The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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about evocations

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Tuesday, or “Tiwesdæg” in Old English, is named for the German god Tyr.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Why the debate? There’s a respiratory plague going around, and the doctors are telling us to wear surgical or cloth masks when out in public and congregating. You have an opinion? Did your own research? Think supernatural sky god/father will protect you because you like your version of his many books or scrolls? Is your first name “Doctor”?

Wear the damn mask. If you don’t want to…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are dozens and dozens of new interments at Calvary Cemetery, and thousands more spread out all over the country. Want to listen to a guy who went bankrupt owning a casino, went bankrupt with an airline, a tie company, a steaks company, and a real estate company who is telling you to take malaria drugs? Ok.

I’ve got a great investment opportunity for you, which is a bridge in Brooklyn…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wear the mask, for your kids. Wear the mask, for our country. Wear the mask, so we can get back to some semblance of normal life and put this interval behind us.

Or don’t. It’s not like the Antonine Plague was the actual event which began the decline of the Roman Empire, or that the Justinian Plague caused the end of the Byzantine Period. They didn’t know about the germ theory of disease, like we do, but because of the Justinian Plague, the Constantinopolitan armies were unable to keep the Turk at bay. The Turks then set up Sharia Law…

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, August 3rd. 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

August 4, 2020 at 11:00 am

hadn’t reckoned

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Thunderation, its Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One wore sunglasses. This is an increasingly rare statement for one such as myself, who has been scuttling about in the dark night for so long. Friday last, a humble narrator woke up in one of his dark moods, soon realizing that it was time to eschew the company of the humans and seek the succor of the Newtown Creek. Camera batteries were charged up, lenses polished, and my shoe laces were tied tightly. HQ was vacated, a course decided, and approximately 17,000 steps and six hours later one returned to Astoria with his desire to “do something” sated.

Before you might ask, the face mask is worn while in a center of habitation, such as Astoria or Sunnyside. Once I’ve passed through and into the deserted industrial zones of Newtown Creek, the obvious solitude encountered allows one to put the thing away and store it in a pocket. This is not offered as any sort of guidance or advice, incidentally, it’s what I’m doing. You do you, snowflake.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One still refuses to climb onboard a Subway, but I did hire a ride from a ride share taxi last week. The driver had created a plastic bubble for himself, and I insisted on opening all the windows in my compartment, while wearing a mask. The latest medical malady which I’m enjoying includes a bit of arthritic pain in my left ankle and foot – which is the same extremity that hosted that shattered big toe at the end of last year – and after several miles of loping about the ankle pain really began to speak up and demand attention. Discretion and valor calculations were made and I decided to slice off two miles of getting back home by dropping a $10 bill for the ride.

I am possessed with a notoriously high level of tolerance for pain, incidentally, something which various Doctors have commented on over the years when they were presented with whatever bleeding stump I’ve brought them to fix. I’m fairly sure that what I’m experiencing in the ankle would cripple most, but a humble narrator is made of sterner stuff. About once a day I like to let my mental discipline slip and allow all of the various aches and pains a voice. That’s when I drop to the floor and whimper like a wounded seal. My dog thinks it’s a game, and she lies next to me and also howls.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One was racing the descent of the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself as it slid behind New Jersey, in the name of getting to a certain spot along the Brooklyn shoreline of Newtown Creek for a dusk picture. Actually, for a series of dusk pictures. Pictured above, that’s the Metro Oil campus in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section with the Empire State Building peeking out behind it.

Noteworthy for a relative lack of atmospheric humidity, last Friday the gamey ankle wasn’t offering me any trouble. One strode the earth with vast and rapid movements, carrying his putrescent carcass mile after mile across the concretized devastations.

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, June 15th. 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.


“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 16, 2020 at 12:00 pm

listed proscription

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Wednesday odds and ends.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the time of this writing, one is in a rather tough spot in terms of fresh photos with which to illustrate the glories of Western Queens, but a week long curfew and suspension of Habeus Corpus will do that to a guy. Hopefully, I’m going to have been out and about a few times between the “then” and the “now.”

So, other than worrying a lot, how did a humble narrator spend his time during the curfew week, while stuck at home?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Well, I worked on perfecting the whole “stars” thing, which involves one of those fairly complicated bits of mathematical formula calculating. There was one evening in particular when the weather was on my side, which means a low dew point and atmospheric humidity. Thing is, you’re basically flying blind when shooting the night sky – manual focus, manual everything and all you can see on the camera is a black screen. A few test shots are required to ensure that your lens is set to “infinity” and everything is sharp. That’s when the camera settings come in to play, which are also manually arrived at. None of this is as simple as it sounds, which is the way I like it – complicated. I used one of my “good” lenses for the shot above, the Sigma 18-35 f1.8.

If you’re interested in pursuing this sort of thing, there’s all sorts of online calculators out there for astrophotography which will guide you through the process of settings and so on. The calculations involved in this boil down, ultimately, to lens focal length and aperture versus the rotation of the earth. The wider the lens, the longer the exposure you can capture without the stars motion blurring. If you can’t see stars in the shot above due to reading this on a device with a small screen, click the image and it will open in Flickr with a larger preview.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is really “raring to go” back out into Queens by now. I’ve found a new windmill to tilt my lance at over in Blissville, and am desirous of seeing the ocean again sometime soon.

