The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

oppression waned

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whew, what a couple of weeks. One has walked or ridden a boat into 4 of the 5 Boroughs, including… Staten Island… in the last 14 days. I’ve been in Astoria, Long Island City, Bushwick, Greenpoint, East Williamsburg, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Manhattan’s Financial District and Lower East Side, and St. George. This whole spate of activity got started a couple of weeks ago in LIC when I had to meet up with a couple of Newtown Creek Alliance interns to teach them a couple of things about my beloved Creek. Good news is that most of this travel has occurred on boats, specifically on ferry boats.

The shot above is from the sidewalk of Borden Avenue, alongside the Long Island Railroad’s moderately ancient Hunters Point Rail Yard. The current facility is the ninth iteration of a rail yard on this spot. Once, there was a gigantic glass and steel train shed here, and there were turntables that allowed rail engines to reorient themselves from one track to another.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some of my travels have involved hopping on the subway. A humble narrator found himself at Queens Plaza just as a 7 line train was entering the Manhattan bound lower level tracks at the elevated MTA complex.

Just in the name of decrying how bad the management is at the redoubtable MTA… so, they had 16 months where basically nobody was riding the trains. During that interval, which you’d imagine as being a golden opportunity to perform upgrades and maintenance, they complained about declining fare revenues and an uptick in crime. Give us more money, they said, and the Feds bailed them out. Now, with the City reopening and everybody trying to get back to normal, just this last weekend they started doing signal upgrades to the Culver line. The F was running on the D, the D on the F, and R service was completely turned off in Astoria. Instruction was to take the 7 to Jackson Heights, and then transfer to the E, which was stopping in seemingly random places – none of which were where I was going.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above was gathered by shooting through the dirty window of a N train bound for Queens Plaza. One day it will happen – I’ll be on an N train which doesn’t look it was parked under a flock of seagulls and it will have clean windows offering a crystal clear view of the scene above.

Frustrating, the MTA is. That’s also a good sign of some sort of return to normalcy. How do you bring people together in our politically divided culture? Answer is: our common hatred of MTA management.

Speaking of getting back to normal… what are you doing on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?

“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

July 26, 2021 at 11:00 am

One Response

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  1. Love your photo of QBP station. You are in a car near the end of your train whose beginning is visible on the left, heading into the station. And there is the mighty Queensboro Bridge, my favorite, no longer master of the skylines east and west but still as majestic as ever. Walked it numerous times in my NYC yoot.


    July 26, 2021 at 3:47 pm

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