The Newtown Pentacle

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alarmed envy

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s important to acknowledge, when viewing a place or person for the final time, the gravity of the moment. I don’t plan on coming back to NYC anytime soon, and by soon I possibly mean “ever.” People have asked – is it the politics? Are you leaving because of rising crime, or the unaffordable cost of living, or what? It’s all of those things, and none of those things. It’s about “Act 3” and wanting something better for Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself in our declining years.

I would mention that this is the second version of this post you’re reading. Version 1 strayed into exactly the sort of soliloquy about NYC that I’ve sworn I wouldn’t write or publish. Suffice to say that New York is a City for the young and wealthy to enjoy and that I’m neither of those things.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of not being young, all of the exertions of the move to Pittsburgh have taken a toll. Shortly after arriving in Pennsylvania after my twice back and forth 1,600 miles of driving, one contracted a wicked cold with a productive cough (not Covid), and one of the many small wounds on my hands (from carrying boxes, packing boxes, unpacking boxes etc.) has developed a sweet infection. An actual Google search I conducted this morning was “What is Pus”? This led to an interesting internet rabbit hole which included medieval medical thought and theory.

Turns out the stuff is composed of white blood cells and other immune system bits. According to the medical consensus from the days before the germ theory of disease became generally accepted – if it’s white pus, you’re probably going to be ok. Yellow, or green, or god forbid black pus, you likely want to get your self bled by a doctor and do it quick. That’s what the Google tells me, anyway. Luckily, I already unpacked the box that had the Duane Reade triple antibiotic topical goo in it.

Overall, I feel like I got into a bar fight at the moment, and have lost badly to several large and sadistic men. That’s officially the end of me whining about how tired and depleted I feel right now. It’ll be ok in a couple of days. I need a whole lot of regular sleep coupled with proper meals.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the way to Pittsburgh, one drove the Mobile Oppression Platform (my pet name for the car) through some extremely rural areas wherein fealty to a former President – you know, the orange one who tried to overthrow the Government – runs strong. I saw a hand painted sign on a decaying barn along route 28 south that read “Biden bad, he spend you earn, no socialism.” I’m not sure what these people think “socialism” means, nor where they learned basic grammar. Personally, I roll with what the dictionary says words mean, rather than what some bloke with a busted down barn which he’s doing voluntary advertising for a NYC landlord on, alongside a highway in rural Pennsylvania, thinks.

I actually blame the school system’s cowardice, in terms of discussing modern day political issues, for this era we live in. When I was in public school in the 70’s and 80’s, history officially ended at World War 2 since they didn’t want to tread into all of the “controversial Civil Rights or Cold War stuff.” You get the same thing on the other side of the political fence, with a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the word “socialism” means in particular, but also with popular usage of “progressive” or “liberal.”

Bah!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At any rate, back on the NYC Ferry, which is where I was before I started rambling on about how beat up I am and the weird things I’ve seen here in Pennsylvania – which I’m still working on being able to reliably spell…

My pal Val and I rode the Astoria line of the service to the Pier 11 Wall Street stop over in Lower Manhattan. We had a brief lay over while waiting for the Soundview line boat to arrive. Soundview is a great ride, heading up the west side of the East River towards 34th street, and then past Roosevelt Island where it makes a stop nearby Gracie Mansion at East 90th street. From there it proceeds north through Hells Gate to Bowery Bay and ultimately to Soundview in the Bronx, which is where the footings of the Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges sit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One had timed the trip for late afternoon, hoping to catch some orange and gold light for this – my last ferry ride.

For the journey north, I deployed a long lens which allowed a 70-300 mm zoom range. It’s not my best piece of glass, this unit, but it does allow for a great deal of reach. On the way south, I had used a wider 24-105 mm zoom lens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The hoped for light show started just as the Soundview bound ferry debarked from Pier 11, as predicted. We were heading north, and this ended up being the last time I’d be seeing or taking a photo of the Manhattan Bridge. Bwah!

More tomorrow, at 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

December 20, 2022 at 11:00 am

stealthy whirring

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

June 19th saw Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself riding around on NYC Ferries for the afternoon and evening. I often espouse the virtues of this service, given its thrifty nature and the fact that you’re traveling around the City with a somewhat clean toilet nearby.

We were all over the East River.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We boarded the Astoria Line, which carried us southwards down the East River towards Manhattan’s Pier 11 Wall Street stop. Along the way, I spotted the Roosevelt Island Tram coming in for a landing from the East Side of Manhattan.

