The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

South Side part 2

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described yesterday, one decided to take a Sunday afternoon long walk around Pittsburgh’s South Side section waterfront. As also described, my newness and naïveté about Pittsburgh’s environs demands that I offer a preemptive “mea culpa” if I get something wrong. My ignorance is epic at this point in time.

There’s a waterfront trail here along the Monongahela River which shadows the shoreline, and I think it’s one of the former railroad right of ways which has been converted over to a bike and pedestrian path.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You can’t help but notice the Frank Bryan Concrete Factory when you’re in this area, with its sweeping conveyor belts flying about. The vehicle bridge in the background of many of these shots is called the Liberty Bridge, which serves a primary arterial purpose in terms of allowing vehicles access from Downtown Pittsburgh across the river and leads first to the Liberty Tunnel and then the South Hills section on the other side of the prominence of Mount Washington.

This is one of those spots you encounter in American cities where a whole lot of infrastructural elements come together.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Those concrete conveyors I mentioned earlier overfly the Pittsburgh Subdivision of CSX’s freight rail tracks, as well as the bike/ped trail. This offers pretty fantastic points of view for the wandering mendicant.

It also offers very nice POV’s if you’re into trains, but that’s a different post for a later date. In the meantime, neat triangular compositions abound.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The concrete factory seemed to be a wonderland of big machines and heavy equipment. This shot looks through a hole in their fence. I never trespass if I can help it, as I’m like a vampire who needs to be invited into a space to do my work.

It’s been a fantastic experience, incidentally, discovering things new and novel. My long residency along Newtown Creek back in NYC allows me certain insights into what I’m seeing and definitively guides where I’m pointing my toes, but it’s been fantastic to be surprised, awed, and mystified again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just beyond the Liberty Bridge is the Panhandle Bridge, a former heavy rail span which now carries the T light rail service over the river. I’m going to have to come back here at dawn and then dusk to see what those shots would look like.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I was traveling light for this walk. I left most of my gear back at HQ and was rolling about with a minimal photo kit in my bag.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Essentially, I’m still deep in scouting mode these days. Figuring out where neat images can be gathered in the future. I’ve begun to grasp what times of day I’m likely to see a train on the ground level tracks (2:30 on a Sunday, as in the shot above, not so much) in some future walk. I was absolutely magnetized to this particular location, but forced my feet to start kicking about again and move on.

More tomorrow.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 19, 2023 at 11:00 am

Posted in newtown creek

One Response

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  1. I was anxiously awaiting your lens arriving here as you worked along the South Side.

    This concrete plant was previously owned by Dravo, a large Pittsburgh (diversified) contractor that was responsible for a lot of bridge foundations along the rivers, as well as the owner of a shipyard on Neville Island that built tugs, barges, and even LST’s in WWII. Dravo built a lot of cranes for the US Navy, many of which subsequently ended up in the hands of marine contractors, like Weeks Marine. I think Weeks had at least three 100-ton capacity Dravo “Model 28” (named for its 28′ diameter base ring) between NY and other locations: 508, 552, 554.

    The wall that faces the river also has a large “BRYAN” painted on it, billboard style.

    Jon H

    April 20, 2023 at 9:03 am

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