The Newtown Pentacle

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ugly trifles

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Nothing matters. Nobody cares.

One has been keeping an eye on the collapsing bulkheads of Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kill tributary along 29th street in LIC for a while now. We’ve activated the politicians and officialdom. Right now, they’re arguing over which agency is at fault, and the land continues to crumble into the water and undermine the roadway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve been wondering, what if I was to buy a few cans of green paint and fake a bike lane here? That would get some action out of the powers that be, I imagine. Bike lane, after all…

Is there some way to spin a collapsing street as racist, or phobic about sexual orientations?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was something alive in that hole, incidentally. It was hissing and growling at me while I was shooting these. No, really.

Probably a mama raccoon or something, or at least I hope that’s what it was.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s all so god damned depressing. This City has a budget larger than the GDP of most nation states, and NY State’s annual budget is competitive with those of countries with significant military footprints. With all that cash flying around, they can’t even swing putting out a few bollards and some caution tape of the road side of this.

Nothing. Matters. Nobody. Cares.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bah. One continued one with his long walk along a short creek. I headed over to Hunters Point Avenue and its eponymous bridge.

I was operating the camera entirely handheld, incidentally, as I didn’t want to slow myself down while “futzing” about with gear.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At least my beloved little tree of paradise still stands, and continues to stretch towards the sky from under a factory wall.

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

May 10, 2022 at 11:00 am

kindled flame

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 6th of March, one was visiting the Montauk Cutoff in Long Island City. A student photographer had contacted me and asked for a bit of guiding around the place. This fellow was testing out a revolutionary new lens that Canon has recently released which allows for capture of the kind of imagery you need to create a “virtual reality bubble” with the Oculus headset in mind as the display portal.

He had some very expensive equipment on loan from the university he attends, and was interested in this particular location to work with and test the capabilities of the gear. While he was doing his thing, I was doing mine. My pal Val also came along, as she cannot resist the Montauk Cutoff’s charms. Pictured is an Amtrak train on its way to Manhattan via Sunnyside Yards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We headed over to the Dutch Kills section of the Montauk Cutoff, which is an “abandoned” set of rail tracks in LIC that used to connect LIRR’s Main Line trackage at Sunnyside Yards with its Lower Montauk tracks along the northern shore of Newtown Creek.

Abandoned doesn’t mean the same thing in “railroad” as it does in colloquial english, but suffice to say that there is zero chance of encountering a train on the cutoff these days. The shot above was captured on one of the two rail bridges at Dutch Kills – Cabin M.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s Cabin M, as seen from the shoreline of Dutch Kills. In the distance is the Queens Midtown Expressway section of the Long Island Expressway, soaring some 106 feet over the water.

As far as the “cabin” thing, that’s what the train people call it. As far as I know, when they call something “cabin” it’s about signals and geographic markers for the engineers, and there was likely some lonely soul who sat in a shack and governed operations here once upon a time. Everything is “automatic” these days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given that the fellow I was accompanying and guiding around had this weird lens that creates a “bubble” for VR experiences, I kept on pulling him deeper and deeper into the Newtown Creek world. These are the sort of spots I won’t normally bring anyone to, given the myriad ways to get dead encountered here.

Saying that, these are exactly the sort of spots which a 220 degree bubble capture must look great in. Funnily enough, he kept asking me if I wanted to try out the device but I refused, fearing I’d want one and go down yet another technology rabbit hole.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While he was operating his gizmo, and my pal Val was waving her camera around, I was using my normal tripod setup. Normally, I see the perspective down here when I’m in a boat with my pals from Newtown Creek Alliance, a circumstance which negates this sort of “look.”

It was getting late, and the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was lowering in the sky. We headed back up to Montauk Cutoff.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Never waste a sunset, I always say. That’s the LIRR platform, and the Paragon Oil/Subway/Point LIC building which was mentioned a couple of days ago. I had to get back to HQ shortly after the sunset, as I had a big day planned for the 7th which needed a bit of preparation.

Tomorrow – something completely 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.

nemesis mirror

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Friendless, scuttling, ever scuttling. Camera clutched tightly, filthy black raincoat flapping about, sometimes it’s hard not to feel just hopeless.

Dutch Kills in Long Island City, where you can abandon oil barges and just get away with it. Nothing matters and nobody cares.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills, where multiple city owned wastewater pipes belch hundreds of millions of gallons of untreated sewage into the water, in the glowing shadow of those luxury condominiums which multiply and magnify the problem. The sewer plant that services this area was built in 1936 when half of Astoria and Sunnyside were still agricultural land.

Dutch Kills, which once allowed for a connection between harbor based and rail based freight.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills, where concrete plants and other industrial businesses have been allowed to expand onto and squat upon the public sidewalks with zero repercussions for generations.

Around Dutch Kills, in the hottest real estate zone in the entire City, you don’t have to look too long to find streets that don’t even offer sidewalks for pedestrians.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills, across the street from CUNY’s LaGuardia Community College and within 3 blocks of multiple charter schools serving Junior and Senior High School students.

Dutch Kills, where a collapsing bulkhead is undermining 29th street. That’s a situation which the operator of the street – NYC DOT, the owner of the land – MTA, and the regulator who governs areas which touch the water – NYS DEC, all admit that “yes this is a dangerous situation” but do nothing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills, where NYC DOT exclaimed that they would put up barriers to keep people from parking over the collapsing street, and have done nothing.

When I was shooting this series of images, it occurred to me that it would be a good thing to illuminate the void under that parked car.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills, where a quick bit of flashlight light painting was perpetrated while the shutter was open. I use an LED model light, which has a bluish cast to it.

Dutch Kills, lords and ladies, where nothing matters and nobody cares.


“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 15, 2022 at 11:00 am

crawl proudly

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens and I have a bit of a friends with benefits situation going on. As such relationships usually play put, she’ll ghost me for weeks at a time and then signal that it’s time for us to get busy again. The way I know things are about to get “interestin” are when she shows me a black cat with yellow eyes just after I leave HQ.

If you see a black cat with yellow eyes, it’s going to be a good day in the Borough of Queens, at least if you’re carrying a camera.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My destination for this evening’s scuttle was the same old. Dutch Kills. I’ve been making it a point of checking in on that collapsing bulkhead at least once a week, since none of our local elected officials nor the agencies they control will keep this one on the front burner until 29th street in LIC collapses under a passing motor vehicle and kills someone.

Pictured above are three Amtrak locomotive engines at Sunnyside Yards. The particular fence hole you get this shot from is hard to find, and one of the more difficult apertures in their fencing to shoot from.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My footsteps carried the bloated carcass I inhabit through the mean streets of the Degnon Terminal, where these trucks caught my eye for some reason. If something comes in threes, take a picture. Three of something is visually interesting, four isn’t.

You can find your way to Dutch Kills easily enough if you follow the slant of the land. The old hydrologic basin of the waterway underlies the entire area between the intersection of Skillman and Thomson or Queens Blvd. and Van Dam. Keep walking downhill and you’ll find yourself at Dutch Kills.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a permanent water feature on 29th street these days, a forever puddle of hundreds of gallons of street water which never disappoints.

I’ve started calling it Lake Degnon. I should mention that this entire area was a wetland in 1900, before it was developed as an industrial park by a very important figure in the history of Queens – nowadays largely forgotten – named Michael Degnon – hence, Degnon Terminal.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Well… the shoreline collapse continues to dissect the hard edge of Queens into the stale depths of Dutch Kills – that I can confirm. Additionally, the City of New York hasn’t bothered to send out some poor soul to deploy traffic cones or bollards along the roadway to restrict parking directly over the collapsing bulkhead.

Nothing matters, lord and ladies, and nobody cares.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My friend with benefits – the Borough of Queens – and I continue to suffer and wait for the powers and potentates to do something.

Today (at the time of this writing) these powers announced that they’re installing a protected bike lane in a development corridor leading to the Court Square Station (4 blocks from here). The local City Council member is beside herself over the bike lane on the Queensboro Bridge getting intermittently closed to accommodate construction work on the bridge. The Long Island City Partnership organization recently brought together all of the real estate powers that be for a conference about six blocks from here. They served high end sushi for lunch.

Nothing matters… nobody cares.


“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 14, 2022 at 11:00 am

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

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