The Newtown Pentacle

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Looking for it, Tuesday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Trying to get a shot of “it” has proven more difficult than I thought it would be. One is being purposely vague about “it,” since it cannot possibly exist. A different sort of “it” used to reside in the cupola of the Sapphire Megalith of Long Island City at 1 Court Square – a formless and immaterial monstrosity identified via a three lobed and unblinking eye that didst stare down at the world of men with disdain – but that “it” moved out shortly after the whole Amazon thing fell apart and headed back over to Manhattan. This new “it,” which might actually be a very old “it” if these unverified rumors I’m receiving carry any veracity at all, is something else entirely . It’s all quite intriguing, really.

After possibly sighting “it” in the waters of Dutch Kills, just north of here alongside the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge, one positively boogied over to Borden Avenue to see if “it” might just be hanging about the maritime basin found nearby the 1908 vintage Borden Avenue Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shape with what appears to be three glowing red eyes isn’t “it.” That’s just a reflection of a tree mixed in with three lights mounted on the high flying Long Island Expressway. “It” was definitely in the basin, however, evinced by the enormous ripples on the water’s surface and the panicked reactions of those smaller fishies who were schooling about in the dark fathoms there.

As a note, a fathom resolves down to about 1.8 meters or exactly six feet. In the center of the Dutch Kills channel, and it varies, you’re looking at probably 2-2.5 fathoms. At the sides, where shoaling is a serious issue, there are spots where the bottom sediments are exposed at low tide and the depth of the water is in negative fathoms. I’ve never heard anyone else use the term “negative fathoms” so it’s likely I just added something to the English Language again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One changed locations again, this time picking a spot with some brush cover, thinking that “it” very well might be aware of my silhouette against the night sky, with the sky dome all under lit by the street lamps and automotive traffic. Additionally, some fellow who was walking up Borden Avenue just stopped dead in his tracks about four feet away from me and was staring intently, at both me and his phone, and I got weirded out.

In the end, I didn’t get a shot of “it.” I’m trying though. If your journey carries you to Newtown Creek or its tributaries at night anytime soon, keep an eye out on the water near the shorelines and let me know what you see. It’s out there.

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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Dutch Kills Monday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has had occasion to ask the right person the wrong question over the years, and the answers are usually not comforting. Should, during the routine investigations surrounding the Newtown Creek Superfund investigations, human remains be discovered in the muck and mire adoring the bottom of the waterway the procedure would be to invoke the investigative arm of the NYPD and the services of the NYC Coroner’s Office. Apparently, NYPD would look at its list of “cold cases” to try and assign an identity to the remains, whereas the Coroner would attempt to describe “cause of death” and confirm or damn the Gendarmes’ assignation. Depending on what state the body is in – whole, decaying, or skeletonized – this process could conceivably take days, weeks, months, or it might be impossible to ascertain whom these bits used to belong to due to decomposition. Dental record searches, DNA recovery, or other alienist techniques might be used, but… don’t fall into Newtown Creek if you’re having a heart attack while not carrying a wallet.

Other queries to the powers that are have involved the recovery of firearms and other weapons, the bodies of various animals, or more esoteric items from the font of Black Mayonnaise lining the canal’s depths. 1940’s cash registers, slot machines from the 1920’s, boxes of light bulbs, fifty gallon drums of some mysterious goo?

Who can guess… all there is… that might be buried down there?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One almost got a shot of it the other night, alongside the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge.

Ever since rumors of its’ presence here reached me, I’ve been keeping an eye out, but it is stealthy. I’m still not saying what “it” might be, since a humble narrator cannot stand the idea of accusations of credulity. When a shot of it appears here, though…

Whatever “it” might be swam under the bridge and one ran to the other side in the manner of some obsequious and allegorical chicken following it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Those dashes in the water in the shot above aren’t “it,” but they might have been swimming away in response to its presence. Those dashes are fish – likely Mummichogs and Menhaden for the smaller ones and Bunker for the larger – moving close enough to the surface of the water for their scales to catch and reflect the street lighting. Like all predated creatures, I too stick to the shallows when I can, and often hide behind large wooden things when hungry creatures with sharp teeth ply the deeper waters just like these fishies.

It seemed to heading towards the Borden Avenue Bridge on this particular night, so one double timed towards that span about one really long block away.

It lives? If you closely observe the shorelines of Newtown Creek, you might see it, just like I’m trying to do.

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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Archive week, pandemic period.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 22 found me wandering around industrial Maspeth and returning back to Astoria via 58th street/Woodside Avenue. It also found me peering through the fence at one of the Calvary Cemeteries (#4, I think) and setting the camera up. As mentioned previously, one had been using the endless quarantine hours to practice certain photographic techniques under the controlled circumstance at HQ and this was one of the first shots “in the field” that I put them to work.

Everywhere I’ve walked to for the last 100 days or so has been predictably deserted, which is why they’ve been destinations. Unfortunately, in order to get back to my neighborhood, you need to walk through other neighborhoods. People = Cooties.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On May 3rd, the Maspeth Plank Road received a visit. The weather had just begun to warm up, although the end of the Quarantine Tribulations were still nowhere in sight. This is when I stopped wearing my filthy black raincoat and just had a sweatshirt on over t shirt and the usual multi pocketed pants. Within a couple of weeks, it was a short sleeve shirt. By this point, incidentally, that stimulus check was long spent. Haven’t earned a penny in months, me, and I’m still waiting on the Unemployment/Pandemic people to actually send me a check.

If you haven’t already, and can afford to, please consider ordering my photo book at the link below, as I could really use the cash.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 20th found one at the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek in Long Island City again. Time and again, when I stagger out into the world with no particular destination in mind, my feet will just carry me here. Several times in fact, I suddenly realized this is where I was heading while I was worrying about my finances, the state of the world, COVID, my elderly dog’s health – whatever happened to be assailing me that particular day.

Luckily, I happened to be there for a particularly nice interval – light wise – when several trees were flowering. Back next week with some fresh photos, places, stories 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 22nd. 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 26, 2020 at 11:00 am

meager iron

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Archive week, pandemic period.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Returning from a walk one evening, I encountered an FDNY Ambulance screaming past me, on April 4th, specifically. This was about the high water mark for such activity in Astoria, by my observation, during the first and second weeks of April. Most of the shops on Broadway were closed, and in a few of the open ones you encountered unfamiliar workers filling in for people who were home sick.

The skies really started to clear, as automotive traffic and air travel fell off.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On April 8th, one found himself in a place which would often be visited during the tribulation, the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek. Right around this period, I started seeing groups of muscle cars speeding around the industrial zone at night.

As mentioned in the various postings offered during the pandemic, one has been avoiding the customary usage of headphones. The deserted streets required vigilance, and a few encounters with “crazies” occurred while I was out there in the darkness. Occupational hazard always, malign elements of the street have enjoyed somewhat free reign during this period. Look at the graffiti which has appeared just about everywhere if you don’t believe me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I was hanging around at HQ, working on how to shoot the star fields visible for the first time in my life here in NYC on April 11, when the surrounding street began to flash crimson. Unfortunately, one of my next door neighbors who had been sick with COVID found her condition deteriorating and needed to go the hospital. After the EMT’s suited up in protective gear, they wheeled in a stretcher and soon they ambulance was loaded up and off they went in a flashing screaming hurry. She has since recovered, thankfully.

It’s around this period that some life began returning to Broadway in Astoria. A few of the shops reopened, and supply lines began to open back up accordingly. You could go to a fruit stand or grocery store rather than a supermarket, and a slight uptick in pedestrian and automotive traffic was noticed.

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 22nd. 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 25, 2020 at 11:00 am

unhallowed garret

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Archive week, pandemic period.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Both the shot above and the one directly below were captured on March 31 on the night time walks one was taking during the pandemic tribulations. In both cases, on a technical note, my inexperience with the modern version of photoshop’s particular vagaries resulted in a distracting moire pattern emerging the sky areas of the shots. In addition to receiving news of a death in my extended family due to the virus, and hearing about more and more friends coming down with it, a personal problem of far less gravity has been afflicting me. Right at the beginning of the plague, a mechanical issue began affecting my work horse Macintosh tower, and it has been down ever since. I’ve been working off a spare laptop, which required creating a predictable environment for my “digital darkroom.” There’s been a few growing pains. Oops.

I seem to recall that this is right around when the pandemic got political. Coke vs Pepsi dynamics popped up. I advocate going green, since Ginger Ale is delicious.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is also right about when that bizarre siren display was activated on the Empire State Building, which gave the nocturnal and deserted landscape of NYC a science fiction vibe. The reality was that we were entering into a period of science fact and deepening economic hardship. It felt like the bottom fell out. This was also about when all of this teleconferencing business really kicked into gear.

Time began to slip and nobody could remember what day it was anymore. On the financial hardship note, this is also right about when I realized that my rather aggressive tour schedule for 2020 was going to have be abandoned.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 2nd is when I found myself on the Pulaski Bridge over Newtown Creek capturing the shot above. A point was made of framing the Empire State Building into compositions whenever I could, which is never a terrible idea, in order to “set” the image firmly into the pandemic timeline.

More tomorrow.

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 22nd. 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 24, 2020 at 11:00 am

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