The Newtown Pentacle

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alarmed envy

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s important to acknowledge, when viewing a place or person for the final time, the gravity of the moment. I don’t plan on coming back to NYC anytime soon, and by soon I possibly mean “ever.” People have asked – is it the politics? Are you leaving because of rising crime, or the unaffordable cost of living, or what? It’s all of those things, and none of those things. It’s about “Act 3” and wanting something better for Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself in our declining years.

I would mention that this is the second version of this post you’re reading. Version 1 strayed into exactly the sort of soliloquy about NYC that I’ve sworn I wouldn’t write or publish. Suffice to say that New York is a City for the young and wealthy to enjoy and that I’m neither of those things.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of not being young, all of the exertions of the move to Pittsburgh have taken a toll. Shortly after arriving in Pennsylvania after my twice back and forth 1,600 miles of driving, one contracted a wicked cold with a productive cough (not Covid), and one of the many small wounds on my hands (from carrying boxes, packing boxes, unpacking boxes etc.) has developed a sweet infection. An actual Google search I conducted this morning was “What is Pus”? This led to an interesting internet rabbit hole which included medieval medical thought and theory.

Turns out the stuff is composed of white blood cells and other immune system bits. According to the medical consensus from the days before the germ theory of disease became generally accepted – if it’s white pus, you’re probably going to be ok. Yellow, or green, or god forbid black pus, you likely want to get your self bled by a doctor and do it quick. That’s what the Google tells me, anyway. Luckily, I already unpacked the box that had the Duane Reade triple antibiotic topical goo in it.

Overall, I feel like I got into a bar fight at the moment, and have lost badly to several large and sadistic men. That’s officially the end of me whining about how tired and depleted I feel right now. It’ll be ok in a couple of days. I need a whole lot of regular sleep coupled with proper meals.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the way to Pittsburgh, one drove the Mobile Oppression Platform (my pet name for the car) through some extremely rural areas wherein fealty to a former President – you know, the orange one who tried to overthrow the Government – runs strong. I saw a hand painted sign on a decaying barn along route 28 south that read “Biden bad, he spend you earn, no socialism.” I’m not sure what these people think “socialism” means, nor where they learned basic grammar. Personally, I roll with what the dictionary says words mean, rather than what some bloke with a busted down barn which he’s doing voluntary advertising for a NYC landlord on, alongside a highway in rural Pennsylvania, thinks.

I actually blame the school system’s cowardice, in terms of discussing modern day political issues, for this era we live in. When I was in public school in the 70’s and 80’s, history officially ended at World War 2 since they didn’t want to tread into all of the “controversial Civil Rights or Cold War stuff.” You get the same thing on the other side of the political fence, with a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the word “socialism” means in particular, but also with popular usage of “progressive” or “liberal.”

Bah!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At any rate, back on the NYC Ferry, which is where I was before I started rambling on about how beat up I am and the weird things I’ve seen here in Pennsylvania – which I’m still working on being able to reliably spell…

My pal Val and I rode the Astoria line of the service to the Pier 11 Wall Street stop over in Lower Manhattan. We had a brief lay over while waiting for the Soundview line boat to arrive. Soundview is a great ride, heading up the west side of the East River towards 34th street, and then past Roosevelt Island where it makes a stop nearby Gracie Mansion at East 90th street. From there it proceeds north through Hells Gate to Bowery Bay and ultimately to Soundview in the Bronx, which is where the footings of the Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges sit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One had timed the trip for late afternoon, hoping to catch some orange and gold light for this – my last ferry ride.

For the journey north, I deployed a long lens which allowed a 70-300 mm zoom range. It’s not my best piece of glass, this unit, but it does allow for a great deal of reach. On the way south, I had used a wider 24-105 mm zoom lens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The hoped for light show started just as the Soundview bound ferry debarked from Pier 11, as predicted. We were heading north, and this ended up being the last time I’d be seeing or taking a photo of the Manhattan Bridge. Bwah!

