The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Seldom do I head down to the spot where these shots were gathered along Dutch Kills, due to the fact that I’m usually by myself when I’m out shooting. There’s a real chance of a snapped ankle on this path, or some other injury, and I honestly don’t know how I’d explain to the 911 operator where I was if I needed help (and I’ve thought this through). Thereby, since my pal Val was with me on this particular outing, caution was thrown to the wind. That’s the DB Cabin rail bridge, which – if memory serves – was built in the 1920’s, and is a still VERY active crossing for Lower Montauk line Long Island Railroad rail traffic over the mouth of the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek.

I seriously do not ever want to have to have the FDNY rescue me from some stupid injury in an out of the way place like this. It would be so embarrassing, and I’d never hear the end of it from my firefighter and or cop friends. Officer Pinky and Fireman Matt at the local bar here in Astoria – in particular – would “take the piss” as my British wife would say, since I regularly bust their balls.

Btw, he’s Officer Pinky because despite being a hulking meathead of a cop, this particular patrolman had a fractured pinky finger which put him on the disabled list for several months. The guy is built like a professional wrestler, but he had that little finger stuck out on a splint with a hand posture that reminded one of “tea time.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The bridge pictured above is part of the Montauk Cutoff, and is dubbed “Cabin M.” It’s inactive, and the tracks it’s connected to are no longer connected to Sunnyside Yards on the western side of the cutoff. It’s a single bascule rail drawbridge, and – again, of memory serves – dates back to the 1930’s. MTA was planning on demolishing it prior to COVID, but who knows what the future holds?

Eric Adams is said to be able to see through time and gaze at all of human history, in the manner of Dune’s God Emperor Leto the second, but he never had to sacrifice his humanity for this prescience like that fictional character from Frank Herbert’s sci-fi opus. Adams just had to ride a bike once and then go Vegan. The new Mayor will be an eidolon whom the children of New York will sing fluting aspirational songs about. Just ask him.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

From up on the bridge, my pal Val yelled down to me that it was time to split, and asked if I was interested in grabbing a meal. We headed over to the entirely adequate Bel Aire diner on Broadway and 21st street in Astoria and I quaffed a pizza burger deluxe. Yum.

More tomorrow, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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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

December 15, 2021 at 11:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. One night in 1974 My brother and I were crising the then empty streets of our hometownLong Island City, in his immense Buick Electra 225 convertible, with the top down, and were crossing the Borden Avenue Bridge when the red lights began to flash. We pulled over at the corner of 29th st and watched all 4 drawbridges open and a tug pulling a barge came scooting thru. We jumped back in the car, and ran next to the tug up 29th then pulled around the end of 47th Ave and stopped along side 28th st, and watched the tug drop the barge off at the cement plant at the head of Dutch Kills, tie on to the empty one, turn around and go back out, without closing the bridges.  Tey were able to do it that quick. (It was 3am)

    December 15, 2021 at 12:18 pm

  2. Your DB Cabin rail bridge photo shows what looks like a Grumman canoe hull propped up against the far shore. Great hiding place for someone.

    Ah the Bel Aire diner. Glad to know its still there.


    September 1, 2022 at 8:45 pm

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