Have to ride that thing again, soon.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Astoria line makes a stop at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which always offers you something interesting to point a camera at.

Next stop is Pier 11, where we transferred onto the South Brooklyn line and headed over to Red Hook. Our Lady wanted one of those Key Lime Pie thingamabobs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was a bit of schedule disruption at the South Brooklyn Line’s Atlantic Basin/Red Hook stop and we got hung up there for about an hour. That sucked, but what are you gonna do?

Finally, the boat which would take us to Manhattan arrived.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the financial district, there’s an imposture set up for tourists called “Stone Street” which goes out of its way to look “old timey,” but other than some barely utilized historic building stock – it’s the financial district. There’s a pub called “Ulysses” there which has pretty decent burgers and the beer is only $8 a pint. By the financial district’s standard, that’s as cheap as it gets.

We had a drink and a meal, and decided that we would splurge on a nice air conditioned cab ride back to Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When I’m paying for a ride, I like to at least get something out of it that I can keep, so my habit is to rig the camera up for high speed and low light shooting. Got this one just after we got onto the FDR Drive.

Tomorrow – something completely different.


“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 21, 2022 at 11:00 am

every aesthetic

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 9th was a day I had no reason at all to wake up for. Nothing in the schedule, or at least nothing I wanted to do, and the following three days were filled with a loathsome schedule of “have to’s” and zoom meetings as well as a patch of rainy weather. Thereby, my goal for the day was to fill up my camera cards with images that would need processing, something I could do while listening to the virtue signaling and “blah, blah, blah” of the various meetings I had to attend.

Thereby, off to the NYC Ferry did I go, and an entire day was spent bouncing around from place to place in the Harbor of New York.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My first leg involved the Astoria line ferry, which leaves from a dock adjoining the campus of the NYCHA Astoria Houses nearby Vernon Avenue. The route moves south, and makes several stops. First up is Roosevelt Island, then LIC North nearby Anable Basin, then 34th street in the City. It continues to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and then the terminal stop is at Pier 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.

The game I like to play with the ferry is to see how far I can can get on one ticket by transferring from one line to the other, your ticket stays active for 90 minutes, whereas the Astoria Route is about 45 minutes from Queens to Pier 11.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At Pier 11, and I should mention that the shot above is from the Brooklyn Navy Yard stop, a quick scan of the scheduling screens revealed that a Rockaway bound boat would be leaving within my allotted transfer time, so that’s where I would be heading.

The Rockaway Boat leaves Pier 11 and makes a stop at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, after that they open up the engine and gun it for the peninsula. The “One way trip” to Rockaway is functionally an hour on the ferry from Pier 11.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The route carries you past Erie Basin and Gowanus Bay, and follows the Ambrose Channel towards the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge. Keep your eyes peeled, as there’s all sorts of interesting maritime industrial stuff you might encounter along the way.

I outfitted myself with my least favorite lens, a 70-300 consumer level zoom. It’s nowhere near as reliable as my other lenses, and is one of the oldest parts of my kit. I’d love to replace it, but can’t really justify spending the $ on doing so at the moment.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A tugboat called the Schuylkill passed the NYC Ferry I was riding on, and it’s named after the river flowing through Philadelphia which was recently discussed here after a day trip.

Coincidence? I don’t think so, as the entire world does actually revolve around me. I’m special, just ask me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The ferry continued on its Rockaway bound heading, and I became entranced by a cargo ship sitting off the coast of… Staten Island… loading a barge with what appeared to be soil or gravel at the narrows.

More 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

June 22, 2022 at 11:00 am

hidden latch

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

March 22nd. That’s what we’re up to in today’s post! Finally getting a bit caught up, and I won’t be running the risk of showing you photos in June that have snow on the ground. As mentioned – one has been unusually prolific in 2022 – which is likely a reaction to all of the lockdown dealies and restrictions from the last couple of years, and thereby the posts here at Newtown Pentacle have been carrying double the normal number of photos.

So, on March 22nd, I was riding on the ferry again and decided to get off the thing nearby the Brooklyn Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was going to be about an hour before the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself tucked itself away behind New Jersey, so I set up my tripod and claimed a spot. There were a few other shooters at the waterfront park where I did my “set up.”

Most of them seemed to be packing Sony camera systems, and from the look of what they were up to – shooting time lapse sequences.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally, I wasn’t there with anything specific – shot wise – in mind. Catch as catch can days are my favorites, as a humble narrator enjoys serendipity.

