The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Northern Blvd.’ Category

hushed evening

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What with the vaccine and everything, I’ve been out a lot during daylight hours and have been missing my nocturnal scuttles. To remedy this, one packed up his old kit bag and smile, smile, smiled. This was a relatively short after dinner walk, one which saw me head out of Astoria in the direction of Queens Plaza where I looped back around onto Skillman Avenue for the return trip. Luckily, this is a feature rich and visually interesting pathway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Evidence suggests that wherever the Queens Cobbler went to during the pandemic, said Cobbler being a probable serial killer who leaves behind single shoes as macabre tokens, they have returned to continue their campaign of savage conquest here in Queens. This particular momento was observed in the gutter on 42nd street at Northern Blvd.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On my way back home, which found me walking along Skillman Avenue, several examples of Long Island Railroad’s inventory were observed hurtling along the tracks. The particular nature of the fences along this stretch negate photographic opportunity, but there’s a spot or two just big enough to squeeze a lens into.

You have to know where they are. I do.


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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.

frightful guide

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Thursday, uggh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A human sized Raccoon would be able to decimate any ten men in paw to hand combat. Should these rather fetching cohabitators of the urban space suddenly reach an evolutionary juncture that saw them grow in size… well… we are screwed. Imagine it, a stray container of nuclear waste finds its way into a dumpster of yummy left over McDonald’s waste, six months later there’s six foot tall raccoon boars hanging out on Queens Blvd. knocking old men’s hats off for kicks. The average weight of a regular male Raccoon is about 16-18 pounds and their nose to butt length is between 24 and 38 inches, depending on the individual. Using nuclear waste to mutate one to human size would form up a 100 plus pound six foot tall forty toothed monster, with thumbs.

Giga-Raccoons are scary, but a human sized Rat would be terrifying and virtually unstoppable. Raccoons at least follow a body plan we are somewhat familiar with, a six feet tall at the shoulder Rat would be the size of a small car and weigh a literal ton. Fighting one would be like going up against a super intelligent cow equipped with grasping hands and sharpened shovel blades for a mouth.

This is why we must strive to keep McDonald’s garbage free of nuclear waste contamination. We shouldn’t put radioisotopes in contact with vermin in the name of a) affordable housing, b) bike lanes, c) freedom or any other hot button issue. Just don’t do it. Giant rats bad.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering along one night, a discarded midden of paper caught my eye. It seemed to contain a manual for either abusing a child or for spotting signs of such abuse. Recently, one was required to expose himself to some training materials offered by the City of Greater New York regarding similar ugly topics which adjured against several behavioral practices considered either illegal or immoral by the powers that be.

Now, as is the case when an adolescent strides across the room at 3 in the morning and says “don’t worry, the fire got put out, good night,” the City’s series of admonitions and offered examples of bad behavior raised more questions in me than they answered. Since nearly everything in the “official” communications and practices of NYC has some footing in the past, specifically a legal precedent involving a trial judge determining that the defined sin had in fact occurred and that the City had to ensure that the sin was on the “Do Not Do” list, I want to know a lot more about what led to me being told that “physical or verbal threats, stalking, implied or overt violence” will not be tolerated. What goes on in Lower Manhattan?

I personally advocate for vouchsafing the dumpsters at City Hall as being free of radioisotopes, particle emitting liquids… any example of the mutagens, really. Imagine if the Mayor somehow gained superpowers. Bill and Chirlane begin dressing up in spandex and capes… we could call them the Flying Wilhelms. Term limits notwithstanding, we’d never be rid of these two if they attained super powers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The pandemic has to have been a great time to be a mad scientist, I believe. Lots of empty industrial properties you could rent for a tiny percentile of normal cost, fewer prying eyes from curious passerby. There has never been a better time to perfect your own race of Atomic Supermen, Mutant Raccoons, Super Mayors, or really any form of mad science enhanced biota, really. I always wonder about mad science.

Theoretically speaking you get your degree accreditation together while still sane, since attaining a PHD is a rather stressful and draining endeavor. There have to be warning signs of the subtle descent into Mad Science. Your first private gene sequencer arrives from Amazon, or Science Depot finally delivers the cloning tank you need. Friends mention that they’re concerned over how many volatile chemicals you’re stockpiling, the way you’re storing bricks of uranium in the garage, the crematorium in your back yard. Madness must be a consequence of sciencing since you never hear anyone refer to someone as a “sane scientist.”

