The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for February 2021

induced gate

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Fill ‘er up, buddy. You don’t get to say that very often, or at least not geographically often, in Western Queens these days. The rapacious hunger of the Real Estate Industrial Complex, which will be slaked only when each and every property lot in NYC has had a residential tower built upon it, often focuses in on the easy kill. Like lions stalking a wounded antelope, the REIC agents hungrily circle around gas stations and supermarkets. The large footprint and air rights enjoyed by these businesses cause gastric juices to drip from the quivering maw of the REIC agents, and the sight of open sky causes the deeply seated pancreases to begin secreting hormones that quicken the pulse and respiration. Kill, kill. More, more. AMI, MIH, jobs, more, more.

Most of the gas stations remaining in NYC are franchises, parts of some far flung petrochemical empire run out of air conditioned offices in other states that smell of expensive cologne. The one pictured in today’s post is that rarest of prey animals for the REIC predator – an independently owned filling station which offers no corporate logo or branding. They sell gas and fix cars, here at Bridge Stop.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The REIC acquisitions people are trained killers, and are the agents of extinction for small business. It surprises me that neither the Silvercup crew, nor the Kaufman Astoria mechanics, or the HANACssassins have pried the deed for this property away from whomsoever holds it. This is the turf of those three members of the REBNY crime families. Want to know how they do business, the Real Estate Industrial Complex? One of them was just your President, the one who was impeached for inciting a mob to storm Congress. His son in law and principal advisor is another member of this club, but his holdings are largely found in the WIlliamsburg and Greenpoint sections of Brooklyn, as well as an aptly addressed Manhattan office tower at 666 Fifth Avenue.

Long have I advocated for the Federal Government to conduct a RICO investigation of not just the Real Estate Board of New York, but also of their enablers in municipal service at the NYC Economic Development Corporation. Perhaps, someday, all the poisons in the mud will leech out…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

1909 was a pretty big year for Queens. The Queensborough Bridge, Sunnyside Yards, Subway work was underway, the NY Connecting Railroad… all kinds of good stuff was being built. Back then, you still had people growing potatoes in fields around these parts as the steel for the transit system was being installed. The infrastructure was built, and that lit off a fifty year long period of breakneck economic growth and development. The growth was bolstered in the 1930’s and 40’s when Robert Moses began building highways, and Cord Meyer began building eastern Queens suburbs to surround the off ramps of those highways. Again – infrastructure creation was followed by economic growth. Pattern?

The way they’re trying to do it today is backwards, but the people doing the planning these days eat Pizza with a knife and fork. New York City does not have a housing problem, it has a transit problem. We solve transit for the 21st century, we save the City, and in turn we save the country. We begin by learning to ignore the zombie hordes of “YIMBY’s” and the “housing growth first” cult of density worshipping sycophants with their shadowy connections to Real Estate Industrial Complex.

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, February 22nd. 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

February 25, 2021 at 11:00 am

dark polarity

with one comment

Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Arch Street Yard is a locomotive maintenance facility in Long Island City, found at the westernmost edge of the rail complex called Sunnyside Yards. There always seems to be a couple of decrepit Long Island Railroad trains stored here. Maybe they use them for parts, who knows? Luckily there’s a hole in the fence big enough for my camera lenses. Of course, that’s presuming that I’m not imagining or dreaming this circumstance and scene, which is a presumption that my quarantine addled thought process might not still be reliable and that the fence hole is not some wild hallucination. I’ve got a photo, so it’s likely real, but who knows…

Fence holes – dey’s is me bread-n-buttah, presumptively.

The setup on this particular evening involved me using my Canon R6 with the 35mm f 1.8 lens. This one is now part of the permanent carry, in terms of what goes in my camera bag. This lens has image stabilization at f1.8! Between the IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) and the lens’s stabilizer – that’s 8 stops of light! That can’t be real, can it? I mean… physics…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of my practices is to walk a new tool around to familiar places and spaces, and given that the walk I took it on – which included a few times when I sat down for few minutes here and there to rest a sore ankle – moved through an area extensively explored and photographed in the before time.

There used to be a diner on 49th Avenue in LIC, then it became a fancy pants restaurant, and it’s sat empty like this for years now. This isn’t because of COVID, instead it’s the old Queens trope about a landlord discovering that their tenant is doing well so they jack up the rent hoping to cash in and then put them out of business. That is a fresh layer of pandemic graffiti, however, and one finds those compositions pleasing to the eye.

Of course, at this stage of the pandemic, I find a dripping faucet endlessly fascinating. Is the faucet even real? Am I? Is any of this? How could things have fallen apart so completely and so fast, in not just the United States but in New York City? Why is toast better than bread?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On this particular scuttle around LIC, I abstained from my pandemic habit of not having headphones plugged into my ear holes. I was listening to an audiobook describing the last decades of the Roman Republic according to Plutarch, and let me tell you this friends – history does, indeed, repeat itself. My assertion that we haven’t arrived at the time of Caesar – yet – remains in place, but we have clearly skipped past the Gracchi Brothers and entered into a political era analogous to that occupied by Marius and Sulla.

Was Rome even real? Did Romans fight about reallocating the horse parking spaces on the public Via in favor of creating protected Chariot lanes? Did you know that the City of Rome had no Police Force, nor a Fire Dept.? Rich guys like Croesus maintained the fire fighting crews, and he’d sell you back all the stuff they rescued from the burning building. If you couldn’t afford to pay, he’d sell it to someone else. There’s a reason that the phrase “richer than Croesus” is still used 2,000 years after he died.

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, February 22nd. 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

February 24, 2021 at 11:00 am

outside absolute

with 2 comments

Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Staggering in fear amongst the darkened streets of Long Island City, with its peculiarly utilitarian angularities of cyclopean masonry thrusting rudely at the sky, a humble narrator was experiencing quite a bit of pain at this stage in his evening. The left ankle is currently malfunctioning, which is a bodily component just uphill from that big toe which one discovered to be broken – due to the action of gravity and a planting trough – at the end of 2019. Instinct would suggest one first punches the painful ankle a few times, then use an ace bandage on the hinge, and eventually make a decision between lopping it off with a cleaver or making a Doctor’s appointment. One normally waits until it is absolutely necessary to engage Medical Professionals, Legal Professionals, or really any of the Professions, unless you have to. Gets expensive. Painful ankle after walking five miles? Find a spot to sit down for a few minutes. Good god, I’ve gotten to the age where you have to sit down for a few minutes every now and then…

“Bah! One such as myself can bear all, pain is neurological like the brain is and the brain is you so if you have control over your self you control the brain and the nervous system and you don’t feel pain… there is no spoon, nothing is real!”

That’s what I was thinking when I stood up after sitting down for a few minutes. My ankle felt better after a quick rest period, and I stopped mentally picturing the bruised and swollen toe, and resumed pointing the camera at stuff.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You can’t know “everything” about something, quite obviously, unless you were there before it and will be there after it. Saying that, I can do an improv lecture about this corner that would easily fill an hour’s worth of your time – Montauk Cutoff, Long Island Railroad, Long Island City, NYC Consolidation, Bob Moses, Long Island Expressway, New Real Estate Development – those are the bullet points just off the top of my head. There’s a whole story just with those empty sign boards that involves Organized Crime, the Feds, Court Cases.

I’d offer a second hour on the Graffiti culture of LIC, but I have to get a third or fourth party to do the actual lecture. I’m a casual fan, but not part of the street art scene and am not that knowledgable.

I’ll tell you what, though. There’s a LOT more graffiti flying all over the place than I’ve seen in 30 years. A lot of it is also, coincidentally, pretty good. There’s kind of a postmodernist vibe going on, even with just tags.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Obviously, I’ve seen panel trucks graffiti’d on all over NYC my entire life. Saying that, this sort of vehicular graffiti pictured above seems to be on an uptick. Of course, my geographic “range” has been limited and the sample area largely heavy industrial, but the scene is similar to dozens of others I’ve photographed in the last year. Maybe I wasn’t “seeing it” in the past, but the frequency of panel truck graffiti definitely seems tuned up. Truth be told, I like the “custom wrap” look of this particular vandal’s artwork.

