The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

fiendish subjects

with 5 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 19th saw me taking a short walk around the Sunnyside Yards and cracking out a bunch of shots of passing trains.

That’s a New Jersey Transit train set on the so called “turnaround” track nearby 43rd street which allows the operator to reorient the thing towards Manhattan as opposed to heading into Queens via the East River tunnels. On another siding of the turnaround track is an Amtrak Acela train set, which was just sort of sitting there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At Honeywell Street, I noticed the train cars on the lower left hand side of the shot above. They’re done up with “New York Central” heraldry. At first I thought I might be accidentally traveling in time, but no. Turns out these are “heritage” passenger car units which are operated by some private outfit.

One of the Facebook groups I’m subscribed to is for train enthusiasts, and the “foamers” filled me in as to what these cars are, who operates them, and so on. Turns out you can ride on these heritage cars if you’ve got money to burn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also on Honeywell Street bridge (which is found at Queens’ 35th street), one of the many hidden fence holes allowed a view into the Acela maintenance facility at Sunnyside Yards. This is a particularly hard thing to get a shot of, incidentally, and the shot above is heavily cropped in.

I headed back to HQ in Astoria, as the 20th was meant to be a fairly busy day that started early.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 20th I was back at Newtown Creek Alliance HQ in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section for a sit down meeting with a friend who was volunteering business advice to our little non profit that could. It may be a non profit corporation, but it’s still a corporation. When advice and wisdom are on offer from somebody who runs and has run far larger entities is on the table, you would be foolish not to absorb as much of it as you can.

Of course, I had to excuse myself a couple of times to wave the camera around as a strong front of thunderstorms approached.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Creeklands were suffused with a heavy fog, being pushed by the pressure waves of that line of storms. This kind of urban atmosphere is absolute candy for a photographer.

Saying that, after the meeting ended, I needed to “get out of dodge” and start heading home quickly lest I get drenched when the storms arrived and all of that fog suddenly condensed and dropped to the ground. A scuttle of the rapid type ensued.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My plan was to cut through the Newtown Creek Nature Walk at the sewer plant in Greenpoint, then to surmount and cross the creek at the Pulaski Bridge. Luckily, I was carrying an umbrella. Managed to get this one of the Empire State Building framed up all nice before the sky opened and it started pissing down in torrents.

More tomorrow.

“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

June 30, 2022 at 11:00 am

5 Responses

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  1. They call these restored railcars “private varnish.” This is traveling in style. No blue collar foamers, operators need serious disposable income to restore and upgrade these cars to a classic state and safe operation. Can be a seven figure investment. They hook on to Amtrak trains (subject to red tape). From what I’ve read, just the Amtrak charge can cost $5,000 a day or more. Add on luxury accommodations and deluxe meals from the on board galley and the sky’s the limit. Here’s a link to a 10 day trip for 16 passengers at about $14,000 per double occupancy room.


    June 30, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    • It would only be worth that price if it was pulled by a streamlined 4-6-4 Hudson or maybe, just maybe, a Baldwin sharknose in the lightning stripe livery.


      July 1, 2022 at 7:31 pm

  2. […] fiendish subjects […]

  3. Great pics of nighttime activities. It’s fascinating to me that trains from NJ come into LIC to turn around. Love the heat wave effects on the buildings. All so very interesting.


    June 30, 2022 at 9:23 pm

  4. […] June of 2022 started off with a tugboat encounter on Newtown Creek in “peradventure may,” continued on with another visit to Hells Gate in “whisper leeringly,” checked in on that collapsing bulkhead along Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary in Long Island City in “crystal coldness,” visited industrial Maspeth in “rest without,” gave the Pulaski Bridge a portrait session in “ever been,” kept on working the sunset angle in “seemed older,” and rode the Rockaway Ferry in “emotional need.” I tried to photograph a lunar eclipse in “hidden pneumatics,” and Sunnyside Yards was visited in “fiendish subjects.” […]

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