The Newtown Pentacle

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One does enjoy it when they accidentally leave the industrial fences open, over at the Dutch Kills tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek in Queens’ Long Island City section. It was a hot night in LIC, with high humidity. One was hoping for a spectacular sunset which didn’t materialize, which is sort of a metaphor for my entire life, but that’s neither here nor there. Here’s this profundity however – If you’re working at sorting different grades of gravel and sand, you need the sort of stuff pictured above to do so. That’s a sly observation, no?

There was some sort of drama playing out on the street behind me, wherein a woman was displaying all sorts of outré behavior while two uniformed men sat in a car not far away and watched her. They had DHS logos on their polo shirts, so the entire tableau likely involved official business on the part of the Department of Homeless Services. I didn’t inquire into the matter as it was none of my actual business.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Oh, the sewer jellies. The sewer jellies are categorically my business. Over at Dutch Kills’ intersection with Hunters Point Avenue, a work barge has been stationed. The gear they’re using seems to involve large chunks of lumber and a lot of rope. These floating apparatuses allow the sewer borne lipids dancing along the surface of the water to congeal into fungible fecundities. When the light is just right, one may discern the conditions.

New York City has a combined sewer system. What that means is that sanitary and storm water travel through the same pipes. A quarter inch of rain in NYC, citywide, translates into a billion gallons of water entering the system. During thunderstorms and other sudden deluges, the people who operate the sewers – the NYC Department of Environmental Protection or DEP – are forced to release untreated combined sewer waste water into outfall pipes which empty into area waterways. A lot of cooking grease and oils get carried in this flow, as does petroleum residue from the streets.

Jellies. Meringue. Syrups. The DEP calls the stuff honey.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One always scolds newcomers to the Newtown Creek watershed to beware the trucking traffic and be very careful when moving about. Eyes are crinkled, smiles are forced, and they tell me that they know how to cross streets. I offer “this is not the world you know” and then point out safety cones which are squished by, or torn apart by, the wheels of heavy trucks.

If a safety cone ain’t safe on the street, you ain’t. Never walk in front of a truck without first getting acknowledged by the driver that they know you’re there. You don’t want to get squished by a gravel sorting machine, which would turn you into a kind of red street jelly.


“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

July 14, 2021 at 11:00 am

coterminous with

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some of you have inquired as to where my recent dark point of view is coming from. Headlines, mainly. Every one of my little parables this week relates to late 19th and early 20th century existentialist writing. Camus, Kafka, Nietzsche. I always say, when you’re in a mood, wallow in it.

As you may have guessed, a humble narrator is in a bit of mood this week. One requires a short break, so single images of various scenes will be greeting you, along with rather depressing anecdotes. Happy Summer.

Back to normal next week, I think, 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

July 2, 2021 at 11:00 am

other embodiments

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Y’know, I’d normally make a reference to the mood I’m in by describing myself as standing on a beach with a gun in my hand while looking down at the dead Arab boy lying in the sand, but references to existentialist literature would probably be misread. Matter of fact, somebody just stopped listening when I said “Arab.” Somebody else didn’t like “gun.” There’s also likely somebody offended by “beach.”

I’m alive, and I feel absolutely nothing – except dirty – dear stranger.

As you may have guessed, a humble narrator is in a bit of mood this week. One requires a short break, so single images of various scenes will be greeting you, along with rather depressing anecdotes. Happy Summer.


“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 28, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in DUKBO, newtown creek

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effigies sculptured

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent visit to the Empire State Building observation deck cost me $41, plus subway fares. That’s the price you pay to see things. We all have a price, and problems we can’t solve. Luckily, there’s often someone willing to sell you what you want. I’ve been wanting perspective, and to “get high.”

Superman has super problems, I’ve always thought. The big guy has to spend a lot of time restraining himself. He can burn somebody by looking at them too hard, and probably cause cancer if he stares at you with those X-Ray eyes of his. When Superman is stopping a bank robbery, it must be excruciating to exercise the care involved in not killing everything he touches while moving at super speed. Superman punching someone in the nose, and not having that someone’s head explode into a cloud of red mist, represents a significant amount of martial restraint.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself slid down behind New Jersey (I’m told there’s a cavern in Pennsylvania it slots into), a humble narrator got busy with the camera and the clicking and the whirring. What stirred me into dropping the cash on this visit was the recent revelation that all of the “master shots” of Newtown Creek from this perspective in my image library depicted the old Kosciuszcko Bridge.

Superman can famously walk about on the plasma shell of the sun, burrow through Earth’s mantle and visit the molten core of the planet, divert the course of mighty rivers, and withstand all sorts of hellacious situations. I’ve often wondered if he’s just numb. If you’re Superman, how far do you need to go to just feel something? Imagine if he’s disguised himself as one of us and attends a concert, gets overwhelmed by an emotional response to the performance and absentmindedly begins to loudly applaud. Superman clapping his hands loudly would likely result in a mass casualty event.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is one of the classic Empire State Building shots, depicting the Flatiron – or Fuller Brush – Building at the intersection of 23rd street and Fifth Avenue/Broadway. The other nearby landmark is Madison Square Park, which used to be a Potters Field cemetery for the poor.

Something which I’ve never been able to reconcile regarding the Man of Steel is the amount of time he spends pretending to be human. You have to figure that every minute of every day, he should be out there saving lives. This guy could handle large scale desert irrigation projects, literally moving mountains, and he’s spending his days 9-5 working at a newspaper? Sure, the pen is mightier than the sword, but… Superman.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A very similar shot, compositionally, was in yesterday’s post – depicting the angle of view towards the Queensboro Bridge with Astoria in the distance. That’s the Chrysler Building in the foreground.

If you were actually able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound, you’d likely be leaving craters in the sidewalk when jumping. The physics of Superman are daunting. As mentioned above, he’d have to take exquisite care not to atomize people while crime fighting. Presuming Superman is about 200 pounds of pure muscle, that means his foot would need to exert enough force on the ground to propel 200 pounds a thousand or more feet in the air. Superman is never portrayed as having freakishly large feet, so let’s presume it’s a normal size 11 or 12 shoe that he would wear. That means he’s focusing multiple tons worth of force into a 4-5 inch patch of sidewalk, and that the cement paving would essentially turn into a powder of particles. These particles dispersing into the atmosphere would appear to us, to be an explosion.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking westwards towards the hideous Hudson Yards complex, with the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself nearly occluded behind New Jersey.

“Faster than a speeding bullet” also points out another angle which this Kryptonian Weapon of Mass Destruction would have to be extremely careful about. The fastest of our modern bullets moves at about 2,600 feet a second, which is just about Mach 2. Comic writers have established that our boy can move far faster than that, and within the atmosphere at that. Imagine the firestorm of friction heated air Superman has to be pulling behind him when he’s in a hurry. He’d be leaving horizontal fire tornados all over the sky everytime there was an emergency in China.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One last shot just as proper night was setting in, looking southwards towards the Freedom Tower over Lower Manhattan, from the Empire State Building Observation Deck.

Up, up, and away.


“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 25, 2021 at 11:05 am

utter nullity

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The least developed and most interesting character in the Star Wars fictional universe – to me, at least – is Emperor Shiv Palpatine. I consider him a role model, actually. Found a way to breathe life into a moribund federal state, where no societal advancement had taken place in literally centuries, created several sleek and deadly military branches, and rid his society of a conservative group of superstitious religious zealots – who armed themselves with laser swords and meddled in politics. Sure, he had to build a couple of moon sized space stations armed with planet popping cannons, but think about all the jobs that represented. In all fairness, he did nothing to confront the glaringly obvious role of the Droids as slave labor. Why do you think they used restraining bolts and wiped droid’s memory frequently? I think the reason that we don’t know much about the Emperor is because R2D2 never spent much time with him. The entire Star Wars deal is actually about the adventures of R2D2, who hung around with several generations of a single family.

Finally got to the Empire State Building observation deck last week, so lots of eye candy is coming your way, true believers. Pictured above, my beloved Creek in a wide shot with a whole lot of vignette. I was using one of my crop sensor lenses at this stage of my visit, and you can see the image circle when it’s wide. That vignette is actually the inside of the lens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Let’s say that a humble narrator takes a few years off and goes walkabout. While traveling with Pirates and Smugglers in the South Pacific, he encounters an ancient temple nearby the island of Pohnpei. Therein, he learns of and begins to gather knowledge of the Dark Side of the Living Force. What emerges from the temple is no longer a man, he has become a Sith Lord just like Andrew Cuomo. A beeline is made for the mainland, and an overly complicated plan goes into effect which results in the overthrow of Democracy and the creation of the “American Empire of Freedom” is announced on the world stage. Ok, I’d be full Sith Lord evil – like Andrew Cuomo – so instead of a couple of Death Stars, I’d build the “Giant American Army Boot in Space.” That would look like exactly what it sounds like, by the way. A giant metal army boot that descends from the sky and grinds cities down under its heel as if they were giant cigarette butts. All the nations will tremble before the power of the American Empire of Freedom’s Giant Army Boot in Space, and thereby before that of the Emperor – Darth Mitch, Lord of the Sith.

Just realized that since the “rule of two” applies to Sith Lords, at some point I’d end up having to laser sword fight with Cuomo… I’m going to have to learn that “shoot lightning from my fingertips” deal. Scary man, him.

Same lens, same Creek, just a bit tighter in. As the thing zooms into about half of its intended range, the vignette disappears. This lens zooms out to 300mm, a focal length which I haven’t yet filled in with the lens kit for the new camera. Honestly don’t know if I will, though. If I have or want to, that’s the answer on that one.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Sith Apprentice position would be hard to fill. Palpatine saw his guy get burned up in a volcano, and had no idea that the kid had knocked up a Princess. What was left of the kid, he stuck in robot suit and told it to kick ass. I’ve got a couple of friends with young kids who might fit the bill for robot suit assassins someday, but I have no idea where the nearest volcano might be. I dunno… Connecticut? The Princess’s kids screwed the whole Empire thing up, of course. Poor Shiv Palpatine, he did his best.

I’m sure there would be some Rebel scum who would futilely try to take me down, but what… they’re going to blow up the American Empire of Freedom’s Giant Army Boot in Space or something? Pfah.

This is looking over Alphabet City on the Lower East Side of Manhattan towards the coastline of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, along the East River. I’d switched to a different lens here, a 24-105 zoom. I was carrying an uncommonly large kit with me this evening, and made it a point of rotating them through the course of time that I spent at Empire State Building.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Actually, if I did acquire the power of a Sith Lord, I’d keep the whole “Darth” thing quiet and just be a master criminal. Just imagine waving your hand at NYPD and saying “I am not the old man in a black bathrobe you’re looking for” and having the Cops agree with you. You could also use the Force to float up stairs instead of getting all sweaty, get coffee, and you’re always carrying a super bright flashlight that can also cut steel. You could also probably use your magicks to try and figure out what this whole bitcoin thing is about.

This one is looking at the Freedom Tower, and the Statue of Liberty, and basically Manhattan from 34th street to the Battery. That green lumpy thing in the distance is Staten Island. Best baseball seats in NYC out there, at the Staten Island Yankees stadium.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As you may have guessed by now, my goal of watching all of Star Wars, in the story’s chronological order, is moving along. This is in story timeline order, btw, not by theatrical release date. That means “Phantom Menace” followed by “Attack of the Clones” and then the “Clone Wars” series and then “Revenge of the Sith.” Now, I’m trying to get through awful “Solo” whereupon the very good “Rebels” cartoon will slot in. Then I’ve got “Rogue One” followed by the original three Star Wars flicks from the 70’s, and then Mandalorian. I’m going to completely ignore the three Rey movies as they suck and shouldn’t be considered part of the continuity.

Whew. What did you do during the Pandemic?

This one is looking towards Queensboro Bridge, Astoria, and Ravenswood over the shoulder of the Chrysler Building on Manhattan’s 42nd street. Still using the 24-105 zoom for this one.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking back at where all things start and end, the fabulous Newtown Creek. Every time I’ve been up on the Empire State Building’s Observation Deck, it’s been a fairly short and well timed interval which ends too quickly. Maybe this is just because of the Pandemic and the lessened crush of tourists moving through, but I ended up hanging around up there for more than two hours – which was awesomesauce!

The second half of my excursion occurred at and shortly after sunset, and you’ll be seeing shots from that interval tomorrow.

In the meantime… execute Order 66.


“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 24, 2021 at 11:00 am

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