It’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is. Neither hot nor cold. Nothing is real.

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, February 22nd. 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

February 23, 2021 at 11:00 am

nether earth

with 4 comments

Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

With great solemnity and a terror quickened gait did a humble narrator dance along the Borden Avenue Bridge, spanning the Long Island City constrained Dutch Kills waterway (tributary of an aqueous ribbon of Municipal neglect and malignant reputation known as the Newtown Creek), scanning the poison depths for any possible sign of “it.” My inquiries regarding “it” initially pointed me in the direction of certain tales told by the aboriginal inhabitants of the Dutch Kills area. Back then, prior to the arrival of the European Colonialists, this section looked quite different. Sub tributaries, tidal streams and pools, swamps, marshes, and all of it teeming with the sort of life that bites and flies and wriggles and lays its eggs in your skinvelope. Of course, we only know this because of the surviving reports of the colonialists who witnessed it, and from scientific studies of geographical bores and depositional stratigraphy offered by their descendants.

While pointing a lens at the waters, with my camera’s sensitivity to ambience turned up quite high, a sudden smacking sound and an energetic splash of water gathered my attentions. Surely, my mind – wrecked from months of quarantine and the worries of societal tumult – was telling me what I wanted to hear. I saw nothing. I did not see “It.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another bridge, same Dutch Kills tributary of that loathsome cataract of urban industry which the children call Newtown Creek, this time it was the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge – same scanning the putrid surface of the water looking for “It.”

There’s often a mucosa of unknown slimes right on the surface of Dutch Kills in this section, no doubt due to the presence of several high volume open sewers or “Combined Sewer Outfalls.” The pipes found here at Dutch Kills are part of NYC’S wastewater disposal system, extending for miles and miles under and into Queens. Perhaps that’s where “It” goes, which makes me wonder if “It” might be a strictly local phenomena or is it occurring on grander scales in terms of both geography and scale.

Will have to make inquiries – contact and cajole Professional Mariners, gossip with the Dock Workers, shoot the shit with friendly Sewer Smithys…

Wonder if “It” might have any connection to what’s living at the bottom of the East River at Hells Gate in Astoria? If so, “It” might represent something far older than the aboriginal stories encountered by the Colonialists. “It” might even connect with the original human population of the harbor, the so called “Clovis Point” culture whose remains have been observed in the hinterlands of Staten Island.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

With my palpitant heart all a flutter at the canonical heresies now liberally circulating through the cerebellum did a humble narrator stagger forth into the Long Island City night. Along the way, a car carrier truck was noticed and I thought it looked cool so I took a picture of it. That’s what I told the driver when he rolled down his window and asked me I was taking pictures of him for. We both laughed, or at least I did… I think that happened but maybe it didn’t. It’s been so long since I’ve interacted with other people regularly that I’m not sure what I’m saying or doing or what’s even real these days. I’ve got a photo, so at least that’s evidence.

The good news is that despite the weather I’ve been maintaining my regular cycle of photo-walk nights, burning up and grinding down the soles of my shoes. Last week saw an Apocalypse of Zoom meetings (3 Zoom’s = A Holocaust, 6 Zoom’s = An Apocalypse. Don’t do 9 Zoom’s, you don’t come back from 9 Zooms) pop up out of nowhere which I had to attend. I even had to get up early for one of them!

To be seen by so many diminishes one.

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, February 22nd. 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

February 22, 2021 at 11:00 am

exotic eccentricity

with one comment

Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is taking a break this week, as his anxiety and or stress levels have become absolutely maxed out. Thusly, you’ll be seeing single shots and regular postings will resume next week.

Pictured above is the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek.

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, February 15th. 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

February 19, 2021 at 11:00 am

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