The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Long Island City

held transient

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Friday is frizzled, yo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another set of Sunnyside Yards shots are on offer today, with the one above depicting the Acela maintenance operation on the north side of the gargantuan rail coach yard here in Long Island City. It’s also right about at this point in time, roughly a month ago on March 15th, that I was able to begin saying that I knew how to handle the new camera and lenses properly and predictably. What I mean by that, is that I was able to spot a scene and say “hey, switch to the 85mm for this one, using x aperture and y iso” without a trial and error phase baked into the process. Funnily enough, since I’ve been moving around in daylight again, it’s been something of a challenge to shoot when the “lights” are on, burning thermonuclear eye of god wise.

Hey, I carried the old camera (technically there were two, since one got smashed, but same model) for around ten years and it had become an extension of my arm in many ways. Didn’t even have to think about the technical side of things, since while shooting all those dials and buttons were being whirred and clicked on muscle memory. One fo the challenges of the new device has actually been teaching my fingers where the buttons and dials are.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has not had a terrific amount of fun this last week due to inclement clime, personal obligation, and official business. I found out several disconcerting things this past week that revolve around Newtown Creek, but the good news is that I was able to help organize a cleanup effort at the 19th Avenue street end in Astoria, at Luyster Creek. Great bunch of neighbors showed up, and got sweaty. The NYC DEP sent us a dumpster to collect up the garbage peeled off the shoreline, which was awesome.

This is the way.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Despite my obstacles and obligations, I still found myself standing in three of the five boroughs, which is more travel than I can describe for the last year. Looks like next week is going to involve an apocalypse of Zoom meetings. I just got renewed for another two years on the Community Board here in Astoria so there’s a long swearing in ceremony I need to virtually attend, followed by an actual CB1 meeting on Tuesday, followed by a Newtown Creek CAG meeting on… it really doesn’t ever seem to end.

Three Zoom meetings in a row are a holocaust, 4 or more are an apocalypse. A few weeks ago, I had to be in two Zoom meetings simultaneously. Whiskey was required afterwards.

Every single one of these Zoom’s feels like my soul is being run through a delicatessen meat slicer and a centimeter of my identity is being removed. Get vaxxed, lords and ladies, so we can annoy each other in person again.


“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

April 16, 2021 at 2:00 pm

shifting hints

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Wednesday… sigh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My weekly walk to Dutch Kills, or the “happy hunting grounds” as I call them, allowed for another shot of that tenacious little tree I’m obsessed with. Dutch Kills is a tributary of the larger Newtown Creek, which itself is a tributary of the East River, which is in turn an estuarial tributary where the Hudson River and Long Island Sound combine. Dutch Kills is contained entirely within Long Island City’s Degnon Terminal section, here in Queens.

This area has been my “go-to” for many years, and never so much as during the Pandemic year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If my intentions play out this week as planned, I won’t be visiting Dutch Kills, rather I’m out wandering around the City as I’m supposedly fully vaxxed by now – some 14-15 days after the second Pfizer shot made me start to think about X-Boxes all the time.

That little mud flat is part of a NYC DEP experiment in creating wetland environmental plantings here. There’s a few spots on Dutch Kills in which a staggering amount of money was spent in pursuance of planting native speciations, with the hope that it would provide environmental anchoring for shellfish and other critters.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the far end of the canal, you find a turning basin, which introduces a “T” shape to the northern extent of Dutch Kills. A turning basin is an area where a ship or tug and barge combination has an opportunity to reverse course by turning their bow to the direction they’re going in, which is a lot more efficient than reversing course.

Back tomorrow.


“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

April 7, 2021 at 11:00 am

shambleth about

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Godalmighty, it’s here again – Friday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Spooky. That’s what I was thinking while shooting this illuminated passage at the 1920’s era Sunnyside Gardens development. The actual gardens aren’t spooky at all, instead they’re rather quaint, but every now and then… what can I tell you, I like spooky. My father in law and I once left his house in Crete at 3:30 in the morning to go ghost hunting at the ruins of a Frankish castle called Fraggokastelle. Coincidentally, that’s the same time that I learned not to skimp on spending money on tripods as the cheap piece of crap I had carried halfway across the planet basically disassembled itself just as the sun was rising. Spooky.

Walking around the deserted streets of Western Queens in the middle of the night is somewhat spooky, but you really have to look for it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Other large northeastern cities in these United States are folkloric gold mines when it comes to tales of specters and apparitions. Once you cross county lines moving in the four cardinal directions, there’s a rich and well described narrative describing ghosts, goblins, forest spirits, and hauntings all around us and particularly so in the Hudson Valley region. I’ve always ascribed NYC’s distinct lack of supernatural lore to real estate valuation. It would cut into the worth of your property if it was commonly thought to be haunted, after all. There’s actually a NYS law demanding that you disclose your haunted status prior to closing.

The real estate boom of the last 20 years, which has seen significant acreages of older buildings demolished and replaced by modern glass box towers, has likely created a large population of homeless or unhoused ghosts. Nobody ever talks about that.

Pfah. You only care about people when they’re alive, you god damned metabolists.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you cared, you’d get yourself a Quija board and invite some of these unhoused spirits into your house. Let them in, I say. So what if they occasionally knock the walls, or slide Granny’s porcelain off the counter? I mean, really, what’s the big deal about having to clean up a bit of ectoplasm every now and then? Sheesh.

Saying all that, I’m always up for a good NYC ghost story. If you’ve got one to share, leave it in the comments, or if you want to share a story and remain anonymous – email it to me here.

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 26, 2021 at 1:05 pm

vastness transcending

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Can you smell that, I think it’s Thursday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator can now claim to be fully vaccinated against COVID, with the second shot of the Pfizer vaccine having been inserted on Tuesday. I did experience some after effects on this one, which can be described as the set of symptoms you’d normally be experiencing before telling a loved one “I’m getting sick.” No fever, but hot and cold intervals, lethargy, interrupted sleep and fever dreams. Yesterday I took a nap in the late afternoon. Normally, I don’t nap. This morning (Thursday) I feel like you do the day after you were sick – in need of a good stretch and fairly hungry. Not too much of a trial, really. Friends who have had actual COVID and subsequently got vaccinated have described a much deeper trough of symptoms after vaccination, but as of today, I’m back to wondering about wandering.

Fog and mist will just pull me out of HQ every time. I point the camera lens into it and follow. These shots came out of a “short walk” from back in February, which saw me marching about in the “industrial business zone” or “IBZ” found south of Queens Blvd. and Queens Plaza, and west of Sunnyside. Had my footsteps continued all the way down the hill, I would have ended up nearby the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, this was a short walk, a “constitutional.” One cannot sleep properly without some exercise, and the human body which houses my consciousness is built from internally lubricating parts which require motive action. At 33rd street, nearby one of the elevated stations hosting the IRT 7 line subway service, a Consolidated Edison steam pipe was putting on quite a show. A pounding sound was echoing from its subterranean chamber, with vast gouts of aerosol escaping into the atmosphere. I hung around a bit, hoping for disaster to strike as I could really use the money I’d make for selling photos of a steam pipe explosion in LIC, but no luck. It just bubbled and boiled, this cauldron.

I also debated calling it in to 311 but this was another one of those times when I just didn’t care enough. Let somebody else deal with it, I thought. I’m tired of being the only person in Queens to say “this isn’t good enough.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned above, fog and mist are my jam these days. One anxiously checks the weather reports in search of that magic combination of high dew point and temperature inversion.

I was carrying my “two lens kit” on this particular night, and was armed with only a 35mm and 85mm lens. Both are fairly “bright” lenses, so perfect for night time operations. It was also one of those nights which I wished I had the whole kit and kaboodle with me, due to the atmospheric condition.

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 25, 2021 at 11:30 am

avoided commerce

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Palpitant, I nevertheless declare this as Wednesday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the shot above, my love of Newtown Creek smashes wholeheartedly into my vast appreciation of the Northern Blvd. corridor, as the fuel truck filling the tanks at this filling station is delivering fuel from the Kinder Morgan (formerly BP Amoco) tank farm terminal in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section, which is found at the corner of Apollo Street and Norman Avenue. See? This is what it’s like inside my head.

As far as the second vaccine shot I received yesterday – yes, there are side effects with this one. Last night I got the hot/colds coupled with some body aches and most peculiarly the psychological state of “fever dreams” was plaguing me through the night, although I don’t have a fever. Fever dreams often take the form of widely spaced out awakenings, whereupon I’m convinced that I didn’t actually fall asleep and have been dreaming that I’m awake, but upon inspecting a bedside clock I discover that I’ve actually been out cold for several hours. Weird.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Street furniture – that’s what City Planners call utility poles and fire hydrants and benches. Street furniture as I define it are abandoned bits of furnishings which somebody has abandoned and left on the street for somebody else to deal with. You see feral couches and dining room chairs all the time, and this one was spotted on the corner of Northern Blvd. and Standard Lane while on my way home one night.

If I didn’t know the cause, I’d be telling Our Lady if the Pentacle that I was in the edge of getting sick right now, and expecting the rest of this week to be a wash. In addition to the immune system reaction I’m experiencing from the 2nd shot, for some reason this time the actual injection site in my shoulder is quite tender. The 1st shot felt like somebody had punched me in the upper arm, the 2nd proudly hurts.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whatever. This process makes it highly unlikely that I’m going to either cease living, or end up becoming some sort of Typhoid Mary who cause’s others to similarly cease. I still know quite a few people who are resistant to the idea of the vaccine, which is bizarre to me. As I’m wont to remind them when this opinion is offered – you’re going to have a hard time traveling, or getting on a cruise, going to Disney – all that stuff, without proof that you’re not transmissible.

And so does the winter of discontent end, with neither bang nor whisper.

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 24, 2021 at 11:30 am

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