The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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An Astoria Wednesday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m told that the construction chaos encountered at the corners surrounding the intersection of Astoria Boulevard and 31st street will be over soon, so one decided to pop over there the other night to get a few shots. This construction revolves around the renovations of the elevated subway station above, and the installation of elevators which connect to the subway station platform.

This is – perhaps – one of the most pedestrian unfriendly spots in all of Queens, and that’s saying something. I’ve always pointed a finger at the confluence of Northern and Astoria Blvd.’s over in Flushing as being one of the spots where you’d suddenly find yourself walking on the shoulder of a highway off ramp, but wow – do I hate crossing the street here. Especially so while wearing a pandemic mask that causes my glasses to fog up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Local traffic off ramps from the Triborough Bridge feed a never ending flow of automobiles and trucks onto Hoyt Avenue, which proceeds to feed east bound traffic onto Astoria Blvd. Support columns for the elevated tracks above provide a series of obstacles for driver and pedestrian alike. There’s a lot of light bouncing around under the elevated – vehicular headlights, traffic signals, street lighting – all competing for your attention as try to negotiate the less than obvious pathways you’re meant to walk through. Luckily, most of the traffic coming off of Triborough seems to be flowing onto the ramps leading down to the Grand Central Parkway trench which divides Astoria into two neighborhoods.

I wasn’t planning on doing some epic analysis on this particular evening, rather I was heading towards the Hell Gate section of the East River and mighty Triborough.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned above, I’ve been told that the MTA construction project is about to start winding down, but I’m ignorant as to that timeline. One positive thing about all of these lovely barriers and scaffolding is that it provides a vouchsafe pedestrian space down here where you are securely isolated from traffic. There’s also a lot of primary colors from the hot side of the color wheel, so it makes for nice photos.

Tomorrow, what I saw in the wind and cold at Hells Gate.

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, November 2nd. 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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 4, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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