The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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tinsel emptiness

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 11th of July was meant to be a “Manhattanhenge” night, and despite the gloomy weather a humble narrator decided to throw the dice and see what could be seen from up on the Kosciuszcko Bridge. The weather precluded any sort of henge, but what – I’m not going to set up the tripod and get busy after shlepping over here from Astoria?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Obviously, this shot was gathered a bit earlier than the first one. Heavy humidity and low flying clouds marred the astronomical phenomena of Manhattanhenge, wherein the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself’s transit through the sky aligns neatly with the street grid of NYC’s master cylinder. Regardless, I was digging the fact that the skyscrapers were actually scraping sky.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The bum foot and pulled muscle in my back resulted in me waiting for yet another cab to carry my sorry butt back to HQ in Astoria. I’ve discovered that if you stand on the Maspeth side of the street, as opposed to the LIC side, Lyft knocks a few bucks off the fare. That’s a pro tip for y’all.

See you next week. Vote Quimby.


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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

July 23, 2021 at 11:00 am

nigh unendurable

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So yeah, I get a bit depressed occasionally. Part of being mentally healthy – most of the time – is realizing when you’ve got a psychic cold and acknowledging the fact. Americans don’t talk about this, we should. Regardless of all that, a humble narrator is back on duty and raring to go – the Newtown Pentacle, thereby, is back in session.

On the 4th of July, one scuttled over to Blissville in pursuance of climbing up the Kosciuszcko Bridge and shooting the fireworks with my beloved Newtown Creek in frame. Denied this happy juncture, one instead set up the camera alongside the fencelines of First Calvary cemetery and prepared to photograph the fireworks show from that location instead. Hence, the shot above was captured.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The pedestrian and bike path on the Kosciuszcko was closed, and guarded by a caper of those irrepressible scamps, whom you meet occasionally, that dress for work in NYPD uniforms. I didn’t even recognize the unit these particular assassins of joy were assigned to Blissville from (IUB or something) so talking my way onto the bridge wasn’t possible as they didn’t know me from a hole in the wall. If they were 108 pct., there’s a pretty good chance I could have charmed my way up there, but there you are. Everybody has a job to do, and this bunch of Cops were assigned the “deny Mitch his picture” duty.

There were – literally – about a thousand people along the fences of Review Avenue. This is the highest density of lookie loos I’ve ever seen arrayed along the Blissville/Long Island City border, about 2.1 miles back from the East River, btw.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s been a pretty crappy couple of weeks for me, actually. Climate has not been on my side, what with the extreme heat and all the rain. If you think the stuff I was publishing here was scary, be glad that you didn’t encounter me at the neighborhood bar I was drinking my troubles away at. A couple of “hard cases” here in Astoria had never encountered the unfiltered version of the “Mitch Waxman Experience.” Apparently, when I decide to drop the act and just be myself, it’s rather terrifying. Also, my back hurts, and that left foot of mine is still causing a lot of trouble. Couple that with being in a mood, and Oy… it’s so humid… it’s like a sauna out there.

As mentioned though, the psychic glacier has calved, and one has resumed pretending not to be murderously angry all the time. Everything is fantastic, all the time, again. I’m a mother flowering ray of sunshine, yo, in love with a great city on the edge of a dark and cruel ocean. Hey… did you know that concrete is radioactive?


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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

July 12, 2021 at 11:00 am

rocky slope

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An afternoon shot from up on the Kosciuszcko Bridge, looking downwards at the always fabulous Newtown Creek. As mentioned, one is making it a point of getting out and into the direct radiates of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself. On this particular day, I was meeting and then taking a walk with a friend from Brooklyn and catching up on the latest nuances of political struggle and activist community innuendo in Greenpoint. It’s a pressure cooker over there.

Why not crack out a few shots along the way?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since I wasn’t “considering and composing” these shots should be considered to be “snap shots” rather than photographs. Since 99% of the people reading this wouldn’t care about the artsy fartsy distinction between the two, I shouldn’t even mention it.

There’s a lot of nuance which goes into even a “snap shot” for me, but there’s a real difference in how you approach the capture. If that was a “photograph” I would have used a neutral density filter (and tripod) to slow down the exposure speed, which would have rendered the water as looking like a mirror rather than allowing all of those water ripples to form a distracting “busy” area. As mentioned, however, I was there to chat and any photos that fell out of the encounter were just a bonus.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On my way back home, one scuttled through LIC and past Dutch Kills where possible evidences of “it” were observed. “It” is something that was described to me last year by some of the street people whom I converse with. In fact, I’ve got a small legion of people who irregularly report things about Newtown Creek to me. This particular methodology is something I picked up from Sherlock Holmes and the Batman comics.

You’d be surprised at what someone will tell you for the price of a bottle of cold beer and a bag of Fritos. Hidden knowledge is cheap these days.


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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

June 9, 2021 at 11:00 am

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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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

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.

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