The Newtown Pentacle

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he flees

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On one of the very few public facing Newtown Creek walks of 2021, I was approached afterwards by one of the Gradate Students who had attended the thing. They asked me if I’d be willing to “show them the ropes” on the eastern side of Newtown Creek. This was before the current Pandemic surge condition set up, so I said “sure.”

I set a meet up point at 43rd street and Queens Blvd., but decided to take the train there from Astoria instead of the Q104 bus or just walking. M line to Jackson Heights, and transfer to the 7.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A buddy of mine in Astoria gives me the “you’re crazy” face when I tell him to go this way, as he likes transferring to the 7 Line at Court Square. He’s wrong, as it’s three stops to Jackson Heights from my stop in Astoria and 4 stops to Court Square. Given that his route goes through Queens Plaza, it’s always going to take longer.

I’m smart… Smart, not dumb, not like people say.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The particular path I took the grad student on involved some of the less visited spots along Newtown Creek like Maspeth Creek. As open sewers go, it’s a beauty.

Foliage, that’s what I kept on thinking. Foliage.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, the pandemic has annihilated another Newtown Creek business, this one a distribution hub for an international bakery company that sells snack cakes. Accordingly, open fences, and an opportunity to get a shot that I’ve never gathered before.

Funnily enough, some of my Newtown Creek people – who always tell me that I’ve seen too many movies – recently discovered that the Mafia are still active in the Maspeth area. Surprising, huh? Beverage and snack food distribution using fleets of trucks to deliver to all cash businesses like Bodegas… who would associate the Mafia with that… I mean, it’s not like you grew up in New England and I grew up in 1980’s Flatbush and Canarsie. Thereby, your point of view on this topic is superior to mine. Saying that, I had a neighbor whose car horn literally played “The Godfather”’s theme music.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Around the end of our walk, I asked the Grad Student where they wanted to be for sunset, which was greeted with a shrug. I suggested the Grand Street Bridge, and the view you see above.

This shot is from early December, which ended up being a pretty productive month for a humble narrator. The reason I’m embedding six shots in the posts at the moment is to try and catch up with the actual calendar.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Technically, this shot was captured in Brooklyn. The actual dividing line between the boroughs is more or less the dead bang center of the Grand Street Bridge.

More tomorrow.


“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 6, 2022 at 11:00 am

altogether ignorant

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thanks. Thanks have therefore been given, go shop now.

The good news is that we’ve made it to another Thanksgiving. Personally, I’m thankful that most of my friends have made it through Covid with not much more than a few scars, although there’s a cohort of folks who aren’t with us anymore. I’m not thankful for the acrimony and weird ideations which have become mainstream thought, nor for being forced into starting conversations with “do you really believe that the government is omnipotent”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Let’s pretend for a moment that the United States Government has the sort of far reaching technical acumen and information discipline that would result in them having secret technologies like “nanobots” available to them, which allow them to control minds and alter human genetics. Given everything you know about our Government, don’t you think that you’d see a battalion of Captain America’s raising a flag in Tehran if we had this sort of super hero movie tech? Wouldn’t the first thing America did with this new tech involve picking a drug or terror war fight with some 98 pound weakling of a country in the Third World, to test it out on the battlefield and develop tactics?

Now, saying that, the whole Newtown Creek dealie puts me in touch with all layers of Government on a regular basis. Federal, State, Local. Trust me when I tell you that the paper trail associated with telling somebody that their shoelaces are untied would be miles long, vulnerable to foil applications, and a Congressional Committee would investigate why loafers weren’t considered, given the laces issue, in the name of screwing with the Clintons. Conspiracies of anything other than indifference, or “that’s not my job,” or “procedure” are impossible for the simple reason of “ass covering.” They’re not that good, our government employees, largely because the pay sucks and they are doing this gig for the pension. If they were any good at their jobs, they’d be working in the corporate world for an oil company or an investment bank. Even there, it’s all about the cash and getting yours, not controlling a population of “sheeple.” The average citizen is considered to be little more than a consumer, a customer, a metaphorical member of a demographic cohort – an obstacle or an abstraction.

That’s something to be thankful about, ultimately.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I always find it odd that the same group of people who decry “the State” (in the Machiavellian definition) and demand that we “starve the beast,” relegate such omnipotent abilities and powers to it. When the Federal Leviathan – in particular – decides on a singular goal and its collective power is focused on a singular objective, you can indeed go to the moon, power a Naval ship using a nuclear reactor, or weaponize the upper atmosphere or hide military equipment in space.

Saying all that, the real world isn’t a Marvel movie and the X-Files was a tv show. Get a grip.

Sales, there are sales. Buy things. Go ahead. Shop.


“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 25, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria, Subway

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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

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