The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘newtown creek’ Category

bodily dislodgement

leave a comment »

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

thumping rattle

leave a comment »

Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 20th and a humble narrator had just received the most critical bit of equipment needed to enable his “escape from New York.” A car.

All of these years in Queens, I’ve been a dedicated pedestrian and married to mass transit. I’ve always opined that having a car in Astoria is more of a curse than a boon. It was actually cheaper for me to use ride shares or cabs when I needed a ride than it was to own one.

I’m moving to America, and quite literally to “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood,” where you cannot exist on the continent without a vehicle so I had to drop the hammer. Placed the order in July, and got a fresh from the factory new car in late October.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since becoming hyper mobile and independent of the geographic restrictions which are governed by how far my feet can scuttle, as well as the physical constraints of how long I can carry my photo kit, one has been ranging all over the city. Saying that, what is being missed out on now are the little things that you can’t see when driving along as you’re moving too fast.

After getting my driver’s license reinstated earlier this year, I rented a few different vehicles from Avis and Hertz, looking for a good fit for Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrids rose to the top of my list, and we ordered one from one of the new car dealerships on Northern Boulevard. My accountant opined that even if I bought the thing in Alaska, NYS would still bill me for sales tax since my legal address would still here at the time of purchase, so I bit the bullet. Hopefully, this will be my last really large contribution to the black hole that Albany throws our earnings into to finance its dysfunction.

One of the bits of advice I offer is “if you’re thinking about buying a car, rent the model for a week first, and see if you like it.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 21st saw me taking advantage of this new mobility to get a few shots from an area that has always been a little too far off the grid for me to walk around, the coast lines of College Point and Whitestone.

That’s the Bronx Whitestone Bridge pictured above and below.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Funnily enough, I’ve got more shots of this bridge from the Bronx side than I do the Queens one, due to there being a ferry stop on the Soundview NYC Ferry line in the former location.

I tooled around the area, exploiting several points of view which I had previously scouted out on Google maps. The Google Maps app is a great tool as far as finding potential points of view in areas which are either tangentially known or are complete mysteries. I never would have thought to visit the “Whitestone Bridge Observatory” otherwise, or even suspected such a roundabout street end existed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whitestone seems to be a super wealthy community, with expansive homes that border on “mansion” nestled right up against the water. It looks more like a suburb than it does NYC. You don’t see piles of cast off garbage or debased humans lying in the street, for instance.

I had several photo set ups planned for the day, and since I was in a car, didn’t mind carrying all of the heavy kit which would normally create a limit on how far and wide I could range.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There aren’t too many Sandy beaches on the East River. I think it’s about 6 or 7, that I know about at least. That’s one of them, above, at Francis Lewis Park. Nice spot.

One kept on heading eastwards, right up and sometimes over the City/Nassau County line.

More on that tomorrow at your – now – hard driving 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

November 17, 2022 at 11:00 am

noxious heap

with 2 comments

Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Continuing with the sights witnessed along a longish scuttle on October 8th, a humble narrator found himself crossing the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge and heading towards Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section.

That’s my beloved Newtown Creek in the shot above. About 1.3 miles back from the East River.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Kingsland Avenue is in the process of being redesigned in response to the opening of Phase 3 of the Newtown Creek Nature Walk at the sewer plant, which has brought lots and lots of pedestrian and bike traffic to the former entirely industrial street. As always seems to be the case these days, NYC DOT’s traffic engineers has managed to imagine up the worst possible design, and implemented it in a piecemeal and inconsistently thought out fashion.

Somebody else’s problem now. I’m done fighting City Hall.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the Nature Walk, which hugs the water facing side of the Sewer Plant, the Pulaski Bridge opening for a passing tug was observed.

Somebody recognized me, and I was having a conversation with them while climbing on a fence. They were clearly afraid that I was going to fall in the water while doing so, but there you are.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The next section of my walk involved attaining the Pulaski Bridge’s pedestrian path. Which carried me back out of Brooklyn and into Queens’ Long Island City section.

One briefly considered hopping on the subway, but it was a beautiful day and I just kept on scuttling.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One headed eastwards on Jackson Avenue, heading towards Astoria.

“Every time might be the last time.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Plaza has become absolutely unrecognizable at this point. The few remaining industrial buildings and warehouses which survived the reconstruction of the area have finally been consumed by the real estate frenzy.

Tomorrow – something a bit 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.

slate tombstone

leave a comment »

Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 8th was one of the days in Long Island City that passerby might have noticed a pile of black sackcloth being carried along by the wind. Closer inspection would have revealed a humble narrator clothed in his street cassock, a filthy black raincoat flapping about in the poison breeze. One was enjoying an afternoon constitutional, and occasionally startling the elderly and their dogs if they gazed upon my countenance while passing by. A face for radio, that’s me.

One was feeling particularly invigorated, and it was a beautiful day for a stroll over to a hopelessly polluted industrial zone.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Somebody left their shop door open, and I cracked out an exposure or two of the scene within while shambling past. Neat!

