The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for January 2021

further liberation

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Friday odds and ends.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few remaining shots from a recent scuttle across Astoria on are on offer today. Pictured above is one of the archways supporting the NY Connecting Railroad tracks on Astoria’s North side. The NYCRR allows for a heavy rail connection between the rail system of Long Island and via the Hell Gate Bridge – the North American continent via the Bronx. Other than loading freight rail cars onto barges, this is the only way Brooklyn/Queens/Nassau/Suffolk has to connect with freight rail. Note: when you’re talking about arched causeways made of concrete, you can use the word “via” all you want as it’s historically appropriate.

You jackholes spend all your time worrying about parking. I worry about the most strategically important spots in NYC, and look to heavy infrastructure as being the only way to forestall the climatological apocalypse predicted for the end of this century.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The closer I get to all the doomsday scenarios – which all seem to revolve around the four alchemical elements of fire, water, air, and earth – the more I realize that the only way to ensure that our civilization doesn’t collapse is for us to “America the fuck out of the problem” by rebuilding and fortifying the sort of infrastructure that our wiser forebears left behind for us. Right now, 95% of everything we eat, wear, or use is brought to us by truck from Port Elizabeth Newark over in New Jersey.

This needs to change. It’s inefficient and overly expensive to truck in masses of existential cargo, and we need to figure out a better way. Rail, barge, something else for bringing bulk goods to warehouses, and use trucks only for the “last mile.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, which is found on 30th Avenue here in Astoria. I’ve never been inside this building, despite having lived fairly close to it for nearly 20 years. I’m waiting for someone to invite me in, as I’m kind of like a vampire in that regard. I have no searing critique to offer, as I find its architecture satisfying.

Something different next week, have a good weekend, lord and ladies.

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, January 25th. 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

January 29, 2021 at 4:00 pm

square toed

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Thurday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My short(ish) wintertime walks around Western Queens often include walking the corridor along 31st street, under the elevated tracks of the N & W Subway lines. As I’ve mentioned a few times, when I’m wandering around the industrial zones of Newtown Creek – the “happy place” of industrial Maspeth or the “concrete devastations” of Long Island City – it’s an entirely solitary experience and I eschew wearing the mask since I’m literally the only person there and you can see anyone else coming from blocks away on the super wide industrial zone sidewalks. 31st street, with its crowded and narrow sidewalks and commercial strip intersections? Hell, yeah, I’ve got the thing strapped to my face. I don’t like the odds.

Leaving the house is a gambling kind of thing these days, and one thing my dad and his brothers taught me as a kid (they would bet on what color car was going to roll through the traffic light next) is that calculating whether your chances are favorable or not is a life skill. Probability of getting a parking ticket, or mugged, or having to wait overly long for a table at the local diner positively ruled my Dad’s decision making processes. I’ve got a little of that in me, but unlike one of my uncles, I’d never bet the family business in a poker game with 1970’s Williamsburg mafiosos.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The odds of some random virus particle suspended in the air flow in deserted areas like nocturnal Industrial Maspeth versus along a transit hub in a residential neighborhood? Do the math, Bud. What are the odds?

This method of thought has been working out for me for the last year, but as I often opine – you do you. I’ll say this, though, wearing one of these masks while also wearing spectacles is a world of no fun during the winter months. You clear the fog from your glasses with a lens cloth, and before you’ve even got them back in position they’re fogging up again. Respiratory plague versus crossing streets half blind…

Odds of getting Covid while crossing a street versus getting hit by some 18 year old driving a $75,000 fart car at 90 mph whom I couldn’t see because of fogged glasses… calculating… calculating…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The funny thing about 31st street, which I find visually exciting as a note, is that it’s deserted of population for most of its run. The section between Northern Blvd. and Broadway is fairly inert at night, except right around the odd corners where the stops are found. Most of the pedestrian and human (non automotive) activity you’ll observe occurs between the Broadway and Ditmars stops. Even in that stretch, though, there’s long blocks where you encounter nobody else on the sidewalk. Lots of drivers, a few bikes, the odd Cop car screaming past with lights and sirens.

Also, it’s really dark for some reason between Broadway and Northern. I passed that one onto the Government guys at a recent meeting. They filed a complaint,

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, January 25th. 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

January 28, 2021 at 2:05 pm

copious seepage

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent wanderings, as mentioned earlier in the week, have seen me sticking fairly close to HQ due to the cold. Luckily, I happen to live within walking distance of some visually interesting sections of Long Island City such as the Sunnyside Yards, a portion of which is pictured above. Those are Amtrak train sets, overnighting in Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m a big fan of whomsoever it is at Amtrak who is responsible for poking holes in their fences. I’m an even bigger fan of whomsoever it is at Canon who has been designing lens with a smaller than usual lens element which I can fit into those pokey holes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another thing I’ve become a fan of are the few remaining gas stations in Western Queens, islands of saturated color and cold light shining in the night.

