The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Dutch Kills

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

bodily visit

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One last trio from Dutch Kills for today. What can I say, it’s either been horribly hot or raining for the last week. Gah, do I hate this time of year in NYC. If there was only mist or fog associated with NYC’s summer humidity… but it’s just a blue haze of murky ozone light in late August. If you’re curious, I was flipping through all of the lenses in my kit while at Dutch Kills this particular evening, and the one used for today’s post is the RF 24-105 f4 L.

Every lens seems to have its own color rendition, flaws and strengths, there’s even a difference in exposure in some cases. Science and optics, bro, science and optics.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since it was a lifetime ago, and a former variant of the current “me,” I seldom mention to people that I used to draw comic books. Saying that, the training in “storytelling” that revolves around that particular discipline of cartooning continues to come in handy, and informs the way I use the camera. Most photo people come to a scene and do “one and done,” whereas I’m gazing “up, down, all around” before I even click the shutter button, trying to figure out how to tell a story with it.

You need to do “establishing shots” which place the reader in a scene, followed by close ups and other angles, and a wrap up establishing shot. It’s better to have the singular composition which will be your “wow, look at that” photo accompanied by several companion shots from a storytelling point of view. Another concern which I try to shoot for is the unfortunate fact that a lot of my shots are going to end up having type set against them for presentations. That’s something else you learn from drawing comics – leave room for the speech balloons and sound fx. I mention this because today’s images are all establishing shots.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another incarnation of mine was the advertising industry production and photo retouching one. The comics never really paid the bills, and a boy has to eat. I’ve done Times Square billboards, specialized in publication specific print ads (there’s a 15 year period during which I had something printed in either the New York Times or Wall Street Journal every day), worked on early internet sites like Jaguar.com, and if you walked into a Footlocker to buy sneakers at the start of this century the big banners and other “POS” stuff hanging in the windows was probably something I had sent to the printer. Again – leave room to set type or a logo on the image but shoot it so that it still could stand on its own as a single image without copy. It was an incredibly dull work life, incidentally, and not remotely like Mad Men.

The current incarnation is the craziest life I’ve ever known, however.


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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

August 26, 2021 at 1:00 pm

flowed conflictingly

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Becoming reacquainted with that old/new lens of mine, a 70-300 zoom which I had retired several years ago since it didn’t get along well with my old camera, is something I like to do at familiar locales. Luckily, there are few places more familiar to me than the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek. There’s my favorite little tree again. Don’t worry, you’ll see more of it tomorrow.

Often, when out shooting at night, intuition tells me that I’m being watched. It’s usually primates doing the watching, more often than not through the monoculars of security cameras. Sometimes it’s one of those dick Canada Gooses, others it’s a stealthy raccoon or some other beast of the night. I mainly worry about the primates, truth be told. I’m pretty sure I can win a fight with a raccoon, and actually fended one off not too long ago in Maspeth with my tripod.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This time around, when I felt a pair of eyes boring into me, it was a cat sitting on the bulkheads of Dutch Kills. How it managed to get to this spot mystifies, but Cat’s are capable of great feats of athleticism. You don’t normally see Cats with this colorization hereabouts. Calicos and tabbies seem to be more common on the Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek, in LIC there seems to be some sort of genetic advantage to having your fur pajamas cast in black. Black cats with yellow eyes seem to dominate.

Remember back in the before times, prior to the hipsters and gentrifiers, when there were packs of wild dogs roaming around? Lots of feral animals in those days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This little murder machine seemed to on the hunt for something which was hiding behind that concrete block on the right hand side of the shot. Probably some prey animal like a rat or a mouse, or some sort of shrew. It was really paying attention to me as well, and seemed to know that it was being photographed. I swear that it saw the camera and posed. Never signed a release, though, so I can’t sell this shot.

Back tomorrow with more from the shadows.


“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

August 25, 2021 at 1:00 pm

strange tributes

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills is a tributary of the fearsome Newtown Creek, a Federal Superfund site some 3.8 miles long that provides a border for the New York City Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens for the first three miles of its course. The waterway is polluted by industry and open sewers, and there’s a bed of sediment at the bottom composed of coal tar, petroleum derivates, human waste, and everything else that’s ever fallen into the water. This sediment is called “Black Mayonnaise.” The Dutch Kills tributary branches off of the main waterway about 3/4 of a mile from its intersection with the East River, flows entirely within the confines of Long Island City, and is about .7 – .8 of a mile long.

I’m obsessed with that little tree growing out from under a factory along the bulkheads. It’s a Tree of Paradise aka “Princess Tree,” I’m told.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All of those little streaks in the water, along the rotting bulkheads which I focused in on, are fishies. What you can hear at night, from all over this industrial canal, are the slaps and splashes of predator fish picking off these little bug eaters who gather around light sources. You can also hear passing ATV’s and muscle cars with modified exhaust systems, but that’s a different post.

I spent a bit of time hereabouts recently, waving the camera around and investigating what might be hiding in the shadows at Dutch Kills. As long time readers here at Newtown Pentacle will attest, a humble narrator is endlessly fascinated by this section of the greater Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Water fowl, these Canada Geese are dicks. All Canada Geese are dicks, and I’m racist towards them. Specist, actually, I guess. At the very least, I’m extremely prejudiced against them.

Wow, remember when there was a difference between prejudiced and racist, as in there was a level of severity for being an asshole to other people? I was having a conversation with a younger friend of mine about this lately, one which centered on how you bleed pressure out of a closed system. There’s different levels of murder, for instance – manslaughter, homicide, etc.

At any rate, the Canada Geese are ultimately downy piles of meat, and what I was doing at Dutch Kills on this warm night was searching for a carnivore which legends say hunt these waters. Looking for a hunter? Focus in on the prey.


“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

August 24, 2021 at 1:30 pm

listless fury

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One does enjoy it when they accidentally leave the industrial fences open, over at the Dutch Kills tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek in Queens’ Long Island City section. It was a hot night in LIC, with high humidity. One was hoping for a spectacular sunset which didn’t materialize, which is sort of a metaphor for my entire life, but that’s neither here nor there. Here’s this profundity however – If you’re working at sorting different grades of gravel and sand, you need the sort of stuff pictured above to do so. That’s a sly observation, no?

There was some sort of drama playing out on the street behind me, wherein a woman was displaying all sorts of outré behavior while two uniformed men sat in a car not far away and watched her. They had DHS logos on their polo shirts, so the entire tableau likely involved official business on the part of the Department of Homeless Services. I didn’t inquire into the matter as it was none of my actual business.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Oh, the sewer jellies. The sewer jellies are categorically my business. Over at Dutch Kills’ intersection with Hunters Point Avenue, a work barge has been stationed. The gear they’re using seems to involve large chunks of lumber and a lot of rope. These floating apparatuses allow the sewer borne lipids dancing along the surface of the water to congeal into fungible fecundities. When the light is just right, one may discern the conditions.

New York City has a combined sewer system. What that means is that sanitary and storm water travel through the same pipes. A quarter inch of rain in NYC, citywide, translates into a billion gallons of water entering the system. During thunderstorms and other sudden deluges, the people who operate the sewers – the NYC Department of Environmental Protection or DEP – are forced to release untreated combined sewer waste water into outfall pipes which empty into area waterways. A lot of cooking grease and oils get carried in this flow, as does petroleum residue from the streets.

Jellies. Meringue. Syrups. The DEP calls the stuff honey.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One always scolds newcomers to the Newtown Creek watershed to beware the trucking traffic and be very careful when moving about. Eyes are crinkled, smiles are forced, and they tell me that they know how to cross streets. I offer “this is not the world you know” and then point out safety cones which are squished by, or torn apart by, the wheels of heavy trucks.

If a safety cone ain’t safe on the street, you ain’t. Never walk in front of a truck without first getting acknowledged by the driver that they know you’re there. You don’t want to get squished by a gravel sorting machine, which would turn you into a kind of red street jelly.


“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

July 14, 2021 at 11:00 am

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