Pictured above is the intersection of Queens Blvd. with Greenpoint Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue. It used to once be Greenpoint Avenue all the way to Flushing, connecting the two Dutch colonial centers, but that was a long time ago.

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, June 8th. 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.


“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 10, 2020 at 11:00 am

breathing stertourously

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A few odds and ends.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Turns out that the NYPD has a wrecker tow truck stationed in Woodside, all kitted out with their colorways, logos, and flair. The coppers have all the good toys. I think we, as a City, should license out and sell toys of all of the municipal vehicles the way that the Star Wars people do. Have you got the limited edition mobile oppression platform? How about a Dermot Shea talking action figure? You pull a string on its back and it makes excuses for the Mayor’s policies while resisting the urge to call him an asshole.

The cops have aircraft of all types, drones, tanks, boats, cars, trucks, buses… someday I think there will be an NYPD branded Mobile Suit Gundam deployed on the mean streets of New York. Now, more than ever.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It is absolutely startling to see Roosevelt Avenue empty. This is the corner of 58th street, which is one of the busier intersections in the borough of Queens under normal circumstance. A short burst of rain had just broken out. There were cops driving around with their lights off, seemingly looking for someone. The 7 train rattled by on the overhead tracks, puncturing the quiet. I did see a pair of guys carrying a whole lot of beer back to their apartment. Also, I had to pee.

That burst of rain occurred after a period of sweaty humidity and a subsequent ground fog had built up, when a strong cold wind began blowing through in a northerly direction. I can tell you this first hand, as I had actually been roaming around Queens for hours at the moment that this shot was gathered, and I was sweaty and rain soaked and growing steadily more chilled. It had been a warm night, so no filthy black raincoat, just a sweatshirt. The need to urinate had nothing to do with the weather, rather it was normal renal function at work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

38th Avenue runs between Woodside Avenue/58th street and 61st street. It mirrors and follows the path of the Long Island Railroad tracks which are elevated up on a berm and surrounded by vegetated slopes. The section of it between Woodside Avenue and 54th street is spooky. There are homes on the north side of the street, but their back yards and driveways are what face 38th. It’s dark, and a few of the people who live here have not very high fences and excitable dogs. It’s a creepy street, for some reason. I instinctively don’t like walking down this stretch during the daylight hours, either. Can’t tell you why.

It’s a Queens thing.

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, May 4th. 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.


“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

May 8, 2020 at 11:00 am

convulsive cry

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Getting used to living with the tyranny of the now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One recalls all of the angry men who drove these yellow cars, and their frustrations. The angry men would have vastly preferred not having to drive you anywhere you needed to go, instead they’d have liked you to just toss a few bucks in their open window when they drove off after hearing that you didn’t want to go into Manhattan. These yellow cars were always dirty, uncomfortable, and the drivers generally bad tempered. When the ride share corporations began to chip away at the exclusive franchises of medallion taxi’s, nobody really cared about the drivers of the yellow cabs, since one of the commonalities of life in NYC involves a story about some asshole cab driver who… fill in the blanks.

Functionally speaking, there is no such taxi industry right now. The ride share drivers have been reduced down to making food and supply deliveries, but at least they’re working. Everywhere I go, entire fleets of yellow cabs are being stored in the parking lots of closed businesses, along the curbs, or anywhere you can park.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The MTA buses are still operating, as are the subways. Both options are ones you could not pay me to take right now. Since the start of all this, a thought which has been optimate and repeated like a mantra revolves around “dwell time.” It’s one thing to risk exposure to infection in terms of a quick trip to a shop – you’re in, you’re out. It’s another to “dwell” in a biologically hazardous environment. This is something I’ve learned over the years along the Newtown Creek. Don’t misunderstand me, you can still catch a viral load if all you’re doing is buying a pack of gum at a bodega and you’ve only been in there for a quick minute, it’s just that the odds of inhaling something malign are somewhat lessened if you’re not in that bodega for a half hour or hour. The longer you dwell in an air mass with people who aren’t your “quarantine buddies,” the more epidemiological mathematics begin to work against you. “Quarantine buddies” you ask? That’s your family and or domestic partners, and all of the people with whom both you and they interact with. The bigger the buddy group, the better the chance you have of getting sick.

If you’re riding on a bus, like the Q32 pictured above, everybody on the bus and everybody they interact with are now your buddy. Theoretically, so is everyone else who rode that bus since the last time it was fully disinfected – which should include the internals of the heating vents – but – MTA, so…

I think we should pay a lot of attention to filters on HVAC systems, moving forward.

Saying all that, I’m just a schmuck with a camera who likes talking about NYC history, not a doctor or an epidemiologist, and the paragraphs above represent an opinion not a fact. Do whatever the hell you want. Bleach, estrogen, fire, whatever.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Right now, a humble narrator is wishing that he had access to a private vehicle – a car, truck, or even an electrically powered bike. Under normal circumstance in the past, the cost and effort has been something I eschewed, but during those intervals one had access to the entire MTA system, ride share services like Uber and Lyft, and those angry fellows driving the yellow cars to rely upon. I’d love to jump behind the wheel right now and pop over to Plumb Beach or Rockaway and sit on a large rock while staring at the sea. C’est le vie, no?

Could be worse, of course, at least I live in a place that’s visually interesting and am surrounded by other areas which are similarly idiosyncratic and within walking distances. Also, still alive and not sick yet, so…

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, April 27th. 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.


“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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