The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Maspeth’ Category

he wishes

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A bit of personal news, firstly. On December 30th, a humble narrator began to notice his throat feeling a bit sore. On New Year’s Eve, a wicked ibuprofen proof headache set in, and on New Year’s Day I developed a low grade fever with hot and cold flashes accompanied by body aches and fatigue. Given that this more or less describes the way I felt after getting the Covid vaccine a few months prior, guess what? The good news is since I am full vaxxed, the entire experience only lasted about 36 hours, and I’m back to the fine fettle I normally enjoy. Our Lady of the Pentacle is feeling similar symptoms as you’re reading this, minus the fever.

It was pretty miserable, but I’m glad that say that the vaccine protected me from ending up in a hospital. Overall, I’d give Covid 3 of 4 stars for physical misery, were I leaving it a Yelp review. Compared with what people I know experienced in middle 2020, this was a cakewalk, and wasn’t even close to the sickest I’ve ever felt from a virus.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saying all that, won’t be heading out for a walk again for a few days, despite desperately needing some outside time and exercise. Pictured above is one of the very few “independent” gas stations left in Western Queens. I’ve been making it a point of recording gas stations for a couple of years now. Gas Stations are targets for Big Real Estate because of the size of the lots they inhabit, and because the titans of affordable housing tax abatements know that they can get New York State to pay for the environmental cleanup of said lots under the “NYS Brownfield Opportunity Areas” program. Believe me when I tell you that the local political people aren’t going to be approving any new permits for such establishments anytime soon, because climate change and “Four wheels bad, two wheels good.”

This is Maspeth, in a legendary locale known only as Haberman.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Oh, industrial Maspeth, the happy place, how I long for thee.

After shooting this photo, I boarded a rideshare taxi and headed home to Astoria. The shots above were captured after I had departed the company of that Grad Student whom I mentioned earlier in the week. Given that I had already scuttled around for about seven miles, I figured that a bit of comfort would be welcome. My driver told me about his theory that the last person legally elected President was Herbert Hoover. Under my mask, there was a big grin. My favorite conspiracy theories are the ones so grand in scope that they approach opera.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I was out the next night and shlepping down Steinway Street when I spotted a pair of atavist automobiles in front of a mechanic’s storefront. This was the first of several recent perambulations which I’ve described to Our Lady of the Pentacle as “local” and “not leaving the neighborhood.”

I’m trying to take more frequent walks these days, ones which are a bit shorter than walking home from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in the name of burning off some of the pandemic blubber suit which I’m wearing. I’m not just overweight right now, I’ve gotten fat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The plan I’ve hatched is to jack up my metabolism a bit with a two pronged regime. First is to cycle in daily walks of no less than 90 minutes, with longer walks scheduled every three to four days. What that means, as an example, would be to walk from Astoria to Dutch Kills in LIC and back – roughly 4 subway stops each way – followed by a longer walk on the third day – industrial Maspeth or East Williamsburg or Flushing. The dailies build up my stamina and endurance, while the longer ones build muscle and eat up the adipose. The wild card is that trick left foot of mine.

Hopefully, by late spring or early summer I can begin to see “fighting weight” coming up in my rear view mirror.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That green splotch on the left side of the shot is what happens when it starts to rain and a blob of water lands on the lens. There’s actually something I really like about the way that a distant traffic signal’s green light flowed into the droplet.

Back next week with some images from a newly instituted schedule of constant movement at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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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

January 7, 2022 at 11:00 am

he flees

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On one of the very few public facing Newtown Creek walks of 2021, I was approached afterwards by one of the Gradate Students who had attended the thing. They asked me if I’d be willing to “show them the ropes” on the eastern side of Newtown Creek. This was before the current Pandemic surge condition set up, so I said “sure.”

I set a meet up point at 43rd street and Queens Blvd., but decided to take the train there from Astoria instead of the Q104 bus or just walking. M line to Jackson Heights, and transfer to the 7.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A buddy of mine in Astoria gives me the “you’re crazy” face when I tell him to go this way, as he likes transferring to the 7 Line at Court Square. He’s wrong, as it’s three stops to Jackson Heights from my stop in Astoria and 4 stops to Court Square. Given that his route goes through Queens Plaza, it’s always going to take longer.

I’m smart… Smart, not dumb, not like people say.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The particular path I took the grad student on involved some of the less visited spots along Newtown Creek like Maspeth Creek. As open sewers go, it’s a beauty.

Foliage, that’s what I kept on thinking. Foliage.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, the pandemic has annihilated another Newtown Creek business, this one a distribution hub for an international bakery company that sells snack cakes. Accordingly, open fences, and an opportunity to get a shot that I’ve never gathered before.

Funnily enough, some of my Newtown Creek people – who always tell me that I’ve seen too many movies – recently discovered that the Mafia are still active in the Maspeth area. Surprising, huh? Beverage and snack food distribution using fleets of trucks to deliver to all cash businesses like Bodegas… who would associate the Mafia with that… I mean, it’s not like you grew up in New England and I grew up in 1980’s Flatbush and Canarsie. Thereby, your point of view on this topic is superior to mine. Saying that, I had a neighbor whose car horn literally played “The Godfather”’s theme music.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Around the end of our walk, I asked the Grad Student where they wanted to be for sunset, which was greeted with a shrug. I suggested the Grand Street Bridge, and the view you see above.

This shot is from early December, which ended up being a pretty productive month for a humble narrator. The reason I’m embedding six shots in the posts at the moment is to try and catch up with the actual calendar.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Technically, this shot was captured in Brooklyn. The actual dividing line between the boroughs is more or less the dead bang center of the Grand Street Bridge.

More tomorrow.


“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

January 6, 2022 at 11:00 am

almost illegible

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent adventure found one at the Turning Basin of the fabulous Newtown Creek just before sunset. That’s about three in the afternoon at the moment, given that the whole “December daylight savings time thing” is in effect right now. Life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right?

I found a great lemonade recipe last summer, actually. I use about 8 lemons for this formula, and a measured cup of table sugar. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the yellow section of the lemon peel, avoiding the pith. Put the skinned lemons into the fridge, you’ll need those later. You combine the yellow peels and sugar in a mixing bowl, which you tightly cover with plastic wrap to create a moisture seal. Let the bowl sit overnight out on the counter, and in the morning you’ll find that the sugar has turned gooey and bright yellow. That’s the lemon’s essential oils, which have leeched out into the sugar.

Dissolve the mixture with a bit of hot, not boiling but hot, water. Squeeze and juice the skinned lemons into a water pitcher, then pour the peel/sugar mixture through a strainer into the same pitcher and mix up the juice and yellowed sugar. Add cold water to the mix, and presuming you used a large enough pitcher you’ll get about a half gallon to a gallon worth of delicious and bright yellow “County Fair” style lemonade.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s difficult to maintain a sense of humor these days, given how serious everyone is all the time. Hidden trip wires abound. Extreme points of view and non nuanced positions seem to rule the day.

I didn’t write the following joke, I’m just telling/passing it on. It’s my candidate for best “joke of the week” from the last quarter of 2021. (I try to have a new one in my quiver each and every week, which has been difficult due to COVID, I tell’s ya…)

‘There’s a bar near a courthouse, and a guy slams the door open upon arrival. He exclaims to the other boozehounds, at the top of his lungs, that “All Lawyers are assholes, and if any of you have an issue with what I just said, come talk to me.”

He sits down at the bar and starts drinking whiskeys. The bar is quiet, only the sound of crickets and the clinking of glasses can be heard. The guy orders a second, and then a third whiskey in dead silence. Finally, one of the other patrons stands up, walks over to him, and taps him on the shoulder roughly. The second guy says “I actually have an issue with what you said, sir.”

The first guy spins around on his stool and says “Are you a Lawyer?” The second guy says “No, I’m an asshole.’

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One was out of town for much of last week and weekend, exploring foreign shores and wonders. What a pleasure it was to be absent from the twilight days and death throes of the term limited political estate here in NYC. They really do seem to serving all of the red hot and deep fried turds up at the moment, huh? It’s almost as if they all waited until there would be no retribution at the ballot for their actions. Weren’t they all “anti big real estate” back in November before the election, or was that just a movie? Don’t worry, Eric Adams will solve the future for you. He’s incorruptible, just ask him.

One of my favorite “classic rock” bands is The Who, which was formed in 1964 by the quartet of Pete Townsend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon. Amongst my favorite ditties by this quartet is “Won’t get fooled again.” Here’s some of the lyrics:

‘There’s nothing in the streets, Looks any different to me, And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye. And the parting on the left, Is now parting on the right, And the beards have all grown longer overnight, I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution, Take a bow for the new revolution, Smile and grin at the change all around, Pick up my guitar and play, Just like yesterday, Then I’ll get on my knees and pray, We don’t get fooled again, Don’t get fooled again, no, no

Yeah, Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss’


“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 13, 2021 at 11:00 am

abnormally placid

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve mentioned the presence of an idol dedicated to the Hindu god Dattatreya at Newtown Creek before. Saying that, since I was out and about in the area where it’s found, I figured I’d check in and see if it was still there.

These bulkheads are part of the former shoreline property of the Phelps Dodge corporation, also lengthily discussed in prior posts, including this one. The definitive book on this section of the Newtown Creek is called “Copper on the Creek.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At any rate, check. Idol of Dattatreya is still present, standing in the poison waters of Newtown Creek’s Turning Basin in the happy place of Industrial Maspeth.

Hooray.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As to how, or why, this object of veneration arrived here is the subject of some speculation amongst we Creek enthusiasts.

Me, I like the mystery.

As a note – I’d actually like to see all the denominations install idolatry along the waterline. Flaming Stars of David, Glowing Crescents, Tesla Coiled Cruciforms. A bunch of those colored Tibetan flags would be cool too.


“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 7, 2021 at 11:00 am

crazier people

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, a new habit I’ve been actively cultivating in recent months has been to commit to an early morning photo adventure at least once a week. I’m a night owl by nature, and it’s quite normal for me to be wide awake at 3 or 4 in the morning. The solitude and quiet offered by these midnight intervals is cherished, but it royally screws me up during the winter months due to a paucity of light and being out of sync with everybody else.

Sunrises are cliche, sure, but the light is nice and there’s that whole Marcus Aurelius thing – “At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

Whenever you’re feeling lazy, or unmotivated, there’s always Stoicism and Marcus Aurelius to fall back on. At any rate, it certainly does make you seem smarter or better read than you actually are. Saying that, huddling under the blankets sounds pretty nice, if you ask me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Loving portrait compositions of sewers, that’s what I think about. The one above is an exposure stack of multiple tripod shots, actually. That’s how I spend my early morning hours these days, which is why I’m a schmuck with a camera and not a Roman Emperor like old Markey Marcus. My morning had begun with a pre dawn arrival at the Maspeth Avenue Plank Road and from there I walked westwards towards the Kosciuszcko Bridge, and these shots are literally from “DUKBO” or “Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp.”

Another one of Marcus Aurelius’ bits of advice I try to follow is to wear two entirely different sets of clothes – one for inside the house, another for the world at large. I tend not to wear the shoes I was walking around the Creeklands with inside of HQ, and make it a point of changing out of whatever I was wearing while photographing sewers when arriving back home. Saying that, when Zuzu the dog was still around, I would always get a full “sniff” inspection from her when I got home after proximity to this sort of infrastructure.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On this particular day, I had left HQ at 4:30 in the morning, and was on-site by 5 a.m. The shot above was captured at 8:14 a.m., so I was just north of three hours into the session. I didn’t get back to HQ in Astoria that day until about noon, so I guess I was out about 8 hours. I had other stuff to do, in addition to processing all of the photos, and didn’t get to bed until well after midnight. Suffice to say that I slept well that night.

Marcus Aurelius might have been proud, I would hope, but as a Stoic – he’d just expect this sort of effort.


“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 6, 2021 at 11:00 am

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