The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

emotional need

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sentimental reminiscing is on the menu for me these days, as we head into what is going to be my last summer in New York City. I’ve been here my entire life, and every single corner of the City that I’ve inhabited for the last half century just bleeds with memories of times good and bad.

The best of the urban mythologies from the old neighborhood revolved around the supposed corpses of construction workers, who were killed during construction of the Verrazzano Bridge, whose corpses sunk into the still liquid concrete never to be seen again. This is an urban myth, by the way. The structural integrity of the bridge’s footings would be compromised by the voids created by those bodies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Rockaway Ferry gives you a pretty cool set of views of Coney Island on the way. That’s the Steeplechase Park section. Coney’s were a smallish representative of the rabbit family endemic to the area when the English speaking Europeans arrived, and that’s where the name “Coney Island” comes from. Most of the large scale apartment buildings were constructed by Gambino adjacent real estate powers like Fred Trump and the Waubassie Brothers (I’m probably spelling the second name wrong, btw.)

Coney Island meant a lot to my depression era parents, but back in the 1980’s it was synonymous with hookers and crack and crime for my generation. The Russians arriving here, and in Brighton Beach, back in the 1990’s changed the place, and some of the old veneer has returned to Coney, but underneath the surface there’s still a lot of weirdness waiting to boil over in these parts.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone roller coaster are what most think of when they mention Coney Island, along with Nathan’s Hot Dogs.

It goes to show how ossified the culture of NYC has become in recent decades, that the “cultural show pieces” all date back to a century or more ago.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Along the way, you get a good view of Queens’ Breezy Point and how thoroughly doomed this part of the City is once the waters begin to rise in the next twenty to thirty years. No flood insurance for you, and “managed retreat” is a phrase to start getting used to.

Really, a big part of why I’m leaving NYC is a conviction that it’s time to start moving away from the Atlantic Coast.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the other bridge on Flatbush Avenue, the Gil Hodges Marine Parkway Bridge. On the Brooklyn side, it leads to the part of Brooklyn I’m from – the Canarsie, Flatlands, Mill Basin area. The Queens side let’s you make a right and go to the gated community of Breezy Point, or go straight towards Riis Park, or make a left and head over to Rockaway, Far Rockaway, or even Long Beach.

The NYC Ferry dock isn’t too far away from this bridge, about 15 minutes or so.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I don’t see that everyday, an A train traveling along the waterfront, so I took a picture. Lasts longer.

More tomorrow.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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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 23, 2022 at 11:00 am

every aesthetic

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 9th was a day I had no reason at all to wake up for. Nothing in the schedule, or at least nothing I wanted to do, and the following three days were filled with a loathsome schedule of “have to’s” and zoom meetings as well as a patch of rainy weather. Thereby, my goal for the day was to fill up my camera cards with images that would need processing, something I could do while listening to the virtue signaling and “blah, blah, blah” of the various meetings I had to attend.

Thereby, off to the NYC Ferry did I go, and an entire day was spent bouncing around from place to place in the Harbor of New York.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My first leg involved the Astoria line ferry, which leaves from a dock adjoining the campus of the NYCHA Astoria Houses nearby Vernon Avenue. The route moves south, and makes several stops. First up is Roosevelt Island, then LIC North nearby Anable Basin, then 34th street in the City. It continues to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and then the terminal stop is at Pier 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.

The game I like to play with the ferry is to see how far I can can get on one ticket by transferring from one line to the other, your ticket stays active for 90 minutes, whereas the Astoria Route is about 45 minutes from Queens to Pier 11.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At Pier 11, and I should mention that the shot above is from the Brooklyn Navy Yard stop, a quick scan of the scheduling screens revealed that a Rockaway bound boat would be leaving within my allotted transfer time, so that’s where I would be heading.

The Rockaway Boat leaves Pier 11 and makes a stop at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, after that they open up the engine and gun it for the peninsula. The “One way trip” to Rockaway is functionally an hour on the ferry from Pier 11.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The route carries you past Erie Basin and Gowanus Bay, and follows the Ambrose Channel towards the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge. Keep your eyes peeled, as there’s all sorts of interesting maritime industrial stuff you might encounter along the way.

I outfitted myself with my least favorite lens, a 70-300 consumer level zoom. It’s nowhere near as reliable as my other lenses, and is one of the oldest parts of my kit. I’d love to replace it, but can’t really justify spending the $ on doing so at the moment.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A tugboat called the Schuylkill passed the NYC Ferry I was riding on, and it’s named after the river flowing through Philadelphia which was recently discussed here after a day trip.

Coincidence? I don’t think so, as the entire world does actually revolve around me. I’m special, just ask me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The ferry continued on its Rockaway bound heading, and I became entranced by a cargo ship sitting off the coast of… Staten Island… loading a barge with what appeared to be soil or gravel at the narrows.

More 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

June 22, 2022 at 11:00 am

distant baying

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 8th found one in need of a short walk, and in tune with my recent habits, one left HQ shortly before sunset. Here I am at “hole reliable” over the Harold Interlocking again, shooting yet another west bound Long Island Railroad train.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My goal for the evening was to definitively stay away from Newtown Creek and its tributaries, and just stick to the mean streets of along Island City. The sky lit up, and as seems to be the case these days, while shooting somebody walked up to me and wanted to discuss cameras he has owned, plans to buy, and also ones used by his dad.

I excused myself after a few excruciating minutes, professing that I was losing the light. Grrrr…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Skillman Avenue led me to Thomson Avenue, where I got this shot. It’s actually a damned difficult proposition getting this shot with zero automobiles in the frame, as a note.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thomson Avenue led me back down to Jackson Avenue, where I experienced another one of those moments of sudden existential horror you tend to feel in LIC these days. Ten years ago, the Citigroup Megalith was the only large scale building here. Today, it’s actually somewhat middling in size as compared to what’s been built around it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Swinging through Queens Plaza, I noticed the 7 train perched above several of those automobiles in the travel lanes below it. I didn’t see any of the vampires though.

One continued his lonely scuttle towards Astoria, using Jackson Avenue to eventually get to Northern Blvd.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One headed back towards home, walked past a bar which I don’t seem to hang out at anymore that’s filled with people whom I’m increasingly disenchanted with. Ribald invitations to join their nightly bacchanal were rejected, and a humble narrator retreated to the nearby cloister of HQ.

Pfah.


“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 21, 2022 at 11:00 am

stayed on

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 4th was a pretty productive day for me. Caught a nice sunset from the Kosciuszcko Bridge, then began a fairly low key walk back to HQ in Astoria. Along the way, lots of things caught my eye.

43rd street offers a fairly “straight shot” for me to get back home, but I seem to prefer 39th street as that’s where my toes point.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You have to get out of Blissville first, however, so a few scary and fairly deserted highway off ramp pedestrian pathways are followed on the way. It’s the deserted thing that makes them scary, incidentally.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Boulevard forms a bit of a prominence, and one of my corny “dad jokes” revolves around announcing to anyone who might be accompanying me on a walk that “it’s all downhill from here” when passing under the elevated tracks of the 7 line subway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The reason 39th street is my preferred path has to do with “hole reliable,” an aperture in the fencing around Sunnyside Yards at the Harold Interlocking which seldom disappoints as far as offering opportunity to photograph trains.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On this particular evening, my timing was stellar, and I managed to get one coming from and one going to.

I never, ever tire of this particular composition. In many ways, “hole reliable” is where I learned how to capture low light photos.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent addition to Amtrak’s fence hole offerings allows for an unoccluded view of the “turnaround track” at Sunnyside Yards.

It’s a complicated shot, this one, given how dark it is in this corner of the yards. I had to shoot this at an unbelievably high ISO speed of 128,000.


“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 20, 2022 at 11:00 am

watching for

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After a brief epiphany of light, the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself became occluded by atmospheric clouds again, but one kept on shooting the scenes observable along the Newtown Creek, from up on the Kosciuszcko Bridge’s pedestrian walkway.

As a tip – it’s critical to not allow any part of your camera, whether it be lens barrel or tripod leg, to touch the fence of the bridge when you thrust the lens through. The fence is always vibrating due to the traffic passing by on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, and said vibration will transmit into the camera and ruin your shots. The concrete “ground” you and the tripod are standing on is vibrating too, of course, but less severely than the metal fence is.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking down at Queens side Penny Bridge, that’s Review Avenue running alongside Calvary Cemetery on the right and the mirror like Newtown Creek on the left.

As above, so below, the occultists will tell you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One lingered on the walkway as the gloom spread and the sky dimmed. The lights came on in Manhattan’s largely empty office buildings.

My beloved Creek…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Before switching the setup back over to “night time” handheld mode, I cracked out one final exposure focused in on the Kinder Morgan oil terminal at Greenpoint’s Apollo Street. It used to be the BP Amoco oil terminal until just a few years ago, and before that it was part of the campus of the Mobil/Standard Oil Company’s refinery operations. That’s where the oil spill in Brooklyn was discovered by a passing Coast Guard helicopter in the 1970’s.

A tank farm like Kinder Morgan’s operation stores and distributes various flavors of refined petroleum product. The oil terminal gets filled up and supplied with product by maritime barges, and emptied by semi tanker trucks which make local deliveries to homes and gas stations. Generally speaking, the tank farms which supply the barges are found along the Kill Van Kull waterway in New Jersey. There’s also pipelines which feed product into the facility.

Regarding handheld vs. tripod mode, it is extremely annoying carrying the camera when it’s attached to the tripod. It takes two hands, and it looks like I’m carrying a rifle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve noticed this door before, of course, which sits about thirty to forty feet over the roadway of the BQE. It’s seemingly inaccessible.

I’d like to start a rumor that this is the door to a vault where Andrew Cuomo kept his secret archives.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Behind Cuomo’ s Red Door… that sounds good, huh? Shelly Silver’s sins, Heastie’s haughty pictures, Gianaris’ goof balls… they’re all filed away up there behind the scarlet steel should Cuomo ever find a way to manifest himself again in the flesh. Word has it he’s currently a bodiless consciousness which poltergeists Tish James’ offices.

Who can guess, all there is, that might be hidden behind Cuomo’s Scarlet Steel door, high over the malefic waters of the Newtown Creek?


“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 17, 2022 at 11:00 am

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