The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

translate itself

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Lo, Monday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Industrial Maspeth is my happy place. Every visit fills me with ineluctable joy. A recent tiptoe through the industrial tulips, a few weeks back, found a humble narrator negotiating icy streets, mountainous piles of gray black snow, and heavy truck traffic on his nocturnal path to Newtown Creek. One has long offered the opinion that NYC never looks as good as it does when it’s wet, as evinced above. This is from 48th street, aka “the Shell Road,” which was a colonial era pathway from north to south paved with crushed oyster shells. Pictured is a lonely FDNY alarm box, sitting on a patch of sidewalk which barely exists anymore due to the expansion of corporate fencing.

The Shell Road slouches gently in altitude, down from the distant prominence of Greenpoint Avenue to the dark havens of Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

People do live here in industrial Maspeth. I’m always surprised, finding a well cared for 1 or 2 family semi attached home plunked down in the middle of some otherwise hellacious industrial stretch. There might be constant noise and pollution, but there isn’t alternate side parking to contend with here in the industrial buisness zone, and it’s pretty quiet on the weekends. Want to park a boat on the street, bro? You do you.

Dichotomies abound, of course. When most say “Maspeth,” what one pictures are pretty as you please blocks of tract housing which have a somewhat suburban aspect that neighbors schools and shopping. When I say Maspeth, I’m picturing what’s generally referred to as “West Maspeth” in modernity, and it’s the darkest of the hillside thickets surrounding the fabulous Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “Happy Place” has been nepenthe for a humble narrator during the plague year, a place where I can freely breathe sans mask or precautions due to the utter lack of population hereabout. I will also admit to enjoying the esthetics.

Night time walks around this area demand the usage of a safety vest or some other reflective material to signal your presence to the truck drivers and heavy equipment operators. A recent “hack” to my camera bag introduced a strip of reflective fabric tape to the bag’s strap, which Our Lady of the Pentacle handled for me using her darning skills. Hey, when you’re known for wearing all black clothing with a filthy black raincoat over it all, it can’t hurt to be a little bit visible.

“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 29, 2021 at 1:00 pm

One Response

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  1. I learn (or at least am reminded of having once already known) new definitions every post of yours I read. What felicitous writing!

    Tommy Efreeti

    March 29, 2021 at 2:57 pm

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