The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Brooklyn’ Category

forward slumping

with 2 comments

Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing which a humble narrator is currently obsessing about, while you’re reading this, involves finding a job in the Pittsburgh area. There’s entire sections of my work life that are simple to describe – there’s a “Madison Avenue” advertising resume I can present, and I used to write and draw comic books as well as package other people’s stuff for publication so there’s that too. My photographer resume ain’t terribly shabby, nor is my tour guide one, and I can write stuff too. The question I’m struggling with is how to combine all of what I can do under a single job title, and does that position even exist in Pittsburgh? How on earth do I describe Newtown Creek Alliance and the constellation of federal and state agencies I help deal with all the time?

According to Jerry Seinfeld, most Americans would rather die than speak in public. Me? Easiest thing in the world, if you have something worth saying.

Existential crises are best experienced in September, I believe. Sweatshirt weather.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I like pondering things while I’m shooting photos, always have.

That’s the tug Joker that I pointed out in last Friday’s post, in an aerial shot captured at the One World Trade Center Observation Deck. Joker was docked at the concrete company which operates along the Williamsburg waterfront at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The barge full of sand makes a lot of sense, thereby.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was also an agglutination of maritime cranes and all sorts of heavy equipment on display at the Navy Yard as the NYC Ferry’s Astoria line boat which I was riding on made one of its appointed stops at the venerable campus. It was a pretty nice day, if memory serves – August 19th. Fairly hot, but not horrific.

I’ve announced to anybody who will listen that I have no intention whatsoever of getting close to anything remotely non-profit or governmental in Pittsburgh, but that probably means that… crap.

Really, I just want a normal gig where I do mildly interesting photoshop stuff for some company all day, and then go home. Collect a salary 9-5, live for the weekends. An American sort of life.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What we have here in NYC is not an American form of life. NYC is an archipelago nation state that’s found off the coast of America, not an American City. Life here is quick and often fun, but it’s also mean and short. In America, there’s no “finding an open bodega” at 3 a.m. Transit, as we know it in NYC, does not exist beyond a daytime schedule and is extremely limited in scope. Adapting my frenetic “get it done” energy to the local frequencies on the other side of my move is going to one a real challenge.

Luckily, I feel like I’m a thousand years old and a medium strong wind will shatter me into sand particles. I could end up like Manhattan’s East River Park, pictured above. Annihilated.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just the other night, somebody said to me that “of course, you’re going to be coming back regularly to do Newtown Creek tours.” That part of my life is over, I’m afraid. I’m planning on doing one last burst of them in October and November, but no.

I have to remember to include being a NYC Parade Marshal for the centennials of Queensboro, Manhattan, Hunters Point Avenue, and Madison Avenue bridges on my resume. Oh yeah, the Community Board thing too, as well as the non profit stuff too.

Dear Nelly, who am I? What am I? Why am I?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As I mentioned, existential wonderings are on the menu right now.

The NYC Ferry dropped me off in Astoria, nearby Hallets Cove. My foot was hurting, so I limped over to a nearby bus stop and rode the thing back to HQ. Planes, trains, automobiles – that’s me.


“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 20, 2022 at 11:00 am

never swerved

leave a comment »

Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few more shots from the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn in today’s post. As described, this is one of the areas I’ve been avoiding throughout the pandemic months due to population density. During this interval, an enormous real estate feeding frenzy has taken place and the north western section of the ancient neighborhood has been rendered utterly unrecognizable as compared to its former state.

For context, this shot looks across Newtown Creek at the Hunters Point section of Long Island City where a similar frenzy has occurred.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While shooting these, the tug Sea Fox thrust rudely into my point of view, and I just cannot help myself from cracking put a few shots in such circumstance.

I was mainly using two zoom lenses for capturing these images, both of which were outfitted with ND or Neutral Density filters. This sort of filter acts as a sunglass for the lens and offers a great deal of creative control over the final appearance of the photo. This sort of device is critical for challenging environments like the foggy and misty afternoon of August 1st.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The filters also allow me to “slow down” the exposure settings, which is how you get the smoothed out water with a somewhat misty character along its tide line. Surreal, I say, surreal.

