The Newtown Pentacle

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curious ears

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A bit of personal business found a humble narrator at the zone in Queens where Flushing and College Point wash over each other again. There’s a Department of Motor Vehicles outpost here – which is fairly inaccessible by mass transit (well played DMV) – and I had some paperwork to deal with.

A couple of transfers on the subway and soon was a humble narrator scuttling down the street, heading for the greatest Kafkaesque bureaucracy ever created by anyone other than the crew who used to run the Soviet Union.

What? I’m not going to take pictures along the way?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s a concrete mixing factory and distribution center, based right along the waterfront at Flushing Bay. The street I was walking along leads to the on and off ramps of the Whitestone Expressway.

Not exactly pedestrian friendly, this area. And that’s coming from the Newtown Creek guy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is not terribly familiar with this section of Queens. My expertise revolves around the industrial corridors surrounding Newtown Creek, which I refer to as “the study area.” I can speak pretty intelligently about the zone between Woodside Avenue/58th street and the East River (and a similar section of Brooklyn) from Newtown Creek to Bowery Bay, but Flushing and the College Point area are very much their own thing. Broad stroke stuff would be all I can offer and I’d refer you to the Queens Historical Society for a detailed POV on the subject.

It bears mentioning that I find the historical community in Queens increasingly toxic these days, and will actually recoil when I see any of them coming. A lot of this toxicity is due to infighting, and a lack of funding for the various groups interested in the subject. For the one or two of you who are reading this and thinking “is he talking about me?” – go fuck yourself. Show up, do the work, stop being an asshole.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having accomplished the filing and whatnot that I had come to the DMV to handle, it was decided to take a little walk on my way back to Astoria. My pathway to Flushing saw me depart the 7 train at its Main Street terminal stop, but I was a half hour walk away from the Mets/Citifield stop and it was a really nice early spring day, so…

Why not wave the camera around a bit? I didn’t go all fancy with these, and just cracked out shots of whatever happened to cross in front of me. I had a big “operation” happening a few days after this and didn’t want to go to nuts. This was March 4, btw.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It really is a shame, the way that the Borough of Queens treats the waterfront in areas where it hasn’t gentrified yet. Zero access here, there’s illegal dumping everywhere, and garbage is floating around in the water. I get so annoyed at the government types about this sort of thing, who “yada yada” about environmental issues but do nothing to fix them until the luxury condos projects are announced.

New York City’s government is a lot like your loser sibling who proclaims “this next year I’m going to get my shit together” at Christmas dinner before calling their dealer to deliver “las drogas” to your parent’s house, and who then crashes your dad’s car and tells your Mom that everything they just did is her fault because she served the wrong cranberry sauce.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Something I tell people these days is “that there is no threshold moment in your life when you will declare your shit as being together.” There is only now, so just do it. Whatever it is, just do it. If you’re fucking up, then maybe today you can try to fuck up a little less. Do the laundry.

Pfah.


“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 19, 2022 at 11:00 am

yet inchoate

with 3 comments

Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Finally – that’s the last shot from February above, the 28th specifically, and part of the abundance of images which a humble narrator gathered during the late winter. Out for a Friday night walk, my footsteps somehow carried me to where I was standing at the end of a Long Island Railroad platform in LIC.

Pictured at the right side of the shot is what was originally called the Subway Building. It was also Queens Borough Hall for about a decade during the early 20th century, and later on during the WW2 era it became known as the Paragon Oil building. In recent years, the structure has been given a makeover by new owners and the 7 story, 130,000 sq ft. structure is now called “The Point, LIC.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few days later, on March 2nd, another walk around the darkened streets of LIC was underway. It has been a while since I checked out the series of streets that intersect with Jackson Avenue and dead end at the Sunnyside Yards, so off I went.

This section, of course, is densely populated due to all of the new residential construction. I’ve been avoiding it like the plague, during the plague, just every other crowded “zone” in NYC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This particularly cool car was spotted. Didn’t see any plates or registration stickers on it, so I can’t tell you anything other than late model Ford Mustang. This was, I believe, on the aptly named “Queens Street.”