Over to the southwest, a bit of a hullabaloo seemed to be underway in Jersey…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I later found out that a plastics recycling plant in Bayonne experienced a pretty serious fire, which is unfortunately a pretty common occurrence for recycling plants in Bayonne.

Remember when the Chlorine Bleach factory in Jersey City was burning during the winter? I called my buddy in Kearny that night, and gave him very specific instructions to follow should he notice a greenish mist wafting along the streets. Chlorine gas is heavier than the normal atmospheric gases, so if you find yourself in the path of some, get up to the second or third floors and wait it out. Whatever you do, do not turn on the water faucet. The gas and liquid will instantly combine and form a cloud of hydrochloric acid, which will dissolve you and yours.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Who else watches the YouTube channel for the National Chemical Safety Board? What? Just me? Sheiste.

The sky started getting interesting, but didn’t go all crimson and orange as I had hoped it would.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Regardless, the scenery was still pretty choice, especially when the lights started coming on for the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan behind it. I decided to hang around, and blow off some stupid Zoom meeting that I was supposed to attend.

Apparently, and this is a direct response to my realization that “Nothing Matters and Nobody Cares,” I no longer give any shits whatsoever.


“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

May 16, 2022 at 11:30 am

escaping forever

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The NYC Ferry carried a humble narrator’s horrific form northwards towards the Bronx, where a desire to have a look at the College Point facing section of the “The Undiscovered Country” awaited. “Undiscovered Country” is how I refer to the Bronx. The reason for this is ultimately that if I want to go to that Borough from Queens, it’s a longer train trip than if I wanted to visit Westchester, despite it being a half mile away across the East River.

That’s the price of Manhattancentric transit, by the way. It’s easier to get to the City from Astoria than it is to go to Maspeth or Ridgewood. Forget about the Bronx, you need to go to midtown and then ride a local train all the way through Manhattan. The NYC Ferry negates this, and puts the unknown country within reach.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s Little Hellgate, which crosses the Bronx Kill, a tiny waterway that’s the only reminder of Randall’s and Wards Islands once being separate land masses. Notice the Amtrak train set on it heading north.

The ferry captain really opened up the throttle right about here, and I had to hold onto my hat for fear of having it torn away by the wind.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s been a Soundview stop on this ferry line since the day they inaugurated the service, one found on the south shore of an East River tributary called Westchester Creek. The new stop is on the north shore of Westchester Creek, and the stop is dubbed “Ferry Point Park” after the NYC Parks outpost found there.

Pictured above is the Bronx Whitestone Bridge, which is what really drew me in here. I don’t have many pictures of this one in my catalog, and this day trip involved the beginnings of an effort to fix that situation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s no good choice as to which path to follow along the water’s edge here. Either scuttle on the hard to walk in gravel, or on the muddy grass – it’s your call. I chose to pick out a path in the mud, as walking in loose gravel is sort of like walking in snow.

The park itself was actually quite well used, with joggers and families milling about and doing the sorts of things you’d associate with the human infestation – running, climbing, shouting – that kind of stuff.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A brief trek found me at the edge of the land, and under the Bronx Whitestone Bridge. Opened in 1939, designed by Othmar Amman, the Bronx Whitestone is a suspension bridge which carries six lanes of Interstate 678 over the East River. It’s towers are 377 feet tall, and with the approaches, the bridge is 3,700 feet long. The suspension section over the water is 2,300 feet long, and at the time of its opening this was the fourth longest bridge on the entire planet.

Owned by NYC but operated by the MTA Bridges and Tunnels Authority, it connects Whitestone, Flushing, and College Point in Queens with Throggs Neck in the Bronx.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Once I was happily situated, the tripod and filters were deployed and the camera shifted into its “landscape modality.” Why do I keep on mentioning this sort of technical thing, you may ask?

When I meet younger photographers these days, they are generally geared up for a singular mission and aren’t “Omnivores.” This isn’t the way it works, I tell them. Different circumstances will be encountered at every intersection you come to. Sometimes it’s the zoom lens you need, other situations demand a prime lens with an ND or Polarizer Filter. Be ready for everything that might come your way, and get practiced in the art of quickly changing gears without damaging the gear. Military people practice breaking down and cleaning their weapons blind folded, as an example. Be ready.

More tomorrow.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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

April 7, 2022 at 11:00 am

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