The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘DUKBO’ Category

wild whispers

leave a comment »

Wednesday Kosciuszcko.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

DUKBO – Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp – has been regularly visited during this pandemic period. It’s both photogenic and within walking distance, and offers the plus of being a fairly unpopulated part of NYC during an era of respiratory plague. Back in March, one had finally figured out the magic formula for photographically capturing the lighting display of the bridge, camera settings wise. Hopefully this means that I can “port” the camera settings into other situations where garish LED lighting has been installed.

I still say the lighting design of the new Kosciuszcko Bridge over Newtown Creek looks like the exterior displays of a certain Greek coffee shop in Astoria, but there you go.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not officially open yet, there’s a new “park” on the Queens side of the bridge, specifically at the corner of Review Avenue and Laurel Hill Blvd. which has already become quite well used by Blissvillians, Sunnysiders, and Maspethians, as well as visiting Greenpointers. The park, which is a series of brutalist concrete blocks arranged around various plantings, is slightly elevated over the surrounding area (Newtown Creek industrial business zone, First Calvary Cemetery) and offers a nice view of the bridge. That’s where these shots were captured.

I’m still carrying the ultra busted down lightweight mini camera kit, by the way. The two prime lens one which I started hauling around last year after having severely injuring the big toe of my left foot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A lovely set of zoomable lenses have been awaiting being called back into service again, but I’ve really been enjoying the limitations. Worst thing you can say to a creative person is “do anything you want.” Best thing you can do is lay out a bunch of things not to do, make them stand on one foot while doing it, and throw in a gotcha. Limitation forces lateral thought and problem solving, I always say.

Back tomorrow, 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 29th. 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.

sprang suddenly

leave a comment »

Tiamat be praised, it’s Thursday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A visit to the Penny Bridge site in Greenpoint, said site pictured above, qualified as my turn around point for a fairly long walk last weekend. “Turning points” are critical for me when out on one of my photo walks, since if you choose the wrong one you’re walking through a boring residential neighborhood. Nothing wrong with residential, of course, but I don’t like taking pictures of people’s houses. I do like taking pictures of “the People’s house” as in our commonly held properties like Government facilities or various privately held but often publicly traded industrial locations. I like a good waste transfer station or the odd oil terminal, I tell ya.

Luckily for me, the new Kosciuszcko Bridge hosts a pedestrian and bicycle lane, so instead of having to walk all the way to Grand Street to cross back into Queens I can reattach at Laurel Hill Blvd. and get home via Sunnyside’s 43rd street rather than having to loop through Maspeth and Woodside.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The view from up on the Kosciuszcko Bridge is commanding, and worthy of your attention if you haven’t been up there yet. You can pick up the pedestrian/bike lane on Laurel Hill Blvd. in Queens, or Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn. A couple of new playground/parks will soon be opening under the bridge in both boroughs.

I’ve mentioned this a few times during the recent tribulations – the communities surrounding Newtown Creek have found their way to the waterway during the pandemic, and I’ve seen far more people than normal just walking around or riding their bikes in recent months. Does a humble narrator good seeing this, but… joggers in Industrial Maspeth? Yikes.

Be careful, I tell them all, Newtown Creek is an easy place to get dead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

High above it though, lots and lots of people are enjoying pleasant strolls across and over the Newtown Creek. Seriously, if you haven’t walked over the new bridge at sunset/dusk, you’re missing one of the best free shows in NYC. If you get lucky, there’s a chance that tugboats and or rail traffic might be moving around. I like me a good scenic overlook, I does.

May all your Thursdays be happy days, back 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, 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 18, 2020 at 1:00 pm

undone once

with 2 comments

Whoop-dee-doo, it’s Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It took a bit of hustle, but one got to Penny Bridge just in time for dusk. Found at the northern terminus of Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section, the Penny Bridge site is – as the name would imply – the former locale wherein one would, prior to 1939, encounter a movable bridge crossing Newtown Creek whose toll was famously a penny. The Penny Bridge’s purpose was negated by construction of the original Kosciuszcko Bridge, which was originally called the Meeker Avenue or New Penny Bridge. The Penny Bridge site has received a terrific amount of attention from my colleagues at Newtown Creek Alliance over the last few years. There are plantings, regular cleanups of illegal dumping, and there’s even a picnic table there. Check it out sometime, if you find yourself in the neighborhood. The deeded owner of the spot is actually the New York City Department of Transportation – the DOT – so it’s actually your property since they are merely our collective employees.

Get to Penny Bridge at the right time, and the shot above is one of the views you’ll receive.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking eastwards from Penny Bridge, you’ll see the new Kosciuszcko Bridge, with its unearthly chromatic radiation. The Brooklyn shore is on the right hand side of the shot, with Queens filling most of the frame. The Kosciuszcko Bridge marks the delineation between the Blissville section of Long Island City and the West Maspeth/Berlin section of Maspeth. The bridge carries the Brooklyn Queens Expressway over the Newtown Creek, and is found 2.1 miles from the East River.

The lighting package installed on the Kosciuszcko Bridge is currently rotating through a chromatic scale – yellow, green, blue, purple, red. One has been trying to discern if there’s a hidden message embedded in the frequencies of light and the order and speed of their repetitions. Often when staring at the weird colorations, a sudden irresistible desire to purchase NYS Savings Bonds rises in me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Careful attention is paid to the shadowed shorelines. Sooner or later, I will get a photo of something, something impossible. Again – rumor and innuendo, nothing solid enough to pass on. Yet.

Who can guess, all there is, that might be buried down there?

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 17, 2020 at 11:00 am

recent notes

with 2 comments

Still no rat hordes, but I’m a-hoping.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described yesterday, a recent walk found one on the western end of Railroad Avenue in the Blissville section of Long Island City. Some people ignore the 10,000 or so industrial jobs and the businesses which employ them along the bulkheads of the Newtown Creek. That’s where I come in, My name’s Waxman, I carry a camera. The weather in NYC was cool, and I was working out of Newtown Creek Alliance’s Queens Division. Reports from Federal Authorities have warned about hordes of ravenous and cannibalistic rats of unusual size, so I was patrolling the tracks of the Long Island Railroad Lower Montauk Line in search of them. The garbage train parks here.

Thankfully, things were uneventful, and I moved on. This is based on a true story.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On my way home to the rolling hills of almond eyed Astoria, one eschewed the normal path back and instead proceeded northwards from Blissville through the “Crane District” of industrial Maspeth. Neither the Dept. of NYC Planning nor Google Maps have caught up with my daring nomenclature quite yet, still referring to the “Crane District” as “West Maspeth” or “Laurel Hill,” and only a few esthetes and scholars use the archaic “Berlin.” Savages.

Why do I call it the “Crane District”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A heady mix of socialism and an indignant vendetta against societal norms have infected me with the need to tear away at the foundations of society, and rename places according to whatever whim strikes me. There are no cranes here, that’s fake news.

In all seriousness, though, people still live hereabouts, in the Crane District. There’s private homes all over the place.

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 8th. 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.

stamped out

with 2 comments

Maspeth!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That recent long walk I mentioned found me over in industrial Maspeth, experimenting with various camera settings, as regarding capturing photos of the Kosciuszcko Bridge and its weird illumination. LED lights, architecturally speaking, are insanely bright. They also produce unnatural colors which wreak havoc on the color theory algorithms in digital cameras. Since the Governor literally flipped a switch turning on the bridge’s lighting system a couple of years ago, I’ve been fairly bedeviled by its idiosyncrasies.

A big part of the problem is that the bridge’s lights rotate through a chroma key, turning yellow, green, blue, red, violet… when all those colors add up on your camera sensor it equals bright white – as you see in the shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not wanting to sacrifice the sharpness of the captured image at my lens’s hyper-focal “infinity” setting, one has been playing around with length of shutter speed and sensor ISO sensitivity all winter and into the spring. The shot above, depicting both the Kosciuszcko and the Empire State Building flashing red and showing Newtown Creek as well, represents a set of trade offs which I’m kind of happy with.

When you’ve got a bunch of time on your hands, and all of your summer gigs have been cancelled due to a pandemic, you might as well figure out new ways to configure and work with the camera – right?

That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, with the notable exception of polio. Polio makes a mess out of you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A different set of experiments are at work in the shot above, which is actually three separate images combined into one in a Photoshop process called “focus stacking.” You set up a stable camera base – a tripod or whatever – and then move the shot’s focus point around. One focus point is on the distant Kosciuszcko Bridge, another on the mid ground tomb stones, and the third is on the trunk of that tree. These are narrow aperture shots, so all these elements would have been sharply rendered anyway, but the stacking technique is a skill I’ve been meaning to understand and use for a while, and since I essentially have no there reason to wake up I might as well hone some of my lesser used skills. Also, the “stacking” assures a uniform level of sharpness throughout the image.

Back Monday, or whatever, with something else. I don’t know what exactly, I’m just hoping to still be alive by then.

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, April 27th. 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: