The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Long Island City

burned out

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Hey, what’s with all this Northern Blvd. stuff?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I know what is to come. In recent years, the NYC Dept. of City Planning was working on something they called “LIC Core,” a planning document centering around Northern Blvd. between 31st street and Woodside Avenue. My understanding is that the planning document has been abandoned, and that the Real Estate Industrial Complex will just be allowed to do whatever they want under the proviso that a politically viable number of “affordable” apartments are a part of their plan. The whole “affordable” thing, and the arithmetic by which the concept of affordability is determined, is a bugbear of political deception which I don’t want to get into.

As mentioned in the past, I’m now a member of Community Board 1 here in Astoria, and before the summer break, a humble narrator was obliged to vote for or against a couple of these projects. Now, when you’re on a community board – and I seem to be the only person in Queens who adheres to this – it’s meant to be like serving on a jury. The petitioner presents their facts, you make inquiries, and then you vote. In the case of two large projects just a few blocks from my own home, I voted yes. Here’s why…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Close to transit, shopping, and City services? Check. Best use of the land? Well, I don’t think used car lots are the best use of the land within one to two miles of the East River. How densely populated is the area already? Well…. let’s just say that when the kids want to experiment with cannabinoids well outside the purview of their parents or just see how loud their car stereos are, the side streets along Northern Blvd. are where they go, as it’s a ghost town at night after all the car lots and mechanics shutter their doors. People sleep in their cars along these blocks, or on cardboard boxes piled up against the walls.

Just like when you’re on a jury, your CB vote is supposed to be based not on personal prejudices or preconceived notions, rather it’s meant to be guided by the presented facts and informed by your personal knowledge of the area. Saying that, my queries and comments to the various entities seeking to develop residential properties in the neighborhood revolved around topics that longtime Newtown Pentacle readers will find familiar – green roofs, truly public space, stormwater capture, hospital beds, school desks, and transit. Also, what are you going to plug the building into, since our electrical power system hereabouts… frankly… sucks.

Also – since this has come up a few times during the summer when I was talking to the press about unrelated Newtown Creek business – I in no way speak for CB1, and if you want an official opinion of the group on anything, talk to the Chair or call the office and ask for one. I’m still new to the Community Board, and getting to know not just my fellow members but also the procedural norms under which it operates. My plan for the next set of sessions, which begin again in September, is to show up and observe the way things work and then vote my conscience on the various issues presented. What you read here is from my personal POV, and all opinions are my own. If I’m speaking “officially” on behalf of any of the groups which I work with, I’ll state that. Otherwise, it’s just some schmuck with a camera mouthing off again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saying all that, and I’m still startled at the number of people who have willingly made their homes in Queens Plaza, living along Northern Blvd. seems like a poor choice. You do have fairly regular bus service, but the closest subway stops (other than the 36th street R/M) are all several blocks to the north – in Astoria proper – along Broadway. I’ve long called this stretch of Northern Blvd. the “Carridor” as it’s a super wide primary automobile and truck route that offers some of the scariest street crossings in all of Queens. Really, Steinway at Northern… brrrr…

At the moment, I’m spending some effort on recording what’s found on the Carridor right now, in order to create some kind of record before it all gets swept away by the forces of modernity and the rapacious hunger of the Real Estate Industrial Complex. The history of NYC is a story of wrenching, and quite sudden, change. Take a picture when something catches your interest, as it might not be there tomorrow.


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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

August 27, 2019 at 11:00 am

hellish altar

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Kitty!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m continuing my little summer vacation this week, which actually hasn’t been much of a vacation – truth be told. A couple of projects have landed on my desk, which is good, as my landlord likes it when I pay my rent. Bad, however, as I really just wanted to go out and aimlessly wander around Queens and have some fun for once. There you are. Being busy is a problem you actually want to have.

Single images will be found here, refreshed daily, until Monday the 26th when I’ll resume my complaining and kvetching.


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 19, 2019 at 11:00 am

obscure foothold

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It’s not you, it’s me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are things which puzzle me, such as why there aren’t an abundance of street lights at work found at the off ramps of the Queensboro Bridge in Queens Plaza. You’ve got pedestrian islands to facilitate foot crossings of the traffic lanes, and there are even bike lanes, but there are few if any lamps hung from the elevated tracks above the roads. This doesn’t make sense.

“Welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself” really should be the Borough Motto.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Plaza Park is what the Durst Organization is calling its 67 story tower, which is currently rising towards an eventual seven hundred and seventy five foot zenith. Future home to nine hundred and fifty eight apartments worth of people, right here in Queens Plaza, this will be one giant mother flower.

Hopefully one of the people who will be living here someday will allow me to take a few shots out of their window or off their roof deck or whatever. I’d like to get some shots from up there before we go full “Mega City One.”

I’m too old for that dystopia crap.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lastly, as you may have noticed by now, I’m in a fairly foul mood. There’s some people who need smiting, and others who need to be made an “example of” as a cautionary tale for others. It’s best to keep to myself for a bit, wandering through the concrete devastations in the dark, drifting with the night winds like a ghast.

Bah!


“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 5, 2019 at 1:00 pm

falsetto panic

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A few more archive shots, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As one hasn’t had anything particularly interesting going on for the last couple of weeks, or at least “interesting” visually speaking, so a humble narrator finds himself a bit short on content for the moment. Luckily, a great deal of time was spent during the cold months of this and last year scuttling about Long Island City in the dark of night and making with the camera clicking.

I’ve always thought the accidental compositions left behind by the workers of NYC are incredible looking, the middens of waste left behind by industrial labor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above was gathered one night when I was photographing the neighborhood which the City and State intended for the habitation of Amazon’s HQ2 project. Those of us who live in Western Queens are not surprised or shocked by such sights. The dearest secret kept away from potential customers by the Real Estate crowd relates back to the tremulous state of the centuried municipal infrastructure underlying the shiny new tower apartment buildings.

Writus Postus Interruptus” occurred right here, at about 12:15 a.m.

So, as I was sitting and writing the above drivel last night, a sudden screeching of breaks and THUMPF broke into my reverie at about 12:05 a.m.. Didn’t see it, but when I stuck my head out to see what happened, a bike rider had been struck by a pickup truck on my corner. The bike guy was laying in the street and screaming at the driver. Always a good citizen, a humble narrator initiated a 911 call.

By the time that the operator was about to dispatch help, the bike rider had recovered and was preparing to ride away. I reported this to the operator, who told me that “we can’t cancel a call once it’s started.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The consequence of me being a good samaritan involved then receiving multiple phone calls from various emergency services – first from onboard a fire truck, then about ten minutes later from an ambulance. About two hours later, my phone rings – at 1:48 a.m., and it’s the cops, whose response time to this was an hour and forty three minutes. Had to spend a good fifteen minutes on the phone with the officer explaining the above, and being a cop he made me go back into the story at different starting points to ascertain whether or not it was a made up story or it really happened.

Sheesh, try to do the right thing and next thing you know the cops have you up until two in the morning. My delicate equilibrium upset, didn’t get to bed until the wee hours, and I was so distracted by the encounter that I didn’t get today’s post done until just now.

Long story short, infrastructure of all kinds – including emergency response – is stretched paper thin here in Queens.


“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 2, 2019 at 2:40 pm

feebly leaped

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A few archive shots today.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Meetings, have to’s, places to be and toes to break – these things affect us all and no one more so than I. Accordingly, a few archive shots are on offer today whilst one awaits the Götterdämmerung thunderstorm on schedule for this afternoon.

Pictured above and below are Flushing Bay, as captured one very cold night back in January of this year. In all actuality, the shot above actually depicts the intersection of Flushing Bay with Flushing Creek, but why get all technical?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All of this rain has caused an absolutely horrible consequence for the inland waterways of NYC, or so I’m led to believe by my friends who participate in the Citizen Science water testing program who have spoken of off the chart levels of sewage bacteria in their samples. The metric which is generally accepted by those in the know is that the Combined Sewer System can begin releasing untreated waste water into the harbor due to a tenth of an inch of rain falling on the City. A quarter inch of rain translates into a billion gallons of water entering the system, and virtually guarantees that the overage will start flowing into area waterways. Pictured above, you can see a containment boom surrounding one of the outfall pipes that empties into Flushing Bay.

Prior to today’s storm, the City has received 6.85 inches of rain just in July of 2019. Using the quarter inch equals a billion gallons equation, the City has had to deal with an extra 27.4 billion gallons of storm water just in the last month, which is on top of the normal wastewater flow coming from homes and businesses.

Bubble bubble, toil and trouble, indeed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Way on the other side of Queens, nearby Queens Plaza in LIC, you’ll find the Queensboro Bridge and the elevated tracks of the 7 line. Neither one of these structures has a drainage system directly feeding into the sewer system, instead, multi story tall pipes carry storm water and whatever else might get washed off the tracks or roadway down to street level where the water is expected to find its way to a sewer grate.

They look pretty, at least.


“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

July 31, 2019 at 2:00 pm

pierced stone

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Scuttling, always scuttling.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, after finishing up the Greenpoint walking tour I conducted for NYC H2O, a humble narrator shuffled along the old mortal coil in pursuance of getting back home. Along the way, NYC was doing its thing and showing off. She does that during the summer. These shots were gotten with a recent addition to my lens kit, a bargain basement Canon 24mm pancake lens that’s little more than a body cap with a tiny piece of autofocusing glass in it. The “itty bitty” nature of this particular lens allows me to give the camera a fairly good look through chain link fencing, even the tight meshed sort that you’ll find on the Pulaski Bridge.

DOT likes the fine mesh stuff. The “diamonds” created by the overlapping wires can’t be more than 3/4 of an inch on the fine mesh variant of chain link fence, which is a ruinous thing when you’re using more traditional glass with front elements in the neighborhood of 77-100mm in diameter. Bother.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m continually surprised at the pancake lens, as a note. It’s got few of the optical formula sorts of issues you’d expect to find in a “cheap” lens, and is f2.8 on the wide end which… as mentioned, is not what you’d expect to find on such an inexpensive device. In bright sunlight, the thing is tack sharp at f4 and above.

This isn’t meant to sound like a “sell” for the thing, I just really like it. Finally managed to get a shot of the Queens Midtown Tunnel, which I’ve been desirous of for awhile, with it – as seen above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All of these turbulent storms, and high atmospheric humidity, has really made for some incredible sunsets of late – don’t you think?

Got the shot above on Broadway in Astoria sometime last week, and I’m fond of it.


“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

July 29, 2019 at 1:00 pm

cracked whining

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Locusts, I predict locusts. Repent.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent wandering through Astoria revealed that the loathsome serial killer called the Queens Cobbler still stalks, and continues to taunt both community and law enforcement by leaving their macabre singular shoe trophies on public display. Also revealed is the continuing disobedience towards littering and sanitation law displayed by the citizens of Astoria. Sheesh, there’s a garbage can on the next corner, bro.

One is a bit worse for wear today, it was a weird week last time around, what with the pounding we took from the weather and my doctor appointments.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few of you contacted me after I mentioned that I had visited a doctor to deal with a couple of weird things I had going on, evincing concern. Thanks, but everything is ok, I’m just in a process right now wherein instead of just “having” health insurance, I’m trying to “use” my health insurance. My goal in this is largely prophylactic, as other than a few normal aches and pains I’m largely healthy, but it’s been a good decade since a good full body head to toe (and into orifices) examination has been undertaken and baseline condition was determined by a team of Doctors. Given my calendrical age, and the statistical likelihood of things starting to randomly go to hell, it’s logical to establish a “state of Mitch” report. On Friday, I went to an optometrist for the first time in more than two years, for instance, and discovered that my spectacles prescription had changed.

I’m also trying to keep all of this local, as in here in Astoria. Formerly, I was rolling with Beth Israel over in Manhattan’s Union Square, but that got pretty nasty when I had to commute into the City to see a doc for flu or whatever, so I’m establishing relationships with medical professionals closer to home. I’ll be complaining about invasive procedures and the draining of vital fluids and ichors for months, I can assure you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has no idea what’s going on with the shot above, other than offering a sure opinion that if you were to step into that chained off square you’d be transported into some blasphemous realm where the elder gods still gambol and play.

This is going to be a fairly busy week for a humble narrator. I’m doing two walking tours, and hopefully this week I won’t find myself huddled with the group on the Borden Avenue Bridge during a wild thunderstorm like I did last week. That sucked.

Keep an eye out for single shoes cast off and left around your neighborhood, for it means that the Queens Cobbler stalks in your midst.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Upcoming Tours and Events


Thursday, July 25, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Greenpoint Walking Tour w NYCH20

Explore Greenpoint’s post industrial landscape and waterfront with Newtown Creek Alliance historian Mitch Waxman.

Click here for ticketing and more information.


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

July 22, 2019 at 11:00 am

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