The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Last steps

with one comment


– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s a Caterpillar 980c Wheel Loader, which is a piece of construction equipment that was manufactured sometime between 1987 and 1994. It weighs 66,877 pounds and is powered by a 322 horsepower engine. Behind it is the Panhandle Bridge, and there’s also a concrete company down here which has docks on the Monongahela River, here in Pittsburgh.

The Panhandle Bridge carries the T light rail service over the “Mon.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For the last month, whenever I’ve managed to conjure up the time to do so – and the weather has permitted it – a humble narrator has been working on developing a geospatial awareness of this place in the space twixt the ears and behind the eyes. Truth be told, I’m still working on the basics – east or west and so on. Learning the lay of the land.

That’s the T emerging from the Panhandle Bridge, on the south side of the river, heading towards a stop at Station Square.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since I was heading there myself, to board the T and head back to HQ, I decided to follow the elevated trackway on foot. Places like this are usually “my kind of thing.” A couple of teen aged kids were smoking the devils cabbage nearby, and they seemed to be on a date. A few people were walking dogs, and the occasional jogger or bike rider would flash by. As a rule, the bike people seem to wear “the outfit” (helmet, silky shirt, stretchy shorts, special bicycle shoes). Lots of vehicle traffic was moving around, but this was about 5 in the afternoon, so…

I began heading towards the end of my day’s movement.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One cut through a massive for pay parking lot, found directly across the street from the light rail station, which charged $9 for all day. Given that this light rail is the start of Pittsburgh’s free zone for the T, that’s a fairly good deal. There’s parts of the area which are straight up urban, with apartment houses and all that. Saying that, Pittsburgh has a tremendous suburban and semi rural population who live in towns and boroughs which are car based. The accommodation, thereby, to get people to use mass transit rather than drive to the center, is a park and ride setup, with large relatively affordable parking facilities like this one. So far, I have not ridden the bus, but I also moved fairly close to the T’s Red Line.

The region’s bus system is fairly sprawling, and reaches far out into the surrounding counties. My understanding of that system is that you buy a parking permit for the bus operation’s park and ride lots and then head into town from whatever exurb you live in. A friend of mine suggested that the reason most of the area’s centers are spaced about 50 miles from each other is that 50 miles is about how far you could get on a horse in a single day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned the other day, one of my particular tasks at the moment is figuring out how to shoot Pittsburgh. Unlike NYC, with its environmental devastation and utter lack of vegetative life, there’s all sorts of forestry happening everywhere here. Getting a “clean shot” of something is fairly impossible without branches or brush intruding on the shot, so I’ve been forced into including the stuff in the composition.

Don’t get me wrong, Pittsburgh is an environmental nightmare when you get down to it – heavy industry, a permissive regulatory system, historical footprints, all that. It’s just very, very well planted with self seeding trees and shrubs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s East Carson Street pictured above, where the T comes back to ground at the Station Square stop. East of this spot is a neighborhood called the South Side Flats, which has a disturbingly heterogeneous collection of buildings and what I’m told is a thriving nightlife scene. To the West you’ll find the Station Square development area and eventually the Fort Pitt bridge, where this week’s posts began.

Next week – more, now than ever – 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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 10, 2023 at 11:00 am

Posted in newtown creek

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Interesting!


    February 11, 2023 at 8:20 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: