The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for March 15th, 2021

monstrous arch

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Monday gnashes into toothsome view again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Well, here we are in Long Island City again, wandering about in the depths of a frozen nightscape. For the last year, my personal stations of the cross have included several prominent and photogenic spots here in the still quite industrialized sections of LIC which are surrounded the waters of Newtown Creek and its tributaries. What have I learned during this pandemic year?

First, I’ve learned that my mind has been reduced to jelly and that I now have an attention span which only an insect would be envious of. Secondly, my body has turned to jelly as well, and I’ve put on a bunch of weight which needs shedding. Third, that circumstance is actually far more tenuous in these United States than it should be and that once this crisis is receding in the rear view mirror we need to start addressing that fact. Haven’t we been spending trillions for more than 75 years on National Defense and “readiness” and when the shit hit the fan we couldn’t figure out a way to feed old and poor people during an emergency?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the stations of the cross for me has been the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek, and my search for “it.” I’ve been scanning the water for “it” but haven’t witnessed or photographed any visual phenomena. I have heard inexplicable splashes and seen odd movement in the surface waters, but so far – no “It.”

These shots were captured on a particularly cold night in early February. It was “what the hell am I doing this for” cold. My fingers were numb inside of the gloves I was wearing, and I was wearing a thermal under layer beneath the normal “outside clothes” and filthy black raincoat outer. Marcus Aurelius’s recommendations for a proper life advise one to wear different clothes within the domicile than one does without. This was good stoic advice, even if it has come down to us from a long dead Roman Emperor. A humble narrator offers this – grasping at crumpled up paper towels, stored in your coat pockets during a cold snap, is a quick remedy for warming up the hands. Paper is an excellent insulator.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One looks forward to next week, when the second stage of my COVID vaccination will occur. I’m already making plans for the “after times,” and whereas I never thought that I’d be looking forward to descending down into the sweating concrete bunkers of the MTA to ride the Subway – there you are. One has already ordered and received a new pair of hiking shoes, and the first part of my plans involve stitching back and forth across the East River on its various bridges. I’m going to ride the Roosevelt Island Tram, and visit the Empire State Building Observation deck at night, and do all the “tourist” stuff before the tourists reappear. Probably going to ride on one of those double decker buses too. I’m going to eat at a restaurant and drink beer at a bar.

In short, when this bat escapes his cage…

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, March 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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 15, 2021 at 2:00 pm

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