The Newtown Pentacle

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Friday, brü.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, by the time you’ve received this latest installment, a humble narrator has had to endure about 20-25 hours of Zoom meetings in just the last week. Monday was a swearing in ceremony for Community Board Members, Tuesday was the actual Community Board, Wednesday was the Newtown Creek Community Advisory Group public meeting with EPA, Thursday the Steering Committee for the same organization. Unsurprisingly, the totality of this experience is somewhat Kafkaesque. I feel hollowed out by all of this, for some reason.

Luckily, I had a live and in person “thing” this week, along the fabulous Newtown Creek, in Long Island City’s Blissville section. The Green Asphalt company invited a few of us to attend a meet and greet at their site. Nice folks, good meet up, interesting conversations were engaged in. Real life. Not Zoom. Got caught out in the rain, perfect.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Any photo now, you are going to cross the vaccination threshold with me. It’s been a year of darkness here at Newtown Pentacle, a cavalcade of night time photos gathered in the most socially isolated places that I could describe as being “walking distance” from HQ here in Astoria. Then I got vaccinated, and the camera began turning up in the daylight again. There will still be a lot of night shots in the future, lords and ladies, but for right now…

Let there be light.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Sunnyside Yards, nearby Queens Plaza, with a 7 line subway up top on the elevated track and a Long Island Rail Road work train on the tracks below. While I was shooting this, a fellow sucking down a paper bag clad can of beer approached me. His name was Renny, and he described himself as a Physicist originally from Poland. His conversation began with “Einstein was an idiot.”

Back in session.


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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.

unnameable devourers

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Rue, Wednesday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Long walks, short walks, all around the town. The shot above was gathered at the end of a long one, as I scuttled towards home. The swirling of a filthy black raincoat, caught in the atmospheric bluster of late winter, obscured this wandering mendicant from casual view. Most would have noticed a discard piece of black fabric loosed to the urban void, and carried on a climatologically dynamic firmament. Some would notice the decaying anthropoid contained within the wind blown shape, spying an over fed and shaved head goblin, but only a few would notice the camera and the purposely steeley gaze.

That’s the intersection of Queens Blvd. and Greenpoint/Roosevelt Avenue. This is yet another one of the colonial era holdouts in Queens, as a note. Greenpoint and Roosevelt Avenue sit in the path of the post road which once connected the Dutch colonies of Bosjwick in Breuklyn with Flisling in Nieuwtown. That’s Greenpoint’s waterfront and Flushing. Btw – if I misspelled the Dutch names, oops.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A different night, a different and shorter walk found me heading towards the Triborough Bridge here in Astoria to actuate the camera’s shutter at something visually interesting. At Steinway and 30th Avenue, this food truck was encountered. The puddle of light created by the truck drew me in.

A drug store chain occupies a former movie theater location here. I’m informed that back during the juvenile delinquent era of the 1950’s and 60’s there was a local “gang” whom considered this to be their corner. The Astoria Gents, apparently. I’ve seen the silky baseball jackets they used to wear. Talk about a sparsely documented subject, the local neighborhood JD era gangs are barely mentioned.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned several times and to different audiences, I’m a big fan of the train station redo that MTA and Darth Cuomo instituted along the 31st Street corridor. This is a dark and often scary set of streets, between Northern Blvd. and Ditmars. The new stations provide for an abundant scattering of light into the environ. Street lighting is critical, in my mind, as far as public safety 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

March 31, 2021 at 1:30 pm

square toed

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Thurday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My short(ish) wintertime walks around Western Queens often include walking the corridor along 31st street, under the elevated tracks of the N & W Subway lines. As I’ve mentioned a few times, when I’m wandering around the industrial zones of Newtown Creek – the “happy place” of industrial Maspeth or the “concrete devastations” of Long Island City – it’s an entirely solitary experience and I eschew wearing the mask since I’m literally the only person there and you can see anyone else coming from blocks away on the super wide industrial zone sidewalks. 31st street, with its crowded and narrow sidewalks and commercial strip intersections? Hell, yeah, I’ve got the thing strapped to my face. I don’t like the odds.

Leaving the house is a gambling kind of thing these days, and one thing my dad and his brothers taught me as a kid (they would bet on what color car was going to roll through the traffic light next) is that calculating whether your chances are favorable or not is a life skill. Probability of getting a parking ticket, or mugged, or having to wait overly long for a table at the local diner positively ruled my Dad’s decision making processes. I’ve got a little of that in me, but unlike one of my uncles, I’d never bet the family business in a poker game with 1970’s Williamsburg mafiosos.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The odds of some random virus particle suspended in the air flow in deserted areas like nocturnal Industrial Maspeth versus along a transit hub in a residential neighborhood? Do the math, Bud. What are the odds?

This method of thought has been working out for me for the last year, but as I often opine – you do you. I’ll say this, though, wearing one of these masks while also wearing spectacles is a world of no fun during the winter months. You clear the fog from your glasses with a lens cloth, and before you’ve even got them back in position they’re fogging up again. Respiratory plague versus crossing streets half blind…

Odds of getting Covid while crossing a street versus getting hit by some 18 year old driving a $75,000 fart car at 90 mph whom I couldn’t see because of fogged glasses… calculating… calculating…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The funny thing about 31st street, which I find visually exciting as a note, is that it’s deserted of population for most of its run. The section between Northern Blvd. and Broadway is fairly inert at night, except right around the odd corners where the stops are found. Most of the pedestrian and human (non automotive) activity you’ll observe occurs between the Broadway and Ditmars stops. Even in that stretch, though, there’s long blocks where you encounter nobody else on the sidewalk. Lots of drivers, a few bikes, the odd Cop car screaming past with lights and sirens.

Also, it’s really dark for some reason between Broadway and Northern. I passed that one onto the Government guys at a recent meeting. They filed a complaint,

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 25th. 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 28, 2021 at 2:05 pm

amorphous liquid

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another day night, and another walk around Western Queens with the camera. As mentioned yesterday, one is unnaturally vulnerable to cold weather. Partially, this is due to the side effects several of the medications my team of Doctors insist upon, and to the underlying medical conditions which their prescriptions are designed to remedy. My genetic flaws affect the circulatory system, heart, and the liver’s regulation of blood chemistry which – in simple terms – means that when it’s cold out my hands and feet go all bloodless and numb. This results in me having a fairly uneven and sometimes painful gait, and the loss of physical acuity and haptic feedback in the fingers. If you notice a pile of black rags with a camera lurching and weaving along Northern Blvd. some evening, that’ll be me.

Don’t worry, my fettle is fine, just trying to be quite transparent these days about my various maladies and weird moods. Hoping that you might cut me a break for my many malapropisms, micro aggressions, and madness in the future.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Somebody I used to hang out with at the neighborhood bar, in the before times, spent some effort describing my “micro aggressions” to me one night. I explained them away saying that I was quite unaware of any projected enmity, and reminded my companion that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t consciously project “micro” anything. If I’m mad at you, it’s “macro aggression” time, and the last time you experienced anything like what it’s like when I’m angry was at the end of the Jimmy Cagney movie “White Light, White Heat.” There’s an overlay of the climax of “Barton Fink” as well, specifically evoking the finale denouement of John Goodman’s role (without the hitler part, though). Ain’t pretty.

I do like that the particular set of things I will call someone out on are specific to their circumstance, as I try to avoid broad stroke denunciation based on creed or orientation. I once called some fellow a “shoe wearing, ginger ale drinking, motherflower.” When the asshole you’re yelling at falls to the floor laughing, you win.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are two things one is continually struck by on my night time wanderings – particularly in the last couple of months – first is that I’m somehow able to pick a pathway through one of the most densely populated sections of North America wherein the only other humans are safely sealed up inside of automobiles and trucks rather than on the sidewalk where they can blow their cootie laden breath at me, the second is that the City that never sleeps now goes to bed about ten p.m.

The latter factoid is bizarre, walking through Sunnyside or Astoria and seeing that every restaurant and bar is shuttered. The odd pizza joint will be open, but the “24 hour City” is a thing of the past.

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 25th. 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 26, 2021 at 1:45 pm

prehensile characteristic

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The last Monday morning of 2020 is here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pondering, that’s what I do when I’m shlepping along and scuttling about and in between photos. My thoughts will wander to this or that, and I’ll often turn over recent conversations or arguments in my mind, wondering why I said or did something. Often, I’ll remind myself that everyone hates me. Can’t blame them either, a humble narrator is quite objectionable as a person and doesn’t really belong in the company of polite society. Too much of a wise ass. That’s always been my problem, but I just can’t stop myself. The world is hysterical, if you get the joke. I don’t, but I pick up a lot of trivia along the way, which feeds into the pondering.

I had to break the news to a friend recently that munchkins aren’t actually the punched out holes of Dunkin Donuts, which is something I thought obvious. It felt like I was telling him that Santa Claus isn’t real.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Did you know that the reason you associate eating carrots with improved eyesight via Vitamin A ingestion is actually British WW2 propaganda, propagated to hide the efficacy and existence of their novel “radar” military technology? They actually said that their “spotters” could see the Luftwaffe coming due to a carrot rich diet.

The dyes and colorings in modern military camouflage clothing are chosen primarily because of interaction with the invisible infrared spectrum used by night vision equipment, which is more important than performance in the spectrum of visible light discernible by the human eye?

Did you know that New York City has less than four days worth (supply estimate is 14.6 million gallons, primarily stored in 800 gas station underground tanks and a handful of bulk storage facilities) of the 3.4 million gallons of gasoline and diesel liquid fuels we consume every day stockpiled within our borders?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Did you know that Astoria’s 31st street used to be 2nd street Avenue, and before that it was called Debevoise Avenue? How about that the elevated tracks above it opened on February 1st in 1917?

Like I said… pondering.

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 28th. 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 28, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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