The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

North, Miss Teschmacher, north!

with 3 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

My current walkie walkie schedule revolves around having a couple of days a week wherein I leave the car back at HQ and head ‘into town’ via the T Light Rail system. The T is an electrically driven street car which operates off of a catenary system. Usually, they run two car train sets, but occasionally – particularly during Steelers or Pirates games – you’ll see the service offer a three car setup. It’s an odd system inasmuch as you pay your zone based fare differently depending on where you’re going. In the downtown ‘zone,’ or if you’re a Senior Citizen, it’s actually a free ride. Otherwise, you pay when boarding if you’re going into the ‘City,’ or when debarking if you’re heading away from it. This sort of thing is something you’re just expected to know.

Pittsburgh has a lot of ‘vernacular’ built into its culture. People will say something like ‘I’ll see you at Smith’s at 8.’ The presumption is that you know what and where that something is, since such knowledge is second nature and familiar to all the Yinzers. It’s the same thing with transit. Of course you know and understand the system, so why erect signage or anything? I think this might be why the amazing culture, food, and circumstances here are practically unknown in the rest of the Northeast. It is such an interesting place to live, this.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator rode the T to its terminal stop on the ‘North Side’ of Pittsburgh, which is found across the Allegheny River and at the doorsteps of the Steelers stadium. It used to the Heinz Stadium, but a company called Acrisure recently secured naming rights to the place. Most of the Pittsburghers I’ve spoken to use ‘Heinz’ still.

It was a beautiful day – sweatshirt weather, as I call it – and after riding the T to the North Side station one began to scuttle forth. The loose path I had laid out for myself was going to be a fairly long one, and I would end up walking most of the T’s path through the center of the City and crossing both the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers on foot.

It was actually quite a productive day, in the end. I had a nice time, too.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve always had a fascination for the massing shapes of elevated trackways and vehicular ramps, and the way that they interact with the cubic massing shapes of surrounding buildings in urban environments. On the right is the back door of the Steelers stadium, and the curvilinear shape on the left is the trackway of the T. This is on the north side of Pittsburgh, in what used to be a separate municipality called Allegheny City which was annexed early in the 20th century.

Getting back to that ‘vernacular thing,’ the North Side is one of those terms which carries a lot of implied meaning for the folks who grew up here. I can’t describe to you what that meaning is, but when I told a neighbor that I spent a bit of time walking around the North Side, their eyes narrowed and I was admonished to be careful. Scuttle, scuttle, scuttle.

For any of you who aren’t devotees of comic book movies, here’s the reference behind the title of today’s post.

Back tomorrow.

“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

May 17, 2023 at 11:00 am

3 Responses

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  1. Wait until someone tells you where to meet or gives you directions on where something USED TO be.

    Jon H

    May 19, 2023 at 4:01 pm

  2. […] its terminal stop is on the North Shore of the Allegheny River, which is where this particularly narrative choked walk began last […]

  3. […] a fantastic afternoon’s walking experience in Pittsburgh. This one began when a humble narrator debarked the T light rail at its terminal stop on the City’s North Side and marveled at a series of on-ramps. I had crossed […]

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