The Newtown Pentacle

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horrible grotto

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Friday odds and ends.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is convinced that within the next decade, if your automobile runs out of gas or blows a tire, you will just be forced to abandon the thing here in the City that never used to sleep. One is making some effort to catalog the tire shops, and mechanics, and gas stations before they are eradicated by the Real Estate Industrial Complex’s patriotic push to build more luxury condos in a shorter interval than any other City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Arriving back in Astoria, one cracked out a few shots of the various things which caught my eye. This contractor’s van is owned by a guy I’ve met a few times, a “no bullshit” Greek guy who polices his corner with Russian efficiency. When you walk past his house, motion activated lights erupt, cameras swivel on posts, and the venetian blinds in his windows suddenly show a small aperture.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a Con Ed project moving through the ancient village, one which is replacing 1950’s era cast iron gas lines leading to LaGuardia Airport with modern pvc pipes that can move greater volumes of fuel at higher pressure.

What could go wrong? Meantime, there’s lots of cool construction equipment parked all over the place.

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, January 18th. 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

January 22, 2021 at 11:00 am

honest physician

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Remember when Friday was special?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in the past, there’s something about the design principles of the “House of Moses” – which is what I call the teams of municipal engineers and architects that were employed by Robert Moses and who designed the network of highway, expressway, and parkway infrastructure of NYC between the early 1930’s and late 1960’s – which has always appealed to me. There seems to have been a governing philosophy back then that despite the mission calling for you to draw something utilitarian and inherently ugly – a high speed road, for instance – you should go out of your way to gussy it up and find ways to make it aesthetic. This is before Brutalism and massing shapes became the calling card of civil works.

I’m not being sarcastic, look at that 1940 section of the Long Island Expressway above. It could have been so much worse, and there’s all sorts of small detail built into what’s essentially an off ramp and an elevated travel lane. Truly under appreciated, I’ve always thought. The cloverleaf ramps nearby LaGuardia Airport are also quite visually pleasing to me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When I’m screaming at Government Employees in the modern day, I’m usually the only person in the room who’s not standing on a firm “Go ‘Eff yourself” on new or upgraded municipal infrastructure. Instead, I’m asking why they can’t spend a bit more time thinking about what it’s going to be like living with this stuff nearby. Why not make it visually interesting or even attractive? Look at the new Koscisuzcko Bridge, or the sewer plant in Greenpoint, for examples of what I’m talking about. I mean… you’re spending the money anyway, why not make it nice?

Pictured above is a Long Island Railroad train rolling through the Harold Interlocking at the Sunnyside Yards, photographed from my favorite hole in the fences. Want to talk about screwing up the public interface for a municipal facility? Look at the plate steel fences they’ve thrown up around the Yards, which are graffiti magnets. Uggh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Despite the pandemic, ChristmAstoria is risibly present again this year. Lights are deployed and electrified, and luckily the fad for light strings with xmas music speakers attached seems to be dying. I’m into the decorative lights, but detest the piping of holiday music into the streets.

Back next week with more shots from different adventures.

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, December 7th. 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.

painful process

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What the hell, it’s Thursday again, where am I?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Angles between neighborhoods, that’s what I call places like the spot where this photo was gathered. This particular angle sits on a weird confluence of geography. A block East or South is definitively Maspeth, one or two West and you’re clearly in Long Island City’s Blissville section. Heading North a block or two? You’re either in Woodside or Sunnyside, but it depends on who you ask. Ask a real estate professional, they’ll tell you it’s “Very Northern Williamsburg” and try to jack up the rent.

Angles between neighborhoods. On old maps I’ve seen, there used to be a Yeshiva on this particular corner, so maybe the Williamsburg thing isn’t much of a stretch. You’re looking at a corner in Queens, which used to be in the Laurel Hill section of Newtown’s Maspeth, not Brooklyn. Nothing is real or true anymore.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Calvary Cemetery is very real, and this shot was gathered on Laurel Hill Blvd., which is one of the only “tells” remaining in this area. This area received a LOT of attention from Robert Moses’ people during the highway construction era, the urban renewal era, and during the early 1960’s when they were trying to save the manufacturing sector of NYC’s economy using zoning regulations.

I’ve seen a lot of copies of the Power Broker on people’s book shelves during our era of Zoom teleconferences. Unlike my copy of the thing, others don’t seem to have a nest of post it notes sticking out of the thing acting as book marks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The old borders between the towns and municipal entities of what we know as Queens were blurry “back in the day.” One has paid some attention to figuring out the location of where the various lines of “where” were, and can say authoritatively that LIC’s border with Maspeth was Laurel Hill Blvd. on the south and Woodside Avenue to the north. The Brooklyn Queens Expressway runs literally on the actual border here. Where are the historic borders between Astoria and Woodside, or Sunnyside and Woodside, or Maspeth and Woodside? Depends on who you ask, and if the person you’re querying doesn’t mention Winfield you should stop paying attention. I’m talking historic here, by the way, not postal code nor the greedy imaginings of the Real Estate coprophages. Borden Avenue nearby 48th street, along the Long Island Expressway – pictured above – is a tripartite and nearly Balkan intersection between historic Maspeth, Woodside, and Sunnyside. Sunnyside was, after 1870, part of LIC. After 1898, they were all Queens. Of course, Sunnyside wasn’t called Sunnyside until the start of the 20th century… it’s all very confusing.

Angles. 48th street is germaine to this angle and border conversation, as is Queens Blvd., and 58th street/Woodside Avenue. Thoughts?

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, December 7th. 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

December 10, 2020 at 1:00 pm

nameless approximations

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old school Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I wasn’t out taking a “walk,” which for me is a grandiose six hour long process involving a tripod and visiting several truly horrible locations, instead it was a constitutional “shlep” that carried me down 39th Avenue at the hazy border of Sunnyside and Long Island City nearby Sunnyside Yards and Queens Plaza one recent evening.

Wasn’t really planning on taking a lot of photos, rather my intent involved a session of pure exercise while listening to a podcast. I took photos anyway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s when I noticed this Honda up on blocks. Man, you just don’t see this sort of thing anymore. Back in the 1980’s and 90’s it was fairly common for a car to get stripped down and left standing on bricks, but you really don’t see this very often in modern times. How retro!

Then again, what with actual Nazi’s running around these days, nostalgia is back on the menu again for all of us. I wonder if people are listening to Miles Davis again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The way it used to work, and I’ve seen it happen, is that a stolen car would be positioned on the street. A “pit crew” would jump out of a van or panel truck armed with tools and begin a rapid dismantling of anything valuable on the auto. Tires, brake pads, all gone in sixty seconds. Back in the day, the passenger cabin would also receive attention – radio and other electronics, and later on the air bags would also be targeted.

As Mr. Spock used to say: “fascinating.”

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, November 2nd. 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

November 2, 2020 at 1:00 pm

little polyhedron

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above was gathered from the Koscisuzcko Bridge pedestrian/bike path sometime in the last couple of weeks, and depicts the central section of the fabulous Newtown Creek at sunset. By “central,” I mean that the POV is 2.1 miles in on a 3.8 mile long network of industrial canals, so quite literally centered.

One is always seeking solitude, but this new pedestrian and bicycle path over Newtown Creek has proven quite popular with neighborhood folk from both sides of the Creek. Disappointing, seeing people in my happy place.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pornhub, for those of you unaware of the megalithic entity that it is, is the YouTube or Amazon of pornography. They have been attempting to buy the naming rights to a football stadium in recent years, which should indicate how large their corporate structure has become. For some reason, a graffiti writer here in LIC decided to perform some ad hoc advertising for the corporate skin merchants.

The illegally dumped auto tires just seemed to compliment the graffiti.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Exploitation of a different sort, the new or recently discovered holes in the fence at the Sunnyside Yards which a humble narrator visits regularly continue to yield interesting views of a federally owned railroad yard here in Long Island City.

Those are idling Amtrak trains waiting for a call to duty.

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, September 14th. 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.

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