The Newtown Pentacle

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faiths contrary

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There’s always a one in seven chance that it’s Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So – you’ve got the NYC Ferry and the Staten Island Ferry, as well as the Hudson River NY Waterways ferries – what are you waiting for, an invitation? Get out on the water in the fresh air, bring a camera, and catch some sun. NYC Ferry can (and I’ve pulled this one off, but it requires a bit of planning) get you from the South Bronx to Rockaway for $2.75 if you time it correctly. Soundview is the Bronx line, and it carries passengers up the west channel of the East River and through Hells Gate (Triborough Bridge, Astoria Park, Hell Hate Bridge) and then past the Brother Islands and Rikers Island and berths just across the water from College Point.

The Astoria line incorporates Manhattan’s East 90th street, then stops at Roosevelt Island, Hunters Point North in LIC, Manhattan’s 34th street, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and then Manhattan’s Pier 11 at the foot of Wall Street. From there you can transfer to another line or head over to the Staten Island Ferry.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The South Brooklyn line stops at Corlears Hook on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, then Pier 11, then heads across the water to the foot of Brooklyn’s Fulton Street. From there it stops on either side of Atlantic Basin, the southern one (inside the basin itself) allows egress to Red Hook nearby the Brooklyn Passenger Ship terminal. Then it goes to Sunset Park’s Brooklyn Army Terminal and then all the way to Bay Ridge. There’s also an East River line which goes to Pier 11, 34th street, and Hunters Point South in LIC. I haven’t ridden the Lower East Side line, so I can’t speak intelligently about it. Supposedly, the next series of expansions will include Coney Island Creek and Staten Island, and the rumor is that Hudson side stops are coming too.

As a note, this isn’t paid content or anything, I’m just a fan. I find that getting on a boat and riding around the archipelago is a curative for bad moods and that being outside is generally good for one’s health. The best way to understand the NYC archipelago is from the water.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Feds. Driftmaster is a United States Army Corps of Engineers harbor maintenance vessel. They scoop flotsam and jetsam out of the water using that prominent crane, and other gizmos they have onboard.

More tomorrow at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Speaking of navigational channel maintenance… what are you doing on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?


“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 28, 2021 at 11:00 am

nobler desires

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Hey, it’s Tuesday again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, one has spent an extraordinary amount of time in the last week out on the water, specifically onboard a series of ferry boats. The reasons why revolve around another factor which has been mentioned in earlier posts, specifically the troubles I’m experiencing with my left foot and a strained muscle in my back. Nothing, but nothing, is better for stretching your back muscles than standing on a boat as it plies through the waves and you sway around keeping balance. Also, if your foot hurts when you’re walking around, it makes sense to find a moving platform to carry you about.

I’m a big fan of the NYC Ferry service. Recent endeavor saw me boarding one in Astoria after paying $2.75 for the privilege, and riding it to Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan. Once there, a short walk took me to the Staten Island Ferry’s Whitehall terminal, where I boarded one of the big orange boats for a free ride. Well, technically, I’ve already paid for that ride via income tax.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One major shortcoming experienced with the new camera system, that I especially feel when on the water, is the lack of a native “superzoom” lens. What “native” means is a lens purpose built for Canon’s new RF mount. I’ve got my old superzoom lens – a Sigma 18-300 – which was always my “go to” for such endeavors, but it was designed for a crop sensor camera like my old Canon 7D. Around half of its range produces significant vignette on the full frame camera I’m carrying now, and the only RF superzoom available right now isn’t a terribly desirable one (a 24-240mm f4-6.3 manufactured by Canon) as far as I’m concerned. Over time, third party manufacturers will release something I want, but for right now I don’t have the cash to gamble on a substandard piece of kit. I’m bringing an old lens out of retirement, thereby, a consumer level full frame 70-300 which has been lent out to several friends over the last few years and is now back at home in my camera bag.

That’s an NYPD Harbor Patrol boat, by the way, which was likely doing Homeland Security work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the Staten Island side of my afternoon, where I cooled my heels for a bit before getting back on the big orange boat to start the ride back towards home in Astoria.

For quite a few of the shots gathered on this particular afternoon, I used a native RF Mount 24-105 zoom lens and cropped in tight. Saying that, I lost 2/3rds of the image to the crop. Unfortunately, most of the truly desirable “long reach” lenses available right now for my camera require the sort of money which could also purchase a fairly decent used car.

Speaking of lensing… what are you doing on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?


“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 27, 2021 at 11:00 am

spider like

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Wednesday, yo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Do you have a favorite Staten Island Ferry model? I do, and it’s the John F. Kennedy. It’s not the newest, or the largest, but it is the oldest model in the fleet of big orange boats and the last of its class still being used. This baby has been on duty since 1965. It’s the one with wooden benches and the large outdoor balconies. Such a cool boat.

