The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

further liberation

with 4 comments

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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 29, 2021 at 4:00 pm

4 Responses

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  1. >”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.”

    As in viaduct, yippeeskippee.

    Tommy Efreeti

    January 29, 2021 at 5:27 pm

  2. As another infrastructure type person who happens to now exist between Port Elizabeth and the Bayway Refinery aka Exit 13 on the NJ Turnpike (yes people actually live there) I thought I would share these tidbits:
    1. There are a tremendous number of seriously gigantic, as in hundreds of bays distribution warehouses being built in central NJ (Union & Middlesex counties). Although they are invariably located next to active rail freight lines they don’t seem to be using them, so the containers have to be trucked out of the port, sorted and then put back on trucks. Idiotic.
    2. That said there has been a definite uptick in rail freight over here, a good thing. Generally this goes to the various yards around Newark (and Bayonne via Nat’l Docks Secondary (car float) through Jersey City in the wee hours).
    3. Realistically the South Bronx is as close as freight could get to Manhattan. But as readers here probably know everything that way has to go to Albany (Selkirk) first, also idiotic.
    4. NYC has another already upgraded rail facility in SI with a direct connection to Conrail in NJ. (This is the old Staten Island Railway, owned in a former universe by the Baltimore & Ohio.) Yeah not great, but still better than nothing. Currently used mostly to haul your trash from Great Kills. Plenty of space to make it a freight transfer location.
    5. Someone should probably propose converting one of the empty LI defense airbases into a large rail transfer station. Which means it will not occur because someone has to build an empty mall on it first.


    January 30, 2021 at 2:34 pm

  3. Hi Mr. Waxman, I have been absorbing your content for years and have learned so much fron your perspective. Thanks for gutting it out everyday, the Newtown Pentacle is a testement to your veracity. I lived in Astoria for 7 years and loved exploring some of the same areas you frequent. Your photos and monologues have been invaluable to me as I research the Newtown Creek canal and its industrial surrounds. I am writing a novel about the history of trash in NYC told through the eyes of pigs and would love to attend one of your tours to further my knowledge. Will you be doing another Creekathon this year?

    Jordan Hall

    February 5, 2021 at 10:18 am

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