The Newtown Pentacle

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Thursday has stumbled in again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One found himself in the “happy place,” as I refer to industrial Maspeth, during an extremely low tide. Pictured above is Maspeth Creek, with its exposed mounds of Black Mayonnaise. Maspeth Creek is one of the sections of the larger Newtown Creek which I’d like to see “delisted” as a navigable waterway (according to Coast Guard) and reclassified as an “environmental benefit” area. All of us at Newtown Creek Alliance can talk endlessly about the benefits that such a conversion would bring not just to the entire Newtown Creek waterway but also the industrial business zone surrounding it. Essentially, creating a tidal salt marsh environment here would be so beneficial that it could help offset the impact that the many, many truck based heavy industries of Maspeth create. A guy can dream, huh?

It was aromatic, to say the least, when this shot was gathered.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few blocks away, at the Maspeth Plank Road site, you can actually see how low this tide was. It looks like you could just walk out and touch the wooden artifacts of the bridge which once crossed the Newtown Creek between Furman Island and Greenpoint’s Maspeth Avenue, but I would have sunk to mid thigh into the mire. Normally, all of that pebbly sediment is sitting under a few feet of water.

Wish I could say that I planned on hitting this low tide, but it was pure luck and coincidence – I was just out taking a long walk in a place with a virtually zero night time population.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For the photography curious, these are all handheld shots. The newish camera I’m sporting these days, the Canon R6, coupled with a couple of fairly “bright” lenses is allowing me to leave the tripod at home when I don’t intend on doing either long exposures or any of the fancy pants focus stacking stuff. I’m not leaving all that behind, of course, but it’s been great fun to leave HQ with just two prime lenses and a camera in tow.

That, lords and ladies, is your Newtown Pentacle Thursday installment.


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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.

denizens thereof

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Monday is arisen, and risible.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The first two shots in today’s post were gathered during a quick visit to Astoria’s Luyster Creek, found on the forbidden northern shore of Queens. I’m told that the rotting wooden structure in the one above used to be a dock. Personally, I don’t have any reason to argue with that. As you can tell, it was low tide when I was waving the camera about and all of the exquisite petrochemical and human excrement smells normally subsumed by the waters of the East River and Bowery Bay were available for easy sniffing.

Y’know, when you’ve taken the deep dive into all of the Newtown Creek “superfun” that I have, your head gets filled up with all sorts of regulatory terms. “NAPL” is non aqueous phase liquid, for instance. “VOC’s” are volatile organic chemicals. What those five dollar terms indicate is that VOC’s – or petroleum derived products – mixing with VOC’s – basically raw sewage – is pretty bad. All this yuck settles down out of the water column and builds up a bed of sediments – called “Black Mayonnaise.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The flowing water found at the head of the canal, here at Luyster Creek, is a bit of mystery. I’ve asked my pals at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation if they have any clue as to where this water is coming from. The theory is that it’s a natural spring being fed by “pore” or ground water, but that’s their best guess. The 20th century did a real job to the forbidden northern shore of Queens.

I’ve added Luyster Creek to my list of waterways, by the way. A group of us are going to head out here this weekend to do a shoreline cleanup, hopefully the first of many such endeavors. The good news is that some of my friends who work for the City are going to help out by letting us dispose of the collected trash in their bins.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Seriously, I haven’t been in Manhattan more than once or twice in the last year. This shot was collected when I was walking home from getting my first vaccination shot at a hospital on the Upper East Side. What a pleasure it was, I tell you, to walk home on a pleasantly warm day and catch that unoccluded East River afternoon sunshine. Sure, you have to dodge out of the way of people riding motorcycles in the bike lanes, which the bicycle people will tell me I’m imagining.

I’m a fan of the bike people’s push to turn the north side of Queensboro’s lower level current ped/bike lane into purely bike, while dedicating the south path for purely pedestrian access. Did you know that the south side lower level roadway used to be a trolley route? The streetcars would exit from the bridge and proceed up Northern Blvd. all the way to Woodside Avenue.


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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

April 5, 2021 at 11:00 am

vastness transcending

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Can you smell that, I think it’s Thursday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator can now claim to be fully vaccinated against COVID, with the second shot of the Pfizer vaccine having been inserted on Tuesday. I did experience some after effects on this one, which can be described as the set of symptoms you’d normally be experiencing before telling a loved one “I’m getting sick.” No fever, but hot and cold intervals, lethargy, interrupted sleep and fever dreams. Yesterday I took a nap in the late afternoon. Normally, I don’t nap. This morning (Thursday) I feel like you do the day after you were sick – in need of a good stretch and fairly hungry. Not too much of a trial, really. Friends who have had actual COVID and subsequently got vaccinated have described a much deeper trough of symptoms after vaccination, but as of today, I’m back to wondering about wandering.

Fog and mist will just pull me out of HQ every time. I point the camera lens into it and follow. These shots came out of a “short walk” from back in February, which saw me marching about in the “industrial business zone” or “IBZ” found south of Queens Blvd. and Queens Plaza, and west of Sunnyside. Had my footsteps continued all the way down the hill, I would have ended up nearby the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, this was a short walk, a “constitutional.” One cannot sleep properly without some exercise, and the human body which houses my consciousness is built from internally lubricating parts which require motive action. At 33rd street, nearby one of the elevated stations hosting the IRT 7 line subway service, a Consolidated Edison steam pipe was putting on quite a show. A pounding sound was echoing from its subterranean chamber, with vast gouts of aerosol escaping into the atmosphere. I hung around a bit, hoping for disaster to strike as I could really use the money I’d make for selling photos of a steam pipe explosion in LIC, but no luck. It just bubbled and boiled, this cauldron.

I also debated calling it in to 311 but this was another one of those times when I just didn’t care enough. Let somebody else deal with it, I thought. I’m tired of being the only person in Queens to say “this isn’t good enough.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned above, fog and mist are my jam these days. One anxiously checks the weather reports in search of that magic combination of high dew point and temperature inversion.

I was carrying my “two lens kit” on this particular night, and was armed with only a 35mm and 85mm lens. Both are fairly “bright” lenses, so perfect for night time operations. It was also one of those nights which I wished I had the whole kit and kaboodle with me, due to the atmospheric condition.

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, March 22nd. 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

March 25, 2021 at 11:30 am

disconcertingly adumbrated

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How ghastly, it’s Tuesday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As you’re reading this, a humble narrator is either on his way to Manhattan for his second vaccine shot, or returning from that accursed island all juiced up with the stuff. Other than a bizarre desire to stand in front of an operating microwave oven while browsing Amazon for the latest model of X-Box, I didn’t have any side effects from the first shot. I’m told that the second shot is a different circumstance, but life is all about the little surprises and unexpected moments, ain’t it?

A big box store of some kind is meant to be occurring fairly soon nearby the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek here in Long Island City, so the demolition crews have rolled through recently. This has luckily opened up a point of view for the venerable Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant across the water in Greenpoint, so hooray.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Vaccinated Mitch, I would suggest, is going to be behaving like the proverbial bat let out of hell. I’ve got plans, I tell you! To start, I will be switching my schedule around and leaving HQ while the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is bobbing about in the vault above. Never thought I’d look forward to riding the subway, but there’s that too. I want to do some of the tourist things before they all start to reappear this summer – the Empire State Building and Hudson Yards observation decks, CircleLine, even ride on one of those goofy double decker buses. A Pentagenarian Superman invulnerable to the plague, armed with a camera, me.

First thing I’m doing is actually going to involve trying to burn off these pandemic pounds I’ve accumulated. Fat as a house, I am, which is dangerous. First, I’m going to walk all of the East River Bridges back and forth to the City, then work my way out to the edges of the City – Arthur Kill, Jamaica Bay, maybe even visit that legendary mystery called the Bronx. My ignorance of the Bronx has been carefully cultivated, and I’ve gone out of my way over the last fifteen years to pay no attention whatsoever when it was discussed in my presence.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has an odd habit of saving things for some future infirmity or other unfortunate circumstance. There’s a couple of books Our Lady of the Pentacle has been recommending to me for the entire span of our relationship, which I’m saving for a broken leg or similar interval. Same thing goes for the “Battlestar Galactica” remake from a few years ago, and the entire Borough of the Bronx.

What I’m really, really, looking forward to is pointing the camera at different things which aren’t strictly within walking distance of Astoria. I’m proud of the fact that I kept on shooting, and managed to keep y’all somewhat entertained during this interval. Saying that, the depths of my boredom and desire to see new or novel things have seldom been deeper.

Once more unto the breech…

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, March 22nd. 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

March 23, 2021 at 11:30 am

apoplectic faced

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is taking a break this week, as his anxiety and or stress levels have become absolutely maxed out. Thusly, you’ll be seeing single shots and regular postings will resume next week.

Pictured above is the corner of 48th street and Queens Blvd., the fulcrum of a neighborhood angle twixt Woodside and Sunnyside here in Queens.

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, February 15th. 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

February 15, 2021 at 11:00 am

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