The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Blissville’ Category

blazed effulgently

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Shlepping along the increasingly mean streets of Queens, one found himself opposite St. Raphael’s Roman Catholic Church on Greenpoint Avenue, at a spot where a concrete retaining wall of about 36 inches in height can be found. Given that there is a dearth of actual street seating – no benches, for instance – hereabouts, one decided to take a load off for a few minutes and watch the Fords go by. There’s a lot of Fords, and Chevy’s, and everything else since the Long Island Expressway entrance and exit ramps are on this corner.

St. Raphael’s and its congregants provided me with one of the best “just stumbled upon it” photo days I’ve ever experienced here in Western Queens. Check out this Flickr album from 2010.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

90% of the time, I’m literally just wandering around. The other 10% is “I’m going to go to” with a plan, but you can’t force light and atmosphere to do your bidding. Over the last decade, one has learned that there are certain parts of “the study area” which are highly dynamic and regularly offer a cornucopia of random photographic subjects.

Nearby an FDNY facility in the LIC IBZ (industrial business zone) this ambulance/truck was encountered. Its insignia identifies it as belonging to New Jersey’s Ringwood Underwater Search and Recovery – which seems to be a non profit team of divers. What it was doing in Queens? Who knows? A lot of Jersey people will drive into Queens to find a place to park their vehicle, then take the 7 into Manhattan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In terms of fertile areas for photographic exploitation, especially ones which are a short walk from HQ, Sunnyside Yards almost never fails me. There’s a shot just waiting for you at almost anyone of the many fence holes that I catalog.

Given that heading south out of Astoria towards Newtown Creek or Brooklyn’s Greenpoint means an inevitable crossing of the gargantua rail yard… I get a lot of shots of trains.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The construction projects related to “East Side Access” have been going on for a generation at this point. It’s fairly routine for a road and or sidewalk around the yards to be blocked and or fenced off for some sort of construction project.

Luckily for me, on the particular night this shot was captured (which was the 18th of February, by the way) the construction guys left the fence open and I was able to crack out a couple of shots of their gear.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunnyside Yards allows few junctures that you can make north/south crossings via. Queens Plaza, Honeywell Street, 39th/Harold, 43rd street, and 48th street. The latter is where an employee’s entrance to the yards can be found. Recent construction efforts at that location have seen the local street drains become clogged.

The flooding at this spot has allowed big piles of slippery mud to accrete. It’s been reported and the local authorities notified, but nobody cares and nothing matters.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sigh… keeping an eye on it.

When the Governor is trying to sell you on giving $850 million of tax money to an NFL team in her home district for a new stadium, remember this picture. Also – the collapsing bulkhead along Newtown Creek, and the general shit level of infrastructure maintenance you see everywhere in NYC.


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!


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

April 5, 2022 at 11:00 am

consistency partook

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Scuttling, forever scuttling, camera in hand. Filthy black raincoat flapping about in the poison wind, dodging trucks and following railroad tracks down darkened alleys… sometimes you get lucky.

As mentioned last week, a particularly long walk found me in Long Island City’s Blissville section just after sunset, and one was nearby the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge just as a set of railroad signal arms began to chime and flash. It was the garbage train!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That reddish gizmo you see above is colloquially referred to as a “critter,” I’m told, but it’s officially a Nordco Shuttlewagon model NVX6030. This particular ride can move between 38,000 and 85,000 pounds of rail car all on its own.

The crew operating it were moving rail cars with the green garbage boxes on them to and from a Waste Management facility found to the east of the LIRR’s Blissville Yard for temporary storage. The garbage train is built one rail car at a time, after all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Waste Management handles transfer operations for the Department of Sanitation of New York. DSNY does curbside collection in their familiar white trucks all over Queens, and then bring their putrescent cargo over to WM’s waste transfer station in Blissville, along the fabulous Newtown Creek.

The black bag or “putrescent” garbage is then complied into those green boxes, which are then loaded onto the rail cars. After a full train of them is assembled, with the Shuttlewagon doing the assembly, a proper locomotive engine will arrive and shackle itself to the garbage train. You’ll notice the garbage train leaving Queens if you hang around the Hell Gate Bridge, where it crosses the East River and heads over to the Bronx. From the Bronx, it goes north and eventually crosses the Hudson River and then travels out onto the continent, leaving our archipelago behind.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When the critter went into the Blissville Yard, the signal arms rose, and a humble narrator scuttled across the road – answering that age old question of “why does mitch cross the road” with “to see what it looks like from the other side.”

