The Newtown Pentacle

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As it turned out, February 23rd was a three Borough day for me. Woke up in Queens, hit the Bronx and then Manhattan, and then went back to sleep in Queens. I’ve since had a four Borough day which you’ll see in a couple of weeks. There’s also a two City day in the mix. When it’s reliably warm again, I plan on a 5 Borough day which will involve the entire solar cycle. Given how far ahead of schedule my photos are at this point – you’ll probably be seeing that in late June.

I had an unusually prolific and mission oriented winter and early springtime this year. I’m making up for lost time during the pandemic, and there’s something else on the horizon which is going to be pretty major and is going to absolutely rock my world. That’s something I’m going to be talking about a bit later on in the year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s a pedestrian bridge, officially called the Wards Island Bridge (aka the 103rd street Pedestrian Bridge) which spans the Harlem River. It’s a vertical lift bridge which allows Manhattanites access to Randall’s/Wards Island. The Harlem River is a tidal strait connecting the Hudson River and East River. The bridge opened for use in 1951.

The light began to fail, as Manhattan’s long shadows began to envelop the waters of the East and Harlem Rivers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You always hope that you’re going to get a “real” sunset with oranges and crimson painting the vault of the sky, but nine times out of ten you don’t. Damned oceanic climate zone…

Oh well, might as well make the best of it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since I was all set up for a long exposure sunset, one set upon capturing a few shots of the type seen above and below.

Since I’m often asked to do presentations on this or that subject, photos which I can set type onto are oft needed. Thereby, my shots list always includes capturing ones with large fields of color that I can fill up with the sort of drivel that a scholastic audience expects.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It had been a long and kind of fun day for me, and right after the shot above was captured, the kit was packed up and the camera reset back to handheld shooting mode.

For the curious – remove the filter from the lens, as well as the shutter release cable, turn the lens stabilization system back on, pack up the tripod.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A quick ferry ride from East 90th street to Astoria occurred, and soon I was standing alongside Hallets Cove here in Queens. A half hour of scuttling brought me back to HQ.

Tomorrow – something different at thisyour 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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 12, 2022 at 11:00 am

hollow betwixt

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another brutally cold night, another short walk. This one was routed from HQ, along Astoria’s Broadway in the 40’s, to 31st street and then to Astoria Boulevard, and since my feet were still in a kicking mood, all the way to Skillman Avenue in Long Island City. About three to four miles, all told, I’d guess. I really don’t keep track as I trek.

Occasionally I’ll check the “health” app on my phone. It has a wildly inaccurate step counter, but often offers interesting observations about your movements. Apparently, I’ve got a 6.2% limp related to my left leg, which jibes with all the bitching and moaning about “my trick left foot” that I’ve subjected you all to since 2019, when a falling planter shattered the big toe of my left foot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Incidentally – I’m still marinating about the NYC DOT representatives who told me, in response to a service request offered through the local Community Board’s Transportation Committee – which I’m the chair of – that 31st street has perfectly adequate street lighting. Sigh. Nothing matters, and nobody cares.

The next corner north currently hosts the Neptune Diner and a Staples store. Both will be demolished this year to make room for a luxury condo tower or two which will climb dozens of stories into the sky. Now – I too have always been desirous of living along the Grand Central Parkway at its junction with the Triborough Bridge, and a particularly noisy elevated subway track would be a bonus, but my bet is that when the rich people show up it’s going to become a priority to do something about the dark and dangerous 31st street corridor lighting situation.

Fuck you, very much.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another prognosis I will offer is that once the Neptune project gets going, the smell of blood in the water will draw out all of the smaller Real Estate sharks and shit flies. They will hunt along Astoria Blvd., I imagine. Gas Stations and supermarkets, due to the size of the property lots they inhabit, are prime targets for these sort of creatures.

Astoria is beginning a process, once that’s just finishing up in Hunters Point, Court Square, and Queens Plaza, and Williamsburg, and Greenpoint. The only thing saving us right now are high interest rates and other inflationary factors. As soon as there’s cheap credit again, the bulldozers will begin to arrive, and the sky will be privatized.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One turned his heels at 46th street, where realization that I hadn’t taken any photos of a recently renovated playground set in. Before this renovation took place, this playground – and especially its grassy edges – were beloved by my sorely missed and dearly departed doggie Zuzu. The joke was “Zuzu’s checking her pee mail,” when we would slowly walk around the edges of the place, with her sniffing and inspecting every tree and blade of grass for neighborhood’s dog to dog news.

As mentioned, it was quite cold but being well wrapped, I kept on scuttling. Why not?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One marched across Northern Blvd. and soon found myself at one of my “go-to” fence holes nearby the Harold Interlocking. Lucky timing saw me arriving just as a Long Island Railroad train was passing through.

