The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

ultimate step

with 4 comments

Tuesdays are a season all their own.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

During these pandemic months, when I’ve gone out for my constitutional walks, my toes have been generally pointed towards the Newtown Creek industrial business zone. The reasoning behind that is that a) I’m obsessed, and b) people and cooties.

People are infested with viruses, and therefore if I go to places with few or no people I’m less likely to contract a respiratory plague. I know, this sounds crazy to you Liberpublicans or Republitarians, but I’ve given up trying to convince ideologues about anything of late. If you don’t believe in COVID, don’t worry, the virus believes in you. I know 50-60 people who have had it, and by all reports – the experience is quite unpleasant even if you don’t die. Mazel Tov.

A new skill I’ve developed, thereby, during this interval is the ability to completely avoid all other human beings – even when passing through a fairly densely populated area like the 31st street/Hoyt Avenue corridors here in Astoria. I’ve become like a phantom in a black raincoat, a specter visible only to the wackadoodles.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My goal for this particular evening was to randomly point the new camera at different spots around the neighborhood for a bit, and then set up the tripod at Astoria Park’s Shore Road in pursuance of “getting technical” while photographing the wonders of the Hell’s Gate section of the East River.

Along the way, I spotted these two homes sporting rather tasteful holiday decorations, a fine example of what I call “ChristmAstoria.” As a note, I’m always rather uncomfortable when photographing somebody’s home. It would likely freak me out if I saw some ghostly creature in black taking pictures of HQ.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you’re wondering what I mean by “getting technical,” the shot above isn’t it. These were all handheld shots in today’s post, whereas the ones you’ll see tomorrow and Thursday were a bit more intentional in terms of composition and camera technique.

Pictured above is the Hell Gate Bridge in the distance, with a section of the Triborough Complex’s East River Suspension Bridge visible at top.

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 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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 22, 2020 at 11:00 am

4 Responses

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  1. I’ve never lived in NYC or the area, but was always curious what it might be like. (Of course, nothing really is “like” being there or actually living there.) I’ve been watching this young man called ActionKid on Youtube that just walks around the NYC area with a handheld camera, and although that might seem boring to a New Yorker, to others it is an interesting enough curiosity. I’m not so overly curious that I’ll sit intently and watch every one of his videos, and usually don’t make it thru a entire one, but I’ll skim thru them.


    December 22, 2020 at 11:59 am

  2. Hello Mitch – I like your blog and I especially enjoy your occasional diversion into Astoria, my hometown of the 1950’s and 60’s. Your photo under the Triboro approach is where I watched old men play bocce. I grew up near Crescent St and 34th Ave and I walked the streets of LIC and Astoria and many of the big bridges. I’ve grown to appreciate the severe beauty around Newtown Creek through your photos and descriptions – I was seldom south of the Queensboro bridge as a kid except for family walking excursions to the day-old bread store in the Silvercup bakery. Best wishes to you.
    – Dave


    December 22, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    • Glad I can help jog some pleasant memories for you Dave. I’m on Broadway in the 40’s, here in Astoria.

      Mitch Waxman

      December 22, 2020 at 4:56 pm

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