The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Astoria

disreputably nourished

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 11th saw me conducting a small walking tour for a couple of friends of First Calvary Cemetery.

I haven’t been able to conduct any commercial tours of Calvary for quite a while now, due to a cease and desist letter which the Roman Catholic Church sent me. I actually consider that to be a feather in my cap.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 13th was a rainy day, and night, so I lingered at HQ and shot a few portraits of the Bodega across the street from my porch.

I had an invite to a fundraiser party in Williamsburg the next day, and planned on getting to Brooklyn the long way around.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 17th, one left HQ and started trekking towards Brooklyn. I didn’t have too much else going on, so a photowalk was on order for the day. The rain was coming and going, but I had an umbrella.

My plan was to walk for three or four subway stops to Court Square, and then use the G line subway to complete the trip.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I could have taken the train the whole way from Astoria and just transferred – but where’s the fun in that?

I actually wandered pretty far afield of my intended path, and ended up – as usual – in the neighborhood surrounding Dutch Kills in LIC on my way.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Foliage. That’s my excuse. Fall foliage.

The party I was heading to was for the Evergreen outfit, which is one of the groups that Newtown Creek Alliance is allies with. They’re a “BID” or Business Improvement District group which advocates for the industrial zone of North Brooklyn. Nice bunch of people, and it was a good party with lots of friends in attendance. In the end, I just walked to Williamsburg from LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At some point after the party, the rain became somewhat intense, so I made my way to the subway and caught the G.

Y’know what? That was probably the last time that I’d ever be riding the G train. After all, my entire world changed a couple of days later.


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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

November 16, 2022 at 11:00 am

favouring sign

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On October 3rd, it had been raining for days and would continue to do so for a couple more. One was climbing the walls at HQ, so an umbrella was deployed and to augment its function – I thought out a route wherein the built environment would aid me in my quest to not get soaked. 31st street in Astoria has an elevated subway track, and large warehouse and residential buildings which provide rain shadows.

Rain shadows, you ask?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I spend a lot of my time out of doors, wandering through inclement weather. The build environment has specific effects upon meteorological phenomena, at ground level. The rain shadow of a building is often visible, in that yard or two of sidewalk where the wall meets the pavement which will be drier than the rest. You still get rained on, but not as much as in the middle of the sidewalk.

I’ve got all kinds of NYC tips. My best one is “just keep moving.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are still a few spots where you can see the sky in LIC, but those are mainly because the undeveloped property where the lapse occurs is owned by the Government and either the politicians haven’t decided which one of their sponsors to sell it to for $1, or there’s some horrible need that one agency or another has for the parcel.

Hey, we need a place to burn truck tires in your neighborhood. Do it for the City, Queens. Same thing with homeless shelters and waste transfer stations and power plants and sewer plants and railroads and bridges and highways and airports and…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The new Queens Plaza is a dystopia.

Mirror box rhombuses thrust rudely at the stolen sky.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The noise levels in this part of Queens, which is now zoned for the densest form of residential, would be considered an environmental crime in Europe. Multiple subway lines, above and below, scream through the liminal spaces of the elevated tracks.

On the street, traffic of every sort and description.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thanks to the residential conversion of this former industrial zone, pedestrian traffic volume here is now considerable. Said pedestrians, like a humble narrator did, must weave their steps between traffic islands set into the flow of automotive and bicycle traffic pulsing from the Queensboro Bridge.

More next week, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“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

November 4, 2022 at 11:00 am

local dangers

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

First off – Newtown Creek Alliance will be honoring John Lipscomb of Riverkeeper, Christine Holowacz, and… your humble narrator… tonight, (the 20th) at the annual “Tidal Toast” fundraising event. Ticketing information can be found here, and the tax deductible donation of your ticket money will help to fund NCA’s ongoing mission to Reveal, Restore, and Revitalize Newtown Creek. NCA has been at the center of my public life over the last 15 years, and I hope you can make it. This is officially my finale, in terms of public facing events, and the end of this chapter of my life.

On the 23rd of September, a humble narrator set out for what ended up being an extremely long walk. Upon leaving HQ, a black cat with yellow eyes skated past me. Such an occurrence is always indicative of a good photo day coming. You have to learn how to listen to Queens, I always say, and recognize her omens.

The late model pick up truck pictured above was the first cool thing that she showed me. I’m going to miss Queens, but I don’t think she’ll miss me. I don’t think anyone in NYC is actually going to miss “me,” rather they’ll miss the idea of me. I think, on the other hand, that there will be a lot of people happy to see me go.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My next stop was at “hole reliable” at Sunnyside Yards, which lived up to the name I’ve assigned it. Hole Reliable is a surveyor’s aperture cut out of the plate steel fencing over the Harold Interlocking.

Wonders, I tell you, wonders.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My pathway continued on, south to Greenpoint Avenue and then into Blissville, which carried me over the Long Island Expressway.

Why do I think no one will miss me, and why some will be happy to see me go? Experience. It’s the way of NYC. When somebody leaves the megalopolis, or dies here, there’s a lot of hugging and handshaking for a little while but then life goes on. As far as the “happy to see me go” people, I’m either in their way right now, or perceived as a wizened scold whose knowledge of past events and the circumstances is inconvenient to the current dialectic on offer.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Down Under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge Onramp, in Long Island City’s Blissville section, that’s where my next stop was. Railroad Avenue, specifically. I call it DUGABO.

Melancholy actually rules my roost at the moment. On the one hand, ebullient excitement for all of the challenges and opportunities that relocating to a different part of the country offers is undeniable. Conversely, I’m leaving behind everything I know and everything I’ve ever known. It’s manic and depressing – all at the same time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a reason that they named this particular street in Long Island City “Railroad Avenue.” During my travels on Amtrak last year, one of the realizations I enjoyed was the one that stated “Everywhere you go, there’s a Railroad Avenue.” Really. I found one along Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont, of all places.

I’ve been forced to craft a little speech in order to save time. It starts off with “Not to get all Doctor Who here, but we’re all different people at different times of our lives…” Deep thoughts have accompanied the underway diving expedition of ridding myself of the material detritus of a lifetime in preparation for this move. Over all, I like to think that I’ve done some good, in this most recent version of myself.

The trash bags in front of HQ have included yearbooks from schools that some early variant of me attended, the toys and tools acquired over a half century by several of the “me’s”, and clothing worn by a younger man which no longer fits.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saying all that, a humble narrator is currently exhausted. A thousand thousand small but important details are being maintained in active thought, and a never ending landslide of physical task work, that I’ve scheduled around garbage pickup days, is underway at HQ.

There’s no way that NYC is going to let me go without an attempt at slamming some kind of whammy at me on the way out – that’s my governing terror. One of the reasons I’m so exhausted is that I have my radar on at full power every time I leave HQ just to buy a bagel.

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.

insistent pleas

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

First off – Newtown Creek Alliance will be honoring John Lipscomb of Riverkeeper, Christine Holowacz, and… your humble narrator… this coming Thursday night (the 20th) at the annual “Tidal Toast” fundraising event. Ticketing information can be found here, and the tax deductible donation of your ticket money will help to fund NCA’s ongoing mission to Reveal, Restore, and Revitalize Newtown Creek. NCA has been at the center of my public life over the last 15 years, and I hope you can make it. This is officially my finale, in terms of public facing events, and the end of this chapter of my life.

On the 17th of September, a humble narrator conducted a Newtown Creek walking tour for a group of students from New York University. Our path involved a meetup in Sunnyside along Queens Boulevard, then a walk over the Kosciuszcko Bridge and then through “oil country” in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section. We then visited the Nature Walk at the sewer plant, and I released the students back into the wild at Manhattan Avenue.

Me? I wandered over the Pulaski Bridge and back to Queens afterwards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Every time might be the last time” is my mantra at the moment, so even if I’ve got a hundred shots of the Queens Midtown Tunnel, I’m going to get in one last exposure of it.

I was heading to LIC for the subway, which is oddly enough one of the things I’m really going to miss. The MTA is shit, but it’s mostly reliable.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The most photogenic of all of NYC’s subway lines is the 7, and that’s a statement I’ll swear to in court. The shot above is from the first of its stations in Queens, the Vernon Jackson stop.

20 years ago, I’d occasionally use Vernon Jackson as an alias when somebody asked me to sign in on something but wasn’t checking ID, but these days LIC has become so populous that the nomen has lost its anonymity. Other names I’ve offered to strangers include Lex Triomani, Septa Katz, and my all time favorite – John Johnson. I used the last one once when talking to a group of Republicans, as they generally like people whose first and last name are the same – Rob Roberts, Tommy Thomson, Mike Michaels – that sort of thing.

The greatest of all Republican names remains that of the former Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee – Dick Armey. The best way to disperse a group of Republicans – as a note – is to say “Hey, I think I just saw Karl Rove across the street.” They’ll panic, as he’s their bogeyman.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 18th of September was a Sunday, and I decided to quaff an afternoon pint of Guinness at my local on Astoria’s Broadway in celebration. The fellow pictured above reminded me of a character from a French or Belgian comic and I couldn’t resist cracking out a shot of him passing by on that sweet bike he was riding.

