The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘New York City

doglike things

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After a terrifying visit to a cautionary tale known as Hudson Yards, a quick ride on the 7 train carried me back to the gently rolling hills of Western Queens where a transfer at the Queensboro Plaza subway stop was actuated and I was soon on an N train heading towards almond eyed Astoria. This was from the end of my journeys on Sunday – August 21st – which were meant to include riding on a Fireboat, but which ended up in a staggered scuttle about the abominable Hudson Yards.

One was hoping to wander through a street festival or something lively in the way home through Astoria – a Detestation of some Abyssal Power, or a Celebration of a Lord or Lady of Light – but it was just another Sunday in the ancient village.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Notice was taken of this woman feeding a group of birds. The birds seemed to be arranging themselves into a geometric pattern, but logic dictates that it was just the pattern of the woman’s arcing throws of seed or bread that they were following. Still, one wonders, and more than wonders…

Once I caught a photo of a group of birds sitting upon a series of Astoria power lines, in a pattern which reminded me of musical notation. I sent it to a musician friend of mine for analysis. He refused to discuss the matter after viewing the image, instructing that I should never mention it again and advising that I destroy the image.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 24th of August, a day trip to visit a friend in the pretty town of Hudson, New York was undertaken. It was a long drive and my photographic curiosities were stifled due to social obligation.

There used to be a whaling fleet who’s home base was here in Hudson. The financial benefits of this industrial activity explains how they could afford the expenses of building out the grandiose architecture from the 1840’s – 1880’s era which is still extant in the town, as said fleet often did business with Ambrose Kingsland in Greenpoint. The Newtown Creek tributary “Whale Creek” is so named because of Kingsland’s whale oil refinery, and the corollary industries of rope manufacture, blacksmithing, shipwrighting, and miscellaneous ship supply hugged the shores of Whale Creek in Greenpoint.

Staten Island artist John Noble actually painted Whale Creek during this era – here’s a link to the Noble Museum at Snug Harbor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson is a very attractive town, and I wish that I had more time to explore. I also really wanted to get a shot of the old docks where the Newtown Creek bound whaling ships would launch from, but as mentioned above – this was a social visit and not a photo mission.

The shot above is from a park along the Hudson River that obviously used to be part of a barge to rail setup.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saturday the 27th of August, and this shot was from something like 8 in the morning, captured while sitting in the passenger seat of a late model Mercedes on the George Washington Bridge.

The Mercedes belongs to my pal Max, and we were on the road heading west for a week long “away game.” I left the pinstripes at home, put on my gray uniform, and configured the camera to a very odd group of settings.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The ISO was set into the range I normally use for night time low light conditions, the aperture was set to either f8 or f11 depending on time of day and ambient light, and the shutter to 1/8000th of a second.

When you’re traveling in a late model Mercedes at about 70 miles per hour, westwards through Pennsylvania, you need to take steps to freeze the action for the camera.

More next week.


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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

September 23, 2022 at 11:00 am

nightmare spawning

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination. The Related Companies have been allowed to steal the sky, blotting the firmament out and privatizing it for those who can afford to pay their price.

This is unfortunately the future, and one of the models that NYC will be using for future development. As you’re reading this, the “powers that be” are at work on the area just east of this development. The Penn Hotel is being torn down, as Midtown Manhattan is underdeveloped, and the Political Estate’s sponsors are slavering for more.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When you flush a toilet here, your bodily waste flows through underground pipes to a NYC DEP facility on 13th street and Avenue D, right in the middle of the projects. It’s then pumped under the East River to Greenpoint, where it’s processed along Newtown Creek. If there’s a summer blackout in Brooklyn or the Bronx, you can bet your bottom dollar that the lights will stay on at Hudson Yards.

If you spend any time interacting with the vampiric aspirations of big Real Estate, and speak against one of their projects, you will be called a “NIMBY” by one of their sock puppet “non profit” organizations that describe themselves as being “YIMBY’s.” NIMBY is an acronym for “Not in my back yard,” and YIMBY is “Yes in my back yard.” These YIMBY’s will accuse you of denying people – who haven’t been born yet – homes because of racism. Never will the hundreds of thousands of apartment units currently warehoused, and purposefully kept off the market, by their masters in the Real Estate industry with the intention of keeping their market prices on an always upward trajectory be mentioned.

Jared Kushner. Donald Trump. The Durst Organization. Larry Silverstein. The Tishmans and the Speyers. These are the sort of creatures who control the discourse over housing and development in NYC. The aspirant politicians are sponsored by these forces, and expected to do their bidding when appointed elected to office. Oddly, the most “Socialist” of the electeds also happen to be YIMBY’s. So are the hardline Republicans, the middle of the road Democrats – everybody in office seems to be bought off to one degree of another by Real Estate.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination. Ever wonder what it must be like to live in a building where you can’t open the window for some fresh air?

On the plus side, you don’t have to worry too much about getting rained on in the Hudson Yards area. There ain’t that much visible sky there to allow a cloud to piss down on you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The only reason you can see the Empire State Building in the shot above is due to a NYC Dept. Of City Planning rule about “preserving sight lines.” The fellow who oversaw this project for City Planning was Vishaan Chakrabarti, who was the same guy that the NYC EDC hired to oversee the Sunnyside Yards proposal. Now… do you understand why I fought so hard and long against that one?

This is what was going to happen to Sunnyside and LIC if that project moved forward. If the Mayor overrules the Council member and Borough President on the Innovation Queens proposal, this is what Astoria is going to turn into in about 10 years. NIMBY my ass.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given the huge input of $1.2 billion in public money, you’d imagine that the rents here were somewhat reasonable, huh? Well, if you’ve got $7,100 a month for a furnished one bedroom – you’re set. That’s $85,200 a year, which would have to come out of your post taxation paycheck. If you want to buy instead, their available condos start at $5.5 million and range up to a 4 bedroom, 5,000 sq ft. one on sale for $29.5 million.

Does this sound like an industrial sector which requires tax breaks that divert moneys away from the public sector?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination.


“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

September 22, 2022 at 11:00 am

damnable expressiveness

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunday the 21st, I was supposed to go the City and take a ride on a Fireboat. Unfortunately, said Fireboat snapped a cable leading to the rudder and the trip was cancelled.

Given that I was in the high West 20’s, I decided to take a longish walk around the Hudson Yards development before heading back home to Astoria via the 7 train.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination. Everybody associated with the planning and design of this project deserves to go to hell. I’ll give the construction workers a pass, as they just do what their told.

I’ve often described Hudson Yards as looking like the debris of a space station which broke up in orbit and randomly embedded itself in the ground during a crash landing on the west side of Manhattan. Inelegantly designed mirror box rhombuses, these structures blot out the sky and cry out “look at my valuation.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination, as the project diverted moneys meant for public housing away from their intended target and towards itself with the complicit approval of City Hall and the Dept. of City Planning. $1.2 Billion of it. One point two billion dollars.

Saying that they improved the area with the money meant for the projects, the Hudson Yards team at The Related Companies convey and virtue signal their largesse. Yes, compared to the abandoned buildings and gangs of drug dealers and hookers which used to populate the area between 8th Avenue and the West Side Highway in the 20’s and 30’s, they’ve improved things.

Like the Romans would when declaring a victory.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

These vampires also created a street scape which is unwelcoming and cold.

This isn’t New York. This is what people from Atlanta, or Los Angeles, or Disneyworld think New York is. Public space here isn’t truly public, it’s privately held and that means that they can set the rules for the sidewalks. They have the right to impinge your speech, tell you to move on after sitting there too long, and set behavioral rules barring otherwise noisome but legal habits like smoking or break dancing or sleeping on a park bench. Your NYC streets are officially now their Hudson Yards development zone public/private partnership streets. Technically speaking, I’m not allowed to publish the photos you’re looking at of these buildings without first getting their permission, as it violates their copyright.

Want to know what form fascism will take in a blue state?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While scuttling about Hudson Yards, I found a long staircase leading up to a skyway walk. Roughly three stories, I’d venture. Connected to a Whole Foods outpost and a series of coffee shops and boutiques, this walkway continues on to one of their encapsulated malls through a glassine maze. These mall spaces are not part of the street grid, and are set up in a manner that divorces you from geospatial awareness of the surrounding area – which just happens to be Hells Kitchen.

These buildings, and this entire project, are built around the “super block” concepts underlying the debauched intellectual legacies of the French Cryptofascist Le Corbusier. Adherents to Le Corbusier’s ideas included Robert Moses, and if you’ve ever wondered how and why what happened to the Bronx happened, it was Le Corbusier as channeled by Moses and his apparatus.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is sterilized, but not stylized. It’s anonymous, reducing the citizenry down to stock art cutouts existing on some architectural rendering. It separates the social classes from interaction, except as clerk and customer. It eliminates the messy exigency of life on the New York streets. It’s inhuman in scale, like Speer’s designs for post WW2 Nazi Berlin, but there’s no pageantry on offer.

Hudson Yards is an abomination.


“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

September 21, 2022 at 11:00 am

forward slumping

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing which a humble narrator is currently obsessing about, while you’re reading this, involves finding a job in the Pittsburgh area. There’s entire sections of my work life that are simple to describe – there’s a “Madison Avenue” advertising resume I can present, and I used to write and draw comic books as well as package other people’s stuff for publication so there’s that too. My photographer resume ain’t terribly shabby, nor is my tour guide one, and I can write stuff too. The question I’m struggling with is how to combine all of what I can do under a single job title, and does that position even exist in Pittsburgh? How on earth do I describe Newtown Creek Alliance and the constellation of federal and state agencies I help deal with all the time?

According to Jerry Seinfeld, most Americans would rather die than speak in public. Me? Easiest thing in the world, if you have something worth saying.

Existential crises are best experienced in September, I believe. Sweatshirt weather.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I like pondering things while I’m shooting photos, always have.

That’s the tug Joker that I pointed out in last Friday’s post, in an aerial shot captured at the One World Trade Center Observation Deck. Joker was docked at the concrete company which operates along the Williamsburg waterfront at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The barge full of sand makes a lot of sense, thereby.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was also an agglutination of maritime cranes and all sorts of heavy equipment on display at the Navy Yard as the NYC Ferry’s Astoria line boat which I was riding on made one of its appointed stops at the venerable campus. It was a pretty nice day, if memory serves – August 19th. Fairly hot, but not horrific.

I’ve announced to anybody who will listen that I have no intention whatsoever of getting close to anything remotely non-profit or governmental in Pittsburgh, but that probably means that… crap.

Really, I just want a normal gig where I do mildly interesting photoshop stuff for some company all day, and then go home. Collect a salary 9-5, live for the weekends. An American sort of life.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What we have here in NYC is not an American form of life. NYC is an archipelago nation state that’s found off the coast of America, not an American City. Life here is quick and often fun, but it’s also mean and short. In America, there’s no “finding an open bodega” at 3 a.m. Transit, as we know it in NYC, does not exist beyond a daytime schedule and is extremely limited in scope. Adapting my frenetic “get it done” energy to the local frequencies on the other side of my move is going to one a real challenge.

Luckily, I feel like I’m a thousand years old and a medium strong wind will shatter me into sand particles. I could end up like Manhattan’s East River Park, pictured above. Annihilated.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just the other night, somebody said to me that “of course, you’re going to be coming back regularly to do Newtown Creek tours.” That part of my life is over, I’m afraid. I’m planning on doing one last burst of them in October and November, but no.

I have to remember to include being a NYC Parade Marshal for the centennials of Queensboro, Manhattan, Hunters Point Avenue, and Madison Avenue bridges on my resume. Oh yeah, the Community Board thing too, as well as the non profit stuff too.

Dear Nelly, who am I? What am I? Why am I?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As I mentioned, existential wonderings are on the menu right now.

The NYC Ferry dropped me off in Astoria, nearby Hallets Cove. My foot was hurting, so I limped over to a nearby bus stop and rode the thing back to HQ. Planes, trains, automobiles – that’s me.


“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

September 20, 2022 at 11:00 am

thrillingly suggestive

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After exiting the One World Trade Center Observation deck, and having scratched a “I want to do this before I move away” item off of my list, the so called Oculus was also found on that list, so I got it in as well.

Regarding the “congestion pricing” toll that the Governor is about to allow, remember the Oculus when you’re talking about giving the MTA more money to spend, beyond the billions they already consume annually. They are like a raging Californian fire when it comes to spending other people’s money in vainglory – indiscriminate, unaccountable, unpredictable, and irreducible.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m not sure what they were thinking here… this structure does nothing to improve the experience of – y’know – taking the train. It does offer a shopping mall for the Wall Street guys to buy fancy watches and $11 cups of coffee, so maybe that’s what it’s always all been about.

Silly me, talking about function over form when it involves tax dollars. I should mention that whereas the MTA is an absolute gas, they’re only a side player in the Oculus’s story, as this boondoggle $4 Billion project was handled, designed, and built under the auspices of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and its contractor Skanska. Here’s the whole story on the Oculus at Wikipedia.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bah!

My plan for getting back to Astoria involved a preferred route – using the NYC Ferry – so one scuttled eastwards through the financial district towards Pier 11 at the foot of Wall Street.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given that this area is pretty much the HQ of global capitalism as well as the seat of Government for NYC, you’d kind of expect the streets to not be as scummy as they are in Lower Manhattan. I don’t mean that from a moral relativism point of view, by the way. I mean that my shoes were literally sliding around in a black and khaki mix of liquifying trash, weird jellies, and greasy crap as I walked along. Rats were scurrying around during the daylight hours as well, which is really over the top, and signals “peak shithole” – if you ask me.

It’s all rotten. “Someday, a real rain will”… actually, nothing will clean these streets. Sandy didn’t. “What this City needs is a good plague”… ok, that didn’t do it either. Tornado, maybe?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My apologies, lords and ladies… I’m so thoroughly “checked out” at this point that I just can’t care about it anymore. The City is doomed.

We had a window, over the last twenty to thirty years, during which times were good and the City’s coffers were full. It was squandered on handouts to big real estate and political vanity projects. All that’s left for NYC now is a return to the Cinema Verite world of the 1970’s.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, just as I arrived at Pier 11, the Astoria Boat was leaving the pier. That meant I had as long as possible to wait for the next one, so I made a couple of business calls that were on my “to do” list and waited out the interval.

It was a nice day anyway, and it’s never a terrible thing spending time at the East River when you’ve got a camera hanging off of your shoulder.


“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

September 19, 2022 at 11:00 am

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