The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘sunnyside’ Category

inferior body

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Friday’s all right.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Sorry for today’s late update, a humble narrator was too busy crying in his coffee to get it done on time, what with the hubris and ennui and all that. Pictured above is the endangered sight of railroad traffic at the Sunnyside Yard, as seen from Skillman Avenue. That’s an AMTRAK train, for those of you interested in such things, with the continuing construction of the East Side Access project underway just behind it.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over on Northern Blvd., these Christmas trees await the buyers who will watch them finish the dying process that began when they were cut away from their roots. Having grown up Jewish, this is one of the “goyem” things I’ve never really understood. You people kill millions of trees every year because… Christmas? Next month, these will be the Astoria tumbleweeds.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A borderland between two distinct sections of Queens, the automotive city and the locomotive one, is found at the cross of Queens Blvd. and Roosevelt Avenue. I’ve always loved this spot, despite it being one of the most confusing and dangerous pedestrian intersections in the borough.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 12, 2014 at 1:14 pm

been traversing

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I hate Mondays.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The short intervals of time when torrential rain was not falling in the last week have been quite productive for a humble narrator, as my post vacation energy levels have remained rather high. Unfortunately, the aforementioned inclement weather has been a bit of a drag. Saturday found me out and about, and by the time that a return to HQ was accomplished both my filthy black raincoat and camera bag had become thoroughly saturated with precipitants. A short visit to my beloved Newtown Creek confirmed that the CSO’s (combined sewer outfalls) had been barking into the waterway. E’au de Creek, indeed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Another brief moment between the storms found me on Broadway, here in almond eyed Astoria. A fellow decided that he could beat a Skaggs Walsh oil truck to the corner, both were attempting to turn right, when he discovered that his calculations of velocity and mass were skewed. The oil truck was unscathed, as it is literally and figuratively a tank. The fellow in the car, however, required the services of a tow truck and body shop after the encounter. Another “accidental.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over at my Brownstoner column, the latest attempt to deck over the Sunnyside Yards is discussed in a post called “NIMBY.” For all of us who live here in Queens, the renewed interest in decking over the yards by the elites of Manhattan is a shot across the bow. The development plans currently approved and underway – Hunters Point South, Flushing Common, Astoria Point, Hallets Cove – will be bringing us close to 40,000 new neighbors in the next decade. Decking over the Yards to allow Manhattan its long desired jettisoning of the Javitz Center from midtown, and exporting it to Queens just stinks. Another example of an ugly something that the City people don’t want which they want to stick Queens with, just like their garbage. If at all possible, please click through to the NIMBY post and share it to your twitter and or Facebook accounts, as we Queensicans need to get mobilized on this topic.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 8, 2014 at 11:48 am

in wonder

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Break time.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A single image greets you this morning, as will be the case through the Thanksgiving holiday.

A humble narrator requires a break periodically, to recharge and reinvent. Worry not, however, for pithy commentary and puckish intent returns on the Monday following Thanksgiving – the first of December.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 24, 2014 at 11:00 am

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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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.

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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.

long sleep

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“…To the last, I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart, I stab at thee; for hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Moby Dick quotation above, made famous by Ricardo Montalban in his role as Star Trek’s Khan, is something I recently said to a Time Warner Cable representative. The latest round of outages in Astoria began with the lightning storms that provided the ramp up to the 4th of July holiday. Storm damage is understandable, but this had nothing to do with weather. Instead, it was just another one of their periodic screw ups which randomly black out cable modems and TV screens in the neighborhood. Luckily, we only use the internet service that these clowns offer, but upstairs – Mario and Dario could not watch their beloved World Cup.

You stand between Croatians and their soccer at your peril, I will warn you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The usual dance with the TWC call centers ensued, the one where you speak first to a Canadian who “is all aboot getting yer service restored” but can’t actually do anything as she’s works for a third party company whose job can be basically described as “delaying tactics.” Understanding their woeful system as I do, I mentioned the word “FIOS” several times, which allowed me to skip up the managerial levels until I finally spoke to someone in NYC. This TWC employee actually admitted that there was an outage in my area, which is a bit of a victory on the TWC front.

If there was an award for “sucking,” TWC’s system would be placing a lot of little statues on its shelves.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This time around, it took around two days for them to get the system back on. It’s still sort of tremulous, with the signal turning on and off several times a minute, and I find myself plugging and unplugging the TWC modem a few times a day to restart or refresh the connection with the central switch. The issues with their network have much to do with the nightmarish wiring job they’ve installed around the neighborhood, and I find the infinity loop of wire pictured above to be a rather appropriate symbol for what its like dealing with the de facto monopoly of suck that is TWC.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

July 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm

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

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