The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

painful process

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What the hell, it’s Thursday again, where am I?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Angles between neighborhoods, that’s what I call places like the spot where this photo was gathered. This particular angle sits on a weird confluence of geography. A block East or South is definitively Maspeth, one or two West and you’re clearly in Long Island City’s Blissville section. Heading North a block or two? You’re either in Woodside or Sunnyside, but it depends on who you ask. Ask a real estate professional, they’ll tell you it’s “Very Northern Williamsburg” and try to jack up the rent.

Angles between neighborhoods. On old maps I’ve seen, there used to be a Yeshiva on this particular corner, so maybe the Williamsburg thing isn’t much of a stretch. You’re looking at a corner in Queens, which used to be in the Laurel Hill section of Newtown’s Maspeth, not Brooklyn. Nothing is real or true anymore.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Calvary Cemetery is very real, and this shot was gathered on Laurel Hill Blvd., which is one of the only “tells” remaining in this area. This area received a LOT of attention from Robert Moses’ people during the highway construction era, the urban renewal era, and during the early 1960’s when they were trying to save the manufacturing sector of NYC’s economy using zoning regulations.

I’ve seen a lot of copies of the Power Broker on people’s book shelves during our era of Zoom teleconferences. Unlike my copy of the thing, others don’t seem to have a nest of post it notes sticking out of the thing acting as book marks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The old borders between the towns and municipal entities of what we know as Queens were blurry “back in the day.” One has paid some attention to figuring out the location of where the various lines of “where” were, and can say authoritatively that LIC’s border with Maspeth was Laurel Hill Blvd. on the south and Woodside Avenue to the north. The Brooklyn Queens Expressway runs literally on the actual border here. Where are the historic borders between Astoria and Woodside, or Sunnyside and Woodside, or Maspeth and Woodside? Depends on who you ask, and if the person you’re querying doesn’t mention Winfield you should stop paying attention. I’m talking historic here, by the way, not postal code nor the greedy imaginings of the Real Estate coprophages. Borden Avenue nearby 48th street, along the Long Island Expressway – pictured above – is a tripartite and nearly Balkan intersection between historic Maspeth, Woodside, and Sunnyside. Sunnyside was, after 1870, part of LIC. After 1898, they were all Queens. Of course, Sunnyside wasn’t called Sunnyside until the start of the 20th century… it’s all very confusing.

Angles. 48th street is germaine to this angle and border conversation, as is Queens Blvd., and 58th street/Woodside Avenue. Thoughts?

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, December 7th. 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

December 10, 2020 at 1:00 pm

One Response

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  1. It’s not confusing at all if you think of these geographic locales not as neighborhoods with distinct borders but as . . . realms. It’s more poetic as well. No need to drive yourself nutz.

    georgetheatheist . . . poesy practitioner

    December 10, 2020 at 6:22 pm


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