The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Long Island Rail Road’ Category

oppression waned

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Monday

– 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?


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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

July 26, 2021 at 11:00 am

hushed evening

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What with the vaccine and everything, I’ve been out a lot during daylight hours and have been missing my nocturnal scuttles. To remedy this, one packed up his old kit bag and smile, smile, smiled. This was a relatively short after dinner walk, one which saw me head out of Astoria in the direction of Queens Plaza where I looped back around onto Skillman Avenue for the return trip. Luckily, this is a feature rich and visually interesting pathway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Evidence suggests that wherever the Queens Cobbler went to during the pandemic, said Cobbler being a probable serial killer who leaves behind single shoes as macabre tokens, they have returned to continue their campaign of savage conquest here in Queens. This particular momento was observed in the gutter on 42nd street at Northern Blvd.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On my way back home, which found me walking along Skillman Avenue, several examples of Long Island Railroad’s inventory were observed hurtling along the tracks. The particular nature of the fences along this stretch negate photographic opportunity, but there’s a spot or two just big enough to squeeze a lens into.

You have to know where they are. I do.


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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.

earthly logic

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One found himself at a Sunnyside Yards fence hole often referred to as “the old reliable” waiting for a train to roll by, a desire soon satisfied. There’s a reason I call it the old reliable, after all. I’m learning how to best utilize the subject tracking feature baked into my camera. By design the software which controls this looks for human/animal faces and eyes when directing focus, but it also allows me to lock onto something moving through the frame – like a LIRR train – and the camera readjusts focus continuously as the thing rolls through. This is neat.

During the few instances in the last few months which have seen me actually photographing human beings again, this focus tracking business has produced very nice results. I’ll post them in some future NP post, but you get a very nice separation twixt background and subject when using this particular setting. Good stuff.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the particular evening that the old reliable was being exploited, I kept on encountering cast off food, like the half eaten McDonalds double cheeseburger pictured above. Personally, I only eat McDonalds 2 or 3 times a year, and that’s usually when I’m either desperate or drunkenly craving fast food. I forego the fries, and my order at the Golden Arches is either a small coke with two quarter pounders w cheese or two regular cheeseburgers with no drink or fries. If it’s not on the dollar menu, it ain’t me.

It’s not like I don’t eat burgers and fries, before you ask. It’s just that McDonalds’ offerings pale before what you can get from any old Queensican diner or bar. Why spend money on semi expensive crap when you can have a decent meal for more or less the same money?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The next bit of food dumping encountered this particular evening is pictured above. Some veg, some garbage, all left out in the rain for someone else to clean up. Grrr.

I carry any trash I’ve generated while moving around in my pockets, and empty them when I encounter a waste basket or other receptacle like a dumpster. This really isn’t hard to do. The mental process involved in leaving the house with a box of cabbage and then carrying it to a fairly remote spot along the fences of a rail yard and saying “here, here is where I will abandon these cabbages” is something I don’t understand.


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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

June 3, 2021 at 11:30 am

cosmic continua

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This week’s posts start and end with trains. There’s your “Chekhov’s Gun” for you, laid out all nice and obvious. Pictured above is an out of service Long Island Rail Road train which has been stored at the Blissville Yard in Long Island City’s Blissville section for about a year. It recently received a new coat of graffiti, and I’ve shown it to you in the past when its last iterative coating of street art was applied.

A humble narrator is in a bit of a mood at the moment. Controversy and politics amongst those of us who scurry about trying to pick up the crumbs that drop from the master’s table has broken out. If you’re reading this and know what I’m referring to, I’d opine that you should leave me out of your arguing. Don’t make me come over there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Stupid, selfish, and self obsessed – that’s how I’d describe the mythological “noble” character of this country of ours in modernity. We’ve always been absolute monsters to each other, despite what the National narrative teaches. An iconoclastic fad is underway at the moment, dedicated to tearing down the firmament of our national sense of self. Extreme ideologies with no grounding in historical custom or law has been loosed upon a poorly educated and incurious population. Take a breath, y’all, huh?

Luckily, summer is coming, which indicates that I’ve got a roughly 60 day long break from having to attend any meetings regarding governmental bullshit nearing. This whole cycle of bullshit we’ve all been dealing with for the last decade or so should be coming to an end within the next couple of weeks, which will kick off a new cycle of bullshit. By the end of June, after the electoral primaries, we’ll know who the new god kings of Queens are going to be and exactly where and when they want their asses to be publicly kissed or when they privately want smoke blown up their alimentary.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On Railroad Avenue, in the Blissville section of Long Island City, a tree can be observed. It’s the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil on Newtown Creek. Same species as the one in Eden, just not as knowledgable a fruit. Go figure. One recently encountered a cast off fruiting of this tree, just lying there on the side of the road. Like the great shit sandwich that is our culture, I had to take a bite. As a note, there were no serpents slithering about.

No more Mister Nice Guy, that’s what I said once the scales fell from my eyes. I wasn’t that nice to start with, so…


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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

May 31, 2021 at 1:00 pm

dizzy precipitation

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Seriously, how happy is a humble narrator when his pedestrian crossing of the Pulaski Bridge gets interrupted by the double bascule drawbridge opening up to allow a vessel navigating along the fabulous Newtown Creek to pass by below? Everybody else just gets annoyed at the obstacle, I get busy with the camera. Joy.

Luckily, just like at Sunnyside Yards where there’s seemingly an Amtrak employee whose duty revolves around creating and closing holes in the fences, there seems to be an analogous job title at the NYC DOT. Therefore, after getting my open Pulaski shot done, I went over to one of my favorite holes. (That last sentence sounds like a dirty series of sex metaphors, doesn’t it? I wonder… What sex act would be called an “open Pulaski”?)

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At my favorite Pulaski hole – which I’m going to ask you to interpret literally – as in it’s a hole in the fence on the Pulaski Bridge – I saw a Long Island Rail Road engine pulling a train… wait… oh… damn it… everything I say is contaminated now…

If you’re nearby the LIRR’s Hunters Point rail yard you really only see trains moving around a couple of times a day, usually in the 2 or 3 hour long intervals known as “rush hour.” The trains leaving this yard cross Borden Avenue and enter the Sunnyside Yards coach yard, where connections to both Eastern Long Island and Manhattan can be accessed. The Long Island City based Hunters Point Yard is where the LIRR parks rolling stock during the day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned last week, since I’m all vaxxed up I’ve been riding the subways again. I’m entertaining myself while waiting for Astoria bound N trains to arrive at Queens Plaza by working on capturing an “iconic” shot of the IRT Flushing line 7 trains entering the station on the high elevated tracks. I’ll be shooting this particular angle for a bit, in all kinds of different weather and at varying times of the day for a bit so there you are.

Funnily enough, when I pulled the camera down from my face I noticed that there was a cop quietly standing on either side of me. There was no encounter with the gendarmerie, but they did follow me onto the N train which I made it a point of riding to the last stop on. When the train rolled into the station I smiled, waved my hand at them, and reversed course.


“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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