The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Photowalks’ Category

unrent before

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found one photographing the proceedings of a Newtown Creek Alliance workday nearby Dutch Kills. It was a decent enough effort, one which involved the planting of environmentally beneficial plants and a general cleanup of the omnipresent illegal dumping one encounters around the troubled Long Island City waterway, and one which resulted in a humble narrator sitting painfully alongside the road while waiting for a cab to pick him up. As mentioned, my back and the left foot have been giving me trouble in recent weeks. This too shall pass, but why not avoid further exacerbation of injury when you can?

It was a fiendishly humid and warm evening, and low flying clouds were touching the rooftops of tower town. You couldn’t help but shvitz.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Often do I wonder whether or not a garment with pockets of pressurized helium contained within would lighten the load. Maybe I can order a camera bag from the Zeppelin people over in Deutschland, and just float my gear along. In many ways, I miss the old days when I carried a Canon G10 and could fit everything I needed to have with me in a pocket.

Saying that, all the gear I carry these days makes me a dangerous man. I’m ready for just about any circumstance. Any circumstance except one which requires a flash. I never carry a flash anymore. Writing this, it just occurred to me that I still haven’t tested out my flashes on the new camera, seven months after acquiring it. Guess I know what I’m doing tonight, now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Newtown Creek Alliance is a non profit organization dedicated to “reveal, restore, revitalize” Newtown Creek. We have offices and employees, and I’ve been working with the group for about 15 years now. I’m the historian guy, lead a bunch of walking and boat tours centered around the “reveal” part of the mission, and more recently have joined the Board of Directors. NCA works on both sides of the Creek, in Brooklyn and Queens, and we are heavily involved in the whole Superfund thing.

If you want to get a closer look at the NCA operation, and meet us in person, on July 31st the “Kingsland Wildflower Festival” will be on offer at 520 Kingsland Avenue between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. I’m just meant to hang out, wisecrack at hipsters, and take photos for the event, but there’s going to be tours of the green roof which offer spectacular views of the Newtown Creek and surrounding Metropolis. Also, there’s supposed to be music and food.


“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

July 22, 2021 at 11:00 am

numberless domes

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s been a while since the cool cars spotted here in LIC have been offered, even though an eye has been kept peeled for vehicles of the “off the beaten track” variety. I’ve always wanted one of these military style trucks, mainly since it’s a diesel engine deal with a pipe snorkel that would allow the motor to keep running even when submerged. Imagine cruising a flooded Frannie Lou in that ride, Queens kids.

This was parked on the sidewalk nearby the Big Allis power plant in the Ravenswood section of Long Island City. Were I ever to become a Batman villain, Ravenswood is where I’d set up my lair, and my lackeys would drive what’s pictured above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not too far from HQ in Astoria, there’s a business which handles all of the mechanical and construction needs for food trucks and carts. I won’t decry the fact that they illegally park on and block the sidewalks. A recent addition to their “honey do” list is a classic Airstream trailer. Stainless steel skin and a galvanized chassis, the Airstream is a 1960’s dream.

This business, and several like it, are under threat of displacement by the Innovations Queens project, which proposes bringing thirty story luxury condo buildings to Astoria in the 35/36 Ave. zone between Steinway and Northern Blvd.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in Ravenswood, where there’s a thriving industrial sector devoted to vehicle maintenance, this collection of spare parts was observed. It was poised in front of the old silk thread factory, and seemed to be the property of a garage engaged in the repair of taxi cabs. It reminded me of the biblical Abraham, with his tent open to the four cardinal directions.

More tomorrow – 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 20, 2021 at 11:00 am

earthly year

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found a humble narrator walking a friend back to their Jackson Heights digs, followed by a night time stroll back to Astoria via Woodside. One is generally not enthralled with taking photographs of residential structures, or shops. My preferential subjects are usually heavy and maritime industrial, transportation and related infrastructure, cool cars and trucks, and the occasional angry bird.

Woodside, of course, is heavily residential but it does have its charms.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I don’t know what the scoop is with this apparently abandoned church building, but I’m sure there’s at least one neighborhood ghost story told about it. That’s just the nature of things, or it should be.

C’mon, zoom in on the the windows. Is there a demon staring out at you from behind the glass? Must be. Tell me what you see in there? Spooky!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m always fascinated by the polychromatic lighting offered by the various forms of street furniture in Queens. That’s what the professionals call traffic signals and street lamps and all the other gear they install – fire boxes, bike racks, benches, hydrants. Street furniture is kind of a catch all phrase for the stuff which allows us to do our thing. If it’s well deployed, you don’t even notice its presence.

