The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘DUKBO’ Category

tenants thereof

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Hie, Tuesday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One question about NYC which non “lifers” don’t ask, a pondering query which has been mentioned in prior posts over the years, is what happened to all of those packs of feral dogs which used to wander about? Back in the 1970’s and 80’s, you needed to have dog fighting skills if you intended on walking through the sort of places I do. A lot of these puppers were former guard dogs, or runaways, or wild born strays. Speciation wise, you’d generally see large breeds at the head of the pack with the smaller dogs acting like naval corvettes protecting the flanks. You know my little missive “that in the neighborhood I grew up in you only ran when something was chasing you”? In my neighborhood, more often than not that “thing” was a pack of wild dogs. Seriously, if you walked down E. 59th bet Flatlands and Avenue J…

My supposition is that the heavy discounting of closed circuit television security camera systems in the early 1990’s is what put the guard dogs out of work. Without the need for guard dogs to protect your property, the feral population of dogs decreased to their current day level of near zero. Often do I ponder whether or not the abundance of raccoons, opossums, geese and other critters whose utter novelty is remarkable in the modern era is due to the lack of canine hunters.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another one which I ponder while endlessly dogging my way through the cold waste involves prostitutes. Used to be that working gals were everywhere you looked, prior to “Giuliani Time” as we referred to it “back in the day.” Just the other night, I wandered past what appeared to be a transaction based personal training assignation along the railroad tracks in Maspeth. The presumptively post coital participants split up afterwards, with the female soon finding shelter in the cab of a passing truck, and the male member headed off to the nearby regional HQ of a well known last mile delivery business. I don’t think they were talking politics, if you know what I’m saying, and they were both pulling their pants up, so… Can’t say for sure it was transactional, but it sure looked like it. Talk about rail fanning, huh?

Williamsburg was notorious for its “in your face” street prostitution during the late 80’s and 90’s, but I remember driving home from work from an uptown job in Manhattan and predictably hitting traffic jams caused by potential clientele pulling over to negotiate with the various entrepreneurs and service providers walking the streets in lingerie. There was a huge pimping operation on Park Avenue in the high 30’s in Murray Hill, and in the 8th and 9th Avenue sections of Hells Kitchen in the 40’s and 30’s. In Brooklyn, I can tell you that Coney Island and Brighton Beach also hosted a remarkable number of individual entrepreneurs who operated in this “personal touch” space. Crack, bro, made people do a lot of weird shit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lastly, the overarching question in my mind these days is “why so serious”? If somebody calls me a name – let’s use the one that motherflower reminds you of – am I going to empower the assignation by arguing that I don’t flower my mother or just ignore them entirely? In my experience, there is no worse “dis” than ignoring someone. If you want to argue with me in an abusive fashion, I refuse to engage. Physical threats? Same thing, turn around and walk away. The last time somebody told me he was going to “kick my ass,” I responded with the infuriating phrase “use your words, instead.” Given that this particular fellow had a fiery swastika planted in a base of yarmulke wearing skulls and the motto “a good start” tattooed on his back, what sense would it have made trying to either reason with or beat some sense into him? Why so serious? It’s better to mock and laugh at iceholes than it is to fight with them, since you’re giving them what they want. Try shaming them instead, and shaming anyone who suborns such behavioral tics or overtly offensive skin decorations.

TLDR: who let the dogs out, where the ladies at, check yo self fore yo wreck yo self.


“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 30, 2021 at 11:00 am

translate itself

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Lo, Monday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Industrial Maspeth is my happy place. Every visit fills me with ineluctable joy. A recent tiptoe through the industrial tulips, a few weeks back, found a humble narrator negotiating icy streets, mountainous piles of gray black snow, and heavy truck traffic on his nocturnal path to Newtown Creek. One has long offered the opinion that NYC never looks as good as it does when it’s wet, as evinced above. This is from 48th street, aka “the Shell Road,” which was a colonial era pathway from north to south paved with crushed oyster shells. Pictured is a lonely FDNY alarm box, sitting on a patch of sidewalk which barely exists anymore due to the expansion of corporate fencing.

The Shell Road slouches gently in altitude, down from the distant prominence of Greenpoint Avenue to the dark havens of Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

People do live here in industrial Maspeth. I’m always surprised, finding a well cared for 1 or 2 family semi attached home plunked down in the middle of some otherwise hellacious industrial stretch. There might be constant noise and pollution, but there isn’t alternate side parking to contend with here in the industrial buisness zone, and it’s pretty quiet on the weekends. Want to park a boat on the street, bro? You do you.

Dichotomies abound, of course. When most say “Maspeth,” what one pictures are pretty as you please blocks of tract housing which have a somewhat suburban aspect that neighbors schools and shopping. When I say Maspeth, I’m picturing what’s generally referred to as “West Maspeth” in modernity, and it’s the darkest of the hillside thickets surrounding the fabulous Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “Happy Place” has been nepenthe for a humble narrator during the plague year, a place where I can freely breathe sans mask or precautions due to the utter lack of population hereabout. I will also admit to enjoying the esthetics.

Night time walks around this area demand the usage of a safety vest or some other reflective material to signal your presence to the truck drivers and heavy equipment operators. A recent “hack” to my camera bag introduced a strip of reflective fabric tape to the bag’s strap, which Our Lady of the Pentacle handled for me using her darning skills. Hey, when you’re known for wearing all black clothing with a filthy black raincoat over it all, it can’t hurt to be a little bit visible.


“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 29, 2021 at 1:00 pm

shambleth about

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Godalmighty, it’s here again – Friday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Spooky. That’s what I was thinking while shooting this illuminated passage at the 1920’s era Sunnyside Gardens development. The actual gardens aren’t spooky at all, instead they’re rather quaint, but every now and then… what can I tell you, I like spooky. My father in law and I once left his house in Crete at 3:30 in the morning to go ghost hunting at the ruins of a Frankish castle called Fraggokastelle. Coincidentally, that’s the same time that I learned not to skimp on spending money on tripods as the cheap piece of crap I had carried halfway across the planet basically disassembled itself just as the sun was rising. Spooky.

Walking around the deserted streets of Western Queens in the middle of the night is somewhat spooky, but you really have to look for it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Other large northeastern cities in these United States are folkloric gold mines when it comes to tales of specters and apparitions. Once you cross county lines moving in the four cardinal directions, there’s a rich and well described narrative describing ghosts, goblins, forest spirits, and hauntings all around us and particularly so in the Hudson Valley region. I’ve always ascribed NYC’s distinct lack of supernatural lore to real estate valuation. It would cut into the worth of your property if it was commonly thought to be haunted, after all. There’s actually a NYS law demanding that you disclose your haunted status prior to closing.

The real estate boom of the last 20 years, which has seen significant acreages of older buildings demolished and replaced by modern glass box towers, has likely created a large population of homeless or unhoused ghosts. Nobody ever talks about that.

Pfah. You only care about people when they’re alive, you god damned metabolists.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you cared, you’d get yourself a Quija board and invite some of these unhoused spirits into your house. Let them in, I say. So what if they occasionally knock the walls, or slide Granny’s porcelain off the counter? I mean, really, what’s the big deal about having to clean up a bit of ectoplasm every now and then? Sheesh.

Saying all that, I’m always up for a good NYC ghost story. If you’ve got one to share, leave it in the comments, or if you want to share a story and remain anonymous – email it to me here.

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 22nd. 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 26, 2021 at 1:05 pm

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

cryptical fragments

with 3 comments

Tuesday has battered its way in again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, the shots you’re looking at in this week’s posts were gathered in the beginning of February, during that cold snap that dumped a bunch of nasty snow onto the milieu. I like these snowy intervals, since it allows me to discern which properties in Astoria and Long Island City are operated under the purview of the City of New York itself. Is the sidewalk shoveled? Then it’s private property managed by someone who fears the fines and tickets of the Sanitation Dept. Does the sidewalk sport three inches of rotting plate ice? That’s a City owned property, whose stewards haughtily dismiss the bother of snow cleansing with zero consequence since the City doesn’t give tickets to itself.

Want to change the world? Let’s start by making City employees subject to the same rules they enforce on the gentry. Cops can’t park on sidewalks, the Mayor has to use the Subway, City owned vehicles no longer have unofficial parking rights for no standing zones… you get my drift. One set of rules, which apply to everyone – even those benighted public servants squatting in front of the mahogany desks that proliferate in the air conditioned offices of City Hall – that’s what I want. People talk about “privilege” a lot these days, the “privilege” I like to point at is of the political variety. If you are politically privileged, why do you insist on eating the first and biggest slice of cake every freaking time? Also, what’s with those golden shovels you spent my tax money on, EDC? Can we sell those?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Endeavor, on a particularly frigid evening in February, found a humble narrator shambolically scuttling across the Koscisuzcko Bridge in a generally southern direction. Communion with the fabulous Newtown Creek was my singular goal. The queer iridescence and colorful radiates of the Kosciuszko’s lighting system painted the surrounding landscape in garish fashion, accentuating the strange wonder of the place.

The pedestrian and bike path of the bridge has been discovered by many during this past “Annum Pandemica,” but I cannot recommend it highly enough if you’re in need of a brisk bit of exercise that offers genuinely interesting and grandiose views.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The path on this particular evening found one trudging through the ice and snow all the way to the eastern half of Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section, and then back to the grease stained sidewalks of Long Island City’s Blissville. The paradox, often encountered, that a photogenic atmosphere is usually one inimical to any sort of physical comfort was in play this evening. I was freezing my yahooties off when shooting these shots, and was glad of the COVID mask for once since it was keeping my face warm.

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 16, 2021 at 1:00 pm

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