The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Long Island City’ Category

conscious or subconscious

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I am the night. You have feasted well…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, while traversing through the so called Court Square area found around Davis and Jackson in LIC, a humble narrator found himself deploying the camera and shooting into the fuligin night. This was a bit of whimsy on my part, as I had just watched the premiere episode of the new television series “Gotham.” It seems that Batman’s home town is actually LIC, as so many of the spots where the shows’ urban dramaturge played out were ultimately familiar to one such as myself.

I figured I’d see if Bats was lurking anywhere nearby, or if I might unintentionally capture a shot of Two-Face or Joker while they skulked in the shadows.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

While I was popping off a few exposures, one suddenly experienced a tap on the shoulder. A fellow was standing next to me, just a little too close for comfort, and watching as I played around with camera settings and assumed the series of odd postures which have proven themselves efficacious when attempting to gather low light shots without deploying a tripod. He said “Can I ask you a question?” as he slipped his hand into his knapsack. A child of New York in the 1980’s, and a Batman fan, I immediately began working out defensive solutions in my mind. There were five. Two would just put space between me and him, one would have busted his pelvis, and the other two would have put me in front of a judge for attempted homicide. The sixth solution was to wait, and find out what the question was.

He slowly pulled his hand out of the carry all, and there was something large – and heavy – held in his grasp. “Here we go again” I thought.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As his hand, grasping a large object which was black in coloration and clearly metallic, exited the bag – one was prepared to grab his wrist with my right hand and pull his arm and a probable weapon down toward the sidewalk and away from me. My left arm was primed to deliver a sharp elbow to his throat while I was simultaneously preparing to deliver a hip check that any NHL player would have approved of (this is one of the two solutions in which I end up in front of a judge). That’s when the fellow asked his question – “can you help me learn how to take better shots at night” as his hand finally emerged from the knap sack and produced a consumer level Nikon with an f3.5 zoom lens on it. Thereupon, a short lesson in aperture, ISO, and shutter speed ensued.

Gotham, indeed.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

September 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

headlong down

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Nowhere to go, no one to talk to, like a falling autumn leaf – me.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One actually did have someplace to go last week - as a rare social occasion wherein a group of us who work for the Brownstoner Queens site commiserated over dinner and drinks in the Dutch Kills neighborhood last week. This drew me out just as the rain clouds were blowing out last Thursday night, and the sunset lighting one encountered was absolutely stellar.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This rainbow appeared over what is today the Center Building on Northern Blvd., but what was once a Ford Service Center and later offices for a large pharmaceutical company. The song “Somewhere over the rainbow” apparently refers to Sunnyside, it would seem.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This week I also have someplace to go to - I’ll be attending a meeting of the Newtown Creek CAG (Community Advisory Group), on October 1st. It’s going to be held over in Brooklyn, at the McCarren Play Center Community Room, 776 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn. I’m told that the EPA will be present. Come with?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

physical resistance

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This is actually a Newtown Pentacle post, sorry for the spam this morning.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Not sure how, as my passwords etc. were still secure when I checked, but at 8:24 this morning – a spam posting propagated out from this site. First time in better than 5 years that there’s been a breech, but security protocols (changing passwords, mainly) have been invoked. Sorry for the spam, however, but… y’know, hackers and spam bots are clever.

The offending post has been removed from the Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr feeds, but there’s nothing I can do about the emailed subscriber feed so please delete it without clicking on the links. Believe me when I tell you, the last thing I wanted to deal with before finishing my coffee was this.

Your humble narrator is preparing for quite a busy weekend, after all.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On Saturday, I’ll be leading an excursion with the Atlas Obscura folks in Long Island City. 13 Steps around Dutch Kills will explore the Queens tributary of Newtown Creek and wind up over in Brooklyn. We’re meeting at the corner of Jackson Avenue and 23rd street at 11 a.m. and the walk will be around three hours or so. There’s lots of great stuff to take pictures of, and the route will carry us along one of my favorite paths. Advance tix are recommended, click here for the link, but walkups are also very welcome if you’re a last minute sort of lord or lady.

The tour will set you back $20, and as it’s the last Dutch Kills walk of 2014, come with?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On Sunday, the tour will be in DUKBO – Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp - a part of brooklyn which I fondly refer to as “the Poison Cauldron.” This is likely the second to last time EVER that this tour will happen, as the coming bridge project is going to tear most of this area down. I was there last weekend and most of the businesses are gone, leaving behind a post industrial moonscape. We’ll be walking through petroleum country at the beginning, and I’ll be telling the story of Standard Oil and the Greenpoint Oil Spill along the path. Seriously, if you’ve been putting off coming on one of these, do it now. The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek will soon be a construction zone, which will preclude exploration.

This tour is being produced by the good folks from Brooklyn Brainery, whose ticketing page is found here. Walkups are very welcome, we’ll be at the corner of Kingsland and Norman Avenues in Greenpoint at 10 a.m. The tour will set you back $25.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, September 27th, 13 Steps Around Dutch Kills
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, September 28th, The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek
Walking Tour with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

uttermost fields

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Night shooting in DUPBO, Down under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Saturday last, your humble narrator attended the first half of the North Brooklyn Boat Club’s annual “Rock the Pulaski” party. One arrived a bit early, staked out a spot of the bulkhead, and waited for it to get dark. Pictured above, obviously, is Frederick Zurmuhlen’s 1954 vintage double bascule Pulaski Bridge – owned and operated by the NYC Department of Transportation.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

While squeezing out tripod shots of the Newtown Creek scenery, this critter suddenly made an appearance. I’m told that it’s a juvenile Night Heron. It seemed to be doing some hunting, and was rather non-plussed when I attached the flash to my camera.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The bird was hunting worms, of the aquatic variety, and using a floating plank of wood as a platform from which to do so. That’s actually a peanut shell in its beak in the shot above. Apparently, Night Herons like peanuts.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A long exposure shot of the scene, looking towards Long Island City’s Hunters Point neighborhood, and the Vernon Avenue Street end. Once upon a time, the Vernon Avenue Bridge and the Newtown Creek Towing Company (and an Ulmer Brewery saloon) would have been in the center of the shot. That’s what it looks like at night, in DUPBO.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, September 27th, 13 Steps Around Dutch Kills
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, September 28th, The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek
Walking Tour with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 22, 2014 at 12:00 pm

mournful planets

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Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Many times have I commented on the odd causality surrounding certain dates in the historical record. Obviously – September 11 has become the center of attention for NY historians since 2001, but this is a week wherein propitious events seem to have happened over the centuries. To begin with, the European discovery and description of our little town seems to have begun some four hundred and five years ago today.

In 1609, September 12th was the day that a fellow named Henry Hudson sailed up a certain river after having noticed two or three large islands in a natural harbor, onboard a Dutch East India Company ship called the Halve Maen.

Oddly enough, September 12th is considered to be the anniversary of the Battle of Marathon by scholarly sources.

Then there’s the First World War, and September 12th is the day that Gerry decided to dig in – which began three and a half years of trench warfare.

from greatwar.co.uk

From 12th September 1914 the German Army began to “dig in” on the high ground of the Chemin des Dames ridge on the north bank of the river Aisne. The Germans dug defensive trenches with the intention of securing the position and preventing any further possibility of withdrawal. This battlefield area witnessed the beginnings of entrenched positions and the change from a mobile war to a static deadlock between the opposing forces. From this date the entrenchments would gradually spread along the whole length of the Western Front, would become deeper and more impregnable and would characterize the siege warfare fighting of the Western Front for the following three and a half years.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in the past, your humble narrator has been writing a bi-weekly column over at Brownstoner Queens.

There’s a few of these posts which I’d direct you to check out, including:

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Oddly enough, I’ve got this weekend off from tours and obligations.

I plan on attending Kevin Walsh’s Forgotten Tour #83, which will explore Little Neck and Douglaston, in an effort to ameliorate my utter ignorance about eastern Queens. Also, I just received my paper back copy of Robert Caro’s “The Power Broker” from Amazon, so there’s  a bit of reading I’m anxious to get into.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, September 27th, 13 Steps Around Dutch Kills
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, September 28th, The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek
Walking Tour with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 12, 2014 at 11:16 am

ragged and dusty

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A few views of “Our Town” in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Your humble narrator has finally attained a few hours of sleep, and plans on spending a rare day off dealing with the abundances of laundry which have collected around HQ, then doing some banking, and attending a Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee meeting over in Greenpoint. If it doesn’t rain tonight, one plans on capturing some tripod shots of Newtown Creek on the way back home to Astoria. Things seem to come at me in bunches these days, with back to back events that are followed by long intervals in front of the computer developing shots.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Once upon a time, one was known for his ability to “multi task,” accomplishing several things simultaneously. This is what always made me a valuable hire in the advertising world, but the ravages of advancing age have reduced this quality. These days, one is happy if he can chew gum and walk at the same time, what with the calcification of the jellies in my head and all. Soon, I will be reduced to only being allowed to use spoons, in the name of safety. The sharp tines of a fork will be naught but the stuff of cherished memory.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

All ‘effed up, this sort of whining about infirmity and the advance of personal entropy is the product of too much solitary time. For some reason, one is surprised when somebody recognizes me, or offers a compliment about one of my little histories and accompanying pictures. It is easy to brush aside what you have done, in the name of what you haven’t. Why is it that the “big” good stuff you’ve accomplished is so easy to forget, why the “small” bad stuff can easily keep you awake at night? Others seem to remember the former, while I’m obsessed with the latter. Odd.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 9, 2014 at 11:50 am

ethereal harmoniousness

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Mystery is such a bother.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In another one of the dynamic and action packed moments which populate my days, your humble narrator was leaving LIC’s Sweetleaf coffee shop in LIC on Saturday when a cool car suddenly manifested itself within Jackson Avenue’s left turn lane for the Pulaski Bridge. The pillars of heaven began to shake, and the camera found itself deployed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Now, here’s the thing… one prides himself on the ability to focus in on any random thing found in the street and then finding out everything that can be reasonably discovered about it. This automobile has me stumped. Zooming in at a billion percent in photoshop shows the “lazy s” logo of the Studebaker company emblazoned on the red disks at the center of the wheel covers, but…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This car also resembles a 1939 Pontiac Deluxe 2 Door Coach in many ways, but there’s no “silver streak” running down the middle of the hood and the grill is all wrong for that model and then there’s those Studebaker logos on the wheels. Grrr. A four door version of the Pontiac model reveals a very similar silhouette to that exhibited by this car, however.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Nothing I’ve seen from South Bend, Indiana’s own Studebaker during the late 1930’s or early 40’s looks remotely like this. If there’s anyone out there with a specialized knowledge of the subject, please add a comment to this post and educate not just me but your fellow lords and ladies.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing was heading to Brooklyn, which is always kind of a mistake. Who would want to leave Queens?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 8, 2014 at 11:00 am

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