The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘7 line

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.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Flushing, Photowalks, Pickman, Queens, Subway

Tagged with ,

oddly sunburned

with one comment

Lost in the bowels of the subterrene, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Innocently enough, while on my way to a photo industrial complex exposition at the Javits Center that I was lured to by the promise of a small payment for participating in a focus group, a major crisis suddenly came rushing up and seized a hold of a humble narrator. One was busy staring at his shoes and pondering how my life had brought me to this pass, when the realization that I was the only person on the 7 train crashed like an ocean wave across the fragile shoreline of the psyche. The sudden manifestation of a thousand nightmares was upon me.

An inflation of my self esteem began to roar like a cataract between the ears and behind the eyes, coupled with a sensation that was both spiritually distracting and which generated uncountable bad and unprofitable ideas – all at once in a rushing torrent of intent.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My self importance was deflated by the solitude, as I had no one to impress – with a nervous rattling off of some historical minutiae about the Flushing line IRT’s history. What am I without my narcissism? My eyes were pinned wide open in a wild stare, and became uncomfortably dry, as I seemed to have stopped blinking. After a quick check of pulse rate and a crack of my knuckles against the plastic seat to confirm that I was in fact awake and not lying in bed – unconscious and hallucinating – it was decided that this was in fact the waking world. Knowing that nobody back home in Queens would believe me about being alone on the 7 line, my trusty camera was deployed and evidence collected of this momentous event – that I, I of all people, was utterly alone on the subway.

Surely, this would be the sort of thing that would draw the interest of all…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bouncing from side to side of the light rail car, which was positively hurtling through the stinking concrete bunkers beneath the megalopolis, suddenly paranoia blossomed in my mind when I realized that in the next carriage there was another singular occupant like myself. Perhaps the focus group at the photo expo was nonexistent? Was this some sort of exquisite trap laid out for an elite group? I sensed the presence of the hidden hand, the shadowed elite, the supranormal, at work. Nothing is random, everything has meaning – I read that on a greeting card for sale in a gas station convenience shop once…

My thoughts raced, and flights of ideation began to assail.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The train ground to a halt, with an electronic recording announcing that the delay in forward movement was because there was traffic in front of us. I wondered if my counterpart in the next car realized, as I did, that this was some sort of trick. Anything can happen when you’re alone and without witnesses. That’s why, like the band TLC advised back during the 1990’s – I don’t go chasing waterfalls and stick to the hills and valleys I’m used to.

It was my hope that when the skeletal remains of myself, and the other, were eventually found at either terminal stop – Flushing or Hudson Yards – that the images on my camera card would be recoverable and offer some sort of explanation to Our Lady of the Pentacle as to my fate.

Of course, then the train started moving again and I found my way to the Javits Center, but this was a close one.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back at home, one found nothing but difficulty in attempting to sleep. There were machines moving around in the sky, some of them carrying Policemen. I set up the camera and watched…

Who can guess, all there is, buried down there – or moving around through the aether, up there?

As a note, the next morning, my facial skinvelope exhibited the dermatological effects characterized by exposure to the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself. I have no explanation to offer.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 25, 2016 at 11:00 am

into which

leave a comment »

I been everywhere, man.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is fully “back in action” after a long hermitage. In the last seven days – I’ve conducted three walking tours of the Newtown Creek watershed, visited the Kosciuszko Bridge construction project, attended and partcipated in a Working Harbor Committee tour, and have also found myself cathechizing elected officialdom about the dangers of CSO’s (Combined Sewer Outfalls). I also shot and developed a few hundred photos, and you’ll be seeing some of them over the next few days.

I also got to take the most photogenic of NYC’s subway lines the other day, which is the IRT Flushing or 7 line, as evinced by the shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Two of my walking tours last week were private affairs, and involved exposing groups of students to LIC. I brought the kids down the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek, then along the main stem of the Creek itself, and we eventually ended up along the East River waterfront in Hunters Point.

The counterpoints between “America’s Workshop” and the “Modern Corridor” are jarring, and seeing the post industrial section contrasted with the gentrified residential sections really seemed to hit home with them. I love taking out groups of students, incidentally, as ultimately our world will be theirs someday, and they have to start thinking up the solutions to the colossal mess we’re going to be leaving behind.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Funnily enough, what with all the running around, I ended up walking close to forty miles last week as I scuttled around from place to place. This weekend, I’ve got another private group tour on Saturday, but on Sunday there’s a free event I’m helping to conduct with my colleague Will Elkins from Newtown Creek Alliance. Details are found below for attending the “North Henry Street Project,” which will meet up at 11 a.m on the corner of Kingsland and Norman Avenues in Greenpoint.

This one is part of the citywide MAS Janeswalk event, and I’m hoping you can come along and check out the plans NCA has been concocting for the “Unnamed Canal,” a minor tributary of Newtown Creek.

Upcoming Events and Tours

Sunday, May 8th at 11 a.m. – North Henry Street Project,
with Municipal Arts Society Janeswalk and Newtown Creek Alliance,
in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Click here for more details.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 2, 2016 at 1:30 pm

heavy features

leave a comment »

A few shots from NYC’s most photogenic subway line.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, a post was offered at this – your Newtown Pentacle – describing the 99th anniversary of the opening of the IRT Flushing Line’s Corona Extension. That’s the 11 stops between Queensboro Plaza and what’s now called 103rd Corona Plaza on the 7. My intention for that post was to show you every station, which I did in fact visit and shoot… but you know me… a week late and a dollar short.

Speaking of, I’m running a bit late today.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Large groupings of photos – in the case of the 7 line shots, I came home with something close to a thousand individual captures which have been boiled down to around 200 – create a sort of roadblock for me. They need to be treated as one continuous shoot during the developing process (I shoot in RAW format, so every shot gets a little love and attention). Procedurally, it works like this – an initial pass to cull out over and underexposed or just junk shots, followed by key wording and then cropping. At the end of the procedural stuff I finally get to do the “developing” stage which is the photoshop equivalent of what you film people used to do in the dark room when pulling prints. Once that’s done I can finally start spawning the final incarnations of the things you see, and upload them to the web for dissemination.

When you’re starting with a thousand individual images, this ends up taking a lot of time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I ended up riding the 7 for several hours last week, between Willets Point and Queensboro Plaza. To me, at least, it was worth the effort.

Speaking of transit, tonight at 6:30 at Riccardos by the Bridge in Astoria, there’s a meeting to plan a centennial celebration for the Hell Gate Bridge which I intend on attending. Come with?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 26, 2016 at 1:00 pm

hath forgotten

with 3 comments

It’s 99 for the 7’s original 11.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On April 21st, 1917 – the original 11 stops of the IRT Subway line in Queens opened for business. We call the IRT Flushing line the 7, of course. The first stops on the line in Queens – Vernon/Jackson, Hunters Point Avenue, Court Square, and Queensboro were completed a couple of years earlier – but the stretch along Queens Blvd. and Roosevelt Avenue from 33rd Rawson to 103rd Corona Plaza is 99 years old today.

The NY Times was along for that first ride – leaving Grand Central at 3 p.m. and visiting the first 11 stations of the so called Corona Extension. Check out their reportage here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The original names for these IRT Flushing line stops were Rawson street (33rd), Lowery street (40th), Bliss street (46th), Lincoln street (52nd), Flake street (61st), Fiske Avenue (69th), Broadway (74th), 25th avenue (82nd), Elmhurst avenue, Junction Blvd., and Alburtis avenue (103 Corona Plaza). Willets Point came online in May of 1917, and Main Street in Flushing would open in February of 1928.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I actually spent my afternoon yesterday visiting and photographing all of these locations, but was unable to deliver the finished product in time for the anniversary this year, so archive shots of the 7 – some of which have been presented before – are here in their stead.

The historical development of western Queens from a community of farmers and dairymen to the bustling and crowded community of modernity is tied back to several watershed moments in the early 20th century. The opening of Queensboro in 1909, Sunnyside Yards in 1910, and the Steinway subway tunnels opening for business in 1907.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Walking Tour – Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

First Calvary Cemetery Walk.
Join Newtown Creek Alliance historian Mitch Waxman at First Calvary Cemetery, found in LIC’s Blissville neighborhood along Newtown Creek. Attendance limited to 15 people.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 21, 2016 at 1:00 pm

iron gray

leave a comment »

More meeting reportage, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, I joined up with another community group – Access Queens – an organization which got its start as a Facebook group called the “7 Train Blues.” I’ve been invited onto the steering committee of Access Queens, which seeks to improve communications between the communities found along the “international express” and the MTA, and to advocate for the riding public. All the history projects I’d been working on in 2014 involving the Sunnyside Yards, and Queens rail in general, has gotten me pretty interested in the Subways. 

A recent meeting – on Tuesday, the fifth of April, in fact – was organized by Access Queens in conjunction with Councilmember Van Bramer’s office over at the Sunnyside Community Services facility on 39th street, and the MTA sent out a group of its officers for an “Ask the MTA” session wherein the ridership of the aforementioned IRT Flushing Line could express their frustrations and interact with the agency.

