The Newtown Pentacle

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 24th saw me taking a very long walk indeed. Truth be told, I ended up having to stamp out a small fire in the afternoon, and decided to get the time back by taking a cab to an opportune jumping off point in Industrial Maspeth – or as I call it “The Happy Place.”

I just couldn’t stand the thought of spending an interminable hour and change walking through residential neighborhoods and losing the light accordingly. It was worth the $20.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

MTA has a maintenance facility hereabouts, and they were in the process of decommissioning several Long Island Railroad passenger cars. One scuttled on and on.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At Maspeth Creek, I noticed a Canada Goose on a nest. She said “NAAAG” and stuck her tongue out at me, which I’ve since learned is goose for “go away.” I’ve since said “NAAAG” to other Canada Geese, and they seemed shocked that I’ve learned some of their language.

NAAAG. I speak a little goose now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few blocks away, a Momma and a Poppa Canada Gooses were guarding their progeny, pictured above.

They’re so cute when young, and such assholes when mature, the Canada Gooses. Just like people. NAAAG.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What they were guarding the chicks against is pictured above, a nearly spherical floop of a cat. The kitty seemed surprised that I noticed it, and had probably convinced itself that it was a stealthy predator rather than an adorable fur balloon.

Floop.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A broken water main in front of a NYC DEP building flows freely in Industrial Maspeth, which is… just…

Anyway, the broken water main is accomplishing the goal of hydraulically removing litter and garbage from the streets of Industrial Maspeth. Unfortunately, that sewer grate above doesn’t lead to a sewer plant, rather it empties directly into Newtown Creek.

“DEP” stands for “Department of Environmental Protection.”


“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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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My long walk on March 14th continued along Newtown Creek, and I visited all of favorite places west of 48th street. Vainglorious thoughts cause me to refer to my circumlocutions of the Newtown Creek as a “patrol.” Irregular in schedule, it seems that about every six weeks or so, I walk the entire shoreline of the waterway, and have done so for nearly fifteen years now.

I really should have gotten into building model airplanes or something.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dark and lonely is the way I like it. Sure, there are passing cars and trucks, but I’m the only pedestrian usually. It’s actually a bit surreal, truth be told. Moving about in the veritable geographic center of NYC, and more often than not – complete and utter solitude.

It’s been a panacea during the pandemic, I tell’s ya.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I grew up without siblings, so being alone is normal for me. Unfortunately, what’s going through my mind during these long walks is a non stop review of all of my failings. I really work myself over psychologically during these long walks. Why? Well, even if your Jewish mother is dead, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do to yourself what she used to do and rake yourself over the coals for every mistake you’ve ever made dating back to potty training.

A particular quirk of mine involves the way my memory works. I don’t remember anything good that I’ve done or said, instead the milestones in my psychological roadmap revolve around failure.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sleights or arguments – those stick around. Complimentary relationships or personal victories are soon forgotten. I’ve gotten better about this stuff as I’ve gotten older, but in my late 20’s and early 30’s it was crippling to exist behind these eyes and between the ears. On this particular walk, I was processing painful memories retained from when I was in Junior High School. Pedantic, huh?

For the curious – I remember being embarrassed, and hoping that nobody who has ever met me as an adult would find out about that time in 7th grade when I decided to wear a pair of “Tale Lord” jeans to school and was roundly mocked for months about it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, I was reminded by a cousin of the great esteem one used to espouse for the band “U2,” in my senior year of high school. Given that I barely listen to that outfit anymore, but still stand behind the statement that the albums “Boy” and “War” were pretty great, I grew embarrassed about that too. Working myself over about all of the stupid things I’ve said and thought over the years…

Part of this thought process revolves around the aging process. We are all different people at different times in our lives, and the trick is to accept that as the years stack up that you’ve evolved – hopefully. That trick eludes me as – since mentioned – my focus and lattice of memories are built on a foundation of professional and personal mistakes, and saying exactly the wrong thing at exactly the right time. My internal Jewish Mother will never let me forget about failures.

You’re supposed to succeed, what do you want, a medal? Mr. Big Shot, remember the time you shit your pants when you were at cousin Nancy’s first wedding in Washington when you were 4? Your father was so embarrassed he had indigestion for the entire Carter administration. What about the time you…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saying all that, I positively feed upon all of this ennui. Wouldn’t do it to myself if it didn’t have some positive effect, right? Maybe it’s why I work so hard and so often. Why I strive to try and not be a Dick.

Tomorrow – something completely different, at this, 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

May 11, 2022 at 11:00 am

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Keep on truckin – as the kids used to say. Unfortunately, the kids who used to say that are now retirement age, but there you are. A recent scuttle through Industrial Maspeth at night saw a cavalcade of diesel powered steel rolling past the camera and I just got caught up in the moment.

The one pictured above was hauling municipal waste products, aka the solid materials which the NYC DEP filters out of the sewer flow. That’s pretty common, as is the habit of parking the trailer’s carrying this redolent cargo – as displayed by several of the hauling contractors employed by DEP – on area streets for weeks at a time. That sad story wasn’t what drew my eye, instead it the Green Goblin lighting kit which adorned the tractor section of this rig.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a company over on 48th street nearby the on ramps to the Long Island Expressway (or is it BQE?) which has several impressive vehicles in their inventory. This particular outfit seems to be who’d you’d call if your truck or bus has broken down and you need a tow. The wrecker pictured above is one of a pair of giant vehicles they operate.

I was actually asked by one of its drivers if I was up to something, whereupon I asserted that I’m just a wandering photographer in an industrial zone at night who has a keen appreciation of heavy machinery. Yup, not suspicious at all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Graffiti’d panel trucks abound. This has become a regular sight for me, and is something that’s really accelerated during the Covid months. This sort of tagging on commercial vehicles is nothing new, of course, but seeing a panel truck that hasn’t been “bombed” by a crew of taggers has become the exception rather than the rule in the last couple of years.

Scuttling, just keep scuttling.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Certain trucks and operations never get tagged… for reasons. There’s an enormous concrete operation in Industrial Maspeth called Ferrara Brothers. You see their trucks making deliveries all over NYC, but where they fill them with the good stuff is right back here in Queens.

I’m told that there’s a National level company which is buying up and consolidating all of the individual players in NYC’s concrete industry. Several of the medium sized companies, like Ferrara Brothers and NYCON, have already been gobbled up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

FDNY’s Ambulances are damned difficult to photograph when they’re flying past on a call. It’s all “worst case scenario” for operating a camera. You’ve got seconds to spin the dials and adjust the settings to compensate for a) night, b) flashing lights, c) subject moving at 50mph.

This one is from the border of Woodside and Maspeth, in case you’re wondering.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Closer to home, along Northern Boulevard, I spotted this fairly old tow truck parked nearby a car mechanic. Something about it just caught my eye. It’s a 1990 Ford F-Series, I’m told. Given the weird time warp we are all experiencing these days, I’d point out that “1990” makes it a 32 year old tow truck.

Ahh, 1990, when a young Bill Clinton taught us all how to laugh again.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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

March 24, 2022 at 11:00 am

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another night, another scuttle. This was a longish sort of walk. Starting in Astoria, along Broadway in the 40’s, I carried the camera into Sunnyside, then Long Island City, Blissville, and into industrial Maspeth. What fun.

First up was a stop at “ole reliable,” an oft visited fence hole at the Sunnyside Yards, one which provides a great point of view on the Harold Interlocking. The busiest passenger train junction in the United States, this spot is where both Long Island Railroad and Amtrak pass through on their way to and from Penn Station.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A taxi company in Sunnyside is based in a structure reminiscent of the sort of early 1970’s toys that little boys craved. They have ramps and lifts and pipes that bellow steam. Also, since every parking spot on the blocks surrounding this company is claimed by one of their cabs, I don’t feel guilty peeing in between two of their taxis so it’s a bit of a destination.

One of the weird leave behinds of my experiences during the Covid period relates to the fact that the very few places you used to be able to piss – a McDonald’s or Diner bathroom for instance – have been closed and off limits. This means that I’ve gotten into the habit of “taking care of business” in the manner of a domestic dog. This has become a bit of an issue for me during the various travels to other cities detailed in earlier posts, as the citizenry of other communities generally take a dim view of such practices. Well, you can take the boy out of the dystopian shithole…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My fascination with gas stations is another Covid period “thing.” To be fair, though, they’re very difficult subjects to photograph in low light – just like the LIRR train in the first shot – and that sort of camera related challenge draws me in like a moth to a candle’s flame.

At the start of Covid, we had pantry moths show up in the house. They arrived in a bag of dry dog food. It took the better part of two years to exterminate the little bastards using pheromone scented traps. Freaking Lepidoptera.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Boulevard, the so called “boulevard of death,” was crossed next, and south did a humble narrator walk. Given that the streets of Queens aren’t quite as “crime lite” as they were a few years ago, one has renounced the habit of listening to audiobooks or music via headphones. I want to be able to hear someone’s sneakers slapping the pavement as they’re coming for me.

It’s actually amazing how quickly the entire City fell apart under the rule of De Blasio and his fellow fun lovers. Mr. Fairness and Equity oversaw a widening of the gap between rich and poor, an explosion of racially motivated crimes directed towards people of Asian descent, and every time he opened his mouth he would piss somebody off. Truly, that man was the Trump of the left. Incompetent, high on his own supply, and every opportunity to learn something new was rejected in favor of an ideological interpretation. At least Adams is fun.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Blissville, a section of Long Island City which borders industrial Maspeth, was the next place to be blighted by my foot steps. Blissville in the centuried home of First Calvary Cemetery, the polyandrion of the Roman Catholics. As a note – I never cross a fence line, and almost never trespass. The shot above was instead captured from the public way’s POV and I used the stout iron fences of the cemetery to steady the camera.

The mausolea pictured above is sort of unusual for a Catholic cemetery. The human remains encapsulated aren’t in the ground, rather they seem to reside within the granite capsule guarded by the Angel statue. Normally, the Catholics use the loam for the disbursement of their departed, burying the box (coffin or casket) about six feet down. Jews do the same, except when it comes to Mausolea. In Jewish funerary tradition, a mausoleum shelf or compartment is meant to be lined with soil from the Levant (Israel) prior to the placement of the box and its dearly departed cargo. Yes, it’s a racket.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having fairly exhausted myself, after arriving at the “Crane District” of Industrial Maspeth, one summoned a ride share service to cart my sorry butt back home to Astoria. As mentioned in the past, I seem to have developed some brand loyalty towards the LYFT service as opposed to the Uber one.

One of my practices is to use a subway or bus or cab to deposit me somewhere, and then walk back to Astoria from… say… Flushing or Bushwick. This is something I started doing back before Covid, in fact. It vastly increases what I would consider to be walking distance, since the trip is sort of one way.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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.

bodiless emanations

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Heading home from a long walk in late January, which started in Astoria and then headed through Industrial Maspeth, a humble narrator decided to be lazy and acknowledge how cold it was by clipping off the return to HQ with a cab ride. Along the way, I passed by the charred remains of the Clinton Diner, nearby the semi legendary Haberman interlocking. Spotted this neato Volkswagen truck, which looks like it was built out of one of their 1970’s vans. Maybe this is the actual form factor it was built to, who knows?

One uses the LYFT service for his car service needs, mainly since I’m seldom in need of a ride in any sort of sane or normal place and will need the driver to be able to come find me in whatever industrial maze I’m in. There’s sort of a trick I’ve discovered to using their service, incidentally. I wouldn’t call for a car from this corner, which is where Maspeth Avenue, 58th street, and Rust Street coagulate.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Maspeth Avenue transmogrifies into Maurice Avenue, and this shot is maybe a block and a half away from the first one. It’s a good place to park a crane in front of a fire hydrant, which is an extremely Industrial Maspeth thing to do – as a note. It’s not a bad place to call for a car, but you’re still technically in Maspeth right here.

In my observation, LYFT seems to base its pricing structure around zip code based “zones.” I could be wrong, but calling a car from in front of the former diner in the first shot – a block and a half away – would result in as much as a $5 higher fare than the one which I’d get from in front of the crane.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A ten minute walk to 58th street at 55th avenue, which is technically in Woodside, shaved a full $10 off the fare reported in front of the diner. That’s pretty significant for what – in a vehicle – is about a 2-3 minute long distance between the two spots.

Besides, you get to see an FDNY service center at this intersection.


“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

March 2, 2022 at 11:00 am

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