There’s a new public space along this waterfront, dubbed the Greenpoint Landing Esplanade, which offers commanding views of the Manhattan skyline and Long Island City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of all the new construction, the one project I find architectural interest in is this pair of cantilevered buildings. The development is called 227 West Street, and those are 30 and 40 story towers. My usual critique of the banal luxury towers in this “zone” sounds like this: glass rhombuses thrust rudely at the sky. This cantilever deal is visually interesting.

Given all of the recent construction in the area, and the huge investments involved from both private and governmental entities, it’s a shame that there’s only one project hereabouts where you say “hey, look at that.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just before the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself descended behind New Jersey, the fog and mist suddenly began to break up and rise into the clouds.

I cracked out a few more exposures with the camera set up for the prior foggy atmospherics and then prepared to move on with the gear set up for handheld “photo walk” mode.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You could actually see the humidity rising up out of Manhattan’s canyons and forming into low clouds.

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

August 29, 2022 at 11:00 am

silly reasons

leave a comment »

Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A low lying deck of clouds and fog had accompanied the arrival of a cold front in the superheated atmosphere of August 1st. NYC had been in the grip of a heat wave for the week prior, and a second interval of high temperature and humidity was forecast to begin within 24 hours.

I cannot resist a foggy or misty day, as it makes for interesting photography weather.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My strategy for the last few years has been to avoid crowded places where the human infestation is impossible to avoid. Accordingly, while I’ve been avoiding crowds, Greenpoint’s Western shoreline has been transformed by the real estate people.

Honestly, it’s shocking how much has changed here. That’s Commercial Street pictured above, looking west towards Franklin Avenue and the East River. There’s even a new series of waterfront paths and esplanades that have accompanied this new construction. The development scheme is called “Greenpoint Landing.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking across Newtown Creek at Long Island City from one of these new paths, that construction site will be a new hospital. Just kidding, it’s going to be more luxury apartment buildings.

That construction area used to be a thriving Asian supermarket warehousing business, the home of “God’s Love We Deliver” which collected unused restaurant food and redistributed it to the needy, and the garages for NBC Television News’ broadcast vehicle fleet. We need more luxury housing, they say, which will cause the wealthy to move out of tenement buildings and thereby free up those spaces for the less wealthy.

Trickle down real estate.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Did you know that the United States destroys millions of gallons of dairy milk annually in order to keep the dairy industry and milk prices from collapsing under their own industriousness and over supply? In light of that, has the price of milk ever gone down in your lifetime, despite the abundance of supply? Just saying.

That’s a new luxury tower rising on the former site of the Jack Frost sugar factory in Queens, right at the intersection of current superfund site Newtown Creek and future superfund site East River.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s all so depressing.

I should mention that it’s a real pickle capturing this sort of misty and foggy atmosphere, photography wise.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Every few minutes, a bank of fog would crack open and piss down a few rain drips. Drips, not drops.

Saying that, as I was shooting, it was growing brighter and brighter and a mild bit of breeze began to pop up. More next week, 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

August 26, 2022 at 11:00 am

scintillant semicircle

with one comment

Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What you’re looking at above took place on 29th street in Long Island City on the 15th of July, at the Dutch Kills tributary of the Newtown Creek. It’s not the end of the story, it’s just the latest chapter in a tale that I began telling you all about in September of 2018.

For two and change years, the shorelines of the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek have been actively crumbling, dissecting, and collapsing. The situation has caused 29th street itself to become undermined, and subsequent bulkhead collapse continues.

2020’s Unaltered Bone,” 2022’swide scattering,” “expiring orb,” “harmless stupidity,” “plumbed descent,” “yellow rays,” “crawl proudly,” “nemesis mirror,” “ugly trifles,” “torture of,” “verdant valleys,” “budding branches,” “crystal coldness” all tracked and followed the collapse.

