The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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Wednesday, it just kind of lies there, like some sort of thing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Continuing the inaugural run with my new camera rig, a visit to the Dutch Kills tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek found in the heart of Long Island City, was a bit of a no brainer. Of course I’m going to go to one of the spots I know best to test the new gizmo out. Duh. For those of you who missed out on me rattling on about this subject on Monday and Tuesday, it’s a Canon R6, a full frame mirrorless and modern DSLR camera. 90% of the shots offered here at Newtown Pentacle over the last 8 or 9 years were captured using an older model camera – the Canon 7D – which uses a mirror system and a “crop” sensor. I won’t bore you with the technical stuff, if you’re interested in the differences between the two, there’s literally hundreds of sites which delve into the details about sensor size, mirrorless vs. mirror systems, and the benefits or negatives associated with each.

In my case, I simply outgrew the 7D. Pushed the thing to its limits, did everything with it I could, and was nearly always happy with the results. The R6 offers a different set of limits, albeit ones that are far distant from those of the 7D. I’m holding on to the older camera, for which a couple of people have asked me “why”? Answer: two is better than one.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Montauk Cutoff, specifically the section found on Hunters Point/49th Avenue in LIC. I’m going to be talking a lot about this set of abandoned railroad tracks in the next few months, and I’m making a serious commitment – photographically speaking – to recording its splendors in the coming months. At the same time, all of us at Newtown Creek Alliance are working on the Montauk Cutoff project at the moment, which is a major anchor property in what we call the Dutch Kills Loop. Check out this site which my pals at NCA have set up discussing the DKL concept and vision.

Saying all that, this is the sort of thing I’m doing on Friday nights these days, as the brief summer interval during which pandemic concerns were lowered is over, and you’re not going to see me inhabiting an outdoor table at a bar anytime soon. I seriously miss seeing my gang of Astorian idiots and drinking the Guinness right about now, but what are you going to do? Can’t argue with a logarithmic curve on the infection numbers. When you see a hockey stick shape on a graph that doesn’t show your bank account balance, you should run away from it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One spent a bit of that particular Friday night in direct proximity to the Montauk Cutoff. I’ve written about this elevated trackage before, as a note, notably in this 2015 post. I’m planning on heading back up there in the dark sometime this week, so stay tuned for some new views captured with my new camera rig.

Also, these are some seriously lonely streets with an odd and increasing number of street denizens roaming around. I recently had a weird encounter with a couple of young fellows down here in what I call the “Empty Corridor.” Stay frosty, my friends.

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 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 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

December 2, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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  1. […] Recent endeavor found one up on the abandoned tracks of the Montauk Cutoff in Long Island City after dark. Given the isolation and a series of recent encounters with potential hooligans and a few wackadoodles in this area, I decided it was an atypically good idea to have some company with me for once, so my pals Gil Lopez and Don Cavaioli came along. The Montauk Cutoff has been described several times here at Newtown Pentacle – notably in this 2015 post, and more recently the streets surrounding it were detailed in a series of posts starting here. […]

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