The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Luyster Creek

particularly alien

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was quite an afternoon for a long walk, Sunday the 25th of April was, here amongst the rolling hills of Astoria. Speaking of, 21st Avenue at 43rd street seems to be the highest “natural” prominence on the north side of the neighborhood. Someday, I’d love to see a 3D topographical map of Astoria sometime. It’s fairly flat, yes, but there’s a series of shallow hill and valley formations encountered after crossing Astoria Blvd. while heading north. I like to imagine that they’re ridges of mud and stone deposited hydrologically in some unrecorded era of yore. I’ve never seen this elevation change between 20th Avenue and Astoria Blvd. described on a map, but there has to be a 40-50 foot differential.

That’s Astoria’s Luyster Creek pictured above. It’s also sporadically described in maps. A friend of mine who is an expert in the cartographic arts has been looking into the subject of this particular waterway for me, which has been immensely helpful.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After scuttling from HQ on the other side of the neighborhood, a humble narrator found himself next wandering about at Hells Gate nearby Astoria Park. For once, I was lucky enough to get there just as a train was passing over the eponymous bridge spanning this, the Hells Gate section of the East River.

Based on the reactions of passerby, my appearance must be shocking. Old ladies were clutching at their pearls, children cried, dogs growled. I saw a group of older Hellenic men preparing torches.

One decided to get out of the area quickly. The Greeks invented “peasant mob chases monster with torches” along with most other things.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While escaping the attentions of the mob, one noticed this particularly weathered fire alarm box mounted on a pole. The graffiti would indicate that this is a silent alarm… get it? Omertà… silence…

I have fun.


“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

May 18, 2021 at 2:00 pm

quasihexagonal pedestals

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Wednesday?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Fragility and weakness plague a humble narrator, and often it feels as if my bones could shatter or even begin to powderize if somebody plays their music too loudly around me. I feel the pressure of sunlight, and a stiff breeze just might be enough to end it all. My team of Doctors shore me up with a raft of medications, but all I can do is just keep walking. Endeavor found me visiting Astoria’s Luyster Creek several times last month in preparation of a shoreline cleanup effort which I helped a bunch of the neighbors to organize. You can read about all that here.

Special thanks are offered to the NYC DEP for sending us a dumpster to collect the trash and litter, and especially for bundling it into their organizational trash handling system. Additionally, kudos to the thirty or so volunteers who got sweaty and dirty doing the job. Personally, I somehow survived leaving the clean room bubble back here at HQ.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That toe I broke in 2019 has never been the same, so my troubadour tales of woe and infirmity begin where the left foot touches the ground. Like the doom squirrel of Norse Myth that climbs up and down Yggdrasil the World Tree, my list of maladies and complaints shift about and are contingent to different times of day. Luckily, pooping and peeing hasn’t been affected by my general physical decline, but I’m sure that’s coming next. Adult diapers, weird looking orthopedic shoes, weird ointment smells… it’s all just around the corner, I fear. Over the years, I’ve not treated my physical carriage well, and burnt the candle at both ends. My grandmother warned me about this.

My plan for getting out of this trap involves “mad science” and creating a younger clone body which I can transfer myself into. Since I’ve never been much of a “specimen,” I’m hopeful that my mad sciencing can find a method that would allow me to transfer my consciousness into a more robust body. At the very least, I’d like to be a couple of inches taller, since I currently have to stand on a step stool to change light bulbs. When your bones have the consistency of wet Papier-mâché it’s a good idea to avoid ladders.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Frankenstein Monster’s name was Adam. Adam Frankenstein sounds pretty Brooklyn Jewish to me, it’s the name of a Tax Professional or a Bond Trader from Midwood to my ears. The Waxman monster, should my plans for immortality not work out in some ironically comical fashion, would choose its own name since it’s going to have to live with it for a while. The awful truth of my plan, however, is that there would be two of me for a bit. This is the problem with cloning yourself and then backing your brain up into the new model. I’d continue on in painful degeneracy and eventually collapse into the inevitable pile of fecund jellies, while the new man would go striding into the 21st century. I’m such an asshole that I’d look at me (clone me looking at regular me, that is) and say “he had his chance, my turn” and move on. I hope clone me would at least hose down the decaying snot that used to be regular me before somebody slipped on it.

I wonder if I could find a way to give the clone me extra thumbs on the anterior side of the hands. I’d also like to re-examine the set up of the calfs and feet, and introduce some Kangaroo genetics into that area. A bit of armoring for the spine would be nice, as would a far better set of teeth than the ones I got. Hey… if you’re mad sciencing yourself a new body, might as well try to improve on what Mother Nature gave you.


“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

May 5, 2021 at 1:00 pm

denizens thereof

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Monday is arisen, and risible.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The first two shots in today’s post were gathered during a quick visit to Astoria’s Luyster Creek, found on the forbidden northern shore of Queens. I’m told that the rotting wooden structure in the one above used to be a dock. Personally, I don’t have any reason to argue with that. As you can tell, it was low tide when I was waving the camera about and all of the exquisite petrochemical and human excrement smells normally subsumed by the waters of the East River and Bowery Bay were available for easy sniffing.

Y’know, when you’ve taken the deep dive into all of the Newtown Creek “superfun” that I have, your head gets filled up with all sorts of regulatory terms. “NAPL” is non aqueous phase liquid, for instance. “VOC’s” are volatile organic chemicals. What those five dollar terms indicate is that VOC’s – or petroleum derived products – mixing with VOC’s – basically raw sewage – is pretty bad. All this yuck settles down out of the water column and builds up a bed of sediments – called “Black Mayonnaise.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The flowing water found at the head of the canal, here at Luyster Creek, is a bit of mystery. I’ve asked my pals at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation if they have any clue as to where this water is coming from. The theory is that it’s a natural spring being fed by “pore” or ground water, but that’s their best guess. The 20th century did a real job to the forbidden northern shore of Queens.

I’ve added Luyster Creek to my list of waterways, by the way. A group of us are going to head out here this weekend to do a shoreline cleanup, hopefully the first of many such endeavors. The good news is that some of my friends who work for the City are going to help out by letting us dispose of the collected trash in their bins.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Seriously, I haven’t been in Manhattan more than once or twice in the last year. This shot was collected when I was walking home from getting my first vaccination shot at a hospital on the Upper East Side. What a pleasure it was, I tell you, to walk home on a pleasantly warm day and catch that unoccluded East River afternoon sunshine. Sure, you have to dodge out of the way of people riding motorcycles in the bike lanes, which the bicycle people will tell me I’m imagining.

I’m a fan of the bike people’s push to turn the north side of Queensboro’s lower level current ped/bike lane into purely bike, while dedicating the south path for purely pedestrian access. Did you know that the south side lower level roadway used to be a trolley route? The streetcars would exit from the bridge and proceed up Northern Blvd. all the way to Woodside Avenue.


“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 5, 2021 at 11:00 am

silently gliding

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luyster Creek, lords and ladies. Also, a different day than the one I mentioned last week. I don’t get over to this side of the Queensiverse, the “Forbidden Northern Coast,” all that often these days. One thing Covid has made me absolutely long for is ownership of an automobile. At some point in the next year or two, I’m going to be purchasing a motor vehicle. The gyrations one endures getting around on foot during this period of time have been extreme. I make a big deal of walking just about everywhere, but under normal circumstance if my foot starts to hurt I’d just hop on a train or bus and come back home. Not an option due to mathematical probability of infection exposure, which reduces me down to taking the occasional cab here and there – but that gets pretty expensive, pretty fast.

As it turned out on this particular visit to Astoria’s loneliest and saddest waterway, a buddy of mine from the community board who wanted to check the place out picked me up in his car and we rode over.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the factors which is playing into my continuing thought process regarding personal transportation is what I’d be trading away – dealing with alternate side parking, the cost of insurance and maintenance – ugh. Alternatively, it makes day trips in a roughly 100 mile circle around… let’s use the Triborough Bridge as a center point reference… to photogenic subject matter possible. So, then the question about what kind of vehicle – Jeep, Van, SUV for instance – would be best for that sort of endeavor. Something I could conceivably sleep in? I don’t know. I can’t afford a car, currently, so I’m just fantasizing out loud about it. Still, would’ve been nice over the Pandemic to pack up girl and dog and go somewhere. Dog’s gone, girl’s still here.

