The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Photowalks’ Category

sinisterly wooded

leave a comment »

Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One finds himself wandering over the same ground over and over due to the efficiency of certain routes. There are de facto passes – gateway points – between the residential neighborhoods of Queens and the industrial business zones. That means that I end up moving through and towards these choke points all the time. Some of these “passes” are created by highways, cemeteries, or rail yards. In the case of the “happy place” Maspeth area of Newtown Creek, there’s the 39th/43rd/48th street corridors.

Interesting Queens historical trivia is that back in Dutch and English times, 39th street used to be called Harold Avenue, 43rd street used to be called Laurel Hill Blvd. and ran from Berrian Bay to Newtown Creek, and that 48th street was “the Shell Road” which was paved with crushed oyster shells.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Normal scuttling finds me looking for the most direct route from “A” to “B” but given that there’s nothing normal about the world right now, one finds himself wandering about a bit more than usual. Why not walk down that street or avenue you’ve never consciously explored before? It’s not like you have somewhere else to go.

My fascination with photographing the skeletal silhouettes of wintry street trees is becoming an issue for me, so I’m planning on calling Thrive NYC to ask Chirlane DeBlasio for some advice on kicking the habit. She’s apparently the wisest of all people, according to the Mayor, but he’s only watched a few of the videos.

Seriously though, seeing a tree this large and this old which has survived in the darkest of the environmental thickets of Newtown Creek’s industrialized hinterlands long enough to get up to forty or fifty feet is just inspirational. You’ve got to take hope when you find it, lords and ladies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This lobster truck, which has clearly seen better days, sits at the top of a hill in the section of West Maspeth which was sometimes referred to as “Berlin” or “Berlinville” in the late 19th century and for the first decade of the 20th. There are residential buildings hereabouts, scattered here and there amongst the factories and warehouses, and queries I’ve offered to the folks who live here over the years have revealed no living memory of the Berlin thing. Saying that, there was the Berlinville Railway disaster, and I’ve seen the term scribed onto fire insurance maps, so…

It’s parked on what should be the eastern slope of Berlin Hill. Laurel Hill is where First Calvary cemetery resides. The shallow valley between them, which the BQE runs through, used to host a lost tributary of Newtown Creek called “Wolf Creek,” or so the legend states…

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, January 18th. 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

January 20, 2021 at 11:00 am

elusive dreams

with 4 comments

Friday odds and ends for the endtimes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Spotted this wrecked “Boro Cab” on the south side of Steinway Street, all illuminated by the glow of a rotisserie chicken joint, and it caught my eye. I like to guess what happened when I see this sort of thing, and based on the bent up signboard and caved in roof, conjecture revolves around this vehicle as having been rolled during the accidental which rendered it non operational. I always say “accidental” rather than “accident” for what you see afterwards, as I find it clumsy using a verb to describe a noun. Brooklynese is the language of my inner voice – which would sound like “Brooklynese iz da langwadge a My innah voyse” if you were a telepath.

Conjecture is the word for this sort of wondering about things you see but are guessing about how they ended up in this state, and I’ve always wondered if it’s appropriate to use “conject” as a verb. There are a lot of words like “conjecture” that I wonder about, but you have to pass the time somehow when wandering around on a cold night during a pandemic as American civilization fractures. I get stuck on this sort of thing all the time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is, of course, an idiot. Regardless, there are thoughts which torment and inhabit. Beyond the whole “inflammable/flammable” dichotomy, I often turn words about in my thoughts, breaking them down into parts to discern deeper meaning – Dis-ease – hey, that’s a lack of ease.

My buddy Hank the elevator guy is an elevator mechanic, but doesn’t describe what he does at work as “mechanicing.” A guy I know in Astoria is Joe the insulator, and he spends his days insulating stuff. Mario the exterminator guy exterminates, Brendan the bar tender tends bar, but my landlord who owns a Butcher shop in the City doesn’t “butch.” This sort of thing absolutely consumes me sometimes.

Shouldn’t the workflow of a butcher be called “butching?”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Electricians wire, they don’t “electric.” Plumbers actually do plumb, but that’s a relatively small part of their job. Arborists don’t “arbor,” and these days only a very small subset of Sailors “sail.” Firefighters fight fires, Police police, Bakers bake. Photographers photograph. Artists don’t “art,” Musicians don’t “music,” Tailors don’t “tail.” It’s all very confusing. Don’t even ask me about Phlebotomists.

Not sure if I’ve shown you my favorite 2020 ChristmAstoria display, pictured above, from 43rd street between Broadway and 34th Avenue. I don’t know the people who live in this particular house, although I do know a few other people who live on this block. If there was an award for Christmas lights, they’d get my vote.

