The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Long Island City’ Category

oppression waned

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whew, what a couple of weeks. One has walked or ridden a boat into 4 of the 5 Boroughs, including… Staten Island… in the last 14 days. I’ve been in Astoria, Long Island City, Bushwick, Greenpoint, East Williamsburg, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Manhattan’s Financial District and Lower East Side, and St. George. This whole spate of activity got started a couple of weeks ago in LIC when I had to meet up with a couple of Newtown Creek Alliance interns to teach them a couple of things about my beloved Creek. Good news is that most of this travel has occurred on boats, specifically on ferry boats.

The shot above is from the sidewalk of Borden Avenue, alongside the Long Island Railroad’s moderately ancient Hunters Point Rail Yard. The current facility is the ninth iteration of a rail yard on this spot. Once, there was a gigantic glass and steel train shed here, and there were turntables that allowed rail engines to reorient themselves from one track to another.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some of my travels have involved hopping on the subway. A humble narrator found himself at Queens Plaza just as a 7 line train was entering the Manhattan bound lower level tracks at the elevated MTA complex.

Just in the name of decrying how bad the management is at the redoubtable MTA… so, they had 16 months where basically nobody was riding the trains. During that interval, which you’d imagine as being a golden opportunity to perform upgrades and maintenance, they complained about declining fare revenues and an uptick in crime. Give us more money, they said, and the Feds bailed them out. Now, with the City reopening and everybody trying to get back to normal, just this last weekend they started doing signal upgrades to the Culver line. The F was running on the D, the D on the F, and R service was completely turned off in Astoria. Instruction was to take the 7 to Jackson Heights, and then transfer to the E, which was stopping in seemingly random places – none of which were where I was going.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above was gathered by shooting through the dirty window of a N train bound for Queens Plaza. One day it will happen – I’ll be on an N train which doesn’t look it was parked under a flock of seagulls and it will have clean windows offering a crystal clear view of the scene above.

Frustrating, the MTA is. That’s also a good sign of some sort of return to normalcy. How do you bring people together in our politically divided culture? Answer is: our common hatred of MTA management.

Speaking of getting back to normal… what are you doing on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?

“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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 26, 2021 at 11:00 am

repellant whispers

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File under #thingstheydidnttellAmazon

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A bit behind schedule today, so a single shot greets you, one of my very favorite tree in Long Island City. This pup acts as plastic bag catcher.

Back tomorrow with a bit more meat on the bone for ya, Lords and Ladies.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 4, 2019 at 11:00 am

lustrous balustrade

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A few odds and ends, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An ex-Cat, this skeleton was observed in Long Island City up on the Montauk Cutoff tracks about a week ago. There were raccoon tracks surrounding it, which probably explains a lot about where the rest of the cat is. Pretty gross shot, I guess, but there’s a whole lot of existential reality all over LIC when you peek into its shadowed places.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A renewal of my previously stated opinion that the 7 line is far and away the most photogenic of NYC’s subways is offered. A comparison to Michelle Pfeifer in the movie “Scarface” would be made, but it’s inappropriate.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Finally, did you know that the “King of Shwarma and Falafel” food truck people have opened a brick and mortar storefront on Astoria’s Broadway at 31st street? Practically under the El? I do, which is why I was waiting for Our Lady of the Pentacle on that instersection recently, and I cracked out this noirish shot of the N/Q stairs to pass the time.

Mmm… Shwarma.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 8, 2016 at 11:00 am

afar off

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The sky is stolen, so repent… or just rent…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The cabal of entrepreneurs and bankers whom one has long referred to as the “real estate industrial complex” has been quite busy in the eastern side of Long Island City for the last few years. The sky has almost been entirely blotted out, and thousands of new apartment units constructed, usually atop brown fields and former industrial sites. This shot is from the Thompson Avenue Viaduct adjoining Court Square, and as you can see – this section of Queens has been recast in Manhattan’s image.

Unlike Manhattan, of course, there are no new hospital beds or any of the other things which you’d normally expect to find in an area being built up for a large residential population. Lately, the word “Brasilia” comes to mind when I’m walking around the modern corridor of LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned last week, rumors abound in LIC that the Real Estate Industrial complex is pushing for a rezoning of the industrial corridor that runs from the Pulaski Bridge to Greenpoint Avenue, between Newtown Creek and the Sunnyside Yards/Long Island Expressway. Spotted recently on the intersection of Greenpoint Avenue and the Long Island Expressway was the sign above. This signage indicates many things to me about the sort of people who are actually driving this train, who they are, and where the money behind it all is likely coming from.

Formerly, signage observed nailed to this utility pole has included the ubiquitous “Cash for Cars” and “Stop Bedbugs” illegal postings which plague western Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in Astoria, we still haven’t been lucky enough to receive much attention from these folks, which is good news. We can still see the sky, and when a rainbow appears over Jackson Heights to the east – it’s still a source of wonder for all the neighbors to marvel over.

Incidentally, conversation over the weekend with one of my cousins indicated that you can still find housing that is quite affordable in the Mill Basin/Canarsie area, and that the sky and sun haven’t been co-opted by co-ops.

Upcoming Events and Tours

Tuesday, July 12, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. –
LICHenge, with Atlas Obscura and the
Hunters Point Park Conservancy. Click here for more details.

Saturday, July 16, 11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. –
FREE Newtown Creek Boat Tour,
with Waterfront Alliance (note- WA usually releases tix in batches).
Click here for more details.

Saturday, July 23, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. –
Calvary Cemetery Walking tour,
with Brooklyn Brainery. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, July 26, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. –
DUPBO Walking tour,
with NYC H2O. Click here for more details.

Wednesday, July 27, 1st trip – 4:50 p.m. 2nd trip – 6:50 p.m. –
2 Newtown Creek Boat Tours,
with Open House NY. Click here for more details.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 7, 2016 at 11:00 am

hath forgotten

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It’s 99 for the 7’s original 11.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On April 21st, 1917 – the original 11 stops of the IRT Subway line in Queens opened for business. We call the IRT Flushing line the 7, of course. The first stops on the line in Queens – Vernon/Jackson, Hunters Point Avenue, Court Square, and Queensboro were completed a couple of years earlier – but the stretch along Queens Blvd. and Roosevelt Avenue from 33rd Rawson to 103rd Corona Plaza is 99 years old today.

The NY Times was along for that first ride – leaving Grand Central at 3 p.m. and visiting the first 11 stations of the so called Corona Extension. Check out their reportage here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The original names for these IRT Flushing line stops were Rawson street (33rd), Lowery street (40th), Bliss street (46th), Lincoln street (52nd), Flake street (61st), Fiske Avenue (69th), Broadway (74th), 25th avenue (82nd), Elmhurst avenue, Junction Blvd., and Alburtis avenue (103 Corona Plaza). Willets Point came online in May of 1917, and Main Street in Flushing would open in February of 1928.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I actually spent my afternoon yesterday visiting and photographing all of these locations, but was unable to deliver the finished product in time for the anniversary this year, so archive shots of the 7 – some of which have been presented before – are here in their stead.

The historical development of western Queens from a community of farmers and dairymen to the bustling and crowded community of modernity is tied back to several watershed moments in the early 20th century. The opening of Queensboro in 1909, Sunnyside Yards in 1910, and the Steinway subway tunnels opening for business in 1907.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Walking Tour – Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

First Calvary Cemetery Walk.
Join Newtown Creek Alliance historian Mitch Waxman at First Calvary Cemetery, found in LIC’s Blissville neighborhood along Newtown Creek. Attendance limited to 15 people.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 21, 2016 at 1:00 pm

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