The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Maspeth’ Category

painful process

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What the hell, it’s Thursday again, where am I?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Angles between neighborhoods, that’s what I call places like the spot where this photo was gathered. This particular angle sits on a weird confluence of geography. A block East or South is definitively Maspeth, one or two West and you’re clearly in Long Island City’s Blissville section. Heading North a block or two? You’re either in Woodside or Sunnyside, but it depends on who you ask. Ask a real estate professional, they’ll tell you it’s “Very Northern Williamsburg” and try to jack up the rent.

Angles between neighborhoods. On old maps I’ve seen, there used to be a Yeshiva on this particular corner, so maybe the Williamsburg thing isn’t much of a stretch. You’re looking at a corner in Queens, which used to be in the Laurel Hill section of Newtown’s Maspeth, not Brooklyn. Nothing is real or true anymore.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Calvary Cemetery is very real, and this shot was gathered on Laurel Hill Blvd., which is one of the only “tells” remaining in this area. This area received a LOT of attention from Robert Moses’ people during the highway construction era, the urban renewal era, and during the early 1960’s when they were trying to save the manufacturing sector of NYC’s economy using zoning regulations.

I’ve seen a lot of copies of the Power Broker on people’s book shelves during our era of Zoom teleconferences. Unlike my copy of the thing, others don’t seem to have a nest of post it notes sticking out of the thing acting as book marks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The old borders between the towns and municipal entities of what we know as Queens were blurry “back in the day.” One has paid some attention to figuring out the location of where the various lines of “where” were, and can say authoritatively that LIC’s border with Maspeth was Laurel Hill Blvd. on the south and Woodside Avenue to the north. The Brooklyn Queens Expressway runs literally on the actual border here. Where are the historic borders between Astoria and Woodside, or Sunnyside and Woodside, or Maspeth and Woodside? Depends on who you ask, and if the person you’re querying doesn’t mention Winfield you should stop paying attention. I’m talking historic here, by the way, not postal code nor the greedy imaginings of the Real Estate coprophages. Borden Avenue nearby 48th street, along the Long Island Expressway – pictured above – is a tripartite and nearly Balkan intersection between historic Maspeth, Woodside, and Sunnyside. Sunnyside was, after 1870, part of LIC. After 1898, they were all Queens. Of course, Sunnyside wasn’t called Sunnyside until the start of the 20th century… it’s all very confusing.

Angles. 48th street is germaine to this angle and border conversation, as is Queens Blvd., and 58th street/Woodside Avenue. Thoughts?

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, December 7th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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 10, 2020 at 1:00 pm

unthinkable situations

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One had to head over to industrial Maspeth recently to guide a few students around the “IBZ” or Industrial Business Zone. Their course work involves getting granular about the types and sorts of businesses in the area, the demographics of who is employed there, and how to travel to and from the area. Hey… if you want to get granular about Industrial Maspeth, who ya gonna call?

I won’t bore you with the ridiculous amount of information I tried to impart to them, rather, my intention with this post is to warn you that the Queens Cobbler seems to have returned to their nefarious ways.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve been talking about the Queens Cobbler for several years at this point in time.

The first time I used the term was way back in 2014, and there have been posts mentioning the monster since then. Halloween of 2014, this one from March of 2015, another from April of 2015, and from the same month – the appearance of a potential copycat Cobbler was mentioned in this one. June of 2015 saw more evidence appear, and shoes continued to drop right on through 2016. 2017 brought more macabre trophies to the fore, and it seemed like the Queens Cobbler began to grow haughty. All through the summer of 2017, single shoe sightings began to grow in frequency. Even children aren’t safe from the Cobbler, and I should have taken the message when a singular shoe was found at my local saloon in October. Halloween of 2017? As late as middle December of 2017? Yep.

Somehow, the Queens Cobbler figured out where I live, and left a shoe on the fence surrounding HQ here in Astoria right around Christmas of 2017.

April of 2018 – uh huh. May of 2018, yessir. The last evidences of the Cobbler which I’ve spotted were in 2019.

I’ve been looking, but haven’t found any single shoes that fit the Cobbler Criteria during the pandemic months. The single shoe pictured above was spotted on the Grand Street Bridge, just last week.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Less than a block away, this sneaker was also spotted.

Theoretically, this suggests that the Queens Cobbler might be a person with financial means, and has been riding out the pandemic in some other community. Have single shoes been turning up at Gilgo Beach out on Long Island, or along the Taconic Parkway upstate? Watch out Queens, hold your children and loved ones tightly.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, November 9th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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 12, 2020 at 11:00 am

gray quill

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After my encounter with the elemental forces of Industrial Maspeth at the Plank Road, wherein a cataract of broken water main fluids sought to sweep me into the Newtown Creek, a humble narrator was feeling pretty haughty. It was a full moon, after all, and here I was in the happy place. Saying that, one was still full of vinegar and a particularly long photowalk continued apace.

By the time I got home to Astoria on this particular night, I had covered about ten miles worth of ground. Only half of it was arduous, as I was walking against the rotation of the planet. Walking is easier if you just let the world turn under your feet. I’ve always wondered if you can move fast enough (in an atmosphere) to just be standing still, while allowing the world to spin around below your shoes. I’ve always wanted to form a fixed point in space/time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, a humble narrator moves at a fairly predictable speed which aligns neatly with average human walking velocity. I’ve got a whole series of different gaits that are cycled through on my walks. Long strides, quick steps, sauntering… one tries to work different groups of muscles when out for a walk.

Always, though, I’m moving in shadow. I wish and fantasize about some sort of Harry Potter magick cloak which would render me invisible to passerby. Imagine it – you’re doing something and then you suddenly start hearing a DSLR shutter flipping about in a patch of empty space. Of course, there’s no such thing as empty – even the voids of outer space are laced with thinly dispersed energetic particles and molecular remnants. If you think about, stars and planets are ultimately congealed piles of space junk. Romantic, ain’t it?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My path back to Astoria carried me down 43rd street, through the terrifying tunnel sidewalk leading from Blissville to Sunnyside. This is my “put the mask back on” spot, by the way. Generally speaking, once I arrive at an area where there’s nobody else, I pull the thing off. Once an area where you can’t either “distance” or be alone has been reached it’s all mask all the time for me. Read that as 43rd street between the LIE and Skillman/39th Avenue, for instance. I’ve been picking my paths to favor being unmasked for a couple of months now, but again, depends on circumstance.

One thing that’s really been cooking my carrots about the mask thing has been that since my face is covered, excess body heat normally radiated by breathing and the mass of small blood vessels found in the face has forced me to stop wearing the baseball style caps which are normally part of my daily ensembles. It’s the small things which always strike me in times of tumult. Carrying a little bottle of hand sanitizer, which breaks all my rules about having liquids secreted about my person? Not wearing a cap?

The big problem, and I’m not being facetious here, is that I wear glasses full time at my advanced age and the breath fogging introduced to this practice by wearing a mask has found me crossing Queens Boulevard – at night – without a crystal clear view of oncoming traffic. Crossing the boulevard of death without being able to see the reaper coming for you? Brr. See y’all next week at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, October 12th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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

October 16, 2020 at 11:00 am

shapeless robe

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Maspeth Avenue Plank Road allows for and offers a few fairly unique points of view, along that river of urban neglect called the Newtown Creek. It’s one of my favorite spots in Western Queens, and if you’re there at the right time of day there’s a spectacular display of light painting both the water and the industrial zone surrounding it in oranges and golds. Lovely.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, while shooting at this location, a somewhat distant “pop” and then a “whoosh” was audible and echoed evidently.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It turns out that the water main feeding a fire hydrant – one which has been mentioned a couple of times this week – had popped open while I was shooting. Back in May of this year, flowing water was encountered in this area, but that flooding was occurring because of a different reason. I jokingly called it “Furman’s Creek.”

Of course, while shooting that post, I wasn’t on the Newtown Creek side of the hill as the water was pushing through. In today’s shots, it was flooding right towards me, and I was basically caught between two waterways, feeling like a fool.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The channel carved out by the Furman’s Creek flow quickly filled and began to overflow. Normal persons would react to this sort of thing by getting out of the way of a torrent of water rushing down a hill at them, but I’m a seasoned urban photographer, so… schmuck with a camera mode.

I wasn’t being vainglorious, mind you, rather I was keeping a close eye on the flow and increasing depth of the cataract. A plan was hatched, and a benchmark level calculated, for escape. Saying that, I had a few minutes before the water was going to rise high enough for me to have to walk into it, so I got busy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The flow ultimately was heading into Newtown Creek, flattening and spreading out over the concrete plinth found at the end of the Plank Road site. What you’re looking at above is a rapidly flowing bunch of water roughly a yard across and 2-3 inches deep.

By the time I made my escape, the water had subsumed the entire plinth and was about 5-6 inches deep and flowing rapidly. Hundreds and hundreds of gallons were ripping past me. Luckily, I was stationed on two concrete structures which offered me a bit of altitude over the flow.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, litter and garbage as well as motor oil and all sorts of industrial zone street “yuck” was being carried into the Creek by the flow.

After shooting this image and the one above it, wherein my back had been turned to the flowing water, I suddenly realized that my escape route had flooded. Not wishing to have to walk through the now ankle deep torrent, a rapid series of hops/leaps and jumps carried me over and out onto drier land, allowing egress back to the top of the hill and street level. I’m just like a goat, yeah.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

By the time I reached street level, the flowing water had pretty much flooded out the pathway used to get to the coastline of Plank Road. Oddly bucolic, thought I.

Exciting, no? I thought it was.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, October 12th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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

October 15, 2020 at 11:00 am

triangular gulf

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in the last couple of installments, a humble narrator recently perambulated aimlessly about in Industrial Maspeth while waiting for the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself to descend behind the skyline of Manhattan. Many were the poison acres which were crossed, and I managed to get in a few decent shots at the venerable Grand Street Bridge, spanning the fabulous Newtown Creek approximately 3.1 miles from the waterway’s intersection with the East River.

Ribald happiness abounds, for one such as myself, in such actions.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The appointed time was approaching and therefore one made his way to the Maspeth Avenue Plank Road where my intentions revolved around setting up the tripod and configuring the camera into landscape modality. It’s a simple process, there’s a checklist, and it’s just a matter of getting to the location a few minutes ahead of when the sky and light will be “just right.”

I mentioned this fire hydrant and the puddles surrounding it yesterday, and since I’m calling your attention to it again… suffice to say that this bit of urban street furniture will figure heavily into the narrative of tomorrow’s post at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the meanwhile, one achieved the location and arrived at the timing of that which had carried me to Industrial Maspeth – a 6:39 sunset cue. I actually missed an important step on that camera checklist, which forced me to trash a few shots and start over. The whole point of a checklist, Mitch… ennui.

It was while I was actuating the shutter for the shot above that I heard a distant “POP” and then a “whoosh” but wasn’t sure where the sound came from. I soon found out. More tomorrow.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, October 12th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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

October 14, 2020 at 11:00 am

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