I tell you this, walking multiple miles every other day doesn’t get easier when you get older, and I definitely start to feel a bit tired after walking from Astoria to Greenpoint and back.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lottery winner Mitch would get one of those snazzy RV’s that are rolling around these days, the kind with satellite tv and water heaters. Regular Mitch would be lucky to be able to afford an aged mule pulling a third hand Romani wagon.

Man, it would be cool to own a mule though. I’d get her one of those straw hats and rig a tripod onto the saddle. Last time I mentioned Luyster Creek, and its generous apportionment of Poison Ivy, the fact that goats eat poison ivy (which I’ve also recently learned) came up. Further, the best of all the facts was offered, which is that you can rent goats in NYC who will graze away your poison ivy on a per diem rate.

Who needs a car if you’ve got your own mule and a set of rent-a-goats?

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 8th. 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 11, 2021 at 11:00 am

resident alienists

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Friday bits and bobs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week and here in Astoria, just as a humble narrator was about to succumb to that daily interval of involuntary unconsciousness during which wild hallucinations occur, the windows at HQ began to strobe with a scarlet hue. Thinking that the Astoria Borealis might be occurring again, one rushed to the porch. It seems one of my neighbors was having a visit from both the NYPD and the FDNY, and since both of the municipal vehicles were quite static while the City’s preeminent staffers were busy within, one decided to get a couple of shots for the archive.

I do love seeing an unnaturally colored series of lights. A recent query offered by a passerby nearby Queens Plaza which was a variation on the standard “why are taking pictures of that”? My answer was “Y’know those old photos of NYC that people share on the internet? Somebody like me took those, and whereas these photos are new, someday they’ll be old.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luyster Creek is a lonely industrial waterway found on the forbidden northern coast of Queens, here in Astoria. A humble narrator is drawn to things forbidden, lonely, and industrial so a scuttle from HQ on the Broadway side of the neighborhood was enacted. Timing was key in this walk, as I wanted to get there just as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was dipping down beyond the western shore.

There’s a pretty active industrial driveway leading to the aforementioned western shore, leading to what’s soon going to be a new Department of Sanitation New York (DSNY) maintenance garage and salt dome complex. The City is moving operations from 21st street nearby the Ravenswood NYCHA campus over to the IBZ (industrial business zone) found on the north side of Astoria. DSNY is planning on spending a ball park number of $131 million back here.

Did you know that NYC has a 1% for art requirement in all new municipal construction projects? It’s how the Newtown Creek Nature Walk in Greenpoint got funded. Been on the books since 1982, the 1% for art requirement. You know who must have gotten that into the books, back in 1982? I’ll bet it was Astoria’s own Peter Vallone, senior. Hmmm.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One stuck around at Luyster Creek for a while as the tide was coming in. Saying that, Luyster is a lot like my beloved Newtown Creek in terms of there being a vertical rather than laminar or horizontal flow related to the tide. There’s a bunch of indeterminate muck in the water and its sediment bed due to industrial pollutants as well as a large CSO or Combined Sewer Outfall (BB-041) maintained by the DEP at the head of the canal. As a matter of fact, the shot above was gathered while standing on the pipe’s outfall weir.

NYC has a combined sewer system, meaning that sanitary and storm water use the same underground pipes to travel to the 14 sewer plants. A quarter inch of rain, City wide, means a billion gallons have suddenly surged into the system, and the agency responsible for wastewater management and the 14 plants – the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection, or DEP – is forced to release the overage into area waterways.

The nomenclature of “BB-041” is explained thusly; the BB stands for Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant” which is just a few blocks away, the 041 indicates that this is number 41 of the 1936 vintage Bowery Bay plant’s 47 outfalls. BB-041 experiences an average number of 61 weather related discharges into Luyster Creek annually, and pours roughly 84 million gallons of untreated sewage per year directly into the water. Fun times.


“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 21, 2020 at 11:00 am

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