The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘sunnyside’ 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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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.

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.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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

simple minded

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Fireworks in Queens, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 4th, my neighbors Mario and Dario and I climbed up the little ladder which leads up to the roof hatch and surmounted our building. Arriving up at tar beach, we discovered that just about everyone else in Astoria had the same idea. Our view of the horizon and the Macy’s Fireworks show on the East River was hopelessly occluded, but who needs Manhattan’s little spectacle?

Queens never disappoints.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Off in the direction of Old Astoria, where the Triboro and Hells Gate Bridges can be found, the neighborhood was oddly quiet. There were the occasional detonations, as pictured above, but by Astoria standards – not too much was going on.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It was the to southeast where the action was going on, and it seemed that Woodside was competing with Sunnyside and Maspeth from my vantage point.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

July 7, 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

nervous element

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Cutting up Queens Blvd. in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Bigger and quite a bit badder than the masonry saw witnessed in last week’s posting “dusk comes,” your humble narrator recently spotted a crew on Queens Blvd. creating a street trench using a 155 HP Vermeer CC155 Concrete Cutter. The gizmo uses a giant (84 inches in diameter) wheel, one that sports carbide tipped teeth, to chew into the asphalt and underlying cement of the so called “Boulevard of Death.”

from vermeer.com

Cutting streets for utility installation or pothole repair is no problem for the Vermeer CC155. With the sustained torque output of its Tier II 155 hp/115.6 kW Cummins engine and a microprocessor to manage load control, the CC155 is a smart choice for interstate and highway repair, airport lighting projects, and demolition work.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Quoting my union laborer buddy who lives upstairs, whom I casually mentioned encountering this device to – “Bro, y’know how much time ya save with a trencher? Pssshhhht. (he demonstratively lit a Marlboro Red at this point) Bro, I friggin hate jackhammers, screws up my back every time I use one bro, gotta have a trencher Bro, ya gotta.” One couldn’t help but notice that the signage adorning the traffic bollard which the crew had set about indicated that they were working on a Verizon project, which is presumptively the roll out of FIOS in Queens.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Let’s face it, everything sucks, but nothing outside of government sucks more than Time Warner Cable. That organization represents such a high level of suck that they should be sent to Albany and turned into a branch of State government whose singular mission is “to suck,” and become the official state agency in charge of obfuscation and incompetent management – the OIM. Your humble narrator welcomes anyone who will provide competition to those clowns, even if its “Ma Bell,” and if it means attacking the boulevard of death with a giant saw then so be it.

There are two public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one that walks the currently undefended border of the two boroughs.

DUPBO, with Newtown Creek Alliance and MAS Janeswalk, on May 3rd.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on May 18th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 30, 2014 at 11:48 am

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