The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘elevated subway

rumbling, lumbering, crawling

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The horror…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One actually had to sit down and wait to get these three shots, a violation of normal shooting protocols. An interminable seven or eight minutes was spent uselessly fretting, searching for signs of an approaching chain of motorized boxes as they turned off of Queens Blvd. for Queens Plaza. Rules are rules, and if something isn’t randomly happening why I’m passing by, it might as well not have happened at all – as far as I’m concerned.

It is a delusional belief one has often enjoyed – that the rest of you simply power down, like some urbanized version of Disney’s “Pirates of the Carribbean” ride, whenever I leave the room. Right now, there’s a diner full of automata, waiting for me to trigger their pre recorded dance at dinner time. There’s also electric schoolchildren, who wait to point and laugh at the threadbare thing seen scuttling along area lanes. One pretends as if he doesn’t know, but realizes all.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The world is a stage, and we are all just players upon it… somebody said something like that, probably someone important or noteworthy… someone who was likely English and favored iambic pentameter. Confusion about whether I might be asleep in the world’s balcony cloud and perturb.

What does any of this have to do with the elevated section of the 7 line, here in Long Island City, you ask? Well, this sort of self recrimination and existential angst is how one idled away those seven to eight eternities of static position waiting for a subway to appear. I do not know how the wildlife photo people deal with the waiting.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned ad infinitum, under normal photowalk circumstance and custom, one scuttles along across the concrete devastations with no destination – allowing interest and fancy to guide me around. More often than not, when all the gears are clicking, something finds me. As I’ve grown older, I seem to avoid steep hills more and more, which means a lot of time is spent along the waterfront.

Keep moving, don’t stop, shoot on the go. That’s me. Spending seven or eight minutes waiting for a shot? Your humble narrator is getting long in the tooth, and cannot afford to waste any time at all. Seven or eight minutes might be a statistically relevant portion of my remaining time amongst the automated marionettes, here in the Newtown Pentacle.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 15, 2014 at 11:00 am

all pantheons

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Hey, youse, whatcha taking pixchas of? Comere, ahlls gis yes someting to take pixchas of right heres…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The first time that a camera was used as a weapon of war, not for propaganda or image capture but as a bludgeon, was during the First World War. A century ago, a British infantryman who was completely out of ammunition on the Western Front swung his Kodak Brownie stoutly around for 17 straight hours, holding off a German division singlehandedly before succumbing to his injuries.

I’m making that up of course, to illustrate the ridiculous nature of people’s reactions when they see a camera being used these days. Folks don’t react in the same manner to cell phone cameras, mind you, dslr’s must awaken some ancestral memory of one eyed predators stalking our primate predecessors. At any rate, here we go again with the Subway pics.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Compared to the shooting protocol I’ve been perfecting for the underground system, down in the tubes, the 7 line is a piece of cake. Above ground through most of Queens, every one of its platforms (except Hunters Point, which has its own virtues) offer fantastic points of view. The shot above is the Corona Yard, nearby Flushing Meadow Corona Park and Citifield, on the pedestrian bridge between the LIRR station and the 7 line’s stadium stop.

Whilst shooting this one, some faceless security guard asked me “what are you taking pictures of?”. Gesturing to the yard, I said “the trains.” He offered that it was disallowed, noticing such things and capturing the reflected light streaming off of them. Not desiring to discuss constitutional law with a fellow in a rented cop suit, I instructed him to summon the police. He declined and began to harass a teenaged skateboarder instead.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

While on Skillman Avenue near Queens Plaza recently, the 7 came sliding in over the intersection and the deployed camera was called to action. An older woman, whose logical decision making process is clearly flawed – she made the decision to drive into Manhattan at rush hour – called out to me from her idling automobile, offering a question.

Her query was “are you a terrorist?”. I affirmed the negative on that one, and asked if she had remembered to turn the oven off before she left the house. I’m a real stinker like that, she was probably worried about it for the rest of the day. Seriously though Queensicans, leave me the hell alone when I’m working, because that’s what photographers are doing when we have those one eyed predator weapons systems pressed to our faces.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 10, 2014 at 12:44 pm

by surprise

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Cool atmospherics in Sunnyside.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One of those periodic blasts of duty has been upon me for the last week or so, a lot to do with little time to do it, and the rain last week didn’t help. Got in the way of one project, delayed two others, and obliterated any semblance of free time when precipitants fell not. Accordingly, rather than walking everywhere, as I just did not have the time, mass transit was utilized.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Unlike several of my friends, especially that walking encyclopedia of regional transport options – Kevin Walsh of Forgotten-NY, I generally don’t familiarize myself with transit lines that I don’t frequent. Limited space available on my internal hard drives, and the needs of the now often crowd out things I don’t need to use often. However, I was quite proud of myself while improvising a bus and train path on the fly, just the other day, which is how I ended up on the 7 train.

