The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘DSNY

mongrel riff-raff

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It’s National Caramel Popcorn Day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One possesses more than a single camera, and a couple of the older models are really starting to show their age, just like me. The Canon G10 is an old friend, but it’s outer shell is being held on and together by gaff tape these days and it doesn’t get to leave the house anymore. The actual functioning of the thing is still fine, including the superb (for a point and shoot) macro feature of its lens. I’ve got the thing more or less permanently affixed to a magnetic tripod dealie which allows for a firm footing on any thing ferrous, like my stainless steel kitchen countertop. I’ve been working on these tabletop macro shots off and on whenever I’m stuck at home due to weather, and just the other day realized that I hadn’t copied any of the photos off the G10’s memory card since about January.

Thus… a few random shots that I popped off while hanging around at home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The G10 isn’t just a macro camera, of course, and that magical magnetic tripod mentioned above is perfect for clamping down to a fence or sill. One night, a DSNY street sweeper decided to take a break on my corner in Astoria, and since the G10 was handy… the shot above resulted.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The problem with using multiple rigs is that unless it’s the day to day work camera – in my case a DSLR – you tend to forget about non deadline oriented shots like the one of this tomato above. I’ve evolved the little kit utilized for doing this as well, and will talk about that the next time I present a big pile of macro shots to you.


Upcoming Tours and events

First Calvary Cemetery walking tour, May 6th.

With Atlas Obscura’s Obscura Day 2017, Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour – details and tix here.

MAS Janeswalk free walking tour, May 7th.

Visit the new Newtown Creek Alliance/Broadway Stages green roof, and the NCA North Henry Street Project – details and tix here.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 6, 2017 at 11:00 am

swarthy foreigners

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It’s National Clams on the Half Shell Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So… right after that last snow event we had a couple of weeks ago, I saw something utterly unique in my experience as a New Yorker. I’m almost a half century old at this stage, and one has never – NEVER – observed the Department of Sanitation do anything but plow the vehicular section of the streets in Brooklyn or Queens. This year, however, they were out in force – in Astoria, Queens – clearing the curbs and walkways of snow.

Wha, wha, what?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

DSNY had this neat little bobcat doohickey, which they were using to mash up and disassemble the berms of ice and snow which had piled up along the sidewalk and curb boundary area. I noticed this as it was happening directly under my bedroom window, which woke up both my little dog Zuzu and Our Lady of the Pentacle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

They were actually clearing the streets! The slush lagoons too.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself” is the borough motto most of the time around these parts. Snow clearance has been a political thorn for Queensican Electeds, going back to the days of Mayor John Lindsay, but seldom is anything improved. Not in 2016.

Maybe this gentrification thing has its benefits, after all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few hours later, around four in the morning (yes, I was still up and awake at four a.m.), another DSNY crew rolled through. This time they were shoveling pathways at the crosswalks. What has happened? Am I in some parallel reality? Is this a dream?

Is Trump still President? Was that just some sort of fevered vision?


Upcoming Tours and events

MAS Janeswalk free walking tour, May 7th.

Visit the new Newtown Creek Alliance/Broadway Stages green roof, and the NCA North Henry Street Project – details and tix here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 31, 2017 at 11:00 am

most conclusive

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It’s National “I Want Butterscotch Day,” in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Owing to other obligations and piss poor weather conditions for the last couple of weeks, one hasn’t got anything new to show you for this week. Accordingly, it has been decided to instead present a few archive shots of the various branches of NYC government which make life liveable for us here in “Home Sweet Hell.”

Today, the focus is on DSNY – the stolid Sanitation Department of New York City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Spending as much time as I do in meetings with government employees, the habit of pronouncing abbreviations phonetically has crawled into my speech pattern and I’ve found myself calling Sanitation “DSNY” with a spoken pronunciation of “DISNEY.” This confuses the heck out of normal people, as I’ll often refer to “DISNEY” performing street cleaning tasks or picking up garbage or their recycling and mulching programs. They picture Mickey and Goofy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As essential as police and fire, DSNY is the only reason that NYC doesn’t suffocate under a mountain of trash and garbage everyday. We are a sloppy group, we New Yorkers. My recollection is that these cats collect up something like eleven and change tons of trash a day, which is translocated out of the City in short order.

I’ve asked where all the trash goes, and I’ve been told that they can’t tell me because of “homeland security” reasons.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of particular interest, given the recent spate of wintry weather, is the DSNY’s snow removal and roadway winter maintenance programs. They salt, and scrape, and plow away the ice so that the rest of us can make it to work. If you want more days off from work, convince the Mayor to reduce DSNY’s funding. Of course, you might die from a preventable disease due to the piles of garbage if you do.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 15, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in Photowalks

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were related

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Where do they get all those wonderful toys?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, one had a series of obligations last weekend causing an absence at HQ. Saturday, I conducted a walking tour for Newtown Creek Alliance exploring the more populous sections of Newtown Creek along the East River. Sunday, NCA was engaged in an event at the North Brooklyn Boat Club (I’ll tell you about that one tomorrow) and after that concluded – my lonely walk home carried me through Hunters Point and the western end of the Queensboro Bridge complex.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s a fairly complex operation, getting a decent shot under Queensboro. Sepulchral shadow cast by the bridge itself is coupled with the crazily bright light pouring in from the surface roads surrounding it. The City uses a few of the areas under the bridge for vehicle and equipment storage, and as an assembly workshop for municipal projects.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This particular scuttle under the bridge revealed that the DOT (presumptively) is assembling street benches here, currently. These aren’t the street benches of my youth, of course, which were the concrete and wood affairs that you’ll still commonly observe in City Parks. These are the new fancy metal jobs. The old school ones once lined the avenues and boulevards of NYC, but were largely removed sometime during the Koch administration to discourage their usage by the homeless.

For one reason or another, the City government has always been obsessed with discouraging vagrants from sitting down or napping, and with persecuting skate boarders. Bicycles on the sidewalk – that’s fine. Go figure.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On a similar note, last week I discovered where the DSNY Litter baskets are kept. A huge number of brand spanking new ones were observed on North Henry street in Greenpoint. Luckily, they haven’t been brought into service yet, as that would mess them up.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

May 3, 2015 –
DUBPO, Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp
with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman, a free tour offered as part of Janeswalk 2015, click here for tickets.

May 31, 2015 –
Newtown Creek Boat Tour
with Working Harbor Committee and Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman, click here for tickets.

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Enough is enough.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One’s path led to Blissville recently, as it often does. Perambulating down Greenpoint Avenue in the direction of the Long Island Expressway on a singularly lovely afternoon. the abundances of illegally placed advertising signs adorning lamp post and utility poles finally forced me to start taking notice of and commenting on it. This is flat out illegal, and DSNY (Sanitation) is responsible for the prosecution and policing of such matters. If this was a graffiti tagged sticker on a Manhattan phone booth, they would have long ago ended the perpetrator, but this is Queens… so you know… go fuck yourself. That’s our Borough Motto, you know – “Welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself.”

Cash for any car indeed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Cash for Any Cars signs are everywhere. I’ve torn down a few dozen personally, mainly on the block where HQ is located. Luckily, I spotted this secondary advertisement for a company that actually prints the god damned things on a utility pole. One has no evidence to back this up, but the proximity and arrangement of the Cash for Any Car sign alongside the Caristo Printing one suggests to me that they were likely placed together and in conjunction.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you are as sick of seeing “signs just like this one” as I am, mayhap you’d want to contact Caristo Printing and let them know how you feel about their illegal advertising on the streets of Queens and or their complicity in the “Cash for Any Cars” signs. If you’re truly beside yourself about these abrogations of the public space, perhaps you’d like to complain about them to your elected officials and the various powers and potentates of the City of Greater New York. If you are an elected official or a regulatory officer, perhaps you’d like to address a letter or two to this printing company about “signs just like this one.”

Alternatively, there’s always “welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself”.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 14, 2014 at 11:00 am

crush and engulf

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Late again, sorry. Here’s why.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since the weather broke, your humble narrator has lost nary a minute to the Newtown Pentacle, and much in the way of shoe rubber has been expended in the last few days. Saturday, I walked the so called entire “upper creek” (the area of Newtown Creek found between Maspeth Creek and English Kills, which borders Ridgewood and Bushwick). Sunday, I was in Greenpoint all day, but sadly missed getting a shot of that baby seal which turned up at the Newtown Creek Nature Walk.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Monday (yesterday), I conducted a tour of the lower Creek for a group of film students from Pratt University, and this afternoon, I’m hoping to find some time to pop over to Hell Gate in the hope of capturing some interesting images of maritime traffic.

Recent efforts of note – which appear on external websites – include a series of posts describing the non profit scene of Red Hook on the Red Hook Water Front site, and my coverage of Sunnyside’s St. Pat’s Day for All parade can be found at Brownstoner Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It is magnificent, this throwing off of the shackles of ice and snow, and returning to the streets. Conversely, a humble narrator’s physique has largely transformed into a quivering jelly over this long winter, and every muscle in my legs and back are liberally painted with lactic acids. Hopefully, within a few weeks, I’ll be back in fighting condition and enjoy a fineness of fettle.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 11, 2014 at 2:42 pm

no fooling

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It’s trash time, here in the Newtown Pentacle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Packer trucks are what the garbage guys call vehicles like the familiar DSNY conveyances. Municipal vehicles whose ubiquity and constant presence renders them nearly invisible, they hide in plain sight, and most of us only notice them when they don’t show up or if we are instead stuck behind them in traffic. An archive shot, I acquired this one nearby Queens Blvd. at the border of Woodside.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 14, 2013 at 7:30 am

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