The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Dutch Kills

final peril

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Every time might be the last time.” Dutch Kills, where I’ve spent so much time and effort over the last 15 years, is pictured in today’s post. I can’t help but be reminiscent.

The broiling hot summer days bringing tours through here, those frigid frost bitten mornings standing on one of these bridges with a camera and tripod waiting for the sun to rise, the late night walks, the scary moments of actual peril when I found myself confronted with the baser aspects of the street…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ll never forget the first time, when I followed a Google maps pathway here from Astoria. “Hey, I’m going to go check out this Newtown Creek joint I’ve heard about” is what I said to Our Lady of the Pentacle when leaving the house. “Be careful” she said. That’s how it started.

The warning to “be careful” always strikes me oddly. I’m the very definition of careful in everything I do. It can be offered that one of the biggest flaws in my personality is the amount of care I display, embed into, and enact in my daily round. My “care” actually borders on neuroticism. I take the OSHA motto of “how can I get hurt” that they drill into the industrial world quite seriously. Before I cross a street, I look three times, not two.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s my tree of paradise in the shot above, which I seem to have spent most of the pandemic months photographing. All of this is now somebody else’s’ problem. I can tell you who that somebody is – Will Elkins is Executive Director at Newtown Creek Alliance – and Will is “the man.” Smart and kind, Will has assembled a staff of amazing people at NCA, and they are the future. It’s time to stop talking about the past here, and to start talking about tomorrow. Will and the NCA staff are the people to do that.

I’m heading into the west, like one of Tolkien’s elves.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given the reflective mood I’m in at the moment, a statement I’d offer is this – it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve met some amazing people, done and seen things that not many other people have, and occasionally got to help people who needed help. No regrets. I never “took,” even when I found myself surrounded by high rank politicians and the “powers that are.” Always did I ask myself “What would Superman do?” and used that as a guidepost for any moral decisions.

That’s apparently a Night Heron in the shot above, but since I always get the name of a bird wrong when I try to say what kind of bird a bird is – so, it’s a three eyed lobe tickler.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you shine a light into the waters here at night, the surface starts boiling as the little nocturnal fishies in the water column fall into panic mode. They’re what that descendant of the dinosaurs pictured above was hunting in the darkness.

I’m currently looking for a job in Pennsylvania. Worst comes to worst, I’ll drive for Lyft or Uber until I get something solid. There’s always managing a Denny’s or something. I plan on staying away from anything political or nonprofit in nature. I just want to go to work, and then take pictures and explore the area the rest of the time while I’m figuring out my next incarnation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We are all different people at different times of our lives. I used to be a comic book artist and writer who worked on it obsessively all night, while maintaining a day job persona on Madison Avenue as a production artist and photo retoucher. The latter job title caused me to have to learn about photography in order to interact with the photographers whose work I was editing and processing. That got me started taking my own shots, which is what led me down the path to who I am currently. Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans, as the saying goes.

More tomorrow – at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“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

November 10, 2022 at 11:00 am

unguessed companion

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A scuttle through the lonely corridors of Long Island City continues in todays post. The rain had stopped, but it was still kind of wet out. One was heading, ultimately, to a subway stop. This was one of the nights where I walk for a few miles and then take a train back to Astoria.

Every step and every thought was consumed by the forthcoming “escape from New York” which Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself have been planning since the beginning of the year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There were several things which needed to be accomplished first, as a predicate for the escape. I had stupidly allowed my driver’s license to expire, so I needed to deal with the DMV and sort that out. They rejected my expired drivers license – which they themselves had issued – as a valid form of ID, which is the sort of Kafkaesque thing you’d expect from New York State’s agencies. My passport was also expired, and since that’s a form of ID that they do take – that meant I had to dance with the Feds first to get that reinstated in order to drive again. Feds first, DMV second to get a learners permit, and then I had to sit through a driver’s ed class and subsequently take a road test. There’s no point in trying to fight a bureaucratic process, you just have to go with the flow.

At any rate, by late spring, I was a licensed driver again in the State of New York. Our Lady and myself had decided on our destination after somewhat extensive travel using Amtrak in 2021, but now we had to buy a car. You can’t move to America from the Archipelago City off of its eastern shore without a car.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The car thing was unnecessarily complicated and took many months, due to the supply chain issues you keep hearing about on the news. We placed our order in early July, and received the unit in middle October, roughly two weeks after these photos were captured. A Toyota RAV4 hybrid, if you’re curious. Gets great mileage, 41mpg on average. A fill up gives me just under 600 miles of range per tank. City driving, it runs electric most of the time for the stop and go. Comfortable ride.

There’s all sorts of gizmos and systems onboard which I’m still figuring out how to operate. The difficulty in finding street parking in Queens is overstated, if you’re patient enough you’ll find a spot. It’s no better or worse than it was the last time I had a car in my charge, which was back in the early 1990’s. Sucked then, sucks now. It’s New York City, where nothing is easy. Get used to it or get out. I’m opting for the second option.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the computer systems which the new car offers is absolutely terrifying but works fantastically well – radar guided cruise control. When you’re on a highway and you engage it, this system maintains a designated following distance from the car in front of you. It slows down and speeds up automatically, and the sensors in the car read the painted lane indicators on the road and automatically keep you centered in your lane and the system makes steering adjustments for you. You still need to have your hands on the wheel, and the car nags at you if it doesn’t sense input from the driver, but the thing can actually drive itself to a certain extent.

Like I said, terrifying.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve already put more than a 1,000 miles on the odometer in the last three weeks, but to be fair – there was a trip back and forth to Pittsburgh. We’ve signed a lease there, and by Christmas, I’ll no longer be a New Yorker.

There’s been a couple of really nice moments in the interim, however, where my friends have gone “all in” to say goodbye. Newtown Creek Alliance awarded me with the “Reveal” award at our annual “Tidal Toast” gala and fundraiser, and my pals at the John J. Harvey Fireboat brought a big group of my friends and I out for one last Newtown Creek boat tour.

I’ll show you photos from the latter at some future date.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve removed myself from the many obligations which I found myself in for the last few years in preparation for this great escape – Community Board, Access Queens, Newtown Creek CAG executive committee, Working Harbor Committee Board. I’ll be stepping down from the board of Newtown Creek Alliance next week, as well. It’s all over.

Time to close the cover on this chapter. Pittsburgh, a rough beast is shambling towards you, clothed in black sack cloth. It’s name is Mitch.


“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

November 9, 2022 at 11:00 am

fired spectacularly

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As alluded to yesterday, the bulkhead situation along the 29th street side of Dutch Kills most definitely got worse in the 2 weeks or so that I hadn’t been there. Unfortunately, I was not about to try and get some shots of it in the dark as it was way too risky due to the degradation of the shoreline. Saying that, I came back a couple of days later, during the afternoon, and documented the scene. I’ll show y’all that in the future.

Meantime, I visited all of my usual “stations of the cross” at Dutch Kills. There’s my favorite tree.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At what used to be the campus of “Irving Subway Grate,” another concrete factory is building its equipment and site. All the politicians are “very concerned” about the environment, but when it comes time to consider a heavy trucking based business from an industrial sector notorious for its product ending up in the water wanting to situate itself in LIC, they allow these businesses to set themselves up on the waterfront. Jobs. No requirement that they use their bulkheads, no preference or encouragement to use the nearby freight rail line. Nada.

Nothing matters, nobody cares.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The last meeting I attended as a Steering Committee member of the Newtown Creek Community Advisory Group was horrific. EPA offered a revised timeline of their Superfund project which pushed the “shovels in the ground” phase of the cleanup back to the 2040’s, with a 2050ish “done” date. Their team describe to the community how hard their jobs are, how many regulations they must oblige and how difficult that is, and how their efforts can basically be sent back to square one by reviews from anonymous “alphabet acronym” Federal level committees that no one has ever heard of. They don’t talk about how the Corporate and Governmental PRP’s – Potentially Responsible Parties – have run them around and around in circles for twelve years.

A blind elephant which only knows how to do one thing – moving forward slowly – and whose pathway can easily be nudged in one direction or another by regulatory or political nudging from the PRP’s Mahouts – that’s the EPA.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yeah, I’m kind of pissed off about their schedule. Everyone on the meeting call gave the EPA a bit of spleen about the timeline. Many, including myself, commented on how we’ll all be dead and how every member of the EPA team will be long retired from Federal service by the time they stick a shovel into the ground.

