The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Court Square’ Category

watcher’s window

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Firstly, as I’ve “caught up with myself,” Newtown Pentacle is returning to the familiar three images a day format for an interval. One had quite an abundance of photos to display from before and after the recent trip to Pittsburgh. Back home just in time for the Omicron surge, a humble narrator has resumed his “every other day” schedule of long and short walk around Western Queens.

Recent endeavor found one scuttling about Long Island City’s Court Square section, which has come to resemble Manhattan in terms of population density and building typology. One will point out – again – that despite this massive build out and investment in converting the “mixed use” zoning of LIC over to high density residential zoning, there has not been a similar investment in municipal services. Cops, fire, sanitation, hospital beds, transit. What that means is basically more mouths to feed with the same amount of bread as before. What could go wrong?

Nothing matters, and nobody cares.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The stolen sky of Long Island City is now populated by dormitories for the aspirant class and the already well heeled. One question that continually nags is why the new people don’t have or use window coverings. Drapes, Venetian Blinds, curtains – they seem to prefer letting it all hang out and displaying their lives to each other. I was visiting a friend a couple of years back who lives in Hunters Point, and was looking out of the windows of his tower apartment and noticed a guy across the street, clad only in his underwear, who was doing the dishes. I wondered why he didn’t have curtains, and more importantly – why you’d pay $3,000 plus a month in rent for a “luxury apartment” which didn’t have a dishwasher appliance installed. Weird.

Pictured above is what they call Five Pointz. Personally, I’d rather that the old Neptune Meter company building with its amazing artwork which the tower apartments have stolen the name of was still here, but that’s big real estate for you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My neighborhood in Astoria is about to be similarly destroyed by a project called “Innovation Queens.” Proposed by Kaufman Astoria and Larry Silverstein, this monstrous ideation will decimate the south eastern section of Astoria by erecting a series of 20-30 story tall towers in a triangular section defined by 38th street and 35th avenue on one side and 43rd street and Northern Blvd./36th avenue on the other.

For those of you who know the area – the movie theater, PC Richards, the pool hall, Malbin Pipe, Harley Davidson, and all of those mechanic and used car businesses are toast. All of the blue collar “walk to work” jobs hosted by these businesses are similarly going to go bye-bye. If you want to make an easy $5,000 bucks, contact the Innovation Queens people and tell them you’ll advocate for the project.

You’ll have to get in line, though, since they’ve already bought off a local bar owner, the driving school people on Steinway, a couple of the NYCHA tenant association presidents, and a “community leader” to flack for them.


“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

February 7, 2022 at 11:00 am

no anguish

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Whale Creek tributary of the larger Newtown Creek pictured above. The nomenclature of “Whale Creek” harkens back to a fairly forgotten era in NYC, when illuminating fuels were derived from the distillation of cetacean fats rather than petroleum. Before Kerosene, which was more or less invented by a fellow named Abraham Gesner in 1854 and manufactured on the Queens side of the Newtown Creek, the way you conquered darkness in NYC was either by buying whale oil from a fellow in Brooklyn named Ambrose Kingsland (as in Kingsland Avenue) or manufactured gas from a variety of industrial outfits which were based on the east side of Manhattan. Manhattan’s “Gas Light District” was the zone currently occupied by Stuyvesant Town in the East River facing “teens and twenties.” A complex of gas manufacturing and storage was evident all the way up to “blood alley” in the high 30’s and low 40’s. Blood Alley was where you’d encounter abattoirs and slaughterhouses, and the United Nations complex is more or less sited in that zone.

Modern day Whale Creek is nestled entirely within the properties of the NYC DEP in Greenpoint, and it’s surrounded by the gargantuan sewer plant they’ve constructed, which handles about 900 million gallons of our corruption daily. Well, it’s Manhattan below 96th St.’s corruption, mainly.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Court Square station in Long Island City is considered to be a “historic place” given that it’s one of the original elevated IRT Flushing Line subway stations that were erected in LIC, and it opened in 1916.

