The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Astoria

meagre documentary

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Mind your yum yums, it’s cold outside.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Intrigued by some of the sights observed and recorded at Flushing Bay recently, a humble narrator decided that a return to the premise was required. My goal destination was the corner of 31st drive and Ditmars Blvd., where the NYC Parks Department offers free passage over the Grand Central Parkway via a pedestrian bridge that terminates at the entrance to their “Flushing Bay Promenade” facility. Of course, waking up in Astoria introduces a lot of “how do I get there” questions when discussing the north eastern shorelines of Queens. I could always take the just walk or use the 7 line to get to Main Street in Flushing and then walk back in westerly direction thought I, but remembrances that I had publicly vowed to ride a variety of bus routes offered by the MTA here in Queens came to mind.

A short interval later, I had my route and schedule figured out and accordingly set off into the crisp January cold.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The walking to the bus thing could have been alternatively accomplished by using another bus – the Q101, I believe – which proceeds along Steinway Street. The bus which I was planning on traveling to East Elmhurst’s border with Flushing was the Q19, which stops at Steinway and Astoria Boulevard. Quite a pleasant walk through the neighborhood HQ is found in, however, involves the diagonal path of Newtown Road, which supposedly predates the street grid surrounding it.

Newtown Road intersects Steinway Street at 30th avenue, and from there it’s a three block walk to the bus stop. All told, it was about seven blocks from door to bus. Three if I’d taken the 101, of course, but seven blocks away is “around the corner” for one such as myself and it was quicker to just walk. I arrived at the correct spot with five minutes to spare for the arrival of a Q19 meant to arrive at about 4:12.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Roughly thirty minutes later, I was still waiting for the Q19. The printed schedule on the box thing mounted on the pole dictated (as did the MTA site) that there should have been two Q19’s passing this stop during that half hour interval. The 4:36 was there just about on time, but was packed with throngs of people. Other than the unpleasant jostling you’d expect in a crowded bus, the ride went smoothly and seemed to be on schedule. Apologies again, unknown lady, for the tripod incident.

At least I arrived at my destination just when I expected to do so at 102nd street and Astoria Blvd., about two and half miles from Steinway Street. More tomorrow.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 21, 2019 at 11:00 am

husky whisper

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Back in session.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured above is the fabulous Newtown Creek, and the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens. A humble narrator had multiple errands to run the day this shot was captured, including recoding a pretty neat moment in the history of the Greenpoint side of DUKBO (Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp), which I’ll describe in a later post. In consideration of my too tight scheduling that particular day, and a sudden urgency evinced by my landlord to gain access to HQ in order to conduct a nebulous series of repairs, one found himself in a for-hire vehicle heading towards Brooklyn from Astoria on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and upon the Kosciuszcko Bridge over the aforementioned but still fabulous Newtown Creek.

I figured that since I was paying for the ride anyway, I might as well get something out of it other than mere conveyance, so the window was rolled down and… you know the rest, there it is up there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bored and overwhelmed by the schedule of holiday events one found himself attending recently, a rare night at home revealed an NYPD car sitting on my corner for a couple of hours, which caught my attention. Since I was bored and the cops didn’t seem to be doing anything particularly interesting other than sitting there, I decided to get artsy fartsy and use my tripod to get a portrait shot of the scene here in Astoria. This was the night of that day when it stopped raining like a week ago – you remember, that time when it rained buckets for about nine thousand straight hours? Yeah? This is that night when it had just stopped raining.

Seriously, cannot tell you how bored I was at this particular point in the last week and a half, with not a lot of adventure to report – but it was nice to be around people.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just yesterday, with my holiday obligations done, a humble narrator skittered forth with the camera and out into the night. My feet just started kicking along, and soon my path had carried me from Astoria to the Degnon Terminal in Long Island City, where the fabulous Newtown Creek’s astonishing Dutch Kills tributary is found. Even after it got dark, one continued along and was soon cruising through Blissville. Nearby Blissville’s border with Industrial Maspeth, the southern – or Penny Bridge – gates of First Calvary Cemetery are found, and that’s where one found himself just last night whilst stabbing at the shutter button.

Who can guess, where the heck it will be, that Mitch goes tonight?


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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 27, 2018 at 11:00 am

decaying fringe

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Merry merry.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is taking this week and the first half of next off, so singular images will be greeting you through the week. Have a joylessly laconic Festivus, a Merry Christmas, and a Kwazy Kwanzaa.

Be back on the 27th to finish up the year at this. your Newtown Pentacle.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 18, 2018 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria

Tagged with

then alighted

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Merry merry.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is taking this week and the first half of next off, so singular images will be greeting you through the week. Have a joylessly laconic Festivus, a Merry Christmas, and a Kwazy Kwanzaa.

Be back on the 27th to finish up the year at this. your Newtown Pentacle.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 17, 2018 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria

Tagged with

horrors abroad

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Hallets Cove is spooky.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Here in Astoria, everything you see in the built up modern neighborhood historically grew out of Hallets Cove. This is one of the oldest “zones” in Western Queens, as far as the footprints of European Civivlization go. It’s kind of a back water overseen by the NYC Parks Dept. these days, sitting next door to the Socrates Sculpture Garden park found to the south and the NYCHA Astoria Houses are to the north. Just across the water from Hallets Cove – to the west – is Roosevelt Island, and beyond that is found the Shining City of Manhattan.

I walked over there the other night, with the intention of putting some newly acquired gear through its paces to gauge performance. Nothing too special, the gear. A novel sort of camera support and a new 24mm lens, both acquired during the discount period surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An interesting thing I can report to you is that if you’re a seabird, Hallets Cove seems to be a preferential spot to sleep. There were dozens of ducks, geese, and gulls floating about, or hanging out in the intertidal zone, and sleeping. As you may notice in the shot above, there was also a quite awake Egret marching about. There’s about thirty seconds of accumulated light sucked up in the photo, which is why the Egret seems to be leading a conga line of Egrets.

Well, it’s interesting to me at least.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hallets Cove is kind of spooky at night, especially when you leave the pavement and get down onto the sand. As mentioned in an earlier post, there’s only five sandy beaches on the East River that I know about.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 14, 2018 at 2:00 pm

queerly disturbed

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Ahhh…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An interminable period, that’s how one would describe the rain situation last weekend, one which got in the way of pointing the camera at cool things at night. Most of Sunday was spent in careful observation of the outside environment and the monitoring of predictive meteorology information. A window was going to emerge on Sunday night where there would be fog but no rain, and a humble narrator would be ready to fly into action when it arrived.

I didn’t really fly, instead I left HQ and hailed a cab. The driver was told a street address, to which he replied “Really?” After affirming my destination, we set off. My timing worked out perfectly, as it was still drizzling when I got into the two ton death machine cab, and steady precipitation had stopped.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Soon; I found myself scaring feral cats, avoiding a particularly slippery patch of mud, trying not to fall into any giant puddles, and in general having a grand old time at the Newtown Creek till well after midnight. It’s spooky in the creeklands at night, with all sorts of mystery sounds emanating from inky black shadow. There’s also the whole “by yourself with no one around for blocks and blocks physical vulnerability” thing. At least it wasn’t cold, and there weren’t any wolves or teenagers roaming about seeking victims. Really, the only interaction I had with anybody else involved exchanging convivial greetings with a couple of Indian guys waiting for their trucks to be loaded at a Korean food warehouse.

The shot above depicts the street end of Meeker Avenue in Greenpoint, which regularly floods.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This whole enviromental craze is particularly annoying during the summer, as all that foliage blocks my points of view and is constantly blowing around in the wind. Seasonally devastated plant life, all withered away to brittle sticks and twigs, is better. Often have I wished that I could power wash the shorelines of Newtown Creek with herbicides… it would be historically accurate… and I’d get a better shot if the Brooklyn Queens Expressway was framed by a nice lunar landscape littered with garbage. C’est la vie, huh?

While shooting this particular photo, I heard a noise behind me, and upon spinning about to analyze my surroundings a black cat suddenly jumped between the shadows. It was just like a horror movie.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 4, 2018 at 11:00 am

funny feeling

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Out of sync…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A single image greets you today, as a humble narrator is utterly out of sync with NYC time. All this night shooting I’ve been doing has resulted, especially after the long weekend, in one being utterly nocturnal. I mean graveyard shift nocturnal, going to sleep at five or six in the morning kind of nocturnal. The shot above was actually a test shot meant to simply test a new lens I picked up, one that was significantly discounted in an “early bird” sale at Beards and Hats. That’s the bodega across the street from HQ here in Astoria, as they’re closing up for the night, a POV which I’ve shot a million times before from my porch. It was a quickie photo cracked out just to confirm the lens was functioning and to see how it handled. It didn’t look too shabby, so I uploaded it along with a bunch of other shots that were in the same batch on my camera card.

Somehow, the curators at Flickr’s “Explore” group noticed it, and it spent most of yesterday on their front page. Go figure.

I’ve got a lot of cool stuff coming your way this week, so strap in.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 26, 2018 at 2:00 pm

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