The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Borden Avenue

terraqueous globe

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Scuttling, always scuttling, camera in hand, filthy black raincoat flapping about, shoes scraping the concrete. That’s my life. Wherever I go, there I am. Nothing ever changes, nothing matters, nobody cares. Everyday, it all starts over again. Sometimes it rains.

Recent endeavor found me friendless, and wandering through Long Island City on my way home to Astoria after a long walk around a short tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek. An FDNY crew seemed to be taking a break, but this particular ambulance was instead awaiting its turn to enter a gargantuan vehicle services garage that the agency maintains about a block away. I can’t ignore it when the fire people start strobing colored lights around the study area, so…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You have to pick your route, I always say. There’s so many “corridors” in Long Island City’s still industrial areas that dead end at a rail yard or a highway that you need to put a little thought into whether turning left or right at a particular corner is a good move. Make the wrong choice and you’re suddenly presented with an extra four to five blocks of walking in the cold dark.

Y’know, I never see stray cats or dogs around these parts. You see cats nearby certain industrial sites and shipping warehouses, but they’re generally being “kept” with food, water, and shelter to assist with pest control. You do hear a lot of hawks and falcons, but they are an illusion. The cries of these birds of prey echo about the empty streets, with said utterances being played through roof mounted speaker systems to scare away prey species like gulls, pigeons, and their ilk. The fear induction mechanism is meant to keep these feathery loiterers from nesting on building roofs, and degrading them structurally with guano.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While scuttling back towards HQ, my empty existence was suddenly illuminated by the appearance of a single shoe, perched along the fencelines of the gargantuan Sunnyside Yards. It would seem that the Queens Cobbler has reemerged from lockdown. A probable serial killer who leaves macabre singular shoe trophies to mock law enforcement and the surrounding communities, the Queens Cobbler has followed me home at least twice – and left behind personalized messages adorning the fence surrounding HQ.

How long will the Queens Cobbler’s reign of terror continue?


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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 7, 2022 at 11:00 am

abnormally impassive

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Nothing matters, and nobody cares. The cogs of fate spin, and the inevitability is doom, so all you’ve got is now. Rejoice in the end of all things, as morals and reason are cast aside in the name of enjoying yourself. Find new ways to do so, with pleasures profane and ribald. Drink it. Eat it. Smoke it. Screw it. Swim in it. Do whatever you like. Do whatever feels good and damn the cost. Nothing matters, and nobody cares. More. More. More. That’s what Lucifer, with its mantra of free will, would tell you.

This whole sociopathic thing with me started with the Murder Hornets, remember that? Turns out that the medical world doesn’t use “sociopath” these days, and instead prefer the term “Antisocial Personality Disorder.” I stick with the dictionary version of the word, which indicates “extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.” That’s a goal state for me. Imagine it… no conscience.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since childhood I’ve always known that someday I’d be a doomsday prophet in Times Square, walking around with one of those sandwich boards that reads “The end is nigh.” I always imagined that I’d be wearing a spaghetti colander as a helmet, though. I’ve got the black sack cloth clothing, the wild look in the eye, all that. Call me Mitchathustra, for my whole life has led towards destitute doomsayer and troglodyte cave dweller. Tissue boxes make for good slippers, I’ll attest.

So, how’s about Christmas, huh? Ring ting tingling. There’s puppies. Lighten up, Bro, what d’ya say? Buzzkill. So dark.

Really, the healthiest thing to do at the moment is to just accept the fact that nothing matters and nobody cares. Any other point of view is simply shambolic and somewhat adolescent.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lovecraft opined in “The Call of Cthulhu” that “Mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.

Of course, Lovecraft was a pretty ugly guy when you get down to it. Vicious racism, upper classism, and a host of other personality defects are preserved in his writing. Saying that, he certainly called out what the dissolution of American society would look like.

Happy Thursday, lords and ladies.


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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 16, 2021 at 11:30 am

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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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 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

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