The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘31st street

unnameable devourers

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Rue, Wednesday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Long walks, short walks, all around the town. The shot above was gathered at the end of a long one, as I scuttled towards home. The swirling of a filthy black raincoat, caught in the atmospheric bluster of late winter, obscured this wandering mendicant from casual view. Most would have noticed a discard piece of black fabric loosed to the urban void, and carried on a climatologically dynamic firmament. Some would notice the decaying anthropoid contained within the wind blown shape, spying an over fed and shaved head goblin, but only a few would notice the camera and the purposely steeley gaze.

That’s the intersection of Queens Blvd. and Greenpoint/Roosevelt Avenue. This is yet another one of the colonial era holdouts in Queens, as a note. Greenpoint and Roosevelt Avenue sit in the path of the post road which once connected the Dutch colonies of Bosjwick in Breuklyn with Flisling in Nieuwtown. That’s Greenpoint’s waterfront and Flushing. Btw – if I misspelled the Dutch names, oops.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A different night, a different and shorter walk found me heading towards the Triborough Bridge here in Astoria to actuate the camera’s shutter at something visually interesting. At Steinway and 30th Avenue, this food truck was encountered. The puddle of light created by the truck drew me in.

A drug store chain occupies a former movie theater location here. I’m informed that back during the juvenile delinquent era of the 1950’s and 60’s there was a local “gang” whom considered this to be their corner. The Astoria Gents, apparently. I’ve seen the silky baseball jackets they used to wear. Talk about a sparsely documented subject, the local neighborhood JD era gangs are barely mentioned.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned several times and to different audiences, I’m a big fan of the train station redo that MTA and Darth Cuomo instituted along the 31st Street corridor. This is a dark and often scary set of streets, between Northern Blvd. and Ditmars. The new stations provide for an abundant scattering of light into the environ. Street lighting is critical, in my mind, as far as public safety goes.

More tomorrow at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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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

March 31, 2021 at 1:30 pm

rigid objections

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One divides his outside time into “long walks” and “short walks.” A long one usually involves the words “Maspeth” or “Greenpoint,” whereas the short ones involve “Ravenswood” or “Triborough.” Sometimes a short walk will find me walking a mile one way, making a right turn and walking another mile, and then angling my toes back towards HQ here on Astoria’s Broadway. I’m always looking for something interesting to photograph along the way, and I have my “dance card” of subject matter in mind when setting out.

Automotive maintenance facilities have recently been added to my dance card, or “shot list” if you must – gas stations, car washes, tire shops. Luckily, Astoria’s 31st street offers opportunity on two of those three items.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

These sorts of businesses are disappearing rapidly, given the current fashion amongst the Real Estate Industrial Complex and their conspirators in elected office to espouse bicycles as a “green alternative” to automotive transportation. Negating the need for these auto based businesses, you might as well build luxury condo towers where they used to be and act all sanctimonious about it. Whatever.

This particular short walk found me scuttling along Northern Blvd. to 31st street, making a right at 31st, and then shlepping northwards to Astoria Blvd., then looping back south to Broadway in a zig zag along the residential streets in the 40’s. I didn’t want to go too far from home as rain was forecast for the particular late January night I was out and about and shooting these photos. Freezing rain sucks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One adjures the NYC DOT, whenever the opportunity arrives, to do something about the street lighting situation along 31st street. My opinion that the Governor’s rebuild of the various stations of the elevated trackage has vastly improved the lighting situation at the various corners that you encounter them conflicts with the general ennui most political people feel about Albany’s Dark Lord of the Sith. Even a master of the dark side can brighten things up if he so chooses, and these precise bastions of illumination offered by the Empire State provide stark contrast to the dark and often disconcerting streetscapes maintained by the minions of the Dope from Park Slope – despite his Zero Vision mission. Or… Vision Zero, right? Got to stop confusing the terms, even though both Governor and Mayor are contaminant minions of the Dark Side of the Force.

Saying that, by the time I got to Astoria Blvd. my spectacles began to get stippled by the first drops of that freezing rain and a humble narrator decided to double time it back to HQ. Hooray, and may the Force be with you.

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, March 8th. 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

March 9, 2021 at 12:00 pm

square toed

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Thurday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My short(ish) wintertime walks around Western Queens often include walking the corridor along 31st street, under the elevated tracks of the N & W Subway lines. As I’ve mentioned a few times, when I’m wandering around the industrial zones of Newtown Creek – the “happy place” of industrial Maspeth or the “concrete devastations” of Long Island City – it’s an entirely solitary experience and I eschew wearing the mask since I’m literally the only person there and you can see anyone else coming from blocks away on the super wide industrial zone sidewalks. 31st street, with its crowded and narrow sidewalks and commercial strip intersections? Hell, yeah, I’ve got the thing strapped to my face. I don’t like the odds.

Leaving the house is a gambling kind of thing these days, and one thing my dad and his brothers taught me as a kid (they would bet on what color car was going to roll through the traffic light next) is that calculating whether your chances are favorable or not is a life skill. Probability of getting a parking ticket, or mugged, or having to wait overly long for a table at the local diner positively ruled my Dad’s decision making processes. I’ve got a little of that in me, but unlike one of my uncles, I’d never bet the family business in a poker game with 1970’s Williamsburg mafiosos.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The odds of some random virus particle suspended in the air flow in deserted areas like nocturnal Industrial Maspeth versus along a transit hub in a residential neighborhood? Do the math, Bud. What are the odds?

This method of thought has been working out for me for the last year, but as I often opine – you do you. I’ll say this, though, wearing one of these masks while also wearing spectacles is a world of no fun during the winter months. You clear the fog from your glasses with a lens cloth, and before you’ve even got them back in position they’re fogging up again. Respiratory plague versus crossing streets half blind…

Odds of getting Covid while crossing a street versus getting hit by some 18 year old driving a $75,000 fart car at 90 mph whom I couldn’t see because of fogged glasses… calculating… calculating…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The funny thing about 31st street, which I find visually exciting as a note, is that it’s deserted of population for most of its run. The section between Northern Blvd. and Broadway is fairly inert at night, except right around the odd corners where the stops are found. Most of the pedestrian and human (non automotive) activity you’ll observe occurs between the Broadway and Ditmars stops. Even in that stretch, though, there’s long blocks where you encounter nobody else on the sidewalk. Lots of drivers, a few bikes, the odd Cop car screaming past with lights and sirens.

Also, it’s really dark for some reason between Broadway and Northern. I passed that one onto the Government guys at a recent meeting. They filed a complaint,

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, January 25th. 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

January 28, 2021 at 2:05 pm

amorphous liquid

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another day night, and another walk around Western Queens with the camera. As mentioned yesterday, one is unnaturally vulnerable to cold weather. Partially, this is due to the side effects several of the medications my team of Doctors insist upon, and to the underlying medical conditions which their prescriptions are designed to remedy. My genetic flaws affect the circulatory system, heart, and the liver’s regulation of blood chemistry which – in simple terms – means that when it’s cold out my hands and feet go all bloodless and numb. This results in me having a fairly uneven and sometimes painful gait, and the loss of physical acuity and haptic feedback in the fingers. If you notice a pile of black rags with a camera lurching and weaving along Northern Blvd. some evening, that’ll be me.

Don’t worry, my fettle is fine, just trying to be quite transparent these days about my various maladies and weird moods. Hoping that you might cut me a break for my many malapropisms, micro aggressions, and madness in the future.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Somebody I used to hang out with at the neighborhood bar, in the before times, spent some effort describing my “micro aggressions” to me one night. I explained them away saying that I was quite unaware of any projected enmity, and reminded my companion that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t consciously project “micro” anything. If I’m mad at you, it’s “macro aggression” time, and the last time you experienced anything like what it’s like when I’m angry was at the end of the Jimmy Cagney movie “White Light, White Heat.” There’s an overlay of the climax of “Barton Fink” as well, specifically evoking the finale denouement of John Goodman’s role (without the hitler part, though). Ain’t pretty.

I do like that the particular set of things I will call someone out on are specific to their circumstance, as I try to avoid broad stroke denunciation based on creed or orientation. I once called some fellow a “shoe wearing, ginger ale drinking, motherflower.” When the asshole you’re yelling at falls to the floor laughing, you win.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are two things one is continually struck by on my night time wanderings – particularly in the last couple of months – first is that I’m somehow able to pick a pathway through one of the most densely populated sections of North America wherein the only other humans are safely sealed up inside of automobiles and trucks rather than on the sidewalk where they can blow their cootie laden breath at me, the second is that the City that never sleeps now goes to bed about ten p.m.

The latter factoid is bizarre, walking through Sunnyside or Astoria and seeing that every restaurant and bar is shuttered. The odd pizza joint will be open, but the “24 hour City” is a thing of the past.

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, January 25th. 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

January 26, 2021 at 1:45 pm

diminutive monkey

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I often wonder if all of this is actually happening or if I’m suffering the effects of coma in a hospital bed somewhere and my brain is firing off random hallucinatory ideations. Like the “this all might be a computer simulation” scenario, how could you possibly discern what is real or not if your conscious mind is trapped like a “ship in a bottle” within the delusion. Without an outside reference point, your point of perception is warped by the atmospheric container it dwells within. It’s astronomy from within the atmosphere versus the clear views available from space.

As mentioned yesterday, one ponders existential questions while wandering around Queens in the dead of night during a global pandemic.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everyone is the hero of their own story, or at least they should be. I’m the villain of my own, or at least I find villains more interesting than the heroes, so I claim the role. Lex Luthor? He’s trying to protect the human race from an all powerful alien overlord. Joker? The only man in the entire City brave enough to laugh in the face of a sociopathic Billionaire who dresses up in bondage gear and spends his nights beating up poor people. God hates you for your sins, Lucifer loves you just as you are.

There’s around 177,000 stories living in the naked Astoria, I plan on learning a few more of them in the new year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Incredible luck governs over me, I realize. One of the skills I’ve developed during these pandemic months is the ability to choose a path through one of the most densely populated sections of the planet which offers zero company and little or no interaction with the humans. It wasn’t terribly late, either, I’ve just managed to find something new I’m good at – avoiding company and the concomitant commiseration of microbiota that comes with it.

Cooties.

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, December 28th. 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

December 29, 2020 at 3:00 pm

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