The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

bold entreaty

with one comment


– photo by Mitch Waxman

On October 5, it was raining in the City. A diminishing meteorological system had stalled over the megalopolis for several days and all was moist. Regardless, one required a bit of exercise and time for thought, so off on a scuttle did a humble narrator go.

My plan was to hug the fence lines of the estimable Sunnyside Yards, and commit a few exposures to the “same old, same old.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned ad infinitum in the past, HQ is a few blocks away from the yards and my habit is to use it’s curvilinear border streets to transit back and forth to Newtown Creek, so I’ve passed through this corridor often over the nearly twenty years that I’ve been living in Astoria. As also mentioned, I’m suddenly trying to capture a lot of “portrait format” vertical shots.

That’s the Long Island Railroad passing through the Harold Interlocking, as seen from “hole reliable.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One really isn’t a “rail guy,” rather rail is something which I find very interesting as far as photography challenges go. Surprisingly difficult to get a decent rail shot, especially so in challenging lighting conditions. Shiny things festooned with bright lights which are moving at a high rate of speed is a problematic situation, camera wise. There’s also an abundance of busy detail in frame – wires and lamp posts with super bright lights, occluding infrastructure, all sorts of stuff to worry about.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was just getting dark as I scuttled around and onto Skillman Avenue.

The former Citigroup building, or as I’ve previously styled it – the Sapphire Megalith of Long Island City – has always been one of the two far points that I focus on when I want everything in a certain part of a shot to be “tack sharp.” The engineering of a lens has a “hyper focal” distance built into it, which essentially means that when it’s focused on “infinity” at a particular aperture setting, everything between a certain point in front of the lens and infinity will contain the field of focus. In the shot above, and at the aperture I was using, that field was about twenty feet away from me. Notice the blur of the signal pole, which was about ten feet from me.

The other far point is the Empire State Building, which you used to be able to see from everywhere in Long Island City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One continued on. This was one of the walks which saw me carrying a light kit bag – one bright prime lens on the camera, another in the bag. I did have a little camera support gizmo with me, but didn’t end up using it at all on this walk, as I was in a handheld kind of mood.

Although I didn’t intend to walk all the way to Dutch Kills on this particular evening, it seems that’s where I was heading to.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

By the time I crossed Queens Boulevard, it was “proper dark” out.

Well, the night time is the right time, I always say…

More tomorrow.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 8, 2022 at 11:00 am

One Response

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  1. Hi Mitch,

    Alex Bloom here, Brooklyn-native and fellow industrial canal enthusiast. I’m also a journalist working out of New York City News Service and working on a couple of different pieces on Brooklyn’s Community District 1.

    A colleague directed me toward your blog and I have been very impressed reading your carefully-researched, insightful and lyrically-written posts about North Brooklyn and shallow Queens. Thank you for all of your advocacy work on behalf of sensible city planning and preservation.

    I’m working on a story about energy in North Brooklyn, on the plan a long time in the works to divert methane gas from the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant for public use, its delayed progress, and more broadly, the presence National Grid has had in the community and residents’ reactions to many of the company’s activities.

    I wondered if you might be available to speak with me for a few minutes by phone sometime this week or weekend? I would appreciate very much your thoughts on the situation with this project and some context for it which I’m sure you’re especially aware of.

    In any case, thanks so much for your time here. Hope you’re well and sending my best wishes,

    Alexander Bloom

    November 8, 2022 at 6:10 pm

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