The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Queensboro Bridge

mocking instruments

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One dares, or he dares not.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, one found himself entering the death inducing environs of Queens Plaza last week. Navigating the cryptic signage painted onto the pavement, which mixes bike lane and pedestrian lanes intermittently, at night… Well, the NYC DOT really needs to be thinking about a do-over concerning them. Path finding is not based on any sort of recognizable municipal language, and there are few if any “tells” indicating where the pedestrian pathways fall. I walk through here all the time, and it scares the patootie off a humble narrator every time.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Automotive lanes suddenly appear in front of you, ones in which cars are already moving at a pretty good clip by the time they hit a badly marked cross walk. There’s nothing to “stand behind” while waiting for the light to change, and a feeling of exposure is experienced. This can’t be right. When the Dutch Kills Green park on the northern side of Queens Plaza opened a few years back, it dramatically improved the pedestrian situation on the Dutch Kills side, but the south eastern side is dangerous as all get out and difficult to navigate.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Don’t get me wrong, the northern side ain’t perfect, but it’s vastly easier to navigate through it than its opposite. As a note, I’ve been unable to stop noticing the super tall Manhattan building “432 Park Avenue” and everywhere I go these days it’s just popping up and demanding to be acknowledged. Here it is from Queens Plaza, a monster building as seen from the central gearbox of the Great Machine. One wonders, and more than wonders, what the weather is like up there.

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fancying that

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The new normal, the way we live now, and so on.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The recent imbroglios surrounding breaches of security in and around the fabled Brooklyn Bridge does not surprise one at all. For several years, your humble narrator has been pointing out that there is no security whatsoever – outside of highly visible areas within Manhattan – being provided to NYC’s infrastructure other than “security theater” which is a sort of kabuki. Billions have disappeared into the black hole that is “homeland security” over the last decade, and when officialdom is asked where it has gone the response is often a play on “if I told you, I’d have to kill you to maintain the secret.” Meanwhile, within a period of just a few weeks over the summer, foreign nationals have managed to penetrate the so called “ring of steel” at the Brooklyn Bridge twice.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One cannot count the number of times that this blog has discussed this “apeshit security situation” – whether it be fences left unlocked and unguarded at the Sunnyside Yard on holiday weekends (or any of the hundreds of unmonitored infrastructure sites in LIC which are left to fend for themselves) or the abrogation of any semblance of sense that allows anonymous cars and trucks to be parked directly under the structural elements of area bridges. If a group of German hipsters can swap out the flag on the Brooklyn Bridge, they had time… and opportunity. Should a bad actor have gotten up there, and not some Russian tourist hoping to take a selfie just a few weeks after the flag incident, we’d be having a very different conversation than whether or not the Mayor’s family danced well at the Caribbean Day Parade or not.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m reminded of a presentation and speech offered by a certain Lieutenant in the NYPD Counter Terrorism Unit who showed up in Astoria at a community meeting around a year and a half ago. The officer instructed the citizenry that should they witness anyone taking pictures of the various area bridges, a call to the Police should be made, intoning that photographers are probably working with foreign Terrorist organizations as scouts. This fellow turned up in combat gear, wearing an aviation jumpsuit and sporting a speed holstered automatic weapon rather than a standard NYPD duty or even dress uniform. It should be pointed out that despite his rhetoric, and the billions that have been poured into securing the vital infrastructure of NYC, I still could have done whatever I wanted under the Queensboro bridge when shooting these pictures of its underpinnings just last week (and on the very same day the NYPD Commish announced a tightening of the reigns around such structures). There are no cameras, drones, sensors, or even some schmuck cop who has been consigned to walking a beat keeping an eye on things down here. Where has all that Homeland Security money gone? Are we allowed to know, or is that a state secret?

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This weekend-

Saturday, September 6th, The Insalubrious Valley of the the Newtown Creek
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 3, 2014 at 12:36 pm

moist verdure

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A life well lived is a series of dull events.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My annual pilgrimage to the MTA Holiday Nostalgia “Shoppers Special” Subway event carried me to Queens Plaza one recent Sunday. It’s a fun and wholesome thing to do.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, I have more than just a few acquaintances and friends who also enact this yearly journey, wherein legacy subway cars are run on the M line in a circuit between Queens Plaza and 2nd avenue in Manhattan.

It’s always nice to see someone you know.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The weird thing, for me, is that it involves willingly heading down into the rat infested tunnels- an activity which normally fills me with a malign dread.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

These are all retired subway cars, once typical, that represent various eras of design. At the time of their original deployment, each of these legacy units were state of the art.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The legacy cars performed well, although they are quite rickety in comparison to modern subways units. There was a brief interval wherein a door got stuck in the open position, but the MTA guys sorted that out in no time.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An odd mix of folks were observed onboard. Some were ordinary commuters and customers of the M line, while many were hardcore rail fans. More than one photographer was spotted shooting models in period dress.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The rail guys, they’re mostly guys, are the quiet ones on the train who watch every little detail and are listening to the machine. These cats can tell you the part number for individual screws on these trains, and you ignore their knowledge at your own peril. Foamers indeed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This show will be running every Sunday on the M line in December, operating between Manhattan’s 2nd Avenue and Queens Plaza. Check out the MTA Holiday Train page for schedule info.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 13, 2013 at 7:30 am

linger strangely

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The fedora district of Long Island City.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, one found himself wandering desperately through the Fedora District.

A term of my own invention, as it seems like the sort of spot built for and by fellows who routinely placed felt hats upon their heads when leaving the house. My sweaty desperation was brought on by certain bodily functions which were calling for, nay, demanding attention.

Simply put, I had to poop, drop a deuce, or extrude ex food.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the big problems experienced all over the megalopolis is a lack of publicly available rest rooms.

For some reason, the credentialed urban planners of the world do not acknowledge human biology in their calculations, nor require accessible bathrooms from the real estate people in exchange for their tax breaks and $1 land deals.

This is why people piss on their green infrastructure, there’s no where else to go.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I should have stopped at the diner on Jackson to take care of business, but didn’t have the money or time to spend on a cup of joe or similar item as a ransom for relief. Urgency commanded one to double time it back to Astoria and the comforts of those porcelain fixtures which we keep confined in a tile room. I, for one, urge the incoming Mayor’s transition team to consider the fact that humans will need to crap and pee occasionally.

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no vision

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The Great Machine.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Queensboro, mighty Queensboro. The steel infrastructure of the elevated subways is an add on, which “uglified” up Queens Plaza in a manner which never happened to Fulton Street or Flatbush Avenue. This is another archive shot, by the way. New stuff will resume next week, thanks are offered to you- lords and ladies- for indulging and allowing one such as myself the opportunity to take a breath.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 15, 2013 at 7:30 am

scrawled upon

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One of my favorite archive shots today.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Your humble narrator was up on the bridge serving the City as a Parade Marshall during the Queensboro Centennial Celebration back in 2009 while down on the streets, a movie crew was readying for the days shoot. This was an Angelina Jolie film, “Salt” I believe, and I couldn’t resist the shot. It’s great when a group of professionals that somebody else is paying dresses a theatrical set in view of my camera.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 8, 2013 at 9:09 am

higher order

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Happy Monday Newtowniverians, and a healthy one is wished for all the Brooklynites and Queensicans out there.

Today’s post displays a couple of interesting shots I managed to grab before a meeting held at LaGuardia Community College for the Newtown Creek CAG.

This CAG is a sort of advisory/community group which has formed up around the edges of the EPA Superfund project. The CAG is a requirement for EPA, and they periodically convene a meeting to inform us about their activities and overall status of the process.

from epa.gov

A Superfund Community Advisory Group (CAG) is made up of members of the community and is designed to serve as the focal point for the exchange of information among the local community and EPA, the State regulatory agency, and other pertinent Federal agencies involved in cleanup of the Superfund site.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In this meeting, during which a presentation from the NYC DEP was offered describing a forthcoming dredging project on Newtown Creek, discussion of various issues surrounding the Superfund project between Federal officials and community representatives was offered. Everyone else in the room was a lettered professional or community leader or of high professional caliber, representing every conceivable office, power, and potentate involved in the Newtown Creek story.

Then there’s me, who kept on having his attention drift over to the Sunnyside Yard and the fantastic views of it at rush hour which I wasn’t photographing.

from newtowncreekcag.wordpress.com

Newtown Creek CAG membership is structured on a rolling basis. The Superfund process on Newtown Creek will take many years, and interested stakeholders are encouraged to become CAG members as they learn of and want to fully participate in the process.

The CAG is designed to serve as an ongoing vehicle for information-sharing, discussion, and, where possible, consensus-building regarding decision-making related to the Newtown Creek Superfund Site. Its members represent a diverse cross-section of key stakeholder interests, including affected property owners, concerned residents, local governments, community groups, environmental groups, health experts, the business community, and others as appropriate. Requirements and responsibilities for CAG members are described in the CAG’s Operating Procedures, posted in the Resources tab.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An odd duck, even after all these years, it is so strange to think that someone like me is even allowed in the building let alone invited to participate and offer both questions for correct answering and contribute direct observations of obscure places being discussed. The folks at EPA have shared some of their early findings, which have greatly excited the scientific minded and fired the imaginations of those who imagine a “greener” city. Check out the CAG site for details.

from dictionary.cambridge.org

“out of your depth”- meaning: in water that is so deep that it goes over your head when you are standing: I’m not a strong swimmer so I prefer not to go out of my depth.

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