The Newtown Pentacle

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undying roses

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 16th of March, a humble narrator didn’t have much to do, so off to the ferries did I go. It was a beautiful day, and after boarding an NYC Ferry destined to dock at the Pier 11 Wall Street stop, one got busy with the camera.

I was thinking about absent friends, and the path which I used to inhabit with them along these waterways.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Ghosts… Bernie Ente, and John Doswell, and John Skelson, and… suffice to say that there’s a reason why sentimental reminiscing is on the menu for me at the moment. Why I’m visiting all the familiar places.

Don’t worry, my health is fine, I’m just not ready to talk in this space about what’s coming down the line.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The East River corridor happened to be busy and well occupied with maritime industrial operations on this leg of my travels, around the greatest city that the world has ever seen.

Once I arrived at Manhattan’s Pier 11, a quick walk found me at the Whitehall Terminal of the Staten Island Ferry, which I then boarded. It has been a while since I went to… Staten Island…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the roughly 30 minute trip across the harbor, on the big orange boat, we were escorted by a United States Coast Guard SAFE boat crew armed with a high caliber machine gun mounted on the bow.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After debarking the big orange boat in the St. George section of… Staten Island… an hour or so was spent cataloguing passing maritime industrial traffic like the tug and barge combos pictured above and below.

This fits under the category of what I consider to be “good, wholesome fun.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My plan for returning to Queens involved an entirely different route than the one employed via the big orange boat.

More on that tomorrow.


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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

May 12, 2022 at 11:00 am

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

nobler desires

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Hey, it’s Tuesday again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, one has spent an extraordinary amount of time in the last week out on the water, specifically onboard a series of ferry boats. The reasons why revolve around another factor which has been mentioned in earlier posts, specifically the troubles I’m experiencing with my left foot and a strained muscle in my back. Nothing, but nothing, is better for stretching your back muscles than standing on a boat as it plies through the waves and you sway around keeping balance. Also, if your foot hurts when you’re walking around, it makes sense to find a moving platform to carry you about.

I’m a big fan of the NYC Ferry service. Recent endeavor saw me boarding one in Astoria after paying $2.75 for the privilege, and riding it to Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan. Once there, a short walk took me to the Staten Island Ferry’s Whitehall terminal, where I boarded one of the big orange boats for a free ride. Well, technically, I’ve already paid for that ride via income tax.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One major shortcoming experienced with the new camera system, that I especially feel when on the water, is the lack of a native “superzoom” lens. What “native” means is a lens purpose built for Canon’s new RF mount. I’ve got my old superzoom lens – a Sigma 18-300 – which was always my “go to” for such endeavors, but it was designed for a crop sensor camera like my old Canon 7D. Around half of its range produces significant vignette on the full frame camera I’m carrying now, and the only RF superzoom available right now isn’t a terribly desirable one (a 24-240mm f4-6.3 manufactured by Canon) as far as I’m concerned. Over time, third party manufacturers will release something I want, but for right now I don’t have the cash to gamble on a substandard piece of kit. I’m bringing an old lens out of retirement, thereby, a consumer level full frame 70-300 which has been lent out to several friends over the last few years and is now back at home in my camera bag.

That’s an NYPD Harbor Patrol boat, by the way, which was likely doing Homeland Security work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the Staten Island side of my afternoon, where I cooled my heels for a bit before getting back on the big orange boat to start the ride back towards home in Astoria.

For quite a few of the shots gathered on this particular afternoon, I used a native RF Mount 24-105 zoom lens and cropped in tight. Saying that, I lost 2/3rds of the image to the crop. Unfortunately, most of the truly desirable “long reach” lenses available right now for my camera require the sort of money which could also purchase a fairly decent used car.

Speaking of lensing… what are you doing on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?


“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 27, 2021 at 11:00 am

spider like

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Wednesday, yo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Do you have a favorite Staten Island Ferry model? I do, and it’s the John F. Kennedy. It’s not the newest, or the largest, but it is the oldest model in the fleet of big orange boats and the last of its class still being used. This baby has been on duty since 1965. It’s the one with wooden benches and the large outdoor balconies. Such a cool boat.

Before you ask… again… it doesn’t matter how big the thing is. The difference between a ship and a boat is that a ship can launch a boat and a boat can’t launch a ship or a boat. Rowboats, emergency boats and inflatable duckies don’t count in this distinction.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Along the route back to Manhattan, a trip which is about thirty minutes long, the Reinauer Towing tug pictured above caught my eye. You’ll often spot articulated Tug and Barge combos “parked” off the coast of South Brooklyn. The fuel barge is riding pretty high up so it’s likely empty of product. The parked tugs are waiting for their turn at a pier which connects to a tank farm of refined petroleum products, with that pier likely found along the Kill Van Kull waterway separating Staten Island and Bayonne, New Jersey.

There are other distribution points, of course, but given the position the smart money is on Kill Van Kull.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After getting back onto Manhattan, one walked north a couple of blocks and boarded the Astoria bound NYC Ferry, which proceeded along the East River. A smaller tug with a different dance card was encountered along the way. Recyclable materials, of the sort which we citizens leave on the curb in clear or blue bags, were being barged south and the route carried them right under the Manhattan Bridge.

The horrific “Two Bridges” development, specifically the first of its 5 mirror faced luxury towers, was causing the afternoon sun to strobe down onto the water in a most uncomfortable fashion. Gauche.

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 5th. 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 7, 2020 at 11:00 am

protean ideations

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Tuesday, sis.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in yesterday’s installment, a pleasure seeking narrator found his way onto the Staten Island Ferry to slake his desire for fresh air, sunshine, and something interesting to photograph. Seldom does the big orange boat disappoint.

Upon my arrival on the southernmost extant of the municipal archipelago, the one named for a historic Dutch legislative body, a brief walk carried me down to the waterfront. One was able to observe “the show” offered by the working vessels of NYC’s maritime economy and actuate the camera’s shutter with wild abandon.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The tugs in today’s post are property fo the McAllister Towing operation.

The “colorway” or paint job which the various towing companies decorate their vessels with help to identify them at a distance, a necessity inherited from the days before wireless radio communications were possible or feasible. Today, each one of these tugs operating in NY Harbor are virtually small radio stations with onboard electronics packages that include multiple band radios and even transponders which report the GPS tracked position of them to the United States Coast Guard. That broadcast data is also reported by several public facing websites, which allow you to anticipate where and when a boat will be passing by.

I don’t do that, though. Serendipity is the sugar syrup of my days and nights.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After spending about an hour hanging around the …Staten Island… waterfront, I checked the time and realized that I’d want to reverse course and head back to Astoria sooner than later. Accordingly, one entered the Staten Island Ferry Terminal at St. George and boarded the big orange boat.

While the crew was preparing to debark the pier, a Staten Island bound ferry was coming in to dock. It was one of the gigantic and fairly modern Molinari class boats, specifically the Guy V. Molinari. The boat is named for the scion of modern day political bossdom and the founder of the First Family of Staten Island politics, former Borough President Guy Molinari.

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 5th. 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 6, 2020 at 11:00 am

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