The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Hudson River’ Category

tradewinds sweep

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

November 13th. My pal Meg Black, from Working Harbor Committee plotzed back at the start of the year. She was cremated, and another Pal – Barbara – had held onto her ashes until an appropriate moment arrived to dispose of them. Meg’s family, on the 13th, was onboard the John J Harvey Fireboat along with us – the Working Harbor Committee. Captain Huntley Gil navigated the 1931 Fireboat down the Hudson River from its home at Pier 66 to the Statue of Liberty.

This is the last time for me, riding on board the Harvey. It was Meg’s last time, too.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Meg Black is one of the most enigmatic people I’ve ever met. Her last name describes her sense of humor, and she was one of the prime components of the Working Harbor Committee. Tireless is how she’d want me to describe her, but Meg often groaned and creeped under the burdens of her central role in the organization. She always delivered.

Another one of my little mottos is “do what you say, say what you do.” That’s could describe her, my contentious friend Meg. In the picture above, that’s a member of her family – a niece, I believe – letting her loose on New York Harbor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is where the ashes were scattered.


Goodbye, old friend.

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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.

doglike things

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After a terrifying visit to a cautionary tale known as Hudson Yards, a quick ride on the 7 train carried me back to the gently rolling hills of Western Queens where a transfer at the Queensboro Plaza subway stop was actuated and I was soon on an N train heading towards almond eyed Astoria. This was from the end of my journeys on Sunday – August 21st – which were meant to include riding on a Fireboat, but which ended up in a staggered scuttle about the abominable Hudson Yards.

One was hoping to wander through a street festival or something lively in the way home through Astoria – a Detestation of some Abyssal Power, or a Celebration of a Lord or Lady of Light – but it was just another Sunday in the ancient village.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Notice was taken of this woman feeding a group of birds. The birds seemed to be arranging themselves into a geometric pattern, but logic dictates that it was just the pattern of the woman’s arcing throws of seed or bread that they were following. Still, one wonders, and more than wonders…

Once I caught a photo of a group of birds sitting upon a series of Astoria power lines, in a pattern which reminded me of musical notation. I sent it to a musician friend of mine for analysis. He refused to discuss the matter after viewing the image, instructing that I should never mention it again and advising that I destroy the image.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 24th of August, a day trip to visit a friend in the pretty town of Hudson, New York was undertaken. It was a long drive and my photographic curiosities were stifled due to social obligation.

There used to be a whaling fleet who’s home base was here in Hudson. The financial benefits of this industrial activity explains how they could afford the expenses of building out the grandiose architecture from the 1840’s – 1880’s era which is still extant in the town, as said fleet often did business with Ambrose Kingsland in Greenpoint. The Newtown Creek tributary “Whale Creek” is so named because of Kingsland’s whale oil refinery, and the corollary industries of rope manufacture, blacksmithing, shipwrighting, and miscellaneous ship supply hugged the shores of Whale Creek in Greenpoint.

Staten Island artist John Noble actually painted Whale Creek during this era – here’s a link to the Noble Museum at Snug Harbor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson is a very attractive town, and I wish that I had more time to explore. I also really wanted to get a shot of the old docks where the Newtown Creek bound whaling ships would launch from, but as mentioned above – this was a social visit and not a photo mission.

The shot above is from a park along the Hudson River that obviously used to be part of a barge to rail setup.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saturday the 27th of August, and this shot was from something like 8 in the morning, captured while sitting in the passenger seat of a late model Mercedes on the George Washington Bridge.

The Mercedes belongs to my pal Max, and we were on the road heading west for a week long “away game.” I left the pinstripes at home, put on my gray uniform, and configured the camera to a very odd group of settings.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The ISO was set into the range I normally use for night time low light conditions, the aperture was set to either f8 or f11 depending on time of day and ambient light, and the shutter to 1/8000th of a second.

When you’re traveling in a late model Mercedes at about 70 miles per hour, westwards through Pennsylvania, you need to take steps to freeze the action for the camera.

More next week.


“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

September 23, 2022 at 11:00 am

narrower alleys

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One last shot of the Power Plant in Yonkers, specifically its Hudson River moat, was gathered on the way back to My Pal Val’s Valmobile. She offered to drop me off somewhere convenient on her way back to Nassau County on Long Island, so I greedily lept at the idea of catching a ride at least part of the way back home.

She had opted for the Whitestone Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I cracked this one out through her windshield while we were on a highway, which is a lot easier said than done. I think it’s the Whitestone, but it could also be the Throgg’s Neck. I’m sure some nagging presence on one of my social media accounts will take the opportunity to hijack this post and use it to express how much more knowledgable they are than I about the bridges of the East River.

Soon, we touched down in Queens, and I was dropped off nearby the Whitestone Expressway’s exit and entrance ramps in Flushing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Well… don’t mind if I do, Flushing Bay.

I had a bit of a walk ahead of me to get to the 7 train. I could have easily made it to Main Street and the station there, but it was a pretty nice day and I wasn’t quite done with shooting yet so I scuttled off towards Citifield instead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are multiple generations of politicians in Queens who should burn in hell for what they’ve done to or allowed to be done to our ancestral waterways.

Sigh… nothing matters, nobody cares, nothing matters, nobody cares, nothing matters, nobody cares.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After the one above, I packed up the tripod kit and reverted back over to handheld shooting mode. I decided to walk over to the Citifield stop in order to catch the 7 line, which I’d take to Jackson Heights and transfer to one of the two underground lines that stop near HQ.

My “escape New Yorkmobile” is on order, and I’m expecting the dealership to be calling any day to let me know it’s time to come in and sign the loan agreement which will allow me to leave this dystopian shithole behind me at last. Saying that, I’m enjoying all the mass transit I can before becoming part of the problem.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I keep on telling myself that there’s plenty of super polluted waterways where I’m going. The good news is that I’ll be able to drive to them.

Tomorrow – something different.


“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

September 15, 2022 at 11:00 am

fourth harangue

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A final post from the excursion I was invited to join in on to the NY Central Railroad’s abandoned Glenwood Power Plant in Yonkers.

These shots are from the boiler building, where coal fired furnaces were stoked, which heated the boilers that steam powered the generators in the building next door, which then electrified the NYC RR Hudson Line tracks leading south into Grand Central.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in earlier posts, this 1907 plant was abandoned in 1971 by its new owner – MTA – after they took over the commuter and rail service on the Hudson Line from the bankrupt NY Central (which had merged with its longtime rival Pennsylvania Railroad into the unwieldy PennCentral RR), due to an MTA preference to buy the electricity from suppliers like Consolidated Edison rather than generate it themselves.

The plant went feral. It’s rumored to be one of the sites where the long rumored “Son of Sam cult” would meet up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The fellow who was guiding us was the engineer responsible for shoring up and making these structures habitable again. Due to it being exposed to the elements for five decades, there’s a lot of rot he and his crews have to deal with – rusty and water damaged structural steel, shifting foundations, you name it.

I kept on shooting while he was talking about the immensity of the task.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s in places like this that you’re reminded that giants used to stride the earth in New York City and it’s surroundings.

The day trip was beginning to wind down, and as the group began to filter towards the exits, I kept on shooting.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whenever I have limited or one time access to a location, this is my practice. Keep the camera busy until the very last moment.

Finally, that moment came.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We gathered outside, and the rest of the group became interested in some pile of rusty steel, so I kept on keeping on.

Something somewhat different tomorrow – 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 14, 2022 at 11:00 am

sixth interest

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

More shots from the abandoned Glenwood Power Plant in New York States’ Yonkers municipality in today’s post. For details on the history of the NY Central Railroad, the power plant, etc., please refer to yesterday’s post which is chock full of links.

Very visually interesting place, which I was invited to visit by My Pal Val, who asked me to join in with a group of photographers she was organizing a visit for. We had an extremely limited amount of time at the plant, which was unfortunately in the early afternoon – the absolute worst time of day for photos (except in February).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My plan – thereby – was to treat the scene as I would if I was shooting there in low – or no – light conditions. To achieve this, I attached a ten stop ND filter. The tripod was deployed, but only extended up to full height a few times. Most of the time I kept it low to the ground, operating the camera through its swivel out touch screen. Depending on what I was shooting, my aperture was never lower than f8 or higher than f18. ISO ranges from 100-6400 are included in this series.

“Hey Mitch – what’s with all the talking shop these days?” “Tell me about the history of the Pulaski Bridge again.”

What can I tell you. I need to talk shop sometimes. About once every few months, I get an email from a younger photographer – college kids, mostly. They want to know how I do what I do. Sometimes they want to be introduced to the Creek, or the harbor, or whatever. A lot of times they ask me how to use their camera to get the sort of shots I routinely churn out for Newtown Pentacle and other sites.

“Show up, do the work, don’t get hurt, go home” is the first speech I offer.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve got a whole other set of speeches ready for them about how to stay as safe as you can when moving around on the street, which I call “how you look to others on the street, and keep moving at all times.” There’s the whole “don’t cross industrial driveways without looking” and the “why would you stand on that slippery rock if you’ve got a zoom lens and it’s safer two feet away” which is followed by the “how, exactly, would you describe to the 911 operator where you are right now” one. They all like these speeches, I tell them well and with great flourish. I also ask them “what is it a picture of.”

I also try to pass on some of what I’ve learned about marching around NYC with a camera. Especially given the conditions in which one such as myself usually works. A lot of the craft, as I’ve purposed it, involves being hyper aware of my surroundings while allowing the camera to record the scene in some intentional manner while I keep an eye out for bad actors and danger.

Come with, the next time it’s a hundred degrees at midnight or no degrees at dawn, and join me at the Maspeth Plank Road or at Dutch Kills? I’ll tell you all about camera settings and how to get the scene, based on long experience. You’ll also possibly encounter what can only be described as “creepy ass muthaflowers.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Anyway, that’s “what” with talking about that.

As mentioned yesterday, there are two buildings at the Glenwood Power Plant that we received access to. The first one, in yesterday’s post, was the generator building. The ones in today and tomorrow’s post are from the furnace and boiler building. This was a coal fired power plant, incidentally.

As a note, there were fishies swimming around in that puddle of water.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was a section of the roof which was unstable and we were gathered into a safe area beyond it for a few last shots of this section of the building.

It was time for the last leg of the excursion.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking south out the boiler and furnace building’s window along the Hudson River, with Manhattan on the horizon. Just for a sense of place.

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

September 13, 2022 at 11:00 am

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