The Newtown Pentacle

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another night, another day. Another walk with the camera through the hinterlands of Long Island City. Another conversation about thwarting the ambitions of the EDC, or the Real Estate People, or the deeper meanings of what some elected official or candidate has just said. Another phone call to somebody to try and get them to help somebody else who has troubles. Another comment offered to the Government people on some plan they’re concocting, another opinion email sent, another night and another day and another walk around LIC with the camera. Another night spent developing photos, another day spent writing, another phone call asking me to do or say something I don’t want to do.

I’m in a rut, and due to the damned pandemic roaring back to life it’s only going to get worse. Ireland just locked down again, and their total death toll since March doesn’t even approach the number of people dying of this bug every single month in the good old U.S. of A.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Anxiety, that’s what I’m experiencing right now. One has made it a point of discussing this fact, which violates several social norms. You’re not supposed to talk about your feelings, especially negative ones that might connote weakness. Mental health is no different from the conditions affecting the rest of your body, in my view, and keeping quiet about it when you’re feeling anxious or scared makes it difficult for others to admit they’re feeling the same sort of insecurity and fear. That’s why I’m making it a point of being open about what I’m experiencing. One of my little mottos is “Say what you do, do what you say.”

I’m not looking forward to the next couple of fortnights.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What can you do to prepare for the winter of discontent we’re all about to experience?

The only answer I can come up with is to charge the camera battery, put on my hiking shoes, and get ready for yet another walk through Long Island City on yet another afternoon or evening. I can try not to hurt anyone, intentionally or unintentionally. I can aspire to try and help people when they need help. What else can you do?

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, October 19th. 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

October 22, 2020 at 11:00 am

oddly sunburned

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Half of everyone I know act like dicks more than half of the time, which is why I like to wander around by myself in the dead of night.

Doesn’t matter what their politics or religious life is like, still “dick” half the time. I know Christians who embrace cruelty and conformity, lefties who want to ensure their own freedoms by attenuating yours, and ideologues abound for every philosophical point and bent. Everybody has a badly formed opinion about everything, or doesn’t care about who gets annoyed as they endlessly beat their drums and drone on about something they haven’t personally dealt with. Everybody, and everything, is so freaking predictable in this behavioral climate that I find it depressing. Actuate an idea, make it real. Otherwise shut up and go along, stop trying to hurt other people in the name of making yourself feel better about the things you see when you look in the mirror. Empathy? Compassion? Bah.

Also, here’s a bit of advice – strategy and tactic are two different things. If you’re “busting a move,” it’s best to keep it to yourself until afterwards. Conservation of energy dictates that if you are, indeed, “busting a move” you should have a goal in mind while doing so. Otherwise you’re just a feeble peacock spreading your feathers and saying “look at me.” “Busting a move” is a tactic, not a strategy.

What wasn’t predictable to one as all wise and knowing as myself was encountering the weird digital looking light pattern cast through a fence by security lights and onto a line of inactive taxi cabs in Long Island City. Neato.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

During this particular photo outing, a humble narrator found himself being “eyeballed” by some guy in a gray sedan. On more than one occasion during my walk, I looked up and there he was, watching me. I smiled and waved, even when he made it a point of pulling up in front of me with his headlights pointed directly into the lens. My response was to walk around his car, while smiling, and then set up on the passenger side of the vehicle. Mood that I’ve been in lately, I was absolutely praying that he got out of the thing and started some shit with me. It’s been a long, long time…

I’m scared of groups of teenagers, not other middle aged men.

If you want to see somebody act like a dick, piss me off. Once I’ve decided – and it’s me who decides, not you – that I no longer have to pretend to be a nice guy with you it ain’t pretty. Full Brooklyn mode is engaged. Should you not wither and die before the verbal assault – and it is an assault – the physical attack is spring loaded and ready. Not bragging here, and it’s not a set of behaviors I’m proud of, but screw with the bull and you get the horns. I live my life in this manner, knowing that lots and lots of people are simmering all the time, just like me, and are ready to pop like a firecracker. Knowing that I’ve got one of those flare up kind of tempers, I’ve gone to great lengths to institute a series of psychological stop gaps in my reactive mind, which is why you’ve never seen me on one of those wanted posters at the Post Office.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So why do people act like dicks half the time, when we all implicitly know that there are pressure cooker mentalities like mine ready to go off? Not everybody has learned to put a leash on their temper the way I have. Mike Tyson has famously opined that the reason for this is the lack of physical peril offered by the Internet when you say something ugly. You can’t get punched in the nose by Mike Tyson via Twitter. If Mike Tyson is ringing your doorbell, I guarantee you are going to try polity when attempting conflict resolution with him.

It’s good to be angry, and to argue your ideas. Just don’t be a dick about it, and maybe – just maybe – think about what you’re trying to achieve the next time you cancel or shun someone. Maybe it’s better to have somebody be a known quantity whom you can use tactically as part of an overarching strategy. When anybody gets too “woke” with me, I have a Libertarian or two in my social circles whom I unleash on them.

That’s the half of the time when I’m backed into acting like a dick.

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, October 19th. 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

October 21, 2020 at 1:00 pm

bleak emptiness

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, one of the things which NYC still has money for is to employ a vast crew of laborers to demolish the concrete of Astoria’s Broadway corners and then replace them with new concretetized corners. Random and unannounced arrivals of demolition crews at 7:15 in the morning during a pandemic, using jack hammers mounted on the arms of backhoes that shake the foundations of the century old building you’re sleeping within… this far exceeds the value of hot cup of coffee for waking you right the hell up.

This has been a classic Queens operation. First, back in August – they milled and repaired the street. In September they showed up and painted in the street markings and so on. Then in October, a crew comes through and tears the whole operation back up again. Now, I get to moan to 311 and the Community Board people about all the asphalt and concrete which found their way into the sewers until DEP sends out a team to free up the grates.

Flooding is nice. Who doesn’t want to live by the water?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For most of the last week, time has been somewhat limited and my walks around LIC have been primarily about “cardio” and exercise. Saying that, I’ve always got the camera with me and am ready to record the cool stuff encountered along my path. My new favorite fence hole at Sunnyside Yards continues to shine.

Those are Amtrak trains, if you’re curious. In between duty shifts, the coach yard side of Sunnyside Yards handles the needs of this rolling stock. I’ve seen workers doing custodial work on the trains, others monkeying around with various exterior features and devices, and there’s all sorts of mechanical tasks that get attended to while the trains are overnighting in Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another one of the hydraulic work lifts, which I fantasize about turning into my personal vehicle, was encountered on Skillman Avenue when looping back towards home recently. The one I showed you yesterday was green and small, this one is orange and bigger. Variety is the spice of life, huh?

This is a fairly busy week for old Mitch – tonight, Queens Community Board 1 will be virtually gathered for our monthly meeting. On Wednesday, the Newtown Creek Community Advisory Group will also be meeting virtually. For information on how to attend these public meetings – click here for Queens CB1 and here for the Newtown Creek CAG.

Also coming up – Tonight is the fund raiser Gala for the Working Harbor Committee, and October 29th is the Tidal Toast fundraiser for Newtown Creek Alliance.

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, October 19th. 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

October 20, 2020 at 11:00 am

seething around

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Maspeth Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One recently found himself scuttling about in industrial Maspeth, and waiting for the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself to dip behind Manhattan. Having a bit of time to kill, a fairly generalized “wander” was instituted, and I soon found myself hanging around a certain railroad intersection hoping to catch a shot or two of a passing freight train. Whereas I’m often quite lucky when it comes to maritime transport, I seem to be possessed of zero ability to predict when a train might be coming. C’est la vie, ay?

At any rate, Rust Street is still there, although it might be called 56 drive at the location where this photo was captured.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The wandering on this particular outing was intentionally wide ranging. One tends to get hooked into walking certain routes due to their efficiencies. That causes me to see and photograph the same things, over and over. Now… part of the “Mitch Method” does involve finding a composition and then visiting it repeatedly during different climatological conditions, times of the day, and seasons of the year seeking an iconic variation of the shot. That’s where the photographic “intentionality” I talk about comes into the equation, but I’ll also rattle on and on about “serendipity” as well. You want the latter, go wandering without a plan whereas for the former – plan. Let Queens show you what she wants you to see if serendipity is on the menu.

I did have a plan on this outing, incidentally, but I also had a couple of hours to kill before sunset. This is one of the best times of the year in NYC for morning and afternoon light, given the relative angle of God’s burning thermonuclear eye to the Metropolis. Take advantage, I say.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Industrial Maspeth hugs the northern shore of Newtown Creek, and is punctured through in several places by freight train tracks. It’s a central node on the distribution network for foodstuffs, construction equipment and supplies, and there’s a lot of light industrial activity as well. There’s a substantial footprint hereabouts enjoyed by the waste handling industry – both private carters and municipal DSNY operations are extant. Overall, the neighborhoods surrounding both sides of Newtown Creek host businesses that represent about 17,000 blue collar jobs. I’d be guessing if I tried to break that down into Brooklyn versus Queens, as if that actually mattered.

More tomorrow at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

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, October 12th. 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

October 12, 2020 at 11:00 am

twilight amorphousness

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Friday, all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few Friday odds and ends are on offer today. I had an event to attend in Hunters Point recently, and on the walk there I found myself frozen in Queens Plaza by the palpable spectacle of it all. What an incredible spot, thought I, and with all the new residential towers – how reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” or the cinematic Gotham City from the Batman franchise Queens Plaza is.

Seriously, the notion that people “want” to live here in Queens Plaza still mystifies me, but there you go.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Construction of the waterfront complex of luxury towers in Long Island City’s Hunters Point section continues apace. Phase 2 of this buildout is nearly complete. I know what’s coming next for phase 3, and it’s going to make the current waterfront seem like a small village in context.

There’s a whole group of people in LIC who deceive others, eat shit, and describe themselves as “YIMBY’s” as in “Yes, in my back yard.” Unsurprisingly, most of them make their money as cogs or wheels in the Real Estate Industrial Complex. Shit flies like lots of shit, as they feed on shit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Not in my back Yards” is my motto. We’ve driven several nails into the coffin of this plan prior to COVID here in Western Queens, with the virus delivering what’s likely the final one required. Oddly, NYC no longer has $22 billion to drop on this crazed ideation of the Dope from Park Slope.

When I’m talking to all the characters from City Hall “behind the scenes” instead of in front of the cameras, I like to remind them that the history of NYC teaches that bubbles burst. You get 15-20 year long stretches of time where the municipality is solvent, followed by 30-40 year long stretches where belt tightening and shrinking budgets are the order of the day. Luckily, the current political establishment embraced residential luxury tower development during this last one, rather than building infrastructure or funding the modernization of our 1950’s era electrical and telecommunications systems.

Good work, Economic Development Corporation, good work. I look forward to the RICO investigations, hopefully sometime soon.

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, October 5th. 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

October 9, 2020 at 11:00 am

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