More tomorrow, at 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

December 20, 2022 at 11:00 am

bodily dislodgement

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 21st, and I was continuing my exploration of a few spots in College Point and Whitestone which seemed promising. These were located during a session I spent with Google Maps’ street view feature. The 1961 Throgs Neck Bridge is what it depicts. The Google map said I was in a dog park, but it was actually just a parking lot alongside a parkway.

The hour was growing a bit late, and plans to meet Our Lady of the Pentacle back in Astoria were in the offing, so I packed up my troubles in the old kit bag. Yes, I did, indeed, “smile, smile, smile.”

For those of you under the age of 1,000, that’s a jokey reference to this song.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 22nd saw me in Flushing, at the Queens Botanical Garden.

There were pumpkins.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 25th and I was scheduled to spend a day with one of my closest friends driving around Southern Brooklyn, but it was very foggy when I left the house about 8:30 a.m. My ultimate meetup destination was in Park Slope, and there’s an obvious way to get there by car from Astoria, one which unfortunately involves sitting in a lot of Manhattan bound traffic on a certain expressway that connects Brooklyn and Queens.

I decided to go there via the less obvious but more interesting route, by driving to Ridgewood and then hanging a right and then a left or two in Bushwick and then proceeding through that central part of Brooklyn which nobody ever talks about these days. Along my way to the first right in Ridgewood, I crossed Newtown Creek and couldn’t resist a shot or two of the Grand Street Bridge all cloaked up in mist.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The new car has a moon roof. I don’t know what the actual difference between a sun roof and a moon roof is, but there you are. As I was driving along, whenever I got stuck at a light, I’d shove the camera up through the moon roof and turn the camera’s LED screen to a convenient angle so I could compose and record a quick shot.

That’s Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, all fogged up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I did the same thing with the camera and moon roof on my way home. The fog had cleared by the afternoon, and the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself had burst into view. I was driving down Flatbush Avenue, this time headed in the direction of the aforementioned expressway betwixt Brooklyn and Queens.

I’ve been doing this sort of shot a bunch the last couple of weeks, as I’ve been driving a lot since receiving the car. It’s an interesting perspective for me, since the position of the lens to the car’s roof as it stands relative to the ground – if it were “eye level” – would indicate that I’m about six inches taller than I actually am.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An errand got me off the expressway and into the Woodside and Jackson Heights zone, where I had to weave an automotive path through the various “improvements” to traffic flow offered by the City in recent years. While driving down Roosevelt Avenue, a splotch of pigeon scat landed on the hood of my car, and I decided that it would be good idea to close the moon roof.

Hey, they say that’s lucky, having a pigeon poop on you.


“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

November 18, 2022 at 11:00 am

hidden latch

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

March 22nd. That’s what we’re up to in today’s post! Finally getting a bit caught up, and I won’t be running the risk of showing you photos in June that have snow on the ground. As mentioned – one has been unusually prolific in 2022 – which is likely a reaction to all of the lockdown dealies and restrictions from the last couple of years, and thereby the posts here at Newtown Pentacle have been carrying double the normal number of photos.

So, on March 22nd, I was riding on the ferry again and decided to get off the thing nearby the Brooklyn Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was going to be about an hour before the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself tucked itself away behind New Jersey, so I set up my tripod and claimed a spot. There were a few other shooters at the waterfront park where I did my “set up.”

Most of them seemed to be packing Sony camera systems, and from the look of what they were up to – shooting time lapse sequences.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally, I wasn’t there with anything specific – shot wise – in mind. Catch as catch can days are my favorites, as a humble narrator enjoys serendipity.

Over to the southwest, a bit of a hullabaloo seemed to be underway in Jersey…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I later found out that a plastics recycling plant in Bayonne experienced a pretty serious fire, which is unfortunately a pretty common occurrence for recycling plants in Bayonne.

