The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Queens Boulevard’ Category

bold entreaty

with one comment

Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On October 5, it was raining in the City. A diminishing meteorological system had stalled over the megalopolis for several days and all was moist. Regardless, one required a bit of exercise and time for thought, so off on a scuttle did a humble narrator go.

My plan was to hug the fence lines of the estimable Sunnyside Yards, and commit a few exposures to the “same old, same old.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned ad infinitum in the past, HQ is a few blocks away from the yards and my habit is to use it’s curvilinear border streets to transit back and forth to Newtown Creek, so I’ve passed through this corridor often over the nearly twenty years that I’ve been living in Astoria. As also mentioned, I’m suddenly trying to capture a lot of “portrait format” vertical shots.

That’s the Long Island Railroad passing through the Harold Interlocking, as seen from “hole reliable.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One really isn’t a “rail guy,” rather rail is something which I find very interesting as far as photography challenges go. Surprisingly difficult to get a decent rail shot, especially so in challenging lighting conditions. Shiny things festooned with bright lights which are moving at a high rate of speed is a problematic situation, camera wise. There’s also an abundance of busy detail in frame – wires and lamp posts with super bright lights, occluding infrastructure, all sorts of stuff to worry about.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was just getting dark as I scuttled around and onto Skillman Avenue.

The former Citigroup building, or as I’ve previously styled it – the Sapphire Megalith of Long Island City – has always been one of the two far points that I focus on when I want everything in a certain part of a shot to be “tack sharp.” The engineering of a lens has a “hyper focal” distance built into it, which essentially means that when it’s focused on “infinity” at a particular aperture setting, everything between a certain point in front of the lens and infinity will contain the field of focus. In the shot above, and at the aperture I was using, that field was about twenty feet away from me. Notice the blur of the signal pole, which was about ten feet from me.

The other far point is the Empire State Building, which you used to be able to see from everywhere in Long Island City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One continued on. This was one of the walks which saw me carrying a light kit bag – one bright prime lens on the camera, another in the bag. I did have a little camera support gizmo with me, but didn’t end up using it at all on this walk, as I was in a handheld kind of mood.

Although I didn’t intend to walk all the way to Dutch Kills on this particular evening, it seems that’s where I was heading to.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

By the time I crossed Queens Boulevard, it was “proper dark” out.

Well, the night time is the right time, I always say…

More tomorrow.


“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

November 8, 2022 at 11:00 am

retinue of

leave a comment »

Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saturday the 18th of June, my trick left foot was singing a song. Baleful and rich with lament, this arthritic melody informed my night’s journey and thereby I decided that it would be a fantastic evening to “ride the train.” Accordingly, my toes were painfully oriented in the direction of Queens Boulevard from Astoria.

That’s the Standard Motor Products building, whose frontage is on Northern Boulevard at Steinway Street. There’s an urban farm up on the roof, which is just plain old cool.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Steinway Street becomes 39th Street when it crosses Northern Boulevard and passes over the Sunnyside Yards, but to members of the cult of historical specificity here in Western Queens – this section of 39th street will always be known as the “Harold Avenue Truss Bridge.”

Nerd.

The sunset was setting up nicely, and it seemed like I had actually timed things right for once.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At Queens Boulevard, a Manhattan bound 7 line subway was coursing along its tracks. My plan was simple, and it involved hopping on and off of the 7 line between Queensboro Plaza and somewhere east of there. At some convenient point, I’d transfer down onto one of the underground lines which move through the 46th street stop nearby HQ in Astoria.

It was a warm night, and somewhat humid in Long Island City. My name is Waxman, I live here and I carry a camera. Dum de dum, dum.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At Queensboro Plaza, there are two iconic shots always available for the passing photography enthusiast to gather. One revolves on variations of the shot above, depicting a Manhattan bound 7 line train entering the lower level of the station.

I should mention, a recent update of the software on my camera introduced a “vehicle tracking” feature for autofocus into my tool kit, and I’m currently working out the nuances of the new feature.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The other “iconic” subway shot at Queensboro Plaza is found at the extreme end of the platform, where the Flushing bound trains make their turn into the station on the high elevated steel of Queens Plaza, with the old Silvercup Bakeries signage in the background.

Figured I’d do a portrait format one for a change. I’ve been trying to remind myself to do this more often these days – turn the camera 90 degrees.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I began hopping on and off at various stations and popping out train photos for about an hour. On the 7, at least, ridership seems to be back to pre Covid levels.

Tomorrow- something 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 20, 2022 at 11:00 am

unmistakable style

with one comment

Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, a bit of gear which allows me to place the camera in positions that would normally require lying prone on the sidewalk to capture has recently been added to my camera bag.

When shooting these, I had in mind a narrative I was going to talk about them with which would describe how I’ve given up walking in favor of crawling.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Believe me, after you’ve been walking for 8-9 hours straight, crawling actually sounds pretty good. Thing is, it’s a bit of a reach. I’m intrigued by the change in perspective, however. It’s what you’d refer to in a comic book script as a “bug’s perspective.” Maybe it’s that of a Cat’s.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This device isn’t a tripod, rather it’s called a “platypod,” and it’s their “max” model. I’ve had their smaller “ultra” version for a while and decided to go with the larger and more stable version recently.

Glad I did.


“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

December 9, 2021 at 11:00 am

blazed dangerously

leave a comment »

Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another shlep across Western Queens in the dark, that’s all I wanted to do. While on this particular scuttle, I discovered that I had fully burned through yet another pair of Merrel hiking boots over the prior six months and that it was time to order another pair. Concrete devours the treads of my shoes, and after noticing that my trick left foot was causing me all sorts of trouble and pain in recent weeks, I inspected my shoes only to discover that the treads had been ground away and all that remained of them was a light pattern on an otherwise bald sole.

You didn’t skimp on shoes, I always say. Foundation garments either. Cheap shoes and socks buy you expensive blisters and cause trouble.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As previously mentioned, I’ve been trying to stick to an every other day schedule for walks long and short. This was a short one, by my standards. Walk over to LIC, swing the turn at Queens Plaza, head back to Astoria. Roughly two hours, with occasional stops at interesting if familiar points of view like the one above at Sunnyside Yards.

From HQ in Astoria to Queens Plaza, as the crow flies, is three subway stops or about a mile and a small bit of change. Peregrinations along the route add in some distance, and all told – there and back again is about three miles.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At one point I decided to lie down in the sidewalk and crawl around for awhile in the manner of a pilgrim. Just kidding there.

A bit of gear I recently acquired allows for a stable placement of the camera on the sidewalk, and a few other uncommon “POV’s.” It also encourages one to engage in what I call “photographer calisthenics,” which includes deep knee bends and that sort of motion.


“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

December 8, 2021 at 11:00 am

baffling region

with one comment

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

%d bloggers like this: