The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

piled coffins

with 3 comments

Friday odds and ends.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Queens Cobbler knows no shame, as evinced by the baby booty pictured above, which the probable serial killer left behind as a ghastly trophy and taunt on Northern Blvd. Babies, Cobbler?

Today’s post carries a few images I captured while doing something else or heading towards a location where I was intending to do some shooting. “Catch as catch can” shots like these fall under my category of “snapshots” rather than the ones I consider “photographs.” What’s the difference? “Intentionality” would be my answer.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To wit, that’s a fairly nice shot from the Celtic Park section of Sunnyside depicting the Empire State building rising on the horizon. I didn’t set out to get the shot, rather I was walking over to the Kosciuszcko Bridge to get some “photographs” and while crossing the street this image just jumped out at me. I’m not downplaying serendipity, and being ready for captures on the fly, but you could have just as easily gotten this shot with your phone as I did with the dslr I always have dangling off of me.

I’ve always got the camera ready to fire, as a note. Always.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay section, this butterfly suddenly appeared. How can the itinerant photographer not capture its splendor?

I’ll be conducting a tour on the NYC Ferry Soundview line tomorrow morning, link is below. Come with? Looks like it’s going to be a perfect summer day. Back Monday with something completely different at this, your Newtown Pentacle.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Upcoming Tours and Events


Saturday, August 10, 10 a.m. 12.00 p.m.

Exploring the East River, From General Slocum Disaster to Abandoned Islands – with NY Adventure Club.

June 15th is one of those days in NYC history. In 1904, more than a thousand people boarded a boat in lower Manhattan, heading for a church picnic on Long Island — only 321 of them would return. This is the story of the General Slocum disaster, and how New York Harbor, the ferry industry, and a community were forever altered.

Join New York Adventure Club for a two-part aquatic adventure as we explore the General Slocum disaster, and historic sights and stories along the East River, all by NYC Ferry.

Tickets and more details
 here.


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 9, 2019 at 1:00 pm

grim purpose

with one comment

Plumb Beach, Brooklyn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yesterday, I got to hang out with my photographer buddy Val, and we headed over to southeast Brooklyn to wave the cameras about. Plumb Beach is just east of the Emmons Avenue exit on the south side of the Belt Parkway, nearby Sheepshead Bay. It’s part of the Gateway National Recreation Area operation, and can be pretty well populated. We saw windsurfers, and paragliders, and old russian guys wearing speedos who were working on their tans. Brrrr.

Me? I set up the tripod and played around with an ND filter, as I love the “mist” effect caused by the tide. When I was developing this, I really wished that I had done another shot or two at quicker shutter speeds and wider apertures to marry in some spray and water detail with the mist via compositing. Next time, huh? You learn something new every time you click the shutter, I always say.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yesterday’s storm was rumbling in the distance, and the sky was starting to darken. Despite this, a humble narrator scuttled onto and over a dune to get the POV offered above, looking towards the Gil Hodges Marine Parkway Bridge and over a salt marsh.

I was still rigged up with the ND filter, which is why there’s a dreamy quality to the shot, which had a shutter speed of thirty seconds. The wind was kicking up as the storm approached, and the first few droplets of rain were noticed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above is the one I like best of the three, and it’s where the particular setup that my camera had really paid off. Luckily, I was using a zoom lens.

As far as I know, there’s still a few tickets left for tonight’s “Infrastructure Creek” walking tour, or if you decide to come at the last moment, walk ups are always welcome and we can transact in cash if need be. Be at the corner of Kingsland and Greenpoint Avenues by 6:30-45 p.m. in Brooklyn, right at the footing of the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge by the Miller Building. Come with?


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Upcoming Tours and Events


TONIGHT – Thursday, August 8, 7 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. 

“Infrastructure Creek” Walking Tour w NYC H2O

If you want infrastructure, then meet NCA historian Mitch Waxman at the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn, and in just one a half miles he’ll show you the largest and newest of NYC’s 14 sewer plants, six bridges, a Superfund site, three rail yards with trains moving at street grade (which we will probably encounter at a crossing), a highway that carries 32 million vehicle trips a year 106 feet over water. The highway feeds into the Queens Midtown Tunnel, and we’ll end it all at the LIC ferry landing where folks are welcome to grab a drink and enjoy watching the sunset at the East River, as it lowers behind the midtown Manhattan skyline.

Click here for ticketing and more information.

Saturday, August 10, 10 a.m. 12.00 p.m.

Exploring the East River, From General Slocum Disaster to Abandoned Islands – with NY Adventure Club.

June 15th is one of those days in NYC history. In 1904, more than a thousand people boarded a boat in lower Manhattan, heading for a church picnic on Long Island — only 321 of them would return. This is the story of the General Slocum disaster, and how New York Harbor, the ferry industry, and a community were forever altered.

Join New York Adventure Club for a two-part aquatic adventure as we explore the General Slocum disaster, and historic sights and stories along the East River, all by NYC Ferry.

Tickets and more details
 here.


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 8, 2019 at 3:39 pm

palpably unfinished

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DUKBO, Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The other night, one finally managed to find the time to take the camera for a walk during an interval of calm atmospherics and comfortable temperatures – a rare confluence for a humble narrator this summer. I had no destination in mind, and just followed my feet where they led me to, which ended up being the Kosciuszko Bridge reconstruction project on the border of LIC’s Blissville section and the far western section of Maspeth.

I set up the tripod and got busy. Of special interest to me was that ramp you see slouching roughly downwards from the Kosciuszko Bridge, which is going to carry the pedestrian and bicycle lane. I literally cannot wait for this to open, which I’m told won’t be too long at this point.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Documenting this project has been a long standing project of mine – this 2012 post tells you everything you could want to know about Robert Moses, Fiorella LaGuardia, and the origins of the 1939 model Kosciuszcko Bridge.

Just before construction started, I swept through both the Brooklyn and Queens sides of Newtown Creek in the area I call “DUKBO” – Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp. Here’s a 2014 post, and another, showing what things used to look like on the Brooklyn side, and one dating back to 2010, and from 2012 discussing the Queens side – this. Construction started, and this 2014 post offers a look at things.

There’s shots from the water of Newtown Creek, in this June 2015 post, and in this September 2015 post, which shows the bridge support towers rising. Additionally, this post from March of 2016 detailed the action on the Queens side. Most recently, here’s one from May of 2016, and one from June of the same year. Here’s one from August of 2016the December 2016 one, one from March of 2017 which discusses the demolition of the 1939 bridge.

Here’s a post showing what I saw during a pre opening walk through in early April of 2017, and the fanfare surrounding the opening of half of the new bridge in April of 2017, a walk through of the Brooklyn side job site in June of 2017. Here’ssome night shots from early July of 2017. A series of posts focused in on the removal of the central truss of the 1939 bridge from the summer of 2017 – a timelapse, some stills, and the barging out of the truss.

More recently, in late September of 2017, a final series of shots of the old bridge were captured in this post. Acquisition of a souvenir chunk of steel from the 1939 bridge was described in this post, and a video of the “energetic felling” of the approaches on October 1st was offered in this one. Still shots and views of the aftermath from the waters of Newtown Creek from later in the day on Oct. 1 are found in this posting, and the aftermath of the demolition as seen from Calvary Cemetery in LIC’s Blissville section in this post from October 5th. This post from December of 2017 closed out an event filled year in DUKBO, and a visit to the site at night is described in this March of 2018 post. Another progress report was offered in June of 2018. A nocturnal visit occurred in December of 2018, a short post from January of 2019, and also one from February of 2019.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As is my habit with documenting the project, there are certain spots which I’ve returned to again and again during the process. This one is from the spot where Review Avenue bends around First Calvary Cemetery at the former LIRR Penny Bridge station. All the rain we’ve had this year has resulted in a bumper crop of everything that grows around the Newtown Creek, as you can see.

Who can guess what weird chemistries there might be, circulating through the capillaries of these feral cultivars?


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Upcoming Tours and Events


Thursday, August 8, 7 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. 

“Infrastructure Creek” Walking Tour w NYC H2O

If you want infrastructure, then meet NCA historian Mitch Waxman at the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn, and in just one a half miles he’ll show you the largest and newest of NYC’s 14 sewer plants, six bridges, a Superfund site, three rail yards with trains moving at street grade (which we will probably encounter at a crossing), a highway that carries 32 million vehicle trips a year 106 feet over water. The highway feeds into the Queens Midtown Tunnel, and we’ll end it all at the LIC ferry landing where folks are welcome to grab a drink and enjoy watching the sunset at the East River, as it lowers behind the midtown Manhattan skyline.

Click here for ticketing and more information.

Saturday, August 10, 10 a.m. 12.00 p.m.

Exploring the East River, From General Slocum Disaster to Abandoned Islands – with NY Adventure Club.

June 15th is one of those days in NYC history. In 1904, more than a thousand people boarded a boat in lower Manhattan, heading for a church picnic on Long Island — only 321 of them would return. This is the story of the General Slocum disaster, and how New York Harbor, the ferry industry, and a community were forever altered.

Join New York Adventure Club for a two-part aquatic adventure as we explore the General Slocum disaster, and historic sights and stories along the East River, all by NYC Ferry.

Tickets and more details
 here.


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 7, 2019 at 11:00 am

shaking fingers

leave a comment »

Archive shot today, from Staten Island.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Funnily enough, I was out late last night in Maspeth and Blissville shooting, but couldn’t get the shots online in time for today’s post. That’s the Postcards memorial on Staten Island, nearby the Staten Island Ferry’s St. George landing. Back tomorrow with all the stuff I saw last night.

I’ve also got two tours coming up this week which I haven’t had the chance to properly promote – Thursday night is Infrastructure Creek with NYC H2O, and Saturday is the Soundview Ferry Tour with NY Adventure Club. Come with?


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 6, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Posted in newtown creek

obscure foothold

with 2 comments

It’s not you, it’s me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are things which puzzle me, such as why there aren’t an abundance of street lights at work found at the off ramps of the Queensboro Bridge in Queens Plaza. You’ve got pedestrian islands to facilitate foot crossings of the traffic lanes, and there are even bike lanes, but there are few if any lamps hung from the elevated tracks above the roads. This doesn’t make sense.

“Welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself” really should be the Borough Motto.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Plaza Park is what the Durst Organization is calling its 67 story tower, which is currently rising towards an eventual seven hundred and seventy five foot zenith. Future home to nine hundred and fifty eight apartments worth of people, right here in Queens Plaza, this will be one giant mother flower.

Hopefully one of the people who will be living here someday will allow me to take a few shots out of their window or off their roof deck or whatever. I’d like to get some shots from up there before we go full “Mega City One.”

I’m too old for that dystopia crap.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lastly, as you may have noticed by now, I’m in a fairly foul mood. There’s some people who need smiting, and others who need to be made an “example of” as a cautionary tale for others. It’s best to keep to myself for a bit, wandering through the concrete devastations in the dark, drifting with the night winds like a ghast.

Bah!


“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 5, 2019 at 1:00 pm

falsetto panic

with 2 comments

A few more archive shots, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As one hasn’t had anything particularly interesting going on for the last couple of weeks, or at least “interesting” visually speaking, so a humble narrator finds himself a bit short on content for the moment. Luckily, a great deal of time was spent during the cold months of this and last year scuttling about Long Island City in the dark of night and making with the camera clicking.

