The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Someday, when the stars are right…

with 3 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent afternoon walk began with finding the point of view above, which includes an active railroad bridge that carries both Norfolk Southern freight and Amtrak passenger services to and fro. This was from a parking lot, which is seeming confirmation of a theory I’ve been developing about while scouting, which hypothesizes that ‘for pay’ day parking in Pittsburgh is pretty affordable and that the multi story municipal parking lots around the city offer commanding views of the municipal surroundings. Trust me on this, the easiest sort of walking tour you can conduct is one that’s got an aerial perspective. “This, that, and the other thing, Teddy Roosevelt.”

I got to chat with a Security Guard right after shooting this one. Nice enough bloke, but he hit me with the usual security guy speech. This time around, it was something about people in the neighboring apartment building complaining about people taking photos. He then asked if I was parked in the lot. It was all cool after I offered to show him my parking stub and pointed out the ‘MOP’ or Mobile Oppression Platform (my Toyota) parked neatly in a spot nearby. Paying customer, me. We actually talked about rail and that bridge afterwards for a minute, whereupon he said he was getting off work in a half hour anyway, so whatever. He literally said “so, whatever.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My goal for the day was at the titular extant of the Allegheny River at the Fort Duquesne Bridge, once known as the ‘Bridge to Nowhere.’ I’d recently walked over the nearby Fort Pitt Bridge (here and here) so why not pay a visit to its neighbor on a nice sunny day?

One scuttled along on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, after securing the MOP back at that photogenic 7 story tall Municpal Parking Lot. That’s the Convention Center jutting into the shot, and there was a weekend event underway that drew a lot of families into town. Something with animatronic dinosaurs. It drew a real crowd.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This particular day was the first sunny one in a while, and one was quite enjoying the radiate stare of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself, unveiled. The light of judgement was pretty good, too.

For my plans to walk over the bridge to play out, I’d need to get over to the north shore of the Allegheny River, but I was on the south side of it. Luckily, it’s a ‘pick your crossing’ kind of thing in this section. An unusual abundance of bridges are found in this section of Pittsburgh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My intention for the day was defined by the particular kit I left the house with. Two zoom lenses, one of which stayed in my bag the whole time, are all that I carried with me. No camera support and not one bell nor a whistle. Just some weirdo with a camera, scuttling along the waterfront.

That’s the Rachel Carson Bridge pictured above, one of the so called ‘Three Sister’ bridges over the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh. Rachel Carson was a Pittsburgh native and the author of the seminal book “Silent Spring” which is what kicked off the American environmental movement, in the modern age at least.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One came to ground on the north side of the Allegheny nearby the HQ campus of the aluminum company Alcoa, and it’s doppelgänger partner Arconic. The waterfront was pretty well populated, but I managed to get one of my patented ‘zombie apocalypse depopulated City’ shots here anyway.

If you don’t like the weather in Pittsburgh, just wait 20 minutes and it’ll change. The sky grew tumescent with clouds, but it was still quite bright and fulsome out, so a humble narrator continued scuttling along.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Fort Duquesne Bridge. Having grown up in NYC’s Brooklyn, where you pronounce things as they’re spelled, I have had to install a mental check around the word “Duquesne.” It’s supposed to be pronounced frencher style – Doo Kane. My instinct is Doo Kess Knee.

They have a curious relationship with the French language hereabouts. Certain words, like Duquesne, are spoken frencher style. There’s a community nearby called “Versailles” but it’s “Ver Sales” rather than “Ver sigh.” Wilkes Barre is pronounced as “Wilks Berry.” Pittsburgh sits right at the edge of what was once the French Empire in the Ohio Valley and battles of the French and Indian War actually were fought in this part of the country.

Back next week for a walk over the Fort Duquesne Bridge, 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 17, 2023 at 11:00 am

3 Responses

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  1. You risk turning Pittsburgh into a tourist attraction. One thing I can’t figure out: “This, that, and the other thing, Teddy Roosevelt.” Your wisdom is sometimes inscrutable.


    February 17, 2023 at 12:45 pm

    • Tour guide talk. This – let’s say Peck Slip, that – General Slocum, other thing is unregulated lassez faire capitalism, fix: Teddy Roosevelt.

      Mitch Waxman

      February 17, 2023 at 12:47 pm

  2. Excellent. So many little bridges.


    March 19, 2023 at 8:14 pm

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