The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Flushing’ Category

helpless resignation

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Getting to Flushing Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the mouth of a waterway, or so I’m told, which is called Flushing Creek. As a note, I’m not going to be going all “history boy” on Flushing for a bit. The reasoning behind that particular statement involves not wanting to kill the fun of discovery for me, as I’m willfully coming at this waterway “cold.” Haven’t read up on it, talked to the locals in any sort of detailed fashion, pored through dusty old books, or even hit the Wikipedia page for it. This stance is assumed in the name of not having any preconceptions regarding the place, and is an attempt to preserve some sort of joy before getting all “heavy” with the researched facts and details that I inevitably will get curious enough to learn. At the moment, I’m rolling on “vibe.” Like most of the water found on the forbidden northern coast of Queens, Flushing Creek requires you to display some level of “intent” to consciously reach it.

There’s a point of pedestrian access, however, which I stumbled across.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Passing through an open gate under the Northern Blvd. bridge, there’s a well worn footpath which allows some access to the sandy beach and grassy marsh shoreline. The first thing encountered down there, between the highways and overpasses, was a singular shoe. It would seem that the Queens Cobbler has also felt a bit of wanderlust during the winter months of 2019, and got here first.

Previous conversations with (the few) people I know that live in Flushing indicate that there is zero access to the shorelines, which is something that I can now report isn’t true. Zero “official” access is more accurate.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the shoreline found alongside the Van Wyck and its off ramps, and between Northern Blvd. and Roosevelt Avenue. As mentioned above, there was a pretty well worn footpath down here. There was also evidence of habitation at various points along the footpath, including a shredded hammock and other bedding. Under the highway ramps, there were coolers and other indications that somebody was living down here. I did spot some fellow sleeping one off with his back up against the highway retaining wall, but I got the sense that he was just enjoying an afternoon siesta. I’ve been told about insalubrious gatherings occurring down here which I definitely don’t want to be a part of, but that’s just rumor for me at this particular moment so… pfahh.

More tomorrow. 


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 19, 2019 at 1:30 pm

utterly bewildered

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Getting minimalist at Flushing Bay.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I found myself out in Flushing again last week, making good on my threat to return there during the daylight hours. Last time that I was in this neighborhood, it was at night, which really isn’t the best time to scout a location properly. This time around, it was a mid day winter’s afternoon.

Ultimately, where I wanted to get to was Flushing Creek, but more on that in subsequent posts.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Have to admit, it was a little odd just waving the camera around without having to do the whole “set up” needed for the night shot process. Funny how something so normative to me can suddenly become alien, sort of like eating the first real meal after an interval with a stomach virus can seem bizarre.

Light, abundant light that I need to cut down and control? Weird.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s a car tire submerged in the surf which has been turned into a colony nest for shellfish, which is something I found neat. Saw several examples of this sort of thing all around the bay and later on Flushing Creek itself. Just goes to show that the mechanisms of nature, given enough time, can adapt to anything.

Back tomorrow with more, and we’ll be exploring part of Flushing Creek for the next few days at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm

peculiar shaking

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Heading back home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having switched my camera over from “long exposure” to “hand held” night settings and lenses, the Northern Blvd. truss bridge carried an official part of the Flushing Bay Promenade which led back to residential Flushing. The next time that I come back here, and I’m planning on it, I’m going to setup the tripod and long exposure kit up here and see what happens. The walkway is shared with a bike path, so I’ll have to take care not to present too big a footprint and ensure that I’m “visible” to oncoming bikes.

You can talk till you’re blue in the face to the bicycle fanatics, but they’ll never acknowledge that bicycles are vehicles. Why they love to infringe vehicle infrastructure onto pedestrian area pavement is beyond me. They also insist that they shouldn’t “have” to wear bike helmets. I insist that you shouldn’t have to wear shoes, but you’re walking around NYC, so it’s probably a good idea. Doesn’t matter, they’re not from here, and will move away when the decade long real estate bubble bursts to start trouble somewhere else.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shots in today’s post are high ISO and wide aperture ones, which report something fairly close to what the scene looked like to the naked eye. Dark, essentially. This jibes with what I’m always told by people who spend their time – or grew up – in this section of Queens around Flushing Creek. It’s hidden, largely inaccessible and locked away behind chain link fences, something that is experienced from a distance. Sounds a lot like my beloved Newtown Creek, huh?

This section around Northern Blvd. actually reminded me a lot of Industrial Maspeth, or Dutch Kills in LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Next week, I’m hoping to take you to some places more familiar, as my post polar vortex schedule (this post is being written on Tuesday night, just before midnight… Hello world of the future!) offers many diversions in Astoria and Long Island City. I’m also meaning to head into the City for a short spell and take some pictures of a thing.

You never can tell where I’m going next, I sure can’t.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 25, 2019 at 11:00 am

rested uneasily

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Flushing Creek at night.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s not Flushing Creek in the shot above, rather it’s part of a largish NYC DOT facility that adjoins it. I’m fairly sure that the elevated roadway to the left is the Whitstone Expressway and that the one on the right is Interstate Highway 678, which is odd since 678 never leaves NY State and actually connects the Bronx and Queens with the Hutchinson, but there’s Robert Moses for you. There’s a tangled cloverleaf of high speed roads here – where East Elmhurst, Willets and College Points, and Flushing combine. As mentioned earlier in the week, I call this the area “where boulevards collide.” It’s all very confusing, and one of the least pedestrian friendly spots in the entire city.

There is a protected bike lane, though, because… priorities…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An open fence allowed access to the water at Flushing Creek, alternatively known as the Flushing River. This shot looks sort of westward along the industrialized canal. Both Flushing Bay and Creek have all the usual environmental issues – I’m told – involving open sewers and post industrial pollution that are commonly observed along NYC’s inland waterways like the Gowanus or my beloved Newtown Creek.

Again, I’m not overly familiar with this “zone.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I believe that’s Northern Blvd. up there, on the truss bridge over Flushing Creek. This shot is looking towards “Downtown Flushing” and the Main Street area. I intend to get to know this waterway quite a bit better in the coming months, as I’m always looking for something new to point my camera at, and to learn more about the Borough of Queens.

More tomorrow.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 24, 2019 at 11:00 am

too shapeless

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Flushing Bay Promenade.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s part of the World’s Fair Marina at Flushing Bay, looking westwards towards LaGuardia Airport, in the shot above. Having attended a NYC Parks Dept. meeting discussing their plans to reinvest and upgrade the Marina (Parks runs it) a couple weeks back, a mental note to return and explore a bit was overturned last week before the weather got ugly. Off to East Elmhurst’s border with Corona and Flushing went a humble narrator, using the Q19 Bus as my conveyance.

I mean, come on, doesn’t everybody hang around the Queens waterfront at night in January?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was medium cold, as a note, although as the night went on and the wind picked up it did become increasingly uncomfortable. During warmer months, I’m known to be out on one of my little night jaunts for six to seven hours, but this time of year, shorter intervals are required due to the climate. In all actuality, I was ok, but the camera gear was malfunctioning a bit. The camera itself was fine, but my remote release wire was “sticking.” I soon started sticking it into an interior pocket of my sweatshirt to warm it up, which made its malfunction predictable rather than sporadic.

I had longtime Newtown Pentacle curmudgeon and frequent comment offerer Don Cav with me for this one, who met me at the entrance to the park. Don is a World’s Fair(s) enthusiast and never misses an opportunity to visit the place, or to tell me in person that I’m wrong about absolutely everything.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, as Don and I were chatting, I missed wiping my lens down for the shot above. I’m sure that a certain other frequent commenter named George will soon ask why I included it in this post due to the many photographic imperfections created by the dusty lens, to which I will offer – I just kind of like it.

I also get to sayCandela Structures” when describing it, but it might be more accurate to describe this thingamabob as a “Schladermundt Structure.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned above, it wasn’t life threatening cold like it was at the beginning of this week, as we were walking around the promenade, but there was ice floating about in the salty waters of Flushing Bay so… it was cold enough.

The shot above looks eastwards towards the mouth of Flushing Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Across the water “my kind of thing” was visible.

By that I mean large scale industrial properties with interesting utilitarian shapes. I’m not going to get all “granular” about what’s found in this area, as it would be entirely disingenuous for me to present freshly discovered details in a manner indicative of some long familiarity. I can tell you where colonial era farmhouses used to stand in Maspeth, but have no real knowledge of Flushing’s environs. That’s something I plan on addressing this year, another one of my little mental notes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

More tomorrow, and Flushing Creek at night, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 23, 2019 at 11:00 am

youth’s madness

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East Elmhurst.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described yesterday, I uncharacteristically rode a bus from Astoria to East Elmhurst in order to get into the right spot for some “waving the camera around” action, which deposited me a few blocks away from my destination. A scuttling I went, heading eastwards on Astoria Blvd. I was heading for the zone I describe as “where Boulevards collide” or “just so Robert Moses.” It’s where Ditmars, Astoria, and Northern Blvd. all smash together with the Grand Central Parkway and Citifield at the edge of Flushing. You’ll be walking down the sidewalk in certain spots, and all of a sudden find yourself walking onto an off ramp to the highway.

One of the least pedestrian friendly spots in Queens, I tell you, although I’ve only been through here a few times.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On my way, I spotted this tiny domestic survivor from long ago on Astoria Blvd. Itty bitty and wood framed, it had advertisements in its windows advertising a “Cuarto en renta” (room for rent). Something about the propert caught my eye, and instinct told me that “something has happened here.” Can’t tell you what, didn’t do the research on the property, but usually if something catches my eye the way this place did…

I’ll look into it. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s one of the entranceways to the Flushing Bay Promenade pictured above, which is actually a pedestrian bridge overflying the Grand Central Parkway with Flushing Bay beyond. LaGuardia Airport is to the west, Flushing Meadows Corona Park to the east. Directly north is Flushing Bay, and as you can discern from the shot above, I arrived right on time just as the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself had ducked behind Manhattan. The night time, it’s the right time, I say.

More tomorrow. 


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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 22, 2019 at 11:00 am

present bungalow

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Flushing Bay, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week I attended a meeting thrown by the NYC Parks Dept. detailing their $35 million dollar upgrades to the World Fair Marina in Flushing Bay. The plans involved relocating and rebuilding one of the docks, installing a new facility house and refueling dock, and installing a bunch of new street furniture on the public sections of the marina (benches, lamp posts etc.) It was my kind of meeting, truth be told, where the government people deliver their information in a punchy and well organized fashion, and public commentary is offered in a businesslike and terse fashion. My main interest in attending revolves around a long term bit of advocacy for Newtown Creek’s Queens shoreline which I’ve been working on, namely the creation of a similar marina on the Newtown Creek coastline Long Island City, and I wanted to take a look at “how it’s done” in the modern era.

Afterwards, a bit of time was spent outside with the camera and tripod, shooting into foggy darkness.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just like the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek, the NYC DEP has been experimenting with the installation and planting of greenery, specifically Saw Grasses, in the littoral zones at Flushing Bay. Littoral means the intertidal area of the shoreline, and they’re engaged in the project for the same reasons that they are at Newtown Creek – mitigating the long term environmental consequences of an abundance of their Combined Sewer Outfalls on the waterway. DEP, or the New York City Department of Environmental Protection if you must, inherited a messy combination of underground pipes from precursor agencies when their organization was created during a 1983 City charter revision, many of which were installed in a hodge podge manner and prior to the Federal Clean Water act.

Due to the outfalls, a lot of raw sewage has historically found its way into area waterways, and the section of Flushing Bay nearby LaGuardia Airport and the World Fair Marina is notoriously and reliably smelly. The creation of these engineered wetlands is an attempt to harness the curative powers and mechanisms of nature in pursuance of fixing a manmade problem.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the section of the north shore of Queens which isn’t forbidden, as a note. There’s a NYC Parks property which sits between the water and the Grand Central Parkway called the Flushing Bay Promenade. It’s 1.4 miles long, starts at the equivalent of 27th avenue, and is a modern addition to the Flushing Meadows Corona Park facility whose creation was funded by the NYC DEP in return for Parks allowing them to build a sewer retention tank in the main park.

When it warms up a bit, I plan on bringing the camera back out here to the promenade and do some exploring.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 14, 2019 at 11:00 am

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