The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for March 2022

all observant

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s all so depressing… shortly after cataloguing the dissection of the Dutch Kills shoreline, and other features in the immediate vicinity thereof, one hopped on the 7 train at the elevated Court Square station.

It was time to head home, and after spending a full early February day out and about, my energy was ebbing low.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The plan I had hatched involved taking the 7 to Queens Plaza, and then hopping aboard an N or W train to Astoria, whereupon a short walk to a local pizzeria would result in me walking into HQ and greeting Our Lady of the Pentacle – with a triumphant couple of slices in hand.

The MTA, though… their game is strong.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The frequency of the 7 line is pretty fantastic these days, since they’ve completed the decades long CBTC signals replacement project. It really does come every 5-10 minutes, the 7.

Unfortunately, the gold badged Broadway line trains – R, N, W – never received an upgrade to their signals, and especially so in midtown Manhattan, where it is desperately needed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The signals upgrade allows for precise control of train set positioning and line wide coordination. This allows the trains to be run much closer together than using the old 1920’s style system, and allows for better “transit saturation.”

Over in the Shining City, there are several choke points for Queens bound trains – notably at the tracks leading into 34th/Herald Square and 42nd Times Square, and at the approaches to the Steinway and 63rd st. tunnels under Columbus Circle. If ANYTHING goes wrong at any single one of those points, EVERYTHING goes wrong with all three lines – as well as affecting the M, and the E, and the F lines. This triggers a meltdown in the system that can ripple from Manhattan all the way back to Brooklyn and Queens within minutes.

The Q, which formerly was part of the Astoria line, is now Manhattan only and running on the Second Avenue Subway tracks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After about twenty minutes of standing on the platform at Queens Plaza, I got bored and started waving the camera around.

What is it with the new people in the luxury condos and their lack of drapery, window coverings, or Venetian Blinds?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After about a half hour, during which I was dreaming of pizza, the N finally arrived.

It was long day, and there were lots of photos that needed developing when I got back to HQ.

More tomorrow.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 31, 2022 at 11:00 am

yellow rays

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just after sunset, and back at the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek in Long Island City.

I’ve been keeping an eye on a collapsing bulkhead along 29th street for a while now. It’s a difficult subject, due to there being no easy point of view for the area. This, thereby is one of the few times that I willfully trespass. It’s worth the risk, right here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s two abandoned oil barges in the water here. Nobody knows who’s responsible for that, but they’ve been here for more than 20 years.

Nothing matters, and nobody cares.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The barges have so thoroughly decayed by this point that it’s not even possible to lift them out using a crane.

Want a picture of what’s wrong with NYC? Look at the one above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the collapsing bulkhead, lit up in yellows and oranges by a nearby sodium lamp, one mounted on a self storage warehouse that neighbors the waterway. There are no street lights on 29th street.

This is Long Island City, mind you. A block from La Guardia Community College, and two blocks from the Court Square subway station. Hottest real estate zone on the planet, as well. This property itself isn’t owned by some defunct corporate entity either, rather it’s the MTA’s – as in the “gub’mint.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This slow moving disaster has been going on for three years, with a significant uptick of shoreline dissection beginning around Thanksgiving of 2021. Since then, everytime I check in on this area, things have gotten a little bit worse.

It’s MTA’s, but they have exceptions written into the laws that govern situations like this which indemnify them from the attentions of the regulatory agencies who would normally write an order to fix things up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What that means is that any solution to this problem, prior to 29th street collapsing, will be a political one. The cart has to be driven by an elected official, essentially. Currently, there are lawyers who are lawyering other lawyers.

Nothing matters, and nobody cares.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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.

<!– /wp:paragraph

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 30, 2022 at 11:00 am

moon men

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One found his boots scraping along the concrete of Railroad Avenue, back in February. A long walk was underway, and the camera’s shutter was a-whirring.

Railroad Avenue was where my pathway led.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

More evidence of the Queens Cobbler was observed. A probable serial killer who leaves behind single shoes to mark their efforts, I’ve been writing about the Cobbler for years. The Cobbler has even left personal messages for me in front of my own domicile.

Chilling, no?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just up the block from the Cobbler’s latest memento mori, yet another abandoned car was encountered. This one was electric, and tiny. Rumor has it that there’s a community of Homo Floresiensis who have recently moved into and taken up residence in Middle Village. Perhaps this was theirs? May I refer to Middle Village as the Shire now?

Really, the world I live in is so much more interesting than the real one.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I walked up a somewhat private road, past the former Van Iderstine rendering plant, and back out onto Review Avenue.

One wasn’t quite done with Dutch Kills, and since the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself was exiting the sky’s vault – that was what I was waiting for to complete my task.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shots in today’s post date back to the 12th of February, incidentally. As mentioned in prior posts, the usual three image posts will be cast aside for a bit, in favor of six shot ones until I manage to get back into sync with the actual calendar.

Also, just in case you don’t scroll all the way down to the bottom – The Newtown Creekathon is happening on April 10th.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having looped back to Review Avenue, a humble narrator pointed his toes back in the direction that he started from – Dutch Kills.

Trucks, trucks, trucks. For some reason, I’m fascinated with trucks at the moment. Don’t know why, they just catch my eye.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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.

<!– /wp:paragraph

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 29, 2022 at 11:00 am

parabolic contradiction

with 5 comments

Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Scuttling, always scuttling, from place to place with camera in hand. Filthy black raincoat flapping about in the poison wind. Sometimes, the light is absolutely glorious.

We pick up where last week left off, at the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek in Long Island City. One had set up the camera into its long exposure/landscape modality, with filter and tripod and the rest of the deal. Sunset was just getting underway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When leaving HQ, it had already been decided that this was going to be a long walk, and that a lot of ground would be covered. That’s the LIRR’S Cabin M railroad bridge, which was described in some detail in last Friday’s post.

Before you ask, this was a Sunday, and there’s virtually zero chance of getting in the way of freight rail operations along Newtown Creek on a Sunday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a not exactly secret pathway along the water down here, between the two rail bridges on Dutch Kills. I seldom walk it, as it’s pretty obscure and were I to find myself in trouble down here I’d have a hard time explaining to the 911 operator where I was.

Saying that, I do roll through here occasionally.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s DB Cabin, another LIRR rail bridge, but one whose tracks are normally pretty active. It connects two freight rail yards across the waters of Dutch Kills, and carries the LIRR’s Lower Montauk tracks.

Kills is “old Dutch” for Creek, I’m told.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A new player has emerged in the Blissville yard, which is a good thing. Not sure what they do, but it’s good to see freight rail being embraced by industry.

One continued scuttling along in an easterly direction, towards the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured is DUGABO – Down under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge Onramp. The surface street is called “Railroad Avenue.”

On my Amtrak travels last fall, I discovered that there’s a street called “Railroad Avenue” in nearly every City that I went looking for one in.

More tomorrow.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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.

<!– /wp:paragraph

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 28, 2022 at 11:00 am

plumbed descent

with 2 comments

Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Scuttling, always scuttling. Camera in hand, filthy black raincoat flapping about in the poison wind, sometimes the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself hangs pregnantly in the vault of the sky.

I knew this was going to be kind of a long day for me, so my first steps involved using the Subway to cut a bit of walking off of the trip. The R carried me east to Jackson Heights, where a transfer to the 7 was enacted and one proceeded westward. My ultimate destination was the same place where every other bit of wind blown garbage goes – Newtown Creek. Specifically, the Dutch Kills tributary of the larger waterway found in Long Island City. One exited the Subway system at the Hunters Point Avenue stop and got busy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My first stop was to check in on the collapsing bulkhead along 29th street. Said collapse is causing the underpinnings of the adjoining roadway, the aforementioned 29th street, to empty out into the waterway. This is called undermining.

So far, my pals at Newtown Creek Alliance and I have managed to activate every single elected official in western Queens, from Borough President to dog catcher, about this issue. Interested in reading the actual signed letter we sent to Janno Lieber at MTA about the bulkhead? Click here for a Google docs link.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The odyssey since has involved a bunch of lawyers and an admission from MTA that this is, indeed, their property. No tangible or material progress has manifested itself yet, because the lawyers are still lawyering, and luckily the street hasn’t collapsed in on itself while we’re waiting for them to finish all that stuff up. Yet.

Nothing matters, and nobody cares.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My “artsy fartsy” section of the day could commence, after having captured reference shots of the bulkhead to show to the various entities who might own it or have a regulatory stake in it, one headed over to the Montauk Cutoff. It was, after all, nearly time for sunset.

I’m not one of those photographers who only shoot during sunrise or sunset, but if the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is about to paint the sky with color, and you’re already out…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s Cabin M, the “abandoned” railroad drawbridge which is part of the Degnon Terminal Railway – aka the LIRR’s Montauk Cutoff – a similarly “abandoned” rail spur that used to connect Long Island Railroad’s Lower Montauk tracks along Newtown Creek to the nearby Sunnyside Yards, and the LIRR Main Line leading to Woodside and Jamaica. The reason MTA owns that bulkhead on 29th street is due to the bankruptcy of the national Penn Central Railroad company, which by the 1960’s owned LIRR and all the other private rail spurs in Long Island City. Richard Nixon nationalized the assets of Penn Central, with its passenger service becoming Amtrak and its freight business becoming Conrail, and their intra city or commuter rail operation was given to the states. Philadelphia created SEPTA, Massachusetts established the MBTA, and here in New York – Governor Nelson Rockefeller created the MTA. Rockefeller combined the bankrupt New York City Transit Authority’s Subway and Bus operations, as well as the profitable bridges and tunnels which he stole away from Robert Moses, into what he dubbed as the “MTA.”

Believe it or not – the paragraph above is a quick summary. I did a video about Sunnyside Yards a few years ago that discusses this complicated saga in some detail – click here for a YouTube link.

Cabin M, like the 29th street bulkhead, is infrastructure which MTA didn’t design or build but they’re responsible for maintaining it – maybe. Like I said, lawyers are lawyering.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s DB Cabin, a swing bridge which sits at the mouth of the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek. Before you ask, “Cabin” is railroad talk, I don’t know. The bridge connects two Lower Montauk track rail yards – Wheelspur and Blissville. Best date I’ve been able to find for it being built was 1919, but this structure replaced earlier ones. There’s been railroad tracks in this zone since at least the late 1860’s. Definitively, the date for rail in this zone – connecting Jamaica to the east with the industrial heartlands of Newtown Creek in Maspeth, Bushwick, and Ridgewood to the East River in the west is 1870.

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


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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

March 25, 2022 at 11:00 am

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