The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Astoria’ Category

bleak emptiness

leave a comment »

Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, one of the things which NYC still has money for is to employ a vast crew of laborers to demolish the concrete of Astoria’s Broadway corners and then replace them with new concretetized corners. Random and unannounced arrivals of demolition crews at 7:15 in the morning during a pandemic, using jack hammers mounted on the arms of backhoes that shake the foundations of the century old building you’re sleeping within… this far exceeds the value of hot cup of coffee for waking you right the hell up.

This has been a classic Queens operation. First, back in August – they milled and repaired the street. In September they showed up and painted in the street markings and so on. Then in October, a crew comes through and tears the whole operation back up again. Now, I get to moan to 311 and the Community Board people about all the asphalt and concrete which found their way into the sewers until DEP sends out a team to free up the grates.

Flooding is nice. Who doesn’t want to live by the water?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For most of the last week, time has been somewhat limited and my walks around LIC have been primarily about “cardio” and exercise. Saying that, I’ve always got the camera with me and am ready to record the cool stuff encountered along my path. My new favorite fence hole at Sunnyside Yards continues to shine.

Those are Amtrak trains, if you’re curious. In between duty shifts, the coach yard side of Sunnyside Yards handles the needs of this rolling stock. I’ve seen workers doing custodial work on the trains, others monkeying around with various exterior features and devices, and there’s all sorts of mechanical tasks that get attended to while the trains are overnighting in Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another one of the hydraulic work lifts, which I fantasize about turning into my personal vehicle, was encountered on Skillman Avenue when looping back towards home recently. The one I showed you yesterday was green and small, this one is orange and bigger. Variety is the spice of life, huh?

This is a fairly busy week for old Mitch – tonight, Queens Community Board 1 will be virtually gathered for our monthly meeting. On Wednesday, the Newtown Creek Community Advisory Group will also be meeting virtually. For information on how to attend these public meetings – click here for Queens CB1 and here for the Newtown Creek CAG.

Also coming up – Tonight is the fund raiser Gala for the Working Harbor Committee, and October 29th is the Tidal Toast fundraiser for Newtown Creek Alliance.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, October 19th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 20, 2020 at 11:00 am

sardonic stare

leave a comment »

Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“You know what I haven’t done in literally months” was what I said, and it was less of a question than it was a statement. Our Lady of the Pentacle clutched at a pillow and pushed herself backwards into the couch while saying “What?” with a concerned look on her face. “Get out on the water” exclaimed a humble narrator. “Hence” shouted I.

One scuttled over to the NYC Ferry Dock here in Astoria, accordingly. Heroically boarding a ferry, a humble narrator returned to the sixth borough.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sludge boats were bounding across the aqueous meadows, as were tugboats and all sorts of other maritime contrivances. The rule on the Ferry requires being masked up, which creates quite a situation when you’re standing in the slipstream of wind up on the top deck. Managing my baseball cap, sunglasses, and mask while operating the camera made one wish for a third arm. Despite all the time spent at Newtown Creek, one still hasn’t spawned a new appendage, unfortunately. A third arm would make clothes shopping difficult, I admit.

That’s the NYC DEP’s MV Red Hook sludge boat pictured above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Astoria line makes a stop at the venerable Brooklyn Navy Yard along its route, and that’s where the Dann Towing’s Ivory Coast tug was spotted, as evinced by the shot above. My plan for this afternoon excursion involved riding the Astoria ferry to Pier 11, then hopping onto the Staten Island Ferry to St. George whereupon a reversal of course would be enacted.

I’ve missed galavanting around NY Harbor, and the particular photographic challenges it presents.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, September 7th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 9, 2020 at 1:05 pm

invincible evil

with one comment

Feels like Monday, but it’s Tuesday, pal.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been freely ranging about the City for the last week, as mentioned, and visiting several places which have been left unobserved during the pandemic months. That FDNY Fleet Services Wrecker was spotted in Greenpoint when I was on my way to the Newtown Creek Nature Walk, for instance.