Me? I was getting ready to and girding up to commit professional suicide in the next week.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve been a member of, and Transportation Committee chair, Community Board 1 here in Queens for a while. While walking over to the first in person meeting since Covid, I noticed yet another century old utility pole ready to break in half under the weight of the cables which keep the neighborhood connected and electrified. I attended the meeting, and formally offered my resignation during the thing.

Seriously, some of you people are going to have to start reporting things like the utility pole pictured above to 311 or NYC is going to come to a screeching halt when I’m gone.

Anyway, I resigned, people applauded my service, and were secretly or not so secretly happy to see me go.

The next night, I resigned from Access Queens, a transit group I’ve been a member of the executive committee of which advocates for riders of the 7 train. The night after that, I resigned from the Steering Committee of the Newtown Creek CAG, and the night after that I resigned from the board of the Working Harbor Committee.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve been unsubscribing from the various NYC email lists and newsletters which have kept me informed over the last decade. Also, several calls have gone out to colleagues and friends. The last thing that I’m still a part of is Newtown Creek Alliance, and I’m going to be resigning there fairly soon as well.

It’s wild to again be free of having to worry about things that I have no control over, and since all of these resignations have been received, I’ve had not one single person offer a reprimand to me that stated “you can’t say that.”

More tomorrow at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“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

October 19, 2022 at 11:00 am

doglike things

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After a terrifying visit to a cautionary tale known as Hudson Yards, a quick ride on the 7 train carried me back to the gently rolling hills of Western Queens where a transfer at the Queensboro Plaza subway stop was actuated and I was soon on an N train heading towards almond eyed Astoria. This was from the end of my journeys on Sunday – August 21st – which were meant to include riding on a Fireboat, but which ended up in a staggered scuttle about the abominable Hudson Yards.

One was hoping to wander through a street festival or something lively in the way home through Astoria – a Detestation of some Abyssal Power, or a Celebration of a Lord or Lady of Light – but it was just another Sunday in the ancient village.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Notice was taken of this woman feeding a group of birds. The birds seemed to be arranging themselves into a geometric pattern, but logic dictates that it was just the pattern of the woman’s arcing throws of seed or bread that they were following. Still, one wonders, and more than wonders…

Once I caught a photo of a group of birds sitting upon a series of Astoria power lines, in a pattern which reminded me of musical notation. I sent it to a musician friend of mine for analysis. He refused to discuss the matter after viewing the image, instructing that I should never mention it again and advising that I destroy the image.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 24th of August, a day trip to visit a friend in the pretty town of Hudson, New York was undertaken. It was a long drive and my photographic curiosities were stifled due to social obligation.

There used to be a whaling fleet who’s home base was here in Hudson. The financial benefits of this industrial activity explains how they could afford the expenses of building out the grandiose architecture from the 1840’s – 1880’s era which is still extant in the town, as said fleet often did business with Ambrose Kingsland in Greenpoint. The Newtown Creek tributary “Whale Creek” is so named because of Kingsland’s whale oil refinery, and the corollary industries of rope manufacture, blacksmithing, shipwrighting, and miscellaneous ship supply hugged the shores of Whale Creek in Greenpoint.

Staten Island artist John Noble actually painted Whale Creek during this era – here’s a link to the Noble Museum at Snug Harbor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson is a very attractive town, and I wish that I had more time to explore. I also really wanted to get a shot of the old docks where the Newtown Creek bound whaling ships would launch from, but as mentioned above – this was a social visit and not a photo mission.

The shot above is from a park along the Hudson River that obviously used to be part of a barge to rail setup.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saturday the 27th of August, and this shot was from something like 8 in the morning, captured while sitting in the passenger seat of a late model Mercedes on the George Washington Bridge.

The Mercedes belongs to my pal Max, and we were on the road heading west for a week long “away game.” I left the pinstripes at home, put on my gray uniform, and configured the camera to a very odd group of settings.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The ISO was set into the range I normally use for night time low light conditions, the aperture was set to either f8 or f11 depending on time of day and ambient light, and the shutter to 1/8000th of a second.

When you’re traveling in a late model Mercedes at about 70 miles per hour, westwards through Pennsylvania, you need to take steps to freeze the action for the camera.

More next week.


“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

September 23, 2022 at 11:00 am

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