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nightmare spawning

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination. The Related Companies have been allowed to steal the sky, blotting the firmament out and privatizing it for those who can afford to pay their price.

This is unfortunately the future, and one of the models that NYC will be using for future development. As you’re reading this, the “powers that be” are at work on the area just east of this development. The Penn Hotel is being torn down, as Midtown Manhattan is underdeveloped, and the Political Estate’s sponsors are slavering for more.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When you flush a toilet here, your bodily waste flows through underground pipes to a NYC DEP facility on 13th street and Avenue D, right in the middle of the projects. It’s then pumped under the East River to Greenpoint, where it’s processed along Newtown Creek. If there’s a summer blackout in Brooklyn or the Bronx, you can bet your bottom dollar that the lights will stay on at Hudson Yards.

If you spend any time interacting with the vampiric aspirations of big Real Estate, and speak against one of their projects, you will be called a “NIMBY” by one of their sock puppet “non profit” organizations that describe themselves as being “YIMBY’s.” NIMBY is an acronym for “Not in my back yard,” and YIMBY is “Yes in my back yard.” These YIMBY’s will accuse you of denying people – who haven’t been born yet – homes because of racism. Never will the hundreds of thousands of apartment units currently warehoused, and purposefully kept off the market, by their masters in the Real Estate industry with the intention of keeping their market prices on an always upward trajectory be mentioned.

Jared Kushner. Donald Trump. The Durst Organization. Larry Silverstein. The Tishmans and the Speyers. These are the sort of creatures who control the discourse over housing and development in NYC. The aspirant politicians are sponsored by these forces, and expected to do their bidding when appointed elected to office. Oddly, the most “Socialist” of the electeds also happen to be YIMBY’s. So are the hardline Republicans, the middle of the road Democrats – everybody in office seems to be bought off to one degree of another by Real Estate.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination. Ever wonder what it must be like to live in a building where you can’t open the window for some fresh air?

On the plus side, you don’t have to worry too much about getting rained on in the Hudson Yards area. There ain’t that much visible sky there to allow a cloud to piss down on you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The only reason you can see the Empire State Building in the shot above is due to a NYC Dept. Of City Planning rule about “preserving sight lines.” The fellow who oversaw this project for City Planning was Vishaan Chakrabarti, who was the same guy that the NYC EDC hired to oversee the Sunnyside Yards proposal. Now… do you understand why I fought so hard and long against that one?

This is what was going to happen to Sunnyside and LIC if that project moved forward. If the Mayor overrules the Council member and Borough President on the Innovation Queens proposal, this is what Astoria is going to turn into in about 10 years. NIMBY my ass.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given the huge input of $1.2 billion in public money, you’d imagine that the rents here were somewhat reasonable, huh? Well, if you’ve got $7,100 a month for a furnished one bedroom – you’re set. That’s $85,200 a year, which would have to come out of your post taxation paycheck. If you want to buy instead, their available condos start at $5.5 million and range up to a 4 bedroom, 5,000 sq ft. one on sale for $29.5 million.

Does this sound like an industrial sector which requires tax breaks that divert moneys away from the public sector?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination.


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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

September 22, 2022 at 11:00 am

damnable expressiveness

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunday the 21st, I was supposed to go the City and take a ride on a Fireboat. Unfortunately, said Fireboat snapped a cable leading to the rudder and the trip was cancelled.

Given that I was in the high West 20’s, I decided to take a longish walk around the Hudson Yards development before heading back home to Astoria via the 7 train.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination. Everybody associated with the planning and design of this project deserves to go to hell. I’ll give the construction workers a pass, as they just do what their told.

I’ve often described Hudson Yards as looking like the debris of a space station which broke up in orbit and randomly embedded itself in the ground during a crash landing on the west side of Manhattan. Inelegantly designed mirror box rhombuses, these structures blot out the sky and cry out “look at my valuation.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination, as the project diverted moneys meant for public housing away from their intended target and towards itself with the complicit approval of City Hall and the Dept. of City Planning. $1.2 Billion of it. One point two billion dollars.

Saying that they improved the area with the money meant for the projects, the Hudson Yards team at The Related Companies convey and virtue signal their largesse. Yes, compared to the abandoned buildings and gangs of drug dealers and hookers which used to populate the area between 8th Avenue and the West Side Highway in the 20’s and 30’s, they’ve improved things.

Like the Romans would when declaring a victory.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

These vampires also created a street scape which is unwelcoming and cold.

This isn’t New York. This is what people from Atlanta, or Los Angeles, or Disneyworld think New York is. Public space here isn’t truly public, it’s privately held and that means that they can set the rules for the sidewalks. They have the right to impinge your speech, tell you to move on after sitting there too long, and set behavioral rules barring otherwise noisome but legal habits like smoking or break dancing or sleeping on a park bench. Your NYC streets are officially now their Hudson Yards development zone public/private partnership streets. Technically speaking, I’m not allowed to publish the photos you’re looking at of these buildings without first getting their permission, as it violates their copyright.

