The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘East River

more hexagonal

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Thursday is gristle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described previously, a humble narrator decided to inspect the Triborough Bridge’s rather well used bike and pedestrian path recently. It’s illegal to take photos up there, as I discovered post facto. When an Government Agency doesn’t want you taking photos somewhere, there’s usually a reason. The reason they give will involve the words “security” and or “terrorism,” whereas the words I’d offer include “corruption, incompetence, or malfeasance.”

So, who uses this pathway? Observationally, a lot of bike riders and pedestrians. What they encounter is an (incredibly) unlit and narrow space with stair cases that just sort of appear in front of you without warning.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The bike rider approaching my position above is also breaking the law, since the MTA Bridges and Tunnels operation instructs that riders on the bike path MUST dismount and walk their bikes. Quite obviously, this isn’t something that happens too often. I saw people riding on electric skateboards and scooters as well.

I’m actually planning on how and with whom I’m going to deal with on this subject. It makes me angry, especially so because Triborough is a toll bridge and fairly flush with maintenance budget cash, unlike the NYC DOT bridges like Queensboro or Brooklyn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, just as I git to one of the fairly steep stairs, a couple of riders with profoundly bright LED bike lights appeared. Their colorful light helped paint the picture, as it were, of what’s happening up here. Literally the only light other than automotive headlights was being pumped out by these two bikes. Luckily, I always carry a pocket flashlight, but sheesh.

Something different tomorrow, and this won’t be the last time you hear about this particular situation.


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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

April 15, 2021 at 1:00 pm

sentiently over

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Wednesdays just drizzle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, these photos are criminal in nature. Post 911, a lot of NYC became “no photo” zones. The press photographer’s association actually sued the MTA to guarantee the right to take photos in the subways, and as far as the East River and Hudson bridges go – they’re largely owned by three entities – Port Authority, NYC DOT, and MTA Bridges and Tunnels. PA and DOT were out of the banning photography business by 2008 or so, although you still encounter the odd Cop or Security Guard who’d aggressively inquire “why are you taking pictures”?

MTA, on the other hand never explicitly banned photography, instead they invoke some obscure “NY State Authorities” rule which offers the opinion that facilities like the Triborough Bridge are a) private property, b) that whether you’re on the thing or even around them you must follow all instructions on posted signs – even if the sign is missing or you’re not on “their” property. Technically speaking, everybody who’s taken a photo in Astoria Park of a kid’s birthday party which the Triborough is in the background of is a potential member of Al Quaeda to MTA. Remember them? Haven’t thought about Al Quaeda in years. Who’s the enemy nowadays?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Now, to my point of view, if the Government – and specifically the political patronage mill section of it called the MTA – doesn’t want you to take pictures of something, that’s precisely what you should be taking pictures of. To wit, you’re looking at the unlit and unmarked pedestrian/bike path of the Triborough above.

In some ways I was kind of hoping a cop would show up and ticket me for this, as I’d make a whole megillah out of it. Glad one didn’t, but if photography is such a burning security issue here where were the MTA cops? One way or another, I’m going to start talking about this with the people who sign MTA’s checks soon.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There isn’t a splash of glitter paint anywhere near the unlit stairwells which just appear in front of you in the dark. The path is set in such a manner that the headlights of oncoming bridge traffic are at eye level while you’re walking in deep shadow. There’s zero path lighting – a string of xmas LED lights secured to the deck would vastly improve things. Then there’s the section over the East River where the “Suicide Fencing” stops and you’re suddenly experiencing a waist high rail as the only thing standing between you and a 105 foot drop to the waters of Hells Gate…

Yeah, I bet there’s a bunch of reason they don’t want cameras up here.


“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 14, 2021 at 1:30 pm

perfumed jungles

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Awww, it’s only Tuesday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To start – it was just weird to be out during the daylight and taking pictures while walking back from Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge about a month ago. It’s been so long that I had to constantly remind myself to check my exposure settings. The night time stuff which has been on offer for the last year, the solitude thereof having been necessitated by obvious concerns, is comparatively “one and done” in terms of exposure and ISO sensitivity due to the somewhat predictable levels of nocturnal street lighting. Sure, I have to dial the shutter speed around here and there or up the ISO sensitivity, but… it’s been a long time since I had to worry about the deep shadows and blown out highlights encountered due to the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself bobbing about in the afternoon sky.

