The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘kosciuszko bridge

wild whispers

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Wednesday Kosciuszcko.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

DUKBO – Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp – has been regularly visited during this pandemic period. It’s both photogenic and within walking distance, and offers the plus of being a fairly unpopulated part of NYC during an era of respiratory plague. Back in March, one had finally figured out the magic formula for photographically capturing the lighting display of the bridge, camera settings wise. Hopefully this means that I can “port” the camera settings into other situations where garish LED lighting has been installed.

I still say the lighting design of the new Kosciuszcko Bridge over Newtown Creek looks like the exterior displays of a certain Greek coffee shop in Astoria, but there you go.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not officially open yet, there’s a new “park” on the Queens side of the bridge, specifically at the corner of Review Avenue and Laurel Hill Blvd. which has already become quite well used by Blissvillians, Sunnysiders, and Maspethians, as well as visiting Greenpointers. The park, which is a series of brutalist concrete blocks arranged around various plantings, is slightly elevated over the surrounding area (Newtown Creek industrial business zone, First Calvary Cemetery) and offers a nice view of the bridge. That’s where these shots were captured.

I’m still carrying the ultra busted down lightweight mini camera kit, by the way. The two prime lens one which I started hauling around last year after having severely injuring the big toe of my left foot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A lovely set of zoomable lenses have been awaiting being called back into service again, but I’ve really been enjoying the limitations. Worst thing you can say to a creative person is “do anything you want.” Best thing you can do is lay out a bunch of things not to do, make them stand on one foot while doing it, and throw in a gotcha. Limitation forces lateral thought and problem solving, I always say.

Back tomorrow, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

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, June 29th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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.

sprang suddenly

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Tiamat be praised, it’s Thursday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A visit to the Penny Bridge site in Greenpoint, said site pictured above, qualified as my turn around point for a fairly long walk last weekend. “Turning points” are critical for me when out on one of my photo walks, since if you choose the wrong one you’re walking through a boring residential neighborhood. Nothing wrong with residential, of course, but I don’t like taking pictures of people’s houses. I do like taking pictures of “the People’s house” as in our commonly held properties like Government facilities or various privately held but often publicly traded industrial locations. I like a good waste transfer station or the odd oil terminal, I tell ya.

Luckily for me, the new Kosciuszcko Bridge hosts a pedestrian and bicycle lane, so instead of having to walk all the way to Grand Street to cross back into Queens I can reattach at Laurel Hill Blvd. and get home via Sunnyside’s 43rd street rather than having to loop through Maspeth and Woodside.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The view from up on the Kosciuszcko Bridge is commanding, and worthy of your attention if you haven’t been up there yet. You can pick up the pedestrian/bike lane on Laurel Hill Blvd. in Queens, or Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn. A couple of new playground/parks will soon be opening under the bridge in both boroughs.

I’ve mentioned this a few times during the recent tribulations – the communities surrounding Newtown Creek have found their way to the waterway during the pandemic, and I’ve seen far more people than normal just walking around or riding their bikes in recent months. Does a humble narrator good seeing this, but… joggers in Industrial Maspeth? Yikes.

Be careful, I tell them all, Newtown Creek is an easy place to get dead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

High above it though, lots and lots of people are enjoying pleasant strolls across and over the Newtown Creek. Seriously, if you haven’t walked over the new bridge at sunset/dusk, you’re missing one of the best free shows in NYC. If you get lucky, there’s a chance that tugboats and or rail traffic might be moving around. I like me a good scenic overlook, I does.

May all your Thursdays be happy days, back 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, June 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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

June 18, 2020 at 1:00 pm

undone once

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Whoop-dee-doo, it’s Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It took a bit of hustle, but one got to Penny Bridge just in time for dusk. Found at the northern terminus of Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section, the Penny Bridge site is – as the name would imply – the former locale wherein one would, prior to 1939, encounter a movable bridge crossing Newtown Creek whose toll was famously a penny. The Penny Bridge’s purpose was negated by construction of the original Kosciuszcko Bridge, which was originally called the Meeker Avenue or New Penny Bridge. The Penny Bridge site has received a terrific amount of attention from my colleagues at Newtown Creek Alliance over the last few years. There are plantings, regular cleanups of illegal dumping, and there’s even a picnic table there. Check it out sometime, if you find yourself in the neighborhood. The deeded owner of the spot is actually the New York City Department of Transportation – the DOT – so it’s actually your property since they are merely our collective employees.

Get to Penny Bridge at the right time, and the shot above is one of the views you’ll receive.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking eastwards from Penny Bridge, you’ll see the new Kosciuszcko Bridge, with its unearthly chromatic radiation. The Brooklyn shore is on the right hand side of the shot, with Queens filling most of the frame. The Kosciuszcko Bridge marks the delineation between the Blissville section of Long Island City and the West Maspeth/Berlin section of Maspeth. The bridge carries the Brooklyn Queens Expressway over the Newtown Creek, and is found 2.1 miles from the East River.

The lighting package installed on the Kosciuszcko Bridge is currently rotating through a chromatic scale – yellow, green, blue, purple, red. One has been trying to discern if there’s a hidden message embedded in the frequencies of light and the order and speed of their repetitions. Often when staring at the weird colorations, a sudden irresistible desire to purchase NYS Savings Bonds rises in me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Careful attention is paid to the shadowed shorelines. Sooner or later, I will get a photo of something, something impossible. Again – rumor and innuendo, nothing solid enough to pass on. Yet.

Who can guess, all there is, that might be buried down there?

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, June 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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

June 17, 2020 at 11:00 am

portentous morning

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Socially distant, now more than ever.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“We here at the Newtown Creek family send our best wishes to you and your family, in these troubling times. New Yorkers have always weathered storms together, but now we have to stand together apart. Now, more than ever…”

Is there a script distributed to advertising agencies and charities during disasters? If just one more well wisher appears on my television and says “Now, more than ever.” Grrr. Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself are considering turning it into a drinking game.

I have been annoyed by usage of this phrase since it emerged twenty years ago after 9/11. The politicians got in front of the same verbal chestnut after Hurricane Sandy, I recall, and soon after the used car dealers were incorporating it into their spiel. Thing is, all of the bad actors in our society will use it to justify whatever hogwash they’re selling. What does “now, more than ever” actually mean? The logic of the phrase doesn’t manifest or indicate any sort of temporal interval.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After visiting the Maspeth Avenue Plank Road the other night, my scuttling proceeded over to other sights and attractions in the general vicinity. That’s the Grand Street Bridge photographed above. The image was created using multiple exposures all captured with a wide open f1.8 aperture setting and then “focus stacked” together during the developing process. This sort of technical stuff fascinates me, and forces one to continually reconsider how to record the wonders of Newtown Creek in different ways. I know it probably doesn’t excite those of you who aren’t photography people, but what can I tell you – there aren’t exactly a lot of adventure opportunities for me to describe to you right now.

The best use of my time, as I see it, involves sharpening up my skills and acquiring new ones. Presuming survival of the pandemic, which is a big “if,” a humble narrator wants to be able to hit the ground running in the new normal. “New Normal” sits alongside “Now, more than ever” on my annoyance chart.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That concrete plant pictured above is more or less sitting on the county line between Brooklyn and Queens. The section of Newtown Creek it sits along is technically a tributary, called the East Branch.

While I was shooting these images, the sound of incredibly loud music was echoing along the streets. I followed it, the sound I mean, and discovered that one of the local hot rod clubs was having an illegal party on Onderdonk Avenue. There had to be a hundred or more people milling around and admiring highly souped up automobiles.

Mark my words, there is going to be a massive spike in hospital visits in the May 15-20 period, based on how many people broke quarantine and pretended everything was ok during the warm weather of the last (May 2-3) weekend.

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, May 4th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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.

stamped out

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Maspeth!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That recent long walk I mentioned found me over in industrial Maspeth, experimenting with various camera settings, as regarding capturing photos of the Kosciuszcko Bridge and its weird illumination. LED lights, architecturally speaking, are insanely bright. They also produce unnatural colors which wreak havoc on the color theory algorithms in digital cameras. Since the Governor literally flipped a switch turning on the bridge’s lighting system a couple of years ago, I’ve been fairly bedeviled by its idiosyncrasies.

A big part of the problem is that the bridge’s lights rotate through a chroma key, turning yellow, green, blue, red, violet… when all those colors add up on your camera sensor it equals bright white – as you see in the shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not wanting to sacrifice the sharpness of the captured image at my lens’s hyper-focal “infinity” setting, one has been playing around with length of shutter speed and sensor ISO sensitivity all winter and into the spring. The shot above, depicting both the Kosciuszcko and the Empire State Building flashing red and showing Newtown Creek as well, represents a set of trade offs which I’m kind of happy with.

When you’ve got a bunch of time on your hands, and all of your summer gigs have been cancelled due to a pandemic, you might as well figure out new ways to configure and work with the camera – right?

That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, with the notable exception of polio. Polio makes a mess out of you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A different set of experiments are at work in the shot above, which is actually three separate images combined into one in a Photoshop process called “focus stacking.” You set up a stable camera base – a tripod or whatever – and then move the shot’s focus point around. One focus point is on the distant Kosciuszcko Bridge, another on the mid ground tomb stones, and the third is on the trunk of that tree. These are narrow aperture shots, so all these elements would have been sharply rendered anyway, but the stacking technique is a skill I’ve been meaning to understand and use for a while, and since I essentially have no there reason to wake up I might as well hone some of my lesser used skills. Also, the “stacking” assures a uniform level of sharpness throughout the image.

Back Monday, or whatever, with something else. I don’t know what exactly, I’m just hoping to still be alive by then.

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, April 27th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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.

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