The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

South Side part 4

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

After spending an afternoon scuttling about on Pittsburgh’s South Side, one had to head back to HQ in nearby Dormont to meet up with Our Lady of the Pentacle and attend some sort of social event. Dread thereby filled my soul, as I worried about whom I might offend and which opinion that I host that might accidentally do that. Nothing like that happened, but it ain’t easy being me.

Pittsburgh has hundreds and hundreds of flights of municipal or public staircases, installed to allow easy passage between the shelf and terrace like streets adorning its steep hills.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

They look kind of daunting, but the stairs offer a ‘good cardio’ opportunity when you’re out for a walk. One negotiated the steps, mentally critiquing their design. Rise is the vertical distance between individual steps, run is the horizontal footboard space you step on. During the Victorian era, one of the ways you were most likely to die at home involved improper ‘rise and run’ installations which caused people to fall down the stairs and crack their heads and necks. This problem was assessed by the industrial age intellectuals of Great Britain, who invented the modern day architectural formula for calculating the proper ratio that you’re likely familiar with. Now you know.

The stairs carried me up to East Carson Street, which is sort of the ‘Via Majorica’ of this area – a primary arterial roadway leading from points east to points west and past intersections leading to bridges or tunnels.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One last look at that cool concrete factory from the slightly higher elevation offered by this path, and I was heading off towards the light rail and my trip home. Luckily, being a Sunday, there was little to no activity going on here, so I felt emboldened to walk into a few empty parking lots along the way and crack out a couple of final shots.

This sort of congestion of infrastructure is just so appealing to one such as myself. I’m all ‘effed up, but I love it so.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A neat POV presented itself along the way, where I was more or less level with the exit from the Panhandle bridge which the T light rail crosses the Monongahela River upon. The train set exits the bridge onto a truss which allows it eventual access to ground level at the nearby Station Square stop.

Having spotted this connect, at eye level, I began stalking it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the one which I felt like I could hand my hat on for the day.

There’s a couple of things I’d do a little different, and I will, the next time I shoot this particular composition. Saying that, happy with the image am I. This is another one I’m going to have to hit at dawn and then dusk.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just before boarding the T for my ride back home, a CSX freight train appeared and I couldn’t resist.

Back next week with more from the Paris of Appalachia.

“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

April 21, 2023 at 11:00 am

Posted in newtown creek

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