Want to know what form fascism will take in a blue state?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While scuttling about Hudson Yards, I found a long staircase leading up to a skyway walk. Roughly three stories, I’d venture. Connected to a Whole Foods outpost and a series of coffee shops and boutiques, this walkway continues on to one of their encapsulated malls through a glassine maze. These mall spaces are not part of the street grid, and are set up in a manner that divorces you from geospatial awareness of the surrounding area – which just happens to be Hells Kitchen.

These buildings, and this entire project, are built around the “super block” concepts underlying the debauched intellectual legacies of the French Cryptofascist Le Corbusier. Adherents to Le Corbusier’s ideas included Robert Moses, and if you’ve ever wondered how and why what happened to the Bronx happened, it was Le Corbusier as channeled by Moses and his apparatus.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is sterilized, but not stylized. It’s anonymous, reducing the citizenry down to stock art cutouts existing on some architectural rendering. It separates the social classes from interaction, except as clerk and customer. It eliminates the messy exigency of life on the New York streets. It’s inhuman in scale, like Speer’s designs for post WW2 Nazi Berlin, but there’s no pageantry on offer.

Hudson Yards is an abomination.


“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

September 21, 2022 at 11:00 am

thrillingly suggestive

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After exiting the One World Trade Center Observation deck, and having scratched a “I want to do this before I move away” item off of my list, the so called Oculus was also found on that list, so I got it in as well.

Regarding the “congestion pricing” toll that the Governor is about to allow, remember the Oculus when you’re talking about giving the MTA more money to spend, beyond the billions they already consume annually. They are like a raging Californian fire when it comes to spending other people’s money in vainglory – indiscriminate, unaccountable, unpredictable, and irreducible.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m not sure what they were thinking here… this structure does nothing to improve the experience of – y’know – taking the train. It does offer a shopping mall for the Wall Street guys to buy fancy watches and $11 cups of coffee, so maybe that’s what it’s always all been about.

Silly me, talking about function over form when it involves tax dollars. I should mention that whereas the MTA is an absolute gas, they’re only a side player in the Oculus’s story, as this boondoggle $4 Billion project was handled, designed, and built under the auspices of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and its contractor Skanska. Here’s the whole story on the Oculus at Wikipedia.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bah!

My plan for getting back to Astoria involved a preferred route – using the NYC Ferry – so one scuttled eastwards through the financial district towards Pier 11 at the foot of Wall Street.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given that this area is pretty much the HQ of global capitalism as well as the seat of Government for NYC, you’d kind of expect the streets to not be as scummy as they are in Lower Manhattan. I don’t mean that from a moral relativism point of view, by the way. I mean that my shoes were literally sliding around in a black and khaki mix of liquifying trash, weird jellies, and greasy crap as I walked along. Rats were scurrying around during the daylight hours as well, which is really over the top, and signals “peak shithole” – if you ask me.

It’s all rotten. “Someday, a real rain will”… actually, nothing will clean these streets. Sandy didn’t. “What this City needs is a good plague”… ok, that didn’t do it either. Tornado, maybe?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My apologies, lords and ladies… I’m so thoroughly “checked out” at this point that I just can’t care about it anymore. The City is doomed.

We had a window, over the last twenty to thirty years, during which times were good and the City’s coffers were full. It was squandered on handouts to big real estate and political vanity projects. All that’s left for NYC now is a return to the Cinema Verite world of the 1970’s.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, just as I arrived at Pier 11, the Astoria Boat was leaving the pier. That meant I had as long as possible to wait for the next one, so I made a couple of business calls that were on my “to do” list and waited out the interval.

It was a nice day anyway, and it’s never a terrible thing spending time at the East River when you’ve got a camera hanging off of your shoulder.


“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

September 19, 2022 at 11:00 am

equally silent

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On August 19th, one endeavored to scratch another one of the items off of my list of “I really should do this thing before I move away’s.”

Accordingly, I soon found myself in Lower Manhattan and heading for the One World Trade observatory deck. Personally, I’ve been put out since they stopped calling the 1,776 foot tall monument to National Tragedy “The Freedom Tower.”

A quick review of the observatory deck would involve offers of recrimination about reflection, refraction, and the usage of blue tinted glass for a thing designed to offer panoramic views of the greatest city in the history of mankind. The Observation Deck is a fairly difficult spot to shoot from because of those factors, and in comparison – both the Empire State Building and 30 Rock observatories allow you to be outside and unoccluded rather than caged up behind blue glass, so they’re better for the photographically inclined visitor to NYC. I haven’t done Hudson Yards’ overlook thing, and don’t plan to.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I was there in the early morning, about nine or so. The light when I first arrived was fairly abysmal, but it improved as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself wheeled about in the sky. I don’t know what the time limit is, as far as how long you can linger before getting the boot, but I guess I was up there shooting for about 90 minutes to two hours.

Naturally, the first thing I did was ascertain the location of Newtown Creek and get a wide angle shot of it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You’ll see that Tug pictured above and framed by the Brooklyn Bridge at water level in a post later this week. It was the Joker (flagged out of Philadelphia) and she was headed for the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a barge full of what seemed to be sand.

As mentioned, the light began to change a bit as the burning orb moved through the vault of the sky. I also decided that I needed to compensate for the cold blue tint that the windows were causing, as seen above, and jacked up the color temperature on the camera to accomplish that.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking northwards across Manhattan from the financial district towards midtown and the Empire State Building, I kept on laughing to myself about the “Midtown Manhattan needs to be denser” rhetorical arguments currently vomiting out of the Gubernatorial and Mayoral mansions.

We’re right on the precipice of “Blade Runner” style development these days. What was the answer to 9/11? Battery Park City and Luxury Condos. What was the answer to Sandy? Hudson Yards and Luxury Condos. Want to guess what NYC’s answer to Covid will be?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At any rate, looking across the dystopian shithole of residential Manhattan, which a generation of city planners will tell you is the solution rather than problem, and towards the ruinations of Hunters Point and Greenpoint’s intersection with Newtown Creek. In the distance at the top of the shot is Flushing Bay and the northeastern extants of the East River. You can just make out the Whitestone Bridge.

I did a quick lens swap at this point, and whipped out a “long” telephoto one which would allow for more “reach.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The tallest building in the shot, on the LIC or Queens side and roughly at center top, is the “Sven” at Queens Plaza. At dead center of the photo, dwarfed in modernity, is the 1992 Citigroup building – aka the Sapphire Megalith of LIC. Everyone of those giant structures except for the megalith have risen over just the last fifteen years, a build out unaccompanied by a similar rise in the number of Hospital Beds, Libraries, Police Stations, Fire Houses, or any significant increase in Sanitation or Sewerage capability.

Despite the promises of the City Planners, and the Real Estate Developers, despite all of this new inventory coming on line in the last 15 years, rents are at an all time high in NYC.

It’s the problem, not the solution, and if you believe in “trickle down real estate,” I can get you a great deal on the bridge pictured in the third slot on todays post.


“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

September 16, 2022 at 11:00 am

forty alleys

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 12th of August, my pal Val had arranged an event up in Yonkers, wherein an abandoned NY Central railroad power plant would be opened up for the inspection of a group of photographers by its new owners. These new owners have some pretty ambitious plans for the site, but more on that next week. In the meantime, I had to get from Astoria to Yonkers.

Luckily, this is accomplished fairly easily. The M60 Select Bus service runs down Astoria Boulevard, and has a stop at Steinway Street. Out of the house early, thereby, with a ham egg and cheese sandwich in hand, went a humble narrator.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I had padded an extra half an hour of “shit happens” time into my schedule, and spent that interval photographing the Metro North and Connecticut Rail commuter rail trains which travel along the old NY Central Railroad’s right of way.

125/Lex is a pretty busy station, I tell you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above looks south along Park Avenue towards Midtown Manhattan and Grand Central Terminal. It’s called a “terminal” because its always been the “end of the line.” The 7 train Subway enters a part of the facility called “Grand Central Station,” which is called that because it’s not the last stop of that service. Station = passing through. Terminal = last stop.

As far as the whole Pennsylvania Railroad and NY Central thing – man… it’s complicated and I don’t want to even get into that whole story. Suffice to say that the MTA is one of the many orphaned love children which fell out of their contests, courtships, troubled marriage, and bankrupted divorce.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I hung around the 125/Lex platform for about a half hour, and never ran out of trains coming and going to take photos of. My destination was in Yonkers, but one stop past the “big” Yonkers stop. Glenwood, that’s the one I’d need to get to.

I’ve got a buddy who grew up in Yonkers, and he’s always pronounced the place’s name as “AhYonkahs.” This is the same guy who always kept a series of loaner gorilla suits in the trunk of his car, in addition to his personal gorilla suit, in case he had the sudden urge for company when it was time to go “aping.” I’ve aped with him, which would take the form of us climbing on things, invading bars and fancy restaurants while wearing gorilla suits, and clowning around with pretty girls. I can confirm the idea that you can get away with literally anything while wearing a gorilla suit. Even Cops will find your antics entirely humorous, because of the gorilla suit.

AhYonkahs, that’s where I was heading. No Gorilla suit though.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My chariot arrived, and away did I go.

I was hoping to get a few “out the window” train shots while crossing the Harlem River, but Metro-North’s windows seem to be composed of thousands of small fractures and the sun was not on my side. C’est la vie.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Annoyingly, whereas my destination was literally next to the train station, I had to walk about a half mile, up and down hills, and over dales (actually a baseball field) to get to it.

More next week, with a detailed look at a long abandoned NY Central Railroad Glenwood Power Plant, found along the Hudson River in AhYonkahs.


“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

September 9, 2022 at 11:00 am

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