The Newtown Pentacle

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scarcely envisaged

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Monday photos from the before time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been a dirty rotten stay at home for the last few days, which I can blame on a number of factors, but I’ve mainly been lazy. It’s been hot, damnit! Accordingly, a few shots – from 2020 – are on offer today. These are from the before times, when the calendar’s opinion still applied to what day it might be. I’m of the opinion that today’s date very well might be March 128th. Just last night, as the neighborhood gathered around a roaring hearth of fireworks, we told tales of the old days to all the children.

That was before Antifa stole the ocean, of course. Those ubiquitous rascals do make for intriguing right wind bogey men, don’t they? Wasn’t it the Mexicans before them, or the Arabs, or… some woman who wore a turtle neck sweater? Or was it some guy with glasses… I’m sorry it’s all become quite a blur.

I used to have the story straight, in the before times.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When I told the neighborhood kids about how we used to ride around in metal boxes on tracks, they didn’t believe me. The limited grunting and chirping language, which is the only speech now allowed after the leftist hordes came through the neighborhood and re-educated us all, made it hard to describe the dual contracts era but I did my best. Then Karen showed up, and well… Karen.

In all seriousness, I really am having trouble keeping track of the “outrage of the day” and the post-truth environment we’re living in.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One makes fun of the rightists all the time, so some turnaround fair play for my leftie pals is offered on the subject of the ubiquitous and colossal amount of fireworks in recent weeks. Now you want the cops? Can’t have a police state clamping down on laws you want enforced while ignoring the ones you don’t like. Change the laws. You could theoretically force the cops to wear hot pink short sets if you write the law correctly. Cops are automatons when it comes to the law, and have virtually zero ability to interpret justice creatively on the street due to the sort of judicial legislation passed during the drug war, or terror war, or whatever else the politicians have declared war on. Be careful with what you ask Cops to do. For the last forty years you’ve been looking to them to solve every problem we’ve actually got or even the ones we’ve imagined, and those of us warning against worshipping at the pulpit that the Reverend in Blue preaches at have been told to shut up because “child molestors,” “terrorists,” or whatever other bogeyman you fear takes precedence over liberty.

The whole “redefinition of what political terms mean” thing is summed up, for me, by the fact that the fellow who built that bridge pictured above was a Progressive Republican. Can you imagine anybody describing themselves that way today, the way they would in the before times?

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, July 6th. 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.


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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.

current crimes

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There’s always the 7 train.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Owing to the sudden departure of my mac, and the associated digital tumult, these shots are a few weeks old, so apologies. This seems to be the way my life operates – just when I managed to get a healthy rhythm going after the smashed toe drama ended, another disaster occurs. One should be out and about this evening, recording the sort of amazing landscape which Western Queens offers, but as far as right now and today goes – it’s a few archive shots of the 7 train coming and going in LIC.

Above, a Manhattan bound train is descending into the Hunters Point Avenue station off of the steel causeway that carries it over the Sunnyside Yards and the MTA’s Arch Street train maintenance facility.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also at the Hunters Point 7 station, this IRT Flushing line train is Queens bound, and was the one which a humble narrator boarded on his way to Queensboro Plaza. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of “math” we New Yorkers do when using the MTA system. The particular equation one such as myself often calculates, which should simply be about the fastest way home, factors in “pain in the ass” variables. I will avoid a transfer at Herald Square at all costs, for instance, as the station sits on a hellmount. That’s why it’s always so hot there.

On this particular afternoon, sometime last month as I recall, I had just conducted a walking tour of Skillman Avenue for a group of Sunnyside Yards Deck opponents. It was fairly chilly out, and the 7 would carry me to Queensboro Plaza where I could transfer to an N line train which would turn up 31st street and deposit me on Broadway. A short walk would then find me walking in the door to HQ. I could have ridden the 7 out to Jackson Heights, and transferred at Roosevelt Avenue to an R train which would stop a few blocks closer to HQ, but that could have ended up being a “pain in the ass.” Especially so on the weekends.

Remember, the “A” in MTA is for “adventure.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Beside the “pain” factor, one of my absolute favorite shots in the entire subway system is that of the 7 pulling into Queensboro Plaza with the Silvercup Bakeries sign behind it. What’s a ten block walk as compared to a two block walk when there’s a photo worth taking involved with the former?

Pfagh.


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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 5, 2020 at 1:30 pm

possible significance

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Freaking fantastic, it’s Friday!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On one of my nocturnal jaunts across the concretized realities of Western Queens, it began to drizzle. Luckily, one happened to be hauling his carcass about in the vicinity of Queens Boulevard – the proverbial Boulevard of Death itself – and advantage was taken of the shelter which a path under the vaults of the IRT Flushing (or 7) elevated subway line would and did offer. One had his hood up, which seemingly made several of the people whom I passed by suspicious and or apprehensive of me. Humpf! No one at the Creek ever complains about my sartorial elegances.

Seriously though, this has been a thing my whole life. Sans traveling with armed guards, the safest you are ever going to be is when I’m around, but old ladies have been clutching their handbags and pearls in my presence since I was a kid. Sometimes, good guys don’t wear white.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I don’t like the act that modern day old ladies put on, actually. If you’re an old lady in 2020, odds are you were rolling around in the mud at Woodstock with some bloke and didn’t used to be the innocent and easily shocked type which you pretend to be now. The classic “old lady from Pasadena” who somehow made it to their golden years without ever experiencing the coarser side of life has always been a stereotype to reject. Of course, in general I reject any sort of stereotyping so I’m never surprised when folks turn out to be quirky and odd. This seems to be an anomalous position, especially when chatting with friends in their 20’s and 30’s who often tell me what I’m feeling or thinking based on my status as an “old white cisgender male.” When I point out that this is actually a prejudice based point of view that dehumanizes and reduces my individuality down to some identity politics check mark, and represents an inherently racist point of view, they get angry with me.

Discourse during my entire trip on this planet has been built around the attempt to not see or judge people based on their tribal/religious affiliation, skin coloration, or accent. If you think in this way, you’re actually very much in tune with the Nazis, despite your claim that this “oppressed group” or that “shunned clique” are automatically morally superior based on their prior experience of institutional or societal discrimination.

Individuals. We are all individuals, lone sailors lost on a heaving sea. Identity politics is going to be the death of this republic, as the entire ideation plays directly into the hands of actual racists. Me and you are “Us,” so stop focusing on “them.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is amongst the many reasons why I absolutely love wandering around in the dead of night during the winter, in a filthy black raincoat with my voluminous sweatshirt hood pulled up in a manner that scares old ladies, by myself. Solitude, and not having to deal with other people’s depressing views of the world, is nepenthe. I get enough of the derision and virtue signaling at all the governmental meetings I have to attend, and where I have to be somewhat polite towards the mindset. Thing is, where I belong is out here on the street, alone.

Every minute during which I’m not engaged in the operation of my camera, I’m basically wasting my time.


“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

February 14, 2020 at 11:00 am

virtuous bluster

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Happy Monday!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, a few of my friends have received a request to “be a guinea pig” for a new walking tour I’m planning on conducting this year. Accordingly, I recently dragged one of them up onto the Kosciuszcko Bridge, which will be a part of the experience. That’s one of the literally hundred shots I gathered in under twenty minutes up there, a frequency that was indicated by something like every five to ten steps. Lots to see up on the Kos. We didn’t hang around for sunset, as my friend on this particular day was desirous of heading over to Queens Blvd. and the 7 line tracks, so that she could wave her camera at the oncoming trains.

So far, one hasn’t been hassled by any of the new Subway cops when sitting in the system, and in fact, haven’t perceived their presence whatsoever in Western Queens. I’m looking forward to the hassle, as “Giuliani Time” is so long ago at this stage that I’m actually nostalgic for the over reaching and invasive enforcement of no actual law. It’s one hundred percent kosher to photograph non commercial work in the MTA system, barring the use of tripods, lights, and flashes. If you wanted to use any of that equipment down below or up above, you need to contact the MTA and get a permit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has always been enamored with the design of the 7 line concrete aqueduct on Queens Blvd. Concrete and steel go so well together, especially when they were combined in the era of the First World War. So utilitarian! So retro!

My favorite thing, though, about the stretch of Queens Blvd. between 33rd and 48th streets is the way that the vaulted concrete arches form a “whisper gallery.” Don’t ask me to explain the physics of it, but if you’re so happy (and you know it) that you clap your hands, the percussive sound waves will travel for blocks and blocks under this structure. If you speak loudly, your voice will echo and boom. I’d like to stage a concert down here someday, one with somebody playing drums. Actually, drums and bagpipes.

File that one under “how to annoy all of Sunnyside.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Upstairs, of course, you’ve got the IRT Flushing or 7 line. I’ve got to admit, since they finished the signals upgrade – and in my experience – the 7 is arriving far more frequently than it used to. It’s also a lot more crowded than it used to be, particularly at either end of its course in Queens. I’ve also observed the train completely emptying out at its Manhattan “Grand Central” stop and have ridden in a totally empty car to the end of the line at Hudson Yards more than once. A private ride to the camera store, for a humble narrator, essentially.

I’ll let y’all know about the new walking tour when I’ve got it all set up. Going to be a good one, that. Bring a camera.


“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.

vitally encrouched

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Back to base.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having decided it was time to head home, one nevertheless diverted his path over to Queens Blvd. to gather just a few more shots of the elevated tracks of the 7. This is at the western corner of Van Dam Street, which I can now describe to you as enjoying a major rat infestation. While approaching this spot, several large banks of clustered shadow along the sidewalk began to disassemble and scatter into hidey holes. Not sure why this particular spot is so attractive to mammalian scavengers, but it is, so there you are. Maybe there’s a cheese monger in the old Swingline Stapler building.

The 7 line runs fairly frequently, so it was decided to set myself up again at another nearby point of view and wait for a train set to appear.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What I wanted from the shot above was the light streak and ambience offered by the passing subway train, with the intention that it would provide a bit of illumination for the factory windows as well as providing some separation from the night sky. The temperature had been dropping the entire time I’d been out – lurking in fear down Northern Blvd., then shadowing in Queens Plaza, and scuttling towards Skillman Avenue. By the time these shots were gathered, gloves had been donned and my sweatshirt hood raised, and the filthy black raincoat buttoned.

As a note, I’m particularly fond of this year’s hoodie sweatshirt. The hood completely encloses my head, and all you can see of my face is the tip of the nose and a wisp of gray beard. The hood is large enough to to hook over the bill of my too tight baseball cap, too. I really look menacing, crazy, and kind of scary when it’s all done up. Win.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One last shot upon crossing Northern Blvd. and back up the hill into Astoria, of a Major Auto World Garage which won’t be there too much longer. There’s going to be a large footprint, and architecturally banal, apartment house rising in this spot before long.

It’s fair to say that nearly everything you’ve seen in this series of posts won’t be there too much longer, and that it all will be replaced by large footprint and architecturally banal apartment houses.


“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 23, 2020 at 2:00 pm

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