The theme offered in all of these posts was “nothing matters and nobody cares.” I also offered that in the end I would make “them” care. Luckily, my pal Will Elkins – Newtown Creek Alliance’s Executive Director and the guy with the megaphone – managed to marshal the political world around 29th street. The moment in time in this post is his doing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Newtown Creek Alliance cares, and as it turns out – so do City Council Member Julie Won, the presumptive next NYS Assemblyman for LIC Juan Ardila, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Democratic District Leaders Emilia Decaudin and Nick Berkowitz, the executive committee of Queens Community Board 2, the President of LaGuardia Community College, and about fifty to sixty of the local business stakeholders.

This matters, and now everybody cares. I felt like this. Told y’all we’d ultimately make them all care.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

29th street is my last dragon to slay on Newtown Creek. After this, it’s all about moving out of New York City, and rebooting into a different life elsewhere. For the first time, I’m feeling like everything I’ve been working on and for in the last fifteen years is in good hands, and that there’s another generation ready and willing to take the wheel.

My beloved Creek is going to be just fine without me, with stewards like Will Elkins and the amazing staff he’s surrounded himself with at Newtown Creek Alliance fighting the good fight.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My Pal Val attended the presser, and after the event was done, she wanted to check out the Gaseteria/NYS Marshalls impound lot which was described to you at the beginning of this week.

We jumped in her car and went over to Greenpoint, and the English Kills tributary of Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a scrap metal operation located on English Kills, but their entrance is on Grand Street. All that material is brought in by truck, but shipped out via maritime barge. Just one of those barges carries the equivalent cargo of 38 heavy trucks.

It’s insane how little used this sort of hauling is utilized in the archipelago City of Greater New York.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back next week with something 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

August 12, 2022 at 11:00 am

nebulous shadow

with 5 comments

Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

June 14th found a humble narrator in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section for a Newtown Creek Alliance board meeting. What happens at this sort of meeting is that the group’s Executive Director discusses their ongoing management of the organization’s various projects, the financial state of the entity, and then makes the board members aware of any issues they’ve encountered. The board members then weigh in on whatever the issue is, offer guidance or material help, and we vote on “this” or discuss “that.” The meeting took place in the evening, and we were at HQ at 520 Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn for sunset and moonrise.

I snuck away a couple of times to wave the camera around.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This was coincidentally one of the nights where a so called “supermoon” was meant to occur, which is an astronomical anomaly wherein the position of the moon relative to the horizon creates an optical lensing effect that makes the moon seem larger and brighter than it typically is. Next one is in July, I think.

There’s the so called “Strawberry Supermoon” rising over the fabulous Newtown Creek, from the Kingsland Wildflower Roof at 520 Kingsland Avenue.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Once the meeting ended, and since I was already in the neighborhood, a humble narrator got busy down on the industrial streets surrounding Newtown Creek. The guy who couldn’t help but stand in the middle of my shot was Donnie, a security guard for a recycling company owned by a guy named Mike, and Donnie was desperately waiting for his “Doordash” dinner delivery.

What can I tell you, I talk to strangers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the end of what would be North Henry Street is a small barge slip, called “Unnamed Canal” by the Coast Guard, and I was lucky enough to be there when the Crystal Cutler tug was towing a fuel barge eastwards on Newtown Creek. If you click through to the high res version of the shot at Flickr, you’ll see the silhouette of the Captain in the wheelhouse, who may or may not have been named Bruce Cutler.

I’m very pleased with myself, regarding the shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On my way back to Queens, I decided to get a bit “artsy fartsy” with the sewer plant views. This is one of the shots where I captured three distinct images with different focus points – at distinct moments in the rotating “red, white, blue” colors that the DEP projects onto the stainless steel digester eggs. I’m pleased with myself about this shot too.

After this one, I switched the rig back into handheld mode and started scuttling back towards Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While crossing Newtown Creek via the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge, I noticed the MTA’s “Bus of the Dead” rolling up on me, no doubt heading to Calvary Cemetery with its spectral riders. Wonder if they’ve got a fare evasion problem on this line? Wonder if the Mayor can send out a group of ghost cops if they do.

Back tomorrow with more…


“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.

%d bloggers like this: