The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for October 17th, 2022

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

First off – Newtown Creek Alliance will be honoring John Lipscomb of Riverkeeper, Christine Holowacz, and… your humble narrator… this coming Thursday night (the 20th) at the annual “Tidal Toast” fundraising event. Ticketing information can be found here, and the tax deductible donation of your ticket money will help to fund NCA’s ongoing mission to Reveal, Restore, and Revitalize Newtown Creek. NCA has been at the center of my public life over the last 15 years, and I hope you can make it. This is officially my finale, in terms of public facing events, and the end of this chapter of my life.

An afternoon walk that I found myself on, during the afternoon and evening of the 16th of September, ended up becoming a fairly long and extensive affair. I was “everywhere.” Pictured above is the collapsing bulkhead at 29th street, along Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary. Foremost in my mind these days is the fact that every time I’m visiting one of my “old familiar places,” it might be the last time given that I’m moving away from NYC in the now very near future.

I’ve been talking publicly about this for several months now, of course, but as the timeline grows short, and the seminal date wherein my life inextricably alters is near.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back at HQ in Astoria, it’s all business for me right now. I’ve torn apart most of the habitation, and there are piles and piles of cardboard boxes everywhere. Most of our furniture is in the process of becoming “gone,” at the time you’re reading this. So are the piles of books and comics which I’ve been storing for apparently no reason at all, given that I’ve never reread the things once they went into a box or onto a shelf. Saying that, there’s just something heretical to me about throwing out a book. Beyond all that, these are just “things,” manufactured items in the circular material continuum of a consumer based capitalist system. They have the value we assign to them, ultimately.

Ultimately, I don’t want to pay a mover to transport useless or unused items 400 miles westwards and then store them until I die. The less I take, the less it costs me. Believe me when I tell you that I’m keeping too much stuff anyway. Sentimentalism costs money.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everybody keeps on asking what I’m going to do in Pittsburgh, and will I keep up with updating the Newtown Pentacle. Then they ask me if I’m going to rename it Pittsburgh Pentacle or something. Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do next, but for the time being I’m going to keep in publishing here as long as it’s feasible. There’s a few ideas I’m toying around with, but another big change that’s hopefully about to occur – as this post is being written – is that I’m soon going to be a car owner. I’ve got a lot of new bills associated with that one – loan payments, insurance etc., and thereby my financial situation is altered in significant ways. I’ve got a new set of bills to pay, and financial homeostasis demands that my freelancing life give way to a salaried staff job somewhere. Regular tides, and all that.

“All depends on what sort of job I get in Western Pennsylvania,” that’s my answer to the Newtown Pentacle question. Saying all that, I’d be loathe to give up on broadcasting my various adventures. Have no doubt that adventure awaits, though. I can’t sit still. Let’s see.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the “meantime” of the next several weeks, however, I’ll continue to scuttle around and point the camera at things. Pictured is the Borden Avenue Bridge in Long Island City, crossing the Dutch Kills tributary of the lugubrious Newtown Creek. For some reason, the last few weeks I’ve found myself turning the camera sideways for “portrait format” shots. 99.9% of what I’ve shot over the last ten years has been “landscape format,” and I’m desirous of getting a few vertical ones in before I go into the west like one of Tolkien’s elves.

Every time, right now, might be the last time.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has friends who try to trip him up along Newtown Creek, pointing at this nearby thing or that distant one on the horizon and asking “what’s that?”. I’ve become so familiar with this place, and its features, that trying to trip me up on the subject is a fool’s errand.

What are you asking me about – the Crane company, the Van Iderstine’s property, the nearby NYS DEC’s crank case oil remediation wells, the Railroad Avenue corridor, Waste Management, or maybe Green Asphalt? Maybe you want to know about the first major petroleum refinery in the United States that opened in 1837, just east of here? Lower Montauk tracks of the Long Island Railroad, or “Deadman’s Curve?” Blissville?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Kosciuszcko Bridge pictured above, the new one(s). I got to walk around on it, before it opened, with Carolyn Maloney and Eric Adams amongst others. I was there when Andrew Cuomo cut the ribbon for the new span, standing alongside a group of politicians who would now deny that they ever met him in person, despite the fact that “day of” they formed a little line and then waited on it patiently for their turn to kiss his ass.

Of course, I wasn’t done walking around Queens yet on the 16th of September, and since I was standing on the “LIC/Maspeth” line, I decided to just scuttle on…

More tomorrow, 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 17, 2022 at 11:00 am

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