The Newtown Pentacle

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 21st and I was out for a short/long walk which ended up being fairly productive. I was heading towards Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary, and along the way I stopped off at “Hole Reliable,” which is found along the fencelines of the Sunnyside Yards.

The reason this hole is so reliable is that it overlooks the Harold Interlocking, a rail junction used by both Long Island Railroad and Amtrak which is the busiest such bit of infrastructure in the entire country. You don’t have to hang around Long before something rolls by.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The powers that be have been busy spending your taxes on improving the Harold Interlocking, which is part of the larger “East Side Access” project that will be bringing LIRR service to Grand Central Station, and there’s a couple of new sidings which have recently been completed and brought into usage – like the one pictured above.

Y’know, I’ve spent something like 15 years watching them do all the construction on this, and it’s kind of cool to see it being used.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Nothing new to report from Dutch Kills. Nobody cares, nothing matters, and 29th street continues to subside and sag into the collapsing bulkhead at the water’s edge. Turns out that the reason there’s always a puddle there is that the undermined street has broken a water line pipe. That’s great, as now it’s also a DEP problem – in addition to being an EPA, DEC, DOT, and MTA problem. Eventually, the entire alphabet will be involved.

Sigh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My tree of paradise seems to be embracing the warmer weather, and at the time this photo was taken, had just become clothed in foliage.

I didn’t plan on walking directly home on this particular evening, as I was desirous of getting a few low light shots of the 7 train. Accordingly, over to the Hunters Point Avenue stop did I scuttle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My 7 line plan was to take advantage of how frequently the service arrives – usually in about ten minute intervals – to hop on and hop off at the various stations that I don’t frequent.

As a note, I’m a fan of that new OMNY fare control scheme of theirs. Here’s a tip – the OMNY system lets you use your phone to pay for your fare. The credit card you thereby designate for transit use (I’m on an iPhone, can’t speak to how Google Pay works on Android) should therefore be one where you receive some sort of benefit for using it. Some cards have cash back rewards, others have airline miles that accrue with use, others send a few cents to a charity you support – you get the idea. I’ve tied all of my transit charges into a single card account – LYFT/Uber, Amtrak, Subway and Bus, Ferry. This also makes talking to my accountant about transit spending rather simple.

I have a friend who has all his monthly bills flow through benefits/rewards cards. This way he’s never late with a payment, and manages to get some benefit out of his outlandishly high electric bills.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I traveled on the 7 for a bit, following my plan to hop on and hop off. The shot above is from the 33rd Rawson stop, and it’s a Manhattan bound train rounding the elevated curve nearby the former Swingline Stapler building on Queens Boulevard. One night soon I’m going to doing this sort of night time excursion on every stop of the 7 all the way out to Flushing and back.

Keeps me out of the bars. Back next week with more, 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.

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 8th found one in need of a short walk, and in tune with my recent habits, one left HQ shortly before sunset. Here I am at “hole reliable” over the Harold Interlocking again, shooting yet another west bound Long Island Railroad train.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My goal for the evening was to definitively stay away from Newtown Creek and its tributaries, and just stick to the mean streets of along Island City. The sky lit up, and as seems to be the case these days, while shooting somebody walked up to me and wanted to discuss cameras he has owned, plans to buy, and also ones used by his dad.

I excused myself after a few excruciating minutes, professing that I was losing the light. Grrrr…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Skillman Avenue led me to Thomson Avenue, where I got this shot. It’s actually a damned difficult proposition getting this shot with zero automobiles in the frame, as a note.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thomson Avenue led me back down to Jackson Avenue, where I experienced another one of those moments of sudden existential horror you tend to feel in LIC these days. Ten years ago, the Citigroup Megalith was the only large scale building here. Today, it’s actually somewhat middling in size as compared to what’s been built around it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Swinging through Queens Plaza, I noticed the 7 train perched above several of those automobiles in the travel lanes below it. I didn’t see any of the vampires though.

One continued his lonely scuttle towards Astoria, using Jackson Avenue to eventually get to Northern Blvd.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One headed back towards home, walked past a bar which I don’t seem to hang out at anymore that’s filled with people whom I’m increasingly disenchanted with. Ribald invitations to join their nightly bacchanal were rejected, and a humble narrator retreated to the nearby cloister of HQ.

Pfah.


“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

June 21, 2022 at 11:00 am

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 27th’s short walk continued, and I was heading back towards Astoria on Jackson Avenue, when fortuitous atmospherics conspired with a 7 train leaving Court Square Station on the elevated tracks to capture my attention.

You gotta show up. Ain’t gonna see boo staying at home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m going to miss all this. Every step and every block is absolutely awash for me with details. Battle Axe Gleason’s folly, adorned with NY Terracotta Works finery, sits over the long ago of Jack’s Creek and the…

Every single brick tells a story. Once I’ve retreated into the west like one of Tolkien’s Elves, this is going to be someone else’s story to tell. I fear no one will do that. C’est la vie.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 28th found me in Brooklyn at Newtown Creek Alliance HQ. Can never resist cracking out a few exposures of the Sewer Plant in Greenpoint from this uncommon point of view.

NCA hosts public hours at HQ on Friday evenings, if you want to check the place out. Click here if you’d like to visit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 1st saw me wandering around Long Island City and the Sunnyside Yards again, exploiting the encyclopedia of fence holes at the 183 square acre rail coach yard that I know about to get a few shots of Amtrak’s rolling stock being serviced below.

A coach yard is a maintenance and holding facility, not a station. You have to go into Manhattan to catch an Amtrak. With Long Island Railroad, you’ve at least got Woodside.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One scuttled through the dimly lit and somewhat terrifying streets feeding into Queens Plaza on my way home. This is not a fun pedestrian experience. There’s some nice graffiti, though.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Plaza remains one of the absolute worst places in the entire country to be on foot. Your senses are overwhelmed by subway noise and vehicle traffic. Did you know that your field of vision actually narrows when the ambient level of noise passes through a certain threshold? I guess the brain can only process so much raw data at any given moment.

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

June 15, 2022 at 11:00 am

were well

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 26th brought one of those “I told you so” moments to Astoria. For literally ten years, I’ve been sounding the alarms about the ridiculous amount of dead wiring overhead – and the horrendous condition of often century old utility poles which carry them. Assemblymember Brian Barnwell heard my cry and his office tried shaking the tree at the NYS Utility commission, but just like every other part of New York State – that patronage mill called “Albany” saw no political gain in even conducting an inspection of the situation here in Queens.

A line of thunderstorms crashed through Astoria earlier in the evening, and shortly after the wind and rain stopped, the FDNY arrived on Astoria’s Broadway and began arranging caution tape.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To no one’s surprise, the storm had caused a series of live wires to crack down onto the puddle choked street and yet another Astoria hullabaloo was underway. The 46th street Subway Station was right in the middle of this municipal chaos, as a note.

You ever get the sense that the people who run this City and State would make terrible roommates?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 27th, after having completed all of my “have to’s” it was decided to take a fairly short walk. Recent habit has seen me circumnavigating the 183 square acres of the Sunnyside Yards on these short walks. I’ll leave Astoria and walk over to Skillman Avenue, which will be followed to its terminus at Hunters Point Avenue and 21st street, whereupon I’ll head over to Jackson Avenue and then follow it through Queens Plaza where it transmogrifies into Northern Blvd. at 31st street and scuttle back to HQ.

Along the way, there’s lots and lots of fence holes to poke the camera lens into, and observe what wonders there might be hidden within the colossal rairlroad coach yard. That’s the IRT Flushing 7 line train exiting Queens Plaza heading for points east.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All winter and spring, I’ve been seeing the Long Island Railroad’s newest acquisitions being put through their paces. I don’t know if these trains have entered “revenue service” yet or if they’re still being tested out.

I’ve had a horrible realization recently… good lord, have I been rail fanning? Has it really come to this?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 7 line exits Court Square Station on an elevated track, and this right of way descends down into the Hunters Point Station. Occasionally, on this particular route, I’ll actually hop on the 7 and take it back to Sunnyside or Woodside and walk home from there.

I stand on the assertion that the 7 is the most photogenic of all the subway lines.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At Hunters Point Avenue, you’ve got an absolutely incredible eastward looking view of the Sunnyside Yards. That Long Island Railroad train was heading into Manhattan, and the entrance to the East River Tunnels is nearby.

Wonders, I tell you, wonders.


“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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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 24th saw a humble narrator more or less walk the entire Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek, and by the time I reached the Pulaski Bridge all of my aches and pains were absolutely singing an opera.

That’s when you really just have to lean into it, I always say, and keep on scuttling. You want to know something, though? What I’ve really been missing the last month or so, and especially during low energy moments like the one I was experiencing while getting ready to surmount the Pulaski, has been having my headphones plugged into my ears while they’re blaring early Black Sabbath.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personal security, however, demands that all of my senses remain unoccluded. I need to be able to hear “it” if and when it’s coming. It’s funny, actually, that this section of Newtown Creek is one of the areas which I’ve assiduously avoided throughout the pandemic months. The population has become particularly dense here, due to what a friend of mine refers to as “the real estate frenzy.” That isn’t why I’ve been avoiding it, though.

Anywhere that lots of people are, that ain’t where I been.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pulaski Bridge has a dedicated pedestrian and a seperated bike lane, in addition to its lanes of vehicular traffic. It’s a double bascule drawbridge, and electrically powered. It connects McGuinness Blvd. in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint with 11th street at Jackson Avenue in Queens’ Long Island City. Along the way, on the Queens side, it also overflies the Long Island Railroad’s Lower Montauk tracks and the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

It’s extremely well traveled, and each one of its several traffic lanes is quite busy. It’s also fairly easy to get into trouble up there, precisely because of its populous nature. I used to know a guy who got jumped midspan, and who laid there bleeding from a head wound while the Brooklyn and Queens cops were arguing about which precinct the mugging occurred in – 94th or 108th. Neither one “wanted it” as it would cause their “house’s” crime stats to go up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There used to be an amazing series of NYC views up on the Pulaski, with the Empire State Building at the center of your frame and reflected in Newtown Creek. The sky has been stolen by big real estate, however. It’s been privatized. If you’re looking for “inspirado” you better have some cash to pay for it.

The good news is that our elected officials continue to subsidize the real estate people, by bending the rules for them and handing out multiple decade long tax breaks in the name of “affordable housing.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The dodge accomplished by the Real Estate people is to establish a development corporation as an ‘’LLC” or “Limited Liability Corporation” for the duration of planning and construction. The day after they cut the ribbon on a new building, the original development LLC, which made all the deals with the city and state, is dissolved and the property is transferred to a management LLC that can pick and choose which tenets of the original LLC’s political contracts they want to oblige.

Either way, they’re not paying any taxes for a long time. Not paying into the cops, or the schools, or the hospitals which their tenants in their thousands consume the services of. Remember when the Governor set up the Javitz center as a mass casualty hospital at the start of COVID? That’s because NYC doesn’t have enough hospital beds anymore.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some enterprising soul poked a hole in the chain link fences of the Pulaski’s pedestrian walkway a few years back, one that allows a view down into the Queens Midtown Tunnel’s entrance.

August of 1940 is when the tunnel opened, along with the section of the Long Island Expressway which feeds about 32 million vehicle trips a year into the thing. At least you can still see the Empire State Building from here since the Real Estate people haven’t convinced the politicians that it would solve the homeless problem if we decked over the tunnel’s toll plaza over and built luxury condos on top.

Give it time. Swagger.


“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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