The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘LIRR’ Category

dark spectacled

leave a comment »

Hello, Sweetie.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Railroad Avenue is found along the fabulous Newtown Creek in the Blissville section of Long Island City. The name of the street belies it’s function and what it travels along, which are the trackways of the Long Island Railroad’s Blissville Yard, which itself is a part of the LIRR’S Lower Montauk line. Pictured above is a modern day movie studio, which used to be known as the Tidewater Building, or as the Lukoil/Getty dock more recently. I wasn’t focusing on history when shooting this series of shots, however, rather it was the subject of monsters that plagued me.

You saw that warning from the Center for Disease Control about the hordes of hungry rats? Christ almighty, if that’s going to happen anywhere and to anyone, if would here and it would be me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the titular western end of Railroad Avenue, you’ll find the gates leading to SimsMetal, a private company which handles the processing of the plastics, paper, and metals that are collected curbside by the NYC Department of Sanitation on “recycling day.” On the subject of seeing other people, who are not wearing hard hats and safety vests at least, in these places which have formerly been inhabited by only me – it happened again. A few people wandered past me heading this way and didn’t come back, and I ran into a nice guy naked Steve who had come back here to capture shots of graffiti for his website. Saying that – seriously – people on Railroad Avenue on a Saturday night? The world really must be ending, yo.

I was back here for the graffiti too.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve been trying to get shots of this particular Long Island Railroad trainset for a while, but it’s been parked in a different spot which is decidedly more difficult – and far more “trespassy” – to get near it for the past few months. I’m told that what you’re looking at is either a giant pile of soon to be recycled metal, or the future foundation of a reef in some faraway patch of water.

The crazy lighting was generated by the weird emanations and the otherworldly spectrum of light which flows off of the Koscisuzcko Bridge, overflying the Newtown Creek about a mile east of this spot adjoining the Blissville Rail Yard on Railroad Avenue. It’s no ordinary or earthly color, that, instead…

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.

be shunned

with 2 comments

Another day, another 20,000 steps.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One found himself scuttling down Skillman Avenue recently, marveling at the ludicrous size of Durst Organization’s latest project on the other side of the Sunnyside Yards in Queens Plaza. Skillman has become rather populated in recent weeks, as the residents of both Sunnyside and Hunters Point have begun exploiting it for exercise and recreational walks.

I look forward to all of you returning to swallowing your alcohol drinks, or sitting in movie theaters, or watching your sports ball again, and getting the hell out of my personal Idaho.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the corner of Skillman and Thomson Avenues, the photo above was observed. I have several theories about this scene – postulates, causalities, and so on.

1) Covid. The virus ate away at some unfortunate person from their feet up and all that was left behind was the scalp and hair. 2) Those ravenous rats which the CDC warned the country about the other day, entirely consumed somebody but left their hair behind. 3) Somebody actually heard back from NYS Unemployment and they flipped their wig. 4) Fake news. There is no wig, instead it’s the Democrats, specifically Nancy Pelosi and AOC planting conflict actor hairpieces around Long Island City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My reveries about the hair piece were interrupted when one of those sterilized Long Island Railroad trains came rolling by. Oh boy! My obsessive desires to photograph LIRR rolling stock now satisfied, so one pointed his toes towards that fabulous ribbon of municipal neglect known as the Newtown Creek. Again.

It really feels like I’m walking the stations of some highly industrialized cross at this point, btw. One occasionally feels a sharp sticking pain in the back, and exclaims “Ow, my country.”

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 1st. 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.

might startle

leave a comment »

It’s only been June for 3 days!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent occasion found one at his favorite hole in the fences at Sunnyside Yards, which occurred coincidentally with a flurry of track repair and maintenance activity. Just east of my favorite hole, crews of hard hats were making busy, and under it I spotted these two LIRR engines rolling about.

Maintenance of Way is a new name of game I’ve recently learned, and that’s what these two engines were involved with. Low light photography is the name of my game, and the shot above represents a new physical achievement for me, which is holding the camera steady for 1/6th of a second. That should be impossible.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Realizing at the time that I had gotten lucky with the 1/6th shutter speed, I cracked out a “just in case” shot – above – at a more reliable 1/80th.

My near constant desire to photograph LIRR rolling stock temporarily sated, the camera was allowed a short interval of inactivity, and one continued his endless perambulations. On this particular evening, I was on one of my short walks, an exercising constitutional you might want to call it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While crossing Queens Blvd., one took notice of this midden surrounding a DSNY bin under the elevated tracks of the 7 line. My intention when clicking the shutter revolved around the comic level of household trash dumping and litter surrounding it, but when reviewing the photo a few things occurred to me. The typography on the signage is fairly relict, and the bin itself is definitively an older model.

I began wondering how long ago this particular bin was placed here on the corner of 39th street and Queens Blvd. and whether or not I could determine its age based on model and design. Came up empty on both fronts. Any ideas?

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 1st. 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.

common sheet

with 3 comments

Archive, again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given that I still haven’t produced any images worth showing to you in the last few days, today is another post pulling photos from the Newtown Pentacle archives. Luckily, over the years, I’ve been able to put the camera in front of some pretty cool stuff. Pictured above is the Kirby Moran tugboat, navigating through Newark Bay, with the Bayonne Bridge in the background. This was shot while onboard a Working Harbor Committee trip. WHC is a Manhattan based non profit, dedicated to educating the public about the harbor of New York and New Jersey, and one which I’ve worked with for more than a decade as official photographer and occasional tour guide.

I fear that there won’t be any boat excursions in the cards for me this year, which would and will be sorely missed. Being out on the water is a big part of my life during the warm weather months. Honestly, I do not know what I’m going to do with myself on Tuesday or Thursday nights in July and August.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s a New York & Atlantic train in the shot above, captured on a Waste Management campus in East Williamsburg last year. I got to ride on the train, and had unusual levels of access to the folks who own and operate the freight service the day this shot was captured. I also got a cool baseball hat with their logo on it which I wear all the time now. NY&A operates mainly on Long Island Railroad’s rights of way, and handle LIRR’S freight duties for Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk counties. Just behind the train is a fence, and just behind the fence is the English Kills tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek.

The context of why I was able to shoot this train, and enjoy access to the site, was due to an invite by the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce offered to myself and several other members of Newtown Creek Alliance – a Brooklyn based non profit dedicated to reveal, restore, and revitalize Newtown Creek. I’ve been NCA’s historian and general tour guide for more than a decade as well, and I’m also a member of the board of directors for the organization.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I see a lot of cool cars when I’m wandering around Brooklyn and Queens, including this cherry Ford Mustang all done up with racing stripes. This particular auto was encountered on the Astoria side of Northern Blvd., which happens to sit within the jurisdiction of Queens Community Board 1, a Governmental body which I was sworn into and joined last year.

I’m currently a member of the Transportation and Environmental Committees, but have made it a point to attend a meeting of every committee CB1 has in order to understand the structure of the organization. The only ones I haven’t attended so far are Public Safety and Health. Saying that, I occasionally sit in on the 114th pct.’s community council meetings.

I’ll definitely be getting out in the dead of night this weekend, wandering through the plagued streets, and gathering some new images for next week. See you then, 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.

suitable account

leave a comment »

Happy Friday, shut ins.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering, always wandering, that’s me. I also formulate questions while walking, along, like “why do the people who have moved into the new developments in Long Island City eschew the use of drapes or Venetian blinds.” Also, while pondering subjects which randomly involve aspects of law, the proper cooking of pork, or societal engineering, one considers both past and future.

The lockdown here in NYC began shortly after the night of a full moon which coincided with Friday the 13th. The Ide of March, I believe, is when the Governor began exerting himself in muscular fashion. It’s now a month later – the Ide of April, as it were – and recent news reports have informed that not only has Krakatoa erupted but there’s also an asteroid which will be passing closely (in celestial terms) past the earth. There’s also a plague of locusts devouring Eastern Africa, but there’s always locusts in East Africa so that’s not really surprising. I’ve got a pot of ram’s blood to paint on my door, just in case the streets begin to fill up with hordes of toads or frogs.

Amphibians come in hordes, no? I know crows come in murders.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One somehow managed to pull off a hand held shot at 1/60th of a second just above, which is a new record for me. Normally, 1/100th is the best I can do on hand held shots before motion blur induced by my breathing and blood circulation obfuscates detail and sharpness.

That’s a near empty LIRR train riding through the Harold Interlocking at the Sunnyside Yards pictured, if you’re the curious type. I am.

Saying that though, my mind is dulling due to all the isolation, and Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself are developing a regional accent particular to our apartment.

Zuzoop the dyg has nary an idear whut we’s be speakins to hur in this new patois, but treats be rain on hur so no worry.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Tripod based exposures continue to be gathered, on the other hand, and a particularly productive walk over to Dutch Kills in Long Island City the other night will be described in some detail next week. It turns out that I had randomly and unintentionally turned up there during a so called “king tide” which saw the turning basin of Dutch Kills full up to the brim with Newtown Creek juices.

There were critters a splishing and a splashing in the darkness, and those disagreeable Canadian Geese are back in town, having ignored all travel restrictions. More on all this next week 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, April 13th. 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.

%d bloggers like this: