The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for November 2021

scoundrel out

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My beloved Creek. Pictured above and below are sections of the Whale Creek tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek. This canalized section of the greater waterway is contained entirely within the confines of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment and Resource Recovery Plant – or simply, the sewer plant in Greenpoint. The DEP has part of its small navy here, utilizing these boats to execute the mandate laid out for it by NYC’s charter. The blue vessel at the right of the shot is one of DEP’s skimmer boats.

There’s a conveyor belt apparatus which dips down into the water as the Skimmer Boat navigates along, and this mechanism allows them to harvest “floatable” trash and garbage as well as flotsam and jetsam from the rivers and creeks of NYC. They have several variations on this design in their inventory, in addition to the larger “Sludge Boats” which are more commonly noticed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One enjoys creating long exposure photos of this material swirling around in the eddy currents at the end of the canals. Nothing fancies up a shot like garbage in the water, I always opine.

Blah, blah, blah. I talk myself blue in the face about this issue and nobody cares. Litter on the street becomes litter in the water because of the combined sewer blah blah blah. Nothing changes, nobody cares, nothing matters except ‘Affordable housing’ (which is now going to be referred to as “deeply affordable housing,” if you want a preview of politic talk in 2022) and bike lanes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s been quite a week, with Thanksgiving and all, huh? Personally, I’m getting prepared for another “away game.”

Another bit of travel is on my horizon, and I’m going to be passing through Pittsburgh again in the next couple of weeks. This time around, I’m hoping to pull off a few night time shots when I’m there.

Back next week with more, at this, your Newtown Pentacle.


“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.

altogether ignorant

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thanks. Thanks have therefore been given, go shop now.

The good news is that we’ve made it to another Thanksgiving. Personally, I’m thankful that most of my friends have made it through Covid with not much more than a few scars, although there’s a cohort of folks who aren’t with us anymore. I’m not thankful for the acrimony and weird ideations which have become mainstream thought, nor for being forced into starting conversations with “do you really believe that the government is omnipotent”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Let’s pretend for a moment that the United States Government has the sort of far reaching technical acumen and information discipline that would result in them having secret technologies like “nanobots” available to them, which allow them to control minds and alter human genetics. Given everything you know about our Government, don’t you think that you’d see a battalion of Captain America’s raising a flag in Tehran if we had this sort of super hero movie tech? Wouldn’t the first thing America did with this new tech involve picking a drug or terror war fight with some 98 pound weakling of a country in the Third World, to test it out on the battlefield and develop tactics?

Now, saying that, the whole Newtown Creek dealie puts me in touch with all layers of Government on a regular basis. Federal, State, Local. Trust me when I tell you that the paper trail associated with telling somebody that their shoelaces are untied would be miles long, vulnerable to foil applications, and a Congressional Committee would investigate why loafers weren’t considered, given the laces issue, in the name of screwing with the Clintons. Conspiracies of anything other than indifference, or “that’s not my job,” or “procedure” are impossible for the simple reason of “ass covering.” They’re not that good, our government employees, largely because the pay sucks and they are doing this gig for the pension. If they were any good at their jobs, they’d be working in the corporate world for an oil company or an investment bank. Even there, it’s all about the cash and getting yours, not controlling a population of “sheeple.” The average citizen is considered to be little more than a consumer, a customer, a metaphorical member of a demographic cohort – an obstacle or an abstraction.

That’s something to be thankful about, ultimately.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I always find it odd that the same group of people who decry “the State” (in the Machiavellian definition) and demand that we “starve the beast,” relegate such omnipotent abilities and powers to it. When the Federal Leviathan – in particular – decides on a singular goal and its collective power is focused on a singular objective, you can indeed go to the moon, power a Naval ship using a nuclear reactor, or weaponize the upper atmosphere or hide military equipment in space.

Saying all that, the real world isn’t a Marvel movie and the X-Files was a tv show. Get a grip.

Sales, there are sales. Buy things. Go ahead. Shop.


“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

November 25, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria, Subway

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damned effrontery

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My Tree of Paradise grows out from under a cosmetics factory found on a superfund site in Long Island City. It’s all I’ve got to cling to, really. It represents something to me. That’s why I left HQ at about 4:45 in the morning on a recent chilly morning, paid money for a cab to drop me here in Long Island City at Dutch Kills, and explains why I was standing there on the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge with a tripod setup just as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself peeked up from behind Nassau County. I got what I wanted, which was the shadow of a factory roof pointing an arrow at my tree of paradise.

Why take a cab rather than walk or take the train? Have you read the headlines? Things have gotten a little weird out there these days and particularly nights, and it’s not worth taking the chance that you’re going to run into some malign actor in the dark while burdened down with bags of camera equipment.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For those of you relatively new to New York City, which I’d describe as being any of you who moved here after “Giuliani Time,” there’s a series of sensible prophylactics you’ll want to acquaint yourself with.

First is that you keep your money and your wallet in separate pockets. This way, if you do get cornered by a mugger you can give them the cash, and avoid the pain in the ass of replacing all of the cards and documents in your wallet. Second is that even if you’re a millionaire, dress like you’re living rough on the street. Predators will not notice you that way, and they’ll instead stalk richer or fatter prey. Third is “keep moving.” Fourth is to carry a flashlight or some other piece of metal in your coat pocket to use as a bludgeon. Fifth is not to be embarrassed to yell for help at the top of your lungs. You’d be surprised at how well #2 and #5 work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One such as myself – a feckless quisling and vast physical coward – spends a lot of time alone on the deserted streets of NYC at night. I generally have a camera dangling off of me, which makes me “noticeable” and a bit of a target. Number six on my list of NYC survival tactics, which is built on the third motto of “keep moving,” is to not take unnecessary chances. Given that you know that the Subway system has been repurposed as a nocturnal shelter for people too high or crazy to be allowed into the homeless shelters during Covid, and that the cops aren’t going to do a single thing about anything until De Blasio is out of office, it’s best to just acknowledge that fact and take a cab.

Pictured above is a storm sewer found along Dutch Kills, underneath the Long Island Expressway. The water wasn’t actually glowing green, instead it was early morning light filtering through tree canopy that lent the hue to the water. Enjoy your giving of thanks.


“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

November 24, 2021 at 11:00 am

veined fist

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All of my favorite places have received a visit since I’ve been back in NYC, including Astoria’s own Luyster Creek. Recent conversation with high ranking officers of the City’s Department of Environmental Protection firmly established the fact of this waterway’s existence and the actual location of a particularly noisome “combined sewer outfall” pipe along its waterfront, which is maintained by their agency. They seemed surprised.

I have had – in fact – several conversations with highly placed personages in the political state recently wherein they asked me – a private citizen – to gather photos and write reports for them – pro bono – on their own infrastructure, ways of doing business, and work practices. One actually asked me to prepare a categorical inventory of the utility poles and wire snares leading to and from these utility poles in Astoria and Woodside.

There is a New York State Public Service Commission operating out of an office at 90 Church Street in Manhattan, which oversees the utility poles of Consolidated Edison, Spectrum, RCN, National Grid, and Verizon within NYC. If the answer to “who ya going to call” isn’t “Ghostbusters,” perhaps these employees of the political state are the correct answer. Not me, unless you’ve got a fist full of cash to compensate me for the trouble, not anymore.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Raphael De Niro led “Wildflower Studios” construction project is at work right now at Luyster Creek, which will result in a television and movie studio being erected alongside the Steinway Piano Factory in Astoria. The wooded shoreline on the western shore pictured above will also soon become a Department of Sanitation Garage. You should have seen their faces when I invoked the NYC charter requirement of “1% for art or public access” on them in a community board meeting. What depressed me was how few of my fellow CB members had ever actually slogged through the NYC Charter. You mess around with Lawyers, it’s a good idea to have at least read the law book.

Y’know, I’ve had a number of people ask me recently if I’m depressed or something. I’m the opposite of that these days, I’m pissed off and have decided that another facet of my newly adopted philosophy of sociopathy is unvarnished truth telling. As an old punk song offered – “Are you offended? Well, sorry, but maybe you needed to be offended, and one more thing – fuck you.” I just don’t care anymore, which brings me back full circle to the angry young man I used to be.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everything is broken, and nobody wants to say it. I’ve always been the one willing to tell Granny that the soup is too salty. It’s better to be honest than to lie. In the political world, they’ll dance around uncomfortable subjects. “He might be owned outright by big real estate, and worked closely with Jared Kushner on luxury apartments in Williamsburg and oversaw the creation of Hudson Yards, but he’s great on bike lanes, and inclusionary policies regarding homeless electricians.” Yes, he handled the homeless shelter giveaway spree for De Blasio’s City Hall, but he’s great on police reform. She’s great on bike lanes, but is pro development, and… Pfah.

We’ve crossed the precipice of voting monsters into office because they are the only ones who can make the trains run on time… y’all do realize that, right?


“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

November 23, 2021 at 11:00 am

open rage

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since returning to NYC from my travels, one has not allowed any dust to accumulate upon the camera. Situational need has found me in all sorts of interesting places. Pictured above is the largest single point source of greenhouse gases in Brooklyn, for instance, which are burned off into the atmosphere by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. Those four pipes carry methane from within the bioreactor eggs of the sewer plant up to venturi apparatuses where the fiery immolation occurs. The machinery is tuned to keep the flames invisible.

Fossil fuel companies are singularly responsible for everything horrible, of course, and not the government which historically encouraged them to do those horrible things – since Governmental agencies and officials are inherently good. The latter entity, however, has engaged with an exemplar of the former – specifically the National Grid outfit – to harvest and filter the gases produced at the sewer plant and sell them to you under the product branding of “natural gas” and “resource recovery.” The Government hopes for a net profit on the process, as does National Grid, but only the latter is evil. The project is scheduled to be up and running about five years ago, and isn’t up and running yet because of the salubrious Government’s red tape, but there you are. Do as I say, not as I do.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That yellow building just to the left of center in the shot above is where the evil fossil fuel industry first set itself up in the modern sense in 1854, manufacturing “coal oil” under the brand name “Kerosene.” The company that started the operation was acquired first by Charles Pratt’s Astral Oil, and then by John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, and eventually by the Standard Oil Company of New York after the whole Sherman Antitrust Teddy Roosevelt dealie (TR used to be good because progressive, but now he’s evil because racism and colonialism).

The evil Standard Oil Company of New York, or SOCONY, rebranded as Vacuum Oil, and eventually decided they wanted to be trademarked as Mobil Oil. Mobil would one day merge with the evil Standard Oil Company of New Jersey in the 1990’s, after SOCONJ had changed its name first to ESSO and then later to Exxon. The evil Exxon Mobil consented to a decree by the obviously good natured New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, dictating that the corporate behemoth will need to siphon an unknown amount of “product” out of the ground at that location pictured above.

Right across the water on the Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek, the inherently good Attorney General of NYS, Andrew Cuomo, forced the inherently evil Exxon Mobil to clean up an oil spill left behind by the similarly proscribed Mobil/SOCONY. Cuomo has since been redefined as an evil scion of sex sins and a corrupt and false eidolon who was mean to the other politicians – just as evil as the fossil fuel companies are, with all of their capitalism and carbon – or like any who might question the validity of “affordable housing” or bike lanes probably are. The dichotomy offered is that someone can be good once and bad later, which is confusing. How can anyone employed by the government be, in any way, bad? I mean… just ask any politician how virtuous and vetted they all are. They’ll tell you exactly how noble, and free of corrupting industrial and financial influences, modern day politics are due to oversight committees staffed by their own colleagues.

It’s not like Tammany Hall is still running the City, right? Those patriarchal rascals were the ones who made the devil’s bargain with the inherently evil capitalists, right? Not at all like the modern day reformers, progressives, or all of the other inherently good politicians who operate in a closed loop of leadership ladder climbing that’s funded and curated by the Real Estate Industrial Complex.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The reason that our ancestors called it “Tammany Hall” was in homage to a legendary “Sachem,” or Chief of the Lenape, named Taminend. Leaders of Tammany like Boss Tweed and Dick Croker were called the “Grand Sachem” of the political club. You remember the Lenape, of course, whose land our inherently good government stole, and who were then resettled in forested areas nobody else wanted by the same do gooders? They’re called the Delaware these days, those Lenape people who survived the inherent goodness of the political state.

Founded in 1790, Tammany Hall really came into its own in 1854 with the election of Mayor Fernando Wood. Wood seriously considered having NYC secede from the Union with the Confederacy, given the amount of slave related business NYC was involved in. Cotton was a commodity bought and sold on Wall Street, and the East River coast of Manhattan is where a large number of the slave ships, which provided a labor force for the Cotton Plantations, were built. It was a risky business, slaving, but you could safely invest in it by buying shares in a slave ship from a broker to spread out the risk, or by putting your money into insurance funds which guaranteed other people’s investments in slavery. It wasn’t difficult to find a way to invest in slaving, as Wall Street handled most of it all in the early 19th century, allowing investors to act shocked at the barbarity of the practice after the Civil War. By then, the smart money was in railroads, anyway.

Coincidence on the 1854 thing, huh? The inherently evil capitalists of the petroleum industry setting up shop here at Newtown Creek, while the inherently good government of Tammany Hall was encouraging slaveholding, armed insurrection, and cotton plantations in the American South? Gosh.


“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

November 22, 2021 at 11:30 am

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