The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Queens Plaza’ Category

retreating figure

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Five thousand four hundred seventy nine days ago a humble narrator was having a pretty bad morning (that’s about one hundred thirty one thousand and four hundred ninety six hours, if you want to get granular). When you learn to think about your life in terms of days rather than rounding up to years, it changes the perspective. My bad morning knocked me off the self chosen path I used to be on and set me on the current one. Ultimately, that bad morning resulted in the shots you see in today’s post being gathered on a cold November night in Queens Plaza by a wandering mendicant cloaked in a filthy black raincoat.

As a note, there are vampires residing in the steel rafters of the elevated tracks in Queens Plaza. You’ll be walking along minding your own business when a bluish white arm suddenly thrusts down at you, snapping its hand open and closed in a desperate attempt at clutching on and pulling you up to feed its need. It’s best to carry a garland of garlic in your camera bag when scuttling through at night, lest you get got. Because of buried streams all around Queens Plaza and the nearby Sunnyside Yards, the Vampires get stuck in this area, as they’re unable to cross over running water. That’s something I’ve learned in the last 5,479 days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve learned to notice everything around me in this interval. Up, down, all around. Not to take things or people for granted, how not to be cruel or cowardly, and to always be curious. Amazing individuals have entered my life, including several exemplars whom I refer to as “the real thing.” I’ve found myself walking amongst princes and potentates, over bridges and through tunnels, and have seen things which only a handful of other people even know about. It’s been an exhausting 5,479 days, during which I’ve captured and published some 87,186 photographs of what I refer to as “the study area.” What you’re reading right now is the 3,390th posting of the Newtown Pentacle.

Nothing in Queens Plaza is real. The entire place is a built environment, and even the ground you’re walking or driving on is the roof of a structure. Tunnels shoot through the loam, allowing shiny metal boxes to move about below. There’s running water, streams and creeks which only the Lenape had names for, somewhere at the bottom of it all. That’s the flowing water which precludes the Queens Plaza vampires from invading the dense residential communities of nearby Sunnyside or Astoria. There’s also the Mafia, of course, who had long been at war with the undead back in Sicily. The Ottomans brought the Nosferatu plague to them, which then spread out into Eastern Europe on Turkish trade routes. When both vampire and mafioso came to North America in the 19th century, a new front in an old war opened up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

131,496 hours ago – which translates to some seven million, eight hundred eighty nine thousand and 760 minutes – my very bad morning occurred. There’s multiple timelines which can branch out of that moment, and someday while attending a trans dimensional Council of Mitch’s meeting I hope to explore what happened to all of the other versions of me that walked out of the moment. I’m hoping that one of us pursued mad science and there’s a reality where a “me” has his own army of Atomic Supermen and has taken over the world. I imagine I’d be a real Dick if I had absolute power. I can’t picture myself going “full Hitler” but that’s the thing about me – the second France stepped out of line, I’d likely send the Atomic Supermen in to teach them a lesson. Next thing you know, death camps and I’m attacking Russia during the winter. It’s inevitable, really.

For the curious, the Council of Mitch’s meets once every three years. We all go to a hotel in Puerto Rico, where there’s a ball room that hosts a dimensional nexus. I missed the 2020 one because of COVID, since I live in the reality where that genie got out of the bottle and the other Mitch’s have been spared the experience. We Mitch’s normally get together and explain obvious things to each other, complain a lot, and then compare bits of NYC historical trivia that we’ve uncovered in our individual timelines. It’s all quite pedantic. We all claim to be “Mitch Prime” but acknowledge that we might be wrong about that. We’re all also a bit jealous of each other, but pretend that we’re happy about each other’s achievements and sarcastically passive aggressive about them. All of us agree that it’s been an odd and interesting 5,749 days.


“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 21, 2021 at 1:00 pm

abnormal ticking

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Well, Merry Christmas, huh? Actually, Festivus comes first – on the 23rd, then Christmas on the 25th, and Kwanzaa is the 26th. So exciting, ain’t it, the holiday season? Yesterday was December the 19th, and I feel compelled to mention the date as being the anniversary of the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge in 1903, and the USS Constellation fire at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1960. This was your calendrical paragraph of the day, lords and ladies.

The shots in today’s post were captured while scuttling home from a visit to Long Island City’s Degnon Terminal area, which adjoins the Dutch Kills Tributary of Newtown Creek. This particular walk (from and to Astoria) is kind of my default destination when I have no particular destination in mind. My feet just point in the right direction and I follow them.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over the last decade, a great gnashing of teeth in Western Queens has revolved around a movement for safer streets. The answer to all things safe has revolved around bicycles, bike lanes, and a well organized lobbying campaign which engages in the tried and true methodology of redefining commonly held terms and tropes. Bike lane advocates offer that a car isn’t “parked” along the curb, instead it’s “free car storage.” Automobile owners and operators are described as wheeling around in “two ton murder machines” for instance. I’m actually quite impressed with some of the people and organizations who have led this charge, and less so with several of the quite volatile sock puppets who show up at governmental meetings.

What is always forgotten in these conversations are pedestrians. As a dedicated pedestrian, I spend a good amount of my time these days dodging electrically powered bikes riding at 20 mph on the sidewalks, and crossing the street in several places in Western Queens is now a horror show. You used to just step off the curb when the vehicles passed by, now you’ve got to worry about a secondary line of traffic too, one which doesn’t obey stop sign/red light/yield to pedestrian indications. At least cars have license plates and an insurance company to sue if you get hit by one. Meanwhile, in all the arguing and tumult, basics like street lighting and roadway maintenance are ignored. The corner above hosts a bike lane on the sidewalk, relegating foot traffic to a narrow and dark corridor.

How narrow and dark, you might ask?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That narrow and dark, I answer. I’ve opined to the “bicycle people,” whose aims I’m generally quite supportive of, that it’s only a matter of time until the political winds blow in a different direction and the City of Greater New York does what it’s historically done regarding every other issue encountered in its long history and legislates that bikes will need to be registered with an bureaucratic agency and be adorned with some sort of license plate. Operator licenses won’t be far behind that, either. This will be a nightmare, using a City version of NYS’s Department of Motor Vehicles as a model. It’ll become a revenue source for the city, with traffic agents handing out tickets for bikes illegally stored on fences and utility poles. Ask a car owner what to expect.

NYC officialdom has told me point blank that bike lanes are easy for them to do, since it’s a low budget improvement they can make. Those little plastic sticks, officially called “flexible delimiters,” are a lot cheaper than actual concrete separation for bike lanes. The ones without the sticks are “just paint.” Now… the paint isn’t paint, it’s a substance called thermoplastic which is applied to the street. When the paint degrades and fades, where does the plastic go? Into the sewers, that’s where, and since NYC has a combined sewer outfall system which discharges directly into the harbor…

We are just doomed. Merry Christmas.


“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 20, 2021 at 1:00 pm

blazed dangerously

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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

oddly corrobative

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The routine one currently ascribes to involves a schedule of “one day out, one day in.” What that means is that if I’m out with the camera on Monday, Tuesday is the day I’m at HQ developing whatever I shot and delivering it to the Internet. One opines that internally lubricated parts like the knee or hip joints require regular flexion lest they lose function. Scuttling, always scuttling, that’s me. As a point of interest, the way that this shakes out this week is that tonight I’ll be out and scuttling.

One appears to be little more than a pile of filthy black fabric caught in a stiff breeze to most passerby, but for some reason I’m catching people’s eyes these days and I don’t like that. Some of the humans want to talk with me, whilst others are suspicious of my presence. Unfortunately, there are also those whom have seemingly developed a taste for human meat during the pandemic, and they gaze at me and my possessions hungrily.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Things have become odd out there, in this second winter of Covid. A winnowing of patience, the thinning of empathy, an acceptance of “that’s how things are now” has been arrived at. You can feel “the vibe” if you’re the sensitive type. Personally, I miss the illegal fireworks.

I’ve been observing the sort of things which hint at the continuing unraveling of civil order, encountered malign actors on the deserted streets, and have taken to swiveling my head around more than previously. Blame whatever you want to for this, I don’t care what others say, and I’m sure there’s a political narrative you’ll find comfort in. It’s going to be a real shit show when the Cops start doing their jobs again, which I predict as coinciding with the arrival of a new local political regime in January. It’s likely too late for that to have any real meaning, however, as the Djinn has escaped its bottle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured above is a frontline of next year’s political bullshit here in Astoria. A mega project offered by the Kaufman Astoria people called “Innovation Queens” is slated to begin paying off local “voices” to sing the song of gentrification. If you want to know what it costs to buy off these voices – it’s about $5,000 a head. You’ll get all the usual characters – the street minister who’s secretly a gangster, the well thought of community leader who’s secretly the secret gangster’s mistress, the odd local business owner who was planning on selling his bar soon anyway. These sort of characters were all in for the LIC rezonings, the BQX, Amazon, etc. – whatever big idea City Hall and the EDC were flacking at the time and writing checks for. That’s why I can tell you what and how much they cost, because that’s what they cost the bosses last time, and the time before that. Five grand isn’t even bagel money for the real estate people.

The Innovation Queens people describe this little industrial zone along Northern Boulevard as “dark, deserted, dangerous.” In actuality, it didn’t used to be, but ever since they started acquiring/emptying/blighting the properties hereabouts…


“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.

uncounted billions

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in the saddle again, as it were.

It seems, after returning from my various journeys, that a humble narrator has had a bit of a fire lit in the seat of his pants. Within three days of returning to NYC, circumstance demanded that I needed to travel all over the place, and that’s when the malevolent sentience of NYC penalized me for leaving her behind for the interval.

A City based memorial get together in honor of a recently departed friend saw me standing on the subway platforms at Queens Plaza afterwards, which is when the 7 train shot above was captured. I got to talk to the cops about this one, while some asshole was smoking a joint about twenty feet away from us. I don’t care that he was smoking weed, mind you, it’s that he was smoking anything at all on the freaking platform at Queens Plaza and the cops decided to hassle me for taking a photo – which is 100% legal – instead of the other guy who was doing something 100% illegal.

“Why are you taking pictures of the subway”? I dunno officer, maybe it’s cause I’m the Chair of the Community Board’s Transportation Committee, or that I’m part of a transit advocacy group called Access Queens which focuses on problems that happen on this line? Maybe it’s because I can do whatever the hell I want to, and I wouldn’t have to explain myself to you even if I am in the middle of committing a crime let alone not committing one? If it was the former situation, you’d have already added a pair of steel bracelets to my accoutrements prior to getting me to say something stupid enough for you to take me back to the Station House. Grrrr.

“Dystopian shithole,” that’s what I kept on repeating to myself after the N line arrived across the platform and carried me into Astoria. Covid seems to have applied the icing to De Blasio’s seven year long layer cake of municipal despair, indifference, and “less than.” Pfah.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another occasion found me walking through the blight and wasteland blocks surrounding Manhattan’s horrific Hudson Yards development. The section of midtown nearby Hudson Yards, and the similarly ill conceived Javitz Convention Center, has long been a dangerous and lonely section of the city inhabited by scalliwags, truants, muggers, drug enthusiasts, and whatever the hell “woke” people call street prostitutes these days. Hudson Yards has somehow made this worse by luring future victims to the area. Luckily for them, the wealthy can afford private security. Cops ain’t doing shit for shinola until De Blasio is out of office, so if you’re not rich enough to afford a body man, keep your guard up lords and ladies. Turbulence is ahead.

Luckily, the traffic gendarmes were there to ensure the smooth flow of New Jersey bound automobile traffic through the zone. Wonder how long it’s going to be before somebody comes up with the bright idea to knock down that church (Sts. Cyril & Methodius & St. Raphael’s Catholic Church Croatian Parish) and replace it with a 30 story Walgreens because a) progress, b) affordable housing, c) ride a bike asshole, d) you’re a racist if you disagree with anything that might have just popped into my head right now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Finally, seeking some sort of quiet time and communion with my arrival “back home,” I rode the ferry out to Staten Island hoping for some tugboat time. I got some of that, but was again thwarted by NYC teaching me a lesson for leaving her behind for a few weeks.

It seems that on my way back to the City, I had to stop off to get sniffed by the security theater labradors stationed therein while rushing through the terminal to catch the Staten Island Ferry. A momentary delay, the sniffing nevertheless caused me to miss the boat, since the ferry guy had already partially closed the sliding glass door he spends his life sliding open and closed, and he would have had to reopen it, and since he’s a city employee who’s already dead inside… there went a half hour of my life, which I spent being cased by a rip off crew that hangs around the SI Ferry terminals.

I’ve seen and noticed this particular pack of “clown shoes” before, a group of scaly looking early to mid 20’s guys who work as a unit. One guy spots the “vic,” and then texts his buddies. They move in through the crowd from different angles, and before you know it you’re standing in the middle of a huddle of dim witted muggers who work you over – picking your pockets and grabbing whatever they can before scattering. I noticed them noticing me (and especially the camera) immediately, and began a fun game of moving about the terminal to give them some exercise while playing dumb about the situation. They would text each other when I stopped moving, and then begin collecting nearby me again. Then I’d move again, and then there they were. So bad at crime, the millennials are. So incredibly bad.

To the cops at Queens Plaza – there’s a heroin operation which uses the Staten Island Ferry to move product between New Jersey and Manhattan. Has been going on for years. Look for what you boys in blue refer to as “skels” when on the big orange boat. Noticing things like this is quite literally your job. Stop hassling photographers.

Bah. Back next week.


“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 19, 2021 at 11:00 am

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