The Newtown Pentacle

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another night, another scary walk through the dangerously deserted and scarily dark streets of the Kaufman Astoria Arts District, with its inhuman and out of scale streetscape. Since nightlife has ended, the life of the night has taken over around here. You’ve got your four legged and two legged variants of rats crawling around here, and the oligarchs who remotely administer this area from their Manhattan penthouses simply don’t care about the people of Astoria. Street lighting is sparse, the blocks are defined by long and featureless cinder block walls, and were you to find yourself in trouble you’d soon find yourself yelling and screaming into a depopulated void. At least the ubiquitous security cameras of these oligarchs, maintained to protect their buildings, might provide the Police with some evidence of what happened to you.

These are the self same oligarchs who have proposed to expand their zone of control and dominion over this land, and to create new financial siphons to feed their overseas accounts, in partnership with REBNY President Larry Silverstein (self described as “Donald Trump’s best friend”). This development project of theirs would raze away multiple acres of small businesses and homes here at the southern edge of Astoria – making way for a residential tower development styled as Innovation Queens. This project would be yet another place for the powers that be over in Manhattan to wet their beaks on the blood of the masses, and slake their thirst for more. More. More. More.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My fascination with photographing gas stations continues unabated. I should say “successfully photographing” as the new camera is far more capable of capturing the fuller dynamic range of light and color offered by these spots than my older model was.

I’m told that the vast majority of gas station owners in NYC are franchisees, although there are a handful of independents in each Borough. At the moment, there 7 major franchise brands represented in the City, with the Hess people transitioning their business model away from retail at the moment. As mentioned the other day, there are an estimated 800 gas stations found within NYC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In order for me to get to one of the spots which I’m typically heading to along Newtown Creek, I generally have to cross the Sunnyside Yards. Accordingly, I have a catalog of “fence holes” which I’ve discovered over the years. The good folks at Amtrak will give – add a new hole for some reason or another – and they will take away. At the moment, the lovely view seen above is available for inspection by the wandering photographer.

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 28th. 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 30, 2020 at 11:00 am

dreaded murmur

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Happy Thanksgiving week, which I’m taking off. Single image posts will greet you between now and Monday the 30th of November. I’ll be out taking pictures, in between dodging microbiotal clouds of expirant and looking over my shoulders for other sources of existential danger.

Today’s photo depicts the intersection of Steinway/39th st. (originally Harold Avenue) and Northern Boulevard (originally Jackson Avenue) one recent night, a crossroads right at the border of Astoria and Sunnyside.

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 23rd. 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

November 27, 2020 at 11:00 am

dismantled laboratory

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Chancing the vampires.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My practice for the last few months, given the broken toe drama of late 2019 and the subsequent recovery thereof, has been to go for a long walk and then hop on a train or a bus for the proverbial “last mile” home. This has been working out pretty well for a humble narrator, but what with the current “death cooties” epidemic and all, avoiding the Subway in particular has become a bit of a preoccupation for me. Under the best circumstance, the MTA system is a microbial nightmare, let alone during the “season of the Corona.” A pedestrian life for me, for the time being at least.

Problem is that I had to make my way through Queens Plaza, and down Jackson Avenue to get back to Astoria, and as I’ve often opined – there are Vampires up in the steel rafters of the elevated tracks. I reached into my camera bag and affixed the garland of garlic cloves which I always carry with me, and set out towards home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Plaza is always crowded, even during a Quarantine. Luxury condos, built in the name of worshipping at the altar of the City Planning crowd’s beloved “density,” are chock full of the children of the well off. These tower buildings disallow it’s residents several activities, notably smoking. Accordingly, a few dozen young adults were standing on the sidewalk wearing surgical masks and smoking cigarettes while staring into their phones. The mask would get edged up, and the cigarette would get sucked. One enterprising young woman had poked a hole in her mask large enough to stick a cigarette through. Yes… she poked a hole in the mask so that…

You have to love the humans, I always say. Years ago, I was on the subway and some guy boarded the train. He grabbed the pole, then used that hand to first dig the crust out of his eyes, followed by a generous amount of ear canal poking, followed by a quick nose pick and… yes, I was watching and waiting… he stuck that finger in his mouth to dislodge some food off a tooth. Every possible path to the brain covered, he then squeezed at the little bottle of hand sanitizer attached to his knapsack and rubbed a bit of the stuff into his hands. A seat opened up and upon sitting down he rested his head on the metal pole. Bravo, thought I. My goal is to touch nothing at all except the ground and only with my shoe covered feet. Don’t get me started on sandals.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Ford dealership building on Northern Blvd. which had been used as a Taxi company’s HQ in recent years – just off 31st street – has been demolished. Yet another part of old industrial Queens bites the dust, huh? Luckily, the scions of Manhattan’s real estate scene have ensured that yet another multi story self storage building will replace it, so that their mad quest to pack ever more people into ever smaller apartments can be supported with off site closets in Queens. I’m fairly sure that the Lost Ark of the Covenant is sitting in a lock box at the old Johnson Wax building.

