The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Queens Boulevard’ Category

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.


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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

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

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

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