The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

High over Pittsburgh

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, an unusually warm February day found a humble narrator marching around Grandview Avenue on Mount Washington here in Pittsburgh. This street sits on a ridge overlooking Downtown Pittsburgh and the Monongahela River, and it’s bookended by the two inclines – Allegheny and Duquesne. The views from up top are fairly killer, and it should be mentioned that I’ve been here up before. There are overlook platforms, and a sort of linear park which is well used by the public, along Grandview Avenue.

The bridges in the photo above are the Fort Pitt and Fort Duquesne Bridges, both of which were recently walked over and described.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is – as always – fascinated by the massing shapes and parabola of the access ramps leading to and from the bridges. The water is the Monongahela River, and this is nearby the titular end of the 130 mile long waterway where it combines with the Allegheny River and the combination transmogrifies into the Ohio River.

Wanderings over the last couple of months have seen me stitching around, exploring. One was feeling the need to come back to square and reconnoiter from above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking up the Monongahela River, in the foreground is the Smithfield Street Bridge and the P&LERR building. Next up is the Panhandle Bridge which carries the T light rail into Downtown. Behind that is the Liberty Bridge, and the yellow one is the South Tenth Street Bridge. In the distance, you can see the Birmingham Bridge.

All along the waterfront are ‘rail to trail’ public spaces. Between Birmingham Bridge and South Tenth Street on the north side of the river is the Eliza Furnace Trail, for instance, with the Hot Metal trail found in the south side of the water.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The T is seen crossing the Panhandle Bridge in the one above. I’m planning on putting some time and spending some shoe leather on this section of the world this week, so stay tuned for that one.

I’m also planning on heading further out, specifically returning to Clairton and the trailhead of the Montour Trail found directly across the street from the sense shattering US Steel mill found in that community. I’m also planning on walking another section of the Great Allegheny Passage trail which should provide great views of USS’s Mon Valley Works in Braddock from across the river.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This one looks back along the steep slope of Mount Washington, where the trees are still very much in their winter time hibernation mode.

Since the start of the year, there’s been a couple of very high profile crimes which resulted in the shooting death of two Police Officers in separate incidents, here in the greater Pittsburgh area, and thereby the flags have been flying at half mast throughout the City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One spent a couple of hours marching back and forth on Grandview Avenue, during the late afternoon. The day was coming to an end, and I wanted to do a few tripod shots, but desired to capture a less common point of view. One headed back to the Mobile Oppression Platform (my pet name for the Toyota) which had been parked at a metered spot midway twixt the two inclines, and headed towards my next destination.

The good news is that I’m finally getting comfortable with having a car be a part of the equation. Compared to having to drag ass back to HQ after walking around NYC and getting on the Subway to discover MTA is having yet another meltdown and “you can’t get there from here” it’s a real pleasure to have some personal agency in terms of getting from A to B.

Back tomorrow with what I saw and recorded.

“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 27, 2023 at 11:00 am

One Response

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  1. The variety of bridge types on the Monongahela, interesting how the choice of best bridge type evolved over time.


    March 4, 2023 at 6:58 pm

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