The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Brooklyn’ Category

ivied antique

with one comment

Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, one set the camera up along the Brooklyn waterfront on a warm evening in late March and got busy with the clicking and the whirring.

Special attention was paid to the Brooklyn Bridge, and to the weird lighting which descended on the East River at dusk.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It had been overcast and rain was threatening all day, but once the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself disappeared, the sky was dark but colored with electric blues. This only lasted a few minutes, but wow.

I had been out of sync with the ferry schedule all day, perpetually arriving at a dock just as a ferry was pulling away from it. Given that it was growing late, I intended on being on time for the boat that would be visiting this particular stop nearby Fulton Landing before heading north on the river towards Long Island City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While waiting for the boat to arrive, I converted the operation away from its “landscape/tripod” configuration over to the “handheld/low light” one. I’ve described this in the past, it’s mainly swapping out certain lenses for other ones and safely tying off the tripod onto my knapsack.

The boat arrived, I flashed the ticket on my phone to the deckhand, and soon I was snugly ensconced on the NYC Ferry heading north.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you haven’t ridden the ferry at night… well, I don’t care, you should get out more and watch less television.

The real world is so much more interesting than fiction, if you ask me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last stop before Long Island City’s “LIC Landing” stop is 34th street in Manhattan, where you get to see the shot above.

What is it with all the people who move into the newly constructed condos along the East River who don’t seem to have drapes, curtains, or Venetian blinds? Conspicuously consume much, you oligarchic fucks?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of no drapes, I wonder if they don’t have carpets either (drum shot, please). As you might be able to discern right now, I’m just dripping with sarcasm and hatred at the moment. Something about edging towards a Civil War in a country that’s as armed to the teeth as we are just sets me off.

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.

hidden latch

with one comment

Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

March 22nd. That’s what we’re up to in today’s post! Finally getting a bit caught up, and I won’t be running the risk of showing you photos in June that have snow on the ground. As mentioned – one has been unusually prolific in 2022 – which is likely a reaction to all of the lockdown dealies and restrictions from the last couple of years, and thereby the posts here at Newtown Pentacle have been carrying double the normal number of photos.

So, on March 22nd, I was riding on the ferry again and decided to get off the thing nearby the Brooklyn Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was going to be about an hour before the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself tucked itself away behind New Jersey, so I set up my tripod and claimed a spot. There were a few other shooters at the waterfront park where I did my “set up.”

Most of them seemed to be packing Sony camera systems, and from the look of what they were up to – shooting time lapse sequences.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally, I wasn’t there with anything specific – shot wise – in mind. Catch as catch can days are my favorites, as a humble narrator enjoys serendipity.

Over to the southwest, a bit of a hullabaloo seemed to be underway in Jersey…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I later found out that a plastics recycling plant in Bayonne experienced a pretty serious fire, which is unfortunately a pretty common occurrence for recycling plants in Bayonne.

Remember when the Chlorine Bleach factory in Jersey City was burning during the winter? I called my buddy in Kearny that night, and gave him very specific instructions to follow should he notice a greenish mist wafting along the streets. Chlorine gas is heavier than the normal atmospheric gases, so if you find yourself in the path of some, get up to the second or third floors and wait it out. Whatever you do, do not turn on the water faucet. The gas and liquid will instantly combine and form a cloud of hydrochloric acid, which will dissolve you and yours.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Who else watches the YouTube channel for the National Chemical Safety Board? What? Just me? Sheiste.

The sky started getting interesting, but didn’t go all crimson and orange as I had hoped it would.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Regardless, the scenery was still pretty choice, especially when the lights started coming on for the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan behind it. I decided to hang around, and blow off some stupid Zoom meeting that I was supposed to attend.

Apparently, and this is a direct response to my realization that “Nothing Matters and Nobody Cares,” I no longer give any shits whatsoever.


“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 16, 2022 at 11:30 am

he shuns

with one comment

Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described, last year, a humble narrator’s perambulatory pursuits found him shambling eastwards on Brooklyn’s Meeker Avenue from the Brooklyn Navy Yard towards Astoria in Queens. My route was entirely encapsulated by the miles long steel and concrete pergola formed by the elevated roadway of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. There has always been a population that dwells in this corridor – unfortunates and inebriates who set up camp sites constructed from tarps, cardboard, and shipping palettes – but during the pandemic months their numbers have exploded.

Empathy for their plight and situation would be expressed if I was still capable of experiencing emotions. Instead, one has become not unlike a stick of wood – dry, unyielding, uncaring, ready to burst into flame at the first hint of a spark. I’m intolerant of nonsense now, and it’s nonsensical that the greatest City in history cannot do anything about this situation other than build luxury condominiums in Manhattan’s Soho… but, alas, my new motto still applies – “Nothing matters and nobody cares.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This section of Brooklyn was once where the political boundary between Bushwick and Greenpoint was drawn, back when your electeds were called “Alderman” or “Ward Boss.” That’s before Robert Moses arrived on the scene in the late 1920’s. Moses was quite keen on something he referred to as “The Brooklyn Queens Connecting Highway” and after his ribald success in building both Mighty Triborough and the Grand Central Parkway, the Federal Government agreed to fund his ideation. Moses made the case that the multitudes of Brooklyn would choke local street traffic as they made their way to his 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing, and that a high volume/speed road was required.

Moses showed a certain predilection for building his projects right on the border between two political districts. The highway above required the whole scale demolition of a city block wide corridor, and thousands of homes and businesses were eradicated to clear the space. I’d imagine having two politicians feeding at his trough rather than one made the disruption to the locals easier to handle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The modern day Brooklyn Queens Expressway was christened in the post WW2 Urban Renewal era. The original road was a highway, which means a high speed road with frequent exit and entrance ramps and in places – bike and pedestrian paths – but when it became an expressway it lost several of those ramps and any thought of pedestrian access was removed. Parkway (planted shoulders), highway (high speed), throughway (no exits except at start and end), expressway (limited exits). These are all self explanatory terms, Moses would tell you, before offering analogies about breaking eggs and omelettes. The usage for the space below the elevated truss road was meant to saturate parking availability, but as you can see – “world longest homeless camp” is largely how it’s being used today.

The Brooklyn Queens Connecting highway, or at least the sections of it north of the Williamsburg Bridge leading into Queens, opened for business during the month of August in 1939. August 23rd, to be exact.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is supposed to be empathic towards those who dwell below. That’s virtue signaling horse shit, however. Nobody cares, nothing matters, and these people will be taken care of when the politicians and the crooks who buzz around them like shit flies figure out a way to make political capital and money off of the situation. Personally, everytime I buy a new bag of socks, the older ones get washed and thrown in a shopping bag which I leave nearby similar campsites, or are handed off to one of the many people I encounter in Queens who are living rough. I’m one bad month away from being in this situation myself, and my resources are best analogized as “not enough butter spread over too much bread.”

Life is cheap in the big city, but living costs a fortune.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

By this stage of the walk back to HQ in Astoria, one was beginning to experience fatigue. The trick left foot was singing an opera, and since my left leg was dragging a bit due to the foot, that caused a cramp to set up in my back. NYC doesn’t acknowledge human biology and thereby a series of urine splotches marked my northward progress. I also had to poop, but I’m not that far gone yet. I’ll gladly slip between two parked cars and piss into a sewer grate, but dropping a deuce in the open air isn’t a line I cross.

Also, what if somebody saw it? That’s how you end up on Instagram. “Hey, check out Mitch from Newtown Creek Alliance, he’s shitting in the street now.” Clearly, this signals that their entire thing is a corrupt eidolon offered up by real estate interests and morally bankrupt politicians. Told you he’s no good. I have a friend who advocates for bike lanes and safer streets, and he got photographed jaywalking and that spawned several days of commentary, for instance.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My destination in this section of Brooklyn was ultimately the Kosciuszcko Bridge, which would carry me into Queens. There’s a neat bit of public space under the new bridge, where – coincidentally – I know there would a “Porta Potty” where I could solve my alimentary issues in private. Along the way, a park bench of two offered some relief for the operatic conditions being offered by the left foot.

