The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

denizens thereof

with 2 comments

Monday is arisen, and risible.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The first two shots in today’s post were gathered during a quick visit to Astoria’s Luyster Creek, found on the forbidden northern shore of Queens. I’m told that the rotting wooden structure in the one above used to be a dock. Personally, I don’t have any reason to argue with that. As you can tell, it was low tide when I was waving the camera about and all of the exquisite petrochemical and human excrement smells normally subsumed by the waters of the East River and Bowery Bay were available for easy sniffing.

Y’know, when you’ve taken the deep dive into all of the Newtown Creek “superfun” that I have, your head gets filled up with all sorts of regulatory terms. “NAPL” is non aqueous phase liquid, for instance. “VOC’s” are volatile organic chemicals. What those five dollar terms indicate is that VOC’s – or petroleum derived products – mixing with VOC’s – basically raw sewage – is pretty bad. All this yuck settles down out of the water column and builds up a bed of sediments – called “Black Mayonnaise.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The flowing water found at the head of the canal, here at Luyster Creek, is a bit of mystery. I’ve asked my pals at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation if they have any clue as to where this water is coming from. The theory is that it’s a natural spring being fed by “pore” or ground water, but that’s their best guess. The 20th century did a real job to the forbidden northern shore of Queens.

I’ve added Luyster Creek to my list of waterways, by the way. A group of us are going to head out here this weekend to do a shoreline cleanup, hopefully the first of many such endeavors. The good news is that some of my friends who work for the City are going to help out by letting us dispose of the collected trash in their bins.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Seriously, I haven’t been in Manhattan more than once or twice in the last year. This shot was collected when I was walking home from getting my first vaccination shot at a hospital on the Upper East Side. What a pleasure it was, I tell you, to walk home on a pleasantly warm day and catch that unoccluded East River afternoon sunshine. Sure, you have to dodge out of the way of people riding motorcycles in the bike lanes, which the bicycle people will tell me I’m imagining.

I’m a fan of the bike people’s push to turn the north side of Queensboro’s lower level current ped/bike lane into purely bike, while dedicating the south path for purely pedestrian access. Did you know that the south side lower level roadway used to be a trolley route? The streetcars would exit from the bridge and proceed up Northern Blvd. all the way to Woodside Avenue.

“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

April 5, 2021 at 11:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. Regarding the trolleys over the Queensboro Bridge: In addition to the aforementioned Steinway line, there was also the Manhattan & Queens Traction line that ran under the 7 line viaduct. I think there might have been a NY&QT line but at present I don’t have access to the relevant tomes and grimoires to confirm.

    The bridge was also where the very last trolley line in NYC operated- An orange and white Osgood-Bradley electromobile (Steinway line?) that served the residents of Roosevelt Island between Queens and Manhattan until 1958.


    April 5, 2021 at 9:01 pm

  2. Life in the City, in This City, is in so many ways a risible affair.

    Tommy Efreeti

    April 7, 2021 at 9:49 pm

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