The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Hudson Yards

nightmare spawning

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination. The Related Companies have been allowed to steal the sky, blotting the firmament out and privatizing it for those who can afford to pay their price.

This is unfortunately the future, and one of the models that NYC will be using for future development. As you’re reading this, the “powers that be” are at work on the area just east of this development. The Penn Hotel is being torn down, as Midtown Manhattan is underdeveloped, and the Political Estate’s sponsors are slavering for more.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When you flush a toilet here, your bodily waste flows through underground pipes to a NYC DEP facility on 13th street and Avenue D, right in the middle of the projects. It’s then pumped under the East River to Greenpoint, where it’s processed along Newtown Creek. If there’s a summer blackout in Brooklyn or the Bronx, you can bet your bottom dollar that the lights will stay on at Hudson Yards.

If you spend any time interacting with the vampiric aspirations of big Real Estate, and speak against one of their projects, you will be called a “NIMBY” by one of their sock puppet “non profit” organizations that describe themselves as being “YIMBY’s.” NIMBY is an acronym for “Not in my back yard,” and YIMBY is “Yes in my back yard.” These YIMBY’s will accuse you of denying people – who haven’t been born yet – homes because of racism. Never will the hundreds of thousands of apartment units currently warehoused, and purposefully kept off the market, by their masters in the Real Estate industry with the intention of keeping their market prices on an always upward trajectory be mentioned.

Jared Kushner. Donald Trump. The Durst Organization. Larry Silverstein. The Tishmans and the Speyers. These are the sort of creatures who control the discourse over housing and development in NYC. The aspirant politicians are sponsored by these forces, and expected to do their bidding when appointed elected to office. Oddly, the most “Socialist” of the electeds also happen to be YIMBY’s. So are the hardline Republicans, the middle of the road Democrats – everybody in office seems to be bought off to one degree of another by Real Estate.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination. Ever wonder what it must be like to live in a building where you can’t open the window for some fresh air?

On the plus side, you don’t have to worry too much about getting rained on in the Hudson Yards area. There ain’t that much visible sky there to allow a cloud to piss down on you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The only reason you can see the Empire State Building in the shot above is due to a NYC Dept. Of City Planning rule about “preserving sight lines.” The fellow who oversaw this project for City Planning was Vishaan Chakrabarti, who was the same guy that the NYC EDC hired to oversee the Sunnyside Yards proposal. Now… do you understand why I fought so hard and long against that one?

This is what was going to happen to Sunnyside and LIC if that project moved forward. If the Mayor overrules the Council member and Borough President on the Innovation Queens proposal, this is what Astoria is going to turn into in about 10 years. NIMBY my ass.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given the huge input of $1.2 billion in public money, you’d imagine that the rents here were somewhat reasonable, huh? Well, if you’ve got $7,100 a month for a furnished one bedroom – you’re set. That’s $85,200 a year, which would have to come out of your post taxation paycheck. If you want to buy instead, their available condos start at $5.5 million and range up to a 4 bedroom, 5,000 sq ft. one on sale for $29.5 million.

Does this sound like an industrial sector which requires tax breaks that divert moneys away from the public sector?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination.


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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 22, 2022 at 11:00 am

damnable expressiveness

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunday the 21st, I was supposed to go the City and take a ride on a Fireboat. Unfortunately, said Fireboat snapped a cable leading to the rudder and the trip was cancelled.

Given that I was in the high West 20’s, I decided to take a longish walk around the Hudson Yards development before heading back home to Astoria via the 7 train.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination. Everybody associated with the planning and design of this project deserves to go to hell. I’ll give the construction workers a pass, as they just do what their told.

I’ve often described Hudson Yards as looking like the debris of a space station which broke up in orbit and randomly embedded itself in the ground during a crash landing on the west side of Manhattan. Inelegantly designed mirror box rhombuses, these structures blot out the sky and cry out “look at my valuation.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination, as the project diverted moneys meant for public housing away from their intended target and towards itself with the complicit approval of City Hall and the Dept. of City Planning. $1.2 Billion of it. One point two billion dollars.

Saying that they improved the area with the money meant for the projects, the Hudson Yards team at The Related Companies convey and virtue signal their largesse. Yes, compared to the abandoned buildings and gangs of drug dealers and hookers which used to populate the area between 8th Avenue and the West Side Highway in the 20’s and 30’s, they’ve improved things.

Like the Romans would when declaring a victory.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

These vampires also created a street scape which is unwelcoming and cold.

This isn’t New York. This is what people from Atlanta, or Los Angeles, or Disneyworld think New York is. Public space here isn’t truly public, it’s privately held and that means that they can set the rules for the sidewalks. They have the right to impinge your speech, tell you to move on after sitting there too long, and set behavioral rules barring otherwise noisome but legal habits like smoking or break dancing or sleeping on a park bench. Your NYC streets are officially now their Hudson Yards development zone public/private partnership streets. Technically speaking, I’m not allowed to publish the photos you’re looking at of these buildings without first getting their permission, as it violates their copyright.

Want to know what form fascism will take in a blue state?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While scuttling about Hudson Yards, I found a long staircase leading up to a skyway walk. Roughly three stories, I’d venture. Connected to a Whole Foods outpost and a series of coffee shops and boutiques, this walkway continues on to one of their encapsulated malls through a glassine maze. These mall spaces are not part of the street grid, and are set up in a manner that divorces you from geospatial awareness of the surrounding area – which just happens to be Hells Kitchen.

These buildings, and this entire project, are built around the “super block” concepts underlying the debauched intellectual legacies of the French Cryptofascist Le Corbusier. Adherents to Le Corbusier’s ideas included Robert Moses, and if you’ve ever wondered how and why what happened to the Bronx happened, it was Le Corbusier as channeled by Moses and his apparatus.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is sterilized, but not stylized. It’s anonymous, reducing the citizenry down to stock art cutouts existing on some architectural rendering. It separates the social classes from interaction, except as clerk and customer. It eliminates the messy exigency of life on the New York streets. It’s inhuman in scale, like Speer’s designs for post WW2 Nazi Berlin, but there’s no pageantry on offer.

Hudson Yards is an abomination.


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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 21, 2022 at 11:00 am

sequestered cabin

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What’s expected?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the first phase of the Hudson Yards project pictured above. What’s expected of one such as myself would be to condemn, criticize, or condemn the place. Yes? Ok then.

Here’s my three “C’s.” I personally find the design of Hudson Yards to be quite off, given its total embrace of 75 years old urban planning chestnuts like “superblocks” and “towers in a park.” Hudson Yards ignores its surrounding neighborhoods contextually, offers a harsh and unfriendly pedestrian space, and is guilty of architectural banality. No thought seems to have been given on the subject of its relationship to the position of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself’s journey through the sky, as the reflective tower facades cause harsh light to broadcast and strobe about from on high. Even sunglasses won’t help when walking westwards on 32nd or 33rd streets in the morning, or eastwards from the Hudson coast of Manhattan in the afternoon/evening.

Walking through the “zone,” I was keenly aware of how unwelcoming the place seemed, displaying emotional sterility while trying too hard to be “artsy.” Every design attempt at being “playful or whimsical” reminded me of a crass and cheaply rendered version of Disneyworld. Rust, peeling paint, and cracked cement is already visible on and around the “Bloomberg Building” for instance.

Homogeneity is what the City Planners like, and in Hudson Yards their vision is writ large. These folks hate the heterogenous chaos of cities, preferring the neat appearance of shopping mall gallerias. Long story short, I’m not a fan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the other hand, gazing upon these shots, which were gathered up on the High Line, I have to remind myself what used to be here – which was a whole lot of stuff nobody wants. Long corridors of graffiti covered concrete walls vouchsafing the rail yards below, open air drug dealing, and more prostitutes than you could shake a stick at (pun intended). This was a “dead” section in busy midtown Manhattan, incongruously sandwiched in by neighborhoods that didn’t end two to three blocks short of the Hudson. The long eastward trek from the Javitz Center for convention goers back to the subways and Penn Station, the automobile commuter focused street design… the west side in the 30’s was never a destination you’d want to tell your mom you were heading towards.

Is this incarnation better? Worse? Only time will tell.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What I can tell you, after walking the camera through and reviewing the photos gathered, is that every single minute I’ve spent opposing the Sunnyside Yards proposals here in Queens has been time well spent. The fancy pants crowd which is in favor of the gargantuan endeavor of decking the Sunnyside Yards doesn’t really understand what it would entail. They haven’t fully digested the reality of the construction or come to the understanding that to justify the colossal $22 billion estimated cost of the deck, you cannot build small or even medium – you have to build big. That’s an economic reality.

Look at that shot above, and imagine you’re standing in Queens Plaza. Now you’re starting to realize what’s what and why we have to keep this from happening in Queens.


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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

January 2, 2020 at 1:00 pm

boldly determined

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Happy New Year, ya filthy animals.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Well, here we are again at a New Year’s day, and I’m sure everybody is making resolutions which expediency and habit will negate the pursuance of before too long. A humble narrator doesn’t make promises he doesn’t know he can keep, and avoids the temptations of vowing to break a bad habit or start a new one. Instead, my aspiration is to try to be nicer to people, less selfish in my points of view, and generally more charitable in my actions. I’ve got a couple of projects which I’ve been working on which will mature and be made public in the next couple of months, have nothing in the way of specific plans for the first quarter of the year, and Zuzu the dog is holding up pretty good despite her advanced age.

I do worry about the Zuzu the dog a lot, however. She’s 13, and a “big” dog. She has hip and leg trouble, spinal stenosis, and sleeps about 22 hours a day. In human terms, Zuzu is about 80 years old, and she acts like it. One promise and resolution I can make is that she is going to be comfortable, happy, and can have as many treats as she wants whenever she wants them.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shots in today’s post were gathered on a late night/early morning photowalk in Manhattan recently accomplished. I have to be the only photographer in NYC who remarks to himself with regret that the “golden hour” around sunrise has arrived, given my particular love of low light shooting. On the day these images were recorded, sunrise was at 7:19 a.m., and it was coincidentally the winter solstice.

The ongoing construction and build out for the Hudson Yards project is just visually fascinating to me. I just wish the end product of all this toil weren’t the sort of dystopian and banal glass superblock towers which the completed parts of the megaproject have proven to be. Some architectural critic offered the term “Dubai on the Hudson” for Hudson Yards, which I think is fairly apt.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the moment that the shot above was recorded, I had been awake about 22 hours, and required both a meal and couple of cups of coffee. Midtown, and in particular the west side thereof, has been ravaged by the real estate people and one of the big casualties of their attentions have been coffee shops and diners. Luckily, the Skylight Diner, which is incongruously housed in a single story building, survives. I generally avoid spending any sort of restaurant money in Manhattan, since the entire island is a rip off, but I can recommend Skylight Diner for a quick greek omelet or a burger.

Somehow, when 2030 rolls into town, I don’t think a one story building housing a diner and a cell phone shop will be all that occupies the southwest corner of 34th street and Ninth avenue.


“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 1, 2020 at 11:00 am

luring skyline

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It’s Christmas Eve, if you’re Russian Orthodox, and Christmas Day if you’re Armenian Orthodox.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself dipped behind New Jersey, whilst on my way to that Holiday party in Hells Kitchen I’ve been talking about all week, I was reminded of something about myself. I’m lucky. Despite the objectionable nature of my personality, the disgusting personal habits I readily display, my sloth, bizarre opinions loudly repeated, and everything else which causes those who know me to curl their upper lips up in disgust – I’m lucky. I also need to get out more often.

As I was passing by the Circle Line at 42nd street and found myself approaching Pier 84, I noticed a series of maritime cranes and tugs at work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was DonJon towing doing the work – the Sarah Ann and Brian Nicholas tugs were quite busy. You don’t get to see much maritime industrial stuff going on at the Hudson River coastline of Manhattan, in this century at least.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The DonJon tugs were “wrassling” two barges into place, one carried a maritime crane, the other was full of what I originally perceived as being scrap. Couldn’t have been more wrong, as it turned out.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Longtime readers of this – your Newtown Pentacle – know that I have a certain fascination with the DonJon towing company, who operate regularly on my beloved Newtown Creek. They have wonderful toys, DonJon does.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The flat top barge was carrying huge “lomticks” of steel, which conversation with one of many “hard hats” on the pier described as being destined for the Hudson Yards project. Scrap indeed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Part of the reason that I originally thought the flat top barge was handling scrap was the significant tonnage of the stuff that I normally observe the DonJon people moving around the harbor. This post from 2012 follows the DonJon Tug Sarah Ann, pictured above, towing metal and employed by the recycling people.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The other DonJon towing vessel on duty was the Brian Nicholas, discussed in another 2012 post, one which also happens to carry one of my all time favorite “tugboat on Newtown Creek” shots.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The location which the steel was being delivered to is a fairly narrow channel that’s normally used to launch human powered boats by the Manhattan Kayak club people, adjoins Hudson River Park, and it neighbors the Intrepid Air and Space museum. This location is analogous to the Manhattan street grid as being 44th street.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The crane barge is DonJon’s Columbia New York. She’s got a 140 foot long boom, dates back to the 1970’s, and can lift 310 short tons while its base is revolving. Everything you’d care to know about the thing can be found here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The entire operation slowed down to a crawl as they approached the Manhattan bulkheads. A small workboat was zipping around, and everywhere you looked on the vessels there were sailors peering over the sides communicating on walkie talkies. I guess they didn’t want to scratch the Intrepid or something.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Brian Nicholas hung back as the crane and flat top barges moved into position.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The crane barge began lowering its “spuds,” which are long steel bars that extend down to the bottom of the river and act as stabilizers (think table legs). While that was happening, ropes were flung around and tied off to bollards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having successfully killed the time between leaving Point A (Astoria) and that Holiday party in Hells Kitchen by walking through LIC, taking the 7 to Hudson Yards, checking out the Hudson Yards megaproject from the High Line, and then luckily running into this maritime industrial display – it was actually now time for me to begin heading there directly.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Couldn’t resist one or two more shots, however.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s some of the structural steel being delivered to the Hudson Yards project, in a somewhat elevated shot gathered from a pedestrian bridge at West Street between 45 & 46th streets.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

From the same elevated position, and from a bit of a distance, you can get a better idea of the size of the crane.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While all this was going on, rush hour was playing out on West Street.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, that’s the story about all the stuff I saw because I got invited to a holiday party in Hells Kitchen. I should leave the house more often, I guess. See what happened the next time I went out, next week at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Also, Merry Christmas to all you orthodox Russians and Armenians. Sunday the 7th is “Gristmas,” btw, or Greek Orthodox Christmas.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 6, 2017 at 11:00 am

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