The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘NYC ferry

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.


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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

blasphemous unthinkability

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My day on the NYC Ferry was timed to coincide with sunset, which has been a bit of an obsession for me this spring. Normally, I eschew the sort of monotonous obsession most photography people have with the solar cycle, but given that my time in NYC is now finite and the clock is officially ticking…

What the hell, why not?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Jamaica Bay is the body of water that follows Brooklyn’s south eastern coastline, and is fairly contained and defined as being north of the Rockaway Peninsula. It’s the water you see when you’re driving on the Belt Parkway, or landing at JFK Airport. Its beaches and tidal channels are where a young but already humble narrator used to go to escape from his parents, riding on his Apollo brand 3 Speed bike.

Funny how a kid used to be able to just ride a bike in NYC without dedicated bike lanes in “car country,” isn’t it?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The NYC Ferry, as mentioned a couple of days ago, really opens up the engines in this area. Given the shallow bottom of Jamaica Bay, you encounter real wave action hereabouts, and the Ferry’s speed couple with that saw me bouncing around in my seat. Let that one sink in, I was actually sitting down. That’s how fast the boat moves on the Rockaway route.

I’m planning on renting a car next month and driving around the old neighborhood one last time. That’s my other news… I’ve got an active and no longer expired Drivers License again. Hey – if you’re planning on moving out of NYC to America, you need a car.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My timing for this leg of my day on the ferry was working out perfectly. Everything according to plan, I would be standing on a dock in Manhattan just after 7 p.m., and at the time of year which these shots were captured – sunset was going to happen just about 8 p.m.

What was also great about this particular day is that I didn’t have to worry about anyone else’s comfort or bathroom schedule or any of that sort of crap. Crotchety bullshit is just difficult for me to suborn these days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m 54 years old. I haven’t exactly taken care of myself over the years and there’s lots and lots of physical issues that I deal with on a daily basis. I’ve been bitching and moaning about my trick left foot publicly, but that’s the tip of a god damned iceberg as far as what I’m feeling on a daily basis, even with my somewhat legendary tolerance for pain levels. I actually get tired now, have to sleep 7-8 hours religiously, and I don’t have the ability to absorb constant punishment that I used to count on anymore. A mild case of frostbite back in February slowed me down for an entire month with numbed fingers, for instance. A month!

I used to heal like the comic book character Wolverine. Not anymore.

Saying that, toughen the freak up and stop complaining about things you can’t control. Get on with it. Stop bitching or just stay home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bah!

At any rate, the NYC Ferry from Rockaway arrived at Pier 11 in Manhattan just as the East River light show began. I had been riding the system for about four hours, spent an entire afternoon and early evening on the water, and all it cost me was $5.50. Even better, the boats have snack bars, and bathrooms.

Back next week with more wonders 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 24, 2022 at 11:00 am

emotional need

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sentimental reminiscing is on the menu for me these days, as we head into what is going to be my last summer in New York City. I’ve been here my entire life, and every single corner of the City that I’ve inhabited for the last half century just bleeds with memories of times good and bad.

The best of the urban mythologies from the old neighborhood revolved around the supposed corpses of construction workers, who were killed during construction of the Verrazzano Bridge, whose corpses sunk into the still liquid concrete never to be seen again. This is an urban myth, by the way. The structural integrity of the bridge’s footings would be compromised by the voids created by those bodies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Rockaway Ferry gives you a pretty cool set of views of Coney Island on the way. That’s the Steeplechase Park section. Coney’s were a smallish representative of the rabbit family endemic to the area when the English speaking Europeans arrived, and that’s where the name “Coney Island” comes from. Most of the large scale apartment buildings were constructed by Gambino adjacent real estate powers like Fred Trump and the Waubassie Brothers (I’m probably spelling the second name wrong, btw.)

Coney Island meant a lot to my depression era parents, but back in the 1980’s it was synonymous with hookers and crack and crime for my generation. The Russians arriving here, and in Brighton Beach, back in the 1990’s changed the place, and some of the old veneer has returned to Coney, but underneath the surface there’s still a lot of weirdness waiting to boil over in these parts.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone roller coaster are what most think of when they mention Coney Island, along with Nathan’s Hot Dogs.

It goes to show how ossified the culture of NYC has become in recent decades, that the “cultural show pieces” all date back to a century or more ago.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Along the way, you get a good view of Queens’ Breezy Point and how thoroughly doomed this part of the City is once the waters begin to rise in the next twenty to thirty years. No flood insurance for you, and “managed retreat” is a phrase to start getting used to.

