The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘kosciuszko bridge

condemn all

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Kosciuszcko Bridge all lit up in red. It carries the Brooklyn Queens Expressway high over Newtown Creek, and this shot was gathered in a neighborhood I call “Down Under the Grand Street Bridge Onramp.” DUGSBO is where the extreme south end of Industrial Maspeth oozes into the joint where Newtown Creek’s East Branch and English Kills tributaries go their own ways, and where you’ll encounter the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens.

If hostilities were to erupt, one wonders who would have the advantage. According to the 2020 Census, Brooklyn has 2,648,403 residents whereas Queens has 2,212,360 residents, so Brooklyn probably wins in a fist fight. Brooklyn also has Fort Hamilton over in Bay Ridge, but a bit of quick googling reveals that Queens hosts several other military offices and units, in addition to the small armies of crack security Port Authority employs at the airports. You’ve got a pretty high percentile of Brooklyn residents who have served in the military, but Queens also has large populations of not just Veterans but also people recently arrived from parts of the world where their Third Grade curriculum included the handling of mortars and small arms.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are a few artillery units stationed out in Whitestone whom I’d suggest we station on the hills in Calvary Cemetery and Maspeth, as well as along Bushwick‘s border with Ridgewood. That’s what the British did during the Revolutionary War. Brooklyn’s multitudes wouldn’t survive an infantry charge across the Grand Street Bridge if you’ve got artillery trained on it from above, and the terrain of Williamsburg and Greenpoint slope roughly down towards the East River so advantage lies with Queens’ defenders.

The porous upland borders from Mile 3 here in DUGSBO back to the DMZ along the Nassau County border will be the worst kind of conflict though. Gritty urban warfare, house to house fighting with small arms and bladed weapons. It will likely be Nassau County that settles the conflict, weighing in on one side or another. Hopefully, given the existential realities of their rail and highway system as well as historical associations, Nassau Marines will swarm over the border and crush the Latte drinking hordes of Brooklyn beneath their booted heels. Queens 4eva, brü.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

See what I’m saying about needing to take long walks in daylight again? Sheesh. This is the part of my inner narrative that I’m willing to actually write down, it’s barely even touching on the crazy stuff. Coo-coo.

More missives from the Happy Place of Industrial Maspeth, eventually. Tomorrow, something different – at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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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

May 12, 2021 at 11:00 am

whirling fancy

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Thursday has stumbled in again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One found himself in the “happy place,” as I refer to industrial Maspeth, during an extremely low tide. Pictured above is Maspeth Creek, with its exposed mounds of Black Mayonnaise. Maspeth Creek is one of the sections of the larger Newtown Creek which I’d like to see “delisted” as a navigable waterway (according to Coast Guard) and reclassified as an “environmental benefit” area. All of us at Newtown Creek Alliance can talk endlessly about the benefits that such a conversion would bring not just to the entire Newtown Creek waterway but also the industrial business zone surrounding it. Essentially, creating a tidal salt marsh environment here would be so beneficial that it could help offset the impact that the many, many truck based heavy industries of Maspeth create. A guy can dream, huh?

It was aromatic, to say the least, when this shot was gathered.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few blocks away, at the Maspeth Plank Road site, you can actually see how low this tide was. It looks like you could just walk out and touch the wooden artifacts of the bridge which once crossed the Newtown Creek between Furman Island and Greenpoint’s Maspeth Avenue, but I would have sunk to mid thigh into the mire. Normally, all of that pebbly sediment is sitting under a few feet of water.

Wish I could say that I planned on hitting this low tide, but it was pure luck and coincidence – I was just out taking a long walk in a place with a virtually zero night time population.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For the photography curious, these are all handheld shots. The newish camera I’m sporting these days, the Canon R6, coupled with a couple of fairly “bright” lenses is allowing me to leave the tripod at home when I don’t intend on doing either long exposures or any of the fancy pants focus stacking stuff. I’m not leaving all that behind, of course, but it’s been great fun to leave HQ with just two prime lenses and a camera in tow.

That, lords and ladies, is your Newtown Pentacle Thursday installment.


“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.

designs graven

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Wednesday is a shocking realization, to some.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My beloved Creek. Unfortunate truths for the wandering mendicant and itinerant photographer include the fact that if you want to accomplish a shot of something you have to go get it, and the weather be damned. That’s why I often find myself out in storms, heat waves, or cold snaps. Luckily, I’ve learned how to be prepared for the inclement. On the evening revolving about getting the shot above, it had just finished snowing and the air temperature was in the high 20’s. It was also fairly windy, and quite uncomfortable despite my having worn several layers of insulating garments beneath the filthy black raincoat.

Truth be told, what lured me out of HQ was the presence of snow on the ground, and the visual possibilities thereof. Part of my governance, philosophy wise, is to only shoot things as I encounter them. No set ups, no lights, no “move it a few inches into frame” or any other alteration to circumstance is allowed. Trust in the Newtown Creek and especially the Borough of Queens, they’ll show you something interesting every time.

Of course, on this particular evening I was crossing Newtown Creek on the Kosciuszcko Bridge and heading into Brooklyn – Greenpoint specifically.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Graffiti truck is still sitting down there, in Greenpoint, so at least there’s some consistency left in this world. One thing about smashing about in industrial zones in the dead of night is that you want to pick your path carefully. Twist your ankle or fall in a hole on a Friday night, it won’t be until early Monday morning that somebody shows up and notices you. When snow is fresh and ice has newly formed, I will often leave the house with a cane in hand. The third point of contact with the ground changes your walking equation when it’s slippery.

Ideally, when my physical degeneracy and advancing age have robbed me of such mobility, I’d like to ride around in something resembling the Martian Tripods from Wells’ War of the Worlds. Scaled down to a two seater, my commuter tripod would be referred to as the “mobile oppression platform” and be street legal to park in front of HQ. Wait till the bike people see the tripods, huh?

