The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Long Island City’ Category

indecipherable parchments

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The fascination with photographing gasoline filling stations at night just consumes one such as myself, and I’ve found myself wandering twixt the East River and (so far) Jackson Heights in recent weeks looking for these roadside businesses. This one is found in the angle between Sunnyside and Queens Plaza along Queens Boulevard. There’s also a Car Wash at this one. Ubiquitous in prior decades, car washes and gas stations both are fewer in number these days than they used to be.

Wish it was because of environmental reasons, but instead it’s largely because these large footprint properties are extremely desirous to the real estate industrial complex as development sites.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Have I mentioned that creepy skeletal trees keep on catching my eye these days when I’m wandering about? This particular one adjoined an industrial lot with a malfunctioning light that was strobing. Took me about ten shots to catch the flash, which was happening at random intervals.

Must be lovely living on the residential plots just a block away, with a bright white/blue light flashing all night.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I really don’t know how the medallion taxi industry is going to survive COVID. This has been mentioned before, and it’s another one of those problems which is hard to solve without surrendering a ton of taxpayer money in pursuit of bailing out an entire industry. As is the case with a lot of these kinds of situations, you feel pretty bad for the actual working stiffs doing the job, but the people who own and run these companies are not exactly salubrious characters – if you catch my drift.

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, January 11th. 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

January 14, 2021 at 2:30 pm

mist maddened

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Apocalyptic Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s lovely feeling the earth shift under your feet, ain’t it? There’s little I can do about the state of the world, so the only option is to continue walking the earth alone and at night. This is the bad time of the year for me, as it’s so very cold, but that – at least – is something predictable which I can cling to. Given that what I’m trying to do when leaving the house, in addition to getting some exercise for both my rotting body and the camera, is avoid the presence of disease carrying humans my routes usually involve walking through the most deserted and lonely places I can think of.

Luckily, Western Queens offers a lot in the way of deserted and lonely. Also lucky is the recent activity of whomsoever it is that Amtrak has put in charge of popping tiny holes into the fences surrounding the Sunnyside Yards in recent months.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I detest having to wear an extra layer of insulating clothing under my normal “mitchsuit,” but what are you going to do when it’s freezing cold outside? What? Stay at home when it’s below freezing, you say? That would be insane.

As I’ve often opined, NYC looks best when it’s slightly moistened and the streets are all shiny with slime and ice. One of the things catching my eye at the moment are the creepy looking skeletal trees of the industrial streets, grasping their bony branches accusingly toward the sky. Everything smelled salty, due to the de icing efforts of the Department of Sanitation, and furtive shadows were observed darting around the dumpsters. At night, the rats come out.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On this particular evening, wherein I described my goals to Our Lady of the Pentacle as being a “short walk,” my path led from Astoria to some of the less travelled sections of Long Island City surrounding the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek and then through Blissville on my loop back home – about 4-5 miles. My practice through the pandemic has involved doing all of the banal things I do during daylight hours here at HQ, then donning “outside clothes” and the filthy black raincoat and venturing forth. Upon arriving back at HQ, whatever photos have been collected are then transferred from camera to computer and the “first pass” is done. What that means is that I look though the average 2-300 shots on my camera and throw at least half of them out. Before I go to sleep, the remaining shots have been keyworded and cropped.

The next day, I do the developing process and upload them to the web. An every other day schedule has been more or less maintained during the pandemic, with a few hiccups here and there. You control what you can control, and don’t try to control what you can’t.

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, January 11th. 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

January 13, 2021 at 2:00 pm

strangely aromatic

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Walden had his pond…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last month, we had a bit of snow, so one made it a point of marching over to the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek with the hope of photographing a certain tree (pictured above) which I’ve been shooting all year surrounded by frosty goodness. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the western shore of the waterway it is rooted into was free of powder and ice. Oh well. Got busy anyway, despite not being able to feel my fingertips. As a note, manipulating camera controls when you can’t feel your fingers is a challenge.

I’ve become quite emotionally attached to this self seeded urban cultivar over the last year, and it’s come to represent something to me during the pandemic. It’s stalwart, and despite having sprouted under a factory and along the banks of a superfund listed waterway, it grows and grows. Someday I’m going to arrive at this spot and some jerk will have cut it down. Odds are I’ll drop to my knees and start bawling like a newborn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is desperately hanging onto sanity with his cold numbed fingertips at the moment. The level of anxiety I’m experiencing is massive. This is something I’ve been trying to be quite open about with friends and acquaintances, for a couple of reasons. One is that I’m fairly good in crisis situations, and am usually the person that you call when you’re in trouble or just having a hard time. One of my little mantras is “there’s plenty of time to freak out, cry and scream later, right now we need to deal with “this.” I’ve never understood the need people have to express their pique or disbelief that their house is on fire, running about hysterically, instead of setting about the process of extinguishing the flames. When the shit hits the fan… you have to be the Rock of Gibralter.

If somebody like me is feeling this level of constant anxiety, as there has been a constant wave of shit hitting all the fans for a long time now, I can’t imagine how difficult it is for others who don’t have the psychological toolkit I developed as the child of a malignant narcissist. You’re not alone, we’re all feeling it. Hang in there, the finish line where you get a needle jabbed into your shoulder, go back to work and a social life, and we start rebuilding the world is just around the corner.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above is one of the focus stacking arrangements I’ve been experimenting with. This one uses differing exposures to find some sort of middle point between the brighter than daylight lighting of the FedEx last mile shipping hub and the darker than Satan’s heart ambience of Dutch Kills’ eastern bank which it adjoins.

There were Canada Geese rolling around in the water, and as you know, Canada Geese are dicks. Once got into a fist fight with a Canada Goose, but that’s another story.

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, January 11th. 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

January 12, 2021 at 2:35 pm

somber livery

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Friday, 2021.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Project Firebox used to be a thing here at Newtown Pentacle, owing to my fascination with the things and also to Mayor Bloomberg’s heartfelt desire to eradicate them from the streets of NYC, which is obviously one of several things he was unsuccessful at during his terms as Mayor. I like Fire Alarm boxes for a couple of reasons, but primarily they often serve as a bit of a history lesson. See the one above? This model, with push buttons for bothering FDNY and NYPD, was installed all over the City back during the Koch era. Certain models of this type have an intercom style audio system incorporated into them.

It was a failed experiment, supposedly. FDNY says that most of their false alarm calls come from Fireboxes, and there’s never a Cop around when you need one. At least there’s always a firebox to hide from fire or crime behind.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Regrets? I’ve got a few. Resolutions? I avoid making them.

The only New Year’s resolution I’ve got this year is to drop some weight, as both butt and gut have gotten bigger and softer during the pandemic months and I’m tired of it. Need to get more exercise time in, a humble narrator does. Burn off the fat, get back to being leaner and meaner. Grrr.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Have a good 2021? I’m almost afraid to offer the salutation, for fear that California might break off of the continent and sink into the ocean after 2020.

Back next week, with shots from one of the very few adventures I managed to have in the last 294 days. Stay safe and all that, Lords and Ladies.

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, December 28th. 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

January 1, 2021 at 11:00 am

degraded parody

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Thursday, and hindsight is 2020.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Survivors, rejoice. You made it. New Year’s Eve. It’s been 293 days since the New York State lockdown orders of Friday the 13th of March were announced. That’s 7,032 hours if you’re the curious type. There’s a few things I’d like you to think about as we move forward into the future, here in these United States…

The photo above depicts the Sunnyside Yards, which is rumored to have been the actual target used by the Soviets for their thermonuclear bomb tipped missiles. The United States has ostensibly been preparing and spending an astronomical amount of money for more than 70 years preparing for the various shapes which the apocalypse might take. That includes, as George W. Bush reminded us when updating the spending program twenty years ago, preparing and updating responses to attack vectors for “nuclear,” “chemical,” and “biological” weapons.

Where has all that money gone, and why were was the greatest military power in history caught so flat footed by a predictable respiratory pandemic whose scope doesn’t begin to touch what an engineered bioweapon would do to us?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Governor Nelson Rockefeller and President Richard Nixon oversaw the nationalization of local and inter city transit systems in the early 1970’s. Bankrupt private capital railroad firms were turned into publicly owned and operated “authorities” and “corporations.” Nixon created Amtrak for passenger service, and Conrail for freight. Rockefeller combined the subways, buses, and commuter trains in New York State into the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The MTA’s annual budget is 17 billion dollars. If you were to stack individual dollar bills until arriving at the amount of 17 billion, you’d have a stack of money which is 1,154.3 miles high.

Fifty years later the MTA still operates its systems as if it was day one after the nationalization of the Subways, Buses, and Penn Central commuter services, with little or no interoperability having been achieved between its various divisions in the interim, and they operate in a state of perennial near bankruptcy. Conrail is largely irrelevant these days due to the private capital underlying modern rail shipping companies like CSX, whereas Amtrak has become a political football bandied about and abused by Congressional game players. Where does all that money go, and why hasn’t NYC’s regional transit system been modernized with interoperability and shared resources in mind?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You can vow to wean your culture off of petroleum all you want, but without massive capital expenditures and tax breaks for those having to junk and replace their “installed base” of equipment you’re just blowing hot air. You can’t just quit heroin without withdrawal symptoms, can’t stop drinking without the “DT’s,” or just quit smoking the Crack without some sort of psychotic reaction. Petroleum is a drug, which you pour over your economy to make it go “vrooooom.”

Historically, any new or novel technology – let’s say that Star Trek style unlimited and non-polluting energy reactors appear tomorrow, for instance – it would be a good 50 years before they became commonplace. New fuel sources have historically had a long adoption period where the installed base of the last energy source is phased out and the new one is deployed. In the case of wood to coal in industry, it was about 150 years. Coal to Petroleum took around 75 years, and there are still several major industries (notably manufactured gas) which consume a magnificent amount of coal. Look to the United States Navy as the bel weather on this subject.

Happy New Year, ya filthy animals!

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, December 28th. 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

December 31, 2020 at 2:00 pm

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