The Newtown Pentacle

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all petrifying

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After the rains of Ida blasted through Queens, a humble narrator packed up his camera bag and headed over to the industrial zone of Long Island City to see if my there was any interesting damage to take pictures of. My destination was the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek, and to get there from HQ here in Astoria, I have to cross over to the south side of the Sunnyside Yards.

That’s the Standard Motor Products Building, one of several dinosaur sized industrial buildings which line the Northern Blvd. side of the Federal rail yard. Standard was a manufacturer of switches and electronics for automobiles, and still are. I have a friend who still works for them in an office in that building. On the roof is the Brooklyn Grange Urban Farm, which is definitely worth a visit if you’ve never been up there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given the sloping character of Skillman Avenue, one expected to find all sorts of storm damage here. Nada. It was as if nothing had changed since the last time I walked through here.

Well, maybe they managed to toss another luxury condo up in the last week, it’s hard to tell with Long Island City these days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One thing about that storm, however, is that everyone forgot to pat the NYC DEP on the back afterwards. I’m often in an adversarial posture towards this particular city agency, and a lot of my activist/advocacy time is spent decrying their bureaucratic obfuscations on Newtown Creek. Saying that, however, you do have to appreciate the fact that when the rain falls on us in buckets, they are the ones who drain the flooding away. Also, in NYC, you seldom get warnings about having to boil drinking water as it’s become contaminated after flooding. DEP delivers our clean water, maintains the resovoirs, and also handles sewage at their 13 treatment plants. They have a few more duties, but those are the big ones.

Thank you to Commissioner Vincent Sapienza and his DEP pals for getting us through yet another crazy weather event.


“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 9, 2021 at 11:00 am

awesome pulsing

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After spending a stinky hour and change at Penny Bridge in Greenpoint, one decided to walk back to HQ in Astoria via the pedestrian path on the Kosciuszcko Bridge. I ran into a friend and her dog on the way, and got to enjoy a bit of company. Having not seen this particular person since the start of the pandemic, she was a bit startled at how much my personality has changed in the last year and a half. I explained my philosophical embrace of sociopathy in recent months, and how freeing it is to just not care about anything anymore.

Really, I just give zero shits about anything. Nothing actually matters.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “happy place” is my pet name for industrial Maspeth. The corner which that stop sign pictured above is found on used to host a Yeshiva, which closed under mysterious circumstance back in the 1950’s. Rumors abound, including wild stories about “Dybbuk” infestations, but it’s most likely something mundane that closed the religious school. The “Frum’s” were probably just consolidating themselves into Williamsburg and or Crown Heights during this era.

Translation of Frum for Goyem – many Jews refer to the Orthodox sects (Hasids, Satmars etc.) as “Frum.” It’s a Yiddish word, which I don’t know the exact meaning of, but it seems to be related to being strict. Frum are the people you see wearing the hats and formal clothes everywhere they go, and who rigorously follow religious law and custom, and are often in the camera retail business. Conservative Jews usually dress like everyone else, but wear Yarmulkes and observe both dietary and sabbath law pretty closely, but also often ski or take cruises and that sort of stuff. Secular Jews, which are my particular tribe, are basically assimilated Americans with funny last names, except we have Chanukah substituted for Christmas.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Almost back at HQ, and suffering greatly as the humidity had risen nearly 30 points since my time at Penny Bridge, a chance meeting with a New Jersey Transit train running on the turnaround track at Sunnyside Yards necessitated a photo as it passed. Boy oh boy, was I shvitzing when I walked in the house. Oy, it’s so humid!

Back 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

August 31, 2021 at 11:00 am

terrifying delight

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunset is fairly spectacular this time of year, if you get your timing correct. A recent scuttle found one heading towards the familiar destination of Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary in Long Island City’s Degnon Terminal section. This is a familiar path for me, and is one of the regular night time walks which I’ve been engaging in throughout the endless pandemic months.

That water tower pictured above is on the roof of the Standard Motor Products Building, which also hosts the Brooklyn Grange Urban farm.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When I was crossing the Honeywell Truss over the Sunnyside Yards, which is one of the street bridges spanning the rail complex which connects Skillman Avenue with Northern Blvd., I got the fiery skies I was hoping for.

One was, of course, about a half hour late relative as to where I wanted to be when the sky went orange. I really wanted to be near the water, but had a bit of trouble dragging my butt out of HQ on time. This is one of the effects that the pandemic months has created for me, an inability to rush about.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s been a while since I’ve left HQ with the entire photo kit on my back – y’know, the tripod and everything. A point was made of intentionally using my zoom lenses while walking, since most of what I’ve been shooting over the last few months has been accomplished with two prime lenses. Given that I’ve brought a long lens out of retirement, I’m trying to mix things up a bit and “reach out and touch something” with it.

As mentioned, a bit of travel is in the cards for me in September. Definitely going to be visiting the pretty city of Pittsburgh with its amazing collection of bridges and funiculars, Burlington up in Vermont is on my list, as is Washington D.C. If I can make it work, I might come back from Pittsburgh via Chicago. I also have a wedding to attend in a rural section of New York State next month. Exciting, no?


“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

August 19, 2021 at 1:00 pm

feeble spirit

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Umbrella? Yeah, better bring one. As mentioned in previous posts, one has been experiencing several annoying and somewhat painful conditions which have been getting in my way. One of them is a pulled muscle in the spinal region. This condition is certainly temporary, which is how my experience with similar injuries in the past have played out, but it’s made me question every single item in camera bag from the point of view of weight. Sticking the umbrella in there is a drag, even though it’s only a pound or two. Seriously, when you’re marching along with the gear, even a few ounces of weight make a real difference in how happy you might be.

That’s the view of Astoria’s Broadway from HQ, gathered as one of these recent crazy storms was just blowing in. I was hoping to catch some lightning, but no luck.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Somebody on Newtown Avenue, in another section of Astoria, purpled their firebox. I know for a fact that the guys and gals who ride on the noisy red trucks don’t like when the citizenry do this, but in recent years I’ve noticed that people are taking the painting of fireboxes into their own hands.

This one isn’t too far from The Saw Lady’s house. Maybe she knows who and why. Is there a massive Prince fan living nearby?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another walk, another Tylenol for my aching back. As mentioned in the past, Sunnyside Yards is always in focus around these parts. That’s an Amtrak maintenance facility, as you may have guessed.

Lots of intentional stretching and not repeating the physical behavior which resulted in my back hurting is underway, so everything seems to be on the mend. I still need to sit down more often than normal, and I’ve figured out the exact spot between the shoulder blades to press my thumb into. That causes an audible “click” and allows the trapped muscle to degauss or disengage or whatever it is that’s going on in there.


“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 21, 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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