The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Ice and snow

harmless stupidity

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Scuttling, always scuttling, camera in hand, filthy black raincoat flapping about, shoes scraping the concrete. That’s my life. Wherever I go, there I am. Nothing ever changes, nothing matters, nobody cares. Everyday, it all starts over again. Sometimes it snows.

Frost bitten and friendless, there I was at Dutch Kills as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself rose in the dawn sky. One hoped for the boughs of that little tree to be laden with snow, but this too was denied.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, due to a series of reasons that I don’t really want to get into, the decision to walk over to a nearby collapsing bulkhead before heading back to a heated room in Astoria was arrived at. All ten fingers were numb, but only six of them were reporting. So too did a couple of my toes go offline. The tip of my nose was similarly missing without leave. It was 12 degrees Fahrenheit, with a steady wind.

This isn’t the coldest I’ve ever been. There was that negative 37 time in Vermont, and that time I had to ride a boat up the East River at 5 in the morning in January with my old pal Bernie… I’ve been cold before. Saying all that, it was pretty uncomfortable being out. It’s taken weeks for my fingertips to recover. Good news is that in the interval, I’ve been able to pinch out candles with zero discomfort.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As far as 29th street, and the collapsing bulkheads along it go, my pals and I at Newtown Creek Alliance have recently been working the channels of “officialdom” and got sign on’s for immediate action from Congresswoman Maloney, Senator Gianaris, Assemblywoman Nolan, Borough President Richards, and Council Member Won along with a few other powers and potentates, as well as a few local business owners. It’s still a developing situation, down there in LIC.

Back next week with more numbed finger action, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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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

March 11, 2022 at 11:00 am

perilous disposition

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Remember that insanely cold day back in middle February when it was twelve degrees? That’s the one where a humble narrator got frostbitten, when he decided to be at the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek in Long Island City at five o’clock in the morning. I remember it well, since I’m just now starting to get the feeling back in my fingertips. Literally weeks later.

It’s felt like I’ve been wearing a band aid over my right thumb ever since, and it’s only in the last few days that the nerve damage from the frost bite has ameliorated sufficiently to perceive texture again. You have to suffer for your art, they say. Well, here’s what it looked like while I was sustaining an atmospheric temperature induced injury.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills was thoroughly frozen over. A plate of ice several inches thick sat over the water. One was awaiting the arrival of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself in the vault of the sky, with the camera set up on its tripod. What that meant was that I was standing still with my feet in a six to eight inches of snow and a solid fifteen miles an hour wind hitting me. I needed to pee, but was afraid that if I “whipped it out” to do “that,” “it” might freeze and crack off.

Yes, I was wearing gloves. In fact, a layer of thermal underwear AND a long sleeve sweatshirt would have been found under my normal clothing. Additionally, a fleece sweatshirt would have been observed under the filthy black rain coat by the staff at the coroner’s office after being defrosted. On my left hand, I actually had two gloves on. On the right, there was just one so I could still operate the camera. Cannot tell you how difficult that is when you numbness has set in. Cold is my kryptonite.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One had left HQ at about 4:30 in the morning and hopped in a cab for the journey to Dutch Kills, which I normally just walk to. Man, oh man was it cold.

The entire purpose of the exercise was the hope that my favorite little tree of paradise, pictured in the first shot, might have some snow on its bows. No such luck. Since I was already on site, I decided to just tough it out and wait for the morning light to arrive. That interval is what resulted in frost bite. It wasn’t “British explorer” frost bite, mind you. There was no discoloration or blistering, just a bit of nerve damage.


“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 10, 2022 at 11:00 am

steaming planet

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With dread do I pronounce this day as being a Monday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

These shots were gathered during the second week of February, on a brutally cold night in Long Island City. One had geared up in response to the wind and cold, as well as the crunchy ice coating the sidewalks and roadways. Gearing up – for the curious – takes the form of thermal long underwear and a pair of walking boots that sport hard plastic cleats on their soles, in addition to the usual “Mitch suit” and ubiquitously filthy black raincoat. I’ve also got a snazzy new pair of gloves which allow for the interaction with and usage of touch screens.