More pedantic adventures tomorrow, 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

January 3, 2022 at 11:00 am

sweat beaded

with one comment

Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My walk home from the Brooklyn Navy Yard to Astoria was governed by proximity to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, and the conscious intention followed was to never let it out of my sight. After entering Williamsburg, the theoretically high speed road runs in a trench surrounded by some of the most valuable real estate in New York City. A few decades ago, when I was in High School, this section of Brooklyn was analogous to Batman’s Gotham City – crime wise.

How crimey? Back in the 1980’s, if smoking cocaine was your deal, you’d either be “basing” as in “freebasing” or “doing flake.” A news crew for ABC’s 20/20 show did a feature on a local drug distribution racket in this part of Brooklyn. The gangsters interviewed offered that they called their “flake” by a different name – Crack. That’s literally where the national “crack epidemic” started, on tv, which fueled the “war on drugs” rhetoric and ultimately provided a legal pretense for Police officers to enter schools and search for drugs without warrants. That was also when the militarization of the local cops got started, as well as draconian measures like “three strikes” laws.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Scare the shit out of people and they’ll rip up the Constitution for you. Crack, crackheads, war on drugs. Terror, terror wars, homeland security. There’s a play book.

Truth be told, back in the day, this was a pretty dangerous part of Brooklyn. It was one of those zones where my Dad would say “lock the doors” while driving through. The old man was a house painter by trade, and one of his suppliers was based somewhere around here. My Dad and one of his brothers used to work out of a store on Grand Street in the 1970’s, but the familial legend passed to me was that my Uncle lost the business to a Mafioso in a card game. My dad and his brothers would bet on which color car was going to pass the corner next, so that tale holds water for me. The old man got a job working for the “catlicks choich” doing maintenance at a kid’s hospital in the City. Not sure what my Uncle did afterwards, but he drove a Cadillac, whereas my Dad drove a Plymouth.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An artifact of that era was encountered on the way, a firebox that has a two way speaker in it, which theoretically connects you to a 911 operator. This sort of device is called an “ERS” or Emergency Response System alarm box. The City began deploying these in the 1970’s, seeking to modernize the older spring wound alarm boxes which – believe it or not – still (as in today) use telegraph wires. ERS boxes are connected to telephone wires, specifically the fairly blackout proof system installed by “Ma Bell” which translates in modern day to the Verizon corporation. The City has been attempting to eliminate alarm boxes utterly since first Giuliani, but court orders have precluded their removal.

Anyway, that’s it for 2021. Back next year with more, 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

December 31, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Brooklyn, Williamsburg

Tagged with ,

grisly claws

with 2 comments

Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s not like this in other cities. Not even Philadelphia. After having ridden on the NYC Ferry from Astoria to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a humble narrator began a long scuttle northwards back towards Queens. One followed the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, and used its shadowed under vaults to escape the deleterious brightness of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself. Shadow and filth.

This is a horrific corridor, as a note. Abandoned cars, mystery trucks without license plates, camp sites. Above are legions of fowl, and splattered below is their collective foul. Garbage turns in wind driven vortexes, stagnant pools glimmer with slime, the residue of spent petroleum coats everything in soot. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is figuratively the sort of New York City which Jakob Riis wrote about, where the toll of political corruption is writ large. This is literally the New York City spoken of by Robert Caro, and since 1939 this has been the House of Moses. Robert Moses, that is.

Hey… wait a second… did you notice… I was almost starting to care again. Woah. Glad I caught myself. “Nothing matters and nobody cares… Nothing matters and nobody cares… Nothing matters and nobody cares.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Don’t believe me that “Nothing matters and nobody cares”? Just look at that one above, Bro.

There’s a runoff pipe from the BQE, positioned right over a sewer grate that empties into the East River without ever entering a sewer plant first. It’s packed in with garbage, in one of the few open parking spots, where any random person can park a panel truck without license plates indefinitely. Think that nobody who works for the City or State has spotted this? Worried about “homeland security concerns” the way they would under the FDR Drive? Answer is yes, but it doesn’t matter to them and they don’t actually care.

Hey, do you know who the current President of the Borough of Brooklyn is? Do you suppose this sort of scene matters to him, and whether or not he cares about it? Within the next 48 hours, he’s got a new first name – Mayor.


“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 30, 2021 at 11:00 am

%d bloggers like this: