The Newtown Pentacle

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dimensional reality

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Looking for it, Tuesday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Trying to get a shot of “it” has proven more difficult than I thought it would be. One is being purposely vague about “it,” since it cannot possibly exist. A different sort of “it” used to reside in the cupola of the Sapphire Megalith of Long Island City at 1 Court Square – a formless and immaterial monstrosity identified via a three lobed and unblinking eye that didst stare down at the world of men with disdain – but that “it” moved out shortly after the whole Amazon thing fell apart and headed back over to Manhattan. This new “it,” which might actually be a very old “it” if these unverified rumors I’m receiving carry any veracity at all, is something else entirely . It’s all quite intriguing, really.

After possibly sighting “it” in the waters of Dutch Kills, just north of here alongside the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge, one positively boogied over to Borden Avenue to see if “it” might just be hanging about the maritime basin found nearby the 1908 vintage Borden Avenue Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shape with what appears to be three glowing red eyes isn’t “it.” That’s just a reflection of a tree mixed in with three lights mounted on the high flying Long Island Expressway. “It” was definitely in the basin, however, evinced by the enormous ripples on the water’s surface and the panicked reactions of those smaller fishies who were schooling about in the dark fathoms there.

As a note, a fathom resolves down to about 1.8 meters or exactly six feet. In the center of the Dutch Kills channel, and it varies, you’re looking at probably 2-2.5 fathoms. At the sides, where shoaling is a serious issue, there are spots where the bottom sediments are exposed at low tide and the depth of the water is in negative fathoms. I’ve never heard anyone else use the term “negative fathoms” so it’s likely I just added something to the English Language again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One changed locations again, this time picking a spot with some brush cover, thinking that “it” very well might be aware of my silhouette against the night sky, with the sky dome all under lit by the street lamps and automotive traffic. Additionally, some fellow who was walking up Borden Avenue just stopped dead in his tracks about four feet away from me and was staring intently, at both me and his phone, and I got weirded out.

In the end, I didn’t get a shot of “it.” I’m trying though. If your journey carries you to Newtown Creek or its tributaries at night anytime soon, keep an eye out on the water near the shorelines and let me know what you see. It’s out there.

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 29th. 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.

night watch

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Borden Avenue Bridge, #LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is in the process of a quarterly exercise, visiting all of the corners of the Newtown Creek watershed. I’ve been doing this for awhile now, quarterly, and certain areas in the Borough of Queens which host the Newtown Creek’s tributaries have been positively haunted by my nocturnal inspections during the recent tribulations we have all been enjoying. Oft repeated, Dutch Kills is a tributary of the nefarious Newtown Creek which branches off of the main trunk of that waterway some .7 of a mile from the East River and proceeds roughly 3/4 of a mile into the Long Island City section of Queens. The Borden Avenue Bridge is one of several retractile spans across Dutch Kills, retractile meaning that the roadway retreats for maritime access, and was built in 1908. It is owned and operated by the NYC Department of Transportation.

It’s my second favorite Newtown Creek Bridge, after the Grand Street Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One often comes here and scans the shorelines with a powerful flashlight. The eye shine of feral cats reflects back, but that’s not what one searches the rocky shores for. One is hesitant to describe the rumor which led to the activation of that pocket flashlight. You would think me credulous, or superstitious at best.

Suffice to say that some stories need to develop, and that still water may indeed run deep. I did take advantage of the fact that the local strip club remains closed, as the shot above was captured on their entryway steps.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Post facto gathering these shots of Dutch Kills, one has since been entertaining himself with walks heading both eastwards and southwards into Blissville and Greenpoint, with the product of said effort is being prepared for your consumption later this week.

As a note, today is the 130th 116th anniversary of the General Slocum disaster in 1890, 1904 for the historically minded amongst you. Thanks to George the Atheist for the fact checking on the date, not sure where I came up with 1890.

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.

roughly be

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LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

More time has been spent in the last two months around the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek than anywhere else in walking distance, barring my fortress confine back in Astoria, by a humble narrator. It’s deserted here, but for the small armadas of very fast and very loud cars being driven about the empty streets by area youth. They’re blasting around, playing truly awful music (that auto tune crap has to go), but what do I care? Can’t imagine how awful it must be to be young, dumb, and full of quarantine during this interval. I’ve been noticing one of my teenage neighbors straining against her inclination to be vivacious and out in the world. Not my problem, ultimately.

As far as the shot above, there’s a reason I call this particular stretch of LIC “The Empty Corridor.” My big problem at the moment revolves around empty pockets, as in the absence of cash money. Tick tock, tick tock. Ringle tinkle, coins when they mingle…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I won’t bore you with another posts about the particular peregrinations of photographic settings and techniques utilized in the production of these shots, but suffice to say that you’re looking at a lot of button pushing and parameter dialing embedded into those pixels. Hey… when you’ve got the time to rethink how you do things, come up with new methods and experiment, it would be foolish not to take advantage of opportunity,

Pictured are the ruins of the Irving Subway Grate Iron Foundry, overflown by the Queens Midtown Expressway section of the larger Long Island Expressway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Borden Avenue retractile Bridge pictured above, looking westwards across Dutch Kills towards midtown Manhattan.

As stated in the past, one continues to eschew areas which can be constituted as being heavily populated, given that we are all living in what’s essentially a random number generator as far as getting sick with Covid 19 goes. Precautions, when moving around in my well populated neighborhood, are routinely taken. Sensible usage of a face mask and the regular washing of hands are religiously observed. When I leave the area, and enter these unpopulated industrial zones, the mask comes off and one can breathe free.

Well, as free as you can breathe at a Federal Superfund site, at any rate.

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, May 18th. 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.

queer noises

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Newtown Creek is always fabulous, yo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills splits off from the main stem of the Newtown Creek waterway about 7/10th of a mile from the larger water body’s intersection with the East River. Long Island City’s Dutch Kills is a fully canalized tributary, and proceeds on a generally northern trajectory. The water here is highly polluted with both industrial and sewage contaminants. Dutch Kills gets its moniker from the colonial era in NYC history. There’s another tributary of Newtown Creek in Brooklyn called English Kills. Simply, LIC is where the Dutch settled and Brooklyn is where the English put down stakes.

Dutch Kills used to have its own system of tributaries and tidal wetlands, and stretched back (as a navigable waterway) into Queens nearly all the way to Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The wooden structures you might notice around bridges are called “Dolphins” and they are usually constructed from creosote treated lumber and galvanized steel rope. The job of these items is to keep a vessel from getting into an allission with the bridge. “Allission” you ask? Yes. That’s when a moving “thing” interacts with a static thing. When two moving “things” interact it’s a collision, so if two vessels were to smash into each other they “collide” whereas if you were to run a vessel up against the dolphin or bridge they would “allide.” Maritime law is quite specific about this.

The dolphins pictured today vouchsafe the 1908 Borden Avenue Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of Borden Avenue, and the “Empty Corridor” thereof which I’ve been walking you through this week, one resumed his westerly course and continued on. That’s when I noticed something missing. Holy Moley!

More on that tomorrow.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next couple of weeks at the start of the week of Monday, March 16th. 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.

horror forcing

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The empty corridor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Borden Avenue, or at least the section of it pictured in today’s post, was officially designated as such in 1868, after an engineered “plank road” was erected through the swampy low lands surrounding the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek. It was primarily designed as a commercial corridor, connecting the upland farms and dairies of Maspeth and Woodside with the docks in Hunters Point at the East River. Borden… Borden Milk… Roads were named for where they went back then.

The wetlands of Dutch Kills were filled in at the start of the 20th century, and the railroad took advantage of all the new dry land to hurl spurs out to the various industrial buildings which were erected on the reclaimed flatlands. LIRR still crosses Borden Avenue several times a day at street grade, about a mile west of where these shots were gathered.

The Long Island Expressway truss defines the section of Borden between Greenpoint Avenue and Review Avenue, and the blighted area beneath it is something I refer to as the “Empty Corridor.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills itself was rendered into its current form and course at the start of the 20th century, shortly after NYC consolidation in 1898. A huge land reclamation project was being conducted by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company – the creation of the Sunnyside Yards – was occurring about a half mile to the north and west and a construction magnate named Michael Degnon began buying up the wetlands surrounding Dutch Kills from the estate of a former Governor of New York State. Degnon used excavated fill from another one of his projects – the East River subway tunnel which carries the modern day 7 line train – to create dry land around Dutch Kills. Concurrently, the United States Army Corps of Engineers was busy creating industrial bulk heads and “canalizing” the entire Newtown Creek and its tributaries.

That’s the Borden Avenue Bridge pictured, the existing version of which was erected in 1908. It’s not the first Borden Avenue Bridge, but it’s the one that’s stood the test of time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While all this tumult and “terraforming” was going on, the Long Island Railroad was investing in the LIC area as well. The Lower Montauk trackage, as it’s known today, connects the Fresh Pond Yard with the East River along the northern shore of Newtown Creek. There are two railroad bridges spanning Dutch Kills. One is DB Cabin, a turnstile bridge which is still quite active but cannot turn or open, and it provides a direct track link between the Blissville and Wheelspur Yards on the lower montauk right of way. The other is Cabin M, which leads to the Montauk Cutoff elevated tracks that formerly connected to the LIRR Main Line tracks at the Sunnyside Yards. Before all this end of the world stuff started, MTA indicated it was going to demolish Cabin M. Somehow, I don’t think that’s happening anytime soon.

As I always say, despite the fact that I call it the “empty corridor” there’s quite a lot going on down here and lots of interesting things to see on a walk in LIC.

Also, on this day in NYC history: The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire occurred in 1911.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next couple of weeks at the start of the week of Monday, March 16th. 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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