The modern day “Court Square Station” is actually a portmanteau of three different stations which were connected together back in 1990. The connections were part of a rezoning effort by NYC which began the build out of large scale buildings in LIC, notably the Citigroup tower which kicked off the building frenzy that continues to this day.

One yearns for perspective.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking eastwards towards Newtown Creek from the Empire State Building offers one such perspective, and allows you to view the region in the way that governmental entities do. There are not individual lives playing out in this area, rather there are trends and large infrastructure resources found therein.

Tomorrow and Friday, I’ll be showing you shots from this perspective, as I finally dropped the hammer on heading up to the 86th floor observation deck last week. The weather was right!

Back tomorrow, 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

June 23, 2021 at 1:45 pm

exhausted whining

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Not so minimalist Wednesday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, one had a couple of “have to’s” this week which forced me to limp out of the house and along the way shoot some photos. Monday night, in particular, was interesting visually due to the steady rain. I will stand behind and defend the assertion that NYC never looks as good as it does when it’s raining.

Pictured above is the IRT Flushing line entering the Court Square station during a precipitant interval.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in Astoria, a humble narrator was waiting for Our Lady of the a Pentacle to emerge from within a bodega with the loaf of bread and quart of milk she ventured within to attain. My thoughts were centered around my beloved Newtown Creek, and the torrent of sewage which was undoubtedly pouring into it during the rainstorm.

When I long for the Creek, I stare at sewer grates, which make me feel connected to it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last night it wasn’t raining, but I did manage to garner a bit of exercise walking to and from the Community Board meeting on the other side of the neighborhood. I hate the fact that this is the longest walk I’ve willingly undertaken in the last three weeks. I also hate how long it took, due to the pace I now walk at, and how many shots of mundane things like this child’s ride in front of pizza joint on Steinway Street I gathered.

Death. Annihilation. Hatred.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

Limited Time 25% off sale – use code “gifts25” at checkout.

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 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm

anguished frenzy

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Cut and cover.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Let’s say that a humble narrator announces a tour of the fabulous Newtown Creek, or a boat excursion to some remote corner of the harbor, and I end up taking a bath on the endeavor and lose money. Did I take a risk that didn’t pay off? When I’m talking about my empty right hand pocket, do I pretend that the roll of hundred dollar bills and the bag of assorted gem stones maintained in my left pocket doesn’t exist? What if my left hand pocket assets included billions and billions of dollars of Manhattan real estate? Can I just confess that I didn’t market the tour properly, or manage its costs competently, or proceeded with the operation under some rose colored ideation that it would sell out and make me richer than Croesus? Did I employ the services of a bunch of incompetents who are related to or friends with various political party officials, using my project as a patronage mill?

Or do I just blame the audience, accuse them of trying to get one over on me, and then go further in debt to hire a small army of armed guards with marching orders to generate revenue via fines and tickets because I can’t be losing money unless someone is stealing from me? Of course not, I’m not the MTA.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The practice of blaming the ridership, accusing them of theft of service, pretending that your pocket is empty when in reality you are one of the biggest landlords in New York State… that’s the MTA. Need a few billion bucks? Maybe sell your office building on Jay Street in Brooklyn and move your operations to a less tony location in Nassau or Suffolk County, or maybe Westchester. I understand that Mount Vernon and Yonkers have several abandoned office parks which would be quite affordable to move your army of bureaucrats into. Still underfunded? How about selling off some of your investment properties in upper Manhattan while the real estate market is hot?

That, or you can just wait for the next video of a bunch of cops having a fist fight with teenagers over $2.75 to make the nightly news.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Me? I’d let the Wall Street guys have a go at MTA. Let the bean counters in there to look for redundancy and cost savings through consolidations. Funny thing is, this would barely be felt by the Union people who actually keep the system running. MTA loves publicizing the fact that some shlimiel on the LIRR collected an outlandish amount of overtime pay, but never discusses the number of empty suits populating the office cubicles at their Jay Street HQ. I’d like to smash the system over there, where the subways are still operated as if the IND and IRT were distinct. There’s multiple bus companies, LIRR and Metro North have virtually zero interoperability… it goes on and on. The MTA real estate and property manager folks operate in shadow, with virtually zero public awareness of their shenanigans.

If NYC is an organism, with DEP the liver and kidneys, MTA operates the venous system. Arteriosclerosis is something I’m familiar with. The best treatment, long term, for this sort of disease vector is lifestyle change.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come to the library!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek – The Roosevelt Island Historic Society has invited me to present a slideshow and talk about my beloved Newtown Creek at the New York Public Library on Roosevelt Island, on November 14th, 6 p.m. Free event!

Click here for more information.!

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 7, 2019 at 11:00 am

spectacled stranger

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A few things to say, I have.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To start with, this Saturday the 30th of March is the 110th anniversary of the opening of the Queensboro Bridge. It’s the official moment that you can stick a pin into for when Queens stopped being an agricultural backwater and began to develop into its modern form. Queens Plaza and the Sunnyside Yards occurred shortly thereafter, and then the subways began rolling and everything we know as Queens today began to get built up. If you’re crossing her on Saturday, tip your hat and offer the old girl a salutation. Extra karma points will be awarded if you say “Gustav Lindenthal.”

Lots of people cross that bridge everyday, unfortunately just last night that included the crew of loathsome sentience which calls itself the NYC EDC. They’re the ones who want to deck over the Sunnyside Yards. “Once in a lifetime opportunity,” they say. “Bring Queens into the 21st century” is also offered. Queens, and Queensboro made it just fine into the 21st century without the NYC EDC, although the bridge had to suffer the indignity of being renamed for Ed Koch. That wasn’t EDC’s fault, it was Bloomberg. The reason that the EDC was in Queens yesterday is sort of Bloomberg’s fault, as he elevated Dan Doctoroff to a position of influence and is a fellow whom our current Mayor (who is supposed to hate Bloomberg, right?) is under the sway of. Don’t forget, it was Doctoroff who kicked off this whole “deck the yards” thing in 2014.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Two evenings last week, I found myself in “private” meetings with members of EDC’s planning teams. Other folks were in the room, of course. We discussed open space and green space, transit and sewage, design and architecture. I insisted that our nomenclature for the conversations omitted usage of the word “will” in favor of “if” when referring to the possibilities of this project of theirs. There’s a few careers riding on this one, for the well bred and extremely well educated power brokers at the “public benefit” corporation called the New York City Economic Development Corporation. I’d point out, and I did during the meetings, that EDC doesn’t have the greatest track record. Amazon, the Staten Island Ferris Wheel, Brooklyn’s Bush Terminal… the list goes on and on.

At every juncture, I reminded them that I actually thought highly of the intellect and skills and pure moxy of their team, but that I view them as nothing more than an invading army sent in from Manhattan to destroy my home.

For some reason they were wounded by this statement. I guess that like any other abusive parent or bully, EDC wants you to thank them for and enjoy your beatings. It’s in your own best interest, as they’re doing this to help you, right?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve told EDC multiple times that they will not be allowed to do to Queens what they’ve done to Manhattan. For any of y’all EDC people reading this, I haven’t even gotten started yet on ensuring that it won’t. You’ll hear drums, first. Then the bagpipes. That’s when you’ll know it’s officially begun. You should pick some other community to fuck with, or wait for us to die out. There’s a line here in Queens, the same one you stepped on with Amazon, and my neighbors and I are standing on the other side of it.

I’m going to be conducting a free walk in LIC on the 30th of March, this Saturday afternoon. The Sunnyside Yards project has roared back to life in the aftermath of the Amazon debacle, and since the Manhattan people are going to all sorts of effort to get this thing done… Click here for details on the “Skillman Corridor” walk.


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

March 27, 2019 at 12:00 pm

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