Exile in America (Part 2): McKees Rocks

After 25 years in New York, the author moves back to his hometown and discovers a new world lodged in the old one . . . Sometimes the strangest destination is home.

Creek Road along Chartiers Creek, under the Wind Gap Bridge

“Road’s End,” as the locals call it, is a leafy patch of light industry, abandoned cars, and (probably) a few misanthropes who want to “get away from it all” while remaining in earshot of the highway above.

Satellite image © 2012 Google

Showing some leg, showing some skull

Road’s End is an intimate nowhere; a woman there will gladly oblige a stranger with a camera who asks her to roll up her short shorts and pose against the bridge.

Vestige: Old brick road peeking up through new one

Slim passage (where Creek Rd. meets Singer Ave., near the tracks)

A sacred aura pervades

McKees Rocks is a lush and rusted jewel on the Ohio, faded but still glimmering, with beautiful churches, streets and vistas that are beyond quaint . . . Through its trove of architecture, local sages, and industrial archeology the history/aura of an old city will survive.

Volume drinking

A 22-ounce beer (~ 2 beers) for $2.50 is not uncommon in Pittsburgh bars (almost like giving it away).

On this day: Grand Opening of Bottom Dollar in McKees Rocks

Pittsburgh takes a good picture

Brooklyn, where I used live, takes a good picture as I’ve often said, but so does Pittsburgh. The hills make for a constant layering effect, plus you can always go higher and get a new perspective.

A trio of churches at twilight seen through the McKees Rocks Bridge

House swallowed by vegetation

Exile in America (Parts 1-4)

More Images of Pittsburgh (Slideshows)


  1. There used to be an old bromide about the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. Will the last one to leave Charlotte please turn out the lights. Now Charlotte, NC. is a shining jewell in the diadem of the new south...eclipsed only by Atlanta, Georgia in the firmament of the "New South" which has moved far beyond the Gothic imaginings of Faulkner, O'Connor, Wolfe, Welty,Capote, McCullers, Harry Crews, or Barry Hannah.These sectional views of the city that time seems to have forgotten is ripe for a new Gothic voice. These photographs captue an almost Tim Burton/Edward Scissorhands topiary "effluvia" achieved without the hand of man, or GOD, or law. Eisenstat does with ease "la jupe fendue sur le cote" to crack open an entirely new vista of seeing the oldest of the discontents of the American Industrial Revolution...and read the truth in the ring of bath where Pittsburgh's past has circled the drain leaving nothing but a stain behind. Only a true visionary artist could make the mysteries as plain as the nose on your face. Dylanesque desolation and Whitman Barbaric "yawp" have had a progeny. Let us sincerely hope for more.

  2. These are great. They made me remember the days of my friends and I wandering around the city looking for places to ride our skateboards. Check out polish hill, it was always a fun little neighborhood. Glad you are enjoying yourself and keeping the DrunkWalk alive...

  3. I would like to fuck that girl...great ass and legs!!!! More tommorow!!!! The pictures and text are GREEEAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTT.....

  4. Maybe it's my love of street photography--all that old Helen Leavitt & Eugene Smith stuff--but I'm a sucker for your work. The rambles, the bars, the weeds--it all works for me, and feels even closer to home because it actually is.

    I wonder if you might concentrate solely on McKees Rocks, make a soul-deep portrait of the town from its surfaces (and people--I dug the shot of the woman's tattoo; it made me want to see more faces, more people who somehow represent the place), as well as giving us those GoogleEarth overview shots. Maybe some interiors too (thinking of Gary Winograd, Larry Clark) showing how people live. The place and time.

    Good stuff. Keep it coming.