The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive week, pandemic period.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Returning from a walk one evening, I encountered an FDNY Ambulance screaming past me, on April 4th, specifically. This was about the high water mark for such activity in Astoria, by my observation, during the first and second weeks of April. Most of the shops on Broadway were closed, and in a few of the open ones you encountered unfamiliar workers filling in for people who were home sick.

The skies really started to clear, as automotive traffic and air travel fell off.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On April 8th, one found himself in a place which would often be visited during the tribulation, the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek. Right around this period, I started seeing groups of muscle cars speeding around the industrial zone at night.

As mentioned in the various postings offered during the pandemic, one has been avoiding the customary usage of headphones. The deserted streets required vigilance, and a few encounters with “crazies” occurred while I was out there in the darkness. Occupational hazard always, malign elements of the street have enjoyed somewhat free reign during this period. Look at the graffiti which has appeared just about everywhere if you don’t believe me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I was hanging around at HQ, working on how to shoot the star fields visible for the first time in my life here in NYC on April 11, when the surrounding street began to flash crimson. Unfortunately, one of my next door neighbors who had been sick with COVID found her condition deteriorating and needed to go the hospital. After the EMT’s suited up in protective gear, they wheeled in a stretcher and soon they ambulance was loaded up and off they went in a flashing screaming hurry. She has since recovered, thankfully.

It’s around this period that some life began returning to Broadway in Astoria. A few of the shops reopened, and supply lines began to open back up accordingly. You could go to a fruit stand or grocery store rather than a supermarket, and a slight uptick in pedestrian and automotive traffic was noticed.

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, June 22nd. 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

June 25, 2020 at 11:00 am

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