The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

laminar dissection

with 2 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

Keep on truckin – as the kids used to say. Unfortunately, the kids who used to say that are now retirement age, but there you are. A recent scuttle through Industrial Maspeth at night saw a cavalcade of diesel powered steel rolling past the camera and I just got caught up in the moment.

The one pictured above was hauling municipal waste products, aka the solid materials which the NYC DEP filters out of the sewer flow. That’s pretty common, as is the habit of parking the trailer’s carrying this redolent cargo – as displayed by several of the hauling contractors employed by DEP – on area streets for weeks at a time. That sad story wasn’t what drew my eye, instead it the Green Goblin lighting kit which adorned the tractor section of this rig.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a company over on 48th street nearby the on ramps to the Long Island Expressway (or is it BQE?) which has several impressive vehicles in their inventory. This particular outfit seems to be who’d you’d call if your truck or bus has broken down and you need a tow. The wrecker pictured above is one of a pair of giant vehicles they operate.

I was actually asked by one of its drivers if I was up to something, whereupon I asserted that I’m just a wandering photographer in an industrial zone at night who has a keen appreciation of heavy machinery. Yup, not suspicious at all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Graffiti’d panel trucks abound. This has become a regular sight for me, and is something that’s really accelerated during the Covid months. This sort of tagging on commercial vehicles is nothing new, of course, but seeing a panel truck that hasn’t been “bombed” by a crew of taggers has become the exception rather than the rule in the last couple of years.

Scuttling, just keep scuttling.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Certain trucks and operations never get tagged… for reasons. There’s an enormous concrete operation in Industrial Maspeth called Ferrara Brothers. You see their trucks making deliveries all over NYC, but where they fill them with the good stuff is right back here in Queens.

I’m told that there’s a National level company which is buying up and consolidating all of the individual players in NYC’s concrete industry. Several of the medium sized companies, like Ferrara Brothers and NYCON, have already been gobbled up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

FDNY’s Ambulances are damned difficult to photograph when they’re flying past on a call. It’s all “worst case scenario” for operating a camera. You’ve got seconds to spin the dials and adjust the settings to compensate for a) night, b) flashing lights, c) subject moving at 50mph.

This one is from the border of Woodside and Maspeth, in case you’re wondering.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Closer to home, along Northern Boulevard, I spotted this fairly old tow truck parked nearby a car mechanic. Something about it just caught my eye. It’s a 1990 Ford F-Series, I’m told. Given the weird time warp we are all experiencing these days, I’d point out that “1990” makes it a 32 year old tow truck.

Ahh, 1990, when a young Bill Clinton taught us all how to laugh again.

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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 24, 2022 at 11:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. Great photos. Here in southeast CT we see tagged panel trucks with NY license plates delivering to Chinese takeout joints 120 miles from Mott St. Don’t ask why.


    March 24, 2022 at 8:22 pm

  2. […] one of my frequent visits to Sunnyside Yards, “somnolent stillness” went to Flushing, “laminar dissection” is from Industrial Maspeth, and the less viewed sections of Dutch Kills were recorded in […]

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