The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

neglected orchard

with 2 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

Terror and habitual anxiety color my days, so the best time to just “do me” seems to be at night. Believe it or not, the spaces pictured in today’s post were once analogous to the modern day Hamptons, and the golden coast of northern Long Island City – basically between Anable Basin and Hallets Cove – was replete with the grandiose mansions and walled gardens of New York’s elite social and financial upper classes. Several of these conspicuous mansions were converted to charitable institutions after the mercantile families moved North, West, or East, or when they degenerated into common rabble as their fortunes faltered. The old manor houses and mansions became orphanages, homes for the insane, and asylums for fallen women (which is what they used to call “Sex Workers” in the late 18th and most of the 19th century, for those of you in the “woke” crowd). 1909 is the year that Queensboro opened for business, and that was just ten years after Queens itself was fashioned by Manhattan’s ready political hands. Then, as now, riverfront property is quite valuable. Prime industrial land was being “wasted” on the indigent and immoral, so these mansions became quite prone to grisly total loss fires. “Can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs” as the saying goes.

Nomenclature from the time, specifically the late 19th century, including referring to homeless children as “street arabs.” Life was cheap and short then, as it is now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For once, my timing was impeccable. Arriving at this particular spot just as a passing subway train was climbing out of its tunnel hole and towards the elevated station, I got to crack out a few shots as it’s wheels and third rail shoe were creating flashes of electric arc light. You have to be a bit careful in this particular area under Queensboro, due to the plague of vampires that hide amongst the bridge’s nest of steel girders and structural supports.

You don’t find the undead – or Vampires, at least – East or North of 31st and Northern Blvd., probably due to underground streams of flowing water, and certain magical arts carried into Astoria by Coptic and Orthodox Monastics who carried it from their ancient homelands in Egypt and Greece. These protective charms would be decried as Wizardry were they not so old and enshrined, and were known in both Constantinople and Alexandria long before the arrival of the Turk.

They’ve always had a Vampire problem in Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Peasant superstitions notwithstanding, one of the truly wasted spaces in NYC is found at the western edge of Queens Plaza, under the Vampire colony. The arched vaults of Lindenthal’s cathedral of steel and utility are used to store municipal junk, NYC’s municipal fleet vehicles, and unknown items wrapped in fluttering tarps. Why wouldn’t you surround an architectural and civil engineering masterpiece with razor wire and use it as a parking lot?

Perhaps it’s because…


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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 26, 2021 at 11:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. Love your fabulous anecdotes and photos!

    Maureen Hunt

    February 26, 2021 at 12:57 pm

  2. Your photos are beautiful.


    February 27, 2021 at 8:46 pm

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