The Newtown Pentacle

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Maspeth Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One scuttled over to the Grand Street Bridge “zone” one recent evening, an area found some 3.1 miles from the East River and straddling the lamentable Newtown Creek, to see what’s what. It was chilly, but it is – in fact – wintertime.

Eschewing a perambulatory tour of the Brooklyn side, one instead set his toes towards Industrial Maspeth, oft referred to as “my happy place.” Did I mention the cold?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One seems to recall this particular night as being a Sunday, as if the nomenclature of an individual day might matter during this dark and endless era of pandemic, sedition, and financial desperation. Frankly, I’ve lost track of how many days have passed here in the “after time” since March 13th of 2019. I could check with google to find out, but one tries to remember things rather than using technology for the basics.

Industrial Maspeth has received several new layers of graffiti paint, and more than a couple of its industrial businesses have flown the coop. The downed fence-line, pictured above, used to vouchsafe a large property that housed construction cranes and other heavy equipment. Don’t know if they went out out of business or just moved on to grayer pastures somewhere else.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Patrolling the lighting choked streets of the Newtown Creek like some sort of low rent Batman, one is constantly scanning the environment for potential threats and hazards. Recent weather events had deposited a fair amount of liquid onto the grease stained and quite concretized devastations of industrial Maspeth, which offered an extra layer of slippery hazard to my worries.

One interesting observation I can offer is that there are a large number of people who are living in RV’s and trailers and exploiting the long term parking rules of the industrial business zones nowadays. This is a trend I started noticing a couple of summers ago, but since we exited the “before time” it’s really kicked into gear.

More tomorrow.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, January 18th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 18, 2021 at 1:00 pm

elusive dreams

with 4 comments

Friday odds and ends for the endtimes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Spotted this wrecked “Boro Cab” on the south side of Steinway Street, all illuminated by the glow of a rotisserie chicken joint, and it caught my eye. I like to guess what happened when I see this sort of thing, and based on the bent up signboard and caved in roof, conjecture revolves around this vehicle as having been rolled during the accidental which rendered it non operational. I always say “accidental” rather than “accident” for what you see afterwards, as I find it clumsy using a verb to describe a noun. Brooklynese is the language of my inner voice – which would sound like “Brooklynese iz da langwadge a My innah voyse” if you were a telepath.

Conjecture is the word for this sort of wondering about things you see but are guessing about how they ended up in this state, and I’ve always wondered if it’s appropriate to use “conject” as a verb. There are a lot of words like “conjecture” that I wonder about, but you have to pass the time somehow when wandering around on a cold night during a pandemic as American civilization fractures. I get stuck on this sort of thing all the time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is, of course, an idiot. Regardless, there are thoughts which torment and inhabit. Beyond the whole “inflammable/flammable” dichotomy, I often turn words about in my thoughts, breaking them down into parts to discern deeper meaning – Dis-ease – hey, that’s a lack of ease.

My buddy Hank the elevator guy is an elevator mechanic, but doesn’t describe what he does at work as “mechanicing.” A guy I know in Astoria is Joe the insulator, and he spends his days insulating stuff. Mario the exterminator guy exterminates, Brendan the bar tender tends bar, but my landlord who owns a Butcher shop in the City doesn’t “butch.” This sort of thing absolutely consumes me sometimes.

Shouldn’t the workflow of a butcher be called “butching?”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Electricians wire, they don’t “electric.” Plumbers actually do plumb, but that’s a relatively small part of their job. Arborists don’t “arbor,” and these days only a very small subset of Sailors “sail.” Firefighters fight fires, Police police, Bakers bake. Photographers photograph. Artists don’t “art,” Musicians don’t “music,” Tailors don’t “tail.” It’s all very confusing. Don’t even ask me about Phlebotomists.

Not sure if I’ve shown you my favorite 2020 ChristmAstoria display, pictured above, from 43rd street between Broadway and 34th Avenue. I don’t know the people who live in this particular house, although I do know a few other people who live on this block. If there was an award for Christmas lights, they’d get my vote.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, January 11th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 15, 2021 at 2:00 pm

indecipherable parchments

with one comment

Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The fascination with photographing gasoline filling stations at night just consumes one such as myself, and I’ve found myself wandering twixt the East River and (so far) Jackson Heights in recent weeks looking for these roadside businesses. This one is found in the angle between Sunnyside and Queens Plaza along Queens Boulevard. There’s also a Car Wash at this one. Ubiquitous in prior decades, car washes and gas stations both are fewer in number these days than they used to be.

Wish it was because of environmental reasons, but instead it’s largely because these large footprint properties are extremely desirous to the real estate industrial complex as development sites.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Have I mentioned that creepy skeletal trees keep on catching my eye these days when I’m wandering about? This particular one adjoined an industrial lot with a malfunctioning light that was strobing. Took me about ten shots to catch the flash, which was happening at random intervals.

Must be lovely living on the residential plots just a block away, with a bright white/blue light flashing all night.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I really don’t know how the medallion taxi industry is going to survive COVID. This has been mentioned before, and it’s another one of those problems which is hard to solve without surrendering a ton of taxpayer money in pursuit of bailing out an entire industry. As is the case with a lot of these kinds of situations, you feel pretty bad for the actual working stiffs doing the job, but the people who own and run these companies are not exactly salubrious characters – if you catch my drift.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, January 11th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 14, 2021 at 2:30 pm

mist maddened

with 2 comments

Apocalyptic Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s lovely feeling the earth shift under your feet, ain’t it? There’s little I can do about the state of the world, so the only option is to continue walking the earth alone and at night. This is the bad time of the year for me, as it’s so very cold, but that – at least – is something predictable which I can cling to. Given that what I’m trying to do when leaving the house, in addition to getting some exercise for both my rotting body and the camera, is avoid the presence of disease carrying humans my routes usually involve walking through the most deserted and lonely places I can think of.

Luckily, Western Queens offers a lot in the way of deserted and lonely. Also lucky is the recent activity of whomsoever it is that Amtrak has put in charge of popping tiny holes into the fences surrounding the Sunnyside Yards in recent months.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I detest having to wear an extra layer of insulating clothing under my normal “mitchsuit,” but what are you going to do when it’s freezing cold outside? What? Stay at home when it’s below freezing, you say? That would be insane.

As I’ve often opined, NYC looks best when it’s slightly moistened and the streets are all shiny with slime and ice. One of the things catching my eye at the moment are the creepy looking skeletal trees of the industrial streets, grasping their bony branches accusingly toward the sky. Everything smelled salty, due to the de icing efforts of the Department of Sanitation, and furtive shadows were observed darting around the dumpsters. At night, the rats come out.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On this particular evening, wherein I described my goals to Our Lady of the Pentacle as being a “short walk,” my path led from Astoria to some of the less travelled sections of Long Island City surrounding the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek and then through Blissville on my loop back home – about 4-5 miles. My practice through the pandemic has involved doing all of the banal things I do during daylight hours here at HQ, then donning “outside clothes” and the filthy black raincoat and venturing forth. Upon arriving back at HQ, whatever photos have been collected are then transferred from camera to computer and the “first pass” is done. What that means is that I look though the average 2-300 shots on my camera and throw at least half of them out. Before I go to sleep, the remaining shots have been keyworded and cropped.

The next day, I do the developing process and upload them to the web. An every other day schedule has been more or less maintained during the pandemic, with a few hiccups here and there. You control what you can control, and don’t try to control what you can’t.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, January 11th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 13, 2021 at 2:00 pm

strangely aromatic

with 4 comments

Walden had his pond…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last month, we had a bit of snow, so one made it a point of marching over to the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek with the hope of photographing a certain tree (pictured above) which I’ve been shooting all year surrounded by frosty goodness. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the western shore of the waterway it is rooted into was free of powder and ice. Oh well. Got busy anyway, despite not being able to feel my fingertips. As a note, manipulating camera controls when you can’t feel your fingers is a challenge.

I’ve become quite emotionally attached to this self seeded urban cultivar over the last year, and it’s come to represent something to me during the pandemic. It’s stalwart, and despite having sprouted under a factory and along the banks of a superfund listed waterway, it grows and grows. Someday I’m going to arrive at this spot and some jerk will have cut it down. Odds are I’ll drop to my knees and start bawling like a newborn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is desperately hanging onto sanity with his cold numbed fingertips at the moment. The level of anxiety I’m experiencing is massive. This is something I’ve been trying to be quite open about with friends and acquaintances, for a couple of reasons. One is that I’m fairly good in crisis situations, and am usually the person that you call when you’re in trouble or just having a hard time. One of my little mantras is “there’s plenty of time to freak out, cry and scream later, right now we need to deal with “this.” I’ve never understood the need people have to express their pique or disbelief that their house is on fire, running about hysterically, instead of setting about the process of extinguishing the flames. When the shit hits the fan… you have to be the Rock of Gibralter.

If somebody like me is feeling this level of constant anxiety, as there has been a constant wave of shit hitting all the fans for a long time now, I can’t imagine how difficult it is for others who don’t have the psychological toolkit I developed as the child of a malignant narcissist. You’re not alone, we’re all feeling it. Hang in there, the finish line where you get a needle jabbed into your shoulder, go back to work and a social life, and we start rebuilding the world is just around the corner.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above is one of the focus stacking arrangements I’ve been experimenting with. This one uses differing exposures to find some sort of middle point between the brighter than daylight lighting of the FedEx last mile shipping hub and the darker than Satan’s heart ambience of Dutch Kills’ eastern bank which it adjoins.

There were Canada Geese rolling around in the water, and as you know, Canada Geese are dicks. Once got into a fist fight with a Canada Goose, but that’s another story.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, January 11th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 12, 2021 at 2:35 pm

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