The Newtown Pentacle

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator was pretty much exhausted by the time these shots were acquired. All of the Washington D.C. and Pittsburgh posts you’ve seen in the last month, and these Philadelphia ones, were captured in about a 4 day period. A morning session in DC, followed by an 8 hour train ride, 72 hours spent in Pittsburgh, followed by a 7 hour train ride to Philadelphia, and I spent about 5 hours there. Between the three, I walked a little over 100 miles and photographed about 6,000 individual shots which ended up boiling down to about 700 “keepers.”

In Pittsburgh, I had a room where I could stow my gear, but in D.C. and Philly, I had to shlep it all around on my back. The shots in today’s post were the last ones captured on this trip.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Full pack “EDC” or Every Day Carry on a week long trip sucks. I had three bags hanging off of me. The one on my left hip – a camera sling bag which I’ve retired from active photo duty but which matches the current one – was stuffed with clothing, toiletries, and various comfort items like a comb and a few snacks – gum, candy, etc. as well as the various charging cables and wall adapters needed for my electronics.

The one on my right hip was full of the sort of camera gear you need to keep handy and ready to go – a bright “go to” prime lens, an air blower, lens cloths – that sort of stuff. I’ve also got a construction worker’s yellow safety vest in there. The two were hung on opposite shoulders, forming an X over my sternum.

Then there was the big bag on my back, which kept the X in place, a Jansport knapsack with my Canon zoom lenses within and housed in removable foam partitions, and also within it was a Mac laptop. On the exterior of the backpack was an attached Sirui Carbon Fiber tripod with a ball head, with an umbrella affixed on the other side. There’s lots of small items I like to carry – a flashlight, a roll of gaff tape, ten feet of paracord, one of those silver emergency blankets, a “bit kit” of screw heads that my Leatherman can mount, the homemade foam lens collars I’ve mentioned a few times, a backup camera support device called a Platypod, extra camera batteries. At the bottom of the bag is one of those ultra absorbent “shamwow” orange cloths they sell at Costco for washing cars, and a couple of clear plastic garbage bags. As a note, the flashlight and everything else made of metal in my bag has a layer of gaff tape on it. Gaff tape doesn’t leave residue behind when you stick it to things, and whereas it’s no duct tape, if you have to make a quick repair while in the field it’s better to have the stuff and not need it than the other way around. It also helps with “grip.” The layers of gaff on my flashlight easily release and are deployable as needed.

On top of all this, I was wearing my special “Scott E Vest” sweatshirt with its 22 secure pockets, pretty much all of which had at least one item secreted away in them. Additionally, I was wearing a pair of military surplus shorts, with a bunch of secure pockets where I was carrying a Leatherman utility tool, wallet, cash, keys, hankies, hand sanitizer, and all sorts of other bits and bobs. The shoes, as always, were Merell Moab style hiking boots.

There was also, obviously, the L bracket encased Canon R6 camera dangling off of me on a Black Rapid R strap, which itself has a zippered pocket for memory cards. I also had my iPhone with me, of course, which was used to organize my train tickets, rideshare needs, and allowed me to use google maps rather than a printed book. I did have a small Moleskine reporters notebook with me as a backup, and a single uniball retractile pen.

All told, it was about 20-30 pounds of stuff in aggregate. Nearly a third of my carry was due to the laptop.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everything I carry with me day to day – My “EDC” or “every day carry” has stood the test of time and weather and is the best accommodation between weight and performance that I can afford. The plastic recycling bags have saved me and the camera from getting soaked during sudden rain bursts, the shamwow insulates the lens against vibration a bit and ensures I can dry wipe the equipment down in a hurry. The Mylar safety blanket, plastic bags, and construction worker vest weigh virtually nothing, and the former is occasionally deployed as a sun reflector whereas the latter is often donned while wandering around Newtown Creek in the dead of night. If you’re looking for a pocket tool rather than a weapon, the Leatherman Skeletool is a good solution. Pliers, screwdriver with interchangeable bits, and a blade. It’s also a bottle opener.

Also, forgot to mention the zip lock bag full of Covid masks. I use ziploc bags to organize things when traveling, writing down what was in the individual bag on the bag itself when I packed it, with a sharpie permanent marker. Inventory list on the container means you don’t forget or misplace something when in a hurry, and the clear plastic allows you to visually inventory.

Minus the third bag with the clothes, and the laptop, this is more or less the “EDC” that I take with me when leaving HQ for a regular photo adventure in NYC. During the winter, the shorts become black army pants from the same manufacturer, and the filthy black raincoat is added into the mix.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A standout at 30th Street Station here in Philadelphia is the “Pennsylvania Railroad World War II Memorial” statue. 28 feet tall, and designed by sculptor Walter Hancock, it’s a memorial to the 1,307 workers of the Pennsylvania Railroad who died during the Second World War providing for the common defense. Check out this Wikipedia link for more on the thing.

To be honest, at this stage of the journey, I was giving zero shits about anything and just wanted to get home to see Our Lady of the Pentacle again and tell her about my adventures in Pittsburgh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The train was delayed from its scheduled departure, but only by a few minutes. My feet hurt, and so did my back. I was impatient, and paced around the station to burn off my expectant energy. I was in a “shvitz,” as my grandmother would have said.

Finally, the boarding call was made, and the track announced. I proceeded down to the platforms.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Amtrak’s chariot arrived, and I boarded a rather full train bound for NYC’s Penn Station at 7:58 p.m.

About 9:30 p.m., I returned to NYC and soon found myself on 8th Avenue, which was covered in a wind swept whirlwind of litter and garbage and there was graffiti on the sidewalk. One man was on his hands and knees screaming into a subway grate, another was standing on the corner of 32nd street openly masturbating. Another fellow, one legged and in a wheelchair labeled with a local hospital’s branding, had pulled his coat over his head to ease lighting up a crack pipe. By 34th street, I had passed through a bum fight between two women and got to see one of their boobies flapping about after her opponent tore off her t shirt. The air smelled of urine and car exhaust, and the dirty water of hot dog carts. Sirens, car horns, fart cars.

On 36th street, I turned a corner and narrowly avoided a group of charlatans working the “check out my hip hop cd grift” and managed to overstep a pile of vomit while passing them by. After negotiating through massive piles of restaurant garbage being colonized by rats that narrowed the sidewalk down to about 18 inches of space, I managed to find a spot to wait, and summoned a Lyft to whisk me home to Astoria.

Back in the 80’s, the saying was “what this city needs is a good plague.” Well – We’ve had one and it didn’t do any good, I’m afraid. When the greatest City in the history of mankind fails to compare favorably with… Philadelphia…


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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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 18, 2021 at 11:00 am

every hand

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

562,000 square feet. Built between 1927 and 1933, which is when it opened. Designed by the successor to Chicago’s D.H. Burnham & Company, who provided architectural services for both Washington D.C. and Pittsburgh’s Union Stations. Currently the property of Amtrak, 2955 Market Street in West Philadelphia is officially referred to as “William H. Gray III 30th Street Station” or colloquially as “30th Street Station.”

It is bloody magnificent, and speaks to the power and majesty of one of the great American corporate powers which has passed into history and out of our cultural consciousness – the Pennsylvania Railroad.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The largest corporation in the United States for more than a hundred years, PRR was founded in 1846. It grew, by 1882, to a size that saw its annual budget superseded only by that of the Federal Government. By 1926 – it had acquired, merged with, or owned 800 other rail companies. PRR operated nationally, and owned or operated nearly 12,000 miles of track in the northeastern United States, and was headquartered in Philadelphia. PRR was the primary carrier and transportation for John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. Manufactured goods like refined oil from eastern port cities went west and south, cotton and timber went north, and agricultural products and raw petroleum went east to feed and employ the immigrant masses working in the coastal factories. All of this activity was train based.

Despite its capital intensive business, the PRR paid out the longest dividend payment in American business history to its stockholders from its founding in 1846 until its first reported losses in 1946. By WW2, it had annihilated all but one of its major rivals – the NY Central Railroad. The two rail giants were decimated by the arrival of the Interstate Highway system and containerization, which kicked off an era of deindustrialization in the North Eastern United States. In the end, they merged operations, becoming the Penn Central Railroad.

Bankruptcy was declared in 1968 for the combined Penn Central, ultimately resulting in President Richard Nixon nationalizing their assets as Conrail (freight) and Amtrak (passenger) in 1971. Their inner city and suburban commuter rail assets – Long Island Rail Road, for instance – were assigned to newly minted State level counterparts of Amtrak like MTA in New York State, or as in Philadelphia’s case, SEPTA.

Again – I’m not a rail historian. If you want to know more, I’d suggest taking a class, doing some googling, or reading up on the subject. It’s a fascinating subject, really.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the modern day Philadelphia skyline, as seen from the entry to 30th Street station.

It’s hard to conceive of the sort of monopoly power that PRR enjoyed in the American economy without referring to modern day technology companies like Apple or Google. Additionally, the National Security aspect of their business cannot be understated. Military conscripts were shipped to military bases for basic training via the rail, and trained soldiers were then delivered to the Atlantic port cities for overseas deployment by the PRR and others. Weapons and supply items could be manufactured in safe inland factories nearby sources of mineral supply, and then also be sent to the ports using rail.

Standard Oil is mentioned above, but the tonnages of coal, timber, mineral ore, agricultural products, and factory produced manufactured goods transported by this corporate goliath literally allowed the United States of America to evolve into a global superpower by connecting its most distant natural resources to each other with a high speed iron road. Rail doesn’t seem quick in an era when private space flight is possible, but until the 1930’s – the fastest speed most people ever travelled other than by rail was governed by a horse.

The corporation is actually still extant, but they’re in the property and casualty insurance business these days, and are now called “American Premier Underwriters.” Who knew?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As I’ve said a few times in these posts about Philadelphia – as a New Yorker, I’m duty bound to shit talk Phillie – but in the particular case of 30th street Station, they’ve got us beat. Yeah, we’ve got Grand Central, but our Pennsylvania Railroad station – Old Penn Station – was demolished in 1963 to make way for the harbinger of the dystopian shithole version of NYC we all know in the modern day – modern day Penn Station.

Pictured above is the entrance to 30th Street Station.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

30th street Station received refurbishment and modernization upgrades in 1991. It’s one of the busiest intermodal train stations in the country, and Pennsylvania’s SEPTA system uses it as a regional hub for its commuter rail operations. There’s a separate subway station nearby called the “30th Street Subway station” and there’s streetcar/trolley service associated with that facility as well. Down below the ornate frontage, there are two levels of track, with the upper one hosting 3 east/west oriented platforms, and a lower level which offers 6 north/south ones.

No surprise here, but there’s cops and drug/bomb sniffer doggies roaming all over the joint. I’d advise you to not travel with your dynamite or heroin collection through 30th Street Station.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A nuanced bit of trivia is offered here, which speaks to the actuality of the rail world. It’s a station – which indicates that it’s not a final stop with a turnaround track – in which case it would be a terminal. NY Central Railroad’s Grand Central Terminal in New York is a terminal for modern day MTA Metro North commuter rail, but the new MTA LIRR East Side Access stop deep below it will be a station. Get it? Station means stop, terminal means end. The 7 line subway has terminals at Hudson Yards and Flushing, everything in between, including the platforms at Grand Central Terminal is a stop.

It’s all so complicated.

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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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 17, 2021 at 11:00 am

menacing dreams

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Despite its appearance, the Market Street Bridge crossing West Philadelphia’s Schuykill River is actually fairly modern, having been built in 1932. It’s the fifth bridge in this location, with the first one having opened to traffic in 1805. It was a wooden span, called “The Permanent Bridge” but it wasn’t, and it burned down in 1850. The second one, similarly impermanent, also immolated in 1875. Another wooden crossing then stood here for 13 years, between 1875 and 1888, and the town fathers of Philadelphia seem to have gotten the message when a wrought iron span was built. The iron one then made way for this stone variant in the early 20th century.

Kind of like the Three Little Pigs and the big bad Wolf, this bridge story, huh? Wood, iron, & stone instead of straw, wood, brick.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Grrr. When Old Penn Station was demolished in NYC, the still extant Pennsylvania Railroad donated four of the Eagle statues which used to adorn it to the City of Philadelphia in 1963. Seriously, you cannot escape NYC, no matter where you are. It is the conveyor belt of American history, and ultimately everything everywhere is somehow connected, or sympathetic to, or exists in consequence of the archipelago City.

