The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Degnon Terminal

cloudy throne

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m not joking when I say that I’m obsessed with that little tree which is growing out from under a factory building in Long Island City, along the banks of Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary. One feared, during a post deluge walk, that it might have become unrooted due to the heavy rain but there it was. It’s passed from being a tree to being a metaphor for me. Nature wins, ultimately, no matter how hard we try – nature wins.

Hope, basically. It represents hope to me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s why we should be striving to enslave the insects to do our bidding. Imagine commanding armies of ants or termites. It’s just a matter of figuring out their pheromone language and changing their marching orders. Ants can move mountains, one particle of sand at a time. Give me enough indentured ants and I’ll change the course of the Hudson.

To get started – we’ll just need a bag of sugar, a laptop, and a couple of lengths of copper speaker wire. Yeah, eventually we’ll need an AI to act as the Queen, but one thing at a time – huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I don’t know why I automatically go to “mad science” as my solution for intractable problems. I have a friend who’s the kind of scientist who does horrible things to monkeys at work (for good reasons, as he’s trying to cure blindness, but it’s still a pretty grim laboratory setup). I’ve asked him if the “science industry” has any sort of safeguards against he or his colleagues going rogue. If you notice your co worker has a human hand wired to a computer, for instance, is there an 800 number to call?

The answer, after he finished laughing about the term “science industry,” was no. There are no restrictive or societal rules against mad science. Order your Tesla coils, lords and ladies, the sky’s the limit.


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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

September 13, 2021 at 11:00 am

inverse geometry

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Monday is da shizzle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What a busy weekend! This vaccinated thing is going great so far. More on that in a subsequent post.

The first two shots in today’s post were gathered in Long Island City, specifically the stretch of Borden Avenue which the Queens Midtown Expressway truss has positively loomed over since 1940, in the beginning of March. I tell you, lords and ladies, that the normal problem here at Newtown Pentacle is not being able to generate images quickly enough. Since I haven’t had as much to do during the pandemic, one thing I’ve kept busy with is shooting photos. I’m a good month ahead of myself these days, which is neat, but as the world starts back up I plan to get a bit more in sync with the seasons and current events.

Fed-Ex, like the other “last mile shipping” companies including Amazon and UPS, have been extremely busy for the last year. They’re also massively expanding their footprint around Newtown Creek. Newtown Creek Alliance recently worked with a graduate student named Geoff Storr on a policy brief about this expansion – which you can check out by clicking here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering around LIC, one of the things that jumps at me is the absolute sin of the wasted space under the Queens Midtown Expressway section of the Long Island Expressway. Specifically, this is the zone between Van Dam Street and the Queens Midtown Tunnel. Empty, used for illegal parking, illegal dumping, ugly.

There’s gotta be a better way!

A humble narrator is in the early stages of annoying an entirely different branch of the Government than the usual ones about this subject. In this case, the agency of record is the New York State Department of Transportation. I figure that since they’re all done with the Kosciuszcko Bridge project they must be looking for something new to do.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On my way back to HQ on a particularly pleasant evening, this chunk of construction equipment was noticed. This is part of the same operation which I’ve talked about before, who are working out a contract to bring the crosswalks and corners into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This involves “rekajiggering” the curb, pouring new concrete for the corner, and installing a “rumble strip” pad to provide tactile feedback to sight compromised or wheelchair users.

It provides me with something to take pictures of, so “win.”

Back tomorrow with more.


“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 12, 2021 at 1:00 pm

shifting hints

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Wednesday… sigh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My weekly walk to Dutch Kills, or the “happy hunting grounds” as I call them, allowed for another shot of that tenacious little tree I’m obsessed with. Dutch Kills is a tributary of the larger Newtown Creek, which itself is a tributary of the East River, which is in turn an estuarial tributary where the Hudson River and Long Island Sound combine. Dutch Kills is contained entirely within Long Island City’s Degnon Terminal section, here in Queens.

This area has been my “go-to” for many years, and never so much as during the Pandemic year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If my intentions play out this week as planned, I won’t be visiting Dutch Kills, rather I’m out wandering around the City as I’m supposedly fully vaxxed by now – some 14-15 days after the second Pfizer shot made me start to think about X-Boxes all the time.

That little mud flat is part of a NYC DEP experiment in creating wetland environmental plantings here. There’s a few spots on Dutch Kills in which a staggering amount of money was spent in pursuance of planting native speciations, with the hope that it would provide environmental anchoring for shellfish and other critters.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the far end of the canal, you find a turning basin, which introduces a “T” shape to the northern extent of Dutch Kills. A turning basin is an area where a ship or tug and barge combination has an opportunity to reverse course by turning their bow to the direction they’re going in, which is a lot more efficient than reversing course.

Back tomorrow.


“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 7, 2021 at 11:00 am

monstrous arch

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Monday gnashes into toothsome view again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Well, here we are in Long Island City again, wandering about in the depths of a frozen nightscape. For the last year, my personal stations of the cross have included several prominent and photogenic spots here in the still quite industrialized sections of LIC which are surrounded the waters of Newtown Creek and its tributaries. What have I learned during this pandemic year?

First, I’ve learned that my mind has been reduced to jelly and that I now have an attention span which only an insect would be envious of. Secondly, my body has turned to jelly as well, and I’ve put on a bunch of weight which needs shedding. Third, that circumstance is actually far more tenuous in these United States than it should be and that once this crisis is receding in the rear view mirror we need to start addressing that fact. Haven’t we been spending trillions for more than 75 years on National Defense and “readiness” and when the shit hit the fan we couldn’t figure out a way to feed old and poor people during an emergency?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the stations of the cross for me has been the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek, and my search for “it.” I’ve been scanning the water for “it” but haven’t witnessed or photographed any visual phenomena. I have heard inexplicable splashes and seen odd movement in the surface waters, but so far – no “It.”

These shots were captured on a particularly cold night in early February. It was “what the hell am I doing this for” cold. My fingers were numb inside of the gloves I was wearing, and I was wearing a thermal under layer beneath the normal “outside clothes” and filthy black raincoat outer. Marcus Aurelius’s recommendations for a proper life advise one to wear different clothes within the domicile than one does without. This was good stoic advice, even if it has come down to us from a long dead Roman Emperor. A humble narrator offers this – grasping at crumpled up paper towels, stored in your coat pockets during a cold snap, is a quick remedy for warming up the hands. Paper is an excellent insulator.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One looks forward to next week, when the second stage of my COVID vaccination will occur. I’m already making plans for the “after times,” and whereas I never thought that I’d be looking forward to descending down into the sweating concrete bunkers of the MTA to ride the Subway – there you are. One has already ordered and received a new pair of hiking shoes, and the first part of my plans involve stitching back and forth across the East River on its various bridges. I’m going to ride the Roosevelt Island Tram, and visit the Empire State Building Observation deck at night, and do all the “tourist” stuff before the tourists reappear. Probably going to ride on one of those double decker buses too. I’m going to eat at a restaurant and drink beer at a bar.

In short, when this bat escapes his cage…

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 15th. 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 15, 2021 at 2:00 pm

terrestrial scenes

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Concluding a late night scuttle around Long Island City in today’s post, my aching feet were kicking the dust about in the Degnon Terminal section. Pictured above is what I’ve come to refer to as the “Empty Corridor,” a post industrial hellscape of “used to be” and “once was” which has gotten sort of “crimey” during the pandemic year.

I’ve seen young men hammering at padlocks, been circled around by other young fellows, and wandered through what I later realized to be a big money drug transaction hereabouts. Luckily, having lived in NYC all my life, and specifically having grown up during the late 1970’s and 1980’s the maxim of “keep moving” is part of my general mindset. If somebody asks you for a quarter, what they really want is for you to put your hand in your pocket so your defenses are halved. Half of these “mofo’s” would boil you down to sell the elements if they had half a chance, so don’t give them a chance. Keep moving. It’s harder to hit a mobile target than a static one. In the high crime years of my “Ute” I was stabbed, shot at, beat up, and also chased by packs of feral dogs. No, really.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Accordingly, I steered myself past the empty corridor in pursuit of heading over to Hunters Point Avenue to check in on that brave little tree growing out from under a factory found on the shoreline of Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary which I’ve become obsessed with over the last year.

Along the way, I couldn’t help but crack out a shot or two of a UPS last mile shipping center. Seriously, these folks – along with their competitors at FedEx – have become American Heroes over the last year. The economic picture would be a whole lot different, regionally and nationally, if it wasn’t for the efforts of the people who work for these companies. I’ll also mention the United States Postal Service in the same breath, and the people who work for the Amazon empire.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s my little baby. I’ve been paying this little cultivar a lot of attention over the last year. I’m told that it’s likely a “Tree of Heaven” or Ailanthus altissima. It’s the eponymous “a tree grows in Brooklyn” from the 1943 Betty Smith novel, if it is indeed that cultivar. An invasive species native to East Asia, Ailanthus altissima has a life span of 50-100 years and will grow back from its roots even if you cut it down.

Tenacity, bro, tenacity.

Speaking of, tomorrow is the one year anniversary of Darth Cuomo issuing the stay at home Covid order for NYC, on Friday the 13th of 2020.

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 12, 2021 at 11:00 am

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