The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Borden Avenue

vaporous brains

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Ever lie on the ground in a wheat field while the Tsar’s troops march by? Those stalks of wheat occluding your view foreshadowing the bars of the jail cell you’d someday inhabit, after a trial? Hell, you won’t even need to be told what you’re charged with before getting slammed into that cell and having your identity stripped away. Just that you’re guilty of whatever the court has decided you did. Nothing matters, says Prisoner M.

As you may have guessed, a humble narrator is in a bit of mood this week. One requires a short break, so single images of various scenes will be greeting you, along with rather depressing anecdotes. Happy Summer.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

June 29, 2021 at 11:00 am

apoplectic snort

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The endless marching about in a limited area constrained by how far I can walk on any given day is about to come to an end, thanks to the forthcoming second shot of vaccine juice I’m set to receive at the end of this month. Holy smokes, I never thought I’d miss the Subway, but there you are.

On the particular evening these shots were gathered, a humble narrator was in Long Island City’s Degnon Terminal zone. That’s Degnon as in Michael Degnon, a late 19th and early 20th century construction czar. Degnon enjoyed several lucrative Government contracts during the 20 years surrounding the year 1900, including installing the masonry cladding of the Williamsburg Bridge towers, completing the construction of the East River IRT tunnels which the 7 line subway runs through (which had been started by William Steinway and then August Belmont), and a massive land reclamation project surrounding the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek in LIC. The Degnon Terminal, as he called the latter reclamation project, involved a concurrence of rail, road, and water freight infrastructure that was baked into a multi acre campus of gigantic factory buildings. The factories in this area were constructed using an at the time novel construction technique that used lumber “forms” and steel rebar to shape poured concrete into walls. The Loose Wiles biscuit company, Everready Battery, Chicle Gum and other mega factories in LIC were all a part of the Degnon terminal, which was built at the same time that the nearby Sunnyside Yards were being constructed by the Pennsylvania Rail Road Company. The Degnon Terminal had a rail system that interfaced with the Yards, so all of the PRR and their subsidiary Long Island Railroad tracks were de facto networked to it as well.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Every culture since the beginning of civilization has had to develop a system for organizing and concentrating its resources towards some common goal. In Southeast Asia, you’ll find religious institutions which are older than the Roman Empire who still handle the water resovoir and canal delivery systems for rice paddies, for instance. Even the Soviets had a system for concentrating and focusing resources on their projects. In the United States, financial capital is concentrated via bond offerings and stock shares on one end, or by tax receipts and a combination of private and public banking and lending institutions on the other. The Degnon Terminal became a focus point for every sort of investment scenario available at the time.

That building in the shot above, the self storage warehouse with the green accent, used to be the largest part of the nine building General Electric Vehicle Company complex in LIC. That’s where they manufactured electric cars and trucks, in 1915. Like the Degnon Terminal, it was built and funded using private capital, meaning stock or bond market and perhaps commercial bank loans.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The large steel truss in the shot above, however, which transverses the Degnon Terminal high over Borden Avenue was built with public capital and NY State “Authority” issued bonds. It’s the Queens Midtown Expressway section of the larger Long Island Expressway, which became folded into Robert Moses’s TBTA or a Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (the LIE terminates at the Queens Midtown Tunnel). The funding for this construction was arrived at by the issuance of municipal and TBTA bonds which were offered to investors through the purview of a commercial banking entity. The banks loved Robert Moses, since he always paid his many debts on time. To be fair, Moses was backed up by the river of dimes and nickels collected at the toll plazas of the Triborough Bridge and eventually at the QM Tunnel’s toll plaza.

This pedantry is offered in response to a recent conversation a humble narrator was privy to between some of the self identifying Democratic Socialists of Queens, who seem to think that Socialism means that money – where you get it, how you manage it, who spends it and on what – doesn’t matter and will matter less in their new dialectic. Even the citizens of the Soviet Union paid income taxes, and if the Marxist Leninists in Moscow wanted to build a new tractor factory they had to figure out a way to concentrate their financial and material resources to build the thing. It wasn’t straight up analogous to the Lord of the Flies type of capitalism practiced in the USA, of course, but they had a system.

Everybody has a system, even if it involves enslaving a subject nation to build you a pyramid, or tithing people to finance a cathedral. Socialist countries have central banks, investment methodologies, and an economy.

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 8th. 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 11, 2021 at 11:00 am

poisoning efforts

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Continuing the night time exploration of the Montauk Cutoff abandoned rail road tracks in Long Island City, this shot focuses in on the Borden Avenue “retractile” bridge. A common sight in Chicago and Pittsburgh, there are only two retractile type bridges in NYC, the other one is found at the Gowanus Canal at Carroll Street. “Retractile” means that the entire roadway is on tracks, and retreats away from its piers to allow maritime traffic to pass through. This is in opposition to the more common form of movable bridge, commonly called a drawbridge, wherein single or double bascules are opened or closed on hinges.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was getting late when my little party and I decided to start making our way back to the Skillman Avenue side of the Montauk Cutoff. Along the way, I was clicking the shutter every few steps, trying to record some of the amazing urban landscape I was seeing. This was hardly the first time I’ve been up on the cutoff, of course, but I rarely go up here at night without company.

In recent months, the streets surrounding the Montauk Cutoff have become somewhat “crimey,” so discretion being the better part of valor I decided to ask a couple of pals to come along and provide me with “back.” Better safe than sorry.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s quite an effort underway at the moment to organize this abandoned series of tracks into a public space. I, for one, can’t wait to be able to bring people up here legally. As far as who owns the place, it’s the MTA.

The MTA is… well, it’s the MTA.

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 14th. 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 17, 2020 at 11:00 am

doubted greatly

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Hey ho, what d’ya know, it’s Monday again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lonely, that’s how I like things. Deserted industrial zone streets, at night, are perfect when you want to be alone with your thoughts.

For many years, semi ironically, I’ve stated that what this City needs is a good plague. We’ve got that now. Turns out I was right that it would force people to reassess what’s truly important to them, but unfortunately this particular plague has really been a bit of a buzz kill. I recently watched the George Romero classic “Day of the Dead.” I always thought it was a bit cartoonish and unrealistic – “people don’t act like this during a biological pathogen spawned emergency” I used to say. Turns out Romero was right, and if anything, deliberately understated things.

I now accept that if the living dead were walking up the street, there would be people saying “it’s not real” or “I don’t believe what the bureaucracy wants me to believe” or “I haven’t been bitten, so I’m not worried.” There’s no such thing as zombies, or at least there wasn’t until Nancy Pelosi…

Hear the pipers, hear the drummers…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

According to a startling set of statistics encountered over the weekend, there are now 3,000 COVID related deaths a day in these United States. That’s a daily 9/11. Good work everybody. Before you start in with “those people were already sick anyway with…” – yeah – they were. But they weren’t on their death beds yet. If you have cancer and get squished by a falling safe – it was the safe that killed you, not the cancer.

I’ve been consuming right wing propaganda recently, quite on purpose. Adherents to that fascinating philosophical bent – reminiscent of the “Lord of the Flies” – are very worried about gay amphibians, AOC and socialism, and also having somebody – especially some member of a Mexican Drug Cartel – steal their personal information. You have to work George Soros, Jeffrey Epstein, Bill Gates, and of course Hillary Clinton into your storyline or postulate for it to be credible.

Also, people on the right seem to believe that whereas a Democrat can’t open their mouth without lying… sigh… why would you offer any politician your full trust? Presume they’re lying as it’s part of their job, or at least not telling the whole truth, whatever party they’re from. We used to be a lot better at processing all of this political stuff for what it is just a few years back.

I don’t want to hand blame off solely to the right for current circumstance, by the way, but the current group of charlatans and clowns offered from that side of the aisle really need to learn how to read a room – or listen to doctors. Airplanes work, as do computers and nuclear bombs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally, I find the ultra lefties to be just as hamstrung by ideology and virtue signaling as the ultra righties are. That’s probably because my political odometer is set more or less one notch left of center. I have no problems whatsoever sitting down and dealing with either side, as getting tangible things done is far more important to me than scoring points with bike riding hippies or suv driving corporatists.

All I can really do right now is avoid others, try not to get sick, keep my head above water and my butt housed. Winter is here. Discontent along with 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, 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 7, 2020 at 1:00 pm

furry blasphemy

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Friday, it’s Shabbos to some, a nightmare for others.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My initial reaction to the new camera system (the Canon R6) has been pretty positive so far, can recommend. Last night at three in the morning, I finally figured out how to use about half of my lens collection with the thing as well, so there’s that.

Also, the Montauk Cutoff should be open to the public, I can recommend that too. As promised, I did get up there last night, and I did a whole photographic walkthrough at night which you’ll see sometime in the near future.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve often referred to the series of streets – 50th and 51st avenues in particular – shadowed by the steel truss carrying the Long Island Expressway’s “Queens Midtown Expressway” section as “the empty corridor.” In the shot above, you can see why.

Personally speaking, I’m kind of digging the reappearance of epic street graffiti in LIC. The old white washed “Giuliani time” streetscape has needed to reintroduce a bit of chaos and color, in my mind.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So… I’m all geared up and ready to rock. Where do I go next? When leaving the house, after all these months of pandemic isolation, my feet are basically on autopilot and they turn the toes towards LIC and the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek. Either that or industrial Maspeth, and sometimes Greenpoint.

Just saw an ad on Facebook from the Empire State Building people, claiming that I can spend a bit of time on their observation deck in return for a fairly affordable and pandemic era discounted admission price, so I might just venture into the City at some point in the near future. Who can say?

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, November 30th. 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.

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