The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘DUKBO

wild whispers

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Wednesday Kosciuszcko.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

DUKBO – Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp – has been regularly visited during this pandemic period. It’s both photogenic and within walking distance, and offers the plus of being a fairly unpopulated part of NYC during an era of respiratory plague. Back in March, one had finally figured out the magic formula for photographically capturing the lighting display of the bridge, camera settings wise. Hopefully this means that I can “port” the camera settings into other situations where garish LED lighting has been installed.

I still say the lighting design of the new Kosciuszcko Bridge over Newtown Creek looks like the exterior displays of a certain Greek coffee shop in Astoria, but there you go.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not officially open yet, there’s a new “park” on the Queens side of the bridge, specifically at the corner of Review Avenue and Laurel Hill Blvd. which has already become quite well used by Blissvillians, Sunnysiders, and Maspethians, as well as visiting Greenpointers. The park, which is a series of brutalist concrete blocks arranged around various plantings, is slightly elevated over the surrounding area (Newtown Creek industrial business zone, First Calvary Cemetery) and offers a nice view of the bridge. That’s where these shots were captured.

I’m still carrying the ultra busted down lightweight mini camera kit, by the way. The two prime lens one which I started hauling around last year after having severely injuring the big toe of my left foot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A lovely set of zoomable lenses have been awaiting being called back into service again, but I’ve really been enjoying the limitations. Worst thing you can say to a creative person is “do anything you want.” Best thing you can do is lay out a bunch of things not to do, make them stand on one foot while doing it, and throw in a gotcha. Limitation forces lateral thought and problem solving, I always say.

Back tomorrow, at this – your 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, June 29th. 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.

sprang suddenly

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Tiamat be praised, it’s Thursday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A visit to the Penny Bridge site in Greenpoint, said site pictured above, qualified as my turn around point for a fairly long walk last weekend. “Turning points” are critical for me when out on one of my photo walks, since if you choose the wrong one you’re walking through a boring residential neighborhood. Nothing wrong with residential, of course, but I don’t like taking pictures of people’s houses. I do like taking pictures of “the People’s house” as in our commonly held properties like Government facilities or various privately held but often publicly traded industrial locations. I like a good waste transfer station or the odd oil terminal, I tell ya.

Luckily for me, the new Kosciuszcko Bridge hosts a pedestrian and bicycle lane, so instead of having to walk all the way to Grand Street to cross back into Queens I can reattach at Laurel Hill Blvd. and get home via Sunnyside’s 43rd street rather than having to loop through Maspeth and Woodside.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The view from up on the Kosciuszcko Bridge is commanding, and worthy of your attention if you haven’t been up there yet. You can pick up the pedestrian/bike lane on Laurel Hill Blvd. in Queens, or Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn. A couple of new playground/parks will soon be opening under the bridge in both boroughs.

I’ve mentioned this a few times during the recent tribulations – the communities surrounding Newtown Creek have found their way to the waterway during the pandemic, and I’ve seen far more people than normal just walking around or riding their bikes in recent months. Does a humble narrator good seeing this, but… joggers in Industrial Maspeth? Yikes.

Be careful, I tell them all, Newtown Creek is an easy place to get dead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

High above it though, lots and lots of people are enjoying pleasant strolls across and over the Newtown Creek. Seriously, if you haven’t walked over the new bridge at sunset/dusk, you’re missing one of the best free shows in NYC. If you get lucky, there’s a chance that tugboats and or rail traffic might be moving around. I like me a good scenic overlook, I does.

May all your Thursdays be happy days, back tomorrow.

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, June 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 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

June 18, 2020 at 1:00 pm

latent fright

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Review Avenue.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The property at the left handed side of the shot above is all that remains, original building wise, of Standard Oil’s Queens County Oil Works. Workers at Standard referred to this facility as the “Candle Factory,” I’m told, as their principal product output involved the handling and manufacture of materials which would be incorporated into road flares and other fuel “candles” made from petroleum derivates like naphtha and paraffin. The footprint of the old Queens County Oil Works site incorporates the properties of the first large oil works on Newtown Creek, but that’s another story.

On the right hand (or eastern side) of the shot is First Calvary Cemetery’s great masonry wall, which contains the tomb legions.

The (presumptively) Consolidated Edison people have been busy for the last six months or so on that eastern side of the street replacing a few utility poles and stringing new high tension electrical wires between them, as well as digging out underground vaults for and then installing new electrical transformers in.

The new wires they’ve arrayed interact with tree branches growing off of the masonry elevation’s crown at Calvary, the interaction thereof producing eerie sounds as they sway in the wind. There’s a “clacking” staccato when the branches strike the wires, and a deep basso sound is produced when the wires rub sonorously against the wooden boughs. It sounds a great deal like some grandiose orchestra is playing a weird and alien tune, and kind of freaks you out.

Again, not wearing headphones nor listening to music or an audiobook at the moment, in an attempt to be 100% aware of my surroundings.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One often opines to elected officialdom and NYS regulator alike about the overload of weight that the utility people place onto those poles of creosoted wood, which carry the abundant wiring that keeps our civilization powered and connected here in Western Queens. I notice things, and this thing is concerning.

To wit, observe the bowing of that utility pole in the shot above, at the corner of 37th street and Review Avenue. The only thing keeping this wooden cylinder from snapping in half, as this is an older utility pole and not a newly installed one, is a conduit of iron piping which is acting like a spine.

A non emergency problem to solve in a different time, I say. Another reason to survive all this is looking forward to annoying the NYS Utility Board regulators on this topic – and looking forward to it, I am. One was conspiring with Assemblyman Brian Barnwell’s office on this topic, regarding the utility pole situation back in Astoria, before CoronAmerica manifested its ugly face and the world went to hell.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Observationally speaking, I’m not sure how the medallion taxi industry is going to survive this crisis. Everywhere that I’ve been marching about, which as you’ve seen here are the abandoned industrial streets of Long Island City, entire fleets of yellow cabs are sitting inert. Whereas the FEMA people famously have their “Waffle House” index to gauge the impact of hurricanes and storms, I have a yellow cab index.

I also have a drug dealer index. Now, I’m not in that particular market, but I keep an eye on it and periodically check in with people I know who are narcotic enthusiasts about the supply and demand situation. I like to know commodity prices. It seems that a “weed drought” is on, and that the heroin people are literally climbing the walls trying to find a fix. Don’t know many coke people these days, but apparently that’s another imported commodity which is becoming ever harder to acquire.

Also, on a personal note, today is the day in 2011 that we lost my Newtown Creek Alliance pal Bernie Ente.

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

malignity now

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Being careful.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is operating under the theory that a hang nail could end up being fatal right now, as could a fractured bone or infected pimple. Accordingly, one is being exceptionally “intentional” and paying attention to every action before executing it. Every footfall is considered, as are the various pathways I’m using on my “constitutional” walks. When I find myself heading towards a place where a population of humans might be encountered, an navigational alteration is instituted. Even while scuttling along the familiar 1848 vintage fence lines of First Calvary Cemetery here in LIC’s Blissville section, an area not exactly known for its crowds, one is wary.

Given my notoriously paranoid sensibilities, innate desires for solitude and isolation, and general distrust of the human infestation… well, let’s just say that I’m a bit better prepared for the situation we all find ourselves in than most. Saying that, I’m really worried about the folks for whom “normal” life is psychologically unbearable. There’s a saying which goes something like “in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.” I mentioned this to a friend of mine recently, a fine young fellow long diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome (a population of people partially defined by innate social distancing and a severe desire not to be emotionally or personally engaged with or to be physically touched), and commented that he is now poised to lead us all into the future here in CoronAmerica.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The streets in the industrial zone were eerie quiet, but there was still a bit of activity amongst the so called “essential” trades – garbage, trucking, transit. I normally stick out like a sore thumb on purpose, hoping to not get squished by a truck or just being so obsequious while I’m photographing things that the various security guards and cops who notice me figure that I can’t possibly “be up to something.”

That’s the new Koscisuzcko Bridge pictured above, as seen from Review Avenue, with the fence of Calvary Cemetery behind me. Calvary, like most of the cemeteries in Western Queens and North Brooklyn, was created in response to a series of epidemics which swept through NYC at the start of the 19th century. See what I did there? Topical historical reference…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The drive to eliminate burials in the crowded city center, which were thought to be the cause of several of the Typhus and Cholera epidemics that scythed through the tenements of pre Civil War Manhattan, began with the Rural Cemeteries Act of 1847.

The new law demanded that the denominational religious organizations of the time acquire land outside of Manhattan in pursuance of creating cemeteries for,their flocks. First Calvary was established by the Roman Catholics in 1848, and their funerary operations continued to expand well into the 20th century here in Queens – there’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Calvary properties due east of Blissville, over in Woodside.

Pictured above is the former location of the Long Island Railroad’s Penny Bridge station, currently occupied by the green box cars of the so called Garbage Train, where mourners from Brooklyn would enter into Queens for funerary ritual and rite.

Tomorrow, a bit more from Blissville. Stay safe, lords and ladies, and leave some comments for a humble narrator as I could use the virtual company.

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

ancient overmantle

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Walking in Blissville.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent night found one scuttling about in the darkness while drawn towards the weird illuminations of the Kosciuszcko Bridge, which spans the fabulous Newtown Creek. Pictured above is the northeast corner of LIC’s First Calvary Cemetery, a photo which was shot using a somewhat different technique than the now tried and true methodology I use for night shots, which is why it looks a bit “different.”

An observation made during the walk, from Astoria to Blissville via Sunnyside, was that since all of the humans are staying in at night now, and automotive traffic is at an all time low, the normally furtive eidelons of nature are free to wander about.

Lots and lots of Raccoons, Opossums, and Rodents of all typologies were spotted along the way. Proof of what I’ve been saying for years, that if we were able to allow the mechanisms of the natural environment just a little bit of room, we’d lick the various problems facing our civilization pretty quickly.

Unfortunately, it’s taken the near collapse of that civilization to prove my point.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Growing up in a home where the reaction to leaving a faucet dripping was greeted with the same emotional and tangential severity as having discharged a firearm, one developed a series of coping mechanisms which have served me well over the years and have gained me the reputation of being “good in a crisis.” Unlike most, when I see that the house is on fire, my first instinct isn’t to assign blame but rather to pick up a hose or fire extinguisher and fix the problem in the most expeditious fashion possible. “Plenty of time to freak out afterwards” I always say. I guess I learned something from my batshit crazy mother after all, which at least takes the form of how and when one should react to random stressors.

Saying that, even my legendary ability to subsume and bury emotional stress is fracturing. Periodic walks like the ones described in recent weeks are sanity inducing.

Just as I was shooting the image above, a couple of plain clothes NYPD officers rolled up on me and began asking the familiar “why are you taking pictures of the bridge” queries. The encounter was short and non eventful, but it actually made me feel “normal” for a few minutes. Afterwards, rumination revealed that whereas I’ve had this exact same conversation with private security dozens of times in the last few years, it had been a long while since I had to have it with a badge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not having the super bright lights of the new Koscisuzcko Bridge blow out the highlights of any night shot they’re in is still a challenge which I haven’t been able to conquer, in a single exposure, yet. The middle shot in today’s post was severely underexposed to compensate for the bridge lighting, as I wanted to get the “red, white, and blue” pattern it was displaying. The shadows were “pushed” during processing to allow for detail in the shot. One technique I’ve experimented with is to do two exposures and then marry them together, but it’s a lot of work to get them to look “right.” I prefer to “get it in one” and whereas I know all about HDR, that technique really isn’t the answer either.

Luckily, I have lots of time on my hands to experiment. How are you spending your Quarantine, Lords and Ladies?

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

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