More wandering, in tomorrow’s post, 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, January 25th. 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

January 27, 2021 at 2:00 pm

amorphous liquid

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another day night, and another walk around Western Queens with the camera. As mentioned yesterday, one is unnaturally vulnerable to cold weather. Partially, this is due to the side effects several of the medications my team of Doctors insist upon, and to the underlying medical conditions which their prescriptions are designed to remedy. My genetic flaws affect the circulatory system, heart, and the liver’s regulation of blood chemistry which – in simple terms – means that when it’s cold out my hands and feet go all bloodless and numb. This results in me having a fairly uneven and sometimes painful gait, and the loss of physical acuity and haptic feedback in the fingers. If you notice a pile of black rags with a camera lurching and weaving along Northern Blvd. some evening, that’ll be me.

Don’t worry, my fettle is fine, just trying to be quite transparent these days about my various maladies and weird moods. Hoping that you might cut me a break for my many malapropisms, micro aggressions, and madness in the future.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Somebody I used to hang out with at the neighborhood bar, in the before times, spent some effort describing my “micro aggressions” to me one night. I explained them away saying that I was quite unaware of any projected enmity, and reminded my companion that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t consciously project “micro” anything. If I’m mad at you, it’s “macro aggression” time, and the last time you experienced anything like what it’s like when I’m angry was at the end of the Jimmy Cagney movie “White Light, White Heat.” There’s an overlay of the climax of “Barton Fink” as well, specifically evoking the finale denouement of John Goodman’s role (without the hitler part, though). Ain’t pretty.

I do like that the particular set of things I will call someone out on are specific to their circumstance, as I try to avoid broad stroke denunciation based on creed or orientation. I once called some fellow a “shoe wearing, ginger ale drinking, motherflower.” When the asshole you’re yelling at falls to the floor laughing, you win.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are two things one is continually struck by on my night time wanderings – particularly in the last couple of months – first is that I’m somehow able to pick a pathway through one of the most densely populated sections of North America wherein the only other humans are safely sealed up inside of automobiles and trucks rather than on the sidewalk where they can blow their cootie laden breath at me, the second is that the City that never sleeps now goes to bed about ten p.m.

The latter factoid is bizarre, walking through Sunnyside or Astoria and seeing that every restaurant and bar is shuttered. The odd pizza joint will be open, but the “24 hour City” is a thing of the past.

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, January 25th. 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

January 26, 2021 at 1:45 pm

deep fissure

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Donald J Trump warned you 5 years ago that without him there would a taco truck found on every corner, which is one of those things we’ve been all hoping would happen as tacos are delicious and food trucks are an affordable source of these treats. Here we are, just a few days into the Biden era, and the prophesied taco trucks have begun to appear. What do you know about that? Something Trump told the truth about, which is notable for somebody whose pants were so reliably on fire.

Recent walking excursions have been finding me scuttling along familiar streets which are a bit closer to HQ than the usual Newtown Creek zone, which is ultimately due to my fatal weakness to cold weather. Superman has his Kryptonite, I’ve got January. January while standing on a frozen shoreline in Queens is not fun. The shot above is from the corner of Broadway and Northern Blvd. which I will describe as the southern angle between “proper” Woodside, Astoria, and “kinda sort of” Sunnyside.

The East/West border of Woodside and Astoria, I would offer, is definitively 58th street/Woodside Avenue. There’s seldom a Taco Truck there, but one can hope.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Fascination with automotive maintenance facilities continues, and while wandering by a largish Car Wash company on Northern Blvd. at the bleeding edge border of “proper” Woodside the other night, this scene was observed.

I’ve been using the new Canon R6 for a bit now, and can say that I’m thoroughly enjoying the device and feel like there’s a lot of stuff which I was formerly precluded from capturing that is now well in reach. The lens being employed on many of my early night walks with the R6, and in all three shots in today’s post, is a f1.8 “nifty fifty” 50mm. The R6 offers “in body image stabilization” which allows for some techno magic to happen when shooting at night. In the interval since this shot was captured, I’ve augmented the lens bag with a 35mm f1.8 lens that has its own onboard stabilization system. Combining the lens and body technologies, this allows for some 8 additional stops of light gathering range. Wait till you see those shots, which will start filtering into posts here sometime next month.

The lesson of prior winters instruct that this is the time of year that – when I’m able to be outside – shoot, shoot, and keep shooting. Never know when a blizzard or nor’easter is going to randomly gobble up a week of your time during the winter in New York City. I’ve been keeping myself busy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Canon R6 is a very capable device for handheld night shooting in the “urban milieu,” and I’ve found myself leaving the house for a walk sans camera bag, tripod, etc. I’m carrying an extra battery with me and that’s it. Radical simplicity is the mantra for me these days. I’ve been so impressed with that 35mm lens that I just placed an order with the good folks at Beards and Hats (BH Photo) for its “big brother” which is a stabilized 85mm f2. Looking forward to a day – which will can’t come soon enough – when I leave the house with just the two lenses and a couple of extra batteries and that’s it.

My desire for this sort of simplicity has nothing to do with eschewing zoom lenses or anything like that. You try walking ten miles at a clip with fifteen pounds of glass and a tripod in your knapsack. Sheesh.

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, January 25th. 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

January 25, 2021 at 11:00 am

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