The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Queens’ Category

lute dancer

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The tunnels leading into Manhattan that are used by the Long Island Railroad are found within the Sunnyside Yards. On the south shore of Queens along Newtown Creek, however, you’ll find the LIRR’s Lower Montauk tracks which lead east. Used to be that the Lower Montauk could connect to the Yards via the Montauk Cutoff, but those tracks are now “abandoned,” and my friends and I have been working for a few years now to turn the cutoff into an “official” public open space – so no bueno for connecting anymore. The Montauk Cutoff is de facto “unofficial” public open space right now, but that’s another story.

Lower Montauk line starts at the LIRR’s Hunters Point Yard in Long Island City, found along Borden Avenue, which has been an active rail yard since the 1860’s.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A siding leaves the Lower Montauk and crosses Borden Avenue at street grade, after traveling under the Pulaski Bridge. This siding first enters the Hunters Point Avenue LIRR station about two blocks from the spot pictured above, and those tracks then offer connection to the Main Line and the tracks heading to Woodside, and Jamaica. These latter connections are beyond that which I can speak intelligently about, so if you think you know more about this than I do – you’re right, you do.

LIC, though, that’s my jam.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Lower Montauk tracks almost always have a couple of idling engines sitting on them, which I’m told are kept ready to roll in case of an emergency or if a non functioning train on the busier parts of the system needs a rescue. They also tow work trains and “maintenance of way” equipment about.

That’s LIRR engine 105 pictured above, which was built sometime between 1968 and 1981. It’s a 1,000 HP locomotive engine.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Engine 164 is pictured above, which I can’t tell you much about. It’s gloriously rusty, and can really use a paint job – that’s all I’ve got.

The tracks they’re sitting on are on the Lower Montauk line. Eastwards, these engines can connect first to the Wheelspur Yard, or travel over the DB Cabin bridge spanning Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary leading into the Blissville Yard, on their way eastwards to the interlocking at Haberman or all the way to the Fresh Pond yard. Along the way, in Ridgewood, the LIRR Bushwick Branch intersects and connects.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

MTA stores their “rolling stock” in between rush hours at the Hunters Point Yard, and twice a day there’s an absolutely terrific amount of activity down here in DUPBO, Down under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp.

This is one of the most infrastructure heavy areas I know. The draw bridge above, rail and vehicles traffic on the surface, and the Long Island Expressway is feeding traffic into the Queens Midtown Tunnel below.

In my experience, between 4 & 6 in the afternoons, you’re almost guaranteed to see something LIRR related happening here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saying all that, my very productive day wasn’t over by a long shot, and I decided to crack out a “long shot” while climbing the Pulaski’s stairs and heading over towards Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section.

Wonders, I tell you, wonders.


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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.

happier than

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering home from a long walk, one pondered. I could have jumped onto a train several times, but chose to just keep on scuttling. Pondering and scuttling go together.

Filthy black raincoat fluttering about, camera in hand, friendless and alone. That’s me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m tired of tilting my lance at windmills. I’m exhausted by the ideological extremes I encounter. I’m tired of people who make personal statements using the pronoun “we.”

I’m at the end of my rope as far as enduring the malignancy and demands of the many narcissists whom I’m forced to interact with in my daily round. Vainglory makes me nauseous.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everybody wants, but nobody gives. All is frustration, hatred, and envy.

I’ve come to an impasse, lords and ladies. Something definitely needs to give, and you know what? It’s going to be me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Six months from now, and this is a plan that has been in the works for quite a while now, I will no longer be a New Yorker.

Ok, I’ll always be a New Yorker (I’m walking here), but I’m going to be doing that somewhere else where the volume is turned down a bit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What does that mean, though? I’m going to be leaving behind all that I ever was, all that I know, and starting over somewhere else in my mid 50’s – that’s what that means. Exciting, no? Terrifying, yes.

It also means that when I start announcing tours of Newtown Creek next month, if you’ve ever wanted to come on one – summer and fall of 2022 will your last chance. I’m not coming back.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Where I’m going, and what I’m going to do next is still forming. I don’t think I want to be “involved” in anything anymore either, due to that sour taste in my mouth which has been developing in the last few years. The Community Board thing is just depressing, and since the primal lesson I’ve gleaned after 15 years on Newtown Creek is that “nothing matters and nobody cares”…

Go west, that’s what they used to say, yeah? Go west. I’m done, so stick a fork in me.


“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 20, 2022 at 11:00 am

lasting merely

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That machine pictured above blows. Literally. It’s a jet engine on rail wheels which the LIRR uses for clearing snow and evacuating litter and leaf debris from the tracks.

