The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Long Island Railroad

blasphemous daring

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Friday is back.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When I’m heading out in the direction of Newtown Creek or industrial LIC, the only way to “there from here” involves me crossing the truss bridges carrying local street traffic over the Sunnyside Yards. Hence, I’ve developed an appreciation and fascination for the place over the years. You commonly see the rolling stock of three different rail companies here – Amtrak (pictured above and below), New Jersey Transit, and Long Island Rail Road. The northern side of Sunnyside Yards is filled almost entirely with Amtrak related trains and maintenance buildings, whereas the southern boundary sees a lot of LIRR activity.

During the last year, a multitude of East Side Access construction related holes have appeared in the fencing of the yards, which has been awesome.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I have friends who describe their favorite hobby as “railfanning,” meaning that they are fans of rail. I’d describe myself as a fan, but I’m nowhere near as serious as railfans are. A railfan will tell you that the train is using the wrong screw to hold its headlight on, and is possessed of a deep and insightful narrative regarding the various modern rail operations and the historical forebears which laid down the systems that today’s outfits use. Pennsylvania Railroad, NY Central, etc. I can talk history on this topic, but it’s broad stroke. A railfan gets granular.

As a note, the truss bridge you see in the background of the shot above is 39th street, which is where the first shot was gathered from. I was clicking the shutter on the Honeywell Street Truss Bridge for this and the one below.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m actually pretty happy with this one, depicting a LIRR train moving through the Harold Interlocking, right in front of the Harold tower. I’ve taken a million shots of this action from the 39th street truss at a fence hole which I call the “old reliable,” but a brand new fence hole which appeared in just the last few months has materialized at Honeywell. The tracks in the trench at center left are part of the massive East Side Access project, I’m told.

Back Monday with more wonders, at this, your Newtown Pentacle.


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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

April 9, 2021 at 11:00 am

last void

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A nightmare to some, Shabbos to others, Friday has come.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yup, fence holes day! As mentioned last week, several new apertures in the fence lines around Sunnyside Yards have appeared during the Annum Pandemicum and a humble narrator has been assiduously cataloguing and exploiting them. Pictured above is a Long Island Railroad trainset heading towards Manhattan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another Long Island Railroad train, this one heading away from an accursed island called Manhattan, and photographed from a fence hole I call “the old reliable.” Truth be told, the old reliable almost caused a case of frostbite for me when shooting this. There was a steady 10-15 mph wind, and given that the old reliable is a 3 inch square hole found in the middle of a large steel plate, all that wind pressure was focusing through it like a laser.

Good news is that all that air pressure really cleaned up the lens, blowing any and all dust off the glass. Multi task, motherflowers, multi task.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At Sunnyside Yards; you will commonly see Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit, and as pictured above – Amtrak rolling stock. Amtrak has their Acela high speed service here too, but the fence holes surrounding that service’s facilities are difficult to work with. One can hope that somewhere down the line they’ll need to pop a hole in one of the fences and… what dreams may come, huh?

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 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 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 19, 2021 at 11:00 am

dark polarity

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Arch Street Yard is a locomotive maintenance facility in Long Island City, found at the westernmost edge of the rail complex called Sunnyside Yards. There always seems to be a couple of decrepit Long Island Railroad trains stored here. Maybe they use them for parts, who knows? Luckily there’s a hole in the fence big enough for my camera lenses. Of course, that’s presuming that I’m not imagining or dreaming this circumstance and scene, which is a presumption that my quarantine addled thought process might not still be reliable and that the fence hole is not some wild hallucination. I’ve got a photo, so it’s likely real, but who knows…

Fence holes – dey’s is me bread-n-buttah, presumptively.

The setup on this particular evening involved me using my Canon R6 with the 35mm f 1.8 lens. This one is now part of the permanent carry, in terms of what goes in my camera bag. This lens has image stabilization at f1.8! Between the IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) and the lens’s stabilizer – that’s 8 stops of light! That can’t be real, can it? I mean… physics…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of my practices is to walk a new tool around to familiar places and spaces, and given that the walk I took it on – which included a few times when I sat down for few minutes here and there to rest a sore ankle – moved through an area extensively explored and photographed in the before time.

There used to be a diner on 49th Avenue in LIC, then it became a fancy pants restaurant, and it’s sat empty like this for years now. This isn’t because of COVID, instead it’s the old Queens trope about a landlord discovering that their tenant is doing well so they jack up the rent hoping to cash in and then put them out of business. That is a fresh layer of pandemic graffiti, however, and one finds those compositions pleasing to the eye.

Of course, at this stage of the pandemic, I find a dripping faucet endlessly fascinating. Is the faucet even real? Am I? Is any of this? How could things have fallen apart so completely and so fast, in not just the United States but in New York City? Why is toast better than bread?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On this particular scuttle around LIC, I abstained from my pandemic habit of not having headphones plugged into my ear holes. I was listening to an audiobook describing the last decades of the Roman Republic according to Plutarch, and let me tell you this friends – history does, indeed, repeat itself. My assertion that we haven’t arrived at the time of Caesar – yet – remains in place, but we have clearly skipped past the Gracchi Brothers and entered into a political era analogous to that occupied by Marius and Sulla.

Was Rome even real? Did Romans fight about reallocating the horse parking spaces on the public Via in favor of creating protected Chariot lanes? Did you know that the City of Rome had no Police Force, nor a Fire Dept.? Rich guys like Croesus maintained the fire fighting crews, and he’d sell you back all the stuff they rescued from the burning building. If you couldn’t afford to pay, he’d sell it to someone else. There’s a reason that the phrase “richer than Croesus” is still used 2,000 years after he died.

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, February 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

February 24, 2021 at 11:00 am

general attire

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is taking a break this week, as his anxiety and or stress levels have become absolutely maxed out. Thusly, you’ll be seeing single shots and regular postings will resume next week.

Pictured above is a Long Island Railroad train moving through the Harold Interlocking at Sunnyside Yards in Long Island City.

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, February 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 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

February 18, 2021 at 11:00 am

highly excited

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It’s avoiding the topic Friday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You always have to be wary about Vampires in Western Queens. What, you think that the legendary diversity of the Borough of Queens only relates to wholesome or salubrious types? For every twenty hard working immigrants, there’s likely some abyssal and atavist abomination that followed them here from their aboriginal origins. I’ve warned you in the past about what might exist in the high rafters of the elevated subway system around Queens Plaza, the mischief goblins of Cretan lore called the Kalikantzaros, the presence of the Yugoslavian Strigoi, and those unnameable things rumored to be living in the turgid waters of Hells Gate.

Ever notice that most churches are built like fortresses? If you were to start up a mega church and base it in a former industrial laundry alongside a rail yard, wouldn’t you surround it with cruciforms and hire 24 hour security too? Can’t be too careful. Devils.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned earlier in the week, I like a good demolition photo. According to my understanding of the existing buildings down on the deck at Sunnyside Yards, and I very well might be 100% incorrect here so grain of salt, this building used to serve as the NYC training facility for the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Pullman Sleeping Car Porters and restaurant/bar train staff. This staff, known for a) wearing red hats and b) being almost exclusively African American, were the progenitors of the 20th century population movement from the American South referred to as the Southern Migration. Founders of what’s referred to as “The Black Middle Class” in the northeast is how the members of the (union) Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters are often portrayed. I’m not an expert by any means on this subject, so I’d ask you to google up someone who is, as it’s a great story. You could always start with wikipedia.

At least I got to tell you about these fellows, even if I might be wrong about which building was which on a couple of hundred year old maps I often refer to.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunnyside Yards is a Railroad coach yard that occupies about 183 square acres in Long Island City. Opened in 1910, it was part of a regional build out by the Pennsylvania Railroad that saw the creation of a passenger rail station in New Jersey, the creation of rail tunnels under the Hudson River and into Manhattan where they entered the original Penn Station, the tunnels under Manhattan and across the East River to Queens, and Sunnyside Yards was the final piece required for the linking up of the regional rail of Long Island (LIRR) with that of the continent. The Pennsylvania Railroad’s main competitor was the Grand Central Railroad Company, which erected the Hell Gate Bridge for the same purpose – connecting to Long Island. Sunnyside Yards was federalized in the 1970’s, which is how Amtrak ended up owning most of it, but large chunks of the property are held by MTA and by the General Motors Corporation.

103 square acres, and you can’t catch a train there. On the western side, you can catch a serious case of vampirism though, so watch out.

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, November 2nd. 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

November 6, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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