The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘LIE

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Somehow, everyone gets to where they deserve to be, it’s all very Faustian.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

When one was still considered to have some sort of potential future, in those days of a long ago and wastrel youth, I had a girlfriend who lived in College Point. Problem is that I lived at the border, or angle, between Canarsie, Midwood, Georgetown, and Mill Basin – think exit 11n on the Belt Pkwy. Getting from my place to hers was a drag, but engendered a series of urban driving adventures which one fears to recount – lest the statute of limitations has not expired.

from wikipedia

The Grand Central Parkway (GCP) is a parkway that stretches from the Triborough Bridge in New York City to Nassau County on Long Island. At the Queens–Nassau border, it becomes the Northern State Parkway, which runs across the northern part of Long Island through Nassau County and into Suffolk County, where it ends in Hauppauge. The westernmost stretch (from the Triborough Bridge to exit 4) also carries a short stretch of Interstate 278 (I-278). The parkway runs through Queens and passes the Cross Island Parkway, Long Island Expressway, LaGuardia Airport and Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. The North Shore Towers is situated on the parkway on the Queens-side along the Nassau County border. The parkway is designated New York State Route 907M (NY 907M), an unsigned reference route. Despite its name, the Grand Central Parkway was not named after Grand Central Terminal.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Foolhardy, a few years later I was dating a girl from Short Hills in New Jersey, and the epic drive between two wildly displaced spots (including the first time I drove over Bayonne Bridge on my way home) are fondly held. Both relationships ended badly, and not because of the commute. Rather it was manifestations of my inner corruption, the very worm that gnaws as it were, and I hope they have both expunged me from their official record. I’m all ‘effed up, and Our Lady of the Pentacle is more of a saint than any of you can ever know. Luckily, I’m married to her, so – no commute.

from wikipedia

Interstate 495 (I-495, also known as the LIE or simply the Expressway by locals) is an auxiliary Interstate Highway on Long Island in New York in the United States. The route extends for 71 miles (114 km) from the western portal of the Queens–Midtown Tunnel in the New York City borough of Manhattan to County Route 58 (CR 58) in Riverhead, Suffolk County. I-495 does not intersect its parent route, I-95. However, it does connect to I-95 through I-295, which it meets in Queens. The portion of I-495 in Nassau and Suffolk counties is known as the Long Island Expressway (LIE), a name commonly applied to the entirety of I-495. The section of the route west of the Nassau–Queens county line is also named the Queens–Midtown Expressway west of Queens Boulevard and the Horace Harding Expressway east of Queens Boulevard, though both names are not often used in common parlance and most signage refers only to the Long Island Expressway.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

What I never realized, in those halcyon days of misspent youth when driving through the megalopolis with the windows down and a mix tape from Dave the Skinhead playing loudly, was that the automobile itself will be the death of us all. Just like the central failing of “Obamacare” is the retention of the metaphor of “insurance” in national policy, the central failing of our time is rethinking the idea of engineering environmental and transportation policy around the auto itself. It’s like trying to make a safer gun, and I’m wondering if there really isn’t a better option for personal transportation?

Ahh, what do I know, anyway? I do wonder whether that deli in Short Hills is still there, the one with the “Jersey version” sloppy joes…

from wikipedia

Of all people who commute to work in New York City, 41% use the subway, 24% drive alone, 12% take the bus, 10% walk to work, 2% travel by commuter rail, 5% carpool, 1% use a taxi, 0.6% ride their bicycle to work, and 0.2% travel by ferry. 54% of households in New York City do not own a car, and rely on public transportation.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 7, 2014 at 1:42 pm

tunnel under

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Today’s post depicts twilit scenery in Western Queens.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One of my winter projects continues, which is called by the ineluctably unimaginative name “operation: night shooting.” The goal of this exercise is to practice low light photography techniques which forbids the usage of camera stabilization equipment such as tripods or clamps. The obvious instructions to increase ISO sensitivity and aperture are just the start of the operation, which has necessitated a change in both shooting posture and approach to handling the camera as compared to normal daylight conditions.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The shots are pretty noisy for my taste, but color contrast and a decent tonal range are present, so I think that the right track has been found. Not bad for something hand held, however. Ultimately, the shot above isn’t something I could have pulled off a year ago, so some small victory is apparent.

Yay for me.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It isn’t necessarily the “capture” that plagues me, of course, that’s just the small details and formulae of the dross settings on a dslr. Instead, it’s the time spent with the “raw file(aka “digital negative”) in front of my monitor back at HQ that matters most.

“Operation: night shooting” continues apace, I’ll let you know what I get in the future.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Want to see something cool? June 2013 Walking Tours-

The Poison Cauldron- Saturday, June 15, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, June 22, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

The Insalubrious Valley- Saturday, June 29, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

passages beneath

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Confession is offered, lords and ladies, that your humble narrator has been experimenting all over the neighborhood. Trick shooting, long exposure times, specialized equipment- the whole shameful arrangement has been employed in a vainglorious attempt to alleviate tedium. It has literally been months since I’ve had anything but ground under my feet, and I can’t even remember the last time I was on a boat by gum.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A desire to just go and ride the Staten Island Ferry, braving the cold and weather, forms in me. Too timid to actuate even such a mundane plan as this, instead retreat is made to the usual and familiar, so a scuttling across the frozen concrete and urban desolations go I. An attempt has been underway to utilize some of the older cameras which have accumulated on the shelf, as well as to grow practiced with some newer gear. I’ve also been try and “slow it down” a bit, process wise.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

During the summer, at whatever adventure I happen to be participating in, things pop up fast and furious- photo wise- and speed is essential for the successful capture of a quality image. A dolphin or giant snapping turtle isn’t going to just hold a pose while you fumble around with settings on your dslr after all. Problem is that the speed you develop becomes a habit, a shortcut to the shot. At the moment, I’ve actually got some time to experiment, and I plan on using it.

Also:

Remember that event in the fall which got cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy?

The “Up the Creek” Magic Lantern Show presented by the Obscura Society NYC is back on at Observatory.

Click here or the image below for more information and tickets.

lantern_bucket

rhetorical effect

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

There is a curious stretch of 50th avenue, a truncated street that starts at 27th street and terminates at 23rd street in the dusty streets of Long Island City, which is orphaned and decapitated. It is dominated by the high flying steel of the Queens Midtown Expressway section of the Long Island Expressway, and the tortured asphalt of the street it shadows often exhibits bursting ruptures revealing century old cobble stones.

Long have I exerted to refer to this area as the “Empty Corridor“.

Pictured above are the relict remains of Irving Subway Grate, which suffered a catastrophic fire a few years back.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Even during the work week, there are few places in New York City that allow one to feel so isolated and alone as this street. Once it connected with Hunters Point, but that was long before the Queens Midtown Tunnel and the astounding steel viaduct of the Long Island Expressway which sprouts from it were installed and opened to traffic on November 15, 1940.

It was before the Long Island Railroad established its operations that it met with East River, in fact.

Borden and Hunters Point Avenues are the main through way for traffic heading east and west, and this street is little more than relict of earlier times.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The overhead tracks of the Long Island Railroad are observed at the intersection of 25th street, which govern the passage of large trucks on 50th avenue. Never have these tracks been observed as active by a humble narrator, but those in the know about such matters assure me that they are in fact transited.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Alongside these tracks, on the loamy midden which surrounds them, one might observe the colonies of feral cats which hunt and frolic around these parts. The kind hearts of area workers insure that these cats are afforded shelter and food, which unfortunately allows them to breed and multiply.

It is not an easy life, to be a feral cat.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in the past, when these nocturnes are observed as my perambulations carry the camera about the concrete devastations of western Queens, a sure notion that the right place and time have been arrived at sets into my mind.

Always, they signal that the path which stretches before me is an appropriate and often revelatory one.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Beyond the tracks and their feline neighbors, the gargantuan structure with its attendant loading docks on the right are the former Bloomingdales warehouse, and is currently used by the New York City Housing Authority. They refer to it as the “Long Island City Complex” which sounds menacing somehow.

