The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Hells Gate

fantastic handiwork

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Again, Friday?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Gaze at your navel, lords and ladies. One found himself in lucky circumstance on the night of a full moon, as the satellite’s relative position to the ancient village of Astoria provided for a line up with the cruciform adorning a local Christian meeting house. I’ve always wondered about why certain sects of Nazarene worship build fortresses as their sacred spaces. Guess it has a lot to do with European culture and history. American variants of Christianity abandon the masonry and curtain walls of these fortress building schemes, preferring instead auditorium style buildings made of wood. I’ve never encountered a church made of straw, nor witnessed a Big Bad Wolf trying to blow down a church, but there’s got to be a connection.

Ask a physicist to calculate it, since a humble narrator is shit at basic arithmetic let alone higher mathematics, but I’ve often wondered how many mega jeules of energy Yahweh must have channeled through the atmosphere to resurrect junior. The rest of the Bible indicates that with a few exceptions, Yahweh operates within the internal rules of it’s own universal constants. Didn’t just dissolve reality with a snap in the Noah story, Yahweh used a global flood instead. Sodom and Gomorrah were taken down using an obviously volcanic mechanism as well.

Let’s presume it’s all true, this predicate…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Potential energy is what’s contained, chemically speaking, in all of Yahweh’s compounds and elements. Gasoline, by weight, holds a higher potentiality than a similar amount of wood or stone. It also doesn’t take too much in the way of added energy to get gasoline to begin releasing its chemically stored energy – just a spark will ignite it and get the process going. You want to burn wood, or stone? Both require significantly higher amounts of energy to get the ball rolling. Theoretically, the universal “Big Bang” started when a single particle encountered a spark powerful enough to detonate its chemical bonds. (I know it’s a lot more complicated than that)

This is why gasoline is good to use as fuel. Since this relationship between matter and energy – from a believer’s point of view – is all part of god’s plan, that indicates that the law of thermodynamics and the other theoretical underpinnings of Empirical thought are also revelatory as far as how that extra dimensional creature’s design for the universe was intended to operate. As mentioned above, the book which many say chronicles humanity’s interactions and observations with this supreme being backs up the idea that within the confines of its created universe – at least – Yahweh follows its own set of rules. Water is wet, fire is hot, energy cannot be created nor destroyed, objects set into motion will continue to move until another force acts on them. It’s quite simple, really. Newton was a deist, and the Catholic Church actually does fairly interesting Astronomy work these days, so I’m not wandering too far afield of the prelates here.

The homunculus which Yahweh spawned and was incarnated as within a human woman, presuming the virgin birth storyline is accurate, would have required a lightning bolt worth of introduced energy to begin gametogenesis, but that could have been redirected from atmospheric static electricity or universal background radiation – child’s play for the architect of mountain ranges and oceans. After the crucifixion, however, reanimating what was likely 130-150 pounds of dead human tissue would require nuclear bomb levels of energy to achieve a state of fine fettle. Factor in Jesus transporting around the Middle East to visit the apostles after the resurrection and it’s easy to explain why they all said he was glowing and that they smelled roses.

Since Yahweh sits “outside the fishbowl” as it were, this wouldn’t be too much work. After all, this is the entity that created the magnetic bubble containing the sun and who set the planets and asteroids traveling in interdependent helixes. Back then, Lucifer still worked for Yahweh, of course. You can get a lot done when the sons of fire are your construction crew, especially so when your foreman is Lucifer.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Fire fixes everything – I say that a lot. The only way to make sure something is totally gone is to burn it. Saying that, when you set your car on fire you’re not actually getting rid of it, rather you’re converting matter from one form to another by releasing the energy contained in its chemical bonds by introducing thermal energy into its equation. The matter disincorporates, forming particles of smoke. Again, this is consistent with empirical thought. The materials in your car which have chemical bonds too strong to break with the relatively paltry amount of energy represented by an oxygen based fire stay behind. You’d need a fantastic amount of introduced energy to vaporize or particalize iron and steel. I think it needs to be nuclear detonation, or even “reanimate Jesus” levels of energy.

In information technology circles, you encounter the concept of a “super user” or system administrator. As a regular “user” you’re logged into the system and have certain permissions associated with your login password. Most corporate systems allow the user to operate with some freedom, but there’s certain things which only the super user or admin can do. This is sensible. The admin sits outside the fishbowl, and has a mechanism for compiling complaints and requests for help from the regular “users.” Everything the admin does has to be internally consistent with both maintaining the users and underlying technologies which allow them to perform their various functions. Often, a system administrator will set themselves up with a user account to test their setups in a protected partition called a “sandbox.”

Since Yahweh is thereby effectively a system administrator for the universe, perhaps the reason why certain sects of Christians build their churches to look like fortresses is because they’re sandboxes? Is Lucifer thereby a hacker, trying to hijack the system?

Think about that this Easter weekend, since the doors of St. Peter’s chapel in Rome will be locked as they always are between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, as the throne of heaven sits ritually empty on Saturday. Easter Saturday is the devil’s day, according to occult tradition.


“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 2, 2021 at 2:00 pm

rather undersized

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Woh, it’s Wednesday again, and FESTIVUS!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The images in today’s post represent a great deal of “in the field” improvisation and a minimum amount of in the studio photoshop work. They were done entirely “within camera,” which means that I didn’t do any retouching to them. Saying that, the gathering of these shots saw me changing exposure and focal points all wildly nilly. I still haven’t perfected the technique behind all this – although shots you won’t be seeing until 2021, which I gathered just the other night, suggest that the underlying logic governing what I’m doing here is finally revealing itself – but I’m pretty happy with these results. This is what I was hoping for, while I was freezing my tootsies off at the waterfront in December, so hooray.

Focus and exposure stacking, that’s what this thing I’m working on is called. The shot above was captured at f1.8, and if you click through to the original at Flickr you’ll be able to see individual rivets.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Frequent commenter George the Atheist, who is a knowledgable photographer in his own right, chides me often that I should just get on with it and do a long exposure. One often uses this technique, and long exposure has been a “thing” for me for quite a while now. Problem with long shots involving water, however, is that you lose all the surface detail in the waterbody as the long exposure shots render its as a mirror. This has it’s charms, of course, but I want the mirror AND some detail in the shot as well.

That’s what I mean when mentioning the term “intentionality.” Intentionality is the difference between a snapshot and a photograph, and the difference between “I meant to do that” and “I got lucky here.” Serendipity is awesome, but so is having an idea and then making it real.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If I was a patient person, I’d be photographing birds or something. I’m not a patient person, so I didn’t stand there at the East River (during mid December) long enough for a railroad Locomotive to arrive and cross the Hell Gate Bridge. That would have made this one of my favorite photos of 2020. Instead, I was slavishly punching buttons and moving the various settings about on the new camera, trying to bend it to my will.

There are twelve f1.8 2 second exposures ganged up into that shot above. Around four of them are seriously underexposed, one is highly over exposed, and the rest are on meter. I love that the entire image is sharp, that there are both mirror reflections and surface texture in the shot, and there’s a fullness to its contrast. I’m not stoked about the blown out lights in the Bronx or all along the horizon. I’ve since worked out how to shoot around that. I’m also really interested in the wave patterns, and plan on experimenting with that a bit next time I’m at Hells Gate.

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 21st. 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 23, 2020 at 11:00 am

ultimate step

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Tuesdays are a season all their own.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

During these pandemic months, when I’ve gone out for my constitutional walks, my toes have been generally pointed towards the Newtown Creek industrial business zone. The reasoning behind that is that a) I’m obsessed, and b) people and cooties.

People are infested with viruses, and therefore if I go to places with few or no people I’m less likely to contract a respiratory plague. I know, this sounds crazy to you Liberpublicans or Republitarians, but I’ve given up trying to convince ideologues about anything of late. If you don’t believe in COVID, don’t worry, the virus believes in you. I know 50-60 people who have had it, and by all reports – the experience is quite unpleasant even if you don’t die. Mazel Tov.

A new skill I’ve developed, thereby, during this interval is the ability to completely avoid all other human beings – even when passing through a fairly densely populated area like the 31st street/Hoyt Avenue corridors here in Astoria. I’ve become like a phantom in a black raincoat, a specter visible only to the wackadoodles.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My goal for this particular evening was to randomly point the new camera at different spots around the neighborhood for a bit, and then set up the tripod at Astoria Park’s Shore Road in pursuance of “getting technical” while photographing the wonders of the Hell’s Gate section of the East River.

Along the way, I spotted these two homes sporting rather tasteful holiday decorations, a fine example of what I call “ChristmAstoria.” As a note, I’m always rather uncomfortable when photographing somebody’s home. It would likely freak me out if I saw some ghostly creature in black taking pictures of HQ.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you’re wondering what I mean by “getting technical,” the shot above isn’t it. These were all handheld shots in today’s post, whereas the ones you’ll see tomorrow and Thursday were a bit more intentional in terms of composition and camera technique.

Pictured above is the Hell Gate Bridge in the distance, with a section of the Triborough Complex’s East River Suspension Bridge visible at top.

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 21st. 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 22, 2020 at 11:00 am

atomic weight

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Thursday’s, right?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That photo up there was surprisingly difficult to capture, but not because of any technical or camera related issue. Instead, it was the wind. The tripod I use was chosen for its “carry-ability” and beat out several other contenders for my hard earned cash in terms of its weight. That’s actually where it’s fatal flaw manifests – it’s quite light. Normally, this isn’t much of an issue, but at Hells Gate the other night, steady winds were introducing vibration into the setup and blurring the shot. A “proper” tripod would weigh four or five times what mine does (I have two of those, which get left at home) but then you have a ten and change pound pile of metal you’re carrying. Saying that – a heavier tripod would have locked down to the ground, gravity wise, and cancelled out the wind effect somewhat.

When you walk miles and miles, as I do, getting even a half pound out of your camera bag is a victory. Remember, I’ve been using two tiny prime lenses for the last year almost exclusively. The heavy “glass” zoom lenses have been siting in a camera bag for most of the pandemic, a habit I got into a year ago when I broke my big toe.

F11, ISO 200, 30 seconds – that’s the exposure triangle formula for this one.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just because the prime lenses are low in weight doesn’t mean they’re not capable devices. I continue to be staggered at just how good Canon’s 24mm pancake lens is. It can be a bit wonky on autofocus in low light, but there’s ways around that. The downed tree in the shot above was barely visible with the naked eye due to it being in shadow, but a quick bit of flashlight work allowed the 24mm enough light to lock onto it and then it was just a matter of figuring out the right exposure.

For you photographers out there – f4 at ISO 200, 25 seconds. The only blur in the shot was introduced by the wind wobbling the branches about. The 24mm is razor sharp at f4, which I can’t say about my far more expensive and heavy zoom lenses.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Citibike racks placed on the sidewalk, as I’ve found out, are tantamount to opening a Nazi death camp for the bicycle people. They want the racks placed on the street pavement, which has absolutely nothing to do with their political campaign to reduce the number of free parking spots for cars in NYC. The rack pictured above, for instance, translates to around five parking spots. Ideological concerns trump everything else for that crowd, including the ultra mundane set of rules and laws which both the Citibike and NYC DOT people must oblige.

I’m told by the powers that be that the racks are placed where they are (sidewalk versus street) in response to the needs of emergency vehicles, underground and overhead utilities, and the turning radiuses of mass transit vehicles like buses.

Since I’m doing this today – f4, ISO 100, 2.5 seconds.

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 2nd. 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

November 5, 2020 at 1:30 pm

great bridge

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It’s both National Crabmeat Day, and National Meatball day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Happy official anniversary of the first train crossing of the Hell Gate Bridge! Personally, I’m going to attend the celebratory soirée at Greater Astoria Historic Society tonight, where Dave “the Bridgeman” Frieder is going to be talking. Dave Freider is a photographer and historian who probably knows more about this subject than anyone else alive, and he was featured in a recent NY Times article on the subject as well.

I’ve been talking about the Hell Gate bridge since Newtown Pentacle started. This recent post, commemorating the day on which the steel of the bridge was finished, for instance. As an aside, here’s a post on it’s neighbor to the south, the Triborough Bridge, and one of the many where a humble narrator described ships and other vessels passing beneath it. There’s that time I spotted an experimental combat vessel at Hells Gate, described here. The esoteric history of Hells Gate was discussed in this 2010 post, and the largest explosion in human history prior to the atomic era as well as why its called “Hells Gate” was offered way back in this 2009 post, and in this one as well.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s actually because of all the rattling on I’ve done over the years about Hell Gate that the decision to largely shut up and let you look at the pictures is offered today. Of course, since I’m a “Chatty Cathy,” that doesn’t mean I’m not going to fill the dead air.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Mose the fireboy is said to have strangled a sea serpent to death at Hell Gate in the early 19th century, a creature whose skin was draped over the bar at McGurk’s Suicide Palace during the legendary era of the Bowery B’hoys.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hell Gate Bridge is federal property, specifically Amtrak, who acquired it out of the (then) largest bankruptcy in American history. It was the Pennsylvania railroad that built the thing, which eventually merged with their arch rivals at New York Central Railroad. The combined company, Penn Central Transportation Company (and its assets like Hell Gate), also collapsed into bankruptcy (in 1970) and were federalized by Richard Nixon into Amtrak and Conrail.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This bridge is pretty much the only way off of a Long Island and onto the continent for freight rail. There’s a second and quite smaller structure called Little Hell Gate which isn’t not too far away, and that span carries rail traffic into the Bronx and from there all points north and west. On the other side of this connected track system, which is called the New York Connecting Railroad, is the Sunnyside Yard. That’s where the passenger links are, which lead to the east river tunnels, Penn Station, and the Hudson River tunnels.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Hell Gate Bridge hurtles over Astoria Park, and fills the background of much of it. It’s a rite of passage for the “utes” of Astoria to find their way up to the tracks, I’m told, and there’s a legend they propagate that there’s a phantom train which emerges along the unused fourth trackway to chase and claim the unwary.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The arches of the NY Connecting Railroad continue eastwards, and as they do, begin to intersect with residential properties. There are dozens of homes in which the back yard plots include geometries formed by these cylcopean structures.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Astoria legend also describes a homeless serial killer of children who once lurked within the bridge’s Queens side tower. As the story goes, there’s a room in there where photos of the killer’s young victims are displayed. The 114th pct will deny that such a person ever existed, but will mention the occasional “ultra violence” that happens around the bridge – like the homeless man who had his skull crushed here a couple years back.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The New York Connecting Railroad tracks continue on through Astoria, heading eastwards toward the edge of Woodside and then crossing Northern Blvd. Local community organizations sponsor the creation of murals on the street facing sections.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After 31st street, there is naked steel again, with the massive concrete structures giving way to columns and posts. There is still quite a bit of collossal concrete arch and balustrade along the route, of course.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s such a part of the Astoria landscape that seldom is it commented upon, the passing of the railroad.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Happy birthday, Hell Gate Bridge. I’ll be thinking of you at Greater Astoria Historic Society’s “do” tonight.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 9, 2017 at 11:00 am

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