The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for August 2021

awesome pulsing

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After spending a stinky hour and change at Penny Bridge in Greenpoint, one decided to walk back to HQ in Astoria via the pedestrian path on the Kosciuszcko Bridge. I ran into a friend and her dog on the way, and got to enjoy a bit of company. Having not seen this particular person since the start of the pandemic, she was a bit startled at how much my personality has changed in the last year and a half. I explained my philosophical embrace of sociopathy in recent months, and how freeing it is to just not care about anything anymore.

Really, I just give zero shits about anything. Nothing actually matters.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “happy place” is my pet name for industrial Maspeth. The corner which that stop sign pictured above is found on used to host a Yeshiva, which closed under mysterious circumstance back in the 1950’s. Rumors abound, including wild stories about “Dybbuk” infestations, but it’s most likely something mundane that closed the religious school. The “Frum’s” were probably just consolidating themselves into Williamsburg and or Crown Heights during this era.

Translation of Frum for Goyem – many Jews refer to the Orthodox sects (Hasids, Satmars etc.) as “Frum.” It’s a Yiddish word, which I don’t know the exact meaning of, but it seems to be related to being strict. Frum are the people you see wearing the hats and formal clothes everywhere they go, and who rigorously follow religious law and custom, and are often in the camera retail business. Conservative Jews usually dress like everyone else, but wear Yarmulkes and observe both dietary and sabbath law pretty closely, but also often ski or take cruises and that sort of stuff. Secular Jews, which are my particular tribe, are basically assimilated Americans with funny last names, except we have Chanukah substituted for Christmas.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Almost back at HQ, and suffering greatly as the humidity had risen nearly 30 points since my time at Penny Bridge, a chance meeting with a New Jersey Transit train running on the turnaround track at Sunnyside Yards necessitated a photo as it passed. Boy oh boy, was I shvitzing when I walked in the house. Oy, it’s so humid!

Back tomorrow.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 31, 2021 at 11:00 am

persistently haunted

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in Friday’s post, a humble narrator set out for Greenpoint’s “Penny Bridge” street end to capture a few sunset shots. What with the heat and all the rain we’ve been having, it’s been difficult to find the right time and get to the right place. Penny Bridge is at the foot of Meeker Avenue, incidentally, where there used to be a crossing to Queens. The Penny Bridge, as it was called, was demolished in 1939 when the original Kosciuszcko Bridge opened. My pals at Newtown Creek Alliance have been looking after this spot, and have even installed a bit of historic signage about Penny Bridge. If you visit, be careful with the everpresent mud found there, as it’s quite slippery.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The mud clogs up a sewer grate, meaning that there’s also always a giant puddle of super nasty water. Luckily, this allows what seems like a billion mosquitoes a place to breed. That’s the good stuff, I tell’s ya.

The night I was at Penny Bridge was about 24 hours after Tropical Storm Henri blew through the City, and my beloved Newtown Creek was particularly aromatic. The “licking a battery” smell of raw sewage was prevalent due to the Combjned Sewer Outfall system. Mixed into the aroma was a distinctly petrochemical perfume, and the nearby waste transfer stations that handle municipal refuse were introducing the scent of wet garbage into the atmospheric cocktail. Never has Anosmia sounded so good, thought I.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The weird emanate of light from the Kosciuszcko Bridge paints the landscape of the Newtown Creek with a lacquer of surreal and over saturated colors. The hues and intensity of the bridge’s lights are like no earthly color. Instead, they are not like some colour out of space or anything, instead they remind one of a certain Greek coffee shop back home in Astoria.

More tomorrow.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 30, 2021 at 11:00 am

tilted simultanously

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One found himself at the Penny Bridge site in Greenpoint recently, along the fabulous Newtown Creek, when the Tug Mary H labored past. She was towing a fuel barge, which was likely headed for the Bayside Fuel Terminal on Metropolitan Avenue nearby the eponymous bridge.

By me, this is exciting stuff.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s moments like these that all of the low light shooting I’ve been doing for the last few years pays forward. Seriously, would not have been able to capture anything close to this with my old camera.

Luckily, the thing was already up on the tripod, since I had come out here specifically for the sunset period of the day. Funnily, the tripod actually limited what I could capture, but that’s where the low light capability of the new camera sings.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in the past, it doesn’t matter if a tugboat is pushing or pulling, it’s called “towing.” Next week, I’ll show you the sunset shots, but for now, I’m not sure what the next few days hold. Looks like the heat is going to break and that’s going to bring a bunch of storms into play, but I’m anxious to try out the new NYC Ferry Staten Island Route. The plan is to take the 7 to the 34th street dock, ride to St. George, get on the big orange boat and head back to Manny Hatty. Once in the City, I’ll shop over to Pier 11 and head back home via the Astoria route.

That’s me, I now commute for fun.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 27, 2021 at 11:30 am

bodily visit

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One last trio from Dutch Kills for today. What can I say, it’s either been horribly hot or raining for the last week. Gah, do I hate this time of year in NYC. If there was only mist or fog associated with NYC’s summer humidity… but it’s just a blue haze of murky ozone light in late August. If you’re curious, I was flipping through all of the lenses in my kit while at Dutch Kills this particular evening, and the one used for today’s post is the RF 24-105 f4 L.

Every lens seems to have its own color rendition, flaws and strengths, there’s even a difference in exposure in some cases. Science and optics, bro, science and optics.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since it was a lifetime ago, and a former variant of the current “me,” I seldom mention to people that I used to draw comic books. Saying that, the training in “storytelling” that revolves around that particular discipline of cartooning continues to come in handy, and informs the way I use the camera. Most photo people come to a scene and do “one and done,” whereas I’m gazing “up, down, all around” before I even click the shutter button, trying to figure out how to tell a story with it.

You need to do “establishing shots” which place the reader in a scene, followed by close ups and other angles, and a wrap up establishing shot. It’s better to have the singular composition which will be your “wow, look at that” photo accompanied by several companion shots from a storytelling point of view. Another concern which I try to shoot for is the unfortunate fact that a lot of my shots are going to end up having type set against them for presentations. That’s something else you learn from drawing comics – leave room for the speech balloons and sound fx. I mention this because today’s images are all establishing shots.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another incarnation of mine was the advertising industry production and photo retouching one. The comics never really paid the bills, and a boy has to eat. I’ve done Times Square billboards, specialized in publication specific print ads (there’s a 15 year period during which I had something printed in either the New York Times or Wall Street Journal every day), worked on early internet sites like Jaguar.com, and if you walked into a Footlocker to buy sneakers at the start of this century the big banners and other “POS” stuff hanging in the windows was probably something I had sent to the printer. Again – leave room to set type or a logo on the image but shoot it so that it still could stand on its own as a single image without copy. It was an incredibly dull work life, incidentally, and not remotely like Mad Men.

The current incarnation is the craziest life I’ve ever known, however.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 26, 2021 at 1:00 pm

flowed conflictingly

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Becoming reacquainted with that old/new lens of mine, a 70-300 zoom which I had retired several years ago since it didn’t get along well with my old camera, is something I like to do at familiar locales. Luckily, there are few places more familiar to me than the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek. There’s my favorite little tree again. Don’t worry, you’ll see more of it tomorrow.

Often, when out shooting at night, intuition tells me that I’m being watched. It’s usually primates doing the watching, more often than not through the monoculars of security cameras. Sometimes it’s one of those dick Canada Gooses, others it’s a stealthy raccoon or some other beast of the night. I mainly worry about the primates, truth be told. I’m pretty sure I can win a fight with a raccoon, and actually fended one off not too long ago in Maspeth with my tripod.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This time around, when I felt a pair of eyes boring into me, it was a cat sitting on the bulkheads of Dutch Kills. How it managed to get to this spot mystifies, but Cat’s are capable of great feats of athleticism. You don’t normally see Cats with this colorization hereabouts. Calicos and tabbies seem to be more common on the Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek, in LIC there seems to be some sort of genetic advantage to having your fur pajamas cast in black. Black cats with yellow eyes seem to dominate.

Remember back in the before times, prior to the hipsters and gentrifiers, when there were packs of wild dogs roaming around? Lots of feral animals in those days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This little murder machine seemed to on the hunt for something which was hiding behind that concrete block on the right hand side of the shot. Probably some prey animal like a rat or a mouse, or some sort of shrew. It was really paying attention to me as well, and seemed to know that it was being photographed. I swear that it saw the camera and posed. Never signed a release, though, so I can’t sell this shot.

Back tomorrow with more from the shadows.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 25, 2021 at 1:00 pm

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