The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

portentous morning

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Socially distant, now more than ever.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“We here at the Newtown Creek family send our best wishes to you and your family, in these troubling times. New Yorkers have always weathered storms together, but now we have to stand together apart. Now, more than ever…”

Is there a script distributed to advertising agencies and charities during disasters? If just one more well wisher appears on my television and says “Now, more than ever.” Grrr. Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself are considering turning it into a drinking game.

I have been annoyed by usage of this phrase since it emerged twenty years ago after 9/11. The politicians got in front of the same verbal chestnut after Hurricane Sandy, I recall, and soon after the used car dealers were incorporating it into their spiel. Thing is, all of the bad actors in our society will use it to justify whatever hogwash they’re selling. What does “now, more than ever” actually mean? The logic of the phrase doesn’t manifest or indicate any sort of temporal interval.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After visiting the Maspeth Avenue Plank Road the other night, my scuttling proceeded over to other sights and attractions in the general vicinity. That’s the Grand Street Bridge photographed above. The image was created using multiple exposures all captured with a wide open f1.8 aperture setting and then “focus stacked” together during the developing process. This sort of technical stuff fascinates me, and forces one to continually reconsider how to record the wonders of Newtown Creek in different ways. I know it probably doesn’t excite those of you who aren’t photography people, but what can I tell you – there aren’t exactly a lot of adventure opportunities for me to describe to you right now.

The best use of my time, as I see it, involves sharpening up my skills and acquiring new ones. Presuming survival of the pandemic, which is a big “if,” a humble narrator wants to be able to hit the ground running in the new normal. “New Normal” sits alongside “Now, more than ever” on my annoyance chart.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That concrete plant pictured above is more or less sitting on the county line between Brooklyn and Queens. The section of Newtown Creek it sits along is technically a tributary, called the East Branch.

While I was shooting these images, the sound of incredibly loud music was echoing along the streets. I followed it, the sound I mean, and discovered that one of the local hot rod clubs was having an illegal party on Onderdonk Avenue. There had to be a hundred or more people milling around and admiring highly souped up automobiles.

Mark my words, there is going to be a massive spike in hospital visits in the May 15-20 period, based on how many people broke quarantine and pretended everything was ok during the warm weather of the last (May 2-3) weekend.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, May 4th. 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.

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