After a short wait, the signal arms began to chime and flash again and the Shuttlewagon returned from the darkened environ of the Blissville Yard.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The crew were hauling empty green cargo boxes back towards Waste Management. A couple of years ago, or maybe a couple of years before Covid (I have no sense of time anymore regarding the last few years), I was told that Waste Management’s Review Avenue Waste Transfer Station handles 950 tons of black bag garbage a day.

There’s another waste transfer station here along Railroad Avenue, a recycling outfit called SimsMetal, which I’ve often profiled here in the past. Just search for “SimsMetal” in the Newtown Pentacle search bar at top right. There’s literally dozens of instances you can read about them, going all the way back to 2009.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Exhausted by my efforts and overwhelmed with joy, one decided to lay down on the sidewalk after the train passed, where an interval of introspective sobbing was enjoyed. One crawled on his hands and knees back up to Greenpoint Avenue before righting himself and resuming a brachiated striding posture before continuing on.

This walk wasn’t over yet, and there was still plenty to run and hide from.


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!


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.

public squares

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Scuttling, I’m always scuttling about on the darkened streets of Western Queens. Filthy black raincoat flapping about in the poison wind, shoes scraping through the piles of blood, scabs, and hair on the pavement. Camera in hand, friendless, like a leaf goeth I. Sometimes the weather is quite tolerable.

Yet again, my footsteps carried me to the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek, where a quick check in revealed that my beloved Tree of Paradise continues to defy the odds.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was no particular destination on this mid February walk, which was sort of a long one. I had just sat through another intolerably long and frustrating Governmental Zoom meeting, and needed to blow off some creative steam.

Where you gonna go, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After visiting Dutch Kills, my path continued up Review Avenue from Borden towards Greenpoint Avenue.

I spotted this concrete pumper truck along the way, and since it caught my eye, I waved the camera at it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I say it all the time – the Fire Department has the best gear. Seriously, there isn’t a kind of vehicle out there that they don’t have at least one iteration of. A nearby maintenance facility has recently been kitted out with electric vehicles and charging stations, all of which bear the familiar heraldry and branding elements of FDNY.

The FDNY has a huge maintenance facility on Review Avenue which seems to be dedicated to servicing the needs of its EMS Ambulance fleet. In fact, there’s several FDNY service facilities tucked away into discrete corners of the Newtown Creek uplands, all of which are dedicated to handling the various vehicular types they operate.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I wasn’t really planning on heading down to Railroad Avenue on this walk, but luckily for me, this wrecker Tow Truck caught my eye. There’s a gas station and mechanic business found at the corner of Greenpoint and Review Avenues whom this truck belongs to. Based on the iconography adorning it, and its particular paint job, my guess is that this particular business is owned by people from the Sikh culture.

That’s a surmise, though, can’t confirm as I haven’t interacted with anyone from the mechanic garage. Saying that, I’ve noticed medallions hanging off the mirror, and other little cues, that I’ve learned to associate with the Sikh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s a pretty impressive truck, though.

As to why I’m so glad that this truck attracted me down to Railroad Avenue… you’re just going to wait till next week for that one, Lords and Ladies.


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

April 1, 2022 at 11:00 am

parabolic contradiction

with 5 comments

Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Scuttling, always scuttling, from place to place with camera in hand. Filthy black raincoat flapping about in the poison wind. Sometimes, the light is absolutely glorious.

We pick up where last week left off, at the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek in Long Island City. One had set up the camera into its long exposure/landscape modality, with filter and tripod and the rest of the deal. Sunset was just getting underway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When leaving HQ, it had already been decided that this was going to be a long walk, and that a lot of ground would be covered. That’s the LIRR’S Cabin M railroad bridge, which was described in some detail in last Friday’s post.

Before you ask, this was a Sunday, and there’s virtually zero chance of getting in the way of freight rail operations along Newtown Creek on a Sunday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a not exactly secret pathway along the water down here, between the two rail bridges on Dutch Kills. I seldom walk it, as it’s pretty obscure and were I to find myself in trouble down here I’d have a hard time explaining to the 911 operator where I was.

Saying that, I do roll through here occasionally.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s DB Cabin, another LIRR rail bridge, but one whose tracks are normally pretty active. It connects two freight rail yards across the waters of Dutch Kills, and carries the LIRR’s Lower Montauk tracks.