Hunters Point Yard, Long Island City. It blows, but doesn’t suck, this gizmo. Want to know what else blows? Our perception of danger, and of the return of “Fear City.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A quick walk found me riding on a 7 train, which took me to the Court Square Station in LIC. According to what I see on the news these days, I should have experienced something like Act 3 of the post apocalyptic “Road Warrior” movie, but unmolested was a humble narrator.

Seriously, other than the curious instruction from MTA, observed several times on printed and electronic poster boards within “The System” which adjures against barbecuing on subway platforms or within moving subway cars, I haven’t seen much of “out of the ordinary” down below.

It ain’t the 80’s, or even the 90’s down there… not yet, at least.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

People have been walking around with their heads up their arse for decades on the topics of “crime and safety,” which is due to “Copaganda” in my opinion.

Your chances of getting jumped… personally, I walk around everywhere with my radar on at full power at all times and have been eschewing the use of headphones while commuting… are certainly less than they were in the 1980’s, but have never been absent. Many just chose to believe that they were safe or something, and the looney tales propagated out to the news media by “certain” municipal unions which reinforce public perceptions of their centrality to all things good and great has created an impression that a) the cops could “fix it” if only they had more money and more cops and less reforms and more blah blah, and b) that the people committing these outlandish criminal acts in these stories could be cured if only there was more funding for mental health and affordable housing and blah blah blah.

Ask a hammer how to fix a broken window, it’ll say “hit it with a hammer.”

Here’s a different way to experience things – with your own eyes. Some people are good, others are bad, and a small percentage of them are straight up scumbags. We should create a penal colony on Mars and populate it with these scumbags, I’ve always thought.

Australia has worked out fairly ok, why not have a Marstrailia?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

With my own eyes – I have not seen people BBQing in the subway, but I’ve seen fare evasion and all sorts of “normal” NYC bullshit occurring more often post Covid than before.

About a month ago, an obviously ill scumbag was yelling ugly racial rhetoric at random passerby, right here at the Court Square Station. More than once have I observed the same guy doing the same thing. Cops? Nope. Would they clip him, or just force him to move on?

The one that really cooks the noodle for me is that although the ugly sentiments that this guy offered would be considered a hate crime, and despite the fact that he’s clearly “not healthy” mentally, do we really want the NYPD to get into the business of policing what people can and can’t say in the Subway – or anywhere else?

I’ve mentioned in this space that I’ve had weird encounters on the street during the pandemic, which could have gone “ass over tits” quickly if I didn’t possess the experiences of having grown up and lived in NYC all my life. I know how to talk and act in these situations, and when it’s time to run away or scream at the top of my lungs for help.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Plaza was the next point of subway line transfer, where I would connect with an R line subway that would carry me to the subway stop which is nearest to HQ in Astoria. Queens Plaza is where some poor woman got attacked with a hammer, with said hammer wielded by some scumbag from Manhattan. The subway stop in Astoria I was aiming myself at is found at an intersection where, in 2020, a young mother found herself caught in a crossfire of bullets being fired indiscriminately by two random bunches of local scumbags. She died.

If the cops happened to be in the Queens Plaza station, and also happened to be nearby that staircase where the scumbag with the hammer attacked that woman, you can bet your bottom dollar that NYPD’s legendary lack of subtlety would have been on full display. The gunfight in Astoria, which was one of about 8 or 9 such exchanges which have occurred within a couple of blocks of that Astoria subway stop… how do you stop that? Drug trade gonna drug trade, gangstas gonna gang, bangers gonna bang.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, my radar is being maintained at full power these days.

Nobody gets to within eight steps of me without an assessment, and receiving a series of non-verbal cues that they’ve been noticed and are dancing too close. Saying all that, be careful, scumbags are and always have been everywhere.

Real life isn’t what you hope it is, instead it’s entirely unpredictable and two out of every ten people are scumbags. Further, four of the remaining eight can flip either good or bad depending on the crowd they’re in. Good news? There’s generally two out of the ten who will be ok people no matter what happens.

Thankfully, the R train arrived. Some scumbag took a dump in the car I was riding in, but hey – it’s only three stops to where I gotta get off so…


“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, 2022 at 11:00 am

kindled flame

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 6th of March, one was visiting the Montauk Cutoff in Long Island City. A student photographer had contacted me and asked for a bit of guiding around the place. This fellow was testing out a revolutionary new lens that Canon has recently released which allows for capture of the kind of imagery you need to create a “virtual reality bubble” with the Oculus headset in mind as the display portal.

He had some very expensive equipment on loan from the university he attends, and was interested in this particular location to work with and test the capabilities of the gear. While he was doing his thing, I was doing mine. My pal Val also came along, as she cannot resist the Montauk Cutoff’s charms. Pictured is an Amtrak train on its way to Manhattan via Sunnyside Yards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We headed over to the Dutch Kills section of the Montauk Cutoff, which is an “abandoned” set of rail tracks in LIC that used to connect LIRR’s Main Line trackage at Sunnyside Yards with its Lower Montauk tracks along the northern shore of Newtown Creek.

Abandoned doesn’t mean the same thing in “railroad” as it does in colloquial english, but suffice to say that there is zero chance of encountering a train on the cutoff these days. The shot above was captured on one of the two rail bridges at Dutch Kills – Cabin M.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s Cabin M, as seen from the shoreline of Dutch Kills. In the distance is the Queens Midtown Expressway section of the Long Island Expressway, soaring some 106 feet over the water.

As far as the “cabin” thing, that’s what the train people call it. As far as I know, when they call something “cabin” it’s about signals and geographic markers for the engineers, and there was likely some lonely soul who sat in a shack and governed operations here once upon a time. Everything is “automatic” these days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given that the fellow I was accompanying and guiding around had this weird lens that creates a “bubble” for VR experiences, I kept on pulling him deeper and deeper into the Newtown Creek world. These are the sort of spots I won’t normally bring anyone to, given the myriad ways to get dead encountered here.

Saying that, these are exactly the sort of spots which a 220 degree bubble capture must look great in. Funnily enough, he kept asking me if I wanted to try out the device but I refused, fearing I’d want one and go down yet another technology rabbit hole.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While he was operating his gizmo, and my pal Val was waving her camera around, I was using my normal tripod setup. Normally, I see the perspective down here when I’m in a boat with my pals from Newtown Creek Alliance, a circumstance which negates this sort of “look.”

It was getting late, and the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was lowering in the sky. We headed back up to Montauk Cutoff.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Never waste a sunset, I always say. That’s the LIRR platform, and the Paragon Oil/Subway/Point LIC building which was mentioned a couple of days ago. I had to get back to HQ shortly after the sunset, as I had a big day planned for the 7th which needed a bit of preparation.

Tomorrow – something completely different 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.

turned restlessly

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As it turned out, February 23rd was a three Borough day for me. Woke up in Queens, hit the Bronx and then Manhattan, and then went back to sleep in Queens. I’ve since had a four Borough day which you’ll see in a couple of weeks. There’s also a two City day in the mix. When it’s reliably warm again, I plan on a 5 Borough day which will involve the entire solar cycle. Given how far ahead of schedule my photos are at this point – you’ll probably be seeing that in late June.

I had an unusually prolific and mission oriented winter and early springtime this year. I’m making up for lost time during the pandemic, and there’s something else on the horizon which is going to be pretty major and is going to absolutely rock my world. That’s something I’m going to be talking about a bit later on in the year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s a pedestrian bridge, officially called the Wards Island Bridge (aka the 103rd street Pedestrian Bridge) which spans the Harlem River. It’s a vertical lift bridge which allows Manhattanites access to Randall’s/Wards Island. The Harlem River is a tidal strait connecting the Hudson River and East River. The bridge opened for use in 1951.

The light began to fail, as Manhattan’s long shadows began to envelop the waters of the East and Harlem Rivers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You always hope that you’re going to get a “real” sunset with oranges and crimson painting the vault of the sky, but nine times out of ten you don’t. Damned oceanic climate zone…

Oh well, might as well make the best of it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since I was all set up for a long exposure sunset, one set upon capturing a few shots of the type seen above and below.

Since I’m often asked to do presentations on this or that subject, photos which I can set type onto are oft needed. Thereby, my shots list always includes capturing ones with large fields of color that I can fill up with the sort of drivel that a scholastic audience expects.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It had been a long and kind of fun day for me, and right after the shot above was captured, the kit was packed up and the camera reset back to handheld shooting mode.

For the curious – remove the filter from the lens, as well as the shutter release cable, turn the lens stabilization system back on, pack up the tripod.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A quick ferry ride from East 90th street to Astoria occurred, and soon I was standing alongside Hallets Cove here in Queens. A half hour of scuttling brought me back to HQ.

Tomorrow – something different at thisyour 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

April 12, 2022 at 11:00 am

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