The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant’ Category

unwonted ripples

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As you may recall, most of the country – including NYC – experienced a dramatic heat wave in middle and late July. Here in “home sweet hell,” the humidity and dew point levels were as high as they can go without spontaneous rain showers occurring, and the atmospheric temperatures were in the high 90’s and even hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit once or twice during the interval.

I refer to this kind of weather as a “reverse blizzard.” At least during the cold months you can wear extra layers and still get something done – but during this kind of oppressive summer heat – not so much.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My desire to be out and about, when even at night it’s 90 degrees with tropical humidity, absolutely evaporates. One spent an inordinate amount of time in late July at HQ, in direct proximity to an air conditioner. Occasional forays to the porch revealed a torrid soup of thunderstorms and other meteorological consequence of “too much” heat swirling around in the heavens. Yuck.

Thereby, there weren’t too many adventures on the table, and the camera sat unused for several days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On Saturday the 23rd, which was a candidate for “hottest day of the year” until Sunday the 24th rolled through, I had to head over to Brooklyn to show my face at a Newtown Creek Alliance event – the Kingsland Wildflowers Festival. An annual event, this one is produced by NCA in conjunction with Broadway Stages, and Alive Structures, amongst others. There’s games for kids, food, and a bunch of activists doing activist things.

I wandered around a bit, caught up with friends, caroused. Then I scuttled off to wave the camera around a bit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was a really warm night, but I was desirous of taking a walk and decided that I’d cross the Newtown Creek via the nearby Pulaski Bridge and catch a train back to Astoria. The camera and I both required a bit of exercise. Self lubricating parts and all that…

At my age, if you don’t use a body part it just withers away and falls off. This especially includes the knees. “Assholes and elbows,” as they say in the military, so off I went.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One cut through the Newtown Creek Nature Walk, at the sewer plant in Greenpoint, to get over to the Pulaski Bridge’s staircases on McGuinness Blvd. nearby Box Street. Since “Phase 3” of the Nature Walk opened last year, it’s really cut down the amount of time that it used to take to get from NCA HQ on Kingsland Avenue to the Pulaski. It’s also a visually interesting spot, in my opinion.

My toes were pointed in the correct direction and then I just leaned into it. Regardless, I was “shvitzing.” The palm of my camera hand was positively moist. As an aside, I’ve learned that use of the word “moist” makes millennials and Gen Z people uncomfortable. Exploration of this weird fact also makes them uncomfortable. The same people will happily drop their pants to show off a new tattoo or piercing, openly display their kinks and fetishes in political rooms, but there’s now a list of proscribed adjectives which are considered “problematic.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It had to be just after 8 p.m. when I set out on this walk, as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was already prostrating itself behind New Jersey. How predictable, huh?

Back tomorrow with more.


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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

August 17, 2022 at 11:00 am

nebulous shadow

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

June 14th found a humble narrator in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section for a Newtown Creek Alliance board meeting. What happens at this sort of meeting is that the group’s Executive Director discusses their ongoing management of the organization’s various projects, the financial state of the entity, and then makes the board members aware of any issues they’ve encountered. The board members then weigh in on whatever the issue is, offer guidance or material help, and we vote on “this” or discuss “that.” The meeting took place in the evening, and we were at HQ at 520 Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn for sunset and moonrise.

I snuck away a couple of times to wave the camera around.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This was coincidentally one of the nights where a so called “supermoon” was meant to occur, which is an astronomical anomaly wherein the position of the moon relative to the horizon creates an optical lensing effect that makes the moon seem larger and brighter than it typically is. Next one is in July, I think.

There’s the so called “Strawberry Supermoon” rising over the fabulous Newtown Creek, from the Kingsland Wildflower Roof at 520 Kingsland Avenue.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Once the meeting ended, and since I was already in the neighborhood, a humble narrator got busy down on the industrial streets surrounding Newtown Creek. The guy who couldn’t help but stand in the middle of my shot was Donnie, a security guard for a recycling company owned by a guy named Mike, and Donnie was desperately waiting for his “Doordash” dinner delivery.

