The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

duplicate and exceed

with 3 comments

In the wind, and flying with the Night Gaunts in Industrial Maspeth.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Continuing my walk through the nighted streets of Maspeth, the path chosen carried me from Astoria to the streets surrounding the Newtown Creek. Caution regarding traffic guided my steps. As illustrated in yesterday’s post, the greatest danger you face around here is heavy vehicle traffic. Despite this assertion, when I mentioned my plans to come down here in the small hours to my neighbor, I was offered a firearm to carry, as he was concerned about me meeting up with malign elements of our society.

Untrained as I am in the brandishing of such weaponry, I retorted that I’d probably end up shooting myself if any attempt was made to discharge the thing and I declined. When I go out shooting, it’s about light hitting a camera lens, not little bits of metal hitting things. The atmosphere continued to thicken as one transversed the sloping street which inevitably led to the fabled Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you want to experience “spooky,” however, one cannot recommend the feeling of isolation and exposure which is offered by industrial Maspeth at night. You truly feel alone here, all of the steel gates are down, with the exception of an occasional warehouse operation’s loading dock being open and spilling light onto the street.

The smell of the place, on a foggy night, is exceptional. Misty atmospherics, fed by high humidity and air temperatures quite a bit higher than those in the gurgling waters of the sewage addled Newtown Creek, caused an omnipresent stink to inhabit the place. One does not like to think what he was breathing, but suffice to say that on a night like this you are fully in touch with Newtown Creek – in fact, you are respirating it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You know that you are out early when the DSNY workers haven’t made it to work yet. The Sanitation Department maintains an enormous facility nearby my destination, and the corner of 48th street and 58th road was where I had been heading for all night.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Maspeth Avenue Plank Road, a street end which has been recently made salubrious by the efforts of my chums at Newtown Creek Alliance. This is the spot which I had in mind when I announced to Our Lady of the Pentacle that I would be foregoing sleep and heading out to “do some night shooting.”

This is also why I schlepped the tripod with me, as there were a few shots which I was desirous to capture.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A quick change up of my gear and camera settings began. The tripod came out of its carrying case, and so did a remote shutter release. The dslr was affixed to the tripod, and the shutter release to the camera. One was intent on working in the “night into day” genre, and began a series of long exposure shots of the environs.

The shot above is part of the series, an “amuse bouche” as it were, for the set of images which will greet you in tomorrow’s post.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 11, 2015 at 11:00 am

3 Responses

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  1. Good thing Van Iderstine’s no longer around. That place used to stink-up all of Western Queens at times You’ve any pix of where it was?.

    georgetheatheist . . . olfactorily observant

    November 11, 2015 at 11:35 am

  2. Hi Mitch,
    Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy the Pentacle, and especially your latest foray into Maspeth at night; I can almost smell the creek, 3000 miles away in Frisco. I only just discovered your excellent blog about a month ago, and I’m learning about places I never knew existed, even though I grew up in Sunnyside.

    I had an accident a month ago which tore up my foot, requiring surgery and some obscure hardware insertion, which has left me bed-bound for the next 6 weeks. So I really look forward to our nightly jaunts through the nether regions of The Pentacle.

    Oddly enough, when I take the BART train from SF to Oakland, and it comes out from under the bay in West Oakland, I am often greeted with the exact same aroma of the Newtown Creek. Really takes me back.

    Keep up the excellent work.

    Lori Z (You can take the girl outta Queens…)


    November 11, 2015 at 3:19 pm

  3. […] to industrial Maspeth – “grotesque night,” “betraying myself,” “duplicate and exceed,” and “ultimate effect” displayed what I saw on an uncharacteristically warm […]

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