The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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terrific thundering

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s been a long time since I was inside of Grand Central Station, I tell you. After my visit to the Times Square Ferris Wheel, detailed in last week’s postings, a quick walk found a humble narrator heading towards the 7 train which allowed some quiet time for contemplation. In recent months, I’ve been avoiding listening to music or audiobooks through my headphones in the name of pure paranoia and wanting to ensure that my auditory “early warning system” was and is in no way impeded.

The streets ain’t so friendly these days, especially at night in the relatively deserted and depopulated midtown business districts of Manhattan. I mean… that photo above is Grand Central on a Monday night at about 8 o’clock. Outside, it was like a zombie movie, only with groups of teenagers riding around on bikes and texting each other after they rode past you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My plan for getting out of dodge involved taking the 7 line subway back to Queens and then transferring over to an Astoria bound N train. What I was contemplating in this particular interval isn’t for public consumption quite yet, but there are weighty decisions being weighed behind my eyeglasses, even while you’re reading this post.

The saturated color profiles of today’s photos were intentional, incidentally. Always playing around with look and feel, me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Descending into Manhattan’s depths, it was absolutely bizarre moving through this particular space in solo fashion. Grand Central is defined by crowds and masses, and unending hordes of the human infestation. It’s beyond odd to be solitary anywhere in this building, let alone riding an escalator designed to carry thousands every hour all by yourself.

The 7 station here is very, very deep.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My pal Hank the Elevator Guy will expound endlessly about how deadly escalators can be. He points out that the actual mechanism of an escalator is fundamentally the same as that of an industrial meat grinder. It apparently doesn’t take much in the way of mechanical malfunction for the stairs to open up and pull you inside.

Most of that electronic sign’s messaging equipment in the shot above is burnt out, but the surviving LED’s on it say “Children should.” It doesn’t say what the children should, it just says they should. It is, after all, the MTA.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The most terrifying of MTA’s escalators are on the 7, incidentally. The Grand Central ones are just claustrophobic and deep, but it’s the ones at Hudson Yards that are actually vertigo introducing. Many have been the times that I worried about falling down a set of these moving stairs to an ignominious death.

I don’t mind the thought of dying. I mind the thought of dying in a stupid or comical way. Having an air conditioner fall out of a window on me, or down a flight of steps, or in some ironic circumstance. “Yeah, you heard what happened to Waxman? He died in a vat of molten wax at a candle factory.” At the beginning of Covid, I swore that I wouldn’t get sick as I couldn’t take a chance on dying at the Javitz Center. That’s a punk place to check out, yo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the 7 platform, deep under Grand Central, the IRT Flushing Line – or 7 train – arrived just as I ran into a friend from LIC whom I haven’t seen since New Years of 2020. Good times, taking the subway.

Back tomorrow with something entirely different 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

September 6, 2021 at 11:00 am

oppression waned

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whew, what a couple of weeks. One has walked or ridden a boat into 4 of the 5 Boroughs, including… Staten Island… in the last 14 days. I’ve been in Astoria, Long Island City, Bushwick, Greenpoint, East Williamsburg, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Manhattan’s Financial District and Lower East Side, and St. George. This whole spate of activity got started a couple of weeks ago in LIC when I had to meet up with a couple of Newtown Creek Alliance interns to teach them a couple of things about my beloved Creek. Good news is that most of this travel has occurred on boats, specifically on ferry boats.

The shot above is from the sidewalk of Borden Avenue, alongside the Long Island Railroad’s moderately ancient Hunters Point Rail Yard. The current facility is the ninth iteration of a rail yard on this spot. Once, there was a gigantic glass and steel train shed here, and there were turntables that allowed rail engines to reorient themselves from one track to another.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some of my travels have involved hopping on the subway. A humble narrator found himself at Queens Plaza just as a 7 line train was entering the Manhattan bound lower level tracks at the elevated MTA complex.

Just in the name of decrying how bad the management is at the redoubtable MTA… so, they had 16 months where basically nobody was riding the trains. During that interval, which you’d imagine as being a golden opportunity to perform upgrades and maintenance, they complained about declining fare revenues and an uptick in crime. Give us more money, they said, and the Feds bailed them out. Now, with the City reopening and everybody trying to get back to normal, just this last weekend they started doing signal upgrades to the Culver line. The F was running on the D, the D on the F, and R service was completely turned off in Astoria. Instruction was to take the 7 to Jackson Heights, and then transfer to the E, which was stopping in seemingly random places – none of which were where I was going.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above was gathered by shooting through the dirty window of a N train bound for Queens Plaza. One day it will happen – I’ll be on an N train which doesn’t look it was parked under a flock of seagulls and it will have clean windows offering a crystal clear view of the scene above.

Frustrating, the MTA is. That’s also a good sign of some sort of return to normalcy. How do you bring people together in our politically divided culture? Answer is: our common hatred of MTA management.

Speaking of getting back to normal… 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 26, 2021 at 11:00 am

small lands

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given my new proclivity towards antiviral immunity, recent scuttles have been routed with a formerly insane ideation in mind – taking the subway home. I’m sorry to say that more often than not in the last couple of months, either weather condition or the annoying problems I’m experiencing with this malfunctioning body of mine have actually necessitated transportation be used. The sort of summer heat we’ve been experiencing – the high temperature plus high dew point and then thunderstorm kind – shuts me right down. One refers to this interval as a “reverse blizzard.” The malfunction that’s mostly getting in my way involves the left foot, which seems to have been the favored location for several injuries I’ve suffered over the decades. That crushed big toe dealie from a couple of years back seems to have set off a whole Megillah of stuff down there. Either I’m going to fire the foot and hire a new one or finally be forced into mentioning the issue to a Doctor.

The left foot does, after all, represent 50% of my roadway interface.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whilst limping about and preparing to board a 7 train back to Jackson Heights in pursuit of transferring to an R or M line subway which stops close to HQ in Astoria, however, an Amtrak train was witnessed as it approached the tunnels leading into Manhattan. Simultaneously, a 7 Line subway train was climbing out of the Hunters Point Avenue stop on its way to the Court Square station. Now you’re talking!

One limped down the stairs and slumped into the hard plastic seat of one of those 7 line trains. Uneventfully, a humble narrator proceeded with the plan and made it home. Our Lady of the Pentacle described me as looking like a sweaty mess and pointed at the shower.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While you’ve been reading these posts for the last week, I’ve been kind of busy with a series of meetings and planning calls related to my beloved Newtown Creek. Had a bit of Astoria business to handle as well. Believe it or not, next week I’m going to be encouraging you to purchase tickets for a walking tour of LIC which I’m going to be co-conducting with my pal Geoff Cobb in early August.

Imagine – seeing me limp around in person and hearing the dulcet tones of my doomsaying live!


“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 16, 2021 at 2:30 pm

ineffably majestic

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Broiling down Skillman Avenue in Queens’ Long Island City section, one spotted an aperture in the fences surrounding the Sunnyside Yards. Purchase was gained and a quick shot of a passing IRT Flushing train climbing out of the Hunters Point Avenue station towards the elevated section of track leading to the Court Square Station was achieved.

I say “broiling” rather than scuttling intentionally, as every time a step occurred my footfall on the sidewalk caused a “pssssst” sound reminiscent of dropping a hamburger onto a skillet to occur. It was hot, I tell you, hot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Nearby, these three predators were getting their plans ready for the night. Murder happy characters, street cats are. If they were tigers you’d be more concerned. Since their attentions will mainly involve rodents and small birds, you think they’re cute and useful. If they were larger, and had a taste for dog or human meat… pass the ammo.

Really, tigers are examples of an ultimate predator machine which mammalian evolution has conjured. Tigers fight and win against crocodiles, elephants… I once saw a video of a tiger walking on the beach who pulled a shark out of the water and ate it. Humanity must preserve the Tigers – if for no other reason – the planet ever gets invaded by an extra terrestrial civilization. In their hearts, these three little LIC street cats are Tigers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A different sort of predator, the probable serial killer called the Queens Cobbler has returned to the zone. Their ghastly trophies have been turning up again for the last few weeks. Look for the singular shoes, and you will find a tiger of the two legged variety. Word.


“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 15, 2021 at 1:00 pm

abhorred necropolis

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yup, still working on this shot at Queens Plaza. Just a matter of time till the right time and place collide. Unfortunately for me, a massive collection of “have to’s” and “I’d really like to but need to do this pedantic and boring thing instead’s” have obligated one to photogenically unproductive activities for the last couple of weeks. Boring.

I really want to get on a boat, or a series of boats, sometime in the next week and just relax on the water while shooting whatever N.Y. Harbor decides to send my way. Serendipity awaits.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While stuck listening to a long and boring meeting, one noticed a thunderstorm approaching HQ and I was hoping that I might capture some lightning to punctuate the boredom of it all. I didn’t, but I did manage to record the weird color changes to the sky which such turbulent weather manifests. About a minute after this shot, the low clouds collapsed and inundated Astoria with heavy rain. No lightning, though.

I mentioned a fantastic offer that Amtrak was offering last week, which priced 30 “segments” of travel at $299. Given that two segments (and three days of travel) are enough to get me to California if I wanted, you can see the value of buying the package which I did. I have until the fall to activate it, whereupon I need to use it all within 30 days. Where am I going to go?

There’s definitely a day trip to the pretty city of Pittsburgh and it’s amazing collection of bridges coming up (there’s also a significant number of “connections” to Newtown Creek there), and it’s also likely that day trips to Washington D.C., Albany, Erie, and Boston are going to happen. My plan for all of them is to have a well designed shot list and route planned out. Leave NYC in the pre dawn and return late at night sort of things. Fun. I’ve been saying I need a vacation from “the zone” and now I have a very affordable and comfortable mode of travel. Probably going to execute all this moving about at the end of the summer when the light is a bit nicer.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back at Newtown Creek, we had an in person get together for the fully vaxxed crew at Newtown Creek Alliance recently. We’ve all been interacting over zoom and phone during the pandemic, but it’s been a while since the staff and board members were all in the same room at HQ in Greenpoint.

Spotted a DonJon tug moving barges around at SimsMetal on the Queens side from the green roof at 520 Kingsland Avenue, where NCA is headquartered. See what I mean about N.Y. Harbor serendipity? You go to a gathering to inhale some pizza and beer, and there’s a maritime industrial show going on in the background.

Ahhh… my beloved Creek, she never disappoints.


“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 22, 2021 at 1:00 pm

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