Generally speaking, the Fire Department has the coolest gear in the entire municipal sphere. The Cops have cool toys too, mind you, but FDNY seems to have at least one of everything and they keep their stuff “mint.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This tree is found on the block I live on in Astoria. It’s in front of a noisome fellow whom the block’s lifers call “John the Pollock.” John doesn’t like dogs pooping or pissing in his tree pit, and has been the subject of much online conversation due to his habit of seeding the grass with pepper flakes and other irritants to discourage the canines from explorations. I don’t know if John is responsible for this scene or not.

Everybody in my neighborhood seems to have some sort of descriptive nickname. At the local bar, we have an abundance of fellows named “Chris.” There’s Croatian Chris, Crazy Chris, Glazier Chris, Real Estate Chris, Pharmaceutical Chris, and Substance Abuse Chris, amongst others. The latter Chris recently got carted off by an FDNY ambulance and I haven’t seen him for at least a week. Hope he’s ok. I asked after him with Vlad the waiter and Sean the Carpenter, but nobody has seen Substance Abuse Chris. Hopefully he doesn’t just disappear like Mattie the Vampire did.

…Astoria…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One plan which a humble narrator did manage to actuate recently was the caper where I ride the NYC Ferry and get out on the water, but more on that in subsequent postings. On my way to the ferry, the gate was open at an Ice Cream Truck storage and maintenance yard on Broadway at the corner of Vernon, so this shot was gathered.

The branding on these trucks is “New York Ice Cream” which indicates they were part of the breakaway faction of Mister Softee drivers who formed the “Master Softee” outfit. The Masters were sued by the Mister people in federal court over infringing on their trademark jingle and branding, hence the refit to New York Ice Cream.

More tomorrow.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, September 7th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 8, 2020 at 1:00 pm

farewell friend

with 18 comments

Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Zuzu the dog passed away yesterday afternoon. She was a very good girl.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, August 24th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 28, 2020 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria

Tagged with

strident pandemonium

with one comment

It’s Friday, a word that comes from the Old English “Frīgedæg” – the day of Frigga.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wee ooh did Astoria ever get hit hard by that storm the other day. For some reason or another, the corridor surrounding Newtown Road in the 40’s got pummeled by the heavy winds and the neighborhood lost a bunch of trees. Unfortunately a couple of the neighbors ended up losing their vehicles as well when the trees came down.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Astoria is a mess, as far as utility cables go. After the Great Astoria Blackout of 2006 saw their cables and underground network burn away, Con Ed did a jury rig job getting the neighborhood energized again. Fourteen years later, they haven’t come back and improved on that, so there’s layer upon layer of cables hanging from the utility poles. Said utility poles are decades old, lean at precipitous angles, and are a subject which I often bring up when talking about the neighborhood with elected officialdom.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To complicate the matter, these often 80-100 year old utility poles are also carrying hundreds of tons of telephonic and cable/data cables. The lowest level on the pole are generally cable data/tv wires, with phone above that, and electrical at the top.

There’s an absolute web of these wires overhead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The street trees basically live in a concrete box of sandy soil, which truncates their root systems. Frankly, it’s a small miracle that we don’t lose more of them every time the wind blows, but there you go. As you can see in the shot above, the concrete sidewalk slabs got picked up by the lever action of the tree going down.

Skateboard kids were standing around, waiting for their chance.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the corner of Newtown Road and 46th street, where the ancient utility poles were snapped into sections by the weight of an ancient tree suddenly landing on the abundant wires they carry.

As mentioned, this is something I’ve been raising the alarum about for a while now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured above is Broadway in Astoria, which should give you an idea of how big the issue is. Looks like those pics of Lower Manhattan from back in the 19th century, doesn’t it? Sad thing is that most of these wires are dead and connected to nothing.

You’d think that when the politicians gave the exclusive franchises for data and phone, or cable, or power to the various utility companies that there would have been some discussion of maintenance and of removing dead wires. You’ve forgotten the Borough Motto, haven’t you?

Welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, August 3rd. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 7, 2020 at 1:00 pm

%d bloggers like this: