The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Degnon Terminal

nether earth

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

With great solemnity and a terror quickened gait did a humble narrator dance along the Borden Avenue Bridge, spanning the Long Island City constrained Dutch Kills waterway (tributary of an aqueous ribbon of Municipal neglect and malignant reputation known as the Newtown Creek), scanning the poison depths for any possible sign of “it.” My inquiries regarding “it” initially pointed me in the direction of certain tales told by the aboriginal inhabitants of the Dutch Kills area. Back then, prior to the arrival of the European Colonialists, this section looked quite different. Sub tributaries, tidal streams and pools, swamps, marshes, and all of it teeming with the sort of life that bites and flies and wriggles and lays its eggs in your skinvelope. Of course, we only know this because of the surviving reports of the colonialists who witnessed it, and from scientific studies of geographical bores and depositional stratigraphy offered by their descendants.

While pointing a lens at the waters, with my camera’s sensitivity to ambience turned up quite high, a sudden smacking sound and an energetic splash of water gathered my attentions. Surely, my mind – wrecked from months of quarantine and the worries of societal tumult – was telling me what I wanted to hear. I saw nothing. I did not see “It.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another bridge, same Dutch Kills tributary of that loathsome cataract of urban industry which the children call Newtown Creek, this time it was the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge – same scanning the putrid surface of the water looking for “It.”

There’s often a mucosa of unknown slimes right on the surface of Dutch Kills in this section, no doubt due to the presence of several high volume open sewers or “Combined Sewer Outfalls.” The pipes found here at Dutch Kills are part of NYC’S wastewater disposal system, extending for miles and miles under and into Queens. Perhaps that’s where “It” goes, which makes me wonder if “It” might be a strictly local phenomena or is it occurring on grander scales in terms of both geography and scale.

Will have to make inquiries – contact and cajole Professional Mariners, gossip with the Dock Workers, shoot the shit with friendly Sewer Smithys…

Wonder if “It” might have any connection to what’s living at the bottom of the East River at Hells Gate in Astoria? If so, “It” might represent something far older than the aboriginal stories encountered by the Colonialists. “It” might even connect with the original human population of the harbor, the so called “Clovis Point” culture whose remains have been observed in the hinterlands of Staten Island.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

With my palpitant heart all a flutter at the canonical heresies now liberally circulating through the cerebellum did a humble narrator stagger forth into the Long Island City night. Along the way, a car carrier truck was noticed and I thought it looked cool so I took a picture of it. That’s what I told the driver when he rolled down his window and asked me I was taking pictures of him for. We both laughed, or at least I did… I think that happened but maybe it didn’t. It’s been so long since I’ve interacted with other people regularly that I’m not sure what I’m saying or doing or what’s even real these days. I’ve got a photo, so at least that’s evidence.

The good news is that despite the weather I’ve been maintaining my regular cycle of photo-walk nights, burning up and grinding down the soles of my shoes. Last week saw an Apocalypse of Zoom meetings (3 Zoom’s = A Holocaust, 6 Zoom’s = An Apocalypse. Don’t do 9 Zoom’s, you don’t come back from 9 Zooms) pop up out of nowhere which I had to attend. I even had to get up early for one of them!

To be seen by so many diminishes one.

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 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

February 22, 2021 at 11:00 am

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A holocaust of Zoom meetings notwithstanding, one still finds the time to wander about Queens aimlessly in the dead of night with a camera. These shots have arrived in front of you due to one of my bimonthly visits to the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek, which can be found comfortably nested in with and amongst the concrete devastations of Long Island City. There’s a lot of science hereabouts, and not enough fiction.

The fiction is found a few blocks away, in the lobby offices of those shiny new luxury apartment towers, staffed by Real Estate Industrial Complex worker drones who never mention or instead misrepresent the heavy industrial/environmental history of LIC to their tenants prior to getting the rubes to sign on the proverbial dotted line.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It shakes my basic faith in people. They’ll spend hours watching documentaries about where and how McDonalds produces and manufactures its gruel, or the mean reality of the production line for Hallmark Greeting Cards, but won’t bother trying to find out if the luxury condominium they’re entering into thirty years of debt for sits on the former site of a chemical factory. They’ll expound upon on the political issues of the day and adjure you to “do your own research” but don’t bother googling up an old map of the area where they’re investing in property to see what used to be where. Also, as a note, googling something is not research. It’s exactly the same thing as asking a librarian where to find a book. Reading the book isn’t even “research,” but it can be a part of that process.

Just last week, I attended a community board meeting in which a project was being offered to Astoria as a panacea to solve an intractable issue of affordable senior housing, by a highly politically wired developer. As soon as I saw the address, I said “Hey, that’s the Nelson Galvanizing Superfund site.” Why am I the only person in Queens who knows about and talks about these things?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In Brooklyn or Manhattan, if you were to crumple up a gum wrapper and throw it in the gutter, before it hit the pavement somebody would have already formed a nonprofit group to combat the phenomena. In Queens, you could dissolve truck tires, with gaseous chlorine, in a hole you dug out of your yard and that’s not just peachy keen – it’s also cool. When the vapors kill your neighbor’s dog, also cool. When a kid gets killed, the Politicians will show up and christen a bike lane, and they’ll “tsk tsk” about your chlorinated tire habits but won’t actually do anything to stop you. Hell, the Queens Chamber of Commerce will probably show up and give you a trophy for being industrious and taking care of the old tire problem.

Clean your room. Do you want to get sick? Don’t buy a new construction condo without first inquiring what used to be there.

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 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

February 8, 2021 at 12:00 pm

joint furlough

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back where I belong, like every other piece of wind blown trash in NYC, at Newtown Creek. Specifically, this is the Dutch Kills tributary of the larger waterway, which is found in Long Island City’s Degnon Terminal subsection. This is the turning basin pictured above, wherein one could expect the space required to rotate a tug and barge combination and reverse course back out to the main stem of Newtown Creek and the East River beyond.

What? You think I’m going to purchase a new lens and not bring it here? Pfah. The new lens in question for today’s post is a 35mm f1.8 prime lens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The critical factor in purchasing this lens is that it has onboard image stabilization technology, which couples with a different stabilization mechanism inside of the camera body. This combination has been allowing me to pull off handheld shots that I formerly would have needed to use a tripod to achieve. That’s a 1/60th of a second shot above, and the one below is an astounding 1/10th of a second. With my older camera system, I was lucky if 1/80th of a second was possible.

All told, I’m fairly pleased with myself at choosing to invest in the Canon R6 mirrorless system as my primary rig for the next few years.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As far as “it,” “It” has remained elusive and whereas I’ve hear splashing indications and seen vortexes in the water that indicate something large and heavy had submerged itself, even after several months of looking for “it” I haven’t been able to produce any documentation of “It.”

If “It” is down there, I will get eventually get a shot of it. Just a matter of time and patience, and time spent at the water’s edge here in the heart of the Newtown Pentacle.

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 1st. 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 5, 2021 at 11:00 am

altogether superhuman

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Tuesday, here again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found me marching the new camera around to all the old familiar places in Long Island City. It was a comfortable night in industrial LIC, with temperatures in the high 50’s and clear skies.

Y’know, when I was composing this particular image, I was thinking “man, this is going to piss off George the Atheist.” George doesn’t like me messing around with angles like this, and I’ve received a few other “meh” statements on doing this sort of thing, but what the hell. I really wanted to get most of that tree in frame, and didn’t want to walk a block away to do so. Sorry, George.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dynamic range is a term describing the width and depth of contrast and color which a camera sensor is capable of recording, and one of several factors that governed my choice in purchasing the Canon R6 as the new “master cylinder” which would accompany me wherever I go. Pandemic spawned supply chain issues have created a situation in which even the staggeringly efficient operation that is BH Photo couldn’t fill my entire order in one go, and even at this writing I’m still waiting on various essential add-on’s and gear to arrive at HQ. Batteries, L-Bracket, an adapter which will allow my collection of older lenses to work with the new camera (there’s a new lens mount on the R series) – all have been arriving piecemeal at HQ.

One of the things I consider when buying on with a computer or camera system is the ecosystem surrounding it. Consider the iPhone, which is nearly always the category leader in the smartphone category, but only proprietary Apple branded peripherals can plug into the thing. When Apple bangs you out for $50 on a USB cable, the only USB cable you can charge the gizmo with – that’s ecosystem. On a grander scale, Volkswagen and Porsche use specialized screws in their cars, and you have to buy the screwdrivers and ratchet heads from them – expensively – if you want to repair the things yourself. Ecosystem. It’s the part of the price of things which doesn’t turn up on the sticker, and is one of the ways which modern day corporatists feed upon their customers long after the initial purchase has cleared.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Testing the capabilities of the new camera has been all consuming, so I haven’t had much time to worry about when the rest of my gear will turn up. Luckily, when my new toy was ordered, a native RF mount lens was part of the package. These shots were captured with a 24-105mm f4 L series zoom lens, for the edification of you curious pixel peepers out there.

Initial reaction? So far, I’m amazed by what the combination of lens and in body image stabilization offers me as far as hand held and low light shots – as much as 8 stops of stabilization. I’m also loving what tripod shots like the one above are rendering as, and that flip out screen is an early game changer. More to come…

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 1, 2020 at 1:00 pm

sharpened hearing

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Thursday

– 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 a wooded section of the elevated Montauk Cutoff Railroad tracks, found in the Degnon Terminal section of the Borough of Queens’ Long Island City subdivision.

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 26, 2020 at 11:00 am

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