As mentioned a few weeks back, one has been unusually prolific – for reasons – so far this year, and until I manage to burn through some of the backlog of photos from late winter and early spring, will be offering posts here at Newtown Pentacle that carry six images.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m always fascinated by the sort of parking structure pictured above. It’s a pretty efficient use of space and cantilever engineering, but there has to be so much weight focused down through that thing… I mean, yeah, engineering but…

In recent years, I’ve been seeing a lot of new building construction using cantilevers to maximize space. There’s an enormous residential tower rising in Greenpoint along Newtown Creek’s intersection with East River that uses this technique.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This was one of my short walks, and my “turn around point” was at the Court Square station, nearby the sapphire megalith. I’ve shot this particular gas station dozens of times during the pandemic. About three years ago, I missed out on selling a stock photo to one of the agencies when I didn’t have a nocturnal image of a BP gas station. Ever since, I’ve been making it a point of gathering images of such infrastructure so as to not miss out on a future opportunity.

Also, this is the section of Northern Blvd. where those weird Subway grate covers that do double duty as street benches can be found, so it’s a convenient spot to sit down for a few minutes. I’ll take it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Upon hauling my self back to an upright posture and getting back into motion, a former car dealership’s interior empty space called me to shoot through the dirty windows. I’m really into the concept of liminal space right now.

Liminal space is an area which is a transition between other spaces, an area which is normally full of “something” or “someone’s” but is currently empty except for you. The emptiness of liminal space is disconcerting to many people, and it’s kind of a “thing” at the moment.

If you haven’t experienced any of the interesting “Back Rooms” videos which use the liminal space concept as a setting for a mysterious sci-fi/horror narrative, click here.


“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 18, 2022 at 11:00 am

overhead scarce

with one comment

Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Scuttling, always scuttling. Filthy black raincoat waving about in the breeze, shoes dragging through the mud. Friendless in dark places. Camera in hand, sometimes it doesn’t rain.

One found himself perambulating towards the Blissville section of Long Island City one recent evening, following the path less travelled – by foot at any rate. Cannot tell you how often it is that I find myself walking along Highway off ramps. Well… in this case Expressway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Along the way, one spotted this particularly well developed homeless encampment that was set up in a wooded area adjoining the expressway’s various ramps and overpasses. Having mentioned this particular dwelling to some of the Astoria commentariat subsequently, one was stunned at the hard hearted responses offered in return.

Whatever your opinion of such matters is, it doesn’t negate the fact that this is a human being, or beings, who are living rough. They have nowhere to bathe, or take a dump, or enjoy any sense of personal security while they’re sleeping. I don’t care if they’re nuts, or addicted to nuts, or if they are literally motherfuckers – these are human beings, fellow travelers, somebody’s kid. Have a little empathy for your fellow man, and remember that “but for the grace of god, there go I.” Poor bastards… this photo was captured in freaking January, and depicts the homestead of somebody who lives in an unheated tent made of garbage.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I get the disdain, especially from the crew of first generation immigrants who were offering it here in Astoria. To their mind, they showed up here without two cents to rub together and they’ve made something out of themselves so why should they feel sorry for some bum who had every opportunity to do the same. My bleeding heart could not be quieted, however, and I had to remind the commentariat about empathy and their self identification as “Christians.”

I’m not saying that the guy living in the garbage tent is a preferred choice for marrying your daughter, but jeez – on a purely human level you have to feel some sort of pity for their circumstance. Everybody in NYC is a few short months from the street if circumstance goes against us. A friend of a friend went from Wall Street wealthy to homeless shelter in just six months after a health crisis set off a cascade of disasters. Garbage tent can literally happen to anyone of us.

Personally, I distribute old clothing to people in this sort of situation. Socks, t-shirts, etc. I’ll either hand them over in person or just leave a bag near the entrance to their shack with a note. I’m not virtue signaling or anything, just saying that it wouldn’t hurt to help and be empathetic towards another’s circumstance rather than to castigate them for a series of bad choices and or circumstance.


“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 18, 2022 at 11:00 am

somnolent stillness

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent occasion found a humble narrator somewhat east of the study area, specifically I was at the “angle” between College Point and Flushing, on a rainy day. The entirety of this exercise was typified by futility and frustration. On my way there, riding in a cab, I got stuck in a “frozen zone” on the Grand Central Parkway when the President of the United States arrived at LaGuardia. That turned my $25 cab ride into a $130 one. When I arrived, an hour late, at my appointment it turned out that I was missing several pieces of the documentation required to complete my business. This meant that I had paid $130 for nothing, and thereby I found myself walking towards Flushing’s Main Street and it’s 7 Line Subway station in a defeated manner. $132.75 down, now.

At least I was able to crack out a few shots along the way, but this was also one of the “sometimes” when it rains.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s hard for me not to think “dystopian shit hole” these days.

Everything is broken. It’s not due to COVID either. The entire “system” is broken. I shouldn’t have to petition a member of Congress for help with local issues, and the fact that the City of New York is a-ok with what Flushing Bay looks like isn’t too cool either. Y’know what would improve things here? Luxury Condos… oh, don’t worry, they’ve already got plans drawn up for that.

Bah. It’s all so god damned depressing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve since located and or replaced the missing documents I needed, which were required for my official business, and have since completed what I came out here to do on a subsequent trip. The good news is that on that second trip I didn’t end up getting banged out on an exploded and bloated cab fare due to the arrival of an American President at LaGuardia Airport.

Before you ask – Department of Motor Vehicles. I stupidly allowed my driver’s license to expire about ten years ago. This hasn’t been a problem, at all, for me. Thing is, one constant regret during the COVID period has been a lack of personal transportation. Lesson learned. Documents are being sorted out as you’re reading this, and the problem will be solved shortly. As the song says – “On the road again.”


“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 17, 2022 at 11:00 am

stirred not

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator ponders the deep stuff while out scuttling. “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood” and the like. Aglets, which are the plastic or metal tips of shoelaces, have an unspoken and quite sinister purpose. Is house paint just nicely colored industrial waste? Are the fire retardant chemicals that federal law demands factory inclusion of, into carpets and furniture, actually fire accelerants? Does “new car smell” cause cancer? Also, whereas you see an occasional dead pigeon, where do they go to die – in their multitudes. Is there a vast pigeon graveyard somewhere? I bet it’s in the Bronx, if there is such a place – with grand shoals of pigeon ivory glittering white in the radiances of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself.

Penguins aren’t who or what you think they are. They’re assholes like geese. For a while now, I’ve been wondering about how to control insects, given that they’re essentially biological robots who receive information packet instructions through pheromone messaging. If we figure out the right chemical syntax and steroidal language, could the Ants and Termites start working for – rather than against – us?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Have you ever read any of the muckrakers? Ida Tarbull, or Upton Sinclair? I have. Sinclair’s “The Jungle” is in my top ten, ever. The book is so old that it’s entered the public domain, and I’ve been thinking about doing a find/replace text project and releasing an appended version for modern audiences called “La Jungla.” I’d search for all instances of “Lithuania” and replace the word with “Mexico.” Same thing with turning “Jurgis” to “Jorge.” It’s a surprisingly modern day story, and speaks to the fact that not much has fundamentally changed in American Society since the late 19th century. Culturally, we seem to be in a rut. Superman is still large and in charge, and he’s been around since the Great Depression. Another Batman movie is in the theaters, and he’s a Depression era eidolon as well. The Marvel crew are all Cold War and 1960’s cultural icons. What’s come along since The Beatles? Since Star Wars? Wait… the Cold War is back on again?

Fire hydrants of the type pictured above are welded onto the water pipe that feeds them. If a vehicle was to allide with a hydrant of this type, the water would flow freely and the DEP would have to shut off the block’s entire water line and dig up the street in order to fix it. They’re replacing this hydrant model, citywide, with one that is flanged onto the buried pipe and incorporates a localized valve into the operating system. The hydrant is filled with drinking water, just like your toilet is, as a note.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Free car storage,” that’s the Bicycle Advocacy Lobby calls street parking. A humble narrator gets particularly annoyed at scenes like this one which seem to escape their notice, where a private outfit involved in the yellow cab game takes over entire blocks to store their inventory. Nearby this spot, you’ll also notice that the NYC DOT and other City Agencies have set aside parking spots for their own exclusive usage. As a matter of fact, due to ongoing work on the Queensboro Bridge, DOT and it’s contractors have recently seized 80 additional parking spots in LIC for free storage of their vehicles over the next 24 months. In the midst of the City of Greater New York’s quest to ameliorate climate issues, the question as to why municipal employees don’t take the train or a bus to get where they’re going to never seems to come up. Hypocrisy abounds.

One dreams of abandoning it all, moving to some Third World Jungle, and inventing his own race of Atomic Supermen. That’s step one. Next up is insect control, then getting some sort of lock down in place on the Penguins and Geese. Their perfidy has gone unanswered for too long.


“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 16, 2022 at 11:00 am

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