I’ve always thought the accidental compositions left behind by the workers of NYC are incredible looking, the middens of waste left behind by industrial labor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above was gathered one night when I was photographing the neighborhood which the City and State intended for the habitation of Amazon’s HQ2 project. Those of us who live in Western Queens are not surprised or shocked by such sights. The dearest secret kept away from potential customers by the Real Estate crowd relates back to the tremulous state of the centuried municipal infrastructure underlying the shiny new tower apartment buildings.

Writus Postus Interruptus” occurred right here, at about 12:15 a.m.

So, as I was sitting and writing the above drivel last night, a sudden screeching of breaks and THUMPF broke into my reverie at about 12:05 a.m.. Didn’t see it, but when I stuck my head out to see what happened, a bike rider had been struck by a pickup truck on my corner. The bike guy was laying in the street and screaming at the driver. Always a good citizen, a humble narrator initiated a 911 call.

By the time that the operator was about to dispatch help, the bike rider had recovered and was preparing to ride away. I reported this to the operator, who told me that “we can’t cancel a call once it’s started.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The consequence of me being a good samaritan involved then receiving multiple phone calls from various emergency services – first from onboard a fire truck, then about ten minutes later from an ambulance. About two hours later, my phone rings – at 1:48 a.m., and it’s the cops, whose response time to this was an hour and forty three minutes. Had to spend a good fifteen minutes on the phone with the officer explaining the above, and being a cop he made me go back into the story at different starting points to ascertain whether or not it was a made up story or it really happened.

Sheesh, try to do the right thing and next thing you know the cops have you up until two in the morning. My delicate equilibrium upset, didn’t get to bed until the wee hours, and I was so distracted by the encounter that I didn’t get today’s post done until just now.

Long story short, infrastructure of all kinds – including emergency response – is stretched paper thin here in Queens.


“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 2, 2019 at 2:40 pm

crunching teeth

with one comment

Getting high in Manhattan, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Occasion saw me and mine traveling into the City the other day to attend yet another Newtown Creek Superfund meeting, this time with the Feds (EPA) and the folks who represent the energy companies identified as “PRP’s” or Potentially Responsible Parties in the Newtown Creek Superfund situation. Newtown Creek Group, as the energy companies have styled themselves, were presenting an idea they’ve come up with to the CAG (Community Advisory Group) which I’m a steering committee member of. This plan of theirs will be discussed more fully, and publicly, at a future CAG meeting after we’ve had a chance to discuss and process it.

The meeting was in a law office at Jared Kushner’s 666 Fifth Avenue, on the 26th floor, so I took the opportunity to wave the camera at the windows after the meeting had ended. Check out those supertall’s going up. People somehow believe this to be a good thing… what do I know, though, Manhattan has been lost for twenty years at this point. It’s become a hell for the oligarchs, and the rich always like building castles for themselves. Trump Tower is just down the block, so you get what I’m saying.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What I can tell you is this – it was fiendishly hot the day I went there. My pal Will bought a milkshake from an Ice Cream truck on the corner. The air conditioning at 666 Fifth was fantastically strong, and that the last time I was in this building was when DC Comics still maintained offices there. In the meeting room upstairs, there were snacks and soft drinks. I had a packet of Doritos, and drank a Dr. Pepper with a ton of ice in the glass.

I don’t drink soda pop too often, so that was a nice sugary treat on a hot day. It was no milkshake, however. Saying that, I’m a huge fan of the Daniel Day Lewis movie “There will be Blood,” so if I’m meeting with people who work for oil companies I avoid bringing up milk shakes.

If you haven’t seen the flick, or don’t get the reference – here you go. (spoilers)

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s all so banal in Manhattan these days, antiseptic, and cruelly edged. That current of energy which used to run through the place is just gone. All flash, zero substance, no creative inspirado or “juice.” If Jakob Riis was alive today, his book about the City would be titled “How the Other 1% live.”

Bah. It’s always a pleasure to come home to the last remaining part of the real NYC, which is found out here in Queens.


“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 1, 2019 at 1:00 pm

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