The Long Way Home

For Richer or Poo: a Detour through the Aluminum City

“One man’s crap is another man’s  treasure.”  Elston

Jeff and I are always on the search for trash, so one very early morning in mid-October, the two of us and Bill braved the damp chill to scour the Tour Ed Mine’s outdoor Flea-tique (that word is so awesome). There were a good number of vendors despite the frosty weather, but a die-hard trash hunter will brave all conditions to find that perfect object  she didn’t  know she even needed.

We found a bowler hat in the Alle-Kiski Historical Society booth, along with this creepy framed guilded text. Is it some sort of funeral home memorial? We aren’t sure, but it now resides in our cabinet of curiosities.

He also bought me these beautiful little opera glasses that I’ve been carrying around in my work bag for the past two months. Just in case I end up at the opera, you never know.

The morning was so sunny and beautiful, I wanted us to drive around and see what was in the area. As we drove along Route 28 through Tarentum, I asked Bill to take a right over the New Kensington bridge.

New Ken, as the locals call it, is only 20 minutes from Pittsburgh, but as most small towns in the area, it feels worlds away. There used to be radio towers there for local Pittsburgh stations. It’s the supposed birthplace of aluminum and various other industries – enameling works, glass factories, rolled steel and a brewery.

It’s a ghost town now, especially on a Sunday morning,  but Habitat for Humanity has managed to station their Pittsburgh headquarters here. We mostly took pictures from inside the car, until Jeff yelled, “Stop, now!” Holy shit, the thrift store sign was too perfect. It’s as if the whole city got up and walked away in the 80s as the industries drifted out of the region.

We walked around for a  bit taking pictures, stopping to chat with a heavy metal dude who told us New Kensington wasn’t safe to be in at night. I think it was his way of telling us to get back in our car and mosey on home. I felt like such a cliche, standing there with my camera taking pictures of broken things. I wanted to record what I saw before it wasn’t there anymore.



2 Comments so far
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this was a good day. i can’t wait till next spring when Flea-tique opens for the season again. And I definitely think the framed Carl thing is in memory of. why would there be two dates: a birth and a death day. it is kinda creepy. I get it is haunted.

oh yeah, what was the name of that old club where they had a long view of the Allegheny Valley? that was pretty cool.


Comment by bill

That place was called Veltri’s. I loved the “Panorama” sign! Can’t wait till it gets warmer, and maybe by then Jeff and I will have a house to store even more trash from our travels.


Comment by Lisa

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