The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Borden Avenue

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

with one comment

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

with one comment

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.

low toned

with one comment

Holy smokes, the FreshDirect building is toast!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just at the point where one traditionally turns back towards HQ and begins the journey from the LIC Dutch Kills “zone,” I suddenly stopped in my tracks at the realization that I could see the sky. The gigantic building with yellow painted corrugated steel walls that used to house the FreshDirect operation here in LIC has been demolished. Tectonic!

This was a HUGE footprint building, five or six stories tall, with both refrigerated and shelf stable warehousing as well as several food preparation workshops. There were interior driveways large enough for multiple semi tractor trailers to reverse into, and smaller loading bays that could handle about ten or so of the FreshDirect local delivery trucks at the same time. Gone.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just as an aside for the thousands of people who have interrupted me while photographing over the years to ask “why are you taking pictures of that” while looking at me suspiciously and asking if I like hummus, this is exactly the reason. Creating some sort of record of what was there prior to it being replaced by something new. The “new” thing will have all sorts of government and corporate effort attached to it whose singular goal is the obfuscation of the site’s history. Ask the people in Queens Plaza if they know about the chemical factory, or lead foundry, which used to occupy the site of their shiny new condominium building. That’s the FreshDirect facility pictured above, as seen from a few blocks east.

A big part of the mission here at Newtown Pentacle is to create a record of this era of transition and rapid change in Western Queens for posterity which is independently held and not beholden to the political or business order. Whatever goes up on the site of that FreshDirect building… well… what used to be there?

Glad you asked.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The big historic factory here was owned by the American Druggist Syndicate, who made pharmaceuticals – so essentially a chemical plant. There were a couple of varnish factories as well, so petrochemical processing. Then a few of the smaller lots were occupied by metal working and refining companies involved mostly in iron working, so that means heavy metals and coal retort residues. The statement above comes from a cursory scan of a 1919 fire insurance map in my possession. Did the 20th century bring in plastics? Garbage handling? Good questions.

Right behind the FreshDirect lot is a set of tracks used by the LIRR which have been liberally doused with rodenticides and herbicides over the centuries, and the soil they sit on hosts lakes of PCB’S, PAH’S and other electrical insulating oils beneath the surface which has bled out of their trackside equipment. Newtown Creek itself is about 2,000 feet away from the Borden Avenue sidewalk pictured in the first shot of this post.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next couple of weeks at the start of the week of Monday, March 16th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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.

queer noises

with 2 comments

Newtown Creek is always fabulous, yo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills splits off from the main stem of the Newtown Creek waterway about 7/10th of a mile from the larger water body’s intersection with the East River. Long Island City’s Dutch Kills is a fully canalized tributary, and proceeds on a generally northern trajectory. The water here is highly polluted with both industrial and sewage contaminants. Dutch Kills gets its moniker from the colonial era in NYC history. There’s another tributary of Newtown Creek in Brooklyn called English Kills. Simply, LIC is where the Dutch settled and Brooklyn is where the English put down stakes.

Dutch Kills used to have its own system of tributaries and tidal wetlands, and stretched back (as a navigable waterway) into Queens nearly all the way to Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The wooden structures you might notice around bridges are called “Dolphins” and they are usually constructed from creosote treated lumber and galvanized steel rope. The job of these items is to keep a vessel from getting into an allission with the bridge. “Allission” you ask? Yes. That’s when a moving “thing” interacts with a static thing. When two moving “things” interact it’s a collision, so if two vessels were to smash into each other they “collide” whereas if you were to run a vessel up against the dolphin or bridge they would “allide.” Maritime law is quite specific about this.

The dolphins pictured today vouchsafe the 1908 Borden Avenue Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of Borden Avenue, and the “Empty Corridor” thereof which I’ve been walking you through this week, one resumed his westerly course and continued on. That’s when I noticed something missing. Holy Moley!

More on that tomorrow.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next couple of weeks at the start of the week of Monday, March 16th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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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