It seems that there was a pre revolutionary ferry which operated either at the site of this bridge, or pretty close to it, which was established in 1673. The warring sides in the American Revolution independently built floating pontoon bridges to move troops and equipment across the Schuykill River here, predating the aforementioned and so called “Permanent Bridge.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the 1990 vintage Walnut Street Bridge which was the vantage point from which I shot the photos in yesterday’s post. My understanding is that the masonry that the modern steel is affixed to is original to an earlier span of the same name.

At the time of the American Revolution, if you were taking bets on what would end becoming the largest and most important City on the Atlantic Coast, most takers would have put their money on Boston or Philadelphia. Charleston would have also gotten some action, but only as an outlier. NYC wasn’t all that important in the late 18th century, other than as a safe harbor which led to Long Island Sound, Albany, and New England, before the Erie Canal was built in the 19th century. It was that bit of infrastructure spending which gave NYS the moniker “Empire State.” From the minute it opened, Boston and Philadelphia began to decline economically, but they largely didn’t realize it until just after World War 1. By WW2, it was obvious.

Saying that – and again, as a New Yorker I’m duty bound to shit talk Philadelphia – Philadelphia is actually quite an interesting place beyond the whole Liberty Bell and Ben Franklin era. The City of Philadelphia is also the County of Philadelphia (since 1854). It’s second best in terms of population, with just over 1.6 million people living in the city and its greater metropolitan area has 6.2 million residents. It was founded in 1682, and one of the interesting things about Philadelphia in the modern day is that it’s a “minority majority” city demographically. Census data reports about 37% of its population as being non Hispanic White people, with a 42% majority Non Hispanic Black population. Everybody from everywhere else in the world seems to have at least one cousin in Philadelphia, so all the tribes of man – from East Asians to Native Americans, and every flavor of the Spanish speaking peoples, turn up in the census mix here.

As a note – I hate ethno supremacy and race talk, and specifically avoid using terms like “non Hispanic white” in my daily round, but when you’re passing along what the census says it doesn’t make sense to say it in your own voice. Over simplification of the complexity of American racism annoys me, and skirts the heart of the problem, which is the diminution of an individual into a “them.” If you’ve ever met an actual white supremacist, you’d have learned that they don’t think the French or Irish or Russians are “white.” Same for the Greeks and Italians. Certainly not Jews or the Portuguese. We are all assholes to each other all the time, and while we split hairs over ancestry and the ethnic propensities of one cultural group or another towards sin or virtue, the political bosses laugh and distribute your tax money to their sponsors while you’re busy calling somebody else a racist. There’s a whole lot of prejudiced people, but actual “racists” are a lot rarer. You can teach away prejudice, but racism is like a religion and it’s a lot harder to root out.

Lumping individuals into large ethnic groups and classifying them according to the accident of their birth is – in fact – racist, nativist, and leads to nationalism. Talk to people as individuals, instead of “meme-ing” them. This identity politics thing is going to lead to the end of this country.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“William H. Gray III 30th Street Station,” or just 30th Street Station, is found along the Schuykill River, which the Schuykill Expressway runs alongside of, and the Market Street Bridge frames the left side of the shot. I’m actually shooting from the Market Street Bridge in this one, and that uninspiring truss bridge at the right of the shot is – I think – the 1959 vintage John F. Kennedy Boulevard Bridge.

30th Street Station is an intermodal train station which opened in 1933. Amtrak, SEPTA, and N.J. Transit operate trains from here. There’s a parking garage as well, and several local and interstate bus routes treat the area around the station as a hub. In addition to public transit, private companies like Bolt and Megabus also operate nearby.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

30th Street Station hosts several Amtrak offices “up stairs,” and its thought to be one of the busiest transit hubs in the entire country. Connected to it, but due to time constraints not photographed, are Amtrak’s Penn Coach Yard and Race Street repair and maintenance facilities which are kind of an regional analogue to the Sunnyside Yards, found in NYC’s Borough of Queens, which I often discuss. Next time I’m here in America’s “less than” city, I’ll try and explore a bit further afield.

It seems that a local corporation foots the bill for decorative bridge lighting on the Schuykill River, and I’d have loved to stick around until it got dark… but I had a train to catch.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the next couple of posts, we’ll be taking a look at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, and what I observed while waiting for the Amtrak people to announce which track my NYC bound train was going to leave from.

More tomorrow – at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

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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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 16, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in AMTRAK, railroad

Tagged with , ,

hideous gnawing

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last stop on my Amtrak adventures was, as the old vaudeville joke offers – 4th prize – a visit to Philadelphia. Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian Line service carries you from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia’s 30th street Station, after a fairly long journey through mostly rural areas. For this leg of the journey, I only had about 4 hours to get busy, and an hour of that was spent inhaling something that they call “pizza” in Philadelphia but isn’t, and a couple of pints of Yuengling beer.

30th street Station is found along the Schuykill River, which figures prominently in today’s and tomorrow’s post. It seems that every time I had a beer in the state of Pennsylvania on this trip, it seems that it was a Yuengling – which is the oldest brewing company in the United States – operating since 1829 in Pottsville, at the other side of this River. Coincidence? Hmm.

Idiot man child, with a camera, wandering abandoned waterfronts and junk yards, right?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Schuykill River is a tributary of the larger Delaware River, traveling from Pennsylvania’s Pottsville to Philadelphia, where it joins with the larger Delaware River nearby the former Philadelphia Navy Yard. Its drainage shed is about 200 square miles, and it’s fed by multiple upland tributaries that are largely in “coal country.” A large and expensive project was undertaken in Pennsylvania – just after the Second World War in 1948 – to clean up the islands of coal dust silt that had formed in the Philadelphia stretch of the Schuykill River due to upland industrial and mining activities, interfering with its navigability.

Due to my limited time here, I never got too far away from 30th street Station and the Schuykill River. Luckily, there’s a series of interesting bridges and other attractions right in this area, which I’m told is the transition point between “proper” Philadelphia and “University City.” These posts are all from the same West Philadelphia border zone with University City, which is home to six colleges or university level learning institutions including the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel. Accordingly, there’s a whole lot of youngsters milling about. They seemed nice.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given the brevity of time spent there, I couldn’t do my usual “talk to strangers” deal and learn the local lay of the land. Instead, it was just me and Google maps. This shot was captured from the busy Walnut Street Bridge, looking towards the Chestnut Street Bridge.

That’s the second Chestnut Street Bridge, actually. The first one opened up in 1866, and was constructed from cast iron. The modern iteration was opened in 1957, and has been receiving a refurbishment due to its age since 2019. Construction was only meant to last a year, but Covid.

Walnut Street Bridge, which I was standing on, is of 1990 vintage and replaced an earlier 1893 version demolished in 1988. The masonry piers of the 1893 version support the modern bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The PennDOT maintains the Schuykill Expressway, which I’m led to believe is colloquially referred to by locals as “The Skook” and or the “The Surekill Distressway.” It’s part of Interstate 76 and concurrent with US 1 in Philadelphia, and is a primary traffic corridor leading into Philadelphia from points west. It opened in 1959, and is representational of the mistake that an entire generation of Robert Moses inspired urban planners made in the post World War 2 era, creating high speed roads along waterfronts (like NYC’s FDR Drive) that isolated both public and business from the City shorelines. About 163,000 vehicle trips a day travelled this route, pre Covid. That makes it the busiest road in all of Pennsylvania. There’s a modern day Schuykill River Trail for bikes and pedestrians on the parallel bank.

There’s meant to be quite a bit of “new economy” action happening on that side of the Schuykill River, but again – I was here for 4 hours so I’ll take your word for it. I was mainly busy trying to get a few shots before I had to get back on the Amtrak to NYC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As you’ve likely discerned by now, I had set up the camera for longish exposures with the ND filter that I’ve been mentioning. That’s “Neutral Density” for those of you who aren’t photography nerds, and it’s a disc of glass which appears black to the naked eye. This particular model is “10 stops,” which translates to “ten stops of light” being held back from the filter. Simply, it’s a monocular sunglass for your camera.

