The Newtown Pentacle

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opiate peace

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, the NYC Ferry has started a new service, one that starts on… Staten Island… and then proceeds up the Hudson River to midtown. Now… why on earth would you introduce a paid service that’s meant to compete with the free one?

Answer is that the free one goes to lower Manhattan, leaving you nearby the Battery and Wall Street, whereas the new paid service takes you to the high west 30’s along the west side of the City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The new boat route really allows the ferry captains to open up the throttle, I would mention, and the boat is bouncing along on the waves. It leaves from St. George, makes a stop nearby Battery Park City at Vesey Street, then heads all the way up to west 39th street.

Talking to people from Staten Island riding the thing revealed that they didn’t mind paying for it, given that using the Staten Island Ferry to get to Manhattan would see them paying a subway fare. This way, they get to be on the water the whole way.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was dipping down behind New Jersey as I was riding the ferry, and there’s a Coast Guard rule that demands that anyone with a camera has to take a picture of the Statue of Liberty under such circumstance, so…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I had a meeting which I was meant to call in to just as the moon began to manifest. Something Newtown Creek related, which is probably quite a surprise, huh?

I am very, very tired of going to meetings.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve always found the Hudson River pretty boring, truth be told. You’ve got three or four nice shots along the way, but two of them have been absolutely ruined by catastrophic architectural decisions.

I don’t actually mind those two cantilevered buildings, as a note.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As soon as I hit land, I called into my meeting, which I attended via my headphones while still shooting.

Back next week with more wonders, 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

May 13, 2022 at 11:00 am

undying roses

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 16th of March, a humble narrator didn’t have much to do, so off to the ferries did I go. It was a beautiful day, and after boarding an NYC Ferry destined to dock at the Pier 11 Wall Street stop, one got busy with the camera.

I was thinking about absent friends, and the path which I used to inhabit with them along these waterways.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Ghosts… Bernie Ente, and John Doswell, and John Skelson, and… suffice to say that there’s a reason why sentimental reminiscing is on the menu for me at the moment. Why I’m visiting all the familiar places.

Don’t worry, my health is fine, I’m just not ready to talk in this space about what’s coming down the line.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The East River corridor happened to be busy and well occupied with maritime industrial operations on this leg of my travels, around the greatest city that the world has ever seen.

Once I arrived at Manhattan’s Pier 11, a quick walk found me at the Whitehall Terminal of the Staten Island Ferry, which I then boarded. It has been a while since I went to… Staten Island…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the roughly 30 minute trip across the harbor, on the big orange boat, we were escorted by a United States Coast Guard SAFE boat crew armed with a high caliber machine gun mounted on the bow.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After debarking the big orange boat in the St. George section of… Staten Island… an hour or so was spent cataloguing passing maritime industrial traffic like the tug and barge combos pictured above and below.

This fits under the category of what I consider to be “good, wholesome fun.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My plan for returning to Queens involved an entirely different route than the one employed via the big orange boat.

More on that 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

May 12, 2022 at 11:00 am

escaping forever

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The NYC Ferry carried a humble narrator’s horrific form northwards towards the Bronx, where a desire to have a look at the College Point facing section of the “The Undiscovered Country” awaited. “Undiscovered Country” is how I refer to the Bronx. The reason for this is ultimately that if I want to go to that Borough from Queens, it’s a longer train trip than if I wanted to visit Westchester, despite it being a half mile away across the East River.

That’s the price of Manhattancentric transit, by the way. It’s easier to get to the City from Astoria than it is to go to Maspeth or Ridgewood. Forget about the Bronx, you need to go to midtown and then ride a local train all the way through Manhattan. The NYC Ferry negates this, and puts the unknown country within reach.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s Little Hellgate, which crosses the Bronx Kill, a tiny waterway that’s the only reminder of Randall’s and Wards Islands once being separate land masses. Notice the Amtrak train set on it heading north.

The ferry captain really opened up the throttle right about here, and I had to hold onto my hat for fear of having it torn away by the wind.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s been a Soundview stop on this ferry line since the day they inaugurated the service, one found on the south shore of an East River tributary called Westchester Creek. The new stop is on the north shore of Westchester Creek, and the stop is dubbed “Ferry Point Park” after the NYC Parks outpost found there.

Pictured above is the Bronx Whitestone Bridge, which is what really drew me in here. I don’t have many pictures of this one in my catalog, and this day trip involved the beginnings of an effort to fix that situation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s no good choice as to which path to follow along the water’s edge here. Either scuttle on the hard to walk in gravel, or on the muddy grass – it’s your call. I chose to pick out a path in the mud, as walking in loose gravel is sort of like walking in snow.

The park itself was actually quite well used, with joggers and families milling about and doing the sorts of things you’d associate with the human infestation – running, climbing, shouting – that kind of stuff.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A brief trek found me at the edge of the land, and under the Bronx Whitestone Bridge. Opened in 1939, designed by Othmar Amman, the Bronx Whitestone is a suspension bridge which carries six lanes of Interstate 678 over the East River. It’s towers are 377 feet tall, and with the approaches, the bridge is 3,700 feet long. The suspension section over the water is 2,300 feet long, and at the time of its opening this was the fourth longest bridge on the entire planet.

Owned by NYC but operated by the MTA Bridges and Tunnels Authority, it connects Whitestone, Flushing, and College Point in Queens with Throggs Neck in the Bronx.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Once I was happily situated, the tripod and filters were deployed and the camera shifted into its “landscape modality.” Why do I keep on mentioning this sort of technical thing, you may ask?

When I meet younger photographers these days, they are generally geared up for a singular mission and aren’t “Omnivores.” This isn’t the way it works, I tell them. Different circumstances will be encountered at every intersection you come to. Sometimes it’s the zoom lens you need, other situations demand a prime lens with an ND or Polarizer Filter. Be ready for everything that might come your way, and get practiced in the art of quickly changing gears without damaging the gear. Military people practice breaking down and cleaning their weapons blind folded, as an example. Be ready.

More tomorrow.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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

April 7, 2022 at 11:00 am

exotic workmanship

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s been a weird week for me, as I’ve been unusually “blocked” as far as writing goes. This happens periodically, and unpredictably. I’ve had a few things on my mind, but there’s never a moment when that isn’t true. My dilemma, though, has been about “voice.” I’m really, really down on, and frustrated by, NYC right now. It’s a struggle to not call out everything as being shit, or describe the distracting delusions offered by the Political state as being anything other than Matryoshka.

If you’re not familiar with the Russian term, Matryoshka is the name for those nesting dolls they offer, as well as a metaphor for hiding your true intentions within a series of false shells. The reason that the Soviets were great enemies for the West is Matryoshka, since you could never intone the truth of Soviet intent from the surface layer of their deeds. There’s always going to be another truth lurking within the surface layer.

My Ukrainian born Jewish Grandmother installed a deep prejudice in me when I was a child regarding the Russians. “Never trust a Russian. The only person a Russian loves, in their dog hearts, is the last one who fed them,” she would say. Hey – if you saw your little brother beheaded by drunken Cossacks, you’d have strong opinions about Russians too.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thing is, the Russians are pretty smart. Never letting anyone know what you’re really thinking – aka – what the smallest and most internal of the Matryoshka stack looks like – is pretty good advice. The problem I’m having right now, writing wise, is that all of my outer shells are absent and I can’t pretend. I’d like to relentlessly pummel away at the universe in an adolescent fury of truth telling, but what does that accomplish? What can I do? What can you do? Why bother? Nothing matters.

When I’m leading a procedural meeting for the citizenry, I close it up with “well, thank you to everyone for participating in our Democracy, and working towards perfecting our Civilization. We’re not there yet, but maybe we got a bit closer tonight.” It sounds smarmy, but I’m trying to be genuine there. Or at least I used to be genuine. Nothing matters.

That aspirant optimism of mine, which is currently withering on the vine, is something my grandmother would have likely found hilarious and somewhat foolish. Granny would remind and opine that a cruel death was waiting just around the corner, and to stop wasting time on things that aren’t practical. Go clean your room, instead of worrying about the world.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Conversely, another voice in my head right now is my Dad’s. When I was a young but already humble narrator exploring sophomoric literature and ideations, the writing of Camus for example, and I began telling him about my existential concern about the meaning of life, the old man would screw up his eyebrows and look at me with concern. He’d say “that’s pretty interesting… why don’t you think about that while you’re washing the car.” My dad was a pretty simple guy, but…

I’ll be at the Newtown Creek, deep diving into the nesting dolls of truth it offers, while improving my practical skills and philosophizing, if anyone wants to explore these topics in person. I apparently require company, but I can’t promise which level of Russian Nesting Doll you’ll encounter. I’ll be the one in the filthy black raincoat.


“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 3, 2021 at 11:00 am

seared unbearably

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few more views from Newtown Creek Alliance HQ in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section for today’s post. That’s the sewer plant in Greenpoint above, with 3 of its 8 stainless steel digester eggs in frame. It’s a technological marvel, I tell you.

For this trio of shots, I was actually on the roof of HQ at 520 Kingsland Avenue, where NCA has partnered up with several other entities around the creation and maintenance of a 26,000 square feet green roof.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Heavily cropped, the shot above depicts night time operations for yet another tug – which I think is the Helen Laramy. Tug companies paint their vessels with certain “colorways” which indicate who owns what and are graphic enough to be seen at a distance. This is a lot less important today than it was in the past, as the United States Coast Guard maintains a system wherein onboard radio transponders don’t just identify vessels in NY Harbor, but also indicate where – exactly – they are, and what their heading and speed are.

Seriously, you’ve seen science fiction movies where the starships have fewer electronic doo dads than the bridge of a modern tugboat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

From what I was able to discern, this particular tug was operating along the bulkheads of Allocco Recycling in Brooklyn. Yesterday’s post displayed another tug working the opposite shore. Allocco is in the metals business like SimsMetal in Long Island City, but their main line seems to involve aggregates. Aggregate recycling involving passing excavated soils through a series of sieves to grade it by particle size – sand, gravel, rock etc. The material is then poured into barges and taken away for further processing or redistribution back into the ground somewhere.

I’ve been asked this a few times, so… Allocco doesn’t stand for anything as a corporate amalgamation name, instead it’s the last name of the family who owns this business. I know the showrunner there, Mike. Nice guy.


“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 8, 2021 at 11:00 am

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