The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Queens’ Category

baffling region

with one comment

Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

About a hundred and change years ago, roughly a hundred horses a day would die of exhaustion and overwork somewhere in the greater NYC area every single day. Common practice was to just abandon the corpse on the street, and an entire industrial sector operated around the collection and disposal of the beasts. Van Iderstine’s in Long Island City and other rendering operations happily accepted the bodies, and they’d melt them down into tallow. The hides, hooves, and bones had other destinations. Leather manufacturers, Neet Oil distilleries, and fertilizer mills took those parts.

What about the horse poop, you ask? If you’ve got a predictable bunch of dead horses turning up every day, imagine how many living ones there were spraying fecal matter onto the streets? Well, the Long Island Railroad had a manure dock at Newtown Creek where the collected “stuff” would be piled up, but there were lots of takers for the brown gold. Fertilizer mills, remember? I’ll bet our grandfathers and great grandfathers would have killed for a piece of construction equipment like the one pictured above, spotted on Astoria’s Broadway, back then.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunnyside Yards is always in focus here at the Newtown Pentacle. HQ is just a few blocks away from the 183 square acre 1909 vintage property, and I’ve got an inventory of holes in the fences through which I can focus the camera. Given that I end up crossing this area at least once every couple of days, I use those fence holes a lot.

That’s an Amtrak train which is coming off of the turnaround track at the eastern edge of the rail complex. That eastern edge is along 43rd street, and this shot was gathered on the Harold Avenue Truss Bridge, or 39th street as the dross commoners of Queens might call it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I happen to quite enjoy the company of those dross commoners, as a note. If you’re involved with all the high fallutin crap I am, one of the things that’s easy to lose is perspective. You forget that the things you’re fighting for and about are barely on anyone else’s radar. You spend your time battling with people who are flying some activist flag, or want to demolish your neighborhood in the name of “insert today’s cause here,” and that have long lost any track of a reality beyond their own. As I like to remind myself, these are people who eat pizza with a knife and fork, who have never been punched in the nose. You end up becoming as alienated as they are from reality when arguing with them. What’s the quote – when you fight monsters, be wary of becoming one your self – or something? I dunno, think that was in a book or whatever.

The shot above is from Queens Blvd. in Sunnyside. It was an unbelievably hot and humid evening when this was captured, and I was taking advantage of the shade offered by the elevated tracks of the 7 line to try and cool off. Seriously, my fingers were sweating and I had to keep on wiping my hands on my shorts to handle the camera. Yuck.


“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 13, 2021 at 11:30 am

recalled dreams

with 3 comments

Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent scuttle found me soiling the sidewalks outside of Aviation High School, painting the sidewalks with the corruption permanently stuck to the soles of my shoes. One is so incredibly aberrant that area grocery stores have established rules about allowing me near the Fresh Produce or Dairy aisles, as any occupation of such spaces on my part causes spoilage. Old ladies clutch at their purses, children begin to cry, birds flock into the sky, and cats hiss when I approach. It would not surprise one if the sidewalk spot I was standing upon while shooting the plane pictured above needs to be replaced. My presence causes concrete to rot, steel to rust, and lumber gets reduced down to a corrupted pulp. I once wilted a flower by staring at it. Ask anyone, I’m horrible.

The damning realization that I actually enjoyed the solitude of the Pandemic is currently messing with me. I always said that what this City needs is a good plague, and my wish came true. Thereby, COVID is all my fault.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m tired. Tired of arguing. Tired of listening to paranoid conspiracy theories. I’m tired of virtue signaling, tired of public rhetoric that is abandoned in private, and tired of those who project the “shiny happy people” trope. I’m also tired of the perennially angry, the unfocused, those who cannot forecast the consequences of their actions. I’m tired of the ground permanently shifting around under my feet, and tired of reacting to other people’s bad decisions. Tired.

I’m especially tired of everyone wanting something from me that they did nothing to earn. Duplicitous status whores, false potentates, graven idols – that’s what I see everywhere I look. Gah.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The only solace for me is when I’m alone and behind the camera. This is the latest iteration of a certain shot I’ve been chasing, depicting the 7 entering the Queens Plaza station on the elevated tracks. This one counts as “almost” and I won’t be satisfied until I manage to get the crimson and orange sky shot I’m yearning for. I keep on missing that one, which in the last week alone I was denied from chasing it by a series of evening meetings which kept me here at HQ in front of the computer.

It’s all dissolution and death ahead of me, nothing matters anymore.

Back next week, hopefully with a better mood and outlook, and lots of swell pix 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 18, 2021 at 1:00 pm

deadly sweetness

leave a comment »

Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I really cannot believe how much I missed this sort of sight over the last year and a half. I also cannot believe my luck in not contracting COVID, as so many people I know did, before the vaccinations became available. Luckily, most of the people in my inner circle who did become infected with the bug recovered, but there’s also a few people I know who didn’t survive the experience or who are suffering from the “long Covid” suite of symptoms. Plague is no fun, huh?

That’s the Manhattan bound IRT Flushing line 7 train entering Queens Plaza’s lower level tracks. On this particular day, one was feeling a bit tired and sore from a long walk the day before, so I opted to “ride the trains” since I had nowhere else to be or go.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Still working on it.

Did you know that the purpose of the different colors painted on the steel structures of the transit infrastructure around Queens Plaza and the Queensboro Bridge is to clearly indicate which structure is which? This way some badly informed construction worker doesn’t accidentally torch their way through a support column for one of the bridge’s vehicle ramps while they’re intending to perform maintenance on the elevated subway tracks instead. Queens trivia!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My “ride the trains” shot list involves getting on and off the train at various stops and cracking out a few exposures. The one above was gathered after I had left the system and was walking down Queens Boulevard on my way back to HQ in Astoria.

I can’t resist most shots with the Empire State Building in a dominant position. Add in a sunset and a 7 train? 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

May 26, 2021 at 11:00 am

particularly alien

leave a comment »

Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was quite an afternoon for a long walk, Sunday the 25th of April was, here amongst the rolling hills of Astoria. Speaking of, 21st Avenue at 43rd street seems to be the highest “natural” prominence on the north side of the neighborhood. Someday, I’d love to see a 3D topographical map of Astoria sometime. It’s fairly flat, yes, but there’s a series of shallow hill and valley formations encountered after crossing Astoria Blvd. while heading north. I like to imagine that they’re ridges of mud and stone deposited hydrologically in some unrecorded era of yore. I’ve never seen this elevation change between 20th Avenue and Astoria Blvd. described on a map, but there has to be a 40-50 foot differential.

That’s Astoria’s Luyster Creek pictured above. It’s also sporadically described in maps. A friend of mine who is an expert in the cartographic arts has been looking into the subject of this particular waterway for me, which has been immensely helpful.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After scuttling from HQ on the other side of the neighborhood, a humble narrator found himself next wandering about at Hells Gate nearby Astoria Park. For once, I was lucky enough to get there just as a train was passing over the eponymous bridge spanning this, the Hells Gate section of the East River.

Based on the reactions of passerby, my appearance must be shocking. Old ladies were clutching at their pearls, children cried, dogs growled. I saw a group of older Hellenic men preparing torches.

One decided to get out of the area quickly. The Greeks invented “peasant mob chases monster with torches” along with most other things.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While escaping the attentions of the mob, one noticed this particularly weathered fire alarm box mounted on a pole. The graffiti would indicate that this is a silent alarm… get it? Omertà… silence…

I have fun.


“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 18, 2021 at 2:00 pm

frightful guide

leave a comment »

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.


“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 22, 2021 at 11:30 am

%d bloggers like this: