The Newtown Pentacle

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few odds and ends today, including a shot above accomplished using some of my DIY made at home camera technology. That’s an office setup at one of the many auto dealerships found along Northern Blvd. here in Long Island City, one which I shot through a plate glass window. Reflections were cancelled out using an air conditioner foam insulator collar affixed to one of my lenses. Boo-yah!

I like it when my DIY stuff works.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A woman lives in that plastic cocoon pictured above. The cocoon is found along Northern Blvd. in LIC nearby another one of the many auto dealerships mentioned above. She’s the one who makes bird sounds, and then laughs in a manner which can only be described as “maniacal” whom I’ve mentioned in the past. What I mean by maniacal is the sort of laugh you’d expect an extra to offer in a “Hammer House of Horror” movie about Bedlam, a laugh which Peter Cushing’s character would ignore.

Before you ask, as I already have, she just wants to be left alone. Doesn’t want socks or “stuff” or access to services, just solitude to deal with whatever’s happening to her. Ok. She’s been here a couple of years, so…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Coming back into Astoria via Steinway Street, one encounters an automotive repair shop which often offers interesting insights into what could happen on the streets of New York City to an innocent motorist. On this particular evening, no spectacular wrecks were encountered but for some reason this towing truck with a hatchback on its bed caught my eye.

Back tomorrow.


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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, 2021 at 11:00 am

cloudy throne

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m not joking when I say that I’m obsessed with that little tree which is growing out from under a factory building in Long Island City, along the banks of Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary. One feared, during a post deluge walk, that it might have become unrooted due to the heavy rain but there it was. It’s passed from being a tree to being a metaphor for me. Nature wins, ultimately, no matter how hard we try – nature wins.

Hope, basically. It represents hope to me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s why we should be striving to enslave the insects to do our bidding. Imagine commanding armies of ants or termites. It’s just a matter of figuring out their pheromone language and changing their marching orders. Ants can move mountains, one particle of sand at a time. Give me enough indentured ants and I’ll change the course of the Hudson.

To get started – we’ll just need a bag of sugar, a laptop, and a couple of lengths of copper speaker wire. Yeah, eventually we’ll need an AI to act as the Queen, but one thing at a time – huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I don’t know why I automatically go to “mad science” as my solution for intractable problems. I have a friend who’s the kind of scientist who does horrible things to monkeys at work (for good reasons, as he’s trying to cure blindness, but it’s still a pretty grim laboratory setup). I’ve asked him if the “science industry” has any sort of safeguards against he or his colleagues going rogue. If you notice your co worker has a human hand wired to a computer, for instance, is there an 800 number to call?

The answer, after he finished laughing about the term “science industry,” was no. There are no restrictive or societal rules against mad science. Order your Tesla coils, lords and ladies, the sky’s the limit.


“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 13, 2021 at 11:00 am

frightful velocity

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Reliable actuations of the new(ish) camera, wherein I can point it at a scene and get back what I’m expecting, have been achieved. What I’m up to right now is figuring out how far I can push the thing before the images fall apart. These shots were captured at an ungodly high ISO (128,000) to see what that might look like if I needed it in a pinch.

The answer is that it looks fairly “otherworldly” and a little weird, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above is beyond the range of human vision. Literally, I could barely make out anything but the shape of the concrete truck above when I was shooting it. Frankly, I was startled when the autofocus found something to bite into when the camera was pointed at the shadowy mass.

That puddle under the truck was basically the only standing water I encountered on this walk. And the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek is right on the other side of that truck, as a note.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Again, the startling fact that I was seeing so little damage in the industrial zone from the Ida deluge was staggering. I was expecting hydrological evidences – mud slicks, debris piles stacked against chain link fences, puddles. Nothing, nada.

Back next week with more wonders 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 10, 2021 at 11:00 am

all petrifying

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After the rains of Ida blasted through Queens, a humble narrator packed up his camera bag and headed over to the industrial zone of Long Island City to see if my there was any interesting damage to take pictures of. My destination was the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek, and to get there from HQ here in Astoria, I have to cross over to the south side of the Sunnyside Yards.

That’s the Standard Motor Products Building, one of several dinosaur sized industrial buildings which line the Northern Blvd. side of the Federal rail yard. Standard was a manufacturer of switches and electronics for automobiles, and still are. I have a friend who still works for them in an office in that building. On the roof is the Brooklyn Grange Urban Farm, which is definitely worth a visit if you’ve never been up there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given the sloping character of Skillman Avenue, one expected to find all sorts of storm damage here. Nada. It was as if nothing had changed since the last time I walked through here.

Well, maybe they managed to toss another luxury condo up in the last week, it’s hard to tell with Long Island City these days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One thing about that storm, however, is that everyone forgot to pat the NYC DEP on the back afterwards. I’m often in an adversarial posture towards this particular city agency, and a lot of my activist/advocacy time is spent decrying their bureaucratic obfuscations on Newtown Creek. Saying that, however, you do have to appreciate the fact that when the rain falls on us in buckets, they are the ones who drain the flooding away. Also, in NYC, you seldom get warnings about having to boil drinking water as it’s become contaminated after flooding. DEP delivers our clean water, maintains the resovoirs, and also handles sewage at their 13 treatment plants. They have a few more duties, but those are the big ones.

Thank you to Commissioner Vincent Sapienza and his DEP pals for getting us through yet another crazy weather event.


“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 9, 2021 at 11:00 am

strange tributes

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills is a tributary of the fearsome Newtown Creek, a Federal Superfund site some 3.8 miles long that provides a border for the New York City Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens for the first three miles of its course. The waterway is polluted by industry and open sewers, and there’s a bed of sediment at the bottom composed of coal tar, petroleum derivates, human waste, and everything else that’s ever fallen into the water. This sediment is called “Black Mayonnaise.” The Dutch Kills tributary branches off of the main waterway about 3/4 of a mile from its intersection with the East River, flows entirely within the confines of Long Island City, and is about .7 – .8 of a mile long.

I’m obsessed with that little tree growing out from under a factory along the bulkheads. It’s a Tree of Paradise aka “Princess Tree,” I’m told.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All of those little streaks in the water, along the rotting bulkheads which I focused in on, are fishies. What you can hear at night, from all over this industrial canal, are the slaps and splashes of predator fish picking off these little bug eaters who gather around light sources. You can also hear passing ATV’s and muscle cars with modified exhaust systems, but that’s a different post.

I spent a bit of time hereabouts recently, waving the camera around and investigating what might be hiding in the shadows at Dutch Kills. As long time readers here at Newtown Pentacle will attest, a humble narrator is endlessly fascinated by this section of the greater Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Water fowl, these Canada Geese are dicks. All Canada Geese are dicks, and I’m racist towards them. Specist, actually, I guess. At the very least, I’m extremely prejudiced against them.

Wow, remember when there was a difference between prejudiced and racist, as in there was a level of severity for being an asshole to other people? I was having a conversation with a younger friend of mine about this lately, one which centered on how you bleed pressure out of a closed system. There’s different levels of murder, for instance – manslaughter, homicide, etc.

At any rate, the Canada Geese are ultimately downy piles of meat, and what I was doing at Dutch Kills on this warm night was searching for a carnivore which legends say hunt these waters. Looking for a hunter? Focus in on the prey.


“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 24, 2021 at 1:30 pm

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