It was right about here that I decided on my “turn around” point. I was beginning to feel a bit of fatigue, which – like all french words – I intentionally mispronounce as “Fatygway.” If you’re from the part of Brooklyn that I am, mispronunciation of France Talk is a form of sport. “Hors d’oeuvres” is meant to pronounced as “whores da overs,” ain’t it? C’mon, Bro.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My turnaround point was for a spot where it’s entirely kosher for a privately owned taxi company to gobble up every available parking spot to store their fleet. Ever notice you don’t hear the safe streets crowd complaining about this form of “free car storage”? Wonder why that is?

More tomorrow at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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

March 22, 2022 at 11:00 am

stony plateau

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Ice had recently stopped tumbling down out of the sky on a cold night in late January, so a humble narrator tied the boots with the cleated soles onto his roadway interfaces and shot out of the house onto the wild streets of Astoria, Queens. One was fully insulated, with a new suit of thermal underwears installed under the normal sackcloth. Kit bag all packed up, one smiled, smiled, smiled. That is, until I stepped out the door and got slammed with by the cold. Brrr.

This was one of my short walks, a leg stretch as it were, which never “left the neighborhood.” One also wasn’t in the mood to futz about with gear, so all photos are handheld – no tripods, cables, or camera supports or anything like that.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An awful lot of real estate development has occurred along the seriously undesirable 31st street corridor (noisy). Everywhere that the new construction has gone up, you now see these mega piles of garbage and recyclables. Another missed opportunity for NYC, to not replicate the mistakes of Manhattan, is DSNY related.

Seriously, when you talk to the planners and real estate types – they describe midtown Manhattan as the goal state rather than as a cautionary tale. The specter of Robert Moses is still in the room.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m told that the food truck pictured above suffered a blazing fire a few days after this shot was gathered on 30th avenue. The self proclaimed “Rey Del Tacos” has been thereby deposed and this king of the tacos is no more – so, long live the king. The Boss of the Tacos food truck is said to be consolidating its power and getting ready to make a grab at the throne, but for now, taco anarchy rules in Astoria. Really, this taco superiority process and how it will play out is not unlike how we ended up having a “France” instead of a “Norman Gaul.”

History is the story of wooden Deliverista shoes going up stairs to deliver the tacos, while velvet Deliverista slippers tumble back down. Voltaire never encountered tacos, to my knowledge. He lived in a castle. Either way, the tacos must flow.


“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

March 3, 2022 at 11:00 am

cliffside cabin

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Intriguing are the bits of property which my Dad always referred to as “community driveways,” like the one in Astoria pictured above. The particular one above is interesting to me as it’s a dirt road. You don’t encounter much in the way of open soil here in Western Queens. A community driveway, for the uninitiated, is a pathway which leads to a “behind your house” parking spot and often a garage at the basement level. It’s an amenity!

Even the laconic Croats, and the other similarly reserved “Yugoslav” populations they coexist with here on Astoria’s southern edge, will get misty eyed when the subject of a private parking spot comes up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering around in the cold night, a humble narrator found that the aphorism “All roads lead to Calvary” was quite true when he found himself standing at the gate. It’s been quite a while since my last visit to the great polyandrion of the Roman Catholics, but since this one was well after sunset – the gates were securely fastened, as is the habit of the cemetery management. Couldn’t resist cracking out an exposure through the gate, however.

When leaving HQ, one told Our Lady of the Pentacle that I’d be taking a long walk, but that I didn’t plan on leaving Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not wanting to make a liar of myself, one walked onto the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge over Newtown Creek but didn’t cross the legal border into Brooklyn. Instead, I lingered mid span for an interval, and got lucky with what Queens wanted to show me. As a note, I sort of love the photo above, depicting a fuel truck traveling across the double bascule drawbridge.

More tomorrow.


“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

February 22, 2022 at 11:00 am

hidden byway

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having accomplished the “distant foggy” shots which drew me out of HQ, a humble narrator began the scuttle back home but I was far from done with the evening’s exertions. For those keeping score – the walk to Astoria Park and the waterfront adjoining Shore Boulevard from HQ and back is found somewhere on the dividing line between a “long” and a “short” walk for me. Basically, it’s further away than you perceive it to be when leaving the house, but not all that far, really.

At least it’s mostly flat. I’m pretty sensitive to discrete changes in altitude and declination for some reason. If you pay attention to the “lay of the land” it’s possible to ignore the built environment’s masonry distractions and “see” what the actual topography is like.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Obviously, the area surrounding the early 20th century vintage Hells Gate and Triborough Bridges had been thoroughly worked over by crews of laborers. There was an “Astoria Park” prior to the modern shaping, which you can observe on old maps from the 19th century, but it was nothing like the modern park other than location.

One hung around the park for a bit, shooting from various spots, but I won’t bore you with those photos since they really weren’t anything special. The fog had started thinning out in anticipation of a forthcoming bout of rain, so I pointed my toes back towards HQ.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Good golly, do I ever enjoy the weird lighting offered by food trucks for some reason. It’s funny the way that you suddenly become entranced by something that was formerly ignored. Throughout the pandemic months, I’ve found myself noticing things – gas stations, for instance – that I used to just scuttle right past.

Tomorrow – something completely different 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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 15, 2022 at 11:00 am

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