The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Long Island City

human toothmarks

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

DUPBO, or Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp, is a section of the fabulous Newtown Creek which I haven’t been paying too much attention to during the pandemic months. It’s a bit more “populated” than I’ve been comfortable being around, what with the homeless colony that’s popped up on the LIC side. There’s several RV’s you’ll notice down there, which a few humans and several rather bark prone doggies are living in, and that violates my goal of going to places where nobody else is. What this city needs is a good…

As you can see, there was a full moon on the night these shots were gathered, with the one above looking due East towards Calvary Cemetery.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Pulaski Bridge pictured above, a double bascule drawbridge owned and operated by the NYC DOT. Fundamentally speaking, this section of Newtown Creek isn’t the environmental horror show you encounter further east, rather it’s more akin to the environmental horror show that is the East River. A recent assertion by one of the Superfund Investigatory teams was that there were more “chemicals of concern” entering the Creek in this zone via the East River than from the upland post industrial properties. This, of course, causes me to wonder and ponder whether or not the East River itself should be considered a Superfund site.

When you start peeling a banana, you’re sort of committed to eating the thing, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the Hunters Point Yard of the Long Island Railroad, which adjoins the Pulaski, I noticed these work trains sitting and idling. Can’t tell you what they were up to, but it’s likely that track and right of way maintenance was on the dance card.

Back tomorrow with something different 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, August 10th. 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.

moldering structure

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Let me tell ya, I really seem to freak out the security guards when I whip out the tripod and set up the camera. It’s always surprised me how people react when they see a camera. I once got chased by a group of old ladies here in Astoria, who saw me taking a picture of St. Irene’s church and then logically concluded that I was a terrorist. Luckily they were pretty old, so I lost them after a few blocks. Homeland Security indeed.

In the case of the rather innocent shot above, depicting the former offices of Irving Subway Grate, I got to say “Hi” to somebody providing security services for the UPS shipping center across the street. At this particular time of night, UPS parks a good amount of its truck fleet in the street and on the sidewalk, and he must’ve figured I was screwing around with their illegally parked trucks. My retribution for this interruption of my photography “flow” involved a full 25 minute history of Irving Subway Grate and a more generalized 10 minute lecture about Newtown Creek. I could have hit him with a 25 minute history of the United Parcel Service company and the Teamsters, but decided to be merciful.

Mess with the bull, you get the horns. Mess with Mitch, you get a long ass historical lecture about something you never wanted to know anything about.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Empty Corridor is the name I’ve given to the lonely streets you encounter under the 106 foot high steel truss bridge that carries the Long Island Expressway over LIC and Dutch Kills. There’s actually a lot going on down here, but the street scape is bare and unforgiving, hence the cognomen. Any vegetation you might encounter here is self seeded, “weed trees” as we would call it back in the old neighborhood. The street is pockmarked and broken, the sidewalks are shattered, and many times are impassable as businesses just take them over to store equipment or park trucks.

There’s also a smell, best described as “hot food garbage,” that permeates. High above, a constant mechanical tumult rings out, broadcasting vibrations down through the steel and singing a cacophonous din into the auditory realm. What can I tell you, it’s an expressway up there carrying millions of vehicle trips a year to and from Manhattan.

You think that’s going to be quiet?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Montauk Cutoff at the top of the shot above, an abandoned set of Long Island Railroad tracks which connect across Dutch Kills to the Lower Montauk tracks along Newtown Creek on one side, and the Sunnyside Yards on the other. At least, they used to do so, but the connection to Sunnyside Yards has been demolished and the bridge over Dutch Kills is now fenced off and is scheduled for demolition itself.

Several of us at Newtown Creek Alliance have been working on turning the Montauk Cutoff into public space for a while now, but… y’know… MTA.

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, August 10th. 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

August 12, 2020 at 11:00 am

sharp toothed

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My weekly visit to the Dutch Kills tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek, found in the Degnon Terminal section of the Long Island City industrial zone here in Queens, was perpetrated recently. My pandemic long investigations into the presence of “it” continue, here in the former “Workshop of America.”

What is “it”? It is likely people having some cruel fun with my credulous nature, and taking advantage of the boredom and anxiety which the pandemic has induced in a humble narrator. Regardless, most of the stories I’ve received about “it” revolve around the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge section of the waterway so I keep on finding myself here. I’m also kind of obsessed with the indomitable nature of that tree in the shot above, and have been making it the focal point of various photos all year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been forced into using certain esoteric practices behind the camera to properly record the darkness down on the water. Next up in my bag of tricks will be the use of polarizing filters to reduce the reflectivity of the water and allow the device to peer down into the gelatinous fathoms. It’s actually only about a single fathom, maybe a fathom and a half, here at Dutch Kills. It is fairly gelatinous, however.

One way or another, what I can say is that I didn’t see “it” but had the definite impression that there was something odd going on in the water. There were all sorts of splashes and ripples being caused by one critter or another down there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The streaks in the water are the reflections of fish scales moving around during what ended up being a thirty second exposure. I’ve actually become quite fascinated by the artifacts of movement which turn up in these shots. Can’t tell you what sort of fishies were swimming around down there, but it’s likely these were Mummichogs.

Mummichogs (Fundulus heteroclitus) are essentially the bottom of the vertebrate food chain at Newtown Creek, but in a larger sense that’s the niche they occupy in the brackish and environmentally compromised waterways of the northeastern United States. They are omnivorous, and can thrive in fairly awful conditions. A bit of pescatarian trivia is that a Mummichog was the first fish to go to Space, having been studied on NASA’s Skylab back in 1973. Environmental scientists use these fishies as an indicator specie, meaning that you catch a bunch of Mummichogs and then grind them into a goo. The goo is then analyzed for the presence and concentration of certain chemical compounds like pcb’s or heavy metals.

The search for “it” continues.

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, August 10th. 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.

persistent presence

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Monday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Anxious, that’s the way a humble narrator recently described his state of mind to a medical professional who was catechizing him. Anxious is how one has felt for quite a while now. The pressure valve one regularly turns to relieve a few atmospheres of this background anxiety involves exercise and solitude, but that isn’t some new survival strategy one has evolved during this interminable pandemic period, it’s rather my “go-to.” Were this a normal summer, things I’d be complaining right now about; A) I want a weekend off from doing tours, B) how hot it is, C) my desires to just “get out there” by myself with the camera.

This isn’t a normal summer, but I’ll still complain about “B” and “C.” One fo my “go-to’s” throughout the pandemic has been to follow a pathway out of Astoria and into the industrial zones of Long Island City. Unfortunately, a lot of other people have discovered the areas surrounding Newtown Creek in recent months. This too makes me anxious.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve done a lot of cool stuff over the years, all of which caused me endless amounts of anxiety while in pursuit thereof. I’ve ghost hunted in Crete, for instance, which involved my father in law and I avoiding the attentions of shot gun toting bandits on a country road in Greece at 4 in the morning. I’ve worked on neat projects in the advertising world – a Times Square bill board, marquee ads placed in The NY Times magazine section, and for about 5 years everytime you walked into a Footlocker store to buy sneakers all that stuff on the walls and in the windows you saw promoting new shoes was probably something I had a hand in. There are comic books out there which I wrote and drew, and I was responsible for an entire comic company’s studio production schedule for a while. I’ve worked for major ad agencies, huge Wall Street companies, you name it. I’ve been happily married for decades, have friends whom I’ve been hanging out with since I was a teenager, and have multiple rings of friends and acquaintances that sound like a who’s who list of NYC. When I say it all out loud, it sounds like I’m bragging, but these are all things I’ve done. Saying that, every day when I wake up, it’s a “reset” and I have to find some way to justify my existence.

Right now, caught up in this wave of never ending tumult, it’s difficult to say that any of that stuff matters. Hence, anxiety.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One practices a thought modality which I call “branch logic.” It’s game theory, ultimately. Every action I take has two possible outcomes, which in turn offer further binary choices that branch off of whatever decision was undertaken. “If I cross Van Dam Street, when I get to the jail, I can either head north (Queens Plaza) or south (Greenpoint Avenue Bridge) – which is decision 1 – or just continue West towards decision 2. If I head west, I can go to Dutch Kills or follow it to Skillman Avenue. At Dutch Kills I can, or at Skillman I can… you get the idea. Interpersonally – I can punch this guy at the bar in the mouth, or I can just humor him. If I punch him, these two possibilities happen or if I humor him, another set of binaries occurs. This make the world somewhat predictable, which allows one to plan. If I save $20 a week, I’ll have a thousand bucks at the end of the year. If I have a thousand bucks in January, I can…

Thing is, and this is where all that anxiety is coming from, the world has become utterly and incomprehensibly unpredictable. I can’t predict anything more than two moves out right now, which is something that makes me anxious.

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, August 10th. 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

August 10, 2020 at 1:00 pm

essential salts

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Monday, from the old German word “mōnandæg,” means day of the moon.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A little bit of continuity with last Friday’s post is seen above, depicting the same tug and barge combination passing the Meeker Avenue/Penny Bridge street end along Newtown Creek. The difference in today’s shot are the three jet skis which got into the tug captain’s path, which sped past the combo. Yes. People are jet skiing in Newtown Creek nowadays. I know, I know.

If these recreationalists only knew about the rumors which have plagued me about “it” all summer. “It,” if “it” exists, would likely regard these jet skiers as little more than a snack.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For the shot above, I lengthened the exposure time in pursuit of getting the water all mirror like. Sometime in the next week or two, my plan is to acquire some polarized filter glass for the camera, which should aid in peering below the surface by reducing the reflected and scattering ambience of the sky.

Perhaps it will help me reveal its presence, if it does exist. Thing is… who can guess, all there is, that might be swimming around down in the gelatinous fathoms of the Newtown Creek?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A parting shot from the Kosciuszko Bridge walkway, captured as dusk was giving way to full night time.

More tomorrow, at 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, August 3rd. 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.

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