, and Roebling was one of the founders of the town.

No matter how far away you go, there’s a chunk of NYC waiting there for you. Inescapable. Saxonburg was a lovely, lovely town, overall. It looked just like a Norman Rockwell painting, or the setting of a Frank Capra movie. We found a coffee shop on their Main Street, and after getting fueled up with caffeine, headed back in the direction of Pittsburgh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily for me, the return trip to the City of Pittsburgh was My Pal Max’s turn to drive, and I got to shoot out of the car windows as he did so. We stopped off on the way to check out a few other spots on the route. Pittsburgh hosts 73 distinct neighborhoods, and many them are wildly different from the one “next door.” There’s a few picture perfect suburbs, several lightly populated exurbs, dense urbanity – you name it, and they’ve got an example to show you.

Everything here is connected via a network of expressways, highways, and secondary arterial roads. There’s a light rail system in the center of the city, and a network of bus routes which all converge on the downtown area. The buses are venous, as in they all go the heart of the City from the outlying areas. Unfortunately, if you want to transfer from one line to the next, you’d need to go all the way into town to do so, or so I’m told. Observationally, there’s a lot of neighborhood level bike riding, but getting from place to place is largely accomplished by driving a motor vehicle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Crossing the Allegheny River, where the skyline of Pittsburgh suddenly rears up. That curvy roofed structure is the Pittsburgh Convention Center, and the black rail bridge in front of it was actively conveying a freight train over the water.

These shots were gathered right around “rush hour” in Pittsburgh. Traffic was moving slowly, at maybe 25 mph, during the rush.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The highway we were on was going to carry us through the downtown area to another bridge crossing, one over the Monongahela River.

Along the way, I kept on clicking the shutter.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve always been fascinated by the parabolas and massing shapes of highway ramps, even as a kid. There’s something sublime about them, and it’s always impressive to me that something this utilitarian can be visually interesting. Might as well make it look good too, right?

They used to care a lot more about this sort of esthetic impact in the early 20th century than they do now, the Civil Engineering types.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the Monongahela River, I spotted this tug towing several barges of minerals – presumptively coke or coal. These river tugs are configured quite a bit differently than the harbor or ocean going units I typically see. They also tow the cargo differently in this region, with multiple barges stacked up in front of the vessel.

More tomorrow.


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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

October 4, 2022 at 11:00 am

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