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, January 11th. 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

January 15, 2021 at 2:00 pm

mist maddened

with 2 comments

Apocalyptic Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s lovely feeling the earth shift under your feet, ain’t it? There’s little I can do about the state of the world, so the only option is to continue walking the earth alone and at night. This is the bad time of the year for me, as it’s so very cold, but that – at least – is something predictable which I can cling to. Given that what I’m trying to do when leaving the house, in addition to getting some exercise for both my rotting body and the camera, is avoid the presence of disease carrying humans my routes usually involve walking through the most deserted and lonely places I can think of.

Luckily, Western Queens offers a lot in the way of deserted and lonely. Also lucky is the recent activity of whomsoever it is that Amtrak has put in charge of popping tiny holes into the fences surrounding the Sunnyside Yards in recent months.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I detest having to wear an extra layer of insulating clothing under my normal “mitchsuit,” but what are you going to do when it’s freezing cold outside? What? Stay at home when it’s below freezing, you say? That would be insane.

As I’ve often opined, NYC looks best when it’s slightly moistened and the streets are all shiny with slime and ice. One of the things catching my eye at the moment are the creepy looking skeletal trees of the industrial streets, grasping their bony branches accusingly toward the sky. Everything smelled salty, due to the de icing efforts of the Department of Sanitation, and furtive shadows were observed darting around the dumpsters. At night, the rats come out.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On this particular evening, wherein I described my goals to Our Lady of the Pentacle as being a “short walk,” my path led from Astoria to some of the less travelled sections of Long Island City surrounding the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek and then through Blissville on my loop back home – about 4-5 miles. My practice through the pandemic has involved doing all of the banal things I do during daylight hours here at HQ, then donning “outside clothes” and the filthy black raincoat and venturing forth. Upon arriving back at HQ, whatever photos have been collected are then transferred from camera to computer and the “first pass” is done. What that means is that I look though the average 2-300 shots on my camera and throw at least half of them out. Before I go to sleep, the remaining shots have been keyworded and cropped.

The next day, I do the developing process and upload them to the web. An every other day schedule has been more or less maintained during the pandemic, with a few hiccups here and there. You control what you can control, and don’t try to control what you can’t.

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, January 11th. 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

January 13, 2021 at 2:00 pm

somber livery

leave a comment »

Friday, 2021.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Project Firebox used to be a thing here at Newtown Pentacle, owing to my fascination with the things and also to Mayor Bloomberg’s heartfelt desire to eradicate them from the streets of NYC, which is obviously one of several things he was unsuccessful at during his terms as Mayor. I like Fire Alarm boxes for a couple of reasons, but primarily they often serve as a bit of a history lesson. See the one above? This model, with push buttons for bothering FDNY and NYPD, was installed all over the City back during the Koch era. Certain models of this type have an intercom style audio system incorporated into them.

It was a failed experiment, supposedly. FDNY says that most of their false alarm calls come from Fireboxes, and there’s never a Cop around when you need one. At least there’s always a firebox to hide from fire or crime behind.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Regrets? I’ve got a few. Resolutions? I avoid making them.

The only New Year’s resolution I’ve got this year is to drop some weight, as both butt and gut have gotten bigger and softer during the pandemic months and I’m tired of it. Need to get more exercise time in, a humble narrator does. Burn off the fat, get back to being leaner and meaner. Grrr.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Have a good 2021? I’m almost afraid to offer the salutation, for fear that California might break off of the continent and sink into the ocean after 2020.

Back next week, with shots from one of the very few adventures I managed to have in the last 294 days. Stay safe and all that, Lords and Ladies.

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, December 28th. 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

January 1, 2021 at 11:00 am

diminutive monkey

with one comment

Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I often wonder if all of this is actually happening or if I’m suffering the effects of coma in a hospital bed somewhere and my brain is firing off random hallucinatory ideations. Like the “this all might be a computer simulation” scenario, how could you possibly discern what is real or not if your conscious mind is trapped like a “ship in a bottle” within the delusion. Without an outside reference point, your point of perception is warped by the atmospheric container it dwells within. It’s astronomy from within the atmosphere versus the clear views available from space.

As mentioned yesterday, one ponders existential questions while wandering around Queens in the dead of night during a global pandemic.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everyone is the hero of their own story, or at least they should be. I’m the villain of my own, or at least I find villains more interesting than the heroes, so I claim the role. Lex Luthor? He’s trying to protect the human race from an all powerful alien overlord. Joker? The only man in the entire City brave enough to laugh in the face of a sociopathic Billionaire who dresses up in bondage gear and spends his nights beating up poor people. God hates you for your sins, Lucifer loves you just as you are.

There’s around 177,000 stories living in the naked Astoria, I plan on learning a few more of them in the new year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Incredible luck governs over me, I realize. One of the skills I’ve developed during these pandemic months is the ability to choose a path through one of the most densely populated sections of the planet which offers zero company and little or no interaction with the humans. It wasn’t terribly late, either, I’ve just managed to find something new I’m good at – avoiding company and the concomitant commiseration of microbiota that comes with it.

Cooties.

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, December 28th. 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

December 29, 2020 at 3:00 pm

%d bloggers like this: