The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

kindled flame

leave a comment »


– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 6th of March, one was visiting the Montauk Cutoff in Long Island City. A student photographer had contacted me and asked for a bit of guiding around the place. This fellow was testing out a revolutionary new lens that Canon has recently released which allows for capture of the kind of imagery you need to create a “virtual reality bubble” with the Oculus headset in mind as the display portal.

He had some very expensive equipment on loan from the university he attends, and was interested in this particular location to work with and test the capabilities of the gear. While he was doing his thing, I was doing mine. My pal Val also came along, as she cannot resist the Montauk Cutoff’s charms. Pictured is an Amtrak train on its way to Manhattan via Sunnyside Yards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We headed over to the Dutch Kills section of the Montauk Cutoff, which is an “abandoned” set of rail tracks in LIC that used to connect LIRR’s Main Line trackage at Sunnyside Yards with its Lower Montauk tracks along the northern shore of Newtown Creek.

Abandoned doesn’t mean the same thing in “railroad” as it does in colloquial english, but suffice to say that there is zero chance of encountering a train on the cutoff these days. The shot above was captured on one of the two rail bridges at Dutch Kills – Cabin M.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s Cabin M, as seen from the shoreline of Dutch Kills. In the distance is the Queens Midtown Expressway section of the Long Island Expressway, soaring some 106 feet over the water.

As far as the “cabin” thing, that’s what the train people call it. As far as I know, when they call something “cabin” it’s about signals and geographic markers for the engineers, and there was likely some lonely soul who sat in a shack and governed operations here once upon a time. Everything is “automatic” these days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given that the fellow I was accompanying and guiding around had this weird lens that creates a “bubble” for VR experiences, I kept on pulling him deeper and deeper into the Newtown Creek world. These are the sort of spots I won’t normally bring anyone to, given the myriad ways to get dead encountered here.

Saying that, these are exactly the sort of spots which a 220 degree bubble capture must look great in. Funnily enough, he kept asking me if I wanted to try out the device but I refused, fearing I’d want one and go down yet another technology rabbit hole.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While he was operating his gizmo, and my pal Val was waving her camera around, I was using my normal tripod setup. Normally, I see the perspective down here when I’m in a boat with my pals from Newtown Creek Alliance, a circumstance which negates this sort of “look.”

It was getting late, and the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was lowering in the sky. We headed back up to Montauk Cutoff.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Never waste a sunset, I always say. That’s the LIRR platform, and the Paragon Oil/Subway/Point LIC building which was mentioned a couple of days ago. I had to get back to HQ shortly after the sunset, as I had a big day planned for the 7th which needed a bit of preparation.

Tomorrow – something completely different at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

“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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: