The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Maspeth

laminar dissection

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Keep on truckin – as the kids used to say. Unfortunately, the kids who used to say that are now retirement age, but there you are. A recent scuttle through Industrial Maspeth at night saw a cavalcade of diesel powered steel rolling past the camera and I just got caught up in the moment.

The one pictured above was hauling municipal waste products, aka the solid materials which the NYC DEP filters out of the sewer flow. That’s pretty common, as is the habit of parking the trailer’s carrying this redolent cargo – as displayed by several of the hauling contractors employed by DEP – on area streets for weeks at a time. That sad story wasn’t what drew my eye, instead it the Green Goblin lighting kit which adorned the tractor section of this rig.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a company over on 48th street nearby the on ramps to the Long Island Expressway (or is it BQE?) which has several impressive vehicles in their inventory. This particular outfit seems to be who’d you’d call if your truck or bus has broken down and you need a tow. The wrecker pictured above is one of a pair of giant vehicles they operate.

I was actually asked by one of its drivers if I was up to something, whereupon I asserted that I’m just a wandering photographer in an industrial zone at night who has a keen appreciation of heavy machinery. Yup, not suspicious at all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Graffiti’d panel trucks abound. This has become a regular sight for me, and is something that’s really accelerated during the Covid months. This sort of tagging on commercial vehicles is nothing new, of course, but seeing a panel truck that hasn’t been “bombed” by a crew of taggers has become the exception rather than the rule in the last couple of years.

Scuttling, just keep scuttling.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Certain trucks and operations never get tagged… for reasons. There’s an enormous concrete operation in Industrial Maspeth called Ferrara Brothers. You see their trucks making deliveries all over NYC, but where they fill them with the good stuff is right back here in Queens.

I’m told that there’s a National level company which is buying up and consolidating all of the individual players in NYC’s concrete industry. Several of the medium sized companies, like Ferrara Brothers and NYCON, have already been gobbled up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

FDNY’s Ambulances are damned difficult to photograph when they’re flying past on a call. It’s all “worst case scenario” for operating a camera. You’ve got seconds to spin the dials and adjust the settings to compensate for a) night, b) flashing lights, c) subject moving at 50mph.

This one is from the border of Woodside and Maspeth, in case you’re wondering.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Closer to home, along Northern Boulevard, I spotted this fairly old tow truck parked nearby a car mechanic. Something about it just caught my eye. It’s a 1990 Ford F-Series, I’m told. Given the weird time warp we are all experiencing these days, I’d point out that “1990” makes it a 32 year old tow truck.

Ahh, 1990, when a young Bill Clinton taught us all how to laugh again.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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 24, 2022 at 11:00 am

bodiless emanations

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Heading home from a long walk in late January, which started in Astoria and then headed through Industrial Maspeth, a humble narrator decided to be lazy and acknowledge how cold it was by clipping off the return to HQ with a cab ride. Along the way, I passed by the charred remains of the Clinton Diner, nearby the semi legendary Haberman interlocking. Spotted this neato Volkswagen truck, which looks like it was built out of one of their 1970’s vans. Maybe this is the actual form factor it was built to, who knows?

One uses the LYFT service for his car service needs, mainly since I’m seldom in need of a ride in any sort of sane or normal place and will need the driver to be able to come find me in whatever industrial maze I’m in. There’s sort of a trick I’ve discovered to using their service, incidentally. I wouldn’t call for a car from this corner, which is where Maspeth Avenue, 58th street, and Rust Street coagulate.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Maspeth Avenue transmogrifies into Maurice Avenue, and this shot is maybe a block and a half away from the first one. It’s a good place to park a crane in front of a fire hydrant, which is an extremely Industrial Maspeth thing to do – as a note. It’s not a bad place to call for a car, but you’re still technically in Maspeth right here.

In my observation, LYFT seems to base its pricing structure around zip code based “zones.” I could be wrong, but calling a car from in front of the former diner in the first shot – a block and a half away – would result in as much as a $5 higher fare than the one which I’d get from in front of the crane.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A ten minute walk to 58th street at 55th avenue, which is technically in Woodside, shaved a full $10 off the fare reported in front of the diner. That’s pretty significant for what – in a vehicle – is about a 2-3 minute long distance between the two spots.

Besides, you get to see an FDNY service center at this intersection.


“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 2, 2022 at 11:00 am

beetling precipice

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

God, I love the loneliness of it all. I’ve got a speech I make occasionally – one usually offered when somebody asks about how I got involved with the whole Newtown Creek thing. The best part of the speech is when I say “and just like every other piece of wind blown trash in New York City, I found myself on the shorelines of Newtown Creek.” It sounds good, and makes for a good quote that a journalist can use. If you don’t give them a quote to take back to the office, they’ll use something you don’t want them to.

Industrial Maspeth is famously my happy place, where I go when I want to be by myself. Unfortunately that’s changed during the pandemic months, as Industrial Maspeth has become quite a busy place again. Different sort of busy than the old days, but there are concurrences between now and then.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The last mile shipping industry – UPS, FedEx, and the Amazon people – have quietly expanded their operations – massively – during the blitzkrieg of bad news we’ve all experienced over the last couple of years. There’s a huge industrial population of package sorters, package loaders and unloaders, road truck drivers and local delivery truck drivers who congeal around the various shipping facilities in Maspeth. Amazon is building a Taj Mahal sized shipping facility on Grand Avenue on what used to be the campus of Star Corrugated Box.

This population of people working “in the zone” have brought all sorts of things along with them to my beloved Creek. Five years ago, this happy place of mine was a post industrial wasteland which people drove through and seldom stopped in. In the last couple of years, as this new group of workers have filled in; I’ve seen a prostitution racket using the LIRR tracks for their assignations, lots and lots of druggery, and of late a while new racket.

Kids, as in late teen and early twenties, are riding into the shipping warehouses on delivery bikes and raiding the baskets of packages awaiting their temporary destination on the local delivery van. Two man teams, arranged like Scythian Archers with one facing backwards, swipe stuff in boxes and then tear ass away from the scene as fast as the bike will go. The various teams communicate with other using cell phones.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, where are the photos of that, Mr. Wind Blown Trash Newtown Creek? Well, there are certain things which you don’t want to be noticed noticing when you’re alone and on foot at night in Industrial Maspeth, I tell’s you.

Street level trouble is one thing – a weird encounter with a homeless guy, or a group of menacing teenagers nearing – but there’s a higher level of sinister which you just don’t want to be anywhere adjacent to around these parts. Notably, you don’t want to be a witness when somebody is in the early stages of organizing their crime. Careful out there, peeps.


“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 1, 2022 at 11:00 am

limitless limitations

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whilst scuttling about on a recent evening, one met an Opossum. I have no idea if the critter was a he or a she or a they, but it seemed nice. Are there trans or non gender conforming opossums, and do we have to worry about their feelings? The thing was vamping for me, and since I had just updated the firmware on my camera with what Canon promised as being “improvements to the eye tracking autofocus for animals and people” this situation presented an excellent opportunity for me to test the improved feature out.

Apparently, a big part of this face and eye tracking update involved adapting to the presence of Covid masks. The Opossum wasn’t wearing one, and neither was I for that matter, but there you are. Speaking as someone who has treated Covid with a great deal of respect over the last two years, it absolutely flummoxes me when I see people who are entirely alone – and outside – wearing masks. Same thing with people who are driving solo and wearing one. Why?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Now, when I was riding around on various Amtrak’s in the September and December, and on Subways here in the City, you’d have had to pry the mask off my cold dead face before I’d remove it willingly in an unventilated congregate setting. Outside, though? Unless it’s a truly crowded sidewalk – a protest or maybe a press event – I’m bare faced. Ventilation, people, ventilation. Also, distancing, people, distancing. This isn’t advice, you do you.

Recent occasion found me at the Jackson Heights intermodal subway and bus station at Broadway and Roosevelt Avenue here in Queens, where a masked up crowd formed into tight rows less than a foot away from each other when either boarding the escalator or awaiting the train’s arrival. Me? I was masked up, but stood well away from everybody else and their clouds of cooties. Why crowd in? What advantage is there? Who are you trying to beat out for pole position in terms of boarding the R? I guarantee you’re going to get onto the train, why do you need to be first?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My evening’s destination, which the pursuance thereof had precipitated meeting the nice Opossum, was the Newtown Creek waterfront in Maspeth. The former bulkheads of a long gone copper refinery and chemical factory called Phelps Dodge offer a commanding set of views of the Kosciuszko Bridge as well as a few other interesting things to point a camera at.

As far as Newtown Creek goes, the waters which greasily lap at the Phelps Dodge shoreline are generally considered to be the most deeply compromised – environmentally speaking – on the entire waterway.

Back next week with more – 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.

he wishes

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A bit of personal news, firstly. On December 30th, a humble narrator began to notice his throat feeling a bit sore. On New Year’s Eve, a wicked ibuprofen proof headache set in, and on New Year’s Day I developed a low grade fever with hot and cold flashes accompanied by body aches and fatigue. Given that this more or less describes the way I felt after getting the Covid vaccine a few months prior, guess what? The good news is since I am full vaxxed, the entire experience only lasted about 36 hours, and I’m back to the fine fettle I normally enjoy. Our Lady of the Pentacle is feeling similar symptoms as you’re reading this, minus the fever.

It was pretty miserable, but I’m glad that say that the vaccine protected me from ending up in a hospital. Overall, I’d give Covid 3 of 4 stars for physical misery, were I leaving it a Yelp review. Compared with what people I know experienced in middle 2020, this was a cakewalk, and wasn’t even close to the sickest I’ve ever felt from a virus.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saying all that, won’t be heading out for a walk again for a few days, despite desperately needing some outside time and exercise. Pictured above is one of the very few “independent” gas stations left in Western Queens. I’ve been making it a point of recording gas stations for a couple of years now. Gas Stations are targets for Big Real Estate because of the size of the lots they inhabit, and because the titans of affordable housing tax abatements know that they can get New York State to pay for the environmental cleanup of said lots under the “NYS Brownfield Opportunity Areas” program. Believe me when I tell you that the local political people aren’t going to be approving any new permits for such establishments anytime soon, because climate change and “Four wheels bad, two wheels good.”

This is Maspeth, in a legendary locale known only as Haberman.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Oh, industrial Maspeth, the happy place, how I long for thee.

After shooting this photo, I boarded a rideshare taxi and headed home to Astoria. The shots above were captured after I had departed the company of that Grad Student whom I mentioned earlier in the week. Given that I had already scuttled around for about seven miles, I figured that a bit of comfort would be welcome. My driver told me about his theory that the last person legally elected President was Herbert Hoover. Under my mask, there was a big grin. My favorite conspiracy theories are the ones so grand in scope that they approach opera.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I was out the next night and shlepping down Steinway Street when I spotted a pair of atavist automobiles in front of a mechanic’s storefront. This was the first of several recent perambulations which I’ve described to Our Lady of the Pentacle as “local” and “not leaving the neighborhood.”

I’m trying to take more frequent walks these days, ones which are a bit shorter than walking home from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in the name of burning off some of the pandemic blubber suit which I’m wearing. I’m not just overweight right now, I’ve gotten fat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The plan I’ve hatched is to jack up my metabolism a bit with a two pronged regime. First is to cycle in daily walks of no less than 90 minutes, with longer walks scheduled every three to four days. What that means, as an example, would be to walk from Astoria to Dutch Kills in LIC and back – roughly 4 subway stops each way – followed by a longer walk on the third day – industrial Maspeth or East Williamsburg or Flushing. The dailies build up my stamina and endurance, while the longer ones build muscle and eat up the adipose. The wild card is that trick left foot of mine.

Hopefully, by late spring or early summer I can begin to see “fighting weight” coming up in my rear view mirror.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That green splotch on the left side of the shot is what happens when it starts to rain and a blob of water lands on the lens. There’s actually something I really like about the way that a distant traffic signal’s green light flowed into the droplet.

Back next week with some images from a newly instituted schedule of constant movement 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

January 7, 2022 at 11:00 am

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