Really, a big part of why I’m leaving NYC is a conviction that it’s time to start moving away from the Atlantic Coast.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the other bridge on Flatbush Avenue, the Gil Hodges Marine Parkway Bridge. On the Brooklyn side, it leads to the part of Brooklyn I’m from – the Canarsie, Flatlands, Mill Basin area. The Queens side let’s you make a right and go to the gated community of Breezy Point, or go straight towards Riis Park, or make a left and head over to Rockaway, Far Rockaway, or even Long Beach.

The NYC Ferry dock isn’t too far away from this bridge, about 15 minutes or so.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I don’t see that everyday, an A train traveling along the waterfront, so I took a picture. Lasts longer.

More tomorrow.


“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 23, 2022 at 11:00 am

every aesthetic

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 9th was a day I had no reason at all to wake up for. Nothing in the schedule, or at least nothing I wanted to do, and the following three days were filled with a loathsome schedule of “have to’s” and zoom meetings as well as a patch of rainy weather. Thereby, my goal for the day was to fill up my camera cards with images that would need processing, something I could do while listening to the virtue signaling and “blah, blah, blah” of the various meetings I had to attend.

Thereby, off to the NYC Ferry did I go, and an entire day was spent bouncing around from place to place in the Harbor of New York.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My first leg involved the Astoria line ferry, which leaves from a dock adjoining the campus of the NYCHA Astoria Houses nearby Vernon Avenue. The route moves south, and makes several stops. First up is Roosevelt Island, then LIC North nearby Anable Basin, then 34th street in the City. It continues to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and then the terminal stop is at Pier 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.

The game I like to play with the ferry is to see how far I can can get on one ticket by transferring from one line to the other, your ticket stays active for 90 minutes, whereas the Astoria Route is about 45 minutes from Queens to Pier 11.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At Pier 11, and I should mention that the shot above is from the Brooklyn Navy Yard stop, a quick scan of the scheduling screens revealed that a Rockaway bound boat would be leaving within my allotted transfer time, so that’s where I would be heading.

The Rockaway Boat leaves Pier 11 and makes a stop at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, after that they open up the engine and gun it for the peninsula. The “One way trip” to Rockaway is functionally an hour on the ferry from Pier 11.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The route carries you past Erie Basin and Gowanus Bay, and follows the Ambrose Channel towards the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge. Keep your eyes peeled, as there’s all sorts of interesting maritime industrial stuff you might encounter along the way.

I outfitted myself with my least favorite lens, a 70-300 consumer level zoom. It’s nowhere near as reliable as my other lenses, and is one of the oldest parts of my kit. I’d love to replace it, but can’t really justify spending the $ on doing so at the moment.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A tugboat called the Schuylkill passed the NYC Ferry I was riding on, and it’s named after the river flowing through Philadelphia which was recently discussed here after a day trip.

Coincidence? I don’t think so, as the entire world does actually revolve around me. I’m special, just ask me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The ferry continued on its Rockaway bound heading, and I became entranced by a cargo ship sitting off the coast of… Staten Island… loading a barge with what appeared to be soil or gravel at the narrows.

More tomorrow.


“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 22, 2022 at 11:00 am

opiate peace

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, the NYC Ferry has started a new service, one that starts on… Staten Island… and then proceeds up the Hudson River to midtown. Now… why on earth would you introduce a paid service that’s meant to compete with the free one?

Answer is that the free one goes to lower Manhattan, leaving you nearby the Battery and Wall Street, whereas the new paid service takes you to the high west 30’s along the west side of the City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The new boat route really allows the ferry captains to open up the throttle, I would mention, and the boat is bouncing along on the waves. It leaves from St. George, makes a stop nearby Battery Park City at Vesey Street, then heads all the way up to west 39th street.

Talking to people from Staten Island riding the thing revealed that they didn’t mind paying for it, given that using the Staten Island Ferry to get to Manhattan would see them paying a subway fare. This way, they get to be on the water the whole way.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was dipping down behind New Jersey as I was riding the ferry, and there’s a Coast Guard rule that demands that anyone with a camera has to take a picture of the Statue of Liberty under such circumstance, so…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I had a meeting which I was meant to call in to just as the moon began to manifest. Something Newtown Creek related, which is probably quite a surprise, huh?

I am very, very tired of going to meetings.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve always found the Hudson River pretty boring, truth be told. You’ve got three or four nice shots along the way, but two of them have been absolutely ruined by catastrophic architectural decisions.

I don’t actually mind those two cantilevered buildings, as a note.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As soon as I hit land, I called into my meeting, which I attended via my headphones while still shooting.

Back next week with more wonders, 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

May 13, 2022 at 11:00 am

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