In accordance with recent policy shifts here at HQ in Astoria, one had timed the walk for the late afternoon. This was around 5 p.m., give or take. In October, the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself lobs about in the sky at fortuitous angularities relative to the street grid of New York City. Not so much in January, so take advantage when you can.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the torments which my friends endure revolves around me having led them through over hill and dale and onto hell’s favorite streets, baking in the sun the whole way, whereupon I present them with a description of our destination as being “only 2-3 miles more to go” followed by “but, it’s all down hill from here.” To wit: the shot above. Several of you reading this just groaned.

What you’re actually looking at above is the hydrological reservoir and surrounding sloped basin of the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek. The flat lowlands around the waterway were wetlands, or “waste meadows” as they called them in the old days. Behind me, and further up the hill from where I was standing, is Greenpoint Avenue. Greenpoint Avenue connects with, and used to incorporate Roosevelt Avenue, which went all the way to Flushing back in the days of the decadent Dutch in the form of a turnpike. Greenpoint Avenue was set up as a high ground ridge road which connected two isolated waterfront colonies separated by bogs, swamps, and grass land.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

1940 is when the monstrosity pictured above, which largely follows Borden Avenue’s far more ancient path, was opened for traffic. Formerly, the horse or oxen drawn traffic followed Borden or Hunters Point Avenue on its path to the East River, where ferry or boat transport would complete the journey of passengers or cargo to Manhattan from Queens. Back then, there were shops and restaurants and inns along the route. Houses too, a few blocks back.

When the City bound traffic disappeared onto the Long Island Expressway and into the similarly aged Queens Midtown Tunnel, it blighted the area, and an already onerous catalog of industries in this area got worse in terms of character and pollution.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When you’re on the south side of the Long Island Expressway, you’ve entered Blissville. That’s the name of the neighborhood. Really.

This neighborhood, and many of its residents, have a special place in my heart. I like having beers at Bantry Bay on Greenpoint Avenue, and I can point you at a very comfortable socialist bench nearby Review Avenue (it was donated to the Blissville Community by the campaign of Jonathan Bailey, who ran as a Democratic Socialist for City Council in the last cycle, so “socialist bench.”)

I am unaware of any public furniture donations to Blissville from the Republican Candidate for the seat, Marvin Jeffcoat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One such as myself is probably the only person in Brooklyn or Queens happy to see the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge opening at 5:30 p.m. on a weekday, but there you are. I enjoyed the show, and waited patiently, unlike everybody else, for the thing to resume “bridging” after it finished “drawbridging.”

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

November 14, 2022 at 11:00 am

final peril

with one comment

Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Every time might be the last time.” Dutch Kills, where I’ve spent so much time and effort over the last 15 years, is pictured in today’s post. I can’t help but be reminiscent.

The broiling hot summer days bringing tours through here, those frigid frost bitten mornings standing on one of these bridges with a camera and tripod waiting for the sun to rise, the late night walks, the scary moments of actual peril when I found myself confronted with the baser aspects of the street…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ll never forget the first time, when I followed a Google maps pathway here from Astoria. “Hey, I’m going to go check out this Newtown Creek joint I’ve heard about” is what I said to Our Lady of the Pentacle when leaving the house. “Be careful” she said. That’s how it started.

The warning to “be careful” always strikes me oddly. I’m the very definition of careful in everything I do. It can be offered that one of the biggest flaws in my personality is the amount of care I display, embed into, and enact in my daily round. My “care” actually borders on neuroticism. I take the OSHA motto of “how can I get hurt” that they drill into the industrial world quite seriously. Before I cross a street, I look three times, not two.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s my tree of paradise in the shot above, which I seem to have spent most of the pandemic months photographing. All of this is now somebody else’s’ problem. I can tell you who that somebody is – Will Elkins is Executive Director at Newtown Creek Alliance – and Will is “the man.” Smart and kind, Will has assembled a staff of amazing people at NCA, and they are the future. It’s time to stop talking about the past here, and to start talking about tomorrow. Will and the NCA staff are the people to do that.

I’m heading into the west, like one of Tolkien’s elves.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given the reflective mood I’m in at the moment, a statement I’d offer is this – it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve met some amazing people, done and seen things that not many other people have, and occasionally got to help people who needed help. No regrets. I never “took,” even when I found myself surrounded by high rank politicians and the “powers that are.” Always did I ask myself “What would Superman do?” and used that as a guidepost for any moral decisions.

That’s apparently a Night Heron in the shot above, but since I always get the name of a bird wrong when I try to say what kind of bird a bird is – so, it’s a three eyed lobe tickler.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you shine a light into the waters here at night, the surface starts boiling as the little nocturnal fishies in the water column fall into panic mode. They’re what that descendant of the dinosaurs pictured above was hunting in the darkness.

I’m currently looking for a job in Pennsylvania. Worst comes to worst, I’ll drive for Lyft or Uber until I get something solid. There’s always managing a Denny’s or something. I plan on staying away from anything political or nonprofit in nature. I just want to go to work, and then take pictures and explore the area the rest of the time while I’m figuring out my next incarnation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We are all different people at different times of our lives. I used to be a comic book artist and writer who worked on it obsessively all night, while maintaining a day job persona on Madison Avenue as a production artist and photo retoucher. The latter job title caused me to have to learn about photography in order to interact with the photographers whose work I was editing and processing. That got me started taking my own shots, which is what led me down the path to who I am currently. Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans, as the saying goes.

More tomorrow – 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

November 10, 2022 at 11:00 am

%d bloggers like this: