The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Manhattan

whisper leeringly

with 2 comments

Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On April 13th, I found myself at a rooftop bar on the east side of Manhattan, one which offered somewhat sweeping views of the East River. Queensboro Bridge was large and in charge, of course. In the lower right foreground, that’s “Four Freedoms Park” on Roosevelt Island. You’re looking in the general direction of Astoria, diagonally towards LaGuardia airport.

There you go, that’s what that looks like, and you didn’t have to pay $20 for an “old fashioned” to see it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On April 17th, a humble narrator felt like doing some shooting but didn’t want to return to Newtown Creek again, so Shore Blvd. alongside Astoria Park and the Hells Gate section of the East River was decided upon as a destination for the evening’s effort.

I’ve actually been trying to make it a point of being present during sunsets of late, as you may have noticed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hell Gate Bridge is to the north, Mighty Triborough to the south. These waters are still pretty complicated from a maritime point of view – strong currents and eddies. The United States Army Corps of Engineers blew this part of the river up “back in the day” to cure up the navigation issues, but it’s still a part of the harbor that requires a bit of skill on the part of whomsoever is driving the boat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I set myself up for “landscape mode” with the tripod and an ND filter and started capturing a series of longish exposures. It was so bright out, in fact, that even with the filter on I was getting no more than ten seconds worth of exposure time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As I’ve mentioned several times, high flying clouds turn colorful during sunsets. No guarantee you’re going to get scarlets and crimsons, but when you do…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I hung around until it got dark, then got scared by the presence of teenagers in Astoria Park so I rapid scuttled away from the area in a paroxysm of terror. One flew through the streets, his brain awash in the steroids of panic. Teenagers… brrr… no impulse control.

At HQ, I barred the doors behind me, and commanded Our Lady of the Pentacle to descend into the storm bunker with me and hunker down in case the adolescents had followed me home.


“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

June 6, 2022 at 11:00 am

ivied antique

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, one set the camera up along the Brooklyn waterfront on a warm evening in late March and got busy with the clicking and the whirring.

Special attention was paid to the Brooklyn Bridge, and to the weird lighting which descended on the East River at dusk.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It had been overcast and rain was threatening all day, but once the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself disappeared, the sky was dark but colored with electric blues. This only lasted a few minutes, but wow.

I had been out of sync with the ferry schedule all day, perpetually arriving at a dock just as a ferry was pulling away from it. Given that it was growing late, I intended on being on time for the boat that would be visiting this particular stop nearby Fulton Landing before heading north on the river towards Long Island City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While waiting for the boat to arrive, I converted the operation away from its “landscape/tripod” configuration over to the “handheld/low light” one. I’ve described this in the past, it’s mainly swapping out certain lenses for other ones and safely tying off the tripod onto my knapsack.

The boat arrived, I flashed the ticket on my phone to the deckhand, and soon I was snugly ensconced on the NYC Ferry heading north.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you haven’t ridden the ferry at night… well, I don’t care, you should get out more and watch less television.

The real world is so much more interesting than fiction, if you ask me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last stop before Long Island City’s “LIC Landing” stop is 34th street in Manhattan, where you get to see the shot above.

What is it with all the people who move into the newly constructed condos along the East River who don’t seem to have drapes, curtains, or Venetian blinds? Conspicuously consume much, you oligarchic fucks?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of no drapes, I wonder if they don’t have carpets either (drum shot, please). As you might be able to discern right now, I’m just dripping with sarcasm and hatred at the moment. Something about edging towards a Civil War in a country that’s as armed to the teeth as we are just sets me off.

More 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.

turned restlessly

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As it turned out, February 23rd was a three Borough day for me. Woke up in Queens, hit the Bronx and then Manhattan, and then went back to sleep in Queens. I’ve since had a four Borough day which you’ll see in a couple of weeks. There’s also a two City day in the mix. When it’s reliably warm again, I plan on a 5 Borough day which will involve the entire solar cycle. Given how far ahead of schedule my photos are at this point – you’ll probably be seeing that in late June.

I had an unusually prolific and mission oriented winter and early springtime this year. I’m making up for lost time during the pandemic, and there’s something else on the horizon which is going to be pretty major and is going to absolutely rock my world. That’s something I’m going to be talking about a bit later on in the year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s a pedestrian bridge, officially called the Wards Island Bridge (aka the 103rd street Pedestrian Bridge) which spans the Harlem River. It’s a vertical lift bridge which allows Manhattanites access to Randall’s/Wards Island. The Harlem River is a tidal strait connecting the Hudson River and East River. The bridge opened for use in 1951.

