The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘AMTRAK’ Category

held transient

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Friday is frizzled, yo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another set of Sunnyside Yards shots are on offer today, with the one above depicting the Acela maintenance operation on the north side of the gargantuan rail coach yard here in Long Island City. It’s also right about at this point in time, roughly a month ago on March 15th, that I was able to begin saying that I knew how to handle the new camera and lenses properly and predictably. What I mean by that, is that I was able to spot a scene and say “hey, switch to the 85mm for this one, using x aperture and y iso” without a trial and error phase baked into the process. Funnily enough, since I’ve been moving around in daylight again, it’s been something of a challenge to shoot when the “lights” are on, burning thermonuclear eye of god wise.

Hey, I carried the old camera (technically there were two, since one got smashed, but same model) for around ten years and it had become an extension of my arm in many ways. Didn’t even have to think about the technical side of things, since while shooting all those dials and buttons were being whirred and clicked on muscle memory. One fo the challenges of the new device has actually been teaching my fingers where the buttons and dials are.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has not had a terrific amount of fun this last week due to inclement clime, personal obligation, and official business. I found out several disconcerting things this past week that revolve around Newtown Creek, but the good news is that I was able to help organize a cleanup effort at the 19th Avenue street end in Astoria, at Luyster Creek. Great bunch of neighbors showed up, and got sweaty. The NYC DEP sent us a dumpster to collect up the garbage peeled off the shoreline, which was awesome.

This is the way.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Despite my obstacles and obligations, I still found myself standing in three of the five boroughs, which is more travel than I can describe for the last year. Looks like next week is going to involve an apocalypse of Zoom meetings. I just got renewed for another two years on the Community Board here in Astoria so there’s a long swearing in ceremony I need to virtually attend, followed by an actual CB1 meeting on Tuesday, followed by a Newtown Creek CAG meeting on… it really doesn’t ever seem to end.

Three Zoom meetings in a row are a holocaust, 4 or more are an apocalypse. A few weeks ago, I had to be in two Zoom meetings simultaneously. Whiskey was required afterwards.

Every single one of these Zoom’s feels like my soul is being run through a delicatessen meat slicer and a centimeter of my identity is being removed. Get vaxxed, lords and ladies, so we can annoy each other in person again.


“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, 2021 at 2:00 pm

blasphemous daring

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Friday is back.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When I’m heading out in the direction of Newtown Creek or industrial LIC, the only way to “there from here” involves me crossing the truss bridges carrying local street traffic over the Sunnyside Yards. Hence, I’ve developed an appreciation and fascination for the place over the years. You commonly see the rolling stock of three different rail companies here – Amtrak (pictured above and below), New Jersey Transit, and Long Island Rail Road. The northern side of Sunnyside Yards is filled almost entirely with Amtrak related trains and maintenance buildings, whereas the southern boundary sees a lot of LIRR activity.

During the last year, a multitude of East Side Access construction related holes have appeared in the fencing of the yards, which has been awesome.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I have friends who describe their favorite hobby as “railfanning,” meaning that they are fans of rail. I’d describe myself as a fan, but I’m nowhere near as serious as railfans are. A railfan will tell you that the train is using the wrong screw to hold its headlight on, and is possessed of a deep and insightful narrative regarding the various modern rail operations and the historical forebears which laid down the systems that today’s outfits use. Pennsylvania Railroad, NY Central, etc. I can talk history on this topic, but it’s broad stroke. A railfan gets granular.

As a note, the truss bridge you see in the background of the shot above is 39th street, which is where the first shot was gathered from. I was clicking the shutter on the Honeywell Street Truss Bridge for this and the one below.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m actually pretty happy with this one, depicting a LIRR train moving through the Harold Interlocking, right in front of the Harold tower. I’ve taken a million shots of this action from the 39th street truss at a fence hole which I call the “old reliable,” but a brand new fence hole which appeared in just the last few months has materialized at Honeywell. The tracks in the trench at center left are part of the massive East Side Access project, I’m told.

Back Monday with more wonders, 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

April 9, 2021 at 11:00 am

last void

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A nightmare to some, Shabbos to others, Friday has come.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yup, fence holes day! As mentioned last week, several new apertures in the fence lines around Sunnyside Yards have appeared during the Annum Pandemicum and a humble narrator has been assiduously cataloguing and exploiting them. Pictured above is a Long Island Railroad trainset heading towards Manhattan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another Long Island Railroad train, this one heading away from an accursed island called Manhattan, and photographed from a fence hole I call “the old reliable.” Truth be told, the old reliable almost caused a case of frostbite for me when shooting this. There was a steady 10-15 mph wind, and given that the old reliable is a 3 inch square hole found in the middle of a large steel plate, all that wind pressure was focusing through it like a laser.

Good news is that all that air pressure really cleaned up the lens, blowing any and all dust off the glass. Multi task, motherflowers, multi task.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At Sunnyside Yards; you will commonly see Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit, and as pictured above – Amtrak rolling stock. Amtrak has their Acela high speed service here too, but the fence holes surrounding that service’s facilities are difficult to work with. One can hope that somewhere down the line they’ll need to pop a hole in one of the fences and… what dreams may come, huh?

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 15th. 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 19, 2021 at 11:00 am

copious seepage

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent wanderings, as mentioned earlier in the week, have seen me sticking fairly close to HQ due to the cold. Luckily, I happen to live within walking distance of some visually interesting sections of Long Island City such as the Sunnyside Yards, a portion of which is pictured above. Those are Amtrak train sets, overnighting in Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m a big fan of whomsoever it is at Amtrak who is responsible for poking holes in their fences. I’m an even bigger fan of whomsoever it is at Canon who has been designing lens with a smaller than usual lens element which I can fit into those pokey holes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another thing I’ve become a fan of are the few remaining gas stations in Western Queens, islands of saturated color and cold light shining in the night.

More wandering, in tomorrow’s post, 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, January 25th. 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

January 27, 2021 at 2:00 pm

bleak emptiness

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, one of the things which NYC still has money for is to employ a vast crew of laborers to demolish the concrete of Astoria’s Broadway corners and then replace them with new concretetized corners. Random and unannounced arrivals of demolition crews at 7:15 in the morning during a pandemic, using jack hammers mounted on the arms of backhoes that shake the foundations of the century old building you’re sleeping within… this far exceeds the value of hot cup of coffee for waking you right the hell up.

This has been a classic Queens operation. First, back in August – they milled and repaired the street. In September they showed up and painted in the street markings and so on. Then in October, a crew comes through and tears the whole operation back up again. Now, I get to moan to 311 and the Community Board people about all the asphalt and concrete which found their way into the sewers until DEP sends out a team to free up the grates.

Flooding is nice. Who doesn’t want to live by the water?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For most of the last week, time has been somewhat limited and my walks around LIC have been primarily about “cardio” and exercise. Saying that, I’ve always got the camera with me and am ready to record the cool stuff encountered along my path. My new favorite fence hole at Sunnyside Yards continues to shine.

Those are Amtrak trains, if you’re curious. In between duty shifts, the coach yard side of Sunnyside Yards handles the needs of this rolling stock. I’ve seen workers doing custodial work on the trains, others monkeying around with various exterior features and devices, and there’s all sorts of mechanical tasks that get attended to while the trains are overnighting in Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another one of the hydraulic work lifts, which I fantasize about turning into my personal vehicle, was encountered on Skillman Avenue when looping back towards home recently. The one I showed you yesterday was green and small, this one is orange and bigger. Variety is the spice of life, huh?

This is a fairly busy week for old Mitch – tonight, Queens Community Board 1 will be virtually gathered for our monthly meeting. On Wednesday, the Newtown Creek Community Advisory Group will also be meeting virtually. For information on how to attend these public meetings – click here for Queens CB1 and here for the Newtown Creek CAG.

Also coming up – Tonight is the fund raiser Gala for the Working Harbor Committee, and October 29th is the Tidal Toast fundraiser for Newtown Creek Alliance.

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, October 19th. 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

October 20, 2020 at 11:00 am

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