The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

God, I love the loneliness of it all. I’ve got a speech I make occasionally – one usually offered when somebody asks about how I got involved with the whole Newtown Creek thing. The best part of the speech is when I say “and just like every other piece of wind blown trash in New York City, I found myself on the shorelines of Newtown Creek.” It sounds good, and makes for a good quote that a journalist can use. If you don’t give them a quote to take back to the office, they’ll use something you don’t want them to.

Industrial Maspeth is famously my happy place, where I go when I want to be by myself. Unfortunately that’s changed during the pandemic months, as Industrial Maspeth has become quite a busy place again. Different sort of busy than the old days, but there are concurrences between now and then.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The last mile shipping industry – UPS, FedEx, and the Amazon people – have quietly expanded their operations – massively – during the blitzkrieg of bad news we’ve all experienced over the last couple of years. There’s a huge industrial population of package sorters, package loaders and unloaders, road truck drivers and local delivery truck drivers who congeal around the various shipping facilities in Maspeth. Amazon is building a Taj Mahal sized shipping facility on Grand Avenue on what used to be the campus of Star Corrugated Box.

This population of people working “in the zone” have brought all sorts of things along with them to my beloved Creek. Five years ago, this happy place of mine was a post industrial wasteland which people drove through and seldom stopped in. In the last couple of years, as this new group of workers have filled in; I’ve seen a prostitution racket using the LIRR tracks for their assignations, lots and lots of druggery, and of late a while new racket.

Kids, as in late teen and early twenties, are riding into the shipping warehouses on delivery bikes and raiding the baskets of packages awaiting their temporary destination on the local delivery van. Two man teams, arranged like Scythian Archers with one facing backwards, swipe stuff in boxes and then tear ass away from the scene as fast as the bike will go. The various teams communicate with other using cell phones.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, where are the photos of that, Mr. Wind Blown Trash Newtown Creek? Well, there are certain things which you don’t want to be noticed noticing when you’re alone and on foot at night in Industrial Maspeth, I tell’s you.

Street level trouble is one thing – a weird encounter with a homeless guy, or a group of menacing teenagers nearing – but there’s a higher level of sinister which you just don’t want to be anywhere adjacent to around these parts. Notably, you don’t want to be a witness when somebody is in the early stages of organizing their crime. Careful out there, peeps.

“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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 1, 2022 at 11:00 am

One Response

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  1. Have you considered calling 911 on these thieves? Safely from a distance? How come these packaged wares are not guarded? and order

    March 1, 2022 at 6:54 pm

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