I found myself having to remind them that each and every day that goes by is another one during which children in the always growing residential neighborhoods surrounding Newtown Creek are exposed to its poisons.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Doesn’t matter what they do. The scene you’re looking at above will be under water by 2050. I don’t believe in Santa Claus, and you don’t believe in climate change and rising sea levels. That’s cool.

I’m done, y’all. We had a window, and instead of addressing the existential issues that a metroplex built on a series of sandbar islands faces in the 21st century, we built “affordable” housing and jammed as many people as we could right in next to the water.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not exactly a cheer filled post, this.

My plan is to get out of here asap, and go live in the mountains. What’s your plan? I’m not saying you have to move on it right now, instead I’d predict you want to enact it within the next decade. That’s when things are going to start becoming fairly dicey from a weather point of view here in NYC. Your kids and grandkids are the ones who are going to have to deal and live with terms like “managed retreat.”

Me? I’m not a strong swimmer, so the safety of higher elevation is what I seek in my dotage.


“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

October 14, 2022 at 11:15 am

harrow up

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After confirming that Dutch Kills was indeed still bubbling, one accomplished his usual shot list at the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge. All these years, one of my self appointed obligations has been to take the same photo from the same spot over and over and over again. Pedantic, yes, but I can show you the evolution of this area over the last 15 years. The skyline has changed, but somehow Dutch Kills never benefits.

What can I tell you? This entire section of my life is ending soon, and I’m deeply – deeply – caught up in sentiment and reflection at this moment. Every time I do something, it’s theoretically the last time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Tree of Heaven is thriving right now, is in full bloom, and remains an eidolon to me.

After accomplishing the usual shot list, I decided to walk with the camera mounted on the tripod and continue doing deep focus and longish exposure shots.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As you can see, the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself was descending behind Manhattan and into whatever fiery pit it spends its nights in, over in New Jersey.

There was quite a light show on this particular evening.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One was making his way over to Borden Avenue for this particular sunset. The overhanging clouds of humidity rising from the City were causing all sorts of lovely color to manifest up in the vault.

I kept on keeping on to the south.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Up on Borden Avenue, I couldn’t resist this shot, with the Empire State Building framed by a series of illegally parked moving trucks.

Well, they were “technically” legally parked as it was prior to 9 p.m., but you just know for a fact that they would still be there the next morning. Nothing matters, nobody cares.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the one I was hoping to get, above. I also shot a few hundred individual exposures which I’m planning on turning into a time lapse, but that’s on the back burner right now. I’m still working out the production/capture/delivery system for time lapse videos.

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

September 6, 2022 at 11:00 am

inside information

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whenever I try to say what kind of a bird a bird is, I get it wrong, so I just make up names for them. Thereby, that’s an Old Republic Throat Chewer in the shot above.

As described yesterday, I spent a bit of time at Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary on Saturday the 30th of July right about sunset.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The vertical tide of Dutch Kills was rising while I was shooting these. The design of the canal, coupled with its distance from the East River and lack of water flowing in from its banks, negates horizontal flow of the water. The water here goes up and down, rather than exhibiting a laminar pattern like a natural waterway.

The material spilling into the water from the collapsing bulkhead seems to forming spirals, which is fascinating.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s some of the timber structure I described to you yesterday, which forms the underpin framework of what we perceive as being the land of Queens.

The light began to decline as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself descended behind New Jersey. I packed up the kit and moved on.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One stopped at his various “stations of the cross” at Dutch Kills.

My favorite tree is doing pretty well this year, have to say.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There were a bunch of big white birds, which I’d call “Non Striped Juvenile Uncle chasers” but which were likely Snowy Egrets, in position over the water waiting for some slimy dinner to appear in the water under them.

The water was teeming with tiny fishies called “Mumichaugs” which are colloquially referred to as “Killie Fish.” There’s also predator fishies in there, Bunkers and the like.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The tripod section of my evening’s excursion was at an end after capturing this shot along the Borden Avenue Bridge. A quick walk would take me to the Jackson Avenue stop on the 7 line in Hunters Point, which would in turn carry me to Queens Plaza and an assignation with an Astoria bound N train.

Something somewhat different 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

August 24, 2022 at 11:00 am

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