Two wheels good, four wheels bad, but what’s best is three legs with a heat ray that can melt armored vehicles on the ground and cook war planes out of the sky.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One debarked the Kosciuszcko Bridge, found a semi private spot to release some water back into the environment which I had been internally filtering since leaving Astoria, and looped around to the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge crossing of Newtown Creek about 3/4 of a mile west of the larger Kosciuszcko. One thing about the Annum Pandemicum which is seldom commented upon, except by me seemingly, is the nagging problem of human biology versus these sanitarian prophylaxis rules. Where do you piss?

As a bloke, this isn’t too much of an issue for me. There’s always a couple of trucks you can find some temporary privacy between. The old system, wherein you’d walk into a diner or something and order a cuppa joe and ask to use the terlet doesn’t exist anymore due to the COVID rules.

Me? I’ve been painting the town yellow for the last year. You?

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 15th. 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 17, 2021 at 11:00 am

cryptical fragments

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Tuesday has battered its way in again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, the shots you’re looking at in this week’s posts were gathered in the beginning of February, during that cold snap that dumped a bunch of nasty snow onto the milieu. I like these snowy intervals, since it allows me to discern which properties in Astoria and Long Island City are operated under the purview of the City of New York itself. Is the sidewalk shoveled? Then it’s private property managed by someone who fears the fines and tickets of the Sanitation Dept. Does the sidewalk sport three inches of rotting plate ice? That’s a City owned property, whose stewards haughtily dismiss the bother of snow cleansing with zero consequence since the City doesn’t give tickets to itself.

Want to change the world? Let’s start by making City employees subject to the same rules they enforce on the gentry. Cops can’t park on sidewalks, the Mayor has to use the Subway, City owned vehicles no longer have unofficial parking rights for no standing zones… you get my drift. One set of rules, which apply to everyone – even those benighted public servants squatting in front of the mahogany desks that proliferate in the air conditioned offices of City Hall – that’s what I want. People talk about “privilege” a lot these days, the “privilege” I like to point at is of the political variety. If you are politically privileged, why do you insist on eating the first and biggest slice of cake every freaking time? Also, what’s with those golden shovels you spent my tax money on, EDC? Can we sell those?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Endeavor, on a particularly frigid evening in February, found a humble narrator shambolically scuttling across the Koscisuzcko Bridge in a generally southern direction. Communion with the fabulous Newtown Creek was my singular goal. The queer iridescence and colorful radiates of the Kosciuszko’s lighting system painted the surrounding landscape in garish fashion, accentuating the strange wonder of the place.

The pedestrian and bike path of the bridge has been discovered by many during this past “Annum Pandemica,” but I cannot recommend it highly enough if you’re in need of a brisk bit of exercise that offers genuinely interesting and grandiose views.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The path on this particular evening found one trudging through the ice and snow all the way to the eastern half of Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section, and then back to the grease stained sidewalks of Long Island City’s Blissville. The paradox, often encountered, that a photogenic atmosphere is usually one inimical to any sort of physical comfort was in play this evening. I was freezing my yahooties off when shooting these shots, and was glad of the COVID mask for once since it was keeping my face warm.

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 15th. 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 16, 2021 at 1:00 pm

country legends

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Thursday, and how I almost broke my neck.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Maspeth is quite hilly. I’ve always opined that walking up 69th street, leading up from Queens Blvd. to Borden Avenue, is not unlike visiting one of the Mayan pyramids and that there should be similarly be a chain laid down on the sidewalk to grab onto and aid you in climbing the ascent. The reason behind this steep elevation is geological, as the terminal moraine of Long Island’s western extent begins in Maspeth (at Mt. Olivette cemetery) whereas the lower declination closer to the East River are a sort of glacial mud puddle. When you’re in a boat on Newtown Creek, you can easily visualize the ridge which gives Ridgewood its name, and see the geologic “soup bowl.” In the shot above, you can discern the radical change in elevation of Maspeth which is encountered in just one city block, an ascent of something like three building stories of height.

While walking down this hill, I slipped on a chunk of metal, while holding the camera tripod in front of me in a posture not unlike that of carrying a rifle. I found myself propelled forward head first, and rather than try to fight gravity, my instinctual response was instead to sprint into the fall. Running allowed me to regain my balance, which was lucky. If I hadn’t saved myself here, it would have been a tooth breaking face plant on the sidewalk, and my torso would have smashed the camera and tripod into the pavement. As it is, it took me running all the way to that utility pole in the shot above before I regained proper walking balance. It was actually quite comical.

Gravity and momentum, they affect us all, bro.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, I managed to pull a muscle in my back and the act of locking up my abdomen and chest to maintain an erect running posture caused my neck and shoulders to cramp up, but that’s what it’s like being in your early 50’s. These are also the sort of banal adventures which an intrepid urban explorer encounters while walking around on anything but flood planes. In my defense, neighborhoods in my county of origin had names like “Flatlands” and “Flatbush.”

I expect that there’s some security guy who had a good laugh watching the cctv footage of this particular moment the next morning. The word you’re looking for is “klutz.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back to those “corridors” mentioned yesterday, one set out for hq along the 43rd street/Laurel Hill Blvd. corridor. This entails a fairly terrifying walk along a sidewalk which barely has a curb and which adjoins the onramp of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway leading onto the Kosciuszcko Bridge. Tire tracks left behind by automobiles and trucks on this sidewalk provide efficacy of the commitment to street safety which is offered by the NYC DOT.

I plan on calling Thrive NYC to discuss my worries about all of this. Chirlane will know what I should think.

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 18th. 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 21, 2021 at 11:00 am

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