Remember when the Chlorine Bleach factory in Jersey City was burning during the winter? I called my buddy in Kearny that night, and gave him very specific instructions to follow should he notice a greenish mist wafting along the streets. Chlorine gas is heavier than the normal atmospheric gases, so if you find yourself in the path of some, get up to the second or third floors and wait it out. Whatever you do, do not turn on the water faucet. The gas and liquid will instantly combine and form a cloud of hydrochloric acid, which will dissolve you and yours.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Who else watches the YouTube channel for the National Chemical Safety Board? What? Just me? Sheiste.

The sky started getting interesting, but didn’t go all crimson and orange as I had hoped it would.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Regardless, the scenery was still pretty choice, especially when the lights started coming on for the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan behind it. I decided to hang around, and blow off some stupid Zoom meeting that I was supposed to attend.

Apparently, and this is a direct response to my realization that “Nothing Matters and Nobody Cares,” I no longer give any shits whatsoever.


“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

May 16, 2022 at 11:30 am

hyperbola according

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Se llamo Monday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned last week, a social engagement found a humble narrator wandering the streets of lower Manhattan, specifically the “East of Bowery” section of Chinatown. My luncheon companions all decided to jump on the subway to get home, but it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I had nothing in particular to rush back to Astoria to do, so…

A short walk found me at Corlears Hook, which is one of the locations you can catch the NYC Ferry’s South Brooklyn service. My intention was originally formed around going one stop south to transfer onto the Astoria boat, but the ferry people were running late and I missed my connection. Given the 45 minutes I’d have to wait for the next boat, one opted to instead take a different path to Queens and I transferred onto the East River line which would deposit my stinking carcass in Long Island City’s Hunters Point section nearby my beloved Newtown Creek. Since that was going to be a while as well, I opted to stay on the South Brooklyn boat instead of waiting on the pier for the East River service, which I’d be back in time for anyway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What seems to have caused the Ferry schedule to unravel was the presence of a large number of recreational jet skiers on the East River. There were also abundant riders on the ferries, which caused the boats to expand their “dwell time” at the docks as the ridership loaded and unloaded. “Dwell time” is an important factor which transit planners need to incorporate into their schedules, but it’s unfortunately something that’s difficult to plan for. Somebody at MTA once told me that having somebody at a busy Manhattan hub station like Herald Square randomly hold a Subway door open for even a minute can ripple out into the entire system and cause delays for hours.

This is sort of what happened on the NYC Ferry system a couple of Saturdays ago. Missing that connection with the Astoria boat ended up costing me close to two hours and ended with having to find a way home from LIC once I hit the landward side. I’m going to suggest to the Ferry people at Hornblower (the private company which NYC uses to run the service), next time I have the chance, that they incorporate a “local” into the their lines system – one which makes all stops between Astoria and DUMBO on the Long Island coast and East 90th to Pier 11 Wall Street on the City Side. If the “local” is timed to visit these stops at the half way point between “express” service scheduling, it would ameliorate quite a few issues.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally speaking, I actually don’t care how long it takes to get from “a” to “b” if there’s anything interesting to point the camera at. To wit, the Crystal Cutler tugboat was steaming by Governor’s Island as the South Brooklyn Line Ferry I was on was heading northwards.

As a note, since this particular excursion played out, I’ve solved my “long lens” problem. The shot above was captured with a 24-105 lens, and regular readers of this Newtown Pentacle will tell you that I’ve been gnashing my teeth and decrying the fact that 105mm is the longest lens I own that’s native for the Canon mirrorless system which was invested in at the end of last year. Luckily, a 70-300mm lens which was purchased about 15 years ago and that I had sort of forgotten about is designed for full frame cameras and I’ve been successful at adapting it to the new system. It’s not ideal, but it’s already been paid for!

Speaking of historical lensing… 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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 2, 2021 at 11:30 am

peaceful oblivion

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is continuing his short break from normal posts this week, and single shots from the archives will be presented.

Pictured above is the Manhattan Bridge, shot during April of 2021, with the Lower Manhattan skyline behind.


“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

July 6, 2021 at 11:00 am

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