The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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It’s UNESCO World Radio Day, in the member states of the United Nations.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Owing to other obligations and piss poor weather conditions for the last couple of weeks, one hasn’t got anything new to show you for this week. Accordingly, it has been decided to instead present a few archive shots of the various branches of NYC government which make life liveable for us here in “Home Sweet Hell.”

Today, the focus is on the FDNY – the redoubtable Fire Department of New York City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The men and women of this municipal service are amongst the most visible manifestations of our collective willpower and substantial tax base, here in the five boroughs. It’s hard not to notice the sirens and flashing lights when they show up, either to quench a fire or to pick up some unfortunate soul who requires a speedy trip to the hospital. FDNY runs, regulates, and operates the EMT ambulance service in addition to their other more obvious duties involving fire prevention and the extinguishing of blazes they couldn’t prevent. They also govern the safety rules concerning public gatherings like stadium games, clubs, and concerts with a small army of inspectors.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

FDNY has a spectacular Marine division, which in addition to many smaller vessels – includes the thoroughly modern and science fiction like “Three Forty Three” and “Firefighter 2” fire boats. Pictured above is the Three Forty Three, doing parade duty on the Hudson River.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 13, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in FDNY, Fireboat 343

Tagged with , , ,

frantic letter

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It’s the Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck Day, in the Republic of Malta.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s just bad news all the time these days, huh? Storm clouds are always gathering – of course – and you have to remember that there are puppies and cake and everything, but it’s difficult at the moment to not be overly serious and somewhat morose about current circumstance. It’s not just the President, or the Mayor, I’m afraid. There’s a real sensation that the societal train has left the rails and that we are collectively hurtling full speed into some sort of dystopian abyss. In many ways, it feels like the asteroid impact that hit Russia in 1992 has finally arrived here.

Maybe it’s just me… after all… there’s puppies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thing is, everything is so urgent and “amped up” these days. Action is required, as in immediate action, is the message which greets every new problem or emergent scandal. There doesn’t seem to be a game plan anymore. One has been absorbed by the “product” recently released by the NYC EDC describing the feasibility study for decking the Sunnyside Yards. A vast document, and a treasure trove of carefully curated information, one will be discussing it in the coming weeks at this – your Newtown Pentacle – but they are essentially talking about building the Death Star along Northern Blvd.

I’m talking hundred foot high walls on 43rd street and 45 foot ones on Northern Blvd. at Steinway, which would lead up to a platform supporting dozens of 15-70 story tall towers. Hopefully Darth Dope from Park Slope gets voted out of office before this project takes one more step forward.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You can, incidentally, fight City Hall. It’s not easy, as City Hall employs some pretty clever people, but it’s possible.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm

escaped patient

with 4 comments

It’s National Pizza Day, in these United States.

One seems to get around a lot, visiting all of these distaff corners of New York City, and always traveling either on foot or by Subway or some combination of the two. It occurred to me, suddenly, to take stock of my “ABC’s” and figure out which Subway lines have escaped my camera. As it turns out, I seem to have zero shots of the “Z,” “L,” “6,” or the Staten Island lines in my library, and there doesn’t seem to be anything representing the Times Square shuttle in there either. I do seem to have most everything else, and will make it a point in the coming weeks to fill in the missing stuff. Hey… it’s not like I just ride the trains taking pictures… well, OK, I do that occasionally… I get these shots when I’m going back and forth to places.

OK, this post is going to display a towering amount of nerd.

A is for aardvark, I’m told. It’s also the designation for the IND Eighth Avenue Express of MTA’s B Division, and the A ranges between 207th street in Manhattan and either Far Rockaway or Richmond Hill in Queens – depending on its mood. Service on the A line started on the 10th of September in 1932.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The B line, over in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay Road station.

Another IND line, the Sixth Avenue Express has an extremely complicated schedule that changes at seemingly random parts of the day and week. On weekdays, between nine in the morning and eleven at night it’s likely going to be somewhere between Brighton Beach in Brooklyn and 145th street in Harlem, but then there’s the rush hour exception which takes it to the Bronx. Service on the B line started on the 15th of December in 1940.

It’s all very complicated, and B is Byzantine, and for B Division.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The C, at some transfer station deep under central Brooklyn.

Nineteen miles long, the route of the IND Eighth Avenue Local is. One end of the line is all the way uptown in Manhattan’s Washington Heights at 168th street, the other is at Fulton Street in Brooklyn. It’s also in the MTA’s B Division. C is for counting the days until the MTA finally retires these 1964 era “R32 model” trains from service. Service on the C line started on the 1st of July in 1933.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The D, out at Coney Island in Brooklyn.

B Division, R68 cars, IND, incredibly long route to service – that’s the Sixth Avenue Express, or D train, at a terminal stop in Brooklyn, and the other end is found up in the Norwood section of the Bronx at 205th street. D is for “damn, there’s 41 stations on the D.” Service on the D Line started on December 15th, in 1940.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The E, rolling into LIC’s Court Square in Queens.

Service on the E, or IND Eighth Avenue Local, line started on the 19th of August in 1933. It goes from Jamaica in Queens to lower Manhattan (with a couple of late night extras, depending on time and such) and is part of MTA’s B Division. E is for “Express” when it’s running along the IND Queens Blvd. tracks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The F at 34th street, over in Manhattan.

Another IND B Division train, the Sixth Avenue Local or F line is a local train that has an impossibly long route. It spans from Jamaica in Queens to Coney Island in Brooklyn, crossing through 45 stations. Service on the F line started on the 15th of December in 1940. F is for “how ‘effin long is this ride to Coney going to take?”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Franklin Avenue Shuttle, Brooklyn.

A BMT line, this four stop long shuttle itself was created in 1963, and formally became called “Franklin Avenue Shuttle” on the 1st of November in 1965. The cool thing here is that these tracks were part of the original BMT Brighton Beach line which opened in 1878. FS is for “fs, how long am I going to wait here, I could have walked it by now.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The G entering Smith/9th street, high over Red Hook and the Gowanus Canal, in Brooklyn.

The G Crosstown Local is only 11.4 miles long, is an IND line in MTA’s B Division, spanning from Queen’s Long Island City to Brooklyn’s Church Avenue. The G has 21 stations to hit, and opened for business on August 19th of 1933.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A twofer, with the J and M side by side on the Williamsburg Bridge over the East River.

The Nassau Street Local/Express is what the MTA calls the J train, which goes from Jamaica Center to Manhattan’s Broad Street, covering some 30 stations along the route it shares with the Z. The B Division train follows the route of an original 1893 BMT route, but J service as we know it didn’t exist until November of 1949. J is for “Jesus, how do I not have any shots of the Z?”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A proper shot of the M, under Astoria’s Broadway.

The M, or Sixth Avenue Local, in another IND B Division line. It starts and ends in Queens, at Forest Hills on one side and Middle Village on the other, but along the way it loops through midtown Manhattan and Brooklyn while servicing some 36 stations. Service started on July 14th in 1914. M is for “Marcy,” and “Myrtle,” and “Metropolitan.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also on Broadway in Western Queens’ Astoria, that’s the N entering its elevated station.

The BMT Broadway Express runs from Ditmars Boulevard in Queens to Stillwell Avenue in Brooklyn’s Coney Island, serving 45 stations. The line opened on June 22 of 1915. N is for “Nice lighting up there.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Q, at Brooklyn’s Coney Island.

The BMT Broadway Express used to live in Astoria, with the N, but when the Second Avenue Subway opened it started hanging around with the rich kids on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. It travels from 96th street – along the Second Avenue Subway tracks – then switches to the Broadway Line tracks, and heads all the way out to Coney Island. There’s another complicated 1878 story I could tell you, but the modern day Q started service on the 1st of August in 1920. Q is for “damnit, I get a Q every damn time I play scrabble.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The R, entering Queens Plaza.

The IND Broadway Local has another huge route, moving between Forest Hills in Queens and Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, covering 45 stations. Service on this B Division line started on January 15th in 1916. R is for “aging rolling stock.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Rockaway Park Shuttle, out on some sandbar in Jamaica Bay.

It’s only got 5 stations to cover, and is a relative newcomer to NYC having come into service on June 28 in 1956, but this IND shuttle line connects the western end of the Rockaway Penninsula to the A line. I haven’t got anything an “RPS” is for…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 1 line, at 14th street in Manhattan.

Moving between Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx and Manhattan’s South Ferry, this A Division train started service on October 27th of 1904. It’s the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Local if you ask the MTA.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 2 line, on elevated tracks in the Bronx.

The IRT Seventh Avenue Express is an A Division line. Providing service between 241st Street/Wakefield in the Bronx and the Flatbush Avenue Juction nearby Brooklyn College, the 2 covers 61 stations.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 3 line, entering either the 72nd or 96th street station on Manhhattan’s Upper West Side.

The IRT Seventh Avenue Express moves between 148th street in Manhattan’s Harlem and New Lots Avenue in Brooklyn. Service on this A Division line began in 1904, on the 23rd of November.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 4, entering the Bowling Green station in Manhattan.

That’s the IRT Lexington Avenue Express, an A Division line which services traffic between Crown Heights in Brooklyn and Woodlawn in the Bronx. Service began on June 2, 1917.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the 5, heading south into Manhattan’s 59th st./Lexington Avenue station.

IRT Lexington Avenue Express, that’s what MTA calls this A Division line. It’s another one of the lines which has differentiated routes depending on what day or time it is – but it goes from either Nereid or Dyre Avenue in the Bronx to Flatbush Avenue Junction or New Lots Avenue in Brooklyn after passing through all of Manhattan and services 45 stations. Service began on October 27th, 1904.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last – but never least – the most photogenic of NYC’s subway lines, the 7 as it curves out of LIC’s Court Square station in Queens.

The IRT Flushing Local and Flushing Express are A Division trains, operating between Flushing in Queens and Hudson Yards in Manhattan. Service started on June 22 of 1915.

Now – it seems that I need to conjure up some reason to go to Staten Island, ride and photograph the L, Z, and 6 lines, then take that shuttle at Times Square… and then I think I’ve got them all… am I blanking out on anything – oh Internet hive mind?


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Subway

Tagged with

ominous gossip

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It’s International Safer Internet Day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, one found himself wandering about in legend cloaked and shadows haunted Greenpoint when my footsteps carried me past the beacon like NYPD’s 94th pct. house. The bulls are penned up here, on Meserole, and they like to keep it nice and bright. There’s a real sense of solidity to this building, and it’s somewhat evocative of a fortress. One wishes that the 114th pct. here in Astoria enjoyed such lush and stolid accommodations.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is preoccupied at the moment, given the recent release of the “Deck over the Sunnyside Yards” feasibility study by the NYC EDC at the behest of our Mayor – the Dope from Park Slope. It’s a massive document, and full of arcane detail to process and respond to.

Its arrival means that Western Queens has arrived at an existential threshold, and that my home is now threatened.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Accordingly, posts such as today’s and yesterday’s are somewhat truncated. One does not have the luxury of wandering around the Greenpoint Historic District and marveling at times gone by and the architectural monuments to earlier times.

The battle for Queens is afoot. 


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm

auto hypnosis

with one comment

It’s National Patty Melt Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Y’know, after all this time, it feels like certain sections of my particular oeuvre are running a bit dry. I mean, how much more can I possibly say about First Calvary Cemetery at this point in time. Of course, that’s the way it “feels,” not the way it actually is. Accordingly, I revisit my search parameters periodically and see if anything new has popped up. To wit – this 2016 link from the NY Post.

I say it all the time, you never know what you’re going to find in Calvary Cemetery.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One cannot offer you any tales of goblins or phantoms harassing the 1933 vintage Court Square IND station, I just kind of like the shot offered above. I can tell you the place does seem pretty haunted, sometimes, but I know what lurks some fifty stories or so above this spot – in the cupola of the sapphire megalith of LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A shot in the dark, literally, I found a hole in a fence that my camera could rest in for the shot above and pulled off a near total darkness handheld thingamabob. That’s Bushwick Inlet at the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, for the curious. There’s a WHOLE lot going on at the moment, which I’ll be discussing later in the week, so forgive my brevity.

The battle of Queens, I’m afraid to say, is finally afoot.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 7, 2017 at 11:00 am

general credence

with 3 comments

It’s National Frozen Yogurt Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not too much to tell you today, lords and ladies, other than to describe and share photos from a recent excursion which took me to Flushing for a social event. It’s on evenings like this, when I’m not consciously “working” that my pathologies are most fully on display. One just cannot stop taking pictures, as Queens is just too marvelous for words and nobody believes it until you show them. My journey from “Point A” in Astoria led me to Jackson Heights, where one secured a transfer from the sepulchral depths of the IND lines to the elevated IRT Flushing Line which carried me eastwards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My arrival in ancient Flushing, at the so called “Main Street” stop, coincided with the local gendarmes performing their duties. My assumption, based on observable behaviors, is that the small statured fellow in the shot above had overly indulged himself with intoxicating beverages. NYPD didn’t seem overly concerned about the situation, treating it with a characteristic world weariness and the laconic mannerisms one normally sees the City’s uniformed security forces display.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At my destination, which was at a fairly new hotel that sits alongside the local precinct house which the fellows in the second shot would call “the office,” there was a rooftop deck – which despite frigidity – was available to visit and explore. The shot above was captured some nine stories up from Northern Blvd. in Flushing, and looks westwards across Queens towards the Shining City of Manhattan. That’s the Queensboro Bridge you see just to the right of center.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Flushing, Photowalks, Pickman, Queens, Subway

Tagged with ,

baffling lack

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It’s Setsubun Day, in the nation of Japan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described in yesterday’s post, the 21st of January was a pretty foggy day, which is something I consider pretty. One made it a point of visiting several distaff locations around Long Island City to capture the scene. The shot above is something that all of you reading this will be able to personally enjoy sometime in the very near future, when the Smiling Hogshead Ranch expands its operations up to the abandoned trackway of the Montauk Cutoff.

The photo above depicts the most photogenic of NYC’s subway lines – the IRT Flushing, or 7 line – exiting the elevated tracks of the Court Square Station and traveling on its way to Manhattan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One spent a bit of time up on the tracks, as I ran into an old friend while making my way up there and we spent some time catching up while I waved the camera around. The cutoff is brutally bare during the winter months, as all of the self seeded vegetation surrounding it is deep in hibernation. During the warmer months, it’s positively verdant up here – an island of green amidst the concrete devastations of Western Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Disturbingly, the Queens Cobbler seems to have visited the Cutoff recently, leaving behind one of the totemic “single shoes” signaling that he or she was here. The “Queens Cobbler” is the name I’ve assigned to a likely serial killer who claims human lives all around the Newtown Creek watershed, leaving behind a single shoe to announce that their latest hunt has been successful.

Someday, the NYPD will happen upon a hidden warehouse room in LIC or Maspeth filled with footwear and gore, and on that day – the metaphorical and literal “other shoe” will truly fall. Back next week with something completely different at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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