The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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Little birdies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Instinct is a non quantifiable resource, but I’ve always famously followed mine. It’s kept me out of a lot of trouble in the workplace over the years, helped me avoid wandering into race riots back in the 1980’s, and I’ve missed out on being trapped in a structural fire or two over the years because of it. I call instinct “my little birdie,” and when it’s chirping I listen. Desperate for diversion and chomping at the bit for some exercise, an otherwise perfect evening for photographic pursuit was marred by these chirps, so I opted to stay at HQ and see what I could conjure up. That’s the alley behind HQ, so if you’ve been wondering what it looks like behind the shops on Astoria’s Broadway, now you know.

What with the cessation of most automotive traffic and the airborne effluents of commercial activity, you could actually see the stars in NYC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having lived in NYC my entire life, the amount of sensory data which my eyes and ears normally “tune out” is fairly prodigious. The car engines and horns, the sound of raucous idiots gibbering at each other, even the bells on the door of the now closed Bodega chiming as customers enter and leave. The luminance of store signage, the chimney smell of restaurant fryers and stoves, the sound of some delivery guy chaining up his bike – all of that is missing. For the first few days after the shutdown began, my ears were ringing in the same way they do when I visit a rural or wooded area. Saying that, there’s too many ambulance sirens right now.

While shooting the shot above, I snapped my fingers and heard an actual echo.

Also, yes, my landlord still has a TV antenna attached to the roof. There are also about three generations of satellite dish up there, none of which are cabled to anything below the roof nor do they have any utility. The archaeologists of the future are going to absolutely love digging us up someday, and I mean Western Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another night, one wherein my little birdy was silent, and another walk through the empty streets. Constitutional exercise is required, and at least in my case the benefits are spiritual and psychological, as well as cardiologist pleasing. As mentioned several times, one is omitting the pleasure of listening to various forms of audio entertainment at the moment, in favor of remaining 100% aware of my surroundings. The streets… look a lot like the late 1980’s used to look – deserted at night except for weirdos like and unlike me, and with everyone else huddling up within their fortress apartments. The Cops are busy with other stuff right now, and there’s a real feeling of being on your own and “having to just handle it” if something untoward happens. Like I said, 1980’s.

There used to be a saying – People walk around like they’re safe or something.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the end of the week of Monday, March 30th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 9, 2020 at 11:00 am

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