The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for May 18th, 2023

Parabola City

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Several interstates and other high speed roads cross through the center of Pittsburgh, which makes sense given its former occupation as one of America’s primary manufacturing centers. An astounding series of off and on ramps, as well as connections between the various highways, fly about overhead and allow egress to and from these high speed roads. Add in light rail, numerous freight line tracks, and a corduroy terrain composed of steep hills and valleys that have water running through them and you’ve got an absolute buffet of wonders on display for the infrastructure enthusiast.

As described yesterday, one rode the T light rail service to its terminal stop in Pittsburgh’s North Side section (nearby the Steelers and Pirates stadiums) and then proceeded first east and then south, back towards a T stop on the other side of the Monongahela River.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you needed to urinate, as I did, it wouldn’t take long before you encountered a Porta-Pottie stationed on the sidewalk as I did. After taking care of business, one scuttled forth. Continually, my eyes were drawn to the arcing shapes hanging above me.

My former neighbors from NYC have asked me questions – time and again – about the situation in Pittsburgh. The universal answer to the following questions are resoundingly ‘I don’t know.’

‘Who pays for the Porta-Potties? Who is paying to remove the graffiti? Why isn’t there any graffiti? Why aren’t there piles of garbage and trash blowing around in the street? Where’s all the illegal dumping? Don’t Homeless people use the Porta-Potties as shooting galleries and temporary shelters? Where are all the security cameras?’

I don’t know. Maybe it’s the populace not wanting to treat their home like an open air toilet? Maybe the Cops land on you like a palette of bricks if you step too far out of line here? Maybe New York has become a dystopian shithole ruled over by a performative political group of less than’s who once saw AOC on the cover of Time Magazine and said ‘why not me too?’

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At any rate, and I could soliloquy endlessly on the subject of what’s wrong with NYC (for instance: save the MTA by auditing the MTA, not by giving them more cash without public oversight), but there you are. My path at this stage of the walk was still moving in a generally eastwards direction, along Pittsburgh’s North Side. All of these parabolas were jazzing me up.

Also, I really like not knowing the answer to everything.

Back tomorrow with more.

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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 18, 2023 at 11:00 am

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