The shot above, depicting an Amtrak holding area at Sunnyside Yards here in LIC, is one of the first ones cracked out with the third member of my new trinity of lenses for the Canon RF Mount on the EOS R6, specifically an 85mm f2 prime lens. I tell you, the amount of stress and effort that went into choosing the new lens kit was immense, but I think that I’ve made the right choices – from a budget versus technological point of view. There’s a few mouth watering lenses that Canon offers for this new camera mount of theirs, but you’d be able to put a down payment on a decent automobile for what they’re asking for them. In a couple of years when there’s a used lens ecosystem, maybe, but right now… no way.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned several times over the years, if you want to figure out which buildings in your neighborhood are owned by NYC, wait until it snows. The ones that don’t make any attempt to shovel their sidewalks are going to end up being City owned. Even abandoned or “awaiting demolition” buildings get shoveled somehow, but City properties don’t. That’s what I call “political privilege” at work right there, boy.

As I was saying to a friend the other day – Coke and Pepsi are fundamentally the same thing – carbonated sugar water or “soda.” Doesn’t matter if you like the one in the red can or the blue can, soda is pretty unhealthy and the people who fill and sell these cans don’t care about you, they just want to sell more of the stuff. They’re not going to do one little thing to let you know about green cans like 7Up and Ginger Ale, or healthier choices like Seltzer unless they’re filling those cans or bottles too. Want to read that as a metaphor for politics, or a caution about the privilege of politicians? That’s on you, girl.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My wandering through the cold wastes found me, as usual, nearby the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek and at the former headquarters of Irving Subway Grate. The Lyft ride share outfit has recently moved into a factory building nearby, and stout gates have been erected around the entire Irving Campus. A demolition project is underway on the two industrial building ruins on the property. The office building on the property has become a hive for raccoons in recent years, and there are apparently a couple of burst water pipes within, which created a fairly magnificent ice sculpture.

More tomorrow.

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, March 22nd. 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

March 22, 2021 at 1:00 pm

faery goldenness

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Astoria style Currier and Ives, by request, for George The Atheist.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, frequent commenter George the Atheist opined that he’d like to see some wintertime landscape shots offered at this – your Newtown Pentacle – so when the snow began to fall last Saturday, a humble narrator got busy here in Astoria. The bodega/grocery store pictured above is across the street from HQ, owned by a lovely Lebanese family, and is open nineteen hours every day. They’ve recently began a lunch counter in the back of the shop, and I can recommend the Kofta Hero with everything. That is indeed a tripod shot above, but with increased ISO sensitivity and shutter speed designed to capture the individual snowflakes falling. I did a few smoother shots at lower ISO and longer shutter speeds, but the airborne snow tended to smear and disappear in a long exposure – and just illustrated the conical path which the street lamp’s light was following down to the road.

The Indian place next door to the bodega is pretty good, if you happen to be in the neighborhood. Try the Salmon Tikka.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Above is an example of what happens when you slow things down during weather and accrue some time on the camera sensor, while looking northwards up my block in the direction of one of those new LED lamps which the City has been installing. It’s a whiter and colder light than yesterday’s model of NYC street lamps, which were yellow orange. If you click through on either this or the first shot to my Flickr account, you’ll see that one was experimenting with time and sensitivity in the shots immediately before and after the ones in today’s post. Always messing about, me.

The hard part about shooting in any sort of precipitatating atmosphere doesn’t really involve the camera body (plastic shopping bag cover) but the business end of the lens itself, which quickly becomes spotted with moisture requiring maintenance polishes between shots.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunday last, one suddenly found himself in Astoria Park after dark and so a quick “set up” for this shot of the arches of the New York Connecting Railroad, where it feeds rail traffic onto the Hell Gate Bridge, was accomplished. The snow from Saturday was still present, and all lit up by the yellow orange sodium based lighting which is still used by the Parks Dept. I always refer to the half melted stuff as “rotting snow” for some reason.

One seems to be obsessed with decay. It would also seem that I take requests. What do you want to see? If it’s reasonable, I’ll try and shoot it.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 21, 2018 at 11:00 am

approaching egress

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A day late and a dollar short, that’s me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sorry for today’s late and rather insubstantial update, depicting a life preserver frozen to the shoreline of Red Hook’s Erie Basin, which is somewhat metaphorical. Looking forward to the warmer weather this weekend, and your humble narrator will be everywhere along the Newtown Creek in the next few days, camera in hand.

Additionally, next week, I’ll be announcing the 2014 Newtown Creek walking tour schedule as it currently stands.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 7, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Posted in Brooklyn, Red Hook

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