The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for January 3rd, 2014

tossed and tattered

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A cool vantage at the foot of the Maspeth Plateau.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the neat things about Western Queens is all about its declination and altitude. The terminal moraine of Long Island sets itself up starting over in Maspeth near Mt. Olivette cemetery, and a surprising rise in the level of the land becomes apparent. I’m particularly sensitive to such phenomena having grown up in a section of Brooklyn called “Flatlands” which is right next door to “Flatbush” and several communities whose names end in basin, island, or beach. That’s the south eastern flood plain, Astoria and Hunters Point are the north western- its Maspeth and Middle Village which are the start of the high ground. That’s why the Dutch came here first.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

These hillocks are bordered in modernity, unfortunately, by highways such as the Long Island Expressway – which swallowed up the otherwise wholesome Borden Avenue’s historic right of way. There is a pedestrian bridge which will carry one over the highway, which is where today’s shots were captured. When I was up there, I found a Bernie hole.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bernie Ente was, amongst other things, a photographer who lived pretty close to this spot in Maspeth. Bernie was always annoyed by fences that obscured his shots, and would sometimes open a hole just big enough to stick a lens through. There’s still a few of his holes found in the industrial fencelines around Newtown Creek, some of which I’ve shared with others, and some I keep to myself.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the view from the Bernie Hole over the Long Island Expressway. I think I might come back here with a tripod sometime, when a dramatic sky presents itself. Of course, if you want some strange looks and accusing stares thrown your way, walk around Maspeth at night with a dslr. I swear, a cadre of old ladies followed me from Maurice all the way to Middle Village the other night, convinced that I held some instrument of gleaming death within my camera bag.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 3, 2014 at 7:30 am

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