Luckily, the Roosevelt Island Tram was still there. I plan on riding on this thing sometime this week, actually. Hope I get a chance to wipe a clean spot on its window before boarding. If you haven’t been, there’s commanding views of the Queensboro Bridge to be experienced from up there, and it’s “one of those NYC things to check off your list.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Other goals and destinations abound. I’m also planning on visiting the Empire State Building’s observation deck soon. I’m hoping they’re still offering discounts. Getting high in Manhattan is often a problem, since a) you either have to know somebody who can let you in and get you to a window, b) there’s an in person meeting happening in a cool place, or c) you have an opportunity to trespass without being jailed. Getting high refers to altitude, of course, since the other meaning of it is no longer illegal.

My goodness, I’ve actually lived long enough to see the most onerous of the Rockefeller drug laws in New York State done away with.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back at home, a couple of days later, I was lucky enough to catch the Amtrak people leaving the door to the Acela maintenance building open. As I’ve mentioned more times than I can remember, the Sunnyside Yards people have been poking new holes in their fences at a rapid pace. It seems like every day I find a new surveyor’s hole or some the after effect of some construction worker’s need to push a hose or a cable down to the rail yard.

Back 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

April 6, 2021 at 1:00 pm

dazzling violet

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Thursday, they’s.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After the whole Staten Island Ferry leg of a recent day was over (described earlier this week), getting back home to the rolling hills of almond eyed Astoria involved using the NYC Ferry Astoria line. Even pre pandemic, one preferred this mode of transit to the hurtling metal boxes moving through the rotting concrete of buried tunnels variety, and prefer it even more so after the emergence of the virus. One of the stops offered by the ferry service is at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which is where I cracked out the shot above.

Yeah, I was intentionally trying to get a bit minimalist with these three. Artsy fartsy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One wishes that East River water was as clear as glass, and that we would be able to peer downwards and see all the wonders down there. Just in the shot above, you’d see gas pipelines and electrical conduits, an enormous pipe carrying Manhattan’s sewage to Greenpoint, and theoretically a long rock mound or berm which the Subway and Long Island Railroad tunnels are armored against the tide and other elemental forces with. There would be hundreds of conduit pipes carrying electrical and communications wires as well, and there’s likely a few unplanned features down there involving vehicles and household appliances which found their way into the water somehow. I’m told by professional divers, however, that the East River has so much solute suspended in the water column that you literally cannot see your hand in front of your face once you are a meter or two below the surface. They work by touch and feel, in absolute darkness, these divers.

Who can guess, though, all there is that might be buried down there?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another stop on the Astoria line is found at Roosevelt Island, right under mighty Queensboro. Luckily, just as the boat arrived in the shadow of the great bridge, the Roosevelt Island Tram was seen dangling from its harness of transport wires.

What fun.

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, October 5th. 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

October 8, 2020 at 11:00 am

spider like

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Wednesday, yo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Do you have a favorite Staten Island Ferry model? I do, and it’s the John F. Kennedy. It’s not the newest, or the largest, but it is the oldest model in the fleet of big orange boats and the last of its class still being used. This baby has been on duty since 1965. It’s the one with wooden benches and the large outdoor balconies. Such a cool boat.

Before you ask… again… it doesn’t matter how big the thing is. The difference between a ship and a boat is that a ship can launch a boat and a boat can’t launch a ship or a boat. Rowboats, emergency boats and inflatable duckies don’t count in this distinction.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Along the route back to Manhattan, a trip which is about thirty minutes long, the Reinauer Towing tug pictured above caught my eye. You’ll often spot articulated Tug and Barge combos “parked” off the coast of South Brooklyn. The fuel barge is riding pretty high up so it’s likely empty of product. The parked tugs are waiting for their turn at a pier which connects to a tank farm of refined petroleum products, with that pier likely found along the Kill Van Kull waterway separating Staten Island and Bayonne, New Jersey.

There are other distribution points, of course, but given the position the smart money is on Kill Van Kull.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After getting back onto Manhattan, one walked north a couple of blocks and boarded the Astoria bound NYC Ferry, which proceeded along the East River. A smaller tug with a different dance card was encountered along the way. Recyclable materials, of the sort which we citizens leave on the curb in clear or blue bags, were being barged south and the route carried them right under the Manhattan Bridge.

The horrific “Two Bridges” development, specifically the first of its 5 mirror faced luxury towers, was causing the afternoon sun to strobe down onto the water in a most uncomfortable fashion. Gauche.

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, October 5th. 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

October 7, 2020 at 11:00 am

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