The left (or south) side of the street hosts several garage based businesses, and mainly acts as a parking lot for fleet trucks.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As the LIE slouches rudely toward the Queens Midtown Tunnel it descends from its 106 foot apex over Dutch Kills, just a few blocks away, and the street noticeably darkens. A guarded parking lot and entrance to the LIRR station lies to the right or north side, which is intended for employee access. To the south, one might follow 23rd street southward, toward Borden Avenue.

An audible hum, the sound of automotive tire spinning upon the elevated roadway above, colors the air.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The street ends in the driveway of a steel equipment company, which a humble narrator did not feel obliged to explore. What atavist wonders might lurk down there are surely beyond legal access, and are quite visible from the fence which adjoins the LIRR station on Hunters Point Avenue, near the Paragon Oil building. Surely some revelation hides back there, denied to me.

Illegal trespass, however, is not the Newtown Pentacle way.

little memories

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing I like about walking the earth is that one moves at a slow pace, and it’s possible to notice the little things otherwise obscured by vehicular speed which line the streets of the great metropolitan city. Whether it be an altar following the precepts of some cultic faith, or the odd things which might be observed at the fence lines of area cemeteries, or just the footpath leading to a homeless camp- these small details are obscured by speed. This phenomena first became apparent to me when still a teenager, before the hellish green flame of revelation was lit in my mind.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

For many years, just where the high flying Queens Midtown Expressway returns vehicular traffic to ground at Greenpoint Avenue and it transmogrifies into the Long Island Expressway, behind one of the ramps that lead from VanDam, there was a long established and quite populous homeless camp. As an aside, I should mention that your humble narrator has a scary rapport with these often debased, dangerous, and diabolical men (few women take up residence in these places, I’ve observed) which has caused me no small amount of concern. Personal experience and the social class which I was born into (working class, there was always plenty to eat, and Dad owned a car) would normally preclude any interaction at all with such vagabonds (called Bums up till sometime in the mid 80’s), but for some reason, “the street” and I understand each other. The stories told by such men, often told in return for a hip pocket flask of cheap libation, reveal a side of our community which won’t be recorded by history.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The camp at this location has recently been swept out, no doubt due to the attentions of the NYPD and certain policies enacted by the City Fathers in Manhattan designed to offer proper shelter to a vulnerable and often mentally ill population in need of doctoring. Such progressive policies are the responsible and “Christian” thing to do, of course, as those of us who manage to claw our way through the dark and find purchase on the socioeconomic ladder are presented with the moral quandary of helping those who cannot. My experience with the homeless, though, is that by and large it’s not “cannot” – it’s “will not”. When I lived on what is now called the “Upper West Side” in Manhattan, my pal Henry whose last address was a car parked alongside Needle Park once told me that the tramps had their own world with certain social hierarchies, and were the true New Yorkers. Another unfortunate, Raggedy Andy, described interaction with “the world” as painful for him- he preferred the life of the streets to the rote and obligations presented to him by the “do gooders”, social workers, and the nemesis gendarme.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

All that remains to indicate their morbid habitation is a cooking pan, several dog eared books, and the soiled bedding which typifies such ad hoc agglutinate communities. Encounters with these men, while dangerous for an unarmed visitor, have instead filled my mind with wonder. Tales from Latino day laborers along Broadway in Astoria about a white man with a strange mustache in a late model red van from whom you should never accept an offer of work, as those who go with him are never heard from again. Second hand reports from a mendicant on Grand Avenue in Maspeth about a thing which has been seen around the extant sections of English Kills, described as a sort of small dog which walks about on two legs, and descriptions of some enormous and shining black shape seen slithering around in Maspeth Creek during moonless nights have all been related to me. Obviously addled by liquor and narcotics and informed by madness, the witnesses are suspect at best, but as always, your Newtown Pentacle presents what is offered to it “as is” without varnish or judgement. One wonders though, about this burned out ancient house in Blissville- not far from Calvary Cemetery- and the secrets which might lie hidden in it’s worm eaten walls.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 4, 2011 at 10:34 am

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