The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for September 2020

extremely lofty

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Tuesday’s morbid habitations.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looping through the Poison Cauldron of Greenpoint, one was performing his “patrol” function. This is a self appointed duty which sees me walk and survey the entire Newtown Creek about once every quarter. I generally don’t do it all in one go, rather the mileage is non scientifically split up into a series of walks which are scheduled for “when the light is nice” or around specific atmospheric conditions. A recent evening walk occurred right around sunset, and it found me walking from Astoria to LIC whereupon a crossing of the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge brought me to Brooklyn. Once in the “land a me bert” an eastern course was adopted.

The particular angle my toes were pointing towards saw my perambulatory pursuit positively pulsating towards the eastern sections of Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A big part of the reason that this particular cauldron is so poisoned, the National Grid company continues to loathsomely squat upon an acquired property which once housed the Brooklyn Union Gas Company’s manufacturing operations. Manufactured gas production is notoriously problematic from an environmental point of view, and one will soon notice that on their enormous property – found between Newtown Creek and Vandervoort Avenue in Greenpoint – that vegetation growth is stunted. What grows on this land, poisoned by heavy metals and esoteric products of the century old gas retorts, doesn’t seem “right.” It’s queer, and not in the good way.

That’s what I was thinking when I spotted a space car parked along the National Grid fenceline.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was either a pickup or suv at the core of this construct. It bore a license plate issued by the state of Montana. I cannot tell you any more, but I’m glad it exists.

More tomorrow at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

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, September 28th. 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 here, 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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 29, 2020 at 11:00 am

starfish arms

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Monday’s old familiar places, like DUKBO

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent exertions carried a humble narrator to the poison cauldron of the Newtown Creek, a hopelessly corrupted section of Brooklyn’s Greenpoint shorelines. Petroleum refining, industrial dry cleaning, the manufacture of so called “natural gas,” metals finishing… all have left behind a devil’s brew of exotic cocktails in the soil and ground water hereabout. Modern usage like petroleum and liquor distribution, garbage sorting and handling, warehousing of construction industry supplies are slightly less inimical to environmental harmonies than their forebears. There’s a reason I call this area the Poison Cauldron, after all.

I also refer to it as the Brooklyn side of DUKBO – Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp – where the omnipresent humming of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway carried along the bridge high overhead is inescapable. Nothing like a high volume roadway set into a crowded urban setting, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At some indeterminate time in the near future, a newly constructed park will open beneath the new bridge(s) which promises some fairly interesting photographic opportunity for one such as myself. I’ve been documenting the replacement and transition of the old Kosciuszcko Bridge to the new one since 2010. The minute that the park opens is officially when I’m going to close the cover on that particular file and publish some sort of book on the subject.

It’s been nice to have something to do.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, they’re still finishing things up down here, so there’s a lot of interesting things to point the lens at still. I give it about a month after the NYS DOT returns to Albany before the illegal dumping starts up in earnest around here again. I’m told that the hordes of very noisy automobiles which everybody is complaining about have been gathering down here on weekend nights to race and do “fast and furious” sort of things.

One hasn’t scuttled through this particular area in months due to pandemic factors, so when recent opportunity to do so presented itself off I went. I’ve been trying to catch a bit more sunlight these days, as all of my nocturnal activity has resulted in a desultory balance of Vitamin D and I’m as pale as the belly of a dead herring.

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, September 28th. 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 here, 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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 28, 2020 at 1:00 pm

triangularly tapering

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Friday is urban bucolia day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Marching, endlessly marching, one noticed that a bit of excavation has been performed on the former Mobil oil properties alongside the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge on the Brooklyn side of the fabulous Newtown Creek. This particular piece of American soil has long been owned by some third party, and it’s not a part of the modern properties which ExxonMobil’s tenancy is still extant upon.

Not sure what’s going on here, but I like a good hole, and the construction guys seem to have dug a truly ribald one. Huzzah!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

ExxonMobil is still working on the remediation of the semi legendary Greenpoint Oil Spill, along with their contractors – called Roux – for this particular situation. They maintain a large property at 400 Kingsland Avenue, which used to be the entrance to the Mobil refinery that operated here until 1966.

Just last year, the team at ExxonMobil invited a group of interested neighborhood people and activists to one of their offices to give us an update on the cleanup efforts, which are coming along nicely according to the their data. There’s a couple of recovery wells which are now bringing up ground water rather than petroleum, but they are still working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on cleaning up the historic mess left behind by their forebears.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One hasn’t spent too much time on the Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek during the pandemic, given that my walks would have carried me through some rather populated areas that I wanted to avoid.

