The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘East River’ Category

unusually odd

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Friday odds and ends.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

MOOOOOON. That’s what I said. Ultimately I should have said “cable clutter” since that’s what you notice first. I will never understand how the spectrum/rcn/Verizon people are allowed to get away with this sort of thing in Queens. The City will hand out tickets for looking at something too long in this Borough, treats local businesses like a cash register with fines for minor infractions, and polices parking like clockwork. We have DSNY inspectors picking through the trash, building inspectors ordering sidewalk replacements all willy nilly, but when it comes to the metric shit ton of dead wires hanging off the utility poles – nada.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Same sort of thing applies over in Brooklyn, as a note. If your home had a cracked water pipe, the DEP would gladly bill you for every gallon and then fine you for the flow going into their sewers. When it’s the City, on the other hand…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing in the Sapphire Megalith just laughs.

Have a great Labor Day weekend, Lords and Ladies – I’ll be walking amongst you in the shadowed edges, amongst the revenants and along the remnants.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

August 31, 2018 at 11:00 am

splintered state

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How many bees would you get if you bought a pound of bees?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One had planned on offering you a batty story today, but alas, the photos are still in the oven and are being cooked. It will be a satisfying repast, I believe, but that particular dinner isn’t ready yet. Accordingly, here’s a few odd and end shots collected over the last couple of weeks that utilize the daytime long exposure techniques recently described.

Once it cools down again, and we’re in the post Labor Day period when the beaches are fairly empty, I plan on doing some shooting with this technique in areas with truly energetic water. For now, the East River and my beloved Newtown Creek will just have to do.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What I’m looking for are shorelines with some serious waves blasting against the shoreline. I’m thinking the southern coastlines of Brooklyn are perfect, as is the eastern coastline of Long Island out in Montauk, for this sort of endeavor. These shots use the ten stop ND filter recently acquired, and represent about thirty seconds each of movement for both water and wind blown vegetation.

The first shot is one of the dolphins surrounding the Roosevelt Island Bridge, the second is Hallets Cove in Astoria, and the one below is from Newtown Creek in Maspeth.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Half of the Newtown Creek’s environmental issues result from a lack of laminar “flow” which allows for the buildup of a bed of sediments referred to as “black mayonnaise.” At low tide, and using the long exposure technique, you can eliminate the specular highlights of the surrounding environment encountered on the surface of the water and peer into the shallows. I’ve always wanted to chuck a chunk of magnesium into the Creek to light up the water column (magnesium burns in water and emits a blinding white light) but I’d probably end up blowing up Maspeth or burning down Greenpoint.


Tours and Events


Canal to Coast: Reuniting the Waters Boat Tour. Only $5!
Thurs, August 30, 2018, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM with Waterfront Alliance

Learn about the origins of Brooklyn’s Erie Basin as the Erie Canal’s ultimate destination, and its current role as a vital resource for maritime industry on this guided tour of Red Hook’s Erie Basin and the Brooklyn working waterfront, departing from and returning to New York Water Taxi’s Red Hook Dock. Tickets here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 28, 2018 at 11:30 am

very haggard

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I miss the old days when “troll” meant you hung out under bridges.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My Monday meander meant saw this wandering mendicant patrolling about half of the East River coastline of Queens this week, and since I had packed my “full kit,” setting up the tripod and all the frammistats and whatsits a few times. That’s future Superfund site Anable Basin in the shot above, which has served as the delineation point and northern border for the hyperdrive real estate development zone of the LIC waterfront for a couple of decades now. That’s about to change.

I’ve got maps of what this zone used to host about a hundred years ago, and I can tell you that there’s a lot of poison in the mud hereabouts which is just itching to leach out and find its way into living organisms. I don’t know if petroleum byproducts could accurately be described as “desirous to join with your liver” but Anable Basin is a good place to find out, so the powers that be are planning to surround it with residential towers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

DURIBO? Down Under the Roosevelt Island Bridge Onramp… can we just start calling this section of Ravenswood that?

The powers at that be in Manhattan (and their anxious lapdogs in elected office in Queens) have designated Ravenswood, which is the most “Gotham City” of all the place names in the borough of Queens, as being part of a “tech corridor” which will reinvigorate the area from a sleepy industrial zone defined by two massive housing projects with the highest rates of childhood asthma in the United States into a Silicon Valley style eutopia of bicycle commuting technocrats. “Central Planning” has decreed that there will be street level retail, and tower apartments, and that the “Big Allis” power plant will not be noticed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Waterfront post industrial property is ultra valuable, you see. There’s lots of examples in Brooklyn and here in LIC where endemic environmental concerns have been quietly covered over, remediated, or just ignored. Stick a park on top of the land that’s too expensive to fully clean up, let it be an amenity or “draw” for real estate development sited on spots that you get the State to pony up the money to clean through one of the “brownfield” programs located a few hundred feet back, and “Central Planning” has created another success story.

What do they care if somebody gets sick down the road, as they’ll have moved on to private consultancies and maybe even a good paying job in Singapore by then. The job with “Central Planning” is just another click on their resumes, a notch on their career oriented belts.


Tours and Events


Canal to Coast: Reuniting the Waters Boat Tour. Only $5!
Thurs, August 30, 2018, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM with Waterfront Alliance

Learn about the origins of Brooklyn’s Erie Basin as the Erie Canal’s ultimate destination, and its current role as a vital resource for maritime industry on this guided tour of Red Hook’s Erie Basin and the Brooklyn working waterfront, departing from and returning to New York Water Taxi’s Red Hook Dock. Tickets here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm

night watchman

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Smooth, original flavors, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has always had a tendency to ignore the diurnal nature of the human specie, preferring instead to exist in the darkness when the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself is occluded by the planetary body. Accordingly, when a humble narrator was in his early years, it was not uncommon to find myself employed during overnight shifts at Manhattan’s corporate salt mines. Other than putting a dent in an otherwise nonexistent social life, this particular style of life afforded one rare sights and uncommon experiences. It played to a certain sense of self, wherein one was out of sync with the rest of the world, wanting to eat dinner whilst the menu offered only breakfast fare. The weekends were difficult, as a note, since I was waking up on “Saturday morning” at about seven p.m.

If you want to experience hypnogogic hallucinations regularly, the night shift is the best way to get there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s late night, as in one or two in the morning, and then there’s the “hour of the wolf” as its called by European peasantry. The latter are the fuligin depths experienced between three a.m. and the rising of the burning thermonuclear eye in the eastern skies. That’s when the animals of the Shining City have regency over the streets. One of my overnight jobs, which was an astounding number of decades ago, saw a humble narrator working in the complex of “international style” office buildings at Rockefeller Center adjoining that hive of villainy and perversion called Times Square.

Something I can tell you is that Rockefeller Center sits upon a connected complex, and that beneath the banal glass frontages of the office buildings is a subterrene series of basements, tunnels, and facilities that maintain the physical plant of the offices above. Many times I had occasion to enter this underground complex, as the company I labored for on the overnight shift maintained a small print shop down there which I’d periodically have to deliver and pick up work from. They have golf carts with flashy siren lights on them down below, and a small army of maintenance workers. I never saw a map, but this series of interconnected basements and underground floors has to cover at least five to six square city blocks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve been inside the Manhattan Bridge, officially. Never have I entered the vaults of the Brooklyn Bridge, nor the towers of Queensborough. “As above, so below” is something an occult scholar will tell you, and one of my obsessive desires is to gain nocturnal entrance to the dripping network of maintenance tunnels and underground caverns maintained by the City someday. How far down have we tunneled and chipped away? It’s always night underground, so I should fit right in.

Who can guess, all there is, that might be hidden down there?


Tours and Events


Canal to Coast: Reuniting the Waters Boat Tour. Only $5!
Thurs, August 30, 2018, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM with Waterfront Alliance

Learn about the origins of Brooklyn’s Erie Basin as the Erie Canal’s ultimate destination, and its current role as a vital resource for maritime industry on this guided tour of Red Hook’s Erie Basin and the Brooklyn working waterfront, departing from and returning to New York Water Taxi’s Red Hook Dock. Tickets here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 21, 2018 at 11:30 am

despair’s profundity

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Just another day in paradise, yo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the height of last week’s “hot” one found himself at Hallets Cove here in Astoria, killing some time with the camera whilst waiting for the NYC Ferry to arrive. Unfortunately, the long exposure shots from Hallets Cove didn’t turn out well, as in the midst of calculating exposure times and compositional angles, a humble narrator omitting calculating the effect of setting up a tripod on sand. It was my firm belief that that the tripod legs were spread out far enough to create a stable enough platform for the camera, but alas, like sand through the hourglass (or within five feet of the tide line) so are the days of my life – shifting, insubstantial, and without foundation. The long exposure above and below were actually gathered at Socrates Sculpture Garden where a more solid firmament is found.

Accordingly, I spent the entire weekend beating myself up over coming home from Hallets Cove with a bunch of motion blurred shots which would have otherwise been quite fetching.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As is always the case this time of the year, one is more introspective and self critical than is usual, which is usually “very.” I still retain vague recollections of the impending doom felt during childhood for the “back to school” part of the late summer, an atavist memory which always colors my mood. It’s also a particularly depressing week for me personally, since I have a birthday coming up and my birthdays never seem to go well. There’s been like fifty of them so far, and maybe five haven’t resulted in some sort of traumatic experience. Our Lady of the Pentacle and my coterie of friends try their hardest, but I’m just jinxed when it comes to birthdays.

Speaking of, today is H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Check out the link (below) to a boat tour I’m going to be conducting on the 30th of August, after all this birthday business has passed. It’s underwritten by a grant that my pals at Waterfront Alliance and Working Harbor Committee managed to get that commemorates the bicentennial of the opening of the Erie Canal. Only five smackers for this one, and we’re going to be onboard a NY Water Taxi leaving from Red Hook. First, we’re heading north along the East River as far as the Brooklyn Navy Yard, then reversing and going south towards Erie Basin and Industry City in South Brooklyn and eventually returning to Red Hook. 

I’ll be on the mike for this one, and I’m planning on regaling the folks onboard with maritime history. It should be a fairly vulgar display of my rhetorical prowess. Also, it’s only $5, so if I’m as disappointing in real life as many tell me you don’t have much to lose.


Tours and Events


Canal to Coast: Reuniting the Waters Boat Tour. Only $5!
Thurs, August 30, 2018, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM with Waterfront Alliance

Learn about the origins of Brooklyn’s Erie Basin as the Erie Canal’s ultimate destination, and its current role as a vital resource for maritime industry on this guided tour of Red Hook’s Erie Basin and the Brooklyn working waterfront, departing from and returning to New York Water Taxi’s Red Hook Dock. Tickets here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 20, 2018 at 11:15 am

threat level

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Either go clean your room or go outside and play.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ll go gather some proper shots of it next week, but as you can see from the shot above the second phase of the new Kosciuszcko Bridge project is coming along nicely. Those two new towers are rising from industrial Maspeth, right at the border with LIC’s Blissville, and are in the footprint of the old K-Bridge which was “energetically felled” last year. I’m going to be asking the K-Bridge team about an official update on the project sometime soon, but probably won’t hear back from them until the fall. Not too much happens in officialdom during the middle and late summer, as people who work for the government usually enjoy a 1950’s style work schedule that includes summer vacations and getting out of work at four or five. This is part of the disconnect between the citizenry and their Government these days. They have no idea about how corporate America operates in modernity, and what life is like for the rest of us.

It’s why they constantly design boxes to fit us all into that seem too small and constraining, just like our friends and family do.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hallets Cove in Astoria, pictured above.

Boxes are what others want to build around you, in my experience. Folks want to quantify their friends and family, coworkers and neighbors, defining acceptable behavioral norms and expectations for others. Speaking as somebody who avoids doing this, as it always leads to disappointment and conflict, and personally speaking it can be quite annoying when somebody gets after me about not fitting in one of their “slots.” I’m not a player on anybody’s stage other than my own.

It’s funny how often I get accused of egomaniacal braggadocio. Is it bragging if you’re just stating things that you’ve actually done, and recounting the tales of your adventures? There’s never been a box offered that can actually contain me, and at least for the last decade the life of a humble narrator has been lived in pursuit of “envelope pushing.” What that means is that when I’m asked if I want to do something that makes me uncomfortable, or nervous, I say “yes.” People close to me will often tell me “you can’t,” mainly because it threatens the envelope of expectation they have formed about you. Just do it, and screw what others say, life is short and it’s your life you’re living, not theirs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills, LIC, pictured above.

What I’ve discovered is that whereas I do have physical limits, their boundaries are far beyond anything I believed they were. Board a boat at four in the morning in January? Sure. NYC Parade Marshal? Why not? Testify in Federal Court about Newtown Creek and or Western Queens? OK. Advocate and argue for esoteric points of view with Government officialdom? Sounds good. The box I used to live in a decade ago before all of this madness began?

Shattered. 


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

fear distorted

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One of those days, man, one of those days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On this day – July 18th – in 1290 A.D., Edward the 1st of England signed an Edict of Expulsion for the 16,000 or so Jews who lived in England at the time. In 1870, the Vatican Council introduced the concept of Papal Infallibility to a gullible public. In 1925, Adolph Hitler saw his “Mein Kampf” first published to a similarly gullible public. In 1937, Hunter S. Thompson was born (to tell the public how reliably gullible they actually are) and then in 1954, gangster Machine Gun Kelly died of natural causes at Leavenworth Penitentiary after 21 years in prison.

On July 18th in 1984, the so called and notable McDonalds Massacre occurred in San Ysidro, California, during which 21 people were shot and killed (mass shootings were still fairly uncommon then).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If everything went to plan this morning, as you’re reading this I’m returning from a mid morning photo project. I’m attempting to catch a certain angle of light, at a certain place which I’m not 100% familiar with, so it might have been a frustrating morning but hopefully I made the best of it. An educated guess is being made, I’ll show y’all what I got later in the week.

Luckily, after having a killer schedule to get through last week, a bit of time to pop my headphones in and wander about seems to be coinciding with a period of tolerable temperatures and humidity this week. Looking forward to getting a bit of work done, and getting out of the Astoria/LIC/Greenpoint/Newtown Creek neighborhood for a few day trips. Hoping to be able to maintain an early schedule for this, seeking out propitious atmospheric lighting.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The most important thing at the moment, for one such as myself, is solitude. I really cannot stomach the thought of having to explain either myself or my actions to one more person than I actually have to at the moment, and have grown quite unwelcoming towards advice emanating from friend and foe alike. The idea of losing myself into the bowels of the City for a little while, looking at it through the isolated safety and emotional distance offered by a camera lens… is both nirvana and nepenthe. 

Look for me, scuttling along the side of the road on the eastern side of the Newtown Pentacle. I’ll be the weird looking guy with a camera.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 18, 2018 at 11:00 am

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