The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Greenpoint Avenue Bridge’ Category

forgotten sculptor

leave a comment »

Friday, again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent daylight perambulation found a humble narrator in DUGABO, Down Under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge Onramp, in the Blissville section of Long Island City. The bridge crosses the fabulous Newtown Creek, and provides a concrete manifestation of the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens. Famously, the so called “garbage train” is assembled at the LIRR’s Blissville rail yard, and is normally hauled about by locomotive engines painted with the brand colors of the New York & Atlantic outfit. This bluebird GATX unit was a surprise, but my beloved Creek is never entirely predictable. The street down here is dubbed “Railroad Avenue” aptly.

GATX, as it turns out, is an 1898 vintage corporate entity based in Chicago that leases rail equipment on several continents and also has a sideline in aviation heavy equipment. If you want to take a deep dive, here’s their site.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The signal bells began clanging and the train started moving eastwards along the Lower Montauk tracks. As you can see in the shot above, somebody has set up housekeeping under the bridge, having constructed a shelter/shanty out of shipping palettes and other industrial leave behinds. As of yet, I haven’t talked to this fellow, but I already like him since he’s got quite a collection of cats living with him.

Thrilling is how I describe the sensation of seeing freight rail moving around at street grade in NYC. Once common, there are so few places where you see this these days… this train and it’s box cars of garbage remove hundreds of long distance truck trips every day from our roads.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Blissville’s Railroad Avenue offers quite a gallery of street art/graffiti- if you’re into that sort of thing. The building just behind the locomotive used to be a lead factory, although in recent years it’s also been home to a company that worked with plastics. These days it’s a warehouse, with a tire shop on the Review Avenue facing side.

There’s quite a bit of industrial/commercial activity going on down here in DUGABO. The N.Y. Paving Company has an enormous property where they manage a fleet of hundreds of heavy construction vehicles and store sand, gravel, and other tools of their trade. Across the street at the former HQ of the Tidewater Pipeline Company, later called the Lukoil Getty terminal, the busy Broadway Stages outfit handles movie and tv productions for Hollywood. There’s also a self storage company housed in a factory building that used to be the home of BG Pickles.

Back next week with more, 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.

eye holes

with one comment

Tuesday, inevitably.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All of this walking is a drag. What a humble narrator wants, nay needs, is a set of wheels. I don’t want one of your Camry’s or Buick’s either, what I want is a truly onerous vehicle. The sort of thing George Peppard and Ernest Borgnine would roll around with after a nuclear apocalypse in a 1970’s movie of the week. A vehicle with a dashboard switch for electrifying the fenders, puncture and bullet proof tires, and some sort of sonic deterrent anti-crowd mechanism mounted on the roof. I’d call it my “mobile oppression platform” or “MOP.” It would be a mighty vehicle, armored enough to drive through schools, and the entire thing would be outfitted with cameras to record the indignation of those unlucky enough to exist outside of it.

Within, I’d recreate a 1960’s American split level ranch house. Decor wise, it would look a great deal like Mike and Carol Brady’s place on the old tv show about their bunch, but with odd panels of knobs and blinking lights which control the external defensive mechanisms – flame throwers, barbed wire whips, steam jets.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Me and the MOP would be constantly moving, mainly to avoid answering the NYPD’s questions about the puddles of scarlet viscera we’d be scattering. Hull armor notwithstanding, personal security is no joke. “Van Life” has become a “thing” and particularly so during the pandemic. I’m seeing literally hundreds of RV’s and specially kitted out cargo vans that people are living in all over Brooklyn and Queens these days. Go to YouTube and type “van life” into the search bar and you’ll soon discover that this is a “thing.”

Obviously, none of these people are from Brooklyn, where certain habits acquired during the 1980’s saw people like me breaking glass bottles and cementing them to the window’s outside sills to keep the crackheads out. Inside, you’d keep a collection of hollow metal things which would make a clattering sound should someone knock them over while climbing through your window – allowing you enough time to grab one of the many weapons you had hidden around the apartment for easy use. What? You don’t have a pipe dressed up in electrical tape sticking out from under your mattress? What are you, some kind of hippie?

Nobody, and I mean nobody, will make it into the Mobile Oppression Platform uninvited. I’ll have trained guard Ferrets with fricking lasers mounted on their heads inside. Moe, Larry, Curly – three of them.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’d really like the MOP to have some sort of anti-gravity plate mounted on the bottom, as such kit would allow me to float about Damnation Alley with nary a care. Wheeled vehicles are stuck to the ground, after all, which means they consume a lot of fuel. Despite the fantastic amount of energy a nuclear reactor would offer, you still need a considerable amount of ancillary equipment to convert that energy into available electric or mechanical energy and that would impede the MOP’s mid century modern decor within. I’d like to install an engine thereby which spews as much pollution as possible, and burns bricks of sulphur just for effect.

I imagine the MOP as being about the length of three city buses, and about twenty five feet in height. There would be antennae as well, but you can always rig those back. This wouldn’t be a vehicle, this would be an Iron Man suit you sit inside of, my Mobile Oppression Platform.

I’m waiting for my stimulus check from the Patriarchy to arrive, then heading over to Northern Blvd. to go MOP shopping.


