The Newtown Pentacle

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feeble pages

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, one needed to get a picture of a NYC Ferry entering the Brooklyn Navy Yard for a freelance gig, and what was described to me as being the ideal image is only possible at sunrise or shortly thereafter. That’s why I boarded a NYC Ferry while it was still dark and headed over to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, from Astoria.

After accomplishing my goal, and let me tell you – meteorology was not on my side for at least nine full days before this particular morning – one decided that “what the hell, might as well walk home.” On my way out of the Navy Yard, I was very much in “lookitthat” mode and couldn’t help but crack out a few shots.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everybody I know has a story about getting hassled while waving the camera around at the Navy Yard, but nobody ever bugs me here. I walk with a purpose, and project an aura of rectitude… that’s what I tell myself… but the security people probably just think I’m just some homeless guy who found a camera and is wandering around with it.

My plan for the walk back to Queens was simple. I’d hang a left when leaving the Navy Yard, then a right and another left. That would put me under the BQE, which runs on an elevated truss in this section of Brooklyn, and I’d follow it back through Williamsburg and Greenpoint where I’d cross Newtown Creek on the Kosciuszcko Bridge and enter Queens. A mere stroll, I tell’s ya, a wee walk.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This isn’t the shot I came to Wallabout Bay for, above, but it gives you an idea of the sort of light my assignment required. The pinks and oranges on the white hulls of the ferry boats were the stage lights I needed to get what I was asked to photograph. There’s a ferry conference next year, and the shot I came for is meant to be the program booklet cover – so no pressure there.

Tomorrow, we make a left, a right, another left, and then head north.


“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

December 29, 2021 at 11:00 am

inconceivable orbit

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wǒ jiào Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To start – that’s a ship, not a boat, since it can launch either of the two boats it carries. A ship can launch a boat, a boat can’t launch a ship, and how big the thing is doesn’t qualify it as either. Secondly, that’s the United States Coast Guard’s WMEC-909 Campbell. Campbell is a 1986 vintage “medium endurance cutter.” The white hull paint signifies that it’s part of the USCG’s ocean going fleet, and its mission includes law enforcement, search and rescue, enforcement of laws and treaties, fisheries law enforcement, alien and migrant interdiction, drug interdiction, and Homeland Security.

It was spotted at the Brooklyn Navy Yard where, to my eye at least, work on and upgrades to its avionics, radar, and other electronics was underway. That’s all the gear on top of the wheelhouse, btw.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The SSI Marvelous was also spotted at the Navy Yard. It’s a bit less glamorous than a military ship, of course, given that it’s a “bulk carrier” freighter. It was built in 2013, and is currently flagged by the Marshall Islands.

“Flagged” indicates the supposed port of call for a ship, but as you’d imagine, where you flag your boat has a lot to do with not paying taxes or having to oblige health and safety laws for your employees. Let’s just say that if Gilligan’s Island existed in the real world, Mr. Howell’s heirs would have an empty office building stuck on it today, one whose phones forward to other offices in LA or Beijing. The international shipping community is populated by fairly grotesque and ultra corrupt characters, but y’all keep on focusing in on Jeffrey Epstein and people drinking baby blood. Distractions abound, huh? Don’t notice the man behind the curtain, nothing to see here…

There’s a concrete company at the Navy Yard, and you often see large cargo vessels like Marvelous here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A “response boat small” was observed a little further south on the East River, this one being operated by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s “Encon” Police. I’ve written about the “response boats” quite a few times in the past. Basically, post 911, it was decided to use the “weapons platform” concept to create a basic maritime chassis which the various Police and Emergency Responder agencies could customize to their uses. Coast Guard has a version of this craft with an M60 machine gun bolted to the bow, FDNY has versions that spray water, the NYPD have theirs rigged for towing and ramming. There’s three versions of these – response boats small, medium, and large.

Back tomorrow with something different at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Speaking of different… what are you doing this Saturday on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?


“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 5, 2021 at 1:00 pm

faiths contrary

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There’s always a one in seven chance that it’s Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So – you’ve got the NYC Ferry and the Staten Island Ferry, as well as the Hudson River NY Waterways ferries – what are you waiting for, an invitation? Get out on the water in the fresh air, bring a camera, and catch some sun. NYC Ferry can (and I’ve pulled this one off, but it requires a bit of planning) get you from the South Bronx to Rockaway for $2.75 if you time it correctly. Soundview is the Bronx line, and it carries passengers up the west channel of the East River and through Hells Gate (Triborough Bridge, Astoria Park, Hell Hate Bridge) and then past the Brother Islands and Rikers Island and berths just across the water from College Point.

The Astoria line incorporates Manhattan’s East 90th street, then stops at Roosevelt Island, Hunters Point North in LIC, Manhattan’s 34th street, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and then Manhattan’s Pier 11 at the foot of Wall Street. From there you can transfer to another line or head over to the Staten Island Ferry.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The South Brooklyn line stops at Corlears Hook on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, then Pier 11, then heads across the water to the foot of Brooklyn’s Fulton Street. From there it stops on either side of Atlantic Basin, the southern one (inside the basin itself) allows egress to Red Hook nearby the Brooklyn Passenger Ship terminal. Then it goes to Sunset Park’s Brooklyn Army Terminal and then all the way to Bay Ridge. There’s also an East River line which goes to Pier 11, 34th street, and Hunters Point South in LIC. I haven’t ridden the Lower East Side line, so I can’t speak intelligently about it. Supposedly, the next series of expansions will include Coney Island Creek and Staten Island, and the rumor is that Hudson side stops are coming too.

As a note, this isn’t paid content or anything, I’m just a fan. I find that getting on a boat and riding around the archipelago is a curative for bad moods and that being outside is generally good for one’s health. The best way to understand the NYC archipelago is from the water.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Feds. Driftmaster is a United States Army Corps of Engineers harbor maintenance vessel. They scoop flotsam and jetsam out of the water using that prominent crane, and other gizmos they have onboard.

More tomorrow at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Speaking of navigational channel maintenance… what are you doing on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?


“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 28, 2021 at 11:00 am

nobler desires

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Hey, it’s Tuesday again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, one has spent an extraordinary amount of time in the last week out on the water, specifically onboard a series of ferry boats. The reasons why revolve around another factor which has been mentioned in earlier posts, specifically the troubles I’m experiencing with my left foot and a strained muscle in my back. Nothing, but nothing, is better for stretching your back muscles than standing on a boat as it plies through the waves and you sway around keeping balance. Also, if your foot hurts when you’re walking around, it makes sense to find a moving platform to carry you about.

I’m a big fan of the NYC Ferry service. Recent endeavor saw me boarding one in Astoria after paying $2.75 for the privilege, and riding it to Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan. Once there, a short walk took me to the Staten Island Ferry’s Whitehall terminal, where I boarded one of the big orange boats for a free ride. Well, technically, I’ve already paid for that ride via income tax.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One major shortcoming experienced with the new camera system, that I especially feel when on the water, is the lack of a native “superzoom” lens. What “native” means is a lens purpose built for Canon’s new RF mount. I’ve got my old superzoom lens – a Sigma 18-300 – which was always my “go to” for such endeavors, but it was designed for a crop sensor camera like my old Canon 7D. Around half of its range produces significant vignette on the full frame camera I’m carrying now, and the only RF superzoom available right now isn’t a terribly desirable one (a 24-240mm f4-6.3 manufactured by Canon) as far as I’m concerned. Over time, third party manufacturers will release something I want, but for right now I don’t have the cash to gamble on a substandard piece of kit. I’m bringing an old lens out of retirement, thereby, a consumer level full frame 70-300 which has been lent out to several friends over the last few years and is now back at home in my camera bag.

That’s an NYPD Harbor Patrol boat, by the way, which was likely doing Homeland Security work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the Staten Island side of my afternoon, where I cooled my heels for a bit before getting back on the big orange boat to start the ride back towards home in Astoria.

For quite a few of the shots gathered on this particular afternoon, I used a native RF Mount 24-105 zoom lens and cropped in tight. Saying that, I lost 2/3rds of the image to the crop. Unfortunately, most of the truly desirable “long reach” lenses available right now for my camera require the sort of money which could also purchase a fairly decent used car.

Speaking of lensing… what are you doing on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?


“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 27, 2021 at 11:00 am

particularly alien

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was quite an afternoon for a long walk, Sunday the 25th of April was, here amongst the rolling hills of Astoria. Speaking of, 21st Avenue at 43rd street seems to be the highest “natural” prominence on the north side of the neighborhood. Someday, I’d love to see a 3D topographical map of Astoria sometime. It’s fairly flat, yes, but there’s a series of shallow hill and valley formations encountered after crossing Astoria Blvd. while heading north. I like to imagine that they’re ridges of mud and stone deposited hydrologically in some unrecorded era of yore. I’ve never seen this elevation change between 20th Avenue and Astoria Blvd. described on a map, but there has to be a 40-50 foot differential.

That’s Astoria’s Luyster Creek pictured above. It’s also sporadically described in maps. A friend of mine who is an expert in the cartographic arts has been looking into the subject of this particular waterway for me, which has been immensely helpful.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After scuttling from HQ on the other side of the neighborhood, a humble narrator found himself next wandering about at Hells Gate nearby Astoria Park. For once, I was lucky enough to get there just as a train was passing over the eponymous bridge spanning this, the Hells Gate section of the East River.

Based on the reactions of passerby, my appearance must be shocking. Old ladies were clutching at their pearls, children cried, dogs growled. I saw a group of older Hellenic men preparing torches.

One decided to get out of the area quickly. The Greeks invented “peasant mob chases monster with torches” along with most other things.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While escaping the attentions of the mob, one noticed this particularly weathered fire alarm box mounted on a pole. The graffiti would indicate that this is a silent alarm… get it? Omertà… silence…

I have fun.


“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 18, 2021 at 2:00 pm

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