The temporary roadway pictured above, if you’re curious, leads to the muster area for the East Side Access project’s laborers at the Sunnyside Yards.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the start of the week of Monday, March 23rd. 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 3, 2020 at 11:00 am

hung indefinitely

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Great galloping Jehoshaphat, it’s Monday again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One was required to attend a Community Board function recently, which utterly angered me since the evening was particularly photogenic and atmospherically offered a thick blanket of fog. This whole “participating in the Democracy of our Republic” thing gets old sometimes, man. It also eats up a lot of time.

Thing is, I can’t “not show up” since life has taught me that any set of rules which everyone else gets to break are always rigidity enforced when it comes to me – people love making an example out of me. It’s been like this since I was a little kid, and experience has taught me that whereas the rest of you get to be as nasty, corrupt, and venal as you want to be, I don’t. Saying that, realizing what sort of photo opportunity I was going to miss, I left HQ a bit early so I could fit in some “me” time. That’s mighty Triborough, of course, as seen from the edge of Astoria Park.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The cadre of liquor enthusiasts who populate the corner of Broadway and 42nd street here in Astoria like to rummage through people’s trash in search of cash convertible treasures. Often, they’ll find cast off children’s toys like the plushie ones pictured above. More often, they arrange these toys in interesting ways after discovering that neither the thrift store nor random passerby want to purchase the things. There’s a script for Pixar in all this, I tell you.

I’m really into this whole democracy thing, and would only support a dictatorship if the penultimate citizen was me. Who wouldn’t want to be a dictator? It ends badly, but if you play your cards right it’s likely you’ll get ten to twenty years at the top of the heap. If that’s how my story ends up playing out, there will be no abandoned toys, by edict. It’s just too sad.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also on my list, in that dystopian future where people will fearfully chant my name, are the assholes pictured above. They are part of the neighborhood crew who have modified the exhaust systems on their vehicles – in this case motorcycles – to emit as much sound as possible. This is a subject I recently discussed with a member of the gendarmes, in a side conversation at the aforementioned Community Board meeting. It seems that this noisy vehicle fad is yet another one of the things which the current Mayor has made legal – as in abandoning the prohibition against the kits which modify the exhaust systems on both automobiles and motorcycle to make as much noise as possible. NYPD is aware of the problem, and is seeking jurist approval for an interpretation of using a different statute to squash out the racket offered by these fast and furious assholes, apparently.

Everyone is an asshole to me at the moment, as I’m a sick of it all humble narrator. Happy Monday.


“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 24, 2020 at 1:00 pm

looming up

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Continuing a night time stroll down Jackson Avenue.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For generations have the children of Queens cried out in anguish and despair that they were denied their birthright – a chance to live in a small to medium sized but quite expensive apartment in or near Queens Plaza. Luckily, the powers that be over in Manhattan heard the children’s pleas and have answered their prayers. The under construction structure pictured above will be capped off by an “infinity pool,” which should answer another group’s longings – specifically the statistically relevant number of people who have always wanted to swim in a pool high above Queens Plaza. It’s a magical place, after all.

I get nostalgic for the porn shops and hookers, personally. They really dressed the place up, back in the day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The stretch of Jackson Avenue lying betwixt Queens Plaza and 31st street is just horrible. You’ve got security fences and fortress walls on one side of the street, and long featureless construction fences on the other. A dizzying amount of automotive traffic occupies the center, and above there’s the tormenting sound of steel subway wheels grinding against the elevated rails. Jackson Avenue is too dark, and too bright, all at the same time. Everything is a confusion. It’s terrifying crossing the street, as every intersection is rumbling with traffic waiting to spring forth. Also, there’s vampires hiding up there in the steel.

God almighty, how I love places like this.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dormitory style living awaits just a few blocks away, where all of that traffic – both automotive and locomotive – is coincidentally heading towards. Queens Plaza is where an automotive choke point turn off of Jackson Avenue carries you towards the onramps of the Queensboro Bridge. It’s also where the Flushing line subway conjoins with the Astoria service, so you’ve got that extra bit of steel rail sound to contemplate. I could not hear anything playing on the headphones jammed in my ears while shooting these photos, which indicates just how loud Queens Plaza actually is.

There’s lots and lots of new construction here, so the kids of Queens can finally live the dream. There’s that.


“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 20, 2020 at 11:00 am

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