Since I’m the new kid on the block, I kept to the sidelines and took pictures rather than running my mouth for a change. Access Queens had a seat at the table with MTA, in the person of one the group’s leaders – Sunnyside’s Melissa Orlando – and believe you me, I don’t have to say a word when Melissa is present – she’s the real deal.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An interesting facet to this effort, one that I found particularly novel and kind of fascinating, was that both Van Bramer and Orlando were advancing questions to the transit officials which were being live posted on Twitter and on the 7 Train Blues Facebook group. MTA assured all present, and those in other realms, that their “CBTC” switching conversion work was on schedule. Completion of the project would ultimately allow them to increase the hourly frequency of trains on the already “at capacity” line. Overcrowding on platform and train alike were described by the petitioners from the community. There was also a shed load of media in the room. 

A recurring theme emerging from the community was that given the ridiculous amount of real estate mega development occurring all along the Queens side of the 7 – Flushing Commons, Willets Point, and Hunters Point were mentioned in particular – NYC’s infrastructure is being badly strained and pushed to the breaking point.

One of the more interesting things that emerged from the community comments was a request to synchronize the timing of the bus system to coincide with the 7 train delays so as to avoid the “wagon train” phenomena of one full then two empty buses all traveling together. A sight commonly observed by Queensicans.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator, of course, seldom has the “7 Train Blues” given that one dwells upon the IND R line along Broadway in Astoria rather than the IRT 7 along Queens Blvd. and Roosevelt Avenue. The case has been made, however, that when the 7 is delayed, the masses of Flushing, Roosevelt, and Corona use the IND lines (R, M, E, F) instead of the IRT one. This results in quite a situation during morning commutes, and dangerous overcrowding. This is a borough wide phenomena, and is forecast to get worse before it gets better as the population continues to expand along the already overbuilt transit corridors. 

Guess that the folks on my side of Northern Blvd. have the “R train blues.”

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

April 16th, Obscura Day 2016

“Creek to Creek Industrial Greenpoint Walking Tour” with Mitch Waxman and Geoff Cobb.

Join Newtown Creek Alliance historian Mitch Waxman and Greenpoint historian and author Geoff Cobb for a three-hour exploration of the coastline of Greenpoint. Click here for more info and ticketing. 

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 12, 2016 at 11:00 am

contracted chill

leave a comment »

Nothing like an adventure, MTA style.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found me leaving HQ just after the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself had begun its journey across the sky. A humble narrator’s intention was to have been out and about for a couple of hours in the pre dawn part of the day, but one overslept and left the house just as dawn arrived. My eventual destination was in lower Manhattan, and my plan was to be mid span on the Queensboro Bridge when dawn occurred, but as mentioned – I rolled over and kept on sleeping rather than springing out of bed when the alarm sounded at four in the morning. It wasn’t until about 5:30 that I stumbled out into the staggering realities of Astoria.

A brief scuttle across Northern Blvd. and the Sunnyside Yards ensued, and bored with the idea of walking across Queensboro at this point, it was elected that I would catch the most photogenic of all NYC’s Subway lines – the 7 – at 33rd street and cruise into the shadowed corridors of midtown Manhattan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “international express” as it’s known, arrived in the station accompanied by announcements that due to construction there was no Manhattan bound service at 33rd street. Having set aside literally five hours for the walk, I figured I’d just play along and see where the MTA wanted to take me.

As a note, with the exception of the F line, on the weekend of the 5th and 6th of March – there was “no way to get there from here” without playing the game laid out by the MTA.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 7 carried me to the 61st Woodside stop, where Manhattan bound service could be accessed. Off in the distance, at what must have been the 69th street station, there were crews of laborers and what seemed like a crane busily at work. The normal “Manhattan bound” side was entirely subsumed by their activity.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 7 train, with its multitudinous delays and seemingly constant construction, has spawned a bit of activism. My pal Melissa Orlando, and others, formed first a Facebook group called “The 7 Train Blues,” and have since begun the formation of an organization called “Access Queens” with the intention of acting as advocates for the ridership community along this “international express” traveling between Flushing and Manhattan’s west side.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the subject of the 7 train, my immediate response is to discuss its immense photogeneity.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It is virtually impossible to point a camera at the 7 and not get something interesting. Maybe it’s the low lying nature of Western Queens, with the elevated tracks running at rooftop level… can’t say. After running through the MTA’s perverse hoops, a humble narrator found himself in the Shining City, and what was encountered at my destination will be discussed in a post presented next week at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

%d bloggers like this: