The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Sunnyside Yards’ Category

padding, clicking, walking

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Want to feel better? Take a walk in Queens.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Skillman Avenue between 39th street and 49th avenue is “big sky country” here in Western Queens, with the majesties of the Sunnyside Yard and the glorious skyline of the Shining City laid out for all observers. It has always been one of my favorite spots for a stroll, and never more so than at twilight.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a number of things I can tell you about the yards. When it opened, this was the largest coach yard on the planet, and it hosts the busiest tracks on earth to this day – specifically, the Harold Interlocking, which is shared by Amtrak and the Long Island Railroad. There’s an ocean of PCB’s and other industrial chemicals in the ground here, and its likely going to be listed for some sort of environmental cleanup or remediation before too long.

The odd and continuing appearances of cast off single shoes found along the fence line continues to intrigue and puzzle a humble narrator, but that’s another story.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It seems that the whole “deck over the yard and build a new neighborhood on top of it, with a stadium and hotel complex at the Queens Plaza side and affordable housing to the east” chestnut has surfaced again – the latest iteration of a plan espoused by Dan Doctoroff early in the first Bloomberg term. A number of people have asked me what my thoughts on the matter are.

My reply is always: How, in any way, would that be good for Queens? Does the proposal to deck the yards include hospitals and schools, an annex for the already stretched 104th and 114th precincts, additional FDNY personnel and equipment, or some mechanism to incorporate this new population into the existing wastewater system? Who will bear the costs of these municipal services? It won’t be the entity that builds a stadium or hotel complex, one guarantees you.

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defined apprehensions

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Twirling, ever twirling.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The affability of recent climate has seen me visiting old haunts and novel locale alike in recent weeks, which might be described as having been a somewhat pleasurable set of experiences. That would mean, of course, that your humble narrator was actually capable of experiencing a sensation called “pleasure.” A series of dull events punctuated by occasional gastro-intestinal distress, all sorts of bacterial and viral infections, and the oft bizarre actions of others is the way one such as myself describes “Life.”

One bright spark in the otherwise gathering clouds of existential horror which plague me are unexpected moments of serendipity.

A train passing by can excite one endlessly, and reminds that “you have to appreciate the little things.”

In my case, it’s big things that go “thruuummmm thruuuuuuummmm thruuummmm” or “claaacckkclaaacckkclaaacckk” as they pass by, but I’m all ‘effed up.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Good days are ones where I’m not walking to go anyplace in particular. Days when I leave the house and decide only which compass point to walk toward. For some reason, its not east that often, as that’s usually looking into the light. Instinct always points my path towards water, no matter where I am. It was kind of interesting finding myself in Queens Plaza, which I used to inhabit back in 2009 and 2010 during the Queensboro Bridge Centennial period but which I mainly cross through these days on my way to someplace in Brooklyn or Hunters Point.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, Our Lady of the Pentacle had agreed to visit the Brooklyn Grange roof top farm here in Astoria with a friend of ours who subscribes to their CSA program and I tagged along. While they picked up some quality produce, I got busy with the camera. Serendipity at work, when I woke up that morning, seeing this vista overlooking the Sunnyside Yards and the Shining City of Manhattan was not on the menu.

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humid seas

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By jove, I nearly got wet yesterday.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Yesterday, despite the somewhat solitary inclination of mood which a humble narrator awoke to find himself in, nevertheless did he need to go to Sunnyside to talk to some people about some thing. Post facto, a leisurely stroll back to Astoria was planned upon.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As is my custom, certain breaches and apertures in the fencing which secures the Sunnyside Yards from casual observation by most, and the attentions of malodorous sappers and mad bombers in particular, were exploited for photographic use. The sky was dramatic, and active. A weak wind blew chilled air, from west north west.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking towards 36th avenue, from Northern Blvd., a certain sense of doom was laconically accepted. Surely, this will be how all is ended, in a storm. The Vikings, alas, seem to have been correct in their prophecies of the world’s end. If Ragnarok comes to Queens, it’s going to look something like the shot above.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Some wicked fancy seemed to be animating this cloud, but contemplation of such matters was not a luxury at hand. Not having any sort of umbrella or rain gear with me, haste was made to cross the few short blocks back to Newtown Pentacle HQ.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Evacuating birds were shooting through the winds, which had picked up in intensity. Oddly, there was no thunder, but a present and palpable expectation hung pregnantly about. The storm was about to break.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just as I hit 44th street, the clouds attack began, and even your humble narrator found himself struck by airborne missiles of water which had been fired from thousands of feet above. These missiles, luckily, splattered.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Cover was sought behind a simple row house, one which had a small awning. Notice the “rain shadows” forming on the sidewalk.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Experience informs that summer squalls like this are short lived, quickly passing through the neighborhood, and not worth going to extreme measures over. In the twenty minutes or so spent sitting upon some anonymous stoop, observations of the passing humans included a fellow strolling along in a business suit acting as if it were not raining and a handsome young woman who walked by with a plastic bag over her head.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

This weekend-

Saturday, August 16th, LIC’s Modern Corridor
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, August 17th, 13 Steps Around Dutch Kills
With Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 14, 2014 at 11:00 am

constantly felt

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All of my trains are filthy.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One has mentioned the Train Washing Station at the Sunnyside Yard before, in this post from june of last year. Recently, while walking the camera about one evening, happenstance brought me to the Train Washing Station just before sunset as a dirty locomotive arrived.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, all I had on me was my wide angle lens (I wasn’t anticipating this sort of thing, instead, my mission for the evening had involved shooting indoors) so these shots didn’t allow me to get right up next to the engine. Normally, I’ve got the equivalent of a 150mm with me all the time, but a humble narrator has been trying to travel a bit lighter this summer.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The photo bag has swelled out to outlandish proportion in the last year or two, with multiple lenses and strobes. One enjoys having the widest range of options, of course, but carrying ten pounds of glass across the concrete devastations wreaks havoc upon my fragile spine and aging musculature. Unless I know I’m going to need the full Monty – I leave most of it at home these days, and try to travel about with just one lens.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, July 26th, The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek
With Atlas Obscura, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, July 27th, Glittering Realms
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

waking experiences

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The big rigs, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

When I was a young narrator, I had a friend named Ronnie. Ronnie adorned his walls with posters, most of which featured engenues and actresses. Farrah Fawcett sat next to Heather Locklear over his bed, and the Trans Am driven by Burt Reynolds in the “Smokey and the Bandit” movie series was also given a special place. Ronnie also liked trucks, especially the Peterbilt brand. Ronnie is long departed from this mortal coil, as is Farrah Fawcett, but the trucks remain.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I spotted this somehow sinister seeming convoy the other day, as it thundered across one of the truss bridges carrying traffic over the Sunnyside Yards. A sense of latent menace which they projected – I think a came from the tight, almost military, formation in which the trucks were being driven. Also, the tinted windows on the drivers cabin helped promulgate a certain air of mystery about the purpose and intentions of this convoy.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Hanging around industrial zones, as one does, a useful habit I’ve acquired is to not walk in front of a vehicle or piece of construction equipment without first making eye contact with and then being acknowledged by its operator. Perhaps this is why the tinted windows disturbed me so. Mayhap too little sleep had been enjoyed before I stumbled out of the house, or it was the loud music that my headphones were playing which had put me into an agitated state. Either way, the convoy seemed to be up to something sinister, here in Sunnyside. One thing I can tell you for sure – my old friend Ronnie would have hung any of these three shots up in his room, but none of them would have displaced Farrah or Heather.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