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 11, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Photowalks, Pickman, Woodside

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bandied about

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One found himself wandering through the happy place, as Industrial Maspeth – here in the Borough of Queens – is often referred to at Newtown Pentacle HQ, and transfixed by the patriotic vehicle wrap adorning the concrete mixer truck pictured above. It’s a Kenworth, but I’ll be damned if I could tell you what model or year it is. Recently, one was informed by a reader here at Newtown Pentacle that the concrete industrial complex here in NYC is in the process of consolidating under a single corporate umbrella. Given that the last time a single conglomerate controlled this sector was during the late 1980’s with the head office either a coffee shop/social club on Mulberry Street or a certain Mansion on Staten Island, what could go wrong? I know. I’ve seen too many movies. Everything that’s happened in the past didn’t really happen except when it fits into a modern political narrative.

I often muse about the somewhat obscure history of Queens, and how it’s a puzzle if you don’t understand the predicates of the surrounding world which created the modern day milieu.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In Industrial Maspeth, you can find literal pieces of the puzzle just sitting there on the sidewalk waiting for you to notice them. Seriously, this thing was just sitting there, and was about the size of a dinner plate.

Part of the modern narrative in NYC describes the boiling pot of real estate development. With a straight face, developers will tell you that the modern era is challenging for them financially, despite the booming economies of demolition and construction as well as the expanding heavy equipment rental business. NYC has been in high gear for about twenty five years now, construction wise. Why is that? Can it be that the old “tax” imposed on the real estate people by a certain group of people is now a margin pocketable by these developers personally? How did this anchor weighing down the glorious rapacity of capitalism find itself ameliorated? The answer doesn’t fit the narrative, meaning that the puzzle pieces are anomalous to modern eyes.

There are certain “rackets” which made their margin off of sins – gambling, prostitution, drugs, and loan sharking. The rackets which really paid the bills involved the Kosher meats trade, newspaper printing and delivery, the garment industry, the Ports, the construction trades. Trucking, both local and interstate, also was particularly profitable. A few pennies from every kosher chicken, a couple of bucks from every stick of lumber, a c-note for a ton of concrete, a buck or two from every window replacement at a NYCHA building can make you rich quick. The trades are the best business out of them all. Couple that with indirectly owning a bunch of all cash businesses where you could change the dirty money to untraceable clean cash – pizzerias, bakeries, newsstands, laundromats – NYC was a working class thief’s paradise until about thirty years ago. That’s when the Lawyers and Politicians muscled the working class gangsters out and set their own people up instead. That’s why they call the loan shark biz “payday loans” today instead of shystering.

These days, all you need is an MBA and a Realtor’s license to be a gangster.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everybody asks me if I’ve seen bodies floating in Newtown Creek or seen a corpse with cement overshoes there. They make a weird face when I tell them that only an idiot like that Serial Killer who got caught (Joel Rifkin) would try and dump a body in Newtown Creek, or the East River, for that matter. Newbie.

There’s barely any current in these waters, and the body would just stay there waiting for the Cops to notice it. If you wanted, or needed, to dispose of a corpse you’d want to use the Hudson or Jamaica Bay due to the strong currents. As far as the former, you’re taking a real chance that your victim might wash up in Staten Island or Bay Ridge before getting swept out to sea. It’s also a pretty busy shipping channel, which magnifies your chances of getting attention from the aforementioned Cops. If you’re “criming” you really want to worry about Cops, which seems obvious, but having witnessed how godawful and blatant Millennials are at crime this bears mentioning. You don’t want the body found, period. I’d rather you didn’t “crime,” either, but you do you.

In my old neighborhood, they would cut your victim up after draining the blood out, then put the pieces into paper grocery bags and wing them out the window on the Belt Parkway for the crabs and rats to take care of. Larger chunks got disposed of at the Fountain Avenue Landfill nearby Starrett City.


“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

May 10, 2021 at 11:00 am

second sign

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Tired and overwhelmed is a humble narrator, who is out taking pictures of the greatest city in the history of mankind this week and not attending any Zoom meetings or frankly doing anything he doesn’t want to do. Thereby, this week you’ll be encountering single images here at Newtown Pentacle, in pursuance of taking a short break from the normal blather.

Pictured above is the Global Marine Terminal at Port Elizabeth Newark, as seen from the Bayonne Bridge. 100 years ago today, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officially opened its doors for business.


“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 30, 2021 at 11:00 am

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