The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

meager funds

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There does not seem to be a verifiable national food holiday for Oct. 9th, although one checked source suggests that it’s National Moldy Cheese Day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator, for one, is sick of this summer stuff at this point. One realizes, as my pal Chrissy Remein from Riverkeeper pointed out to me recently, that this global warming thing is getting pretty apparent by this point and that this is the “new normal,” but regardless – I’m tired of the shvitz. I shouldn’t have to leave the house in October dressed as I would be for a July afternoon, and as another friend of mine would opine – “get home with total swamp ass.”

Pictured above is the scene as observed just west of Queens Plaza late on last Saturday afternoon.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I conducted an LIC tour on Saturday, during which the weather was – as mentioned, “shvitzy and swamp ass” – but as is my habit I arrived at the meetup spot a bit early. Vast clouds of haze were rising from the vicinity of the Queens Midtown Tunnel and so a humble narrator investigated. It would seem that road work crews were installing a new coat of asphalt to east bound toll plaza, which accounted for the misty haze as VOC (volatile organic compound) tainted steam rose from trucks of a superheated industrial waste product (produced by the petroleum industry) which we as a culture mix with concrete and liberally spread about on vehicular roadways.

Those are the work crews pictured above, in DUPBO – Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The preceding Friday was equally as uncomfortable to be moving through the Newtown Creek industrial zone, with its affection of the so called “Maspeth Heat Island” effect. This environmental condition, named for the area of industrial Maspeth just east of LIC but is similarly experienced along the banks of the entire Newtown Creek, sees ambient temperatures rise 5-15 degrees higher than in surrounding neighborhoods due to the complete absence of vegetation and abundance of concrete. The concrete and masonry walls of factory buildings, sidewalks, and roads all bake in the radiation of the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself and store up energy, becoming radiant sources of heat. It feels a bit like walking about in a kiln, or oven, even on days when the Mercury never rises out of the 70’s. Forget about the sensation encountered when the atmosphere is already in the 90’s early in the morning.

That’s the Hunters Point Yard of the Long Island Railroad pictured above, which is similarly in DUPBO.


Upcoming Tours and events

The Hidden Harbors Of  Staten Island Boat Tour,
with Working Harbor Committee – Sunday, October 15th, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

A very cool boat tour that visits two of the maritime industrial waterways of New York Harbor which adjoin Staten Island and Bayonne in New Jersey – The Kill Van Kull and the Arthur Kill. There will be lots of tugboats, cargo docks, and you’ll get to see multiple bridges from the water – including the brand new Goethals Bridge. I’ll be on the mike, narrating with WHC board member Gordon Cooper details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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3 Responses

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  1. Do you “beef-up” the color saturation level on the photos before posting?

    georgetheatheist . . . learn to draw with John Gnagy

    October 9, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    • everything is edited, if that’s what you’re asking. I shoot in raw format which allows for a sort of darkroom process to occur to the digital negative after exposure. Saying that, and this wanders into neurological function of the sort that Oliver Sachs used to describe, the world I see is apparently a bit more colorful and bright than what some others perceive. Could be something organic in the structure of my vision, or some random thing in the nervous or cerebral bits. Dunno. Point being, the photos you see are usually my best attempt at conveying what I was looking at while shooting – as it looked to my particular set of peepers – despite the mechanical vagaries of ISO, exposure, etc.

      Mitch Waxman

      October 9, 2017 at 2:45 pm

  2. Thanks. I just mentioned the color thing since your pix look overly colorful. Nothing wrong with that,

    georgetheatheist . . . learn to draw with John Gnagy

    October 9, 2017 at 3:28 pm


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