The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Calvary Cemetery’ Category

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?


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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

July 12, 2021 at 11:00 am

sane harborage

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, one was wandering through Blissville. For one reason or another, a humble narrator decided it would be good to get a few shots of the enormous masonry wall offered by First Calvary cemetery for the amusement of passerby on Review Avenue.

My understanding of the function of this structure is that it acts as a retaining wall. Laurel Hill, the landform which Calvary was carved into starting in 1848, used to slope down towards Newtown Creek. Review Avenue is a “cut” and the engineers who worked for the Church probably had to worry about mudslides when laying out the place.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The wall itself is enormous, and based on observation from within the cemetery and atop it, around ten feet thick at the top and an unknown width at bottom. It’s composed on concrete and boulders, and likely bottoms out several yards under the level of the street and sidewalk. The boulders are typical glacial till, likely harvested from native soils, and nothing special.

My intention when shooting this was in theoretical pursuance of doing a cutaway illustration of the wall and subterrene, which was going to be accompanied by a bit of narrative reminiscent of an HP Lovecraft short story called “The Statement of Randolph Carter” wherein the exploration of a mortuary complex’s underground chambers results in a typically horrifying conclusion for a Lovecraft tale. That’s my actual thought process leading up to actuating the camera shutter.

That’s when I spotted them.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When queried as to why I always have a camera with me, the answer is usually “if I don’t have this, then a ufo would land in the intersection and Bigfoot and Elvis would disembark from it.” Usually, a camera is your best defense against anything interesting happening within eyeshot.

These two defied that maxim, however, and they are to be applauded.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

They seemed to be a couple, these two, just picking their way along the rock wall.

So intent on their task were they that notice of the strange old fellow with a camera trained on them standing across the street and laughing hysterically didn’t seem to register. This genuinely amused me, and I like to believe that one of them said to the other that “the floor is lava.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

They never got more than five or six feet off the lava, I would mention.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As I’m often quoted as saying – you never know what you’re going to see at Calvary Cemetery. Even when the place has remained inexplicably closed to the public at exactly the moment when its acres of green space have been most needed, the people of LIC will make it their own.

Awesome sauce.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, September 14th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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 14, 2020 at 11:00 am

intuitive knack

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Thursday, it seems.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Archive shots again today, as a humble narrator has a bit of a situation playing out here at HQ and Newtown Pentacle’s never ending cavalcade of adventure and imagery has had to take a back seat. Zuzu the dog is quite elderly, and quite ill at the moment. One has therefore been trying to spend as much time as possible with her. When you’ve got a dog like Zuzu in your life, you signed a contract with her when she was a puppy. She’s always been a very good girl, has made my life immeasurably better, and keeping her comfortable at the end of it all is my end of the bargain. Zuzu is 14 years old, and is a fairly large dog in all actuality despite my usual description of her as “my little dog.” She’s been suffering from arthritis and spinal issues for a few years.

Overall, things are looking pretty grim for her at this writing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The conqueror worm gets us all in the end, though.

Saying that, googling what to do in NYC if your dog dies is pretty depressing. There are private services that will collect and cremate the cadaver, but the City’s DSNY will take the body on garbage pickup day. Procedure, as described by the official 311 site, is to put your dog in a black plastic garbage bag and label it “dead dog.” The garbage guys will grab the body and then carry it off.

Jesus, that’s cold.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We almost lost her a few months ago, but Zuzu rallied and recovered. Last week she messed up her back and hasn’t been able to use her back legs at all for a few days. The palaver of finding a Vet who does house calls during a pandemic is playing out right now for Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself. Her regular doctor doesn’t do house calls.

“Tsuris,” that’s the Yiddish word for “troubles.”

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, August 24th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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 27, 2020 at 11:30 am

almost unassailably

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Well, flippity floppity floop, it’s Friday again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found a humble narrator scuttling through the humidity thickened July atmospherics typical of Western Queens and heading towards Newtown Creek for a session of waving the camera around. Pictured above is the 1848 vintage First Calvary Cemetery in Blissville, looking westwards from Laurel Hill Blvd.

What with all of this pandemic business and the new Kosciuszcko Bridge offering a pedestrian and bike path between Greenpoint in Brooklyn and Blissville here in the Long Island City section of Queens, there’s now a lot of people milling around. For years and years, it was just me wandering around this area. It’s taking a lot of “getting used to” seeing others in my happy place.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The views from the Kosciuszcko Bridge are epic, and I timed my walk to put me Center span just as the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself was descending behind Manhattan and New Jersey. This point of view is 2.1 miles from the East River, for the morbidly curious. The right side of the shot is in Queens, the left is in Brooklyn.

Newtown Creek is a tributary of the East River which extends south/eastwards 3.8 miles from its junction with the larger waterway, eventually terminating in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. There are multiple tributaries of Newtown Creek which snake off the main stem of the waterway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, for me, a tug and barge combination was navigating its way eastwards while I was set up and shooting. Once one fo the busiest maritime industrial waterways in these United States, Newtown Creek is still quite busy. While I was out shooting, I saw the Greenpoint Avenue Draw Bridge – roughly a mile to the west – open and close three times.

A recent meeting with the United States Army Corps of Engineers described the ideal depth of these waters as being 23 feet. The last time a proper navigational dredging of the entire Newtown Creek occurred (other than a minor channel maintenance operation performed at the behest of the NYC DEP a few years ago) was in the early 1970’s. Tug and barges, therefore, stick to the center of the channel where the water is deepest when navigating through.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, July 27th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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.

made wild

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It’s freaking Friday?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few odds and ends for today’s post. That’s a Department of Sanitation recycling pickup truck exiting from DUGABO – Down Under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge Onramp – back onto the normal street grid in Long Island City’s Blissville section. Now, as I often chide – you’ve got garbage trucks from all over Queens making their way to Newtown Creek to drop off their collections. The truck above is based at DSNY’s Queens 13 garage, which is in Flushing. This bit of information should make you wonder about equity, environmental justice, and why you don’t find transfer stations (which is what you call the facilities which garbage trucks dispose of their collections) in the communities which are generating the trash.

Instead, little Blissville does the job for the rest of the Borough, and what do they get in return? Local hiring? Compensation for the annual tens of thousands of truck trips moving through their community? What?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Apologies for today’s post being a couple of hours behind normal schedule, but one was up late exploring on of those internet rabbit holes you occasionally find yourself trapped in. This one involved people setting themselves on fire. Combustion seems to be another one of those concepts which some do not grasp, or seem to have much foreknowledge of. I saw one where, for some reason, a young lady decided it would a great idea to fill a drinking glass with rubbing alcohol and then strike a match.

Fire is a punk way to die, incidentally. Brrr.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It would seem that here in Astoria there’s a fellow named Omar who only has one boxing glove. If you’re reading this, Omar, 34th Avenue and 44th street is where the left one is. Another public service offered.

More fun next week, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, June 15th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates as we move into April and beyond, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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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