The Newtown Pentacle

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jaded sensibilities

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On May 15th, a humble narrator was helping out a couple of my buddies from Newtown Creek Alliance on a walking tour of the eastern side of the creek – in East Williamsburgh, Maspeth, and Ridgewood.

Pictured is the end of all hope at Newtown Creek’s English Kills tributary in the East Williamsburgh area. This is some 3.8 miles from the East River.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Water conditions back here are as bad as they get on Newtown Creek, and that’s really saying something. There’s lots of oil sheens, the water has virtually zero oxygen in it, and the only source of fresh water coming into this area other than the infinitesimal influences of the tidal cycle emerge from one of the largest open sewers in NYC, found at the head of the canal.

It smells like rotting ham and wet reptiles back here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the north side of English Kills is one of Waste Management’s transfer stations, one which is connected to the Bushwick Branch Long Island Railroad freight tracks. This is the same rail you see behind Flushing Avenue in Maspeth, and which leads to the Fresh Pond Yard found to the north east.

That’s the garbage train pictured above. Normally, when I show you this sort of thing, it’s nearby the Review Avenue Waste Management facility which is in Long Island City’s Blissville section.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Nearby the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge, this derelict tanker truck caught my eye. It’s sitting alongside the Manhattan Polybag site, which is currently abandoned and being worked on/remediated for toxic materials that were being released into the water. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is in charge of this one.

Nothing but happiness and joy at the fabulous Newtown Creek, I always say. Happiness and joy…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another tributary of Newtown Creek on the eastern side of its course is called “The East Branch.” It splits like a letter “Y” at the Grand Street Bridge. One section of it terminates at Metropolitan Avenue nearby Scott Avenue in Ridgewood, and it’s there that you’ll find the fourth largest open sewer in NYC.

Happiness and joy…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The other section of the East Branch forms a short barge sized canal, which is visible from the Western Beef supermarket’s parking lot. There’s a nice view there, pictured above, of the Grand Street Bridge.

Get your shots of this centuried span while you can, the City is in the earliest phases of replacing the thing.


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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

June 28, 2022 at 11:00 am

stayed on

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 4th was a pretty productive day for me. Caught a nice sunset from the Kosciuszcko Bridge, then began a fairly low key walk back to HQ in Astoria. Along the way, lots of things caught my eye.

43rd street offers a fairly “straight shot” for me to get back home, but I seem to prefer 39th street as that’s where my toes point.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You have to get out of Blissville first, however, so a few scary and fairly deserted highway off ramp pedestrian pathways are followed on the way. It’s the deserted thing that makes them scary, incidentally.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Boulevard forms a bit of a prominence, and one of my corny “dad jokes” revolves around announcing to anyone who might be accompanying me on a walk that “it’s all downhill from here” when passing under the elevated tracks of the 7 line subway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The reason 39th street is my preferred path has to do with “hole reliable,” an aperture in the fencing around Sunnyside Yards at the Harold Interlocking which seldom disappoints as far as offering opportunity to photograph trains.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On this particular evening, my timing was stellar, and I managed to get one coming from and one going to.

I never, ever tire of this particular composition. In many ways, “hole reliable” is where I learned how to capture low light photos.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent addition to Amtrak’s fence hole offerings allows for an unoccluded view of the “turnaround track” at Sunnyside Yards.

It’s a complicated shot, this one, given how dark it is in this corner of the yards. I had to shoot this at an unbelievably high ISO speed of 128,000.


“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 20, 2022 at 11:00 am

watching for

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After a brief epiphany of light, the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself became occluded by atmospheric clouds again, but one kept on shooting the scenes observable along the Newtown Creek, from up on the Kosciuszcko Bridge’s pedestrian walkway.

As a tip – it’s critical to not allow any part of your camera, whether it be lens barrel or tripod leg, to touch the fence of the bridge when you thrust the lens through. The fence is always vibrating due to the traffic passing by on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, and said vibration will transmit into the camera and ruin your shots. The concrete “ground” you and the tripod are standing on is vibrating too, of course, but less severely than the metal fence is.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking down at Queens side Penny Bridge, that’s Review Avenue running alongside Calvary Cemetery on the right and the mirror like Newtown Creek on the left.

As above, so below, the occultists will tell you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One lingered on the walkway as the gloom spread and the sky dimmed. The lights came on in Manhattan’s largely empty office buildings.

My beloved Creek…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Before switching the setup back over to “night time” handheld mode, I cracked out one final exposure focused in on the Kinder Morgan oil terminal at Greenpoint’s Apollo Street. It used to be the BP Amoco oil terminal until just a few years ago, and before that it was part of the campus of the Mobil/Standard Oil Company’s refinery operations. That’s where the oil spill in Brooklyn was discovered by a passing Coast Guard helicopter in the 1970’s.

A tank farm like Kinder Morgan’s operation stores and distributes various flavors of refined petroleum product. The oil terminal gets filled up and supplied with product by maritime barges, and emptied by semi tanker trucks which make local deliveries to homes and gas stations. Generally speaking, the tank farms which supply the barges are found along the Kill Van Kull waterway in New Jersey. There’s also pipelines which feed product into the facility.

Regarding handheld vs. tripod mode, it is extremely annoying carrying the camera when it’s attached to the tripod. It takes two hands, and it looks like I’m carrying a rifle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve noticed this door before, of course, which sits about thirty to forty feet over the roadway of the BQE. It’s seemingly inaccessible.

I’d like to start a rumor that this is the door to a vault where Andrew Cuomo kept his secret archives.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Behind Cuomo’ s Red Door… that sounds good, huh? Shelly Silver’s sins, Heastie’s haughty pictures, Gianaris’ goof balls… they’re all filed away up there behind the scarlet steel should Cuomo ever find a way to manifest himself again in the flesh. Word has it he’s currently a bodiless consciousness which poltergeists Tish James’ offices.

Who can guess, all there is, that might be hidden behind Cuomo’s Scarlet Steel door, high over the malefic waters of the Newtown Creek?


“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 17, 2022 at 11:00 am

seemed older

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 4th, in addition to being “Star Wars Day,” offered me one of those 50/50 chances – atmosphere wise – that there would be an interesting sunset. After dealing with my annoying daily round, I packed up my gear and lazily used a cab to carry me over to the entrance of the Kosciuszcko Bridge’s pedestrian ramp in Blissville.

Ok, it really wasn’t that lazy, I just didn’t want to lose an hour of good light scuttling through boring residential neighborhoods, and was desirous of preserving my energy for the shooting and walking home part of the exercise.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was humid and misty, with a tepid breeze. As I’ve mentioned in the past, high clouds and mist usually make for interesting sunsets.

One scuttled up the ramp, which took me high up onto the Kosciuszcko Bridge’s crossing of Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m trying to soak in all of this splendor while I still can, before I move out of NYC at the end of the year. You really do not get to see sights like this anywhere else.

Thank god.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A solid deck of clouds had risen out of New Jersey just as I reached the spot I’d decided to shoot from. Regardless, I was committed to the labor and set up the camera for “landscape” modality.

I got busy, a clickin and a whirring.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A sudden break in the cloud cover appeared, and a series of adjustments to composition and camera settings was thereby triggered.

Nimble, quick, ready to jump a candlestick – that’s me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bam! All of a sudden, NYC was painted in apocalyptic hue. This is the sort of thing which I left Our Lady of the Pentacle at home all by herself for to get out and capture.

More tomorrow – 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

June 16, 2022 at 11:00 am

ever been

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 24th saw a humble narrator more or less walk the entire Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek, and by the time I reached the Pulaski Bridge all of my aches and pains were absolutely singing an opera.

That’s when you really just have to lean into it, I always say, and keep on scuttling. You want to know something, though? What I’ve really been missing the last month or so, and especially during low energy moments like the one I was experiencing while getting ready to surmount the Pulaski, has been having my headphones plugged into my ears while they’re blaring early Black Sabbath.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personal security, however, demands that all of my senses remain unoccluded. I need to be able to hear “it” if and when it’s coming. It’s funny, actually, that this section of Newtown Creek is one of the areas which I’ve assiduously avoided throughout the pandemic months. The population has become particularly dense here, due to what a friend of mine refers to as “the real estate frenzy.” That isn’t why I’ve been avoiding it, though.

Anywhere that lots of people are, that ain’t where I been.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pulaski Bridge has a dedicated pedestrian and a seperated bike lane, in addition to its lanes of vehicular traffic. It’s a double bascule drawbridge, and electrically powered. It connects McGuinness Blvd. in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint with 11th street at Jackson Avenue in Queens’ Long Island City. Along the way, on the Queens side, it also overflies the Long Island Railroad’s Lower Montauk tracks and the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

It’s extremely well traveled, and each one of its several traffic lanes is quite busy. It’s also fairly easy to get into trouble up there, precisely because of its populous nature. I used to know a guy who got jumped midspan, and who laid there bleeding from a head wound while the Brooklyn and Queens cops were arguing about which precinct the mugging occurred in – 94th or 108th. Neither one “wanted it” as it would cause their “house’s” crime stats to go up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There used to be an amazing series of NYC views up on the Pulaski, with the Empire State Building at the center of your frame and reflected in Newtown Creek. The sky has been stolen by big real estate, however. It’s been privatized. If you’re looking for “inspirado” you better have some cash to pay for it.

The good news is that our elected officials continue to subsidize the real estate people, by bending the rules for them and handing out multiple decade long tax breaks in the name of “affordable housing.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The dodge accomplished by the Real Estate people is to establish a development corporation as an ‘’LLC” or “Limited Liability Corporation” for the duration of planning and construction. The day after they cut the ribbon on a new building, the original development LLC, which made all the deals with the city and state, is dissolved and the property is transferred to a management LLC that can pick and choose which tenets of the original LLC’s political contracts they want to oblige.

Either way, they’re not paying any taxes for a long time. Not paying into the cops, or the schools, or the hospitals which their tenants in their thousands consume the services of. Remember when the Governor set up the Javitz center as a mass casualty hospital at the start of COVID? That’s because NYC doesn’t have enough hospital beds anymore.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some enterprising soul poked a hole in the chain link fences of the Pulaski’s pedestrian walkway a few years back, one that allows a view down into the Queens Midtown Tunnel’s entrance.

August of 1940 is when the tunnel opened, along with the section of the Long Island Expressway which feeds about 32 million vehicle trips a year into the thing. At least you can still see the Empire State Building from here since the Real Estate people haven’t convinced the politicians that it would solve the homeless problem if we decked over the tunnel’s toll plaza over and built luxury condos on top.

Give it time. Swagger.


“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.

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