Kills is “old Dutch” for Creek, I’m told.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A new player has emerged in the Blissville yard, which is a good thing. Not sure what they do, but it’s good to see freight rail being embraced by industry.

One continued scuttling along in an easterly direction, towards the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured is DUGABO – Down under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge Onramp. The surface street is called “Railroad Avenue.”

On my Amtrak travels last fall, I discovered that there’s a street called “Railroad Avenue” in nearly every City that I went looking for one in.

More tomorrow.


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.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 28, 2022 at 11:00 am

inappropriately enrobed

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another night, another scuttle. This was a longish sort of walk. Starting in Astoria, along Broadway in the 40’s, I carried the camera into Sunnyside, then Long Island City, Blissville, and into industrial Maspeth. What fun.

First up was a stop at “ole reliable,” an oft visited fence hole at the Sunnyside Yards, one which provides a great point of view on the Harold Interlocking. The busiest passenger train junction in the United States, this spot is where both Long Island Railroad and Amtrak pass through on their way to and from Penn Station.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A taxi company in Sunnyside is based in a structure reminiscent of the sort of early 1970’s toys that little boys craved. They have ramps and lifts and pipes that bellow steam. Also, since every parking spot on the blocks surrounding this company is claimed by one of their cabs, I don’t feel guilty peeing in between two of their taxis so it’s a bit of a destination.

One of the weird leave behinds of my experiences during the Covid period relates to the fact that the very few places you used to be able to piss – a McDonald’s or Diner bathroom for instance – have been closed and off limits. This means that I’ve gotten into the habit of “taking care of business” in the manner of a domestic dog. This has become a bit of an issue for me during the various travels to other cities detailed in earlier posts, as the citizenry of other communities generally take a dim view of such practices. Well, you can take the boy out of the dystopian shithole…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My fascination with gas stations is another Covid period “thing.” To be fair, though, they’re very difficult subjects to photograph in low light – just like the LIRR train in the first shot – and that sort of camera related challenge draws me in like a moth to a candle’s flame.

At the start of Covid, we had pantry moths show up in the house. They arrived in a bag of dry dog food. It took the better part of two years to exterminate the little bastards using pheromone scented traps. Freaking Lepidoptera.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Boulevard, the so called “boulevard of death,” was crossed next, and south did a humble narrator walk. Given that the streets of Queens aren’t quite as “crime lite” as they were a few years ago, one has renounced the habit of listening to audiobooks or music via headphones. I want to be able to hear someone’s sneakers slapping the pavement as they’re coming for me.

It’s actually amazing how quickly the entire City fell apart under the rule of De Blasio and his fellow fun lovers. Mr. Fairness and Equity oversaw a widening of the gap between rich and poor, an explosion of racially motivated crimes directed towards people of Asian descent, and every time he opened his mouth he would piss somebody off. Truly, that man was the Trump of the left. Incompetent, high on his own supply, and every opportunity to learn something new was rejected in favor of an ideological interpretation. At least Adams is fun.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Blissville, a section of Long Island City which borders industrial Maspeth, was the next place to be blighted by my foot steps. Blissville in the centuried home of First Calvary Cemetery, the polyandrion of the Roman Catholics. As a note – I never cross a fence line, and almost never trespass. The shot above was instead captured from the public way’s POV and I used the stout iron fences of the cemetery to steady the camera.

The mausolea pictured above is sort of unusual for a Catholic cemetery. The human remains encapsulated aren’t in the ground, rather they seem to reside within the granite capsule guarded by the Angel statue. Normally, the Catholics use the loam for the disbursement of their departed, burying the box (coffin or casket) about six feet down. Jews do the same, except when it comes to Mausolea. In Jewish funerary tradition, a mausoleum shelf or compartment is meant to be lined with soil from the Levant (Israel) prior to the placement of the box and its dearly departed cargo. Yes, it’s a racket.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having fairly exhausted myself, after arriving at the “Crane District” of Industrial Maspeth, one summoned a ride share service to cart my sorry butt back home to Astoria. As mentioned in the past, I seem to have developed some brand loyalty towards the LYFT service as opposed to the Uber one.

One of my practices is to use a subway or bus or cab to deposit me somewhere, and then walk back to Astoria from… say… Flushing or Bushwick. This is something I started doing back before Covid, in fact. It vastly increases what I would consider to be walking distance, since the trip is sort of one way.


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.

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