Before you ask… again… it doesn’t matter how big the thing is. The difference between a ship and a boat is that a ship can launch a boat and a boat can’t launch a ship or a boat. Rowboats, emergency boats and inflatable duckies don’t count in this distinction.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Along the route back to Manhattan, a trip which is about thirty minutes long, the Reinauer Towing tug pictured above caught my eye. You’ll often spot articulated Tug and Barge combos “parked” off the coast of South Brooklyn. The fuel barge is riding pretty high up so it’s likely empty of product. The parked tugs are waiting for their turn at a pier which connects to a tank farm of refined petroleum products, with that pier likely found along the Kill Van Kull waterway separating Staten Island and Bayonne, New Jersey.

There are other distribution points, of course, but given the position the smart money is on Kill Van Kull.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After getting back onto Manhattan, one walked north a couple of blocks and boarded the Astoria bound NYC Ferry, which proceeded along the East River. A smaller tug with a different dance card was encountered along the way. Recyclable materials, of the sort which we citizens leave on the curb in clear or blue bags, were being barged south and the route carried them right under the Manhattan Bridge.

The horrific “Two Bridges” development, specifically the first of its 5 mirror faced luxury towers, was causing the afternoon sun to strobe down onto the water in a most uncomfortable fashion. Gauche.

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, October 5th. 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

October 7, 2020 at 11:00 am

protean ideations

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Tuesday, sis.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in yesterday’s installment, a pleasure seeking narrator found his way onto the Staten Island Ferry to slake his desire for fresh air, sunshine, and something interesting to photograph. Seldom does the big orange boat disappoint.

Upon my arrival on the southernmost extant of the municipal archipelago, the one named for a historic Dutch legislative body, a brief walk carried me down to the waterfront. One was able to observe “the show” offered by the working vessels of NYC’s maritime economy and actuate the camera’s shutter with wild abandon.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The tugs in today’s post are property fo the McAllister Towing operation.

The “colorway” or paint job which the various towing companies decorate their vessels with help to identify them at a distance, a necessity inherited from the days before wireless radio communications were possible or feasible. Today, each one of these tugs operating in NY Harbor are virtually small radio stations with onboard electronics packages that include multiple band radios and even transponders which report the GPS tracked position of them to the United States Coast Guard. That broadcast data is also reported by several public facing websites, which allow you to anticipate where and when a boat will be passing by.

I don’t do that, though. Serendipity is the sugar syrup of my days and nights.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After spending about an hour hanging around the …Staten Island… waterfront, I checked the time and realized that I’d want to reverse course and head back to Astoria sooner than later. Accordingly, one entered the Staten Island Ferry Terminal at St. George and boarded the big orange boat.

While the crew was preparing to debark the pier, a Staten Island bound ferry was coming in to dock. It was one of the gigantic and fairly modern Molinari class boats, specifically the Guy V. Molinari. The boat is named for the scion of modern day political bossdom and the founder of the First Family of Staten Island politics, former Borough President Guy Molinari.

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, October 5th. 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

October 6, 2020 at 11:00 am

defied conjecture

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Monday, bro.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A pleasant afternoon was achieved, again, when a humble narrator took to the water. One scuttled over to the NYC Ferry Dock here in Astoria, whereupon an uneventful and not too terribly photogenic journey southwards along the East River was accomplished. Upon arrival in Lower Manhattan, further perambulation carried one to the Staten Island Ferry terminal whereupon the giant orange boat was boarded. The southern terminus of the pentateuch archipelago of NYC was now in reach, and all told I was only out $2.75.

Along the way, the Vane Bros. Patuxent Tug was spotted towing a fuel barge on an extremely long line, as it passed by the Statue of Liberty.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The smarter gulls – obviously the ones from Brooklyn – land on the Staten Island ferry deck and hitch a ride, whilst the more athletic or less intelligent ones fly into and work the slipstream of the big orange boats as they ply betwixt Manhattan and… Staten Island…

Long practiced, this particular round trip excursion of mine is one of the few remaining activities that I actually enjoy. My preference is to stand on the stern of the ferry, as the bow end is typically crowded with tourists. No tourists right now, of course, but old habits die hard. Habit is also how I almost missed taking the third shot in today’s post. Also, technically, speaking the SI Ferries do have a bow and a stern, but their design sort of obfuscates that fact.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seems that the ferry I was riding was one of the smaller/older ones which have huge bay windows on their central cabin decks. It also seems that, due to the pandemic, the ferry crews are running the service with these bay windows flung wide open to provide ventilation. What that meant for this wandering photographer was the shot above, depicting one of the massive Molinari class Staten Island Ferries sitting at dock and awaiting duty. You normally would have to struggle to find an unoccluded view of this particular wonder, so hooray for COVID.

See, you find the good in the bad. That’s called optimism, and it’s the NYC way.

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, October 5th. 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

October 5, 2020 at 11:00 am

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