The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Astoria

were well

with 2 comments

Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 26th brought one of those “I told you so” moments to Astoria. For literally ten years, I’ve been sounding the alarms about the ridiculous amount of dead wiring overhead – and the horrendous condition of often century old utility poles which carry them. Assemblymember Brian Barnwell heard my cry and his office tried shaking the tree at the NYS Utility commission, but just like every other part of New York State – that patronage mill called “Albany” saw no political gain in even conducting an inspection of the situation here in Queens.

A line of thunderstorms crashed through Astoria earlier in the evening, and shortly after the wind and rain stopped, the FDNY arrived on Astoria’s Broadway and began arranging caution tape.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To no one’s surprise, the storm had caused a series of live wires to crack down onto the puddle choked street and yet another Astoria hullabaloo was underway. The 46th street Subway Station was right in the middle of this municipal chaos, as a note.

You ever get the sense that the people who run this City and State would make terrible roommates?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 27th, after having completed all of my “have to’s” it was decided to take a fairly short walk. Recent habit has seen me circumnavigating the 183 square acres of the Sunnyside Yards on these short walks. I’ll leave Astoria and walk over to Skillman Avenue, which will be followed to its terminus at Hunters Point Avenue and 21st street, whereupon I’ll head over to Jackson Avenue and then follow it through Queens Plaza where it transmogrifies into Northern Blvd. at 31st street and scuttle back to HQ.

Along the way, there’s lots and lots of fence holes to poke the camera lens into, and observe what wonders there might be hidden within the colossal rairlroad coach yard. That’s the IRT Flushing 7 line train exiting Queens Plaza heading for points east.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All winter and spring, I’ve been seeing the Long Island Railroad’s newest acquisitions being put through their paces. I don’t know if these trains have entered “revenue service” yet or if they’re still being tested out.

I’ve had a horrible realization recently… good lord, have I been rail fanning? Has it really come to this?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 7 line exits Court Square Station on an elevated track, and this right of way descends down into the Hunters Point Station. Occasionally, on this particular route, I’ll actually hop on the 7 and take it back to Sunnyside or Woodside and walk home from there.

I stand on the assertion that the 7 is the most photogenic of all the subway lines.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At Hunters Point Avenue, you’ve got an absolutely incredible eastward looking view of the Sunnyside Yards. That Long Island Railroad train was heading into Manhattan, and the entrance to the East River Tunnels is nearby.

Wonders, I tell you, wonders.


“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.

whisper leeringly

with 2 comments

Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On April 13th, I found myself at a rooftop bar on the east side of Manhattan, one which offered somewhat sweeping views of the East River. Queensboro Bridge was large and in charge, of course. In the lower right foreground, that’s “Four Freedoms Park” on Roosevelt Island. You’re looking in the general direction of Astoria, diagonally towards LaGuardia airport.

There you go, that’s what that looks like, and you didn’t have to pay $20 for an “old fashioned” to see it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On April 17th, a humble narrator felt like doing some shooting but didn’t want to return to Newtown Creek again, so Shore Blvd. alongside Astoria Park and the Hells Gate section of the East River was decided upon as a destination for the evening’s effort.

I’ve actually been trying to make it a point of being present during sunsets of late, as you may have noticed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hell Gate Bridge is to the north, Mighty Triborough to the south. These waters are still pretty complicated from a maritime point of view – strong currents and eddies. The United States Army Corps of Engineers blew this part of the river up “back in the day” to cure up the navigation issues, but it’s still a part of the harbor that requires a bit of skill on the part of whomsoever is driving the boat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I set myself up for “landscape mode” with the tripod and an ND filter and started capturing a series of longish exposures. It was so bright out, in fact, that even with the filter on I was getting no more than ten seconds worth of exposure time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As I’ve mentioned several times, high flying clouds turn colorful during sunsets. No guarantee you’re going to get scarlets and crimsons, but when you do…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I hung around until it got dark, then got scared by the presence of teenagers in Astoria Park so I rapid scuttled away from the area in a paroxysm of terror. One flew through the streets, his brain awash in the steroids of panic. Teenagers… brrr… no impulse control.

At HQ, I barred the doors behind me, and commanded Our Lady of the Pentacle to descend into the storm bunker with me and hunker down in case the adolescents had followed me home.


“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 6, 2022 at 11:00 am

fair land

with one comment

Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 5 saw a humble narrator join with other maritime enthusiasts at a NYC EDC job fair set up for NYC High School aged students at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook. Pictured above is the United States Coast Guard’s current ‘Commander of Sector New York’ Captain Zeita Merchant.

I wasn’t there to do anything other than photograph the event, and I donated my services for this one. Maritime is a great career, one that’s often overlooked by an educational system that seems to be set up for the singular purpose of creating office workers and clerks. Anything I can do to help is worth the time and effort.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The event was created by NYC EDC’s Ports unit, and they brought in Coast Guard, the Harbor Units of FDNY and NYPD, as well as a series of private capital outfits from the port. Tugboat operators, international shipping companies, lots and lots of offshore power generation companies. The kids attending the event were shuttled from table display to table display and offered a free lunch.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Longshoreman’s Union was there, and they were showing off the cool toys that they get to play with on the job. After the event ended, it started to rain and that didn’t stop for days.

Luckily, I was bogged down with photos to develop and a series of Zoom meetings which I had to attend but didn’t demand 100% of my attentions.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 7th, I was still in Zoom meeting hell and it was still raining, but I couldn’t help but shoot yet another rainy night view of the garishly lit Bodega across the street from HQ in Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On April 8th, it had stopped raining, but when I went out to drop off my laundry and pick up a bagel, blood trails were discovered that went on for blocks and blocks here in Astoria.

I made a few calls.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seems that somebody was displaying his great physical prowess with the intention of impressing a young lady. This display ended when he punched out the plate glass window of a bakery and he severed arteries in both arms and the neck. Further, his reaction to the open vessels situation was to run up and down Broadway while flapping his arms. Luckily, an FDNY ambulance happened to be passing by and noticed the spot he was in. I’m told the unlucky fellow was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was refilled with blood.

Now, as far as cleaning up those blood trails… this is yet another one of those “incompetent fuck” NYC stories which sees the City’s various agencies passing the buck to each other as to whose responsibility it is. NYPD said it’s FDNY’s job, FDNY said to instead call Sanitation, who in turn suggested calling NYPD.

As of middle May, the shadow of the scab trails are still visible on the sidewalks of Astoria.


“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

May 30, 2022 at 11:00 am

inappropriately enrobed

leave a comment »

Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another night, another scuttle. This was a longish sort of walk. Starting in Astoria, along Broadway in the 40’s, I carried the camera into Sunnyside, then Long Island City, Blissville, and into industrial Maspeth. What fun.

First up was a stop at “ole reliable,” an oft visited fence hole at the Sunnyside Yards, one which provides a great point of view on the Harold Interlocking. The busiest passenger train junction in the United States, this spot is where both Long Island Railroad and Amtrak pass through on their way to and from Penn Station.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A taxi company in Sunnyside is based in a structure reminiscent of the sort of early 1970’s toys that little boys craved. They have ramps and lifts and pipes that bellow steam. Also, since every parking spot on the blocks surrounding this company is claimed by one of their cabs, I don’t feel guilty peeing in between two of their taxis so it’s a bit of a destination.

One of the weird leave behinds of my experiences during the Covid period relates to the fact that the very few places you used to be able to piss – a McDonald’s or Diner bathroom for instance – have been closed and off limits. This means that I’ve gotten into the habit of “taking care of business” in the manner of a domestic dog. This has become a bit of an issue for me during the various travels to other cities detailed in earlier posts, as the citizenry of other communities generally take a dim view of such practices. Well, you can take the boy out of the dystopian shithole…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My fascination with gas stations is another Covid period “thing.” To be fair, though, they’re very difficult subjects to photograph in low light – just like the LIRR train in the first shot – and that sort of camera related challenge draws me in like a moth to a candle’s flame.

At the start of Covid, we had pantry moths show up in the house. They arrived in a bag of dry dog food. It took the better part of two years to exterminate the little bastards using pheromone scented traps. Freaking Lepidoptera.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Boulevard, the so called “boulevard of death,” was crossed next, and south did a humble narrator walk. Given that the streets of Queens aren’t quite as “crime lite” as they were a few years ago, one has renounced the habit of listening to audiobooks or music via headphones. I want to be able to hear someone’s sneakers slapping the pavement as they’re coming for me.

It’s actually amazing how quickly the entire City fell apart under the rule of De Blasio and his fellow fun lovers. Mr. Fairness and Equity oversaw a widening of the gap between rich and poor, an explosion of racially motivated crimes directed towards people of Asian descent, and every time he opened his mouth he would piss somebody off. Truly, that man was the Trump of the left. Incompetent, high on his own supply, and every opportunity to learn something new was rejected in favor of an ideological interpretation. At least Adams is fun.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Blissville, a section of Long Island City which borders industrial Maspeth, was the next place to be blighted by my foot steps. Blissville in the centuried home of First Calvary Cemetery, the polyandrion of the Roman Catholics. As a note – I never cross a fence line, and almost never trespass. The shot above was instead captured from the public way’s POV and I used the stout iron fences of the cemetery to steady the camera.

The mausolea pictured above is sort of unusual for a Catholic cemetery. The human remains encapsulated aren’t in the ground, rather they seem to reside within the granite capsule guarded by the Angel statue. Normally, the Catholics use the loam for the disbursement of their departed, burying the box (coffin or casket) about six feet down. Jews do the same, except when it comes to Mausolea. In Jewish funerary tradition, a mausoleum shelf or compartment is meant to be lined with soil from the Levant (Israel) prior to the placement of the box and its dearly departed cargo. Yes, it’s a racket.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having fairly exhausted myself, after arriving at the “Crane District” of Industrial Maspeth, one summoned a ride share service to cart my sorry butt back home to Astoria. As mentioned in the past, I seem to have developed some brand loyalty towards the LYFT service as opposed to the Uber one.

One of my practices is to use a subway or bus or cab to deposit me somewhere, and then walk back to Astoria from… say… Flushing or Bushwick. This is something I started doing back before Covid, in fact. It vastly increases what I would consider to be walking distance, since the trip is sort of one way.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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.

stony plateau

with one comment

Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Ice had recently stopped tumbling down out of the sky on a cold night in late January, so a humble narrator tied the boots with the cleated soles onto his roadway interfaces and shot out of the house onto the wild streets of Astoria, Queens. One was fully insulated, with a new suit of thermal underwears installed under the normal sackcloth. Kit bag all packed up, one smiled, smiled, smiled. That is, until I stepped out the door and got slammed with by the cold. Brrr.

This was one of my short walks, a leg stretch as it were, which never “left the neighborhood.” One also wasn’t in the mood to futz about with gear, so all photos are handheld – no tripods, cables, or camera supports or anything like that.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An awful lot of real estate development has occurred along the seriously undesirable 31st street corridor (noisy). Everywhere that the new construction has gone up, you now see these mega piles of garbage and recyclables. Another missed opportunity for NYC, to not replicate the mistakes of Manhattan, is DSNY related.

Seriously, when you talk to the planners and real estate types – they describe midtown Manhattan as the goal state rather than as a cautionary tale. The specter of Robert Moses is still in the room.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m told that the food truck pictured above suffered a blazing fire a few days after this shot was gathered on 30th avenue. The self proclaimed “Rey Del Tacos” has been thereby deposed and this king of the tacos is no more – so, long live the king. The Boss of the Tacos food truck is said to be consolidating its power and getting ready to make a grab at the throne, but for now, taco anarchy rules in Astoria. Really, this taco superiority process and how it will play out is not unlike how we ended up having a “France” instead of a “Norman Gaul.”

History is the story of wooden Deliverista shoes going up stairs to deliver the tacos, while velvet Deliverista slippers tumble back down. Voltaire never encountered tacos, to my knowledge. He lived in a castle. Either way, the tacos must flow.


“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 3, 2022 at 11:00 am

%d bloggers like this: