The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Dutch Kills

strangely aromatic

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Walden had his pond…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last month, we had a bit of snow, so one made it a point of marching over to the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek with the hope of photographing a certain tree (pictured above) which I’ve been shooting all year surrounded by frosty goodness. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the western shore of the waterway it is rooted into was free of powder and ice. Oh well. Got busy anyway, despite not being able to feel my fingertips. As a note, manipulating camera controls when you can’t feel your fingers is a challenge.

I’ve become quite emotionally attached to this self seeded urban cultivar over the last year, and it’s come to represent something to me during the pandemic. It’s stalwart, and despite having sprouted under a factory and along the banks of a superfund listed waterway, it grows and grows. Someday I’m going to arrive at this spot and some jerk will have cut it down. Odds are I’ll drop to my knees and start bawling like a newborn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is desperately hanging onto sanity with his cold numbed fingertips at the moment. The level of anxiety I’m experiencing is massive. This is something I’ve been trying to be quite open about with friends and acquaintances, for a couple of reasons. One is that I’m fairly good in crisis situations, and am usually the person that you call when you’re in trouble or just having a hard time. One of my little mantras is “there’s plenty of time to freak out, cry and scream later, right now we need to deal with “this.” I’ve never understood the need people have to express their pique or disbelief that their house is on fire, running about hysterically, instead of setting about the process of extinguishing the flames. When the shit hits the fan… you have to be the Rock of Gibralter.

If somebody like me is feeling this level of constant anxiety, as there has been a constant wave of shit hitting all the fans for a long time now, I can’t imagine how difficult it is for others who don’t have the psychological toolkit I developed as the child of a malignant narcissist. You’re not alone, we’re all feeling it. Hang in there, the finish line where you get a needle jabbed into your shoulder, go back to work and a social life, and we start rebuilding the world is just around the corner.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above is one of the focus stacking arrangements I’ve been experimenting with. This one uses differing exposures to find some sort of middle point between the brighter than daylight lighting of the FedEx last mile shipping hub and the darker than Satan’s heart ambience of Dutch Kills’ eastern bank which it adjoins.

There were Canada Geese rolling around in the water, and as you know, Canada Geese are dicks. Once got into a fist fight with a Canada Goose, but that’s another story.

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, January 11th. 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

January 12, 2021 at 2:35 pm

poisoning efforts

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Continuing the night time exploration of the Montauk Cutoff abandoned rail road tracks in Long Island City, this shot focuses in on the Borden Avenue “retractile” bridge. A common sight in Chicago and Pittsburgh, there are only two retractile type bridges in NYC, the other one is found at the Gowanus Canal at Carroll Street. “Retractile” means that the entire roadway is on tracks, and retreats away from its piers to allow maritime traffic to pass through. This is in opposition to the more common form of movable bridge, commonly called a drawbridge, wherein single or double bascules are opened or closed on hinges.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was getting late when my little party and I decided to start making our way back to the Skillman Avenue side of the Montauk Cutoff. Along the way, I was clicking the shutter every few steps, trying to record some of the amazing urban landscape I was seeing. This was hardly the first time I’ve been up on the cutoff, of course, but I rarely go up here at night without company.

In recent months, the streets surrounding the Montauk Cutoff have become somewhat “crimey,” so discretion being the better part of valor I decided to ask a couple of pals to come along and provide me with “back.” Better safe than sorry.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s quite an effort underway at the moment to organize this abandoned series of tracks into a public space. I, for one, can’t wait to be able to bring people up here legally. As far as who owns the place, it’s the MTA.

The MTA is… well, it’s the MTA.

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, December 14th. 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 17, 2020 at 11:00 am

scuttled across

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Wednesday, Montauk Cutoff.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, recent adventure found me on the Montauk Cutoff tracks in Long Island City well after sunset. What drew me up there is the renewed effort on behalf of Newtown Creek Alliance to activate these abandoned rail road tracks as public green space. Imagine it, if we could add the roughly four acres of space up here to your portfolio of “places to go” in LIC?

Currently, visiting this spot is considered illegal trespass by the Governmental entity which owns it, specifically the MTA. Consider these photos my confession.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Montauk Cutoff leads to an inactive railroad bridge called Cabin M, which crosses the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek near its intersection with the main stem of the waterway. Just to the south, and pictured above, is a very active rail road bridge called DB Cabin, which connects the Wheelspur and Blissville Yards of the Long Island Railroad’s Lower Montauk tracks over the water.

As I tell everyone, there’s stupid – risking arrest for trespass on inactive tracks – and then there’s stupid – risking getting squished by a freight train by walking on active tracks. The former falls under the “ya plays ya cards, ya takes ya chances” whereas the latter is just dumb.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking roughly northwards towards the Borden Avenue Bridge and the Long Island Expressway at Dutch Kills, that’s how I would describe this shot to an editor.

I ran a daylight version of this a couple of weeks ago, and made a point of mentioning the huge number of inactive yellow cabs being stored here. The pathway along the Borden Avenue Bridge is one I’ve been positively haunting throughout the pandemic. It feels like I’ve been in this area at least once a week since March.

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, December 14th. 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 16, 2020 at 11:00 am

writhing subsided

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Tuesday in Long Island City’s concrete devastations.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found one up on the abandoned tracks of the Montauk Cutoff in Long Island City after dark. Given the isolation and a series of recent encounters with potential hooligans and a few wackadoodles in this area, I decided it was an atypically good idea to have some company with me for once, so my pals Gil Lopez and Don Cavaioli came along. The Montauk Cutoff has been described several times here at Newtown Pentacle – notably in this 2015 post, and more recently the streets surrounding it were detailed in a series of posts starting here.

Long story short, an abandoned set of elevated railroad tracks in LIC that stretch from Skillman Avenue at Sunnyside Yards all the way to the Dutch Kills tributary of the fabled Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s actually quite beautiful up on the tracks, with lots of self seeded vegetation and all sorts of feral critters roaming about. I brought along my tripod and the new camera, and got busy up there. There’s a terrific amount of light to record, but that’s where the challenge comes in, from a photographer POV. It’s very bright, and very dark, all in the same frame.

My pal Gil was listening in to a Zoom meeting about some sort of extinction event, and Don C. seemed blown away by what he was looking at. Once your eyes adjust to the lighting, there’s all sorts of splendor to observe.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We spent an hour, maybe two, up there. I was busy the whole time, doing whatever the hell it is I do when I’m shooting.

More shots from the Montauk Cutoff 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, December 14th. 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 15, 2020 at 11:00 am

twisted about

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Wednesday, it just kind of lies there, like some sort of thing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Continuing the inaugural run with my new camera rig, a visit to the Dutch Kills tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek found in the heart of Long Island City, was a bit of a no brainer. Of course I’m going to go to one of the spots I know best to test the new gizmo out. Duh. For those of you who missed out on me rattling on about this subject on Monday and Tuesday, it’s a Canon R6, a full frame mirrorless and modern DSLR camera. 90% of the shots offered here at Newtown Pentacle over the last 8 or 9 years were captured using an older model camera – the Canon 7D – which uses a mirror system and a “crop” sensor. I won’t bore you with the technical stuff, if you’re interested in the differences between the two, there’s literally hundreds of sites which delve into the details about sensor size, mirrorless vs. mirror systems, and the benefits or negatives associated with each.

In my case, I simply outgrew the 7D. Pushed the thing to its limits, did everything with it I could, and was nearly always happy with the results. The R6 offers a different set of limits, albeit ones that are far distant from those of the 7D. I’m holding on to the older camera, for which a couple of people have asked me “why”? Answer: two is better than one.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Montauk Cutoff, specifically the section found on Hunters Point/49th Avenue in LIC. I’m going to be talking a lot about this set of abandoned railroad tracks in the next few months, and I’m making a serious commitment – photographically speaking – to recording its splendors in the coming months. At the same time, all of us at Newtown Creek Alliance are working on the Montauk Cutoff project at the moment, which is a major anchor property in what we call the Dutch Kills Loop. Check out this site which my pals at NCA have set up discussing the DKL concept and vision.

Saying all that, this is the sort of thing I’m doing on Friday nights these days, as the brief summer interval during which pandemic concerns were lowered is over, and you’re not going to see me inhabiting an outdoor table at a bar anytime soon. I seriously miss seeing my gang of Astorian idiots and drinking the Guinness right about now, but what are you going to do? Can’t argue with a logarithmic curve on the infection numbers. When you see a hockey stick shape on a graph that doesn’t show your bank account balance, you should run away from it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One spent a bit of that particular Friday night in direct proximity to the Montauk Cutoff. I’ve written about this elevated trackage before, as a note, notably in this 2015 post. I’m planning on heading back up there in the dark sometime this week, so stay tuned for some new views captured with my new camera rig.

Also, these are some seriously lonely streets with an odd and increasing number of street denizens roaming around. I recently had a weird encounter with a couple of young fellows down here in what I call the “Empty Corridor.” Stay frosty, my friends.

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 2, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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