The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Forbidden North Coast’ Category

wrinkles formed

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s an annual fireworks display in Astoria Park, usually right at the end of June. It’s staged for the 4th of July, of course, and there’s a band performance that precedes it. It’s a big draw for the neighborhood.

In 2022, it was presented on June 29th.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, there’s a pretty simple camera recipe for fireworks shots – f8/ISO 200/4-8 seconds shutter speed. You pick something distant to focus on, do a test shot to confirm focus and turn off the autofocus entirely, then set the camera run on auto for the duration. My camera has a built in intervalometer, which allows me to set it to just keep on shooting once I click the shutter button. I had the camera set to create an exposure, wait a second, and then pop out another, and another, and another.

The actual trick to fireworks photography relates to the same issue encountered during “landscape.” What’s in the foreground and how do you embed a sense of “place” in the image?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For these shots, what I was interested in getting were the two bridges – Triborough and Hell Gate – along with the fireworks. The last time I shot the fireworks show here, which was at least ten years ago, I made it a point of being right up along the waterfront so I could include the East River in the shots. Given the mobbed and crowded condition down at that location, I wanted to stay away from that sort of lockup.

I moved around a bit this time as well, which I would have precluded from doing down in the thick of things in the crowd on Shore Blvd.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There were 10,000 people – at least – watching the show. It’s a big deal for Astoria, this fireworks show, and especially so after the last few years. People bring their kids, pets, and folding chairs along with coolers of beverages.

In the shot above, I was playing around with a few camera tricks. I used the focus stacking technique to combine multiple fireworks shells into a single shot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The show ended, and I sat down for a half hour at the skateboard park section of the larger Astoria Park, under Triborough Bridge. The crowds dispersed slowly, and I didn’t see any advantage at all in being part of an enormous human herd as it headed back towards 21st and 31st streets along Hoyt Avenue.

Fun night, with a cool neighborhood vibe.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One scuttled his lonely path down Broadway back towards HQ and an inevitable late night in front of the computer spent developing these shots. Digital development occurs entirely within photoshop for me. I don’t lean heavily into my shots. I adjust horizons, do a bit of cropping, and correct the color temperature of the capture. I never, ever edit out anything in the shot as it would negate the journalistic integrity of the image. What I saw is what you see.

Something different 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

August 3, 2022 at 11:00 am

sputtering attorney

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another day, and this time I was out at sunset here in Astoria. Shore Road, alongside Astoria Park, offers commanding views of the Hells Gate section of the East River and the two bridges spanning it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Triborough Bridge’s East River Suspension Bridge section is in the fore, and the Hell Gate Railroad Bridge is in the rear. I’m purposely letting the photos speak for themselves today rather than describing the tableau, by the way.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was actually a lucky stroke for me to be here on this particular evening, as the sunset colors were explosively saturated.

Back next week.


“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

December 10, 2021 at 11:00 am

veined fist

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All of my favorite places have received a visit since I’ve been back in NYC, including Astoria’s own Luyster Creek. Recent conversation with high ranking officers of the City’s Department of Environmental Protection firmly established the fact of this waterway’s existence and the actual location of a particularly noisome “combined sewer outfall” pipe along its waterfront, which is maintained by their agency. They seemed surprised.

I have had – in fact – several conversations with highly placed personages in the political state recently wherein they asked me – a private citizen – to gather photos and write reports for them – pro bono – on their own infrastructure, ways of doing business, and work practices. One actually asked me to prepare a categorical inventory of the utility poles and wire snares leading to and from these utility poles in Astoria and Woodside.

There is a New York State Public Service Commission operating out of an office at 90 Church Street in Manhattan, which oversees the utility poles of Consolidated Edison, Spectrum, RCN, National Grid, and Verizon within NYC. If the answer to “who ya going to call” isn’t “Ghostbusters,” perhaps these employees of the political state are the correct answer. Not me, unless you’ve got a fist full of cash to compensate me for the trouble, not anymore.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Raphael De Niro led “Wildflower Studios” construction project is at work right now at Luyster Creek, which will result in a television and movie studio being erected alongside the Steinway Piano Factory in Astoria. The wooded shoreline on the western shore pictured above will also soon become a Department of Sanitation Garage. You should have seen their faces when I invoked the NYC charter requirement of “1% for art or public access” on them in a community board meeting. What depressed me was how few of my fellow CB members had ever actually slogged through the NYC Charter. You mess around with Lawyers, it’s a good idea to have at least read the law book.

Y’know, I’ve had a number of people ask me recently if I’m depressed or something. I’m the opposite of that these days, I’m pissed off and have decided that another facet of my newly adopted philosophy of sociopathy is unvarnished truth telling. As an old punk song offered – “Are you offended? Well, sorry, but maybe you needed to be offended, and one more thing – fuck you.” I just don’t care anymore, which brings me back full circle to the angry young man I used to be.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everything is broken, and nobody wants to say it. I’ve always been the one willing to tell Granny that the soup is too salty. It’s better to be honest than to lie. In the political world, they’ll dance around uncomfortable subjects. “He might be owned outright by big real estate, and worked closely with Jared Kushner on luxury apartments in Williamsburg and oversaw the creation of Hudson Yards, but he’s great on bike lanes, and inclusionary policies regarding homeless electricians.” Yes, he handled the homeless shelter giveaway spree for De Blasio’s City Hall, but he’s great on police reform. She’s great on bike lanes, but is pro development, and… Pfah.

We’ve crossed the precipice of voting monsters into office because they are the only ones who can make the trains run on time… y’all do realize that, right?


“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

November 23, 2021 at 11:00 am

particularly alien

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was quite an afternoon for a long walk, Sunday the 25th of April was, here amongst the rolling hills of Astoria. Speaking of, 21st Avenue at 43rd street seems to be the highest “natural” prominence on the north side of the neighborhood. Someday, I’d love to see a 3D topographical map of Astoria sometime. It’s fairly flat, yes, but there’s a series of shallow hill and valley formations encountered after crossing Astoria Blvd. while heading north. I like to imagine that they’re ridges of mud and stone deposited hydrologically in some unrecorded era of yore. I’ve never seen this elevation change between 20th Avenue and Astoria Blvd. described on a map, but there has to be a 40-50 foot differential.

That’s Astoria’s Luyster Creek pictured above. It’s also sporadically described in maps. A friend of mine who is an expert in the cartographic arts has been looking into the subject of this particular waterway for me, which has been immensely helpful.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After scuttling from HQ on the other side of the neighborhood, a humble narrator found himself next wandering about at Hells Gate nearby Astoria Park. For once, I was lucky enough to get there just as a train was passing over the eponymous bridge spanning this, the Hells Gate section of the East River.

Based on the reactions of passerby, my appearance must be shocking. Old ladies were clutching at their pearls, children cried, dogs growled. I saw a group of older Hellenic men preparing torches.

One decided to get out of the area quickly. The Greeks invented “peasant mob chases monster with torches” along with most other things.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While escaping the attentions of the mob, one noticed this particularly weathered fire alarm box mounted on a pole. The graffiti would indicate that this is a silent alarm… get it? Omertà… silence…

I have fun.


“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

May 18, 2021 at 2:00 pm

quasihexagonal pedestals

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Wednesday?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Fragility and weakness plague a humble narrator, and often it feels as if my bones could shatter or even begin to powderize if somebody plays their music too loudly around me. I feel the pressure of sunlight, and a stiff breeze just might be enough to end it all. My team of Doctors shore me up with a raft of medications, but all I can do is just keep walking. Endeavor found me visiting Astoria’s Luyster Creek several times last month in preparation of a shoreline cleanup effort which I helped a bunch of the neighbors to organize. You can read about all that here.

Special thanks are offered to the NYC DEP for sending us a dumpster to collect the trash and litter, and especially for bundling it into their organizational trash handling system. Additionally, kudos to the thirty or so volunteers who got sweaty and dirty doing the job. Personally, I somehow survived leaving the clean room bubble back here at HQ.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That toe I broke in 2019 has never been the same, so my troubadour tales of woe and infirmity begin where the left foot touches the ground. Like the doom squirrel of Norse Myth that climbs up and down Yggdrasil the World Tree, my list of maladies and complaints shift about and are contingent to different times of day. Luckily, pooping and peeing hasn’t been affected by my general physical decline, but I’m sure that’s coming next. Adult diapers, weird looking orthopedic shoes, weird ointment smells… it’s all just around the corner, I fear. Over the years, I’ve not treated my physical carriage well, and burnt the candle at both ends. My grandmother warned me about this.

My plan for getting out of this trap involves “mad science” and creating a younger clone body which I can transfer myself into. Since I’ve never been much of a “specimen,” I’m hopeful that my mad sciencing can find a method that would allow me to transfer my consciousness into a more robust body. At the very least, I’d like to be a couple of inches taller, since I currently have to stand on a step stool to change light bulbs. When your bones have the consistency of wet Papier-mâché it’s a good idea to avoid ladders.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Frankenstein Monster’s name was Adam. Adam Frankenstein sounds pretty Brooklyn Jewish to me, it’s the name of a Tax Professional or a Bond Trader from Midwood to my ears. The Waxman monster, should my plans for immortality not work out in some ironically comical fashion, would choose its own name since it’s going to have to live with it for a while. The awful truth of my plan, however, is that there would be two of me for a bit. This is the problem with cloning yourself and then backing your brain up into the new model. I’d continue on in painful degeneracy and eventually collapse into the inevitable pile of fecund jellies, while the new man would go striding into the 21st century. I’m such an asshole that I’d look at me (clone me looking at regular me, that is) and say “he had his chance, my turn” and move on. I hope clone me would at least hose down the decaying snot that used to be regular me before somebody slipped on it.

I wonder if I could find a way to give the clone me extra thumbs on the anterior side of the hands. I’d also like to re-examine the set up of the calfs and feet, and introduce some Kangaroo genetics into that area. A bit of armoring for the spine would be nice, as would a far better set of teeth than the ones I got. Hey… if you’re mad sciencing yourself a new body, might as well try to improve on what Mother Nature gave you.


“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

May 5, 2021 at 1:00 pm

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