The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for March 2nd, 2018

ancient hill

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183 square acres, and you can’t even catch a train there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the way home from the Degnon Terminal and Dutch Kills, my habit is to walk up the hill on Skillman Avenue alongside the Sunnyside Yards. It’s actually set against a pretty subtle but noticeable incline, Skillman from Thomson Avenue to 39th street, and the walk is actually decent cardio (it’s no Maspeth, though). You also get to see trains along the way, which is always a plus for one such as myself. Luckily the fences are in atrocious condition and there’s all sorts of places you can stick a lens through and get some shots. 

Since I had the tripod with me, I rigged it up a few times when I saw something interesting. These are long exposures, which causes passing vehicles, and trains, to blur into streaks of light. In the shot above, that’s the 7 Subway line exiting Queens Plaza above, and the Long Island Railroad transiting below.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the busiest intersections I’ve ever encountered is at Skillman Avenue and Queens Boulevard. An insane amount of traffic moves through it on a twenty four hour and seven day a week schedule, heading to and from the Queensboro Bridge. There are vampires reported to be living in the steel overpasses as well, so you have to stay alert and wary around these parts because of both traffic and the undead. Queens Plaza is complicated. 

That’s another 7 train at the top of the shot, if you’re the curious type.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Crossing the yards at 39th street, which becomes Steinway Street on the other side of Northern Blvd., I did another setup at one of the many fence holes I’ve catalogued over the years. That set of green, red, and white streaks you see are a passing Long Island Railroad train at the Harold Interlocking. It’s the busiest train junction in the country, as a note, and almost 800 trains a day streak through here on their way to and from the City, last I checked.

Why is it called the “Harold Interlocking”? Ask some of the octogenarian Queensicans you meet in neighborhood bars around Sunnyside, Woodside, or Astoria and they’ll tell you that 39th street used to be called Harold Avenue back in the old days of long ago and far away. DO NOT drop John Lindsay or Bill de Blasio’s name, at your peril. 

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 2, 2018 at 11:00 am

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