Normally, I’d just walk from Greenpoint to Flushing, as it’s only a few miles and carries one across a staggeringly interesting cross section of Brooklyn and Queens.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The good news is that the first walking tour of 2014 is now accomplished, on Saturday I did the “13 Steps around Dutch Kills” tour with Atlas Obscura, which was one of the many things I had to do last week. Next tour with the Obscura Society will be “The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek” on April 26, tickets are available here.

The reason I was heading to Flushing, and lucky enough to catch these cool atmospherics and lighting in Sunnyside, was to get some shots of the Unisphere for my Brownstoner column – check them out here.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

curiously dislocated

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Although it is the Mother of harlots, entering Manhattan on a regular basis is periodically required of your humble narrator, for none may trade nor sell in the City of New York lest this borough’s mark is upon them. Usually this journey is accomplished along the subterranean R line, but often will one walk over to the elevated N line on the 31st street side of the neighborhood just to mix things up. You take the low road, I’ll take the high road, and I’ll be in midtown before ye…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Shining City, a place which your humble narrator actually lived for many years, has become lost in an inferior incarnation of itself. One does not long for the era of sin and fornication recently passed, it is the modern facade of the City which agitates. Many disagree with me, arguing for acceptance of a halcyon and quite modern era of progress and development which will eradicate the mistakes of prior centuries. All I can tell you, in retort, is that I don’t see many autochthonous smiles in Manhattan. Also, $9 is too much for a tuna sandwich.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An echo chamber, things there are no longer hot, nor cold- rather they are lukewarm. Don’t get me wrong, there ain’t no mountain spring water running out here in Astoria neither, there are oodles of things wrong in Brooklyn and Queens. I’m sure the Bronx and …Staten Island… likely have some problems too. I’m just saying that we don’t export them, unlike the unsustainable island of Manhattan, and that I- for one- am a lot more comfortable and likelier to be smiling here in Queens.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 15, 2013 at 4:34 am

suffocating windrows

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

A few of you have emailed me recently, concerned about the dire outlook and melancholy displayed here, at your Newtown Pentacle, in recent months. Concerns have been transmitted that I seem to be grasped by a dark and somber mood are noted, and appreciated. Everything is fine, however, and your humble narrator is simply reacting to normal stressors in typically infantile manner. For example- I need an expensive new zoom lens and have no idea how I am going to pay for it, which is the very definition of a “first world problem.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing is, though, that at the moment I’m more than a little bored, without a whole lot to look forward to in the immediate future. There’s going to be a Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat tour in May, and I’ll be announcing a series of 2013 walking tour dates that will stretch out from the early spring to the fall in a few days… Also, the Kosciuszko Bridge project will be kicking to life soon… right now, though, not so much.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

For the moment, I’m just some weird guy in a filthy black raincoat whom you see while driving along, walking toward Newtown Creek with a camera in my hand. A veritable mendicant- discarded and disabused, walking the earth and cataloging its riches. “When you’re down in the dumps”, I always say, “buy into your own mythology”- it’ll get you through the rough patch.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 19, 2013 at 12:15 am

fortunately verifiable

with one comment

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

“Choose your battles” is what the old man used to say. Then he’d remind me of how I physically compared with other members of my peer group and advised “pick up something- a brick, pipe, garbage can lid- throw it at their head, and then run away as fast as I could”. Following this advice over the years, I’ve learned something. I am not a fast runner.

Walking, however, is something I can do for hours at a pop.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Choosing the battle, however, during the short and dark days of the winter is not always up to me. Complicating my life, the recent multiple day long spurts of rain has made getting out something of a luxury. One can withstand some amount of cold, or a limited quantity of wet, but not both. In recent years, your humble narrator has developed a nearly comic book level “vulnerability to cold”.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s a funny thing. The various groups I work with along the Newtown Creek and New York Harbor have a lot of meetings which I am compelled to attend, whether it be out of interest or obligation. More often than not, these meetings take place far from home, and I will take advantage of “getting there” via scenic routes in order to collect photos and tour certain locales. Unfortunately, during the winter months, darkness begins as early as half past four in the afternoon, and these meetings often start more than hour or two after sunset.

Unable to follow the old man’s advice and choose my battles, as I cannot throw a brick at natures head, an attempt is underway to improve my “hand held at low light” photgraphic skill set.

fallen over

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Thanksgiving weekend is no time to burden you with cares or worries, that’s Walmart and your family’s job, so the Newtown Pentacle tradition is to kick back and present singular images which appeal to the sensibility and tastes of a humble narrator. Above, and I do believe that this shot has run before at this – your Newtown Pentacle, is depicted the corner of 31st street and Broadway in demimonde plagued Astoria. The structure, of course, is the the elevated track of the Subway. There’s just something about the light in this one which I really dig.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 24, 2012 at 12:15 am

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