The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Blissville

shambleth about

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Godalmighty, it’s here again – Friday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Spooky. That’s what I was thinking while shooting this illuminated passage at the 1920’s era Sunnyside Gardens development. The actual gardens aren’t spooky at all, instead they’re rather quaint, but every now and then… what can I tell you, I like spooky. My father in law and I once left his house in Crete at 3:30 in the morning to go ghost hunting at the ruins of a Frankish castle called Fraggokastelle. Coincidentally, that’s the same time that I learned not to skimp on spending money on tripods as the cheap piece of crap I had carried halfway across the planet basically disassembled itself just as the sun was rising. Spooky.

Walking around the deserted streets of Western Queens in the middle of the night is somewhat spooky, but you really have to look for it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Other large northeastern cities in these United States are folkloric gold mines when it comes to tales of specters and apparitions. Once you cross county lines moving in the four cardinal directions, there’s a rich and well described narrative describing ghosts, goblins, forest spirits, and hauntings all around us and particularly so in the Hudson Valley region. I’ve always ascribed NYC’s distinct lack of supernatural lore to real estate valuation. It would cut into the worth of your property if it was commonly thought to be haunted, after all. There’s actually a NYS law demanding that you disclose your haunted status prior to closing.

The real estate boom of the last 20 years, which has seen significant acreages of older buildings demolished and replaced by modern glass box towers, has likely created a large population of homeless or unhoused ghosts. Nobody ever talks about that.

Pfah. You only care about people when they’re alive, you god damned metabolists.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you cared, you’d get yourself a Quija board and invite some of these unhoused spirits into your house. Let them in, I say. So what if they occasionally knock the walls, or slide Granny’s porcelain off the counter? I mean, really, what’s the big deal about having to clean up a bit of ectoplasm every now and then? Sheesh.

Saying all that, I’m always up for a good NYC ghost story. If you’ve got one to share, leave it in the comments, or if you want to share a story and remain anonymous – email it to me here.

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 22nd. 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 26, 2021 at 1:05 pm

undreamed of

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It’s called Thursday, if you’re bold enough to speak its name.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s Gas Station day at Newtown Pentacle. The one above is the first thing you see when entering Long Island City after crossing Newtown Creek on the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge and it’s in the Blissville neighborhood. Remember the long gas lines after Hurricane Sandy back in 2012? They sure do at this gas station, as a 2012 customer lost their patience when the pumps got shut off, produced a firearm and proceeded to murder somebody who worked here. I think there’s different owners for the franchise location, and if memory serves – I don’t think it used to be a Gulf filling station. Might have been a Sunoco. Have to look in my archives.

Motherflowers. People walk around like they’re safe or something… what this City really needs is a good plague… oh… whoopsies

Wonder how many of the other things we used to say while milling about in front of CBGB’s will come true someday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One hasn’t got a murder story to tell about this gas station, found at the corner of 49th and Greenpoint Avenues at the risible border of Blissville and Sunnyside, nearby the Long Island Expressway. A Mobil franchised filling station, this is a deucedly difficult setup to photograph. Something about the contrasty lighting and “red, white, and blue” neon brand colors necessitates a complicated and somewhat contradictory exposure triangle for the capture.

49th Avenue proceeds in a generally westerly direction, transversing from the altitudinal prominence of Laurel Hill, which Greenpoint Avenue rides along and Calvary Cemetery sits atop. 49th Avenue crosses Van Dam Street, and in doing so transmogrifies into Hunters Point Avenue shortly before crossing the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek, and then regains it’s numerical dub at 21st street nearby the 7 train station.

It’s all very complicated.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When you start with homicide, that’s all people want to hear about. This Sunnyside/LIC gas station on Queens Boulevard also sports a car wash, but I don’t have any tales of death or dismemberment associated with it in my quiver.

Another one of the weighty questions I’ve got about Queens is “where does LIC stop and Sunnyside begin”? I kind of place “proper” Sunnyside at no farther west than 36th or 37th street along Queens Blvd. If you’re south of Queens Blvd., however, Sunnyside continues all the way to the LIE. The eastern border is definitely Woodside Avenue/58th street, and Northern Blvd. provides another hard border for the area. Saying that, I consider Northern Blvd. to be an “LIC corridor” just like Skillman Avenue west of 39th street is, all the way from 31st street to Broadway.

Of course, any neighborhood in Queens whose zip code starts with a “111” is part of the historic municipality of Long Island City, which actually includes all of Astoria and most of Sunnyside – or at least the 11104 part of it.

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 15th. 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 18, 2021 at 11:00 am

mystical pretensions

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is taking a break this week, as his anxiety and or stress levels have become absolutely maxed out. Thusly, you’ll be seeing single shots and regular postings will resume next week.

Pictured above is a gas station found in Long Island City’s Blissville section.

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, February 15th. 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

February 17, 2021 at 11:00 am

country legends

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Thursday, and how I almost broke my neck.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Maspeth is quite hilly. I’ve always opined that walking up 69th street, leading up from Queens Blvd. to Borden Avenue, is not unlike visiting one of the Mayan pyramids and that there should be similarly be a chain laid down on the sidewalk to grab onto and aid you in climbing the ascent. The reason behind this steep elevation is geological, as the terminal moraine of Long Island’s western extent begins in Maspeth (at Mt. Olivette cemetery) whereas the lower declination closer to the East River are a sort of glacial mud puddle. When you’re in a boat on Newtown Creek, you can easily visualize the ridge which gives Ridgewood its name, and see the geologic “soup bowl.” In the shot above, you can discern the radical change in elevation of Maspeth which is encountered in just one city block, an ascent of something like three building stories of height.

While walking down this hill, I slipped on a chunk of metal, while holding the camera tripod in front of me in a posture not unlike that of carrying a rifle. I found myself propelled forward head first, and rather than try to fight gravity, my instinctual response was instead to sprint into the fall. Running allowed me to regain my balance, which was lucky. If I hadn’t saved myself here, it would have been a tooth breaking face plant on the sidewalk, and my torso would have smashed the camera and tripod into the pavement. As it is, it took me running all the way to that utility pole in the shot above before I regained proper walking balance. It was actually quite comical.

Gravity and momentum, they affect us all, bro.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, I managed to pull a muscle in my back and the act of locking up my abdomen and chest to maintain an erect running posture caused my neck and shoulders to cramp up, but that’s what it’s like being in your early 50’s. These are also the sort of banal adventures which an intrepid urban explorer encounters while walking around on anything but flood planes. In my defense, neighborhoods in my county of origin had names like “Flatlands” and “Flatbush.”

I expect that there’s some security guy who had a good laugh watching the cctv footage of this particular moment the next morning. The word you’re looking for is “klutz.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back to those “corridors” mentioned yesterday, one set out for hq along the 43rd street/Laurel Hill Blvd. corridor. This entails a fairly terrifying walk along a sidewalk which barely has a curb and which adjoins the onramp of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway leading onto the Kosciuszcko Bridge. Tire tracks left behind by automobiles and trucks on this sidewalk provide efficacy of the commitment to street safety which is offered by the NYC DOT.

I plan on calling Thrive NYC to discuss my worries about all of this. Chirlane will know what I should think.

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 18th. 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 21, 2021 at 11:00 am

painful process

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What the hell, it’s Thursday again, where am I?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Angles between neighborhoods, that’s what I call places like the spot where this photo was gathered. This particular angle sits on a weird confluence of geography. A block East or South is definitively Maspeth, one or two West and you’re clearly in Long Island City’s Blissville section. Heading North a block or two? You’re either in Woodside or Sunnyside, but it depends on who you ask. Ask a real estate professional, they’ll tell you it’s “Very Northern Williamsburg” and try to jack up the rent.

Angles between neighborhoods. On old maps I’ve seen, there used to be a Yeshiva on this particular corner, so maybe the Williamsburg thing isn’t much of a stretch. You’re looking at a corner in Queens, which used to be in the Laurel Hill section of Newtown’s Maspeth, not Brooklyn. Nothing is real or true anymore.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Calvary Cemetery is very real, and this shot was gathered on Laurel Hill Blvd., which is one of the only “tells” remaining in this area. This area received a LOT of attention from Robert Moses’ people during the highway construction era, the urban renewal era, and during the early 1960’s when they were trying to save the manufacturing sector of NYC’s economy using zoning regulations.

I’ve seen a lot of copies of the Power Broker on people’s book shelves during our era of Zoom teleconferences. Unlike my copy of the thing, others don’t seem to have a nest of post it notes sticking out of the thing acting as book marks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The old borders between the towns and municipal entities of what we know as Queens were blurry “back in the day.” One has paid some attention to figuring out the location of where the various lines of “where” were, and can say authoritatively that LIC’s border with Maspeth was Laurel Hill Blvd. on the south and Woodside Avenue to the north. The Brooklyn Queens Expressway runs literally on the actual border here. Where are the historic borders between Astoria and Woodside, or Sunnyside and Woodside, or Maspeth and Woodside? Depends on who you ask, and if the person you’re querying doesn’t mention Winfield you should stop paying attention. I’m talking historic here, by the way, not postal code nor the greedy imaginings of the Real Estate coprophages. Borden Avenue nearby 48th street, along the Long Island Expressway – pictured above – is a tripartite and nearly Balkan intersection between historic Maspeth, Woodside, and Sunnyside. Sunnyside was, after 1870, part of LIC. After 1898, they were all Queens. Of course, Sunnyside wasn’t called Sunnyside until the start of the 20th century… it’s all very confusing.

Angles. 48th street is germaine to this angle and border conversation, as is Queens Blvd., and 58th street/Woodside Avenue. Thoughts?

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 7th. 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 10, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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