I bet that the NY Post will be running banner headlines by August that NYC has the worst Frankenstein problem we’ve experienced since the 1970’s.


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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 22, 2021 at 11:30 am

waking life

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It’s Thursday. The first rule of Thursday is you dont talk about Thursday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another Northern Blvd. gas station, another night for a humble narrator. Presuming that when I went for my vaccination this week (I’m writing this on Sunday, appointment is Tuesday, you’re reading this on Thursday, so who the hell knows what’s happened since Sunday) I didn’t end up in anaphylactic shock or something, I’m now one month away from getting my life back from the Corona Virus Pandemic. Fantasies of good times in the company of human strangers are taking the form of intrusive thoughts for me right now. So’s going back to living a somewhat normal life. Eating in a restaurant, riding the Subway, visiting Staten Island’s North Shore… you take all of this for granted until it’s out of reach, huh?

This has been a fairly brutal 12 months for all of us, hasn’t it? It has been mainly banal and terrifying for me, but conversely, I’ve been insanely lucky as the people in my life who have suffered a COVID infection have all survived it. Perspective, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Perspective seems to be a missing quality these days, with everybody standing on calcified points of view and opinions. You disagree with someone about a nuance of some issue and you’re automatically Hitler. Recidivist elements of the old dialectic, with no chance to learn from mistakes and grow or evolve in the re-education camp, might as well send them to meet their makers. The proverbial “come to Jesus” moment doesn’t seem to exist anymore. One misstep and you’re done, forever. Personally, I’m reminded constantly that my points of view are disingenuous because of my racial identity, or gender, lifestyle, or whatever other drum the person I’m talking to is banging on. This gets old pretty fast, and unfortunately confirms a deeply held belief that people who have suffered oppression at the hands of others will immediately begin to inflict similar harms on others when they get into power. There’s a certain Middle Eastern nation state which comes to mind when I think about that subject, but that’s another story and controversy which I don’t want to get involved with.

At the moment, I’m seriously considering rolling everything back and retreating into my shell. Ending the Pentacle, resigning from whatever public facing position I hold, and just focusing in on selfish matters. In short, returning to being just another face in the crowd who doesn’t care about anything at all other than his bank account. I don’t mind a fight, but I mind fighting about nothing and the splitting of hairs. This may surprise you, but people in general aren’t terribly nice, and those you meet in the “political world” are often monsters. I’m tired of it all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another one of the subjects on my shot list, in addition to gas stations and tire shops, are Chinese Restaurants. I got into a screaming argument about two years ago with somebody about whether or not calling the menu offered at such establishments “Chinese Food” was racist. What a ridiculous waste of time and energy that argument was… but that’s kind of the point. Why oh why would this be something you want to argue for or against? What do you hope to achieve, and have you actually considered the opinions of the people who work and sell this particular cuisine or is it just another talking point on your agenda to prove that the world is corrupt and that you’ve somehow evolved? Conservation of energy, people.

A humble narrator has been narrating humbly for a long time now, and it’s entirely possible that I don’t want to narrate humbly anymore. Grrr.

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 1st. 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 4, 2021 at 2:00 pm

adventurous assurances

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It’s Tuesday again, now more than ever.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, my obligations to the Community Board carried me along to Northern Blvd.’s intersection with Broadway recently to inspect an area where the NYC DOT is planning on expanding its network of protected bike lanes. I really don’t care what your opinion of this program is, since nobody really cares what my opinion is, and this is a Governmental effort which spawns from the highest eschelons of the political world. Thereby, my opinion matters only in the context of pointing out and advocating for small changes to the overarching scheme. Amongst my small changes were reminders that the new pathway will bypass three distinct religious facilities, and to offer the observation that such entities routinely conduct funerals and weddings, and that the planners should plan on that being a problem they need to solve by incorporating loading and unloading zones nearby those facilities.

Seriously, the level of divisiveness surrounding bike lanes mystifies me. We’ve got electrical transformers exploding and torching parked cars, utility cables hanging off of the poles, wandering wackadoodles, porch pirates, race cars rallying… and… remember all the fireworks from last summer? With all of this going on, you’re worried about bike lanes and about losing parking?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Who’s Papi, you might ask. Tires by Papi is the answer, if you’re a member of the tire buying and tire replacement market. The ebullient signage and quarter acre of warm light offered by this tire shop on Broadway in Woodside always pulls me in. In addition to Gas Stations, one of the other disappearing vehicle maintenance parts of the streetscape are tire shops. I’ve got a friend, really a friend of a friend, who finds his way through the worldly milieu selling hubcaps, wheel covers, and other automotive ephemera. My pal Kevin Walsh from Forgotten-NY is the connective tissue with this fellow, whom Kevin has christened as “Hubcap Joe.” Now that… that… is a nickname.

I’ve got Hank the Elevator Guy, Sean the Carpenter, Mumbly Joe the Insulator, Lee the Machine, the Bulgar… the list goes on and on. Nicknames are a funny thing, more often than not they’re related to occupation, but sometimes you just need to seperate people with common names. Used to be that the bar I hung out at during the before times had a lot of Chris’s. We had to develop a system for these Astorian Chris’s. Croatian Chris, Crazy Chris, Glazier Chris, Pharmaceutical Chris, Real Estate Chris. In college, there was Dave Prime, Dave Squared, Dave Cubed. One Thai guy at my second advertising job, whose name I couldn’t pronounce, was called “Not Dave.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another gas station, another attendant pondering whether or not he should be concerned about the rough looking fellow in a filthy black raincoat taking pictures of his workplace at night.

Seriously, this is probably the most interaction I’ve had with a stranger in the last six months. My luck is holding out as far as finding exactly the most depopulated and empty route to take through the neighborhoods. It’s actually a bit terrifying how I can move about through one of the most densely populated sections of the planet and somehow not have another living soul closer than a block away from me.

Unliving souls, on the other hand…

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 1st. 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 2, 2021 at 11:00 am

nameless expectancy

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Monday is arrived.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator has been seriously applying himself to the pursuit of mastering his equipment in the first quarter of this new year, specifically the camera and lens combinations recently acquired. What that involves if you’re a normal person would be to take a few shots and see what you get. For me, this means wandering throughout Western Queens in the middle of the night and pointing the camera at fairly difficult to capture and ever changing subjects. Car washes, as pictured above, fascinate.

What makes the shot above difficult to capture is the combination of ambient darkness, ultra bright artificial light and abundant reflective surfaces, and the desire to “freeze” the scene so you could see all the soap and water flying around the brushes and car. This is a lot harder to calculate, camera settings wise, than you’d think it would be.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This particular excursion, which saw me leaving Astoria and heading eastwards along Broadway through Woodside in the direction of Jackson Heights, was undertaken for rather mundane reasons. I’m currently serving as Co-Chair of the Transportation Committee on the local Community Board and since the NYC Department of Transportation – or DOT – had recently informed the CB that they intended to strengthen certain aspects of the Northern Blvd. and Broadway bike lanes. Accordingly, I took a walk and explored the confines of their project to examine the street conditions. It’s best to observe in person rather than look at the place on maps, so as to spot areas that might end up being problematic.

Food trucks seem to draw my attention these days. Seldom do I partake, but I’m fascinated by the trade dress and attention grabbing signage of these things.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A new item on my “shoot this” list are Gas Stations. I’ve talked about this recently in some detail, but the disappearing filling stations of NYC are now something I’m making it a point of recording. From a camera POV, this is a damned hard subject to do justice to, given many of the same issues mentioned in the car wash shot at top. Reflective surfaces, super bright and or saturated neon lighting, ultra contrasty interaction with the dark street surrounding it… ain’t the easiest exposure triangle to figure out.

My photo gathering schedule continues to revolve around an “every other day” system, which sees a humble narrator leaving the house well after dark – 8, 9, sometimes even 10 o’clock – and then spending 2-3 hours burning through 5-10 miles of walking. These shots are about a month old, gathered during the last week of January.

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 1st. 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 1, 2021 at 1:00 pm

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