July 8, 2014 at 11:00 am

to see

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If I were taller, I could have been a baller.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, one was contemplating perspective, and I wondered what the City of Greater New York must look like to our current mayor. Striding around in cyclopean fashion, able to cross the East River in two great steps, it must be fantastic to be that tall. Your humble narrator is “low average” in height, so I’ve always wondered what perspectives are enjoyed by a true giant. Don’t get me wrong, I’m only talking about height, not gravitas or other intangible efficacies.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I always notice the giants while onboard the subway, not just because they have to stoop when entering the car. They’re the ones who appear to be standing up while actually sitting down, and these are folks who can’t help but look down their nose at everyone else. The only thing people of enormous stature need to fear, other than low ceilings, are the sudden appearance of Jewish pre-teens named “Dov” or “David” who are carrying slings – but that’s kind of a cat and dog natural enemy thing.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s always been my understanding that driving the massive mountain of flesh and bone along through the world exacts a cost, cardiovascular wise (there are miles of veins and arteries within them), and that the very tall are at a significantly higher risk for certain ailments (like bird and lightning strikes) – so there’s that. Still, it would be great to see things from an Olympian perspective, wouldn’t it?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There’s a Newtown Creek walking tour, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 15th, DUPBO – Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp
A FREE tour, courtesy of Green Shores NYC, click here for rsvp info

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 10, 2014 at 10:25 am

better shelter

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Titus, Paulo, and Ronald in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve been hunting around in my archives a bit lately, looking for shots that might have gotten buried. I’m pretty prolific, it would seem, and when you add up all the shots produced just for Newtown Pentacle and Working Harbor Committee – the numbers approach staggering. Not bragging or anything, 50% or more are dross crap, just stating that there are so many shots that some cool ones get buried and forgotten.

Just like the Roman Saint, Titus, and today’s his feast day.

from wikipedia

Titus was an early Christian leader, a companion and disciple of Paul the Apostle, mentioned in several of the Pauline epistles. He is believed to be a gentile converted by Paul to Christianity and, according to tradition, was consecrated by him as Bishop of the Island of Crete. Titus brought a fundraising letter from Paul to Corinth, to collect for the poor in Jerusalem. Later, on Crete, Titus appointed presbyters in every city and remained there into his old age, dying in the city of Candia (modern Heraklion).

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Some shots didn’t fit into a particular narrative, and got set aside for future usage. Some were difficult to explain, or required so detailed a set of prerequisite explanations that it was difficult to fit them into a post.

Sort of like the Japanese Saint, Paulo Miki, who is also remembered on February 6th.

from wikipedia

Paulo Miki was born into a wealthy Japanese family. He was educated by the Jesuits in Azuchi and Takatsuki. He joined the Society of Jesus and became a well known and successful preacher – gaining numerous converts to Catholicism. The Japanese daimyo, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, fearful of the Jesuit’s influence and intentions began persecuting Catholics. Miki was jailed, along with others. He and his fellow Catholics were forced to march 600 miles (966 kilometers) from Kyoto to Nagasaki; all the while singing the Te Deum. On arriving in Nagasaki, the city with the largest Catholic population in Japan, Miki was crucified on February 5, 1597. He preached his last sermon from the cross, and it is maintained that he forgave his executioners, stating that he himself was Japanese.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Others convey subject matter with which one does not want to delve too deeply into, as it leads directly into a complicated minefield of political issues. Such reportage is the purview of others, as it would require listening to and interacting with the humans, something which both repels and terrifies one such as myself. The humans are unpredictable, and engage in bizarre behavior.

Such as commemorating a feast day for the American Saint, Ronald.

from wikipedia

Ronald Reagan Day is a day of recognition that occurs every February 6, starting in 2011, in the state of California for Ronald Reagan, who was that state’s Governor from 1967–1975 and President of the United States from 1981–1989.

Ronald Reagan Day has also been declared a state holiday in Wisconsin. For the 100th anniversary of Reagan’s birthday in 2011, governors in 21 states issued proclamations designating February 6 Ronald Reagan Day.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 6, 2014 at 1:13 pm

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