“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

April 20, 2021 at 11:30 am

designs graven

with 3 comments

Wednesday is a shocking realization, to some.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My beloved Creek. Unfortunate truths for the wandering mendicant and itinerant photographer include the fact that if you want to accomplish a shot of something you have to go get it, and the weather be damned. That’s why I often find myself out in storms, heat waves, or cold snaps. Luckily, I’ve learned how to be prepared for the inclement. On the evening revolving about getting the shot above, it had just finished snowing and the air temperature was in the high 20’s. It was also fairly windy, and quite uncomfortable despite my having worn several layers of insulating garments beneath the filthy black raincoat.

Truth be told, what lured me out of HQ was the presence of snow on the ground, and the visual possibilities thereof. Part of my governance, philosophy wise, is to only shoot things as I encounter them. No set ups, no lights, no “move it a few inches into frame” or any other alteration to circumstance is allowed. Trust in the Newtown Creek and especially the Borough of Queens, they’ll show you something interesting every time.

Of course, on this particular evening I was crossing Newtown Creek on the Kosciuszcko Bridge and heading into Brooklyn – Greenpoint specifically.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Graffiti truck is still sitting down there, in Greenpoint, so at least there’s some consistency left in this world. One thing about smashing about in industrial zones in the dead of night is that you want to pick your path carefully. Twist your ankle or fall in a hole on a Friday night, it won’t be until early Monday morning that somebody shows up and notices you. When snow is fresh and ice has newly formed, I will often leave the house with a cane in hand. The third point of contact with the ground changes your walking equation when it’s slippery.

Ideally, when my physical degeneracy and advancing age have robbed me of such mobility, I’d like to ride around in something resembling the Martian Tripods from Wells’ War of the Worlds. Scaled down to a two seater, my commuter tripod would be referred to as the “mobile oppression platform” and be street legal to park in front of HQ. Wait till the bike people see the tripods, huh?

Two wheels good, four wheels bad, but what’s best is three legs with a heat ray that can melt armored vehicles on the ground and cook war planes out of the sky.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One debarked the Kosciuszcko Bridge, found a semi private spot to release some water back into the environment which I had been internally filtering since leaving Astoria, and looped around to the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge crossing of Newtown Creek about 3/4 of a mile west of the larger Kosciuszcko. One thing about the Annum Pandemicum which is seldom commented upon, except by me seemingly, is the nagging problem of human biology versus these sanitarian prophylaxis rules. Where do you piss?

As a bloke, this isn’t too much of an issue for me. There’s always a couple of trucks you can find some temporary privacy between. The old system, wherein you’d walk into a diner or something and order a cuppa joe and ask to use the terlet doesn’t exist anymore due to the COVID rules.

Me? I’ve been painting the town yellow for the last year. You?

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, March 15th. 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

March 17, 2021 at 11:00 am

triangularly tapering

leave a comment »

Friday is urban bucolia day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Marching, endlessly marching, one noticed that a bit of excavation has been performed on the former Mobil oil properties alongside the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge on the Brooklyn side of the fabulous Newtown Creek. This particular piece of American soil has long been owned by some third party, and it’s not a part of the modern properties which ExxonMobil’s tenancy is still extant upon.

Not sure what’s going on here, but I like a good hole, and the construction guys seem to have dug a truly ribald one. Huzzah!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

ExxonMobil is still working on the remediation of the semi legendary Greenpoint Oil Spill, along with their contractors – called Roux – for this particular situation. They maintain a large property at 400 Kingsland Avenue, which used to be the entrance to the Mobil refinery that operated here until 1966.

Just last year, the team at ExxonMobil invited a group of interested neighborhood people and activists to one of their offices to give us an update on the cleanup efforts, which are coming along nicely according to the their data. There’s a couple of recovery wells which are now bringing up ground water rather than petroleum, but they are still working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on cleaning up the historic mess left behind by their forebears.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One hasn’t spent too much time on the Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek during the pandemic, given that my walks would have carried me through some rather populated areas that I wanted to avoid.

There’s a window of cautious safety right now, according to my perceptions, that I’m trying to exploit before things get weird again. Things are going to get weird again, and I’m saying by middle to late October probably, by Thanksgiving definitely. Enjoy yourselves while you can.

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, September 21st. 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.

made wild

leave a comment »

It’s freaking Friday?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few odds and ends for today’s post. That’s a Department of Sanitation recycling pickup truck exiting from DUGABO – Down Under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge Onramp – back onto the normal street grid in Long Island City’s Blissville section. Now, as I often chide – you’ve got garbage trucks from all over Queens making their way to Newtown Creek to drop off their collections. The truck above is based at DSNY’s Queens 13 garage, which is in Flushing. This bit of information should make you wonder about equity, environmental justice, and why you don’t find transfer stations (which is what you call the facilities which garbage trucks dispose of their collections) in the communities which are generating the trash.

Instead, little Blissville does the job for the rest of the Borough, and what do they get in return? Local hiring? Compensation for the annual tens of thousands of truck trips moving through their community? What?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Apologies for today’s post being a couple of hours behind normal schedule, but one was up late exploring on of those internet rabbit holes you occasionally find yourself trapped in. This one involved people setting themselves on fire. Combustion seems to be another one of those concepts which some do not grasp, or seem to have much foreknowledge of. I saw one where, for some reason, a young lady decided it would a great idea to fill a drinking glass with rubbing alcohol and then strike a match.

Fire is a punk way to die, incidentally. Brrr.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It would seem that here in Astoria there’s a fellow named Omar who only has one boxing glove. If you’re reading this, Omar, 34th Avenue and 44th street is where the left one is. Another public service offered.

More fun 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, June 15th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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.

%d bloggers like this: