The Newtown Pentacle

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disreputably nourished

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 11th saw me conducting a small walking tour for a couple of friends of First Calvary Cemetery.

I haven’t been able to conduct any commercial tours of Calvary for quite a while now, due to a cease and desist letter which the Roman Catholic Church sent me. I actually consider that to be a feather in my cap.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 13th was a rainy day, and night, so I lingered at HQ and shot a few portraits of the Bodega across the street from my porch.

I had an invite to a fundraiser party in Williamsburg the next day, and planned on getting to Brooklyn the long way around.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 17th, one left HQ and started trekking towards Brooklyn. I didn’t have too much else going on, so a photowalk was on order for the day. The rain was coming and going, but I had an umbrella.

My plan was to walk for three or four subway stops to Court Square, and then use the G line subway to complete the trip.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I could have taken the train the whole way from Astoria and just transferred – but where’s the fun in that?

I actually wandered pretty far afield of my intended path, and ended up – as usual – in the neighborhood surrounding Dutch Kills in LIC on my way.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Foliage. That’s my excuse. Fall foliage.

The party I was heading to was for the Evergreen outfit, which is one of the groups that Newtown Creek Alliance is allies with. They’re a “BID” or Business Improvement District group which advocates for the industrial zone of North Brooklyn. Nice bunch of people, and it was a good party with lots of friends in attendance. In the end, I just walked to Williamsburg from LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At some point after the party, the rain became somewhat intense, so I made my way to the subway and caught the G.

Y’know what? That was probably the last time that I’d ever be riding the G train. After all, my entire world changed a couple of days later.


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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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 16, 2022 at 11:00 am

noxious heap

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Continuing with the sights witnessed along a longish scuttle on October 8th, a humble narrator found himself crossing the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge and heading towards Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section.

That’s my beloved Newtown Creek in the shot above. About 1.3 miles back from the East River.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Kingsland Avenue is in the process of being redesigned in response to the opening of Phase 3 of the Newtown Creek Nature Walk at the sewer plant, which has brought lots and lots of pedestrian and bike traffic to the former entirely industrial street. As always seems to be the case these days, NYC DOT’s traffic engineers has managed to imagine up the worst possible design, and implemented it in a piecemeal and inconsistently thought out fashion.

Somebody else’s problem now. I’m done fighting City Hall.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the Nature Walk, which hugs the water facing side of the Sewer Plant, the Pulaski Bridge opening for a passing tug was observed.

Somebody recognized me, and I was having a conversation with them while climbing on a fence. They were clearly afraid that I was going to fall in the water while doing so, but there you are.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The next section of my walk involved attaining the Pulaski Bridge’s pedestrian path. Which carried me back out of Brooklyn and into Queens’ Long Island City section.

One briefly considered hopping on the subway, but it was a beautiful day and I just kept on scuttling.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One headed eastwards on Jackson Avenue, heading towards Astoria.

“Every time might be the last time.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Plaza has become absolutely unrecognizable at this point. The few remaining industrial buildings and warehouses which survived the reconstruction of the area have finally been consumed by the real estate frenzy.

Tomorrow – something a bit different, 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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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 8th was one of the days in Long Island City that passerby might have noticed a pile of black sackcloth being carried along by the wind. Closer inspection would have revealed a humble narrator clothed in his street cassock, a filthy black raincoat flapping about in the poison breeze. One was enjoying an afternoon constitutional, and occasionally startling the elderly and their dogs if they gazed upon my countenance while passing by. A face for radio, that’s me.

One was feeling particularly invigorated, and it was a beautiful day for a stroll over to a hopelessly polluted industrial zone.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Somebody left their shop door open, and I cracked out an exposure or two of the scene within while shambling past. Neat!

In accordance with recent policy shifts here at HQ in Astoria, one had timed the walk for the late afternoon. This was around 5 p.m., give or take. In October, the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself lobs about in the sky at fortuitous angularities relative to the street grid of New York City. Not so much in January, so take advantage when you can.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the torments which my friends endure revolves around me having led them through over hill and dale and onto hell’s favorite streets, baking in the sun the whole way, whereupon I present them with a description of our destination as being “only 2-3 miles more to go” followed by “but, it’s all down hill from here.” To wit: the shot above. Several of you reading this just groaned.

What you’re actually looking at above is the hydrological reservoir and surrounding sloped basin of the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek. The flat lowlands around the waterway were wetlands, or “waste meadows” as they called them in the old days. Behind me, and further up the hill from where I was standing, is Greenpoint Avenue. Greenpoint Avenue connects with, and used to incorporate Roosevelt Avenue, which went all the way to Flushing back in the days of the decadent Dutch in the form of a turnpike. Greenpoint Avenue was set up as a high ground ridge road which connected two isolated waterfront colonies separated by bogs, swamps, and grass land.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

1940 is when the monstrosity pictured above, which largely follows Borden Avenue’s far more ancient path, was opened for traffic. Formerly, the horse or oxen drawn traffic followed Borden or Hunters Point Avenue on its path to the East River, where ferry or boat transport would complete the journey of passengers or cargo to Manhattan from Queens. Back then, there were shops and restaurants and inns along the route. Houses too, a few blocks back.

When the City bound traffic disappeared onto the Long Island Expressway and into the similarly aged Queens Midtown Tunnel, it blighted the area, and an already onerous catalog of industries in this area got worse in terms of character and pollution.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When you’re on the south side of the Long Island Expressway, you’ve entered Blissville. That’s the name of the neighborhood. Really.

This neighborhood, and many of its residents, have a special place in my heart. I like having beers at Bantry Bay on Greenpoint Avenue, and I can point you at a very comfortable socialist bench nearby Review Avenue (it was donated to the Blissville Community by the campaign of Jonathan Bailey, who ran as a Democratic Socialist for City Council in the last cycle, so “socialist bench.”)

I am unaware of any public furniture donations to Blissville from the Republican Candidate for the seat, Marvin Jeffcoat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One such as myself is probably the only person in Brooklyn or Queens happy to see the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge opening at 5:30 p.m. on a weekday, but there you are. I enjoyed the show, and waited patiently, unlike everybody else, for the thing to resume “bridging” after it finished “drawbridging.”

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

November 14, 2022 at 11:00 am

amorphous blight

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few somewhat random shots from the end of a longish walk, depicting scenes familiar and loved.

Things I’m likely not going to be witnessing again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The empty corridor in Long Island City, an industrial zone blighted by the presence of the Long Island Expressway, which has suddenly become incredibly busy due to the pandemic influenced explosion of activity by last mile shipping companies like FedEx and UPS.

15 years ago, this empty corridor hosted a series of homeless camps built around shacks and abandoned cars.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was scary here, and particularly so at night. Not because of the homeless population, who are – generally speaking – not a threat to passerby. It was a deserted area, where young men from surrounding residential neighborhoods would gather to plan the nefarious part of their nights.

LIC is one of the photographic wonderlands which I’ve been absolutely honored to record.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Montauk Cutoff, which are abandoned LIRR rail tracks. My friends and I have been trying for years to get MTA to officially open the space to the public, despite the fact that the public uses them regularly as it is.

I was heading for the 7 line stop a few blocks away.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Views like the ones found in LIC are just unique. Especially so when the ground is saturated with moisture after a week of rain.

NYC never looks as good as it does when it’s wet.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 7 carried me to Queensboro Plaza, where a transfer to the Astoria line W train was enacted and soon I was at 31st street and Broadway.

One scuttled down Broadway towards HQ, lost in a fog of recollections and memories. All the people… all the times good and bad…


“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

November 11, 2022 at 11:00 am

bold entreaty

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On October 5, it was raining in the City. A diminishing meteorological system had stalled over the megalopolis for several days and all was moist. Regardless, one required a bit of exercise and time for thought, so off on a scuttle did a humble narrator go.

My plan was to hug the fence lines of the estimable Sunnyside Yards, and commit a few exposures to the “same old, same old.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned ad infinitum in the past, HQ is a few blocks away from the yards and my habit is to use it’s curvilinear border streets to transit back and forth to Newtown Creek, so I’ve passed through this corridor often over the nearly twenty years that I’ve been living in Astoria. As also mentioned, I’m suddenly trying to capture a lot of “portrait format” vertical shots.

That’s the Long Island Railroad passing through the Harold Interlocking, as seen from “hole reliable.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One really isn’t a “rail guy,” rather rail is something which I find very interesting as far as photography challenges go. Surprisingly difficult to get a decent rail shot, especially so in challenging lighting conditions. Shiny things festooned with bright lights which are moving at a high rate of speed is a problematic situation, camera wise. There’s also an abundance of busy detail in frame – wires and lamp posts with super bright lights, occluding infrastructure, all sorts of stuff to worry about.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was just getting dark as I scuttled around and onto Skillman Avenue.

The former Citigroup building, or as I’ve previously styled it – the Sapphire Megalith of Long Island City – has always been one of the two far points that I focus on when I want everything in a certain part of a shot to be “tack sharp.” The engineering of a lens has a “hyper focal” distance built into it, which essentially means that when it’s focused on “infinity” at a particular aperture setting, everything between a certain point in front of the lens and infinity will contain the field of focus. In the shot above, and at the aperture I was using, that field was about twenty feet away from me. Notice the blur of the signal pole, which was about ten feet from me.

The other far point is the Empire State Building, which you used to be able to see from everywhere in Long Island City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One continued on. This was one of the walks which saw me carrying a light kit bag – one bright prime lens on the camera, another in the bag. I did have a little camera support gizmo with me, but didn’t end up using it at all on this walk, as I was in a handheld kind of mood.

Although I didn’t intend to walk all the way to Dutch Kills on this particular evening, it seems that’s where I was heading to.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

By the time I crossed Queens Boulevard, it was “proper dark” out.

Well, the night time is the right time, I always say…

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

November 8, 2022 at 11:00 am

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