What this thing does is allow me to expose for 15-30 seconds at a narrow aperture in broad afternoon daylight. It allows me to make a series of creative decisions as to how much texture you see in the water, or how blurred and “streaky” the automotive tail lights you see on the off ramp of the Schuykill Expressway are. Options.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s my duty as a New Yorker to shit talk Philadelphia. Boston? Yeah, it’s “less than” but it’s alright, and actually a hell of a town if you know the right crowd. You gotta respect Chicago, period. Fuck Los Angeles, it’s a god damned shopping mall with houses, like Atlanta and Miami. Denver is evil incarnate. Never been to Toronto or San Francisco, can’t comment. Philadelphia? Phillie? Pfah.

That’s my rap about the major U.S. cities of English speaking North America.

Truth be told, given the slide back towards “dystopian shithole” that NYC has been on for the last decade or so, Phillie is looking good to me. At least the rent is a bit lower, as are the taxes. When you’re comparing your home base in NYC with… Philadelphia… and saying “meh, it’s better in some ways,” maybe… things have arrived at a pretty bad juncture moment in New York City.


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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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 15, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in AMTRAK, railroad

Tagged with , ,

bacterial agent

with one comment

Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An early assignation with Amtrak awaited me, and I was out of my rented Pittsburghian bed by 4:45 in the morning. A quick once over of the AirBNB revealed that I had left the place in the same fettle as I had found it, and after a quick checklist of gear status was accomplished, I grabbed one last shot from the 23rd floor of the Clark Building.

Well, almost the last one.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I stopped off at the garbage room nearby the elevator banks, to discard a bit of trash I’d generated during my stay, and couldn’t resist this shot of the Roberto Clemente and Andy Warhol bridges all lit up.

A visit to a nearby convenience store saw me buying coffee and other travel supplies for a scheduled 7 hour long trip on Amtrak to my next destination. Seriously – if they ever put the rail pass on sale again, I’m grabbing one. All of this travel ultimately cost $299. Best deal, EVER.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the train station, the now familiar routine of Amtrak continued. Passengers heading towards the same or similar destinations were directed into appropriate rail cars. Mask on, bags stowed, and onboard America’s railway was a humble narrator.

I settled into my seat, and relaxed. It had been an intense 72 hours. Heck, it had been an intense 100 hours, really, if you count the Washington D.C. leg of this trip in.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This wasn’t the car I was riding in, actually. This shot was captured when I was making my way back to the cafe car. On my way to Pittsburgh, I rode Amtrak’s Capitol Line from Washington D.C., and now I was on the Pennsylvanian line. Apparently, this car would fill up, when we reached Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County. It seems that Amish and Mennonite people are ok with riding the train, so long as someone else is driving it, and this car would be filled up by citizens from the “Pennsylvania Dutch Country” later on in the day.

Me? I had a long ride ahead of me, and this time around I wasn’t so exhausted that I just passed out, like I did after leaving Washington. I played with my phone, shot a few pics out the window, and spent a lot of time thinking about things while staring out the window.

I think I might buy some U.S. Savings Bonds with a 5 year term to hedge against inflation, that’s one of the things I thought about. Also, I added a couple of bits and bobs that I didn’t know I needed until this last week into my BH Photo shopping cart too. Step up filter rings, my wire cable release stopped working 24 hours into this journey and needed replacement – that sort of stuff. I also pondered whether joining the Postal Service would pay off from a pension point of view given my age. Nice thing about riding the train is the quiet time to think without distractions.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The foam collar I had fashioned to cancel out window reflections was again employed as we hurtled past steel mills and other industrial wonders along the way. Boy, oh boy do I want to spend some time around here with a car, after having socially networked my way into these sort of properties to “do my thing.”

What an amazing part of this country Western Pennsylvania is.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Amtrak passed over a river, and the Google maps app on my phone informed me that we were passing in quite close proximity to the infamous Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant, but I couldn’t see it’s iconic cooling towers. Next time… and with wheels.

Amtrak would be delivering me to my next destination in the late afternoon/evening time of day. My photo time would be severely constrained, a mere three and change hours. I also needed to fill some of that time with purely biological needs – a meal, and a spot where I didn’t have to mask up – as onboard the Amtrak. More on all that next week, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 12, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in AMTRAK, railroad

Tagged with , ,

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