What can I tell you, I talk to strangers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the end of what would be North Henry Street is a small barge slip, called “Unnamed Canal” by the Coast Guard, and I was lucky enough to be there when the Crystal Cutler tug was towing a fuel barge eastwards on Newtown Creek. If you click through to the high res version of the shot at Flickr, you’ll see the silhouette of the Captain in the wheelhouse, who may or may not have been named Bruce Cutler.

I’m very pleased with myself, regarding the shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On my way back to Queens, I decided to get a bit “artsy fartsy” with the sewer plant views. This is one of the shots where I captured three distinct images with different focus points – at distinct moments in the rotating “red, white, blue” colors that the DEP projects onto the stainless steel digester eggs. I’m pleased with myself about this shot too.

After this one, I switched the rig back into handheld mode and started scuttling back towards Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While crossing Newtown Creek via the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge, I noticed the MTA’s “Bus of the Dead” rolling up on me, no doubt heading to Calvary Cemetery with its spectral riders. Wonder if they’ve got a fare evasion problem on this line? Wonder if the Mayor can send out a group of ghost cops if they do.

Back tomorrow with more…


“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.

extinguishing all

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

June 8th, and I was attending a performance of something… avant gardé… I guess. I’m not really sure how to describe a “soundscape” performance, but there I was at the sewer plant in Greenpoint.

Before things got started, I walked over to Newtown Creek to pop out a sunset shot because “why not”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s Che Chen in the yellow shirt, who was the soundscape artist. His team had microphones and speakers set up, and the event drew quite a crowd. Even Our Lady of the Pentacle was there. It went right over my head, but the crowd was digging the hell out of this.

We actually snuck away early and walked over to a bar on Greenpoint’s Manhattan Avenue to grab a drink, and get dinner.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

June 9th saw me in the company of My Pal Val. Several years ago, I was invited by the NYC Parks Dept. to be part of a group of photographers who would get to spend some time at Fresh Kills. At the time, none of the park had opened to the public yet. I’ve been subsequently asked to come back but was never able to make my schedule work. Given that I’m planning on departing the City at the end of the year… when the invite arrived, I said yes, and managed to get Val on the guest list too.

Val picked me up in Astoria, and we headed off to… Staten Island.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We actually got there far earlier than we needed to, with the intention of finding some “catch as catch can” shooting opportunities along the way. …Staten Island… is fairly photogenic at its edges. Upland (with a few very notable exceptions), it’s pretty much suburban sprawl – highways, housing developments, and shopping malls – but …Staten Island… has a very interesting waterfront.

Particularly so on its eastern (Verrazano/Narrows), western (Arthur Kill), and northern (Kill Van Kull) coasts. The south coast of …Staten Island… is basically a salt marsh and then a beach.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking south along the narrows towards the bridge, those ships belong to the Sandy Hooks Pilots. They escort large vessels into New York Harbor. The horizon buildings behind the ships are in Brooklyn, and found along the Belt Parkway.

We picked our way along the waterfront, heading towards Skelson’s Office.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a spot at the end of Bard Avenue which my dearly departed pal John Skelson used to shoot tugboats passing by on the Kill Van Kull from. Several times we called him out, while passing by on a Hidden Harbor tour with the Working Harbor Committee, and the spot became known as “Skelson’s Office” for all the time that he spent here.

Time began to grow short, and My Pal Val and I decided that it would wise to grab a meal. We shortly found a diner, where I had a fine cheeseburger, and then we continued on our journey to the edge of the known world – Fresh Kills.


“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.

hidden pneumatics

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 15th was a busy day for me, with a Newtown Creek Alliance event in the morning that I helped out on and an astronomical anomaly in the evening. The approaching lunar eclipse saw me planning and plotting, but as it turned out – the weather had other ideas.

I managed to get set up and execute a test shot before a solid sheet of clouds obscured the body. Said test shot is above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned several times, Newtown Creek Alliance HQ is found atop a television production studio in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section. Downstairs, they’ve been shooting “The Equalizer” tv show, but I still haven’t gotten to meet Queen Latifa.

