The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Northern Blvd.

puzzled till

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Northern Blvd.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s actually amazing how many times I’ve walked the exact same route, in the last two months, given that I’m still finding interesting things to point the camera at. Last weekend was warm and the weather generally beautiful here in Astoria and Western Queens. Restaurants and bars reopened for “to go” service, but large groups of quarantineros were everywhere you looked. If we don’t end up with large sections of the neighborhood in the hospital or dead by the first week of June, it’s entirely possible that the worst part of the first wave is behind us.

Saying that, don’t be a maskhole, and cover up. The less of us who wear a mask, the longer all of us will end up having to. I don’t want to be wearing a mask during August, when it’s hot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “hum” began ticking up again last weekend. That’s what I call the constant background level of noise here in Western Queens generated by automotive and mass transit action. Starting in mid March and then through April, I could hear my footsteps echoing back at me due to the quiet.

Traffic volume has definitely increased, as has sidewalk activity. Word has it that the encounter with the wackadoodle I mentioned on Monday is now a commonplace experience, and has a likely connection with the NYC Dept. of Homeless Services using the many hotels around Queens Plaza as shelters. It seems that the Homeless Veterans of the Borden Avenue shelter down in LIC are now living in the Howard Johnson’s on 12th street, and the hotels in the Dutch Kills neighborhood just north of Queens Plaza are filling up with similar guests.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve managed to reschedule a Doctor’s appointment for next week to which I was obligated towards the end of June, as the very last thing that a humble narrator wants to do is hop onto the subway. It’s funny, I actually miss it.

Just last night, I was wandering up 21st street in LIC, and the sidewalk grates that overfly the underground 7 line Hunters Point Avenue stop were to my left. The train entered the station, and then played its “beep bop, watch for the closing doors” recording. I couldn’t help but smile. It sounded normal.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, May 18th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates as we move into April and beyond, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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

May 22, 2020 at 12:00 pm

time subsided

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Well, still here…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week’s schedule of rain put a real crimp in a humble narrator’s wanderings, and the end of the week warmup here in Astoria was accompanied by an explosion of people getting out and about, which was followed by a ludicrous amount of NYPD activity… so advantage was not taken of Saturday evening as I decided that discretion was the better part of valor. Apparently, two morons over by the nearby Woodside NYCHA campus decided to settle scores and shoot each other on Saturday night, which were Chief amongst the logical decisions made by the community at large. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to be in a hospital right now?

NYPD was seemingly busier last Saturday than they’ve been in a couple of months, and one observed the neighborhood manifesting its particular annoyances as if there wasn’t a plague. Observed: Curbside liaisons for amorous adolescents, sidewalk somnambulism for the liquor enthusiasts, the revving of engines and gunning of the gas pedal for the fast and furious crowd, lots of casual littering. For some reason, people are now drinking in their parked cars, and discarding the liquor and wine bottles along the curbs. One particularly annoying lady has been sitting in her running car in front of HQ, drinking and smoking while on the phone (said phone is plugged into her car sound system, of course) for 11-12 hour long conversations.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given all of the time spent here at HQ, one has been using the “controlled environment” to sharpen up some of his skills. The shut down has affected the amount of atmospheric and light pollution here in the ancient village of Astoria significantly, and given my night owl life style I’ve been marveling at the number of visible stars in our skies. Clicking on the image above will take you to Flickr and the larger sized iterations of it, wherein you’ll see something approaching constellations, visible from Astoria Queens and less than 5 miles from Manhattan.

Astrophotography is its own “thing” and not something I’ve ever really had the patience, opportunity, or inclination to experiment with. The plague cleared skies and all of this time on my hands has allowed for all three cautions to be abandoned. Of course, saying all that, it seemed to rain or was overcast 6 out of 7 nights last week. This isn’t “proper” Astro, of course, just a stab at exploring the technique.

It really feels like we’re settled into the trough of “the event” right now, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been happily surprised by the creation and sudden appearance of a new hole in the fences around the Sunnyside Yards, something which has occurred in recent weeks. Whomever is in charge of fence holes at Amtrak had recently sealed up three of my old “go to’s” and a humble narrator has been feeling bereft. One is always in search of a good hole, especially one large enough to allow access to a camera lens.

Holes. Now, more than ever. Also, it’s May 4th, so may the Force be with you.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, May 4th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates as we move into April and beyond, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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.

visual identity

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CoronAstoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Before the nightly helicopters begin circling the ancient village, just after sunset in fact, one staggered forth from HQ with the intention of taking a LONG walk. Said walk ended up being five and change hours long and covered around 12 miles of western Queens. What was cool about my night was that the only people I saw were blocks distant from me, or driving vehicles. Funnily enough, upon arriving at my inevitable destination amongst the concrete devastations of Newtown Creek, where one can find themself truly alone, I can finally relax a bit and let my guard down.

While marching around in areas zoned for residential occupancy, one walks quickly, hoping to leave the humans behind as quickly as possible for fear of contagion. Lurking in fear, indeed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One wears the mask in spots like these, even though there was no one on the street. The sidewalks are narrow, and it was garbage day. Cooties.

Once a certain geographic juncture has been surpassed, the mask goes in my pocket and for a time I can breathe easily again. The industrial neighborhoods are absolutely and completely deserted, save for an occasional warehouse storing foodstuffs, or near the yards of commercial shipping operations like FedEx and UPS. Knowing where these locations are, one avoids them. Getting out of Astoria and across Sunnyside along certain less travelled paths are fairly key.

South, I head south. I bob, and I weave.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in prior posts, one is desirous of open sight lines. I might just have to go for a ride on the NYC Ferry at some point, riding on the open top deck of course. As also mentioned, you couldn’t pay me to get on a subway right now, so after landing at Manhattan’s Pier 11, I’d have to either take another ferry, or walk back to Astoria along the East River from Wall Street.

I really want to feel some sunlight hitting my skinvelope, though, so maybe.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, April 27th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates as we move into April and beyond, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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 29, 2020 at 11:00 am

venomous inundation

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I call Northern Blvd. “the Carridor.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, I’ve mentioned a few times that I distinguish between a “long walk” and a “short walk.” A long walk would be, say… from Astoria to East Williamsburg and back via Ridgewood and Maspeth – about 10-12 miles. A medium walk would involve heading from Astoria to the East River and Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary and back via Sunnyside – about 6-7 miles. A short walk involves a fairly rapid gait, and takes advantage of the hypotenuse like relationship that Northern Blvd. has with the street grid of Astoria – about 4-5 miles. Indefinite numeration for the amount of distance involves serendipity, noticing something that catches my eye, or just the sudden realization that “I never walked down that street before, wonder what’s there.”

Pictured above, and encountered whilst on a short walk is a type of truck called a Car Carrier. There are several large used and new car lot operations along Northern Blvd., and the car carriers which bring stock to these businesses are a regular sight. The semi tractor section of the equipment is manufactured by a company called Western Star. The trailer is a fairly intricate machine, with lots of hydraulic ramp plates that reconfigure for the loading and off loading of smaller vehicles – it’s a car carrier, after all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Creepy late winter trees that haven’t started to bud leaves yet? The Standard Motor Products building somewhat softened and obfuscated by mist, and the streets are also wet? If it’s dark out, when you see all these things you’ll probably notice a weird old man in a filthy black raincoat furiously dialing settings into his camera. These are all things a creature like me loves, yearns for, and seeks out.

I’ve captured a shot very similar to this one in the past, but that was under normal circumstance when the Carridor was performing its design function as a local connector between the Queensboro Bridge to west and the nearby Brooklyn Queens Expressway to the east. No cars? Wow, this is Northern Blvd. at about 10:30 p.m. on a Monday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The interval during which these three images were captured was defined by a lapse in precipitation, which had been constant all day and was scheduled to resume by about midnight. One began scuttling back towards HQ, where a cup of hot tea would be quaffed as a reward for the evening’s effort. This particular short walk also involved a few “getting things done” stops – bank atm, buying a piece of fruit or two from one of the few remaining open shops, that sort of thing.

On the plus side of all this, I’ve actually been eating a fairly healthy menu. One of the things we can all do to bolster the immune system right now is to eat the sort of food we should always be eating but normally don’t for the sake of convenience or just gluttony. I’ve had one slice of pizza in the last three weeks, for instance, and one hamburger. Everything else has been fresh vegetables, rice, lean meats and fish, and barely any cheese. I’ve eaten an entire field’s worth of Broccoli in the last few weeks, I’ll tell ya.

Back Monday with more reports from CoronAstoria.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the end of the week of Monday, March 30th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates as we move into April and beyond, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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 10, 2020 at 11:00 am

dismantled laboratory

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Chancing the vampires.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My practice for the last few months, given the broken toe drama of late 2019 and the subsequent recovery thereof, has been to go for a long walk and then hop on a train or a bus for the proverbial “last mile” home. This has been working out pretty well for a humble narrator, but what with the current “death cooties” epidemic and all, avoiding the Subway in particular has become a bit of a preoccupation for me. Under the best circumstance, the MTA system is a microbial nightmare, let alone during the “season of the Corona.” A pedestrian life for me, for the time being at least.

Problem is that I had to make my way through Queens Plaza, and down Jackson Avenue to get back to Astoria, and as I’ve often opined – there are Vampires up in the steel rafters of the elevated tracks. I reached into my camera bag and affixed the garland of garlic cloves which I always carry with me, and set out towards home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Plaza is always crowded, even during a Quarantine. Luxury condos, built in the name of worshipping at the altar of the City Planning crowd’s beloved “density,” are chock full of the children of the well off. These tower buildings disallow it’s residents several activities, notably smoking. Accordingly, a few dozen young adults were standing on the sidewalk wearing surgical masks and smoking cigarettes while staring into their phones. The mask would get edged up, and the cigarette would get sucked. One enterprising young woman had poked a hole in her mask large enough to stick a cigarette through. Yes… she poked a hole in the mask so that…

You have to love the humans, I always say. Years ago, I was on the subway and some guy boarded the train. He grabbed the pole, then used that hand to first dig the crust out of his eyes, followed by a generous amount of ear canal poking, followed by a quick nose pick and… yes, I was watching and waiting… he stuck that finger in his mouth to dislodge some food off a tooth. Every possible path to the brain covered, he then squeezed at the little bottle of hand sanitizer attached to his knapsack and rubbed a bit of the stuff into his hands. A seat opened up and upon sitting down he rested his head on the metal pole. Bravo, thought I. My goal is to touch nothing at all except the ground and only with my shoe covered feet. Don’t get me started on sandals.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Ford dealership building on Northern Blvd. which had been used as a Taxi company’s HQ in recent years – just off 31st street – has been demolished. Yet another part of old industrial Queens bites the dust, huh? Luckily, the scions of Manhattan’s real estate scene have ensured that yet another multi story self storage building will replace it, so that their mad quest to pack ever more people into ever smaller apartments can be supported with off site closets in Queens. I’m fairly sure that the Lost Ark of the Covenant is sitting in a lock box at the old Johnson Wax building.

The temporary roadway pictured above, if you’re curious, leads to the muster area for the East Side Access project’s laborers at the Sunnyside Yards.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the start of the week of Monday, March 23rd. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates as we move into April and beyond, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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 3, 2020 at 11:00 am

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