The Newtown Pentacle

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Becoming reacquainted with that old/new lens of mine, a 70-300 zoom which I had retired several years ago since it didn’t get along well with my old camera, is something I like to do at familiar locales. Luckily, there are few places more familiar to me than the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek. There’s my favorite little tree again. Don’t worry, you’ll see more of it tomorrow.

Often, when out shooting at night, intuition tells me that I’m being watched. It’s usually primates doing the watching, more often than not through the monoculars of security cameras. Sometimes it’s one of those dick Canada Gooses, others it’s a stealthy raccoon or some other beast of the night. I mainly worry about the primates, truth be told. I’m pretty sure I can win a fight with a raccoon, and actually fended one off not too long ago in Maspeth with my tripod.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This time around, when I felt a pair of eyes boring into me, it was a cat sitting on the bulkheads of Dutch Kills. How it managed to get to this spot mystifies, but Cat’s are capable of great feats of athleticism. You don’t normally see Cats with this colorization hereabouts. Calicos and tabbies seem to be more common on the Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek, in LIC there seems to be some sort of genetic advantage to having your fur pajamas cast in black. Black cats with yellow eyes seem to dominate.

Remember back in the before times, prior to the hipsters and gentrifiers, when there were packs of wild dogs roaming around? Lots of feral animals in those days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This little murder machine seemed to on the hunt for something which was hiding behind that concrete block on the right hand side of the shot. Probably some prey animal like a rat or a mouse, or some sort of shrew. It was really paying attention to me as well, and seemed to know that it was being photographed. I swear that it saw the camera and posed. Never signed a release, though, so I can’t sell this shot.

Back tomorrow with more from the shadows.


“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 25, 2021 at 1:00 pm

strange tributes

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills is a tributary of the fearsome Newtown Creek, a Federal Superfund site some 3.8 miles long that provides a border for the New York City Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens for the first three miles of its course. The waterway is polluted by industry and open sewers, and there’s a bed of sediment at the bottom composed of coal tar, petroleum derivates, human waste, and everything else that’s ever fallen into the water. This sediment is called “Black Mayonnaise.” The Dutch Kills tributary branches off of the main waterway about 3/4 of a mile from its intersection with the East River, flows entirely within the confines of Long Island City, and is about .7 – .8 of a mile long.

I’m obsessed with that little tree growing out from under a factory along the bulkheads. It’s a Tree of Paradise aka “Princess Tree,” I’m told.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All of those little streaks in the water, along the rotting bulkheads which I focused in on, are fishies. What you can hear at night, from all over this industrial canal, are the slaps and splashes of predator fish picking off these little bug eaters who gather around light sources. You can also hear passing ATV’s and muscle cars with modified exhaust systems, but that’s a different post.

I spent a bit of time hereabouts recently, waving the camera around and investigating what might be hiding in the shadows at Dutch Kills. As long time readers here at Newtown Pentacle will attest, a humble narrator is endlessly fascinated by this section of the greater Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Water fowl, these Canada Geese are dicks. All Canada Geese are dicks, and I’m racist towards them. Specist, actually, I guess. At the very least, I’m extremely prejudiced against them.

Wow, remember when there was a difference between prejudiced and racist, as in there was a level of severity for being an asshole to other people? I was having a conversation with a younger friend of mine about this lately, one which centered on how you bleed pressure out of a closed system. There’s different levels of murder, for instance – manslaughter, homicide, etc.

At any rate, the Canada Geese are ultimately downy piles of meat, and what I was doing at Dutch Kills on this warm night was searching for a carnivore which legends say hunt these waters. Looking for a hunter? Focus in on the prey.


“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 24, 2021 at 1:30 pm

mighty silence

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Long Island City is one of those places where a constancy of tumult and change can be expected. It’s photographically interesting to me, and even though you’ve walked down either this block or that one a hundred times before I guarantee that there’s some feature or weird thing you probably haven’t noticed before. My pal Ms. Heather over in Greenpoint coined the term “street furniture” for finds like the one above.

As is often the case, one had to stand in the street to get this shot. As is also often the case, the minute I decided to step off the curb, traffic volumes on this particular street rose to downtown Manhattan 1960’s levels.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m always on the lookout for evidence of Mad Science or Supervillain lairs in Long Island City. High real estate valuations have priced most of the lesser villains out of LIC in recent years. You have to be a Luthor, or a Cobblepott or Osborne, to be able to afford mad sciencing here these days. Most of the lesser villains have moved their operations north, south, and east. Edward Nigma is out on Staten Island, as are Kraven the Hunter and the Crimson Dynamo. Word has it that Kiteman is now operating out of a split level ranch house in Bayonne. I wonder what villain is operating out of those repurposed shipping containers pictured above, making monsters.

I’d like to live in a world where getting bit by a radioactive spider doesn’t just give you blood poisoning and or cancer.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I always remind people to respect the traffic in LIC, as even the traffic signs aren’t safe hereabouts. I always follow official instructions to the letter, so when the signage above points a certain way, I obey the edict. That’s why I ended up walking into a brick wall.

The brick wall didn’t give me super powers or anything, just scrapes and a bruise.


“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 20, 2021 at 11:00 am

terrifying delight

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunset is fairly spectacular this time of year, if you get your timing correct. A recent scuttle found one heading towards the familiar destination of Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary in Long Island City’s Degnon Terminal section. This is a familiar path for me, and is one of the regular night time walks which I’ve been engaging in throughout the endless pandemic months.

That water tower pictured above is on the roof of the Standard Motor Products Building, which also hosts the Brooklyn Grange Urban farm.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When I was crossing the Honeywell Truss over the Sunnyside Yards, which is one of the street bridges spanning the rail complex which connects Skillman Avenue with Northern Blvd., I got the fiery skies I was hoping for.

One was, of course, about a half hour late relative as to where I wanted to be when the sky went orange. I really wanted to be near the water, but had a bit of trouble dragging my butt out of HQ on time. This is one of the effects that the pandemic months has created for me, an inability to rush about.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s been a while since I’ve left HQ with the entire photo kit on my back – y’know, the tripod and everything. A point was made of intentionally using my zoom lenses while walking, since most of what I’ve been shooting over the last few months has been accomplished with two prime lenses. Given that I’ve brought a long lens out of retirement, I’m trying to mix things up a bit and “reach out and touch something” with it.

As mentioned, a bit of travel is in the cards for me in September. Definitely going to be visiting the pretty city of Pittsburgh with its amazing collection of bridges and funiculars, Burlington up in Vermont is on my list, as is Washington D.C. If I can make it work, I might come back from Pittsburgh via Chicago. I also have a wedding to attend in a rural section of New York State next month. Exciting, no?


“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 19, 2021 at 1:00 pm

gaseous consciousness

with 2 comments

Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What with the crazy heat wave and other obligations experienced last week, including having to quarantine for 3 days until I could get tested for Covid – because an Anti-Vaccine idiot friend of mine decided that his freedom to avoid vaccination trumped mine to not be needlessly exposed to a plague – a humble narrator is a bit behind on his schedule. Hey Anti-Vaxxer, I know that god is going to protect you from Covid and all that, but using that logic – why do you need to own a gun?

Shot 1, above, is a modern shot from 2021. For yesterday and today’s posts I’m reaching into the archives.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in 2009, the Queensborough Bridge Centennial celebration happened on June 9th. I was one of the parade Marshalls, which allowed me otherwise unthinkable access to the span. Zero traffic, and about an hour for me to “do my thing” while completely alone up there except for a couple of cops.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also in 2009, a friend’s birthday celebration found me in Manhattan just as a thunderstorm was blowing through. A spectacular atmospheric display occurred at sunset. Luckily, I was a few blocks from the Chrysler Building.

Back tomorrow with something different at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“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 17, 2021 at 11:00 am

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