Upstairs, however, is the Kingsland Wildflower roof, which I enjoy access to. A couple of phone calls to my peeps to arrange, and I’m up top with fairly unparalleled and unique views. The plan, which was extremely well thought out, was to get the blood/eclipsed moon hovering over the sewer plant. C’est la vie.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I had actually rented a Zip Car on this evening, given that I’m again a licensed driver according to New York State. The investment in the rental was to ensure that I could quickly dart around and “get” the shot from a variety of locations but with the moon occluded by clouds…

What? I was just going to go home? You kidding? Who am I?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We have waterfront access at HQ, so I headed down to the bulkheads after locking the doors up on the roof. The tripod was deployed and I waved the camera around a bit.

It’s a very weird sensation hanging around the Newtown Creek waterfront at night and all alone. This is normally one of the busiest places in the entire City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator was quite frustrated by the whole weather thing, and it seemed that whenever I was ready to shoot – nothing was happening. You can’t control serendipity, however.

I was also annoyed that I had dropped $100 I don’t have on renting a vehicle which I didn’t make terribly good usage of. Truth be told, I spent two hours just driving around and enjoying the mobility of a car. It’s been a long time, and I used to absolutely love driving. Turns out that I still do.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I didn’t get caught out for drunk driving or any sort of violations, before you ask. I just stupidly missed the window for renewal of the document, and then it became a “thing” to do so. I avoid dealing with “things” assiduously until I have to, but since the plan for the next year involves moving out of NYC to “America” – you need to have a car in America, so I had to deal with the “thing.” I had to essentially attend a Driver’s Education class and take a road test, so sweet memories of High School were in the air for me earlier this year.

Insult to injury section: just as I broke down the camera from its tripod mount and was heading towards the gates, a tug approached the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge and the span opened for it. Missed it.

Serendipity, it affects us all.


“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 29, 2022 at 11:00 am

oddly corrobative

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The routine one currently ascribes to involves a schedule of “one day out, one day in.” What that means is that if I’m out with the camera on Monday, Tuesday is the day I’m at HQ developing whatever I shot and delivering it to the Internet. One opines that internally lubricated parts like the knee or hip joints require regular flexion lest they lose function. Scuttling, always scuttling, that’s me. As a point of interest, the way that this shakes out this week is that tonight I’ll be out and scuttling.

One appears to be little more than a pile of filthy black fabric caught in a stiff breeze to most passerby, but for some reason I’m catching people’s eyes these days and I don’t like that. Some of the humans want to talk with me, whilst others are suspicious of my presence. Unfortunately, there are also those whom have seemingly developed a taste for human meat during the pandemic, and they gaze at me and my possessions hungrily.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Things have become odd out there, in this second winter of Covid. A winnowing of patience, the thinning of empathy, an acceptance of “that’s how things are now” has been arrived at. You can feel “the vibe” if you’re the sensitive type. Personally, I miss the illegal fireworks.

I’ve been observing the sort of things which hint at the continuing unraveling of civil order, encountered malign actors on the deserted streets, and have taken to swiveling my head around more than previously. Blame whatever you want to for this, I don’t care what others say, and I’m sure there’s a political narrative you’ll find comfort in. It’s going to be a real shit show when the Cops start doing their jobs again, which I predict as coinciding with the arrival of a new local political regime in January. It’s likely too late for that to have any real meaning, however, as the Djinn has escaped its bottle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured above is a frontline of next year’s political bullshit here in Astoria. A mega project offered by the Kaufman Astoria people called “Innovation Queens” is slated to begin paying off local “voices” to sing the song of gentrification. If you want to know what it costs to buy off these voices – it’s about $5,000 a head. You’ll get all the usual characters – the street minister who’s secretly a gangster, the well thought of community leader who’s secretly the secret gangster’s mistress, the odd local business owner who was planning on selling his bar soon anyway. These sort of characters were all in for the LIC rezonings, the BQX, Amazon, etc. – whatever big idea City Hall and the EDC were flacking at the time and writing checks for. That’s why I can tell you what and how much they cost, because that’s what they cost the bosses last time, and the time before that. Five grand isn’t even bagel money for the real estate people.

The Innovation Queens people describe this little industrial zone along Northern Boulevard as “dark, deserted, dangerous.” In actuality, it didn’t used to be, but ever since they started acquiring/emptying/blighting the properties hereabouts…


“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.

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