The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Calvary Cemetery’ Category

stayed on

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 4th was a pretty productive day for me. Caught a nice sunset from the Kosciuszcko Bridge, then began a fairly low key walk back to HQ in Astoria. Along the way, lots of things caught my eye.

43rd street offers a fairly “straight shot” for me to get back home, but I seem to prefer 39th street as that’s where my toes point.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You have to get out of Blissville first, however, so a few scary and fairly deserted highway off ramp pedestrian pathways are followed on the way. It’s the deserted thing that makes them scary, incidentally.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Boulevard forms a bit of a prominence, and one of my corny “dad jokes” revolves around announcing to anyone who might be accompanying me on a walk that “it’s all downhill from here” when passing under the elevated tracks of the 7 line subway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The reason 39th street is my preferred path has to do with “hole reliable,” an aperture in the fencing around Sunnyside Yards at the Harold Interlocking which seldom disappoints as far as offering opportunity to photograph trains.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On this particular evening, my timing was stellar, and I managed to get one coming from and one going to.

I never, ever tire of this particular composition. In many ways, “hole reliable” is where I learned how to capture low light photos.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent addition to Amtrak’s fence hole offerings allows for an unoccluded view of the “turnaround track” at Sunnyside Yards.

It’s a complicated shot, this one, given how dark it is in this corner of the yards. I had to shoot this at an unbelievably high ISO speed of 128,000.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

June 20, 2022 at 11:00 am

seemed older

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 4th, in addition to being “Star Wars Day,” offered me one of those 50/50 chances – atmosphere wise – that there would be an interesting sunset. After dealing with my annoying daily round, I packed up my gear and lazily used a cab to carry me over to the entrance of the Kosciuszcko Bridge’s pedestrian ramp in Blissville.

Ok, it really wasn’t that lazy, I just didn’t want to lose an hour of good light scuttling through boring residential neighborhoods, and was desirous of preserving my energy for the shooting and walking home part of the exercise.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was humid and misty, with a tepid breeze. As I’ve mentioned in the past, high clouds and mist usually make for interesting sunsets.

One scuttled up the ramp, which took me high up onto the Kosciuszcko Bridge’s crossing of Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m trying to soak in all of this splendor while I still can, before I move out of NYC at the end of the year. You really do not get to see sights like this anywhere else.

Thank god.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A solid deck of clouds had risen out of New Jersey just as I reached the spot I’d decided to shoot from. Regardless, I was committed to the labor and set up the camera for “landscape” modality.

I got busy, a clickin and a whirring.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A sudden break in the cloud cover appeared, and a series of adjustments to composition and camera settings was thereby triggered.

Nimble, quick, ready to jump a candlestick – that’s me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bam! All of a sudden, NYC was painted in apocalyptic hue. This is the sort of thing which I left Our Lady of the Pentacle at home all by herself for to get out and capture.

More tomorrow – at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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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

June 16, 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!


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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.

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

nigh unendurable

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So yeah, I get a bit depressed occasionally. Part of being mentally healthy – most of the time – is realizing when you’ve got a psychic cold and acknowledging the fact. Americans don’t talk about this, we should. Regardless of all that, a humble narrator is back on duty and raring to go – the Newtown Pentacle, thereby, is back in session.

On the 4th of July, one scuttled over to Blissville in pursuance of climbing up the Kosciuszcko Bridge and shooting the fireworks with my beloved Newtown Creek in frame. Denied this happy juncture, one instead set up the camera alongside the fencelines of First Calvary cemetery and prepared to photograph the fireworks show from that location instead. Hence, the shot above was captured.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The pedestrian and bike path on the Kosciuszcko was closed, and guarded by a caper of those irrepressible scamps, whom you meet occasionally, that dress for work in NYPD uniforms. I didn’t even recognize the unit these particular assassins of joy were assigned to Blissville from (IUB or something) so talking my way onto the bridge wasn’t possible as they didn’t know me from a hole in the wall. If they were 108 pct., there’s a pretty good chance I could have charmed my way up there, but there you are. Everybody has a job to do, and this bunch of Cops were assigned the “deny Mitch his picture” duty.

There were – literally – about a thousand people along the fences of Review Avenue. This is the highest density of lookie loos I’ve ever seen arrayed along the Blissville/Long Island City border, about 2.1 miles back from the East River, btw.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s been a pretty crappy couple of weeks for me, actually. Climate has not been on my side, what with the extreme heat and all the rain. If you think the stuff I was publishing here was scary, be glad that you didn’t encounter me at the neighborhood bar I was drinking my troubles away at. A couple of “hard cases” here in Astoria had never encountered the unfiltered version of the “Mitch Waxman Experience.” Apparently, when I decide to drop the act and just be myself, it’s rather terrifying. Also, my back hurts, and that left foot of mine is still causing a lot of trouble. Couple that with being in a mood, and Oy… it’s so humid… it’s like a sauna out there.

As mentioned though, the psychic glacier has calved, and one has resumed pretending not to be murderously angry all the time. Everything is fantastic, all the time, again. I’m a mother flowering ray of sunshine, yo, in love with a great city on the edge of a dark and cruel ocean. Hey… did you know that concrete is radioactive?


“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

July 12, 2021 at 11:00 am

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