The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘AMTRAK’ Category

roved abroad

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Days in, nights out.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Although you’d think that yesterday and today’s posts were shot in the same session, the photo captures are actually separated from each other by about 45 days. Just goes to show you how a humble narrator has been inhabiting the same nocturnal spaces for the last several months, and how many new holes in the fence at the Sunnyside Yards have appeared. One is absolutely desperate for novelty, distraction, and stimuli which does not cause me to reel in horror or disgust at the moment.

Those are Amtrak Northeast Corridor trains, overnighting at Sunnyside Yards. The building they sit next to is a bit of mystery to me, one which I’ve never actually bothered finding out the function of. I know too much about everything, and when I know nothing about something an effort is maintained to protect my ignorance thereof. It’s easier to know everything about something than to know nothing about something. Have I ever mentioned the “Lady Gaga Challenge”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One purposefully ignores media saturated events like the Superbowl, and annually I try not to know which millionaires will be playing sports ball in the game. If I can make it till two or three days after the game before finding out teams/winners/losers, I’ve won the Super Bowl Challenge. The same goes for the TV series “Scrubs” which was apparently quite popular, but which I’ve excluded all knowledge of the production from entering my brain. The same for Lady Gaga, whom I know is a pop music star, but that’s it. I wouldn’t recognize her music, or even look at a photo and say “that’s Lady Gaga,” but I do know that her dad runs a restaurant at Grand Central Terminal because it’s virtually impossible to escape news cycles which causally mention celebrities.

Pictured above is a maintenance barn operated by the Amtrak people, which has suddenly become visible because of one of those new holes that has appeared in the fencelines at Sunnyside Yards. Again, thanks are offered to whoever it is at Amtrak that’s in charge of holes. Your efforts have made the Coronavirus interval bearable for me, holemaster.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A parting shot from another of the new holes, one which several photographic iterations of have been offered in recent months. I’ve been working on getting this shot right. Ideally, there will be a foggy night sometime, at which point I will check it off my list and say “got it.”

Back next week with some fresh stuff, hopefully, don’t know where or what yet. My plan is to wander around Queens this weekend, or perhaps ride a ferry. I don’t have ambitions anymore, it seems.

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, June 8th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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

June 12, 2020 at 1:30 pm

hesitated perceptibly

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Archives.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For one reason or another, when I originally set this post up back during the last week of April, I never ended up running it. Don’t remember why. Also don’t remember whether or not any of these shots ended up in other posts, but there you are. As I’ve mentioned a few times in the last few months, there’s a bit of organized labor happening at the Sunnyside Yards and some of my old “go-to” fence holes have disappeared. Luckily, a few new ones have appeared, and just in time for Covid.

Thanks is offered to whomever it is at Amtrak that’s in charge of holes. Sunnyside Yards is a coach yard, which means that this is where trains hang out and enjoy maintenance and cleaning in between trips. You’ve always been able to hear them idling, and you could certainly smell their exhaust, but until recently – no hole through which to see or photograph them.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The particular set of holes hereabouts that have recently appeared are on Honeywell Street, which is one of the truss bridges overflying the rail yard.

Honeywell is an archaism, a retention of the name of a street which dates back to the days of an independent Long Island City which didn’t live and breathe under the mercy of Manhattan’s City Hall.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One did manage to drag himself out of the quarantine last night, and scratch along the sidewalk to several visually interesting destinations, but the reason you’re seeing a set of photos from late April in today’s post is entirely due to last week’s curfew.

Back tomorrow with something else – at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

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, June 8th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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

June 11, 2020 at 11:00 am

sunniest room

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Queens Plaza.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The CoronAmerican shut down has gone on for so long now that the graffiti crowd have been able to throw themselves a real party here in Long Island City. Even the construction equipment of LIC, idled, is getting scribbled and tagged on.

That’s a CASE 590 Super N Backhoe Loader, by the way. According to the manufacturer’s product description: “Want an 8-ton excavator that can go 25 mph? Try out the Tier 4 Final 590 Super N backhoe loader. The backhoe delivers breakout of nearly 16,000 lb. as well as a digging depth of up to 20 feet and a lifting capacity of more than 4,100 lb. The heavy-duty loader gets it done with breakout forces of nearly 13,700 lb. and with the responsive PowerDrive transmission, you have more speed and performance at your control.” Personally, I want and need all of these options.

Not sure what a new one costs, but google informs that you can pick up a used CASE model 590 Super N for about $25,000. That’s actually a lot less than I’d have imagined. If you have the cheddar just laying around, why not pick one up and get to work?

Oh… right. Remain indoors.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I do enjoy a good hole.

The new discovered aperture in the fenceline of the Sunnyside Yards has become a regular stop for a humble narrator on his nocturnal scuttles. That’s some Amtrak rolling stock, idling and waiting for some theoretical rush hour which recedes further into the future every day. Remain indoors.

Before any of you Libertarians, Bible Thumpers, LaRouchites, supply siders, Tea Partiers, or bleach drinkers accuse me of changing my tune on the Corona crisis… I’m as frustrated as everyone else is right now, but reality is unfortunately not magical. This isn’t a conspiracy, it’s a public health emergency. The kind which has historically scythed through the human population about once every hundred years or so. If we don’t joke about it, we will all go crazy.

Joke wise – did you hear about the guy who got hurt playing peek a boo with his kid? He ended up in the ICU. Get it? ICU!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One continues to walk the deserted streets of Queens in the middle of the night, a wandering mendicant in a filthy black raincoat. One will continue to scuttle along the concrete devastations, peering through fences with wild staring eyes while attempting to understand the world. Somewhere in the darkness, there must be some sort of Rosetta Stone.

Back tomorrow with something else, at this, your Newtown Pentacle.

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, May 11th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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.

time subsided

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Well, still here…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week’s schedule of rain put a real crimp in a humble narrator’s wanderings, and the end of the week warmup here in Astoria was accompanied by an explosion of people getting out and about, which was followed by a ludicrous amount of NYPD activity… so advantage was not taken of Saturday evening as I decided that discretion was the better part of valor. Apparently, two morons over by the nearby Woodside NYCHA campus decided to settle scores and shoot each other on Saturday night, which were Chief amongst the logical decisions made by the community at large. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to be in a hospital right now?

NYPD was seemingly busier last Saturday than they’ve been in a couple of months, and one observed the neighborhood manifesting its particular annoyances as if there wasn’t a plague. Observed: Curbside liaisons for amorous adolescents, sidewalk somnambulism for the liquor enthusiasts, the revving of engines and gunning of the gas pedal for the fast and furious crowd, lots of casual littering. For some reason, people are now drinking in their parked cars, and discarding the liquor and wine bottles along the curbs. One particularly annoying lady has been sitting in her running car in front of HQ, drinking and smoking while on the phone (said phone is plugged into her car sound system, of course) for 11-12 hour long conversations.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given all of the time spent here at HQ, one has been using the “controlled environment” to sharpen up some of his skills. The shut down has affected the amount of atmospheric and light pollution here in the ancient village of Astoria significantly, and given my night owl life style I’ve been marveling at the number of visible stars in our skies. Clicking on the image above will take you to Flickr and the larger sized iterations of it, wherein you’ll see something approaching constellations, visible from Astoria Queens and less than 5 miles from Manhattan.

Astrophotography is its own “thing” and not something I’ve ever really had the patience, opportunity, or inclination to experiment with. The plague cleared skies and all of this time on my hands has allowed for all three cautions to be abandoned. Of course, saying all that, it seemed to rain or was overcast 6 out of 7 nights last week. This isn’t “proper” Astro, of course, just a stab at exploring the technique.

It really feels like we’re settled into the trough of “the event” right now, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been happily surprised by the creation and sudden appearance of a new hole in the fences around the Sunnyside Yards, something which has occurred in recent weeks. Whomever is in charge of fence holes at Amtrak had recently sealed up three of my old “go to’s” and a humble narrator has been feeling bereft. One is always in search of a good hole, especially one large enough to allow access to a camera lens.

Holes. Now, more than ever. Also, it’s May 4th, so may the Force be with you.

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, May 4th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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.

nocturnal prowler

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Rippity dippity doo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve always been a fan of Skillman Avenue for one reason or another, and one of the “dad jokes” which I inflict on people walking with me along it, when we reach 39th street, is that “it’s all downhill from here.” Skillman follows a ridge which overlooks the southern border of the Sunnyside Yards. Between 39th street and it’s terminus at Hunters Point Avenue in Long Island City, Skillman Avenue runs through what’s largely an industrial zone but there’s a couple of exceptions along the way – notably LaGuardia Community College down at the bottom of the hill.

The views are pretty epic for a scuttling photographer, and especially so during this interminable quarantine. One tends to walk down and record it often.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sandwiched between Northern Blvd. and Skillman Avenue are the Sunnyside Yards. Pictured are a bunch of Amtrak trains just seething in the middle of the massive coach yard, whose main function is actually what you’re looking at. Providing storage for trains between periods of peak demand in Manhattan and beyond is what the Pennsylvania Railroad built the facility to do a century ago. On the Skillman or southern side of the Sunnyside Yard, you’ll find tracks used by the Long Island Railroad for commuter service, which travel through the busiest rail junction in North America – the Harold Interlocking. 39th street used to be called Harold Avenue, incidentally, which is where the name for the junction comes from. This shot isn’t from Harold, rather it’s from Honeywell Street – or at least the truss bridge over the tracks that’s so called.

Seriously, I know where almost every hole in the fencing of Sunnyside Yards is at this point. I’ve had Government people ask me how I managed to get inside the rail yard for some of the shots you’ve seen here over the years. They don’t believe me about the fence holes, and I won’t tell them where they are.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the Northern Blvd. side of the yards, and again at Harold or 39th street, is pictured above. Northern Blvd., or as I call it during normal times, the “Carridor.”

To make things even more complicated as far as street names here in Queens, 39th street transmogrifies into Steinway Street once you cross Northern. Why is this?

Because modern day Northern Blvd. was once a municipal border between the Village of Astoria and Middleburg/Sunnyside once. Robert Moses always did his best work in the areas that were neither “here nor there” found along legal borders between municipal entities. When he widened Jackson Avenue and turned it into Northern Blvd. during the early 20th century, these were “the sticks.” Population centers, as they stood back then, were far away on both sides of the 183 square acre Sunnyside Yards – which itself was opened in 1910.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the end of the week of Monday, April 6th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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

April 16, 2020 at 11:00 am

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