The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for September 2021

ultimate abyss

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Stage one of my September travels, accomplished using Amtrak to get from place to place, saw Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself entering Moynihan Penn Station early on a rainy day. This was actually the first time I’d stepped foot inside of the new facility and it was pretty impressive. I plan on going back sometime soon just for photos, but given that I was burdened down with luggage and my entire camera setup was on my back…

This journey was on a train line that Amtrak had recently reinstated after several years, “The Vermonter.” Our final destination was meant to be Essex Junction, which is a town neighboring Burlington in the state of Vermont. The announcement signaled it was time to board and we left the bright cavern of Moynihan Station and descended into the stygian darkness of Penn Station.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seems that the way Amtrak works involves you telling the Conductor where you’re going and then you get directed into one of the several cars on their train. They seem to group travelers together by destination, which – as it turns out – is a fairly prosaic practice. Once onboard, you’re adjured to use the luggage racks and reminded about wearing a mask. After the train leaves the station, conductors move through the line checking tickets and answering questions from the riders.

There were a surprisingly substantial number of people on the train, which I wasn’t expecting for a mid week and fairly long distance trip. Turns out that this route travels through coastal Connecticut for much of the run, and that a lot of people get to and from there by Amtrak rather than commuter rail.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Vermonter exited the East River tunnels, rode through the Sunnyside Yards, and surmounted the Hell Gate Bridge heading north. My original intention was to be productive on this trip, but honestly I ended up staring out of the window for most of it. Some of my homemade camera equipment was utilized, a foam collar for the lens which allowed me to cancel out reflections and shoot cleanly through the window.

I’ve got a couple of image sequences which I’ll be offering at some point in the future, but for today it’s just static ones.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It is vastly more comfortable to travel using Amtrak than it is to fly. “Vastly” is actually an understatement. The car that Our lady of the Pentacle and I were traveling in was mostly empty, whereas other ones were well populated. Again, this is where that system they use comes in. There were a bunch of stops along the way where the doors to our car didn’t even open.

There’s a cafe car, which was at the rear of the train on this journey, and I ate the Amtrak microwaved hamburger. I’d describe it as “modern day soldier food” and it really wasn’t terrible. Better than McDonalds? Let’s put it in the same range, although Amtrak doesn’t have pickles or special sauce. Point is that it “filled the hole” and I can now say that I ate an Amtrak Burger.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In New Haven, Connecticut, they switch out the electric engine for a diesel one and there’s a short layover wherein you’re allowed to exit the train and stretch your legs. They also changed crew there. Observationally speaking, they seem to change crews more or less when the train is crossing state lines. Must be a union thing, I guess.

At any rate, after they attached the Diesel unit to the front of the train, we continued hurtling northwards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Vermonter was an all day trip, and we arrived at Essex Junction well after dark. Luckily, they use ride share services up there too, and a quick cab ride got us to the hotel. We settled in and grabbed a meal and a couple of drinks at the hotel restaurant and then went to sleep. An early alarm was set, as adventure awaited us the next day.

More to come tomorrow, from the Socialist Paradise of Burlington, Vermont.

As a note, with all of the missed sleep and weird schedule I’ve been experiencing over the last few weeks I’m completely divorced from my normal schedule. Going to bed late, waking up in the afternoon, not normal. It’s going to take a few days until Newtown Pentacle, thereby, returns to its normal schedule.


“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

September 27, 2021 at 2:00 pm

mendicant wanderings

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Friday, but published a day late

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, one has been out of town for most of the month of September. Amtrak has been my chariot, although for one weekend in there my pal Hank the Elevator Guy drove his car. The shot above was captured on the first leg of my journeys, depicting the scene from the trackage of the Hell Gate Bridge with Astoria Park in the foreground and mighty Triborough featured prominently. More next week.


“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

September 25, 2021 at 11:00 am

curiously articulated

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A quick one today. That’s the composition I had planned for the tribute in lights shot, but for whatever reason they didn’t have them on. C’est la vie, huh?

Still, I’m pretty happy with the shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

From a bit earlier in the evening, and looking across the Whale Creek tributary of Newtown Creek towards the shield wall of Manhattan.

At least the Empire State Building people decided to light things up appropriately.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking down at the places I normally inhabit: sewer plants, waste transfer stations, the mean streets of Brooklyn.

Back tomorrow, lords and ladies, with something COMPLETELY different. I have actually been outside of NYC for the last few weeks! Vacation, all I ever wanted…


“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

September 23, 2021 at 11:00 am

amidst throngs

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After sheltering within, trying to avoid the punishing late afternoon radiates of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself, a humble narrator reemerged onto the Kingsland Wildflowers Green Roof at 520 Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section. The aforementioned eye was finally in the process of tucking itself away behind New Jersey and the light got nice.

The camera was mounted on a tripod, a ten stop ND filter was screwed onto the lens, and I got a clicking.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For those of you who aren’t camera nerds, an ND filter is a sunglass for your lens. It allows you the freedom to do longer than normal exposures during daylight hours. Choosing one of these things is normally a colossal guessing game, as what you see of it is a disc of seemingly opaque black glass. That disc will introduce a color cast, and it doesn’t matter how much you pay for the thing, there will always be a color cast. On my older camera, I had to guess at exposure, whereas the newer one allows me to actually see what the camera sees on a tilt out screen.

There were a couple of times where I marveled at it – shooting at f18 with a ten stop ND filter and being able to see what I was doing. Wow.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in prior posts, my goal this particular day involved the desire to capture the 9/11 tribute in lights from up here, but I’ve never been particularly lucky so that didn’t work out. No regrets, however, as I filled my camera card up with lots of other shots.

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

September 22, 2021 at 11:00 am

polychromatic rhythm

with one comment

Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

520 Kingsland Avenue, found along the fabulous Newtown Creek in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, hosts a 26,000 square foot green roof. Green roofs drink storm water and improve an environmental condition called the “Maspeth Urban Heat Island Effect” which can see atmospheric temperatures in unplanted areas rise 10-15 degrees higher than in surrounding neighborhoods. Given that the phenomena was named for another Newtown Creek neighborhood, you see why Newtown Creek Alliance and our allies cared enough to do something about it.

As I often say – I like deeds, not words. Shit gets done on the Creek. Not taking personal credit for that, as a note, we have some pretty dedicated and capable people in our gaggle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The main section of the roof is dedicated to pollinator plants, whereas other sections have different functions and aren’t designed to be “public facing.” This is what we mean when saying that Newtown Creek must remain industrial, but there’s a simple series of steps that can benefit several factors. 520 Kingsland is a functioning tv studio – which means high paying union wages. It’s an artist studio, and the HQ for non profit entities like Newtown Creek Alliance. It also diverts thousands of gallons of precipitation away from the combined sewer outfalls network of sewer pipes, and lowers the ambient temperatures both inside and outside the building.

It’s this sort of multiphasic approach to urban spaces that can be a game changer for New York City, and provide inspiration for other post industrial American municipalities.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As you may have guessed by now, I’m a fan of this project.

Also, as you may have guessed by now, I was really grooving on the solitude I was enjoying up there to ruminate and contemplate. Unfortunately, as it was a cloudless day, the brutal amount of sunlight raining down on me was taking a toll. The Romans fashioned a god out of this sensation, one whose cult was in a serious competition with Christianity as to who would become the official state religion of their Empire. We’ve still got a Roman Catholic Church two thousand years later, and not many people have ever heard of Sol Invictus – the Warrior Sun – so there you are.


“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

September 21, 2021 at 11:00 am

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