The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

rumour ran

with 3 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described in prior posts, one has been making a real effort to keep up with kicking his feet about the neighborhood, and maintain a regular schedule of long and short walks. One of the stops I always make on my way to somewhere else is at the Sunnyside Yards, here in Long Island City.

“Hey asshole, why do you call it LIC when the word “Sunnyside” is in the rail coach yard’s name? You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about thereby, and all you say is false” is the sort of thing you’ll see in the comments section here occasionally.

If it’s west of Woodside Avenue, north of Newtown Creek, and south of Bowery Bay – it’s technically Long Island City. Astoria, Long Island City Heights Sunnyside, Hunters Point, and Blissville are all LIC – as in they were part of the pre 1898 municipal entity which dubbed itself as LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunnyside and Astoria have since become “kind of” their own thing. I refer to Northern Blvd. and the yards as “LIC” as they stand apart from the residential and mixed usage zones of Sunnyside and Astoria. Skillman Avenue west of 39th street is LIC, whereas east of 39th street it’s Sunnyside – for instance. I can say the same thing about Queens Blvd. west of about 37th street, which is where it stops being Sunnyside and starts being LIC.

The blurred lines and neighborhood borders of Queens are endlessly fascinating. Woodside and Winfield, or Astoria and East Elmhurst will yield subjective one side of the street versus the other opinions from the Queensican Commentariat. I call these gray zones “the angles between neighborhoods.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One actually sweats this assignation of nomenclature. The real estate people will claim that parts of Brooklyn which are closer to Nassau County than they are the East River are “Williamsburg” or “Bushwick” or my favorite – “Ridgewood,” which is actually found in Queens. Remember when a whole section of Manhattan went from being “midtown” to “West Chelsea” about twenty years ago?

I generally rely on what things used to be called prior to the REBNY era, which is before the real estate marketing people began assigning twee names to undesirable locations. Heck, I actually prefer the pre-1898 city consolidation names, in truth.

“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

February 21, 2022 at 11:00 am

3 Responses

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  1. They’re not neighborhoods. They’re realms – with their own vibes.

    georgetheatheist . . . eagle's realm

    February 21, 2022 at 12:03 pm

  2. “Old Winfield” here, checking in……


    February 21, 2022 at 3:10 pm

  3. Well explained, Mr. Waxman. To wit, the iconic Beers 1873 map of LIC:


    February 21, 2022 at 4:59 pm

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