The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Queens’ Category

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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baffling region

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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

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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

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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

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