The light began to fail, as Manhattan’s long shadows began to envelop the waters of the East and Harlem Rivers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You always hope that you’re going to get a “real” sunset with oranges and crimson painting the vault of the sky, but nine times out of ten you don’t. Damned oceanic climate zone…

Oh well, might as well make the best of it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since I was all set up for a long exposure sunset, one set upon capturing a few shots of the type seen above and below.

Since I’m often asked to do presentations on this or that subject, photos which I can set type onto are oft needed. Thereby, my shots list always includes capturing ones with large fields of color that I can fill up with the sort of drivel that a scholastic audience expects.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It had been a long and kind of fun day for me, and right after the shot above was captured, the kit was packed up and the camera reset back to handheld shooting mode.

For the curious – remove the filter from the lens, as well as the shutter release cable, turn the lens stabilization system back on, pack up the tripod.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A quick ferry ride from East 90th street to Astoria occurred, and soon I was standing alongside Hallets Cove here in Queens. A half hour of scuttling brought me back to HQ.

Tomorrow – something different at thisyour 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

April 12, 2022 at 11:00 am

somewhat shamefaced

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Camera in hand, lonely and friendless, filthy black raincoat snapping about in the hard wind of late winter. Sometimes I’m on a boat.

Having grown up in southeast Brooklyn (Canarsie/Flatlands), one’s native speech pattern is best described by recitations of the “Brooklyn Alphabet.” “Fuckin A, Fuckin B, go fuck yourself C, kiss my ass D” and so on. This is part of my heritage, and the Brooklyn accent of my parents would pronounce common words such as birds as “boids,” toilet as “terlet,” and oil as “erl.” As an adult, an attempt is made to show a finer veneer to all of the fancy pants people I meet. Dis is da struggol you gots when’s you growed up in Brooklyn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thereby, one has embraced creative expressions of surprise for my daily use that don’t include the use of Brooklyn vernacular. Lately, I’m embracing ones like “by the misty mountains of Kuala Lampur” or “Great galloping Ganesh.” I don’t know if Kuala Lampur actually has mountains or not, or whether the beloved Hindu deity is known to gallop – but since Ganesh is an elephant, it probably would have a certain proclivity towards the occasional gallop – if only for shits and giggles.

“Holy jumping Jesus” is also another one of my refrains although scripture never mentions the Christian Savior as leaping about. My Lebanese buddy Sal has instructed me in the many possible usages of Allah u Akbar (god is great), which is the Islamic equivalent of Aloha or Shalom in terms of being an omnivorous response one is able to deploy in a variety of circumstances. New Baby? Allah U Akbar! Your mom died? Allah U Akbar… Sal has informed me that it’s all about inflection.

Saying all that, whether Ganesh or Allah or Jesus, you’re probably accidentally pissing someone off with an off hand religious reference, so “by the misty mountains of Kuala Lampur” it is.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Riding back home on the NYC ferry from the Bronx, I got to exclaim “Holy Homeland Security” when I spotted this NYPD Harbor unit boat performing that particular mission for our ferry boat. Not too long ago, I was riding on the Staten Island Ferry and a couple of tourist types asked me why the Coast Guard was following our big orange boat with machine guns deployed while we navigated from Manhattan to… Staten Island…

They really couldn’t put it together about how big a target a ferry boat might be for the bad guys. I’d tell you who the villains are, but I’m not really sure anymore. Are we still mad at the Arabs? If so, I’ll let Sal know. As mentioned, he’s Lebanese, so not too big a fan of the Arabs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was nearly sunset, and an executive decision was arrived at to debark the boat at East 90th street, alongside Gracie Mansion, and find a spot to get set up with the tripod as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself dipped behind New Jersey.

Along the way, I couldn’t help but get a shot or two of the natural light painting occurring on the Hell Gate and Triborough Bridges.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At East 90th, I took a minute to sit down and chill for a minute, then got busy again. If you set up a camera on a tripod and say “Eric Adams” three times, there’s a 40/60 chance he’ll appear, just like Candyman or Bloody Mary. Didn’t work this time, though.

This area at E 90th, by the way, is more or less the famous spot where the old Astoria Route ferry dock was found. The one that Robert Moses destroyed, an incident which Robert Caro wrote about in Power Broker.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was already beginning to disappear behind New Jersey as I found and claimed my spot.

From the looks I was getting from the passerby, you’d think that I had just released a kite into a thunderstormwhile laughing maniacally, in preparation of bringing a homemade monster to life. Really?

More 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 11, 2022 at 11:00 am

cheerful trifles

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing I was saying all summer was this – “if we don’t collectively hit 70% vaccines saturation by late July, Halloween and Thanksgiving will be fine but it ain’t going to be a very Merry Christmas and New Years is going to suck.” Since we didn’t hit that magic vaccine saturation number either locally or nationally, Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself scheduled a holiday trip for the first weekend of December under the presumption of rough seas arriving for the holiday week. Of course, we spent Christmas watching tv by ourselves, and regardless of that, we both had a Covid experience for New Years so – “Call me Ezekiel, for I am a prophet.”

We couldn’t agree on our mode of travel for our weekend away – her schedule is far more demanding than mine currently is, so Our Lady decided to fly whereas I opted for experiencing another journey on the Amtrak. I vastly prefer travel on trains as compared to planes, as a note. It’s just a comfort thing, and I hate airports, and don’t mind spending a bit of down time reading or staring out a window.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One hopped on the subway from Astoria, and headed over to Manhattan’s Moynihan Penn Station on Manhattan’s west side. Upon arrival, I realized that one of the 2021 resolutions I had made – to explore and photograph the newly opened facility in some detail – has gone undone. It’s the “mask thing” holding me back, ultimately. Give me the choice between being outside and unmasked versus within a structure and masked up…

Generally speaking, I seldom wear a mask when outside – I’m vaxxed, and unless a crowd suddenly forms around me – am not too worried about Covid exposure as long as there’s a breeze blowing. Beyond legal requirements for mask usage inside buildings, it’s fairly prosaic and smart to religiously wear one indoors due to ventilation issues.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The National order for masking up on mass transit is, and was in early December, still in effect. One of the problems with these requirements for Covid era facial accoutrements revolves around wearing prescription eyeglasses, as I do. Getting the mask to sit just right so as to not fog up my glasses has been a struggle for me since March of 2020. I’ve tried anti-fog spray, positioning the thing just right… you name it. The only tip I can offer which has had any sort of positive effect on the fog front involves washing down your eyeglasses with a dot of Dawn dishwashing liquid before heading out into the world. Getting them factory clean and “degreased” with the detergent ameliorates, but doesn’t eliminate, the issue.

Regardless, the Amtrak announcement that my train was leaving the station was received, and I queued up to get onto the locomotive.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

First stop that the Amtrak people allowed us to get off the train at was in Philadelphia at 30th street Station. A roughly 15 minute layover, this is where Amtrak changes out the actual locomotive engine of the train. Northeast corridor trains operate on electrical power, whereas the ones that will be heading deeper onto the continent generally use diesel. It’s a pretty simple procedure – the Amtrak people disconnect a series of cables and the big steel locket thingamabobs that connect the locomotive to the passenger cars. The original “Cogen” locomotive rolls away and another rolls in, which then has its cables and bits and bobs connected to the passenger cars. There’s a bunch of people wearing overalls who wave lanterns at each other from either side of the train while this is going on.

Finally, bells ring and you’re instructed to get back onboard, or to stay in Philadelphia and get used to eating lousy pizza or cheese steak sandwiches in the City known as America’s consolation prize. Really, as a New Yorker, I’m obligated to shit talk Philadelphia.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We arrived at our destination about five minutes late, which really isn’t bad when you get down to it. Four hundred and forty six miles of travel, which ate up about 8 hours of my life. I enjoyed myself immensely doing absolutely nothing. Stared out the window, watching America roll past, that’s what I did.

I also ate the Amtrak hamburger again, as I’m a masochist.

When we were deciding where to go on our weekend away, the travels of September kept on intruding into the story, and since I had such a great time in Pittsburgh when I was there by myself…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Welcome back to the Steel City, lords and ladies.

We were staying in an AirBNB on Mt. Washington this time around, not the downtown area where my lodgings were last time. More 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

January 17, 2022 at 11:00 am

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