The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

A Short History of the Sunnyside Yards

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A little video action for you, in today’s post.

- photos by Mitch Waxman

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 18, 2015 at 11:00 am

festoons of green

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A St. Pat’s one shot today.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I fully realize that you’ve seen this shot before, but god help me, I just love it so. Big time fancy dancy post coming tomorrow, have your seatbelts on for Wednesday and happy St. Pat’s.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 17, 2015 at 12:31 pm

shallow crystal

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The Sea Bear is lost.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On Saturday, nearby Fire Island, the tugboat Sea Bear (pictured above during happier times) began taking on water and sank around 2 in the afternoon during a storm. The Tug went down and although three members of the crew survived the wreck, its Captain didn’t.

from 7online.com

One of the crew members managed to make a cellphone call to the Coast Guard at about 2 p.m. as the tugboat Sea Bear was sinking, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Morgan Gallapis.

She said the man said their boat was sinking and they needed assistance.

“They had only seconds to let us know before they sank,” Gallapis said.

Three male crew members in immersion suits were rescued by the Coast Guard from the water a mile off a section known as Fire Island Pines, Gallapis said. Fire Island is a long, skinny barrier island that hugs the south shore of Long Island.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Immersion suits, mentioned in the clipping below, are water proof survival garments – Dry Suits that are heavily insulated and designed for immersion in cold water. Bulky, uncomfortable to work in, and quite annoying – a lot of immersion garments also have some mechanism for buoyancy built into them. Or, so I’m told.

from nbcnewyork.com

Donald Maloney, the on-duty captain, was unable to put on his survival suit, Suffolk County police said.

His crewmates – Lars Vetland, Jason Reimer and Rainer Bendixen – were able to get into their suits.

The 65-foot tugboat Sea Bear was traveling from Shinnecock to New York City when the crew called a vessel traffic service to report that the tug was taking on water, said Coast Guard Command Duty Officer Mark Averill.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Sea Bear was a twin screw, 1,000 HP, Coastwise Hawser Tugboat and was operated by NJ’s Sea Wolf Marine.

Condolences are offered to Captain Maloney’s family.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 16, 2015 at 11:00 am

eon hence

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Sweet Pete’s, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

When I was growing up, one of my best friends was a guy named Ronnie. There’s were always sleep overs at Ronnie’s house, which were great as his mom loved doling out the Entenmann’s donuts, and she also let her boy hang whatever posters he fancied on the walls of his room. Ronnie’s choices always included ladies like Farrah Fawcet or an extremely young Heather Locklear, along with a bunch of trucks and muscle cars. A friend of my youth, Ronnie is long gone and dearly departed, but whenever I spot Peterbilt Semi’s parked alongside the road in my beloved Astoria, I always think of the big doofus.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The trailers of these trucks tell me exactly where they’re going to be headed to. “Municipal Solid Waste” is the generally used term for the solid material which is filtered out of the sewage flow. There could be soil in there as well, but given this spot’s proximity to the Bowery Bay Sewage treatment plant (less than a mile away), it’s a safe bet to say that these trucks are working for the DEP.

Incidentally - I’ve had DEP engineers tell me that one of the items which causes them the most trouble are actually coffee grinds. It seems that the grinds pick up so much speed in the flowing currents of sewage that they can etch the pipes they’re moving through – a process that’s not unlike sandblasting.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I thought the green truck was pretty cool looking, but that’s when I walked under the highway overpass and found this model on the grade crossing. The orange parts of the truck were in that optic orange color you see on construction vests and safety cones, which is used for such applications because of the incredibly broad spectrum of light it reflects. It’s something impossible to replicate without specialized inks in the print world, and neither computer monitors nor digital cameras can render it accurately.

Saying that, the orange looks a bit redder in the shot below because of this very quality.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One is thankful that the weather seems to have turned, even if it’s only been a few days since the ice cracked. There’s so many places to visit, and things to see, and little time in which to do so. It’s good to walk in the rays of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself once more, to see those things Queens wants me to see, and resume the battle for truth, justice, and the American way.

It’s all so depressing.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 13, 2015 at 11:00 am

glaze fishily

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Working in the dark, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The problem and challenge with photography is actually light, usually there’s either entirely too much or not nearly enough.The reason you’ve all been subjected to so many shots of Subways entering and leaving stations in the last year has been that I’ve been experimenting with different techniques and camera settings down there, trying to find some sort of predictable formula which might govern my actions when shooting in the dark. The Subway system provides for a difficult to photograph set of conditions – it’s both dark and bright, full of reflective things zipping around, humans, and there’s LED signs which break up at anything slower than 160th of a second… Add to that the MTA prohibition against camera support – tripods and the like – and you’ve got yourself a real pickle. I’ve developed a few formulas for hand held low light photography down there.

When you get above ground, the formulaic triad of iso/aperture/shutter offers some real potential.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is what it looks like deep under East New York, over in Brooklyn. This was also a serious “get the shot” challenge as the window of the C train I was on was caked with briny crap. The C is cool, because you can still look out the front window and see what the conductor sees as the subway shoots through the kingdoms of the rat.

This shot, and the one below, were part of long chain of failed shots. A high failure rate is assured, as the subway car is jiggling about and you are being jolted about in random directions. The camera is held against the window, with one hand used as a gasket between it and the actual lens. The difficulty, and high failure rate, are due to the great care exercised in not being bodily thrust forward which would either drive the camera through the window or render the lens inoperable.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above actually had what I call the “entire bag of photoshop hammers” thrown at it. Again, combatting the filthy train window, I pulled and pushed the pixels of the original digital negative file until I got some semblance of balance between dark and light. There’s something I like about the deep focus and the leading lines. Sort of like entering warp speed, which is something that the MTA isn’t exactly known for.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Another leading line “infinity” shot from the other night, captured in the preternatural darkness of Astoria’s 31st street. To make things even more complicated, it was raining, which meant that in addition to operating the camera I had to manage an umbrella as well. New York City never looks as good as it does when it’s raining, at night.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 12, 2015 at 11:30 am

shining mists

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Signs and portents, in today’s post

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As promised, while you were gazing at the photo of that cute kitten I posted yesterday, a minor scuttle of the immediate environs was enacted. Where I’m going on my walks around Queens is seldom guided by a conscious decision, other than avoiding all possible contact or interaction with the human infestation, instead it’s more of a wandering sort of thing. Yesterday, I was looking specifically for the little things. For instance the Mexican Deli’s sidewalk signage offering a matrix of name translations between Spanish and English for various comestibles.

I always wondered how to say “Green Beas” in Spanish, now I know it’s “ejotes.” I think that “ejotes” must be a fun word to pronounce.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Lost Kittens, that’s what the headline on this lamp post flyer says.

Can there be a headline which is sadder in tone than “Lost Kittens?”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There seems to be a lot of this sort of thing around the neighborhoods. Everywhere I go, even down at Newtown Creek, these sort of lost pet flyers are found. “Lost Kittens,” jeez.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On the same lamp post, another faded ad, this one searching for a little black dog.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A few blocks south, on Broadway -somebody had posted queries about the status of a lost, child sized, winter boot.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 11, 2015 at 1:00 pm

little, indeed

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Just a short one today.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This kitten was observed living in the rip rap shoreline of Staten Island a while back. Other members of the family were present, and based on the threatening “ruhhhrrrrrrrr” sound emanating from a hidden spot in the rock pile, one of them was its mom.

A humble narrator is hurting for content at the moment, and will be out wandering all afternoon seeking pleasurable scenes and interesting things to photograph. Wish me luck.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 10, 2015 at 11:36 am

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