The Newtown Pentacle

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Se llamo Monday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned last week, a social engagement found a humble narrator wandering the streets of lower Manhattan, specifically the “East of Bowery” section of Chinatown. My luncheon companions all decided to jump on the subway to get home, but it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I had nothing in particular to rush back to Astoria to do, so…

A short walk found me at Corlears Hook, which is one of the locations you can catch the NYC Ferry’s South Brooklyn service. My intention was originally formed around going one stop south to transfer onto the Astoria boat, but the ferry people were running late and I missed my connection. Given the 45 minutes I’d have to wait for the next boat, one opted to instead take a different path to Queens and I transferred onto the East River line which would deposit my stinking carcass in Long Island City’s Hunters Point section nearby my beloved Newtown Creek. Since that was going to be a while as well, I opted to stay on the South Brooklyn boat instead of waiting on the pier for the East River service, which I’d be back in time for anyway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What seems to have caused the Ferry schedule to unravel was the presence of a large number of recreational jet skiers on the East River. There were also abundant riders on the ferries, which caused the boats to expand their “dwell time” at the docks as the ridership loaded and unloaded. “Dwell time” is an important factor which transit planners need to incorporate into their schedules, but it’s unfortunately something that’s difficult to plan for. Somebody at MTA once told me that having somebody at a busy Manhattan hub station like Herald Square randomly hold a Subway door open for even a minute can ripple out into the entire system and cause delays for hours.

This is sort of what happened on the NYC Ferry system a couple of Saturdays ago. Missing that connection with the Astoria boat ended up costing me close to two hours and ended with having to find a way home from LIC once I hit the landward side. I’m going to suggest to the Ferry people at Hornblower (the private company which NYC uses to run the service), next time I have the chance, that they incorporate a “local” into the their lines system – one which makes all stops between Astoria and DUMBO on the Long Island coast and East 90th to Pier 11 Wall Street on the City Side. If the “local” is timed to visit these stops at the half way point between “express” service scheduling, it would ameliorate quite a few issues.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally speaking, I actually don’t care how long it takes to get from “a” to “b” if there’s anything interesting to point the camera at. To wit, the Crystal Cutler tugboat was steaming by Governor’s Island as the South Brooklyn Line Ferry I was on was heading northwards.

As a note, since this particular excursion played out, I’ve solved my “long lens” problem. The shot above was captured with a 24-105 lens, and regular readers of this Newtown Pentacle will tell you that I’ve been gnashing my teeth and decrying the fact that 105mm is the longest lens I own that’s native for the Canon mirrorless system which was invested in at the end of last year. Luckily, a 70-300mm lens which was purchased about 15 years ago and that I had sort of forgotten about is designed for full frame cameras and I’ve been successful at adapting it to the new system. It’s not ideal, but it’s already been paid for!

Speaking of historical lensing… 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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 2, 2021 at 11:30 am

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