The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

On October 3rd, it had been raining for days and would continue to do so for a couple more. One was climbing the walls at HQ, so an umbrella was deployed and to augment its function – I thought out a route wherein the built environment would aid me in my quest to not get soaked. 31st street in Astoria has an elevated subway track, and large warehouse and residential buildings which provide rain shadows.

Rain shadows, you ask?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I spend a lot of my time out of doors, wandering through inclement weather. The build environment has specific effects upon meteorological phenomena, at ground level. The rain shadow of a building is often visible, in that yard or two of sidewalk where the wall meets the pavement which will be drier than the rest. You still get rained on, but not as much as in the middle of the sidewalk.

I’ve got all kinds of NYC tips. My best one is “just keep moving.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are still a few spots where you can see the sky in LIC, but those are mainly because the undeveloped property where the lapse occurs is owned by the Government and either the politicians haven’t decided which one of their sponsors to sell it to for $1, or there’s some horrible need that one agency or another has for the parcel.

Hey, we need a place to burn truck tires in your neighborhood. Do it for the City, Queens. Same thing with homeless shelters and waste transfer stations and power plants and sewer plants and railroads and bridges and highways and airports and…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The new Queens Plaza is a dystopia.

Mirror box rhombuses thrust rudely at the stolen sky.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The noise levels in this part of Queens, which is now zoned for the densest form of residential, would be considered an environmental crime in Europe. Multiple subway lines, above and below, scream through the liminal spaces of the elevated tracks.

On the street, traffic of every sort and description.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thanks to the residential conversion of this former industrial zone, pedestrian traffic volume here is now considerable. Said pedestrians, like a humble narrator did, must weave their steps between traffic islands set into the flow of automotive and bicycle traffic pulsing from the Queensboro Bridge.

More next week, 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

November 4, 2022 at 11:00 am

One Response

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  1. Mitch, Rosalie Parisi was in my fifth grade class at St. Patrick’s (1960) I moped up that Beebe Ave stairs every day going to LaSalle Academy, and am sure going to miss you man!

    November 4, 2022 at 3:04 pm

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