There’s a window of cautious safety right now, according to my perceptions, that I’m trying to exploit before things get weird again. Things are going to get weird again, and I’m saying by middle to late October probably, by Thanksgiving definitely. Enjoy yourselves while you can.

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, September 21st. 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 here, 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 blurb.com for $30.

radiating spokelike

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Thursday lurking, in fear.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, while scuttling about in Long Island City, a group of adolescents were spotted riding around on skateboards and that induced a humble narrator into one of his states. Terror bubbled up the esophagus, poured down the alimentary track, and a sheen of cold hormonal perspiration began to express from the skinvelope. A feckless quisling and vast physical coward, your humble narrator found himself obeying a genetic level set of programming instructions to hide and flee from potential danger. Adolescents… brrr… no impulse control. What if they were members of those squad of ubiquitous rascals called Antifa, or a Trumpist neoliberal cadre? If captured, I’d be forced into doctrinal solidarity in one of their re-education camps, and might then be forced to carry signage indicating my role as a counter revolutionary element from the old regime. Flight was my only hope, and boy oh boy did I flee.

Antifa ride skateboards and bicycles, Trumpists drive SUV’s or electric assist mobility chairs. Either way, one wants nothing to do with either horde of idolators.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lurking solitarily in fear, as I do, offers a lot of time to think. One prefers this.

Extreme elements of our society will insist that every act and action be viewed through a prism of their choosing. You’re not eating a hot dog, instead you’re part of the problem and here’s why… this, this is why I insist on lonely walks through deserted industrial zones at the omphalos of New York City. I swear, it’s enough to make a libertarian out of me, but I’m married and also can’t afford a sixty inch tv so that leaves me out of the incel world of the libertarians. They all have huge tv’s.

As I’ve been telling my friends on the left for years now, identity politics is dehumanizing and dangerous, as you run the risk of the other side playing the same game. The most successful identity politician in history was Hitler, for instance. I’m a “rugged individualist” type, and can argue cogently that there is virtually no one person whom I’m similar to.

There is a mid point found somewhere between Mao’s Cultural Revolution and Lord of the Flies style unregulated capitalism, I believe, a median position which 90% of the population would be quite comfortable with. We should strive for that. We should also heavily oppress the prerogatives of both adolescents and senior citizens, given the latent dangers and lack of impulse control they represent.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What do I know? I have no desire to hurt anyone, nor to tell them how to live. I’m some schmuck with a camera, wandering around Brooklyn and Queens during both day and night with no destination in mind. As my mom would often remind me – what, you think you’re normal? You’re an asshole, so show up early to appointments so at least they can’t use that against you. She’d then continue on with a travelogue of the many times that I’d disappointed or embarrassed her, just in case I’d forgotten it from the last time. If my Mom was still around, given her peculiar points of view and prejudices, I’m absolutely certain she’d be attending MAGA rallies.

As a kid, I learned that when the grown ups were fighting over nothing at all but going for the throat, it was best to retreat to the back yard or a side room and read comic books until it was all over. Pictured above, my current back yard.

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, September 21st. 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 here, 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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 24, 2020 at 2:00 pm

exotic delicacy

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Wednesday? Now you’re talkin…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, occasion found one standing atop a NYC Ferry heading towards Lower Manhattan. Along the way, two Vane tugs were noticed as they moved in opposite directions along the East River. Both were towing fuel barges, and you’ll notice that the background one is riding considerably higher in the water than the foreground one. The one in the background, heading south, had therefore already delivered its cargo, whereas the barge being towed by the Charleston Tug in the foreground is full. Whether the tug is pulling or pushing, it’s called “towing.” It was all very exciting.

I like a good tugboat shot, I do.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This senior citizen of the harbor was docked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard when the ferry made its stop at the facility.

I ended up taking the subway home from Manhattan for a variety of reasons. Partially it was due to going fairly far afield of the River in pursuit of luncheon, a journey which carried me all the way to East Broadway for some pretty Dyn-O-Mite Chinese food at a sit outside table somewhere in the surviving tenements of the lower east side. Good times, we’re lucky to have them, good times.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was nice being in Manhattan again, for a change. That’s not something I’d normally say, given my antipathy to the place in recent years.

The extant tenements of lower Manhattan, found south east of Bowery and north of the Brooklyn Bridge, absolutely fascinate me. A general wander trough this neighborhood is definitely in the cards for me sometime in the next month. Planning stage, me. I’m going to hit the same Chinese place again for lunch, I think. Tastiest meal I’ve had in months.

Back tomorrow, with something different at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

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, September 21st. 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 here, 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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 23, 2020 at 11:00 am

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