The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Jackson Avenue’ Category

sunniest room

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Queens Plaza.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The CoronAmerican shut down has gone on for so long now that the graffiti crowd have been able to throw themselves a real party here in Long Island City. Even the construction equipment of LIC, idled, is getting scribbled and tagged on.

That’s a CASE 590 Super N Backhoe Loader, by the way. According to the manufacturer’s product description: “Want an 8-ton excavator that can go 25 mph? Try out the Tier 4 Final 590 Super N backhoe loader. The backhoe delivers breakout of nearly 16,000 lb. as well as a digging depth of up to 20 feet and a lifting capacity of more than 4,100 lb. The heavy-duty loader gets it done with breakout forces of nearly 13,700 lb. and with the responsive PowerDrive transmission, you have more speed and performance at your control.” Personally, I want and need all of these options.

Not sure what a new one costs, but google informs that you can pick up a used CASE model 590 Super N for about $25,000. That’s actually a lot less than I’d have imagined. If you have the cheddar just laying around, why not pick one up and get to work?

Oh… right. Remain indoors.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I do enjoy a good hole.

The new discovered aperture in the fenceline of the Sunnyside Yards has become a regular stop for a humble narrator on his nocturnal scuttles. That’s some Amtrak rolling stock, idling and waiting for some theoretical rush hour which recedes further into the future every day. Remain indoors.

Before any of you Libertarians, Bible Thumpers, LaRouchites, supply siders, Tea Partiers, or bleach drinkers accuse me of changing my tune on the Corona crisis… I’m as frustrated as everyone else is right now, but reality is unfortunately not magical. This isn’t a conspiracy, it’s a public health emergency. The kind which has historically scythed through the human population about once every hundred years or so. If we don’t joke about it, we will all go crazy.

Joke wise – did you hear about the guy who got hurt playing peek a boo with his kid? He ended up in the ICU. Get it? ICU!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One continues to walk the deserted streets of Queens in the middle of the night, a wandering mendicant in a filthy black raincoat. One will continue to scuttle along the concrete devastations, peering through fences with wild staring eyes while attempting to understand the world. Somewhere in the darkness, there must be some sort of Rosetta Stone.

Back tomorrow with something else, 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, May 11th. 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.

dismantled laboratory

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Chancing the vampires.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My practice for the last few months, given the broken toe drama of late 2019 and the subsequent recovery thereof, has been to go for a long walk and then hop on a train or a bus for the proverbial “last mile” home. This has been working out pretty well for a humble narrator, but what with the current “death cooties” epidemic and all, avoiding the Subway in particular has become a bit of a preoccupation for me. Under the best circumstance, the MTA system is a microbial nightmare, let alone during the “season of the Corona.” A pedestrian life for me, for the time being at least.

Problem is that I had to make my way through Queens Plaza, and down Jackson Avenue to get back to Astoria, and as I’ve often opined – there are Vampires up in the steel rafters of the elevated tracks. I reached into my camera bag and affixed the garland of garlic cloves which I always carry with me, and set out towards home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Plaza is always crowded, even during a Quarantine. Luxury condos, built in the name of worshipping at the altar of the City Planning crowd’s beloved “density,” are chock full of the children of the well off. These tower buildings disallow it’s residents several activities, notably smoking. Accordingly, a few dozen young adults were standing on the sidewalk wearing surgical masks and smoking cigarettes while staring into their phones. The mask would get edged up, and the cigarette would get sucked. One enterprising young woman had poked a hole in her mask large enough to stick a cigarette through. Yes… she poked a hole in the mask so that…

You have to love the humans, I always say. Years ago, I was on the subway and some guy boarded the train. He grabbed the pole, then used that hand to first dig the crust out of his eyes, followed by a generous amount of ear canal poking, followed by a quick nose pick and… yes, I was watching and waiting… he stuck that finger in his mouth to dislodge some food off a tooth. Every possible path to the brain covered, he then squeezed at the little bottle of hand sanitizer attached to his knapsack and rubbed a bit of the stuff into his hands. A seat opened up and upon sitting down he rested his head on the metal pole. Bravo, thought I. My goal is to touch nothing at all except the ground and only with my shoe covered feet. Don’t get me started on sandals.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Ford dealership building on Northern Blvd. which had been used as a Taxi company’s HQ in recent years – just off 31st street – has been demolished. Yet another part of old industrial Queens bites the dust, huh? Luckily, the scions of Manhattan’s real estate scene have ensured that yet another multi story self storage building will replace it, so that their mad quest to pack ever more people into ever smaller apartments can be supported with off site closets in Queens. I’m fairly sure that the Lost Ark of the Covenant is sitting in a lock box at the old Johnson Wax building.

The temporary roadway pictured above, if you’re curious, leads to the muster area for the East Side Access project’s laborers at the Sunnyside Yards.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the start of the week of Monday, March 23rd. 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

April 3, 2020 at 11:00 am

bewildered shakings

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Barren, broken, dispossessed… that’s me!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having successfully avoided garnering the attention of those vampires who conspire and dwell in the steel rafters of the elevated subways along Jackson Avenue, one found himself immersed in the tumult of Queens Plaza. Given my particularly medieval sense of criminal justice, I’ve always thought this area an excellent location for getting cruel and unusual as far as punishment goes. Rapist? Yup, we suspend the perp from the elevated in one of those iron cages which the Ottomans liked to use, naked. Jackson Avenue could become the Appian Way of Queens, with lines of crucified child molesters providing an ad hoc barrier shielding a protected bike lane. I’d want to see Corrections Officers dress properly for this task, however. Shirtless, with black hoods and leather wristbands, carrying flails and whips. Non violent offenders – the embezzlers, grifters, real estate agents, and other con artists – could be collared and team tied onto leads like oxen, to pull buses of commuters to and from Queens Plaza – a climate friendly form of incarceration and a transit improvement. Win!

Why not, everything is flippity flop crazy in this country right now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the things I like about Queens Plaza is that all of the plans which anyone in Manhattan have ever come up with for “fixing Queens” are on display. The ground isn’t the ground, rather it’s either the roof of a subway station or it’s part of a truss bridge overflying a rail yard. You’ve got a horrible excuse for a park stuck in the middle of a traffic nightmare caused by around 170,000 vehicle trips a day, a set of post industrial environmental nightmares which have recently seen high density apartment houses built atop them, and a dripping set of shrieking subway tracks where two distinct elevated lines converge. The rail yard, incidentally, is a New York State Superfund site, and has been named as a responsible party in the Federal Superfund site at Newtown Creek, which is about a half mile away.

Can you think of a better place to get “cruel and unusual”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One such as myself suffers from a complete emotional and physical numbness, and is given to withdraw and isolate himself from social interactions due to the hopelessness of it all. I’ve always been poor at social adjustments, bad at handling life when it’s going well, and disappointed in the other humans and their silly ideations. This crushes any sense of compassion or empathy in me, except when it concerns the welfare of animals and small children. It’s why I prefer to wander the streets of Queens at night, and alone, cutting endlessly through the January dark. It’s why I’m drawn to Queens Plaza, where I can get psychologically cruel and unusual on myself.

Seriously, though, watch out for those vampires.


“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

January 21, 2020 at 1:30 pm

looming up

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Continuing a night time stroll down Jackson Avenue.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For generations have the children of Queens cried out in anguish and despair that they were denied their birthright – a chance to live in a small to medium sized but quite expensive apartment in or near Queens Plaza. Luckily, the powers that be over in Manhattan heard the children’s pleas and have answered their prayers. The under construction structure pictured above will be capped off by an “infinity pool,” which should answer another group’s longings – specifically the statistically relevant number of people who have always wanted to swim in a pool high above Queens Plaza. It’s a magical place, after all.

I get nostalgic for the porn shops and hookers, personally. They really dressed the place up, back in the day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The stretch of Jackson Avenue lying betwixt Queens Plaza and 31st street is just horrible. You’ve got security fences and fortress walls on one side of the street, and long featureless construction fences on the other. A dizzying amount of automotive traffic occupies the center, and above there’s the tormenting sound of steel subway wheels grinding against the elevated rails. Jackson Avenue is too dark, and too bright, all at the same time. Everything is a confusion. It’s terrifying crossing the street, as every intersection is rumbling with traffic waiting to spring forth. Also, there’s vampires hiding up there in the steel.

God almighty, how I love places like this.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dormitory style living awaits just a few blocks away, where all of that traffic – both automotive and locomotive – is coincidentally heading towards. Queens Plaza is where an automotive choke point turn off of Jackson Avenue carries you towards the onramps of the Queensboro Bridge. It’s also where the Flushing line subway conjoins with the Astoria service, so you’ve got that extra bit of steel rail sound to contemplate. I could not hear anything playing on the headphones jammed in my ears while shooting these photos, which indicates just how loud Queens Plaza actually is.

There’s lots and lots of new construction here, so the kids of Queens can finally live the dream. There’s that.


“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

January 20, 2020 at 11:00 am

chiseled formula

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This isn’t a costume, it’s a lifestyle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A too tight hat caused one’s circulatory system to malfunction in the head region during a recent walk down Northern Blvd. By the time Steinway Street was crossed, it felt as if one had drank a bottle of strong whiskey. Traffic was whizzing about, going wherever it is that people go. Having nowhere to go myself, I generally don’t whiz, and one rather prefers a gentle pace. I’ve timed it, my pace, and it’s about two miles an hour – presuming I don’t get distracted by something shiny or some flashing light.

Once, I got stuck in front of a lascivious “we’re open” sign for two hours, drooling.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent encounters with the humans have left one numb and depressed.

As a note, this section of Northern Blvd. is at the beginning of a period of profound alteration, in case you’re wondering why I’m paying so much attention to it lately. The “safe streets” crowd in City Hall has decided that pedestrian islands need to be installed, which is already a “done deal” and a project which will be starting up shortly. Additionally, the failure of NYC City Planning to launch a cohesive redevelopment plan for the section of Northern between Queens Plaza and Woodside Avenue they had been working on called “LIC Core,” has brought on a flood of speculative real estate investment along Northern Blvd., or as I call it – The Carridor – which will see the street transformed by new construction in the coming years. A humble narrator is making it a point of creating some sort of record of what “was” here at the start of the 21st century.

Despite the fact that my mind was numbed by the too tight hat, restricted blood flow did not alter me from my intended action. Focus, boy, focus.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Even the former LIC FDNY Hook and Ladder 66 firehouse which has been occupied in recent years by the NYPD Emergency Services Unit is up for sale at the moment.

Since the broken toe drama which brought 2019 to a crashing halt is seemingly resolved, one has been on a positive arc in the new year. A return to daily perambulatory and photographic pursuits has been undertaken, and such activity has assumed a level of primacy in my priorities. Muscle tone and endurance has begun to return, and two months of flabby fat accumulation has begun to melt away. I’ve been out and about with the camera constantly, wandering the streets while the rest of you sleep and dream.

If only I can remember not to affix my hat too tightly.


“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

January 16, 2020 at 2:00 pm

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