The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Queens’ Category

unmistakable style

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, a bit of gear which allows me to place the camera in positions that would normally require lying prone on the sidewalk to capture has recently been added to my camera bag.

When shooting these, I had in mind a narrative I was going to talk about them with which would describe how I’ve given up walking in favor of crawling.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Believe me, after you’ve been walking for 8-9 hours straight, crawling actually sounds pretty good. Thing is, it’s a bit of a reach. I’m intrigued by the change in perspective, however. It’s what you’d refer to in a comic book script as a “bug’s perspective.” Maybe it’s that of a Cat’s.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This device isn’t a tripod, rather it’s called a “platypod,” and it’s their “max” model. I’ve had their smaller “ultra” version for a while and decided to go with the larger and more stable version recently.

Glad I did.


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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

December 9, 2021 at 11:00 am

blazed dangerously

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another shlep across Western Queens in the dark, that’s all I wanted to do. While on this particular scuttle, I discovered that I had fully burned through yet another pair of Merrel hiking boots over the prior six months and that it was time to order another pair. Concrete devours the treads of my shoes, and after noticing that my trick left foot was causing me all sorts of trouble and pain in recent weeks, I inspected my shoes only to discover that the treads had been ground away and all that remained of them was a light pattern on an otherwise bald sole.

You didn’t skimp on shoes, I always say. Foundation garments either. Cheap shoes and socks buy you expensive blisters and cause trouble.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As previously mentioned, I’ve been trying to stick to an every other day schedule for walks long and short. This was a short one, by my standards. Walk over to LIC, swing the turn at Queens Plaza, head back to Astoria. Roughly two hours, with occasional stops at interesting if familiar points of view like the one above at Sunnyside Yards.

From HQ in Astoria to Queens Plaza, as the crow flies, is three subway stops or about a mile and a small bit of change. Peregrinations along the route add in some distance, and all told – there and back again is about three miles.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At one point I decided to lie down in the sidewalk and crawl around for awhile in the manner of a pilgrim. Just kidding there.

A bit of gear I recently acquired allows for a stable placement of the camera on the sidewalk, and a few other uncommon “POV’s.” It also encourages one to engage in what I call “photographer calisthenics,” which includes deep knee bends and that sort of motion.


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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

December 8, 2021 at 11:00 am

uncounted billions

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in the saddle again, as it were.

It seems, after returning from my various journeys, that a humble narrator has had a bit of a fire lit in the seat of his pants. Within three days of returning to NYC, circumstance demanded that I needed to travel all over the place, and that’s when the malevolent sentience of NYC penalized me for leaving her behind for the interval.

A City based memorial get together in honor of a recently departed friend saw me standing on the subway platforms at Queens Plaza afterwards, which is when the 7 train shot above was captured. I got to talk to the cops about this one, while some asshole was smoking a joint about twenty feet away from us. I don’t care that he was smoking weed, mind you, it’s that he was smoking anything at all on the freaking platform at Queens Plaza and the cops decided to hassle me for taking a photo – which is 100% legal – instead of the other guy who was doing something 100% illegal.

“Why are you taking pictures of the subway”? I dunno officer, maybe it’s cause I’m the Chair of the Community Board’s Transportation Committee, or that I’m part of a transit advocacy group called Access Queens which focuses on problems that happen on this line? Maybe it’s because I can do whatever the hell I want to, and I wouldn’t have to explain myself to you even if I am in the middle of committing a crime let alone not committing one? If it was the former situation, you’d have already added a pair of steel bracelets to my accoutrements prior to getting me to say something stupid enough for you to take me back to the Station House. Grrrr.

“Dystopian shithole,” that’s what I kept on repeating to myself after the N line arrived across the platform and carried me into Astoria. Covid seems to have applied the icing to De Blasio’s seven year long layer cake of municipal despair, indifference, and “less than.” Pfah.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another occasion found me walking through the blight and wasteland blocks surrounding Manhattan’s horrific Hudson Yards development. The section of midtown nearby Hudson Yards, and the similarly ill conceived Javitz Convention Center, has long been a dangerous and lonely section of the city inhabited by scalliwags, truants, muggers, drug enthusiasts, and whatever the hell “woke” people call street prostitutes these days. Hudson Yards has somehow made this worse by luring future victims to the area. Luckily for them, the wealthy can afford private security. Cops ain’t doing shit for shinola until De Blasio is out of office, so if you’re not rich enough to afford a body man, keep your guard up lords and ladies. Turbulence is ahead.

Luckily, the traffic gendarmes were there to ensure the smooth flow of New Jersey bound automobile traffic through the zone. Wonder how long it’s going to be before somebody comes up with the bright idea to knock down that church (Sts. Cyril & Methodius & St. Raphael’s Catholic Church Croatian Parish) and replace it with a 30 story Walgreens because a) progress, b) affordable housing, c) ride a bike asshole, d) you’re a racist if you disagree with anything that might have just popped into my head right now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Finally, seeking some sort of quiet time and communion with my arrival “back home,” I rode the ferry out to Staten Island hoping for some tugboat time. I got some of that, but was again thwarted by NYC teaching me a lesson for leaving her behind for a few weeks.

It seems that on my way back to the City, I had to stop off to get sniffed by the security theater labradors stationed therein while rushing through the terminal to catch the Staten Island Ferry. A momentary delay, the sniffing nevertheless caused me to miss the boat, since the ferry guy had already partially closed the sliding glass door he spends his life sliding open and closed, and he would have had to reopen it, and since he’s a city employee who’s already dead inside… there went a half hour of my life, which I spent being cased by a rip off crew that hangs around the SI Ferry terminals.

I’ve seen and noticed this particular pack of “clown shoes” before, a group of scaly looking early to mid 20’s guys who work as a unit. One guy spots the “vic,” and then texts his buddies. They move in through the crowd from different angles, and before you know it you’re standing in the middle of a huddle of dim witted muggers who work you over – picking your pockets and grabbing whatever they can before scattering. I noticed them noticing me (and especially the camera) immediately, and began a fun game of moving about the terminal to give them some exercise while playing dumb about the situation. They would text each other when I stopped moving, and then begin collecting nearby me again. Then I’d move again, and then there they were. So bad at crime, the millennials are. So incredibly bad.

To the cops at Queens Plaza – there’s a heroin operation which uses the Staten Island Ferry to move product between New Jersey and Manhattan. Has been going on for years. Look for what you boys in blue refer to as “skels” when on the big orange boat. Noticing things like this is quite literally your job. Stop hassling photographers.

Bah. Back next week.


“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

November 19, 2021 at 11:00 am

tilted both

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After riding the Times Square Ferris Wheel, a humble narrator headed indirectly back to Queens. Along the way, I passed by a construction project occurring on West 47th street that involved using a crane to transport concrete to some unknown prominence high above.

Seriously, it never ends. Have you heard about the push by the Real Estate people to rezone midtown Manhattan because it’s not dense enough?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Union Guys generally hate it when I’m taking pictures of them working. They don’t like it in Queens and Brooklyn and all around Newtown Creek, where these trucks get loaded up, and they don’t like it in the City where the trucks get unloaded at the job site.

I don’t care what other people like or dislike anymore.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

About a block away, I was finally able to gain perspective on the scene, and see the crane. Manhattan always looks best from outside of Manhattan. The narrow streets and looming architecture lends itself to inky shadow and obscured views. Luckily, the construction guys had blocked off the street so I got to stand in the gutter – where I belong – and crack out a shot or two.

Enjoy your holiday weekend, lords and ladies, back next week with more wonders from the megalopolis.


“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

September 3, 2021 at 11:00 am

once revolved

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je m’appelle Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, one has reactivated a formerly inactive and semi retired lens back into service. I won’t bore you with the technical details revolving around the camera, instead I’ll just say that this particular lens never performed terribly well on my old camera and it fell out of active rotation in favor of other devices. Saying that, it’s complimentary to the newer camera I’m now using so there you are.

These shots were gathered while hanging around Astoria, carousing and watching the other Queensicans go about their business. This is a telephoto lens, which allows me to get “up close and personal” from about a block away. Its biggest flaw on the RF system is that it’s a fairly “dark” lens, with a variable aperture.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “variable aperture” bit means that as you zoom in or out, its internal settings change. It’s f4-6.3 over the range, if you’re curious. One vastly prefers lenses which don’t do this, and the rest of my current kit doesn’t do variable, but that’s where they get you on price. At the moment, I don’t have any financial impetus to upgrade to a better lens for this particular function. Also, maybe it’s just me, but if you’re zoomed out to 300mm you really want to be working the image at narrow apertures to ensure sharpness.

For those of you who aren’t camera nerds – lenses with wide apertures like f1.8-f4 produce images with narrow focal planes but allow a lot of light into the camera. Think about portrait shots with blurry backgrounds for what that looks like. Narrower apertures produce more edge to edge sharpness, but restrict the amount of light entering the camera, necessitating longer exposure times and or higher ISO settings. Photographers, myself included, drool over bright lenses. Lens manufacturers price their wares accordingly, and – generally speaking – the brighter a lens is, the more expensive it is.

Telephoto lenses with wide apertures are ludicrously expensive, which is why you generally see them employed by Paparazzi, Sports, or Wedding photographers. I take pictures of junk yards and tugboats, so…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Where that narrow aperture really bites you in the tuchas is at night, or in any situation which isn’t “outside during the day.” The rest of my lens kit is very capable in low light conditions, and even at f1.8 I’ve been hitting tack sharp infinity focus with them. The 70-300 I’ve brought out of retirement isn’t really in the same league as these more modern lenses, and its color rendering requires a bit of adjustment and attention that the newer ones don’t need. Saying that, it’s already paid for, so win.

Speaking of winning… what are you doing on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?


“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

August 3, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria, Queens

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