The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘kosciuszko bridge’ Category

sane harborage

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, one was wandering through Blissville. For one reason or another, a humble narrator decided it would be good to get a few shots of the enormous masonry wall offered by First Calvary cemetery for the amusement of passerby on Review Avenue.

My understanding of the function of this structure is that it acts as a retaining wall. Laurel Hill, the landform which Calvary was carved into starting in 1848, used to slope down towards Newtown Creek. Review Avenue is a “cut” and the engineers who worked for the Church probably had to worry about mudslides when laying out the place.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The wall itself is enormous, and based on observation from within the cemetery and atop it, around ten feet thick at the top and an unknown width at bottom. It’s composed on concrete and boulders, and likely bottoms out several yards under the level of the street and sidewalk. The boulders are typical glacial till, likely harvested from native soils, and nothing special.

My intention when shooting this was in theoretical pursuance of doing a cutaway illustration of the wall and subterrene, which was going to be accompanied by a bit of narrative reminiscent of an HP Lovecraft short story called “The Statement of Randolph Carter” wherein the exploration of a mortuary complex’s underground chambers results in a typically horrifying conclusion for a Lovecraft tale. That’s my actual thought process leading up to actuating the camera shutter.

That’s when I spotted them.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When queried as to why I always have a camera with me, the answer is usually “if I don’t have this, then a ufo would land in the intersection and Bigfoot and Elvis would disembark from it.” Usually, a camera is your best defense against anything interesting happening within eyeshot.

These two defied that maxim, however, and they are to be applauded.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

They seemed to be a couple, these two, just picking their way along the rock wall.

So intent on their task were they that notice of the strange old fellow with a camera trained on them standing across the street and laughing hysterically didn’t seem to register. This genuinely amused me, and I like to believe that one of them said to the other that “the floor is lava.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

They never got more than five or six feet off the lava, I would mention.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As I’m often quoted as saying – you never know what you’re going to see at Calvary Cemetery. Even when the place has remained inexplicably closed to the public at exactly the moment when its acres of green space have been most needed, the people of LIC will make it their own.

Awesome sauce.

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, September 14th. 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 here, 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 14, 2020 at 11:00 am

chittering scavenger

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is colossally bored, and wandering around the Newtown Creek is basically all I’ve got these days. Recent endeavor found a humble narrator on the Queens side of DUKBO – Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp. The difference between the two fencelines in the shot above is profound, with the chain link section rooted in the Blissville section of Long Island City and the iron fence planted firmly in the soil of Maspeth. Once upon a time, this was a municipal border, rather than a bit of geographic trivia.

When Robert Moses built a bridge, or highway viaduct, he often did so along these sorts of borders.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Bob Moses 1939 version Kosciuszcko Bridge went bye bye in 2017, of course, and that’s the spanking new Andy Cuomo 21st century style one pictured above, from a bit further back along the Newtown Creek than I usually show you. I got to meet the security guy at Restaurant Depot just prior to this shot being captured, and I can tell you he was a heck of a nice guy once we established that I wasn’t a graffiti artist, skateboarder, or illegal street racing enthusiast. Unique set of problems this particular fellow has in his daily round, thought I. Also, the sound of generators was omnipresent, since this is one of the sections of western Queens which lost power entirely after that recent storm. The air was vibrating.

This section of the Newtown Creek – east of DUKBO, south of the Maspeth Creek tributary, and west of the Maspeth Avenue Plank Road – is called the “Turning Basin.” It’s an intentionally wide and fairly deep area that allows shipping to reverse course.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Turning Basin is far and away the most chemically contaminated section of the waterway, if degree matters when discussing Newtown Creek. The black mayonnaise – which is the goo found at the bottom – is a devils brew compound of coal tar, petroleum, organocoppers, and a whole lot more. This is where the amount of time for “benthic survival,” as the environmental professionals would call a fishie’s chances of making it from one side to the other alive, is surprisingly narrow. A copper refinery and a manufactured gas plant, an enameling factory and an oil refinery, fertilizer mills and rendering plants, a night soil dock. That pretty much describes the Turning Basin shorelines of about a century ago. They all were pretty sloppy with the industrial waste, and there’s a lot of that Black Mayonnaise down there.

The oil guys, the gas guys, and the copper guys are all on the hook here with the Feds to clean the Turning Basin. They have to scoop out the yuck, and cap what’s left over to keep whatever they missed sequestered away. The argument right now is about how deep a depth they will need to dredge to. The deeper you go, the more money gets put into the water.

Personally, I won’t be happy until they’re bringing up arrowheads and tomahawks.

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, August 10th. 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 here, 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 14, 2020 at 11:00 am

essential salts

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Monday, from the old German word “mōnandæg,” means day of the moon.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A little bit of continuity with last Friday’s post is seen above, depicting the same tug and barge combination passing the Meeker Avenue/Penny Bridge street end along Newtown Creek. The difference in today’s shot are the three jet skis which got into the tug captain’s path, which sped past the combo. Yes. People are jet skiing in Newtown Creek nowadays. I know, I know.

If these recreationalists only knew about the rumors which have plagued me about “it” all summer. “It,” if “it” exists, would likely regard these jet skiers as little more than a snack.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For the shot above, I lengthened the exposure time in pursuit of getting the water all mirror like. Sometime in the next week or two, my plan is to acquire some polarized filter glass for the camera, which should aid in peering below the surface by reducing the reflected and scattering ambience of the sky.

Perhaps it will help me reveal its presence, if it does exist. Thing is… who can guess, all there is, that might be swimming around down in the gelatinous fathoms of the Newtown Creek?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A parting shot from the Kosciuszko Bridge walkway, captured as dusk was giving way to full night time.

More tomorrow, at your Newtown Pentacle.

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, August 3rd. 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 here, 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.

almost unassailably

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Well, flippity floppity floop, it’s Friday again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found a humble narrator scuttling through the humidity thickened July atmospherics typical of Western Queens and heading towards Newtown Creek for a session of waving the camera around. Pictured above is the 1848 vintage First Calvary Cemetery in Blissville, looking westwards from Laurel Hill Blvd.

What with all of this pandemic business and the new Kosciuszcko Bridge offering a pedestrian and bike path between Greenpoint in Brooklyn and Blissville here in the Long Island City section of Queens, there’s now a lot of people milling around. For years and years, it was just me wandering around this area. It’s taking a lot of “getting used to” seeing others in my happy place.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The views from the Kosciuszcko Bridge are epic, and I timed my walk to put me Center span just as the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself was descending behind Manhattan and New Jersey. This point of view is 2.1 miles from the East River, for the morbidly curious. The right side of the shot is in Queens, the left is in Brooklyn.

Newtown Creek is a tributary of the East River which extends south/eastwards 3.8 miles from its junction with the larger waterway, eventually terminating in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. There are multiple tributaries of Newtown Creek which snake off the main stem of the waterway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, for me, a tug and barge combination was navigating its way eastwards while I was set up and shooting. Once one fo the busiest maritime industrial waterways in these United States, Newtown Creek is still quite busy. While I was out shooting, I saw the Greenpoint Avenue Draw Bridge – roughly a mile to the west – open and close three times.

A recent meeting with the United States Army Corps of Engineers described the ideal depth of these waters as being 23 feet. The last time a proper navigational dredging of the entire Newtown Creek occurred (other than a minor channel maintenance operation performed at the behest of the NYC DEP a few years ago) was in the early 1970’s. Tug and barges, therefore, stick to the center of the channel where the water is deepest when navigating through.

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, July 27th. 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 here, 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.

wild whispers

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Wednesday Kosciuszcko.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

DUKBO – Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp – has been regularly visited during this pandemic period. It’s both photogenic and within walking distance, and offers the plus of being a fairly unpopulated part of NYC during an era of respiratory plague. Back in March, one had finally figured out the magic formula for photographically capturing the lighting display of the bridge, camera settings wise. Hopefully this means that I can “port” the camera settings into other situations where garish LED lighting has been installed.

I still say the lighting design of the new Kosciuszcko Bridge over Newtown Creek looks like the exterior displays of a certain Greek coffee shop in Astoria, but there you go.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not officially open yet, there’s a new “park” on the Queens side of the bridge, specifically at the corner of Review Avenue and Laurel Hill Blvd. which has already become quite well used by Blissvillians, Sunnysiders, and Maspethians, as well as visiting Greenpointers. The park, which is a series of brutalist concrete blocks arranged around various plantings, is slightly elevated over the surrounding area (Newtown Creek industrial business zone, First Calvary Cemetery) and offers a nice view of the bridge. That’s where these shots were captured.

I’m still carrying the ultra busted down lightweight mini camera kit, by the way. The two prime lens one which I started hauling around last year after having severely injuring the big toe of my left foot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A lovely set of zoomable lenses have been awaiting being called back into service again, but I’ve really been enjoying the limitations. Worst thing you can say to a creative person is “do anything you want.” Best thing you can do is lay out a bunch of things not to do, make them stand on one foot while doing it, and throw in a gotcha. Limitation forces lateral thought and problem solving, I always say.

Back tomorrow, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

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.

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