The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

country legends

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Thursday, and how I almost broke my neck.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Maspeth is quite hilly. I’ve always opined that walking up 69th street, leading up from Queens Blvd. to Borden Avenue, is not unlike visiting one of the Mayan pyramids and that there should be similarly be a chain laid down on the sidewalk to grab onto and aid you in climbing the ascent. The reason behind this steep elevation is geological, as the terminal moraine of Long Island’s western extent begins in Maspeth (at Mt. Olivette cemetery) whereas the lower declination closer to the East River are a sort of glacial mud puddle. When you’re in a boat on Newtown Creek, you can easily visualize the ridge which gives Ridgewood its name, and see the geologic “soup bowl.” In the shot above, you can discern the radical change in elevation of Maspeth which is encountered in just one city block, an ascent of something like three building stories of height.

While walking down this hill, I slipped on a chunk of metal, while holding the camera tripod in front of me in a posture not unlike that of carrying a rifle. I found myself propelled forward head first, and rather than try to fight gravity, my instinctual response was instead to sprint into the fall. Running allowed me to regain my balance, which was lucky. If I hadn’t saved myself here, it would have been a tooth breaking face plant on the sidewalk, and my torso would have smashed the camera and tripod into the pavement. As it is, it took me running all the way to that utility pole in the shot above before I regained proper walking balance. It was actually quite comical.

Gravity and momentum, they affect us all, bro.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, I managed to pull a muscle in my back and the act of locking up my abdomen and chest to maintain an erect running posture caused my neck and shoulders to cramp up, but that’s what it’s like being in your early 50’s. These are also the sort of banal adventures which an intrepid urban explorer encounters while walking around on anything but flood planes. In my defense, neighborhoods in my county of origin had names like “Flatlands” and “Flatbush.”

I expect that there’s some security guy who had a good laugh watching the cctv footage of this particular moment the next morning. The word you’re looking for is “klutz.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back to those “corridors” mentioned yesterday, one set out for hq along the 43rd street/Laurel Hill Blvd. corridor. This entails a fairly terrifying walk along a sidewalk which barely has a curb and which adjoins the onramp of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway leading onto the Kosciuszcko Bridge. Tire tracks left behind by automobiles and trucks on this sidewalk provide efficacy of the commitment to street safety which is offered by the NYC DOT.

I plan on calling Thrive NYC to discuss my worries about all of this. Chirlane will know what I should think.

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 18th. 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

January 21, 2021 at 11:00 am

One Response

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  1. I used to live in Laurel Hill before the LIE expanded n 1960s. We old sled down schoolyard hill with my dad directing traffic below. So awesome to hear Laurel Hill still exists


    January 21, 2021 at 2:09 pm

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