The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘photowalk

monstrous fruit

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Better late than never, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Apologies, single shot today. One from the archives of the Grand Street Bridge. Back tomorrow with more substantial messaging, complaints, and shaking of fists against the moon.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! December 14th, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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

December 12, 2019 at 2:00 pm

utmost fortitude

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There’s always something to complain about.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has mentioned in the past that a singular virtue of the Governor’s “enhanced stations” project – and construction spending – on the Astoria line elevated subway stops along 31st street has been the abundance of street lighting they have introduced to what was formerly a dark and unfriendly series of street intersections. Also mentioned, repeatedly, is the fact that a humble narrator is still somewhat crippled by a crush injury to the big toe of my left foot, and I’ve been trying to “keep it local” as much as possible for the last few weeks to avoid reinjuring or impeding the healing process in the affected phalange. I plan to be back to full capability in the new year, after all.

Accordingly, the residents of my side of Astoria have begun to adjust to a sight often witnessed by the denizens of several other nearby communities – that of a strange old man wearing a filthy black raincoat and brandishing a camera about wherever municipal infrastructure stands naked and revealed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the subject of complaining, or “freelance unsolicited criticism” as my pal Special Ed once called it, right about now that’s all I’ve got to fill my time. One likes to believe that he has weaponized complaint, and milled it down into a quiver of razor tipped arrows which can be fired – with some precision – at an opponent’s vital bits. Ten years of daily blogging… you get good at grousing, I always say. Nobody cares, though.

That’s the intersection of Broadway and 31st street pictured in today’s post, from three different angles. The first looks westwards, the one above south west, and the one below is looking northwards from a different corner.

On the alternative subject of people in my neighborhood getting used to seeing a humble narrator at work, unlike Maspeth or Greenpoint where the residents go out of their way to avoid human contact, Astorians will just stride right up and ask what I’m doing. Such mendacity is part of the reason that I call Astoria my home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The guy in the food cart with the glowing window seemed rather concerned about my activities, but a quick wave of the hand and his paranoia seemed assuaged. A few people who announced, unheeded, that they didn’t want to be photographed received my usual speech about long exposure shots and that unless they were standing statue still for at least half a minute while in frame there would be little more of them than a ghostly whisper or blurred outline of them in the final shot.

On that subject, I’ve got an idea about how to advance these night shots up a level, and plan on exploring a new set of techniques in the coming weeks. Somebody will end up complaining about that, though.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! December 14th, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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

December 6, 2019 at 11:00 am

hidden laboratory

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Don’t get snotty with me, pal.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The ChristmAstoria season has begun, I do declare. This was noticed this when my neighbor Tomas adorned his house, recently. Colloquially known as “Tom,” Tomas is remarkably detail oriented on the subject of home maintenance, and owns a personal power washer in pursuance of a gum and stains free sidewalk. In a neighborhood of slobs, Tom keeps his immediate vicinity neat and clean, and is quite timely when it comes to rolling out the holiday decorations. He is one of my seasonal bellwethers.

A pet peeve we share is the habit of spitting gobs of phlegm onto the sidewalk as practiced by the local youths. Another one of those “primate dominance display behaviors” which increasingly annoy me, there seems to be a societal fad underway which requires the late adolescence humans to expunge a mucosal charge onto the public way once about every four strides.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Ptooie! I’ve never been able to get a clear answer out of the medical establishment about exactly what mucus is, other than it is produced by “goblet cells.” I’ve looked into it. Composition wise, snot is about 95% water. The remaining 5% is a variable brew of glycoproteins, proteoglycans, proteins, and DNA. The proteins are what make the stuff sticky, I’m told. Mucus is everywhere inside of the human infestation’s various avatars, and the specific to the respiratory tract stuff is called Phlegm (which, since I’m from Brooklyn, is pronounced literally as “Fleg gumm.” Everybody else says “flemm.”). Once you bark it out, it’s called “Sputum.”

This Phlegm material is conventionally “snot” and it acts as a filtering mechanism for the respiratory system. Contaminants like dust, pollen, and smoke particles get caught up in it, as do infectious biota. When you hawk a loogie out, it’s carrying these active bacterial and viral agents along with it. As the goober dries up on the pavement, these microbes and contaminants are then carried off into the the air column. That’s where the “spit every four steps” fad crosses over into a public health issue.

If you’re like me, as soon as the weather turns cold, the spigot starts running on the snot cannon in the middle of your face, and you’ve got a constantly runny nose. I’ve always got a pocket full of tissues with me, but many do not. These unprepared souls will often use a finger to close off one nostril and then exhale powerfully through the other, causing a rifle shot of sputum to rocket forth. It’s lovely.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Such behaviors are why I try not to touch any public surfaces in NYC during the winter months. This year, in particular, I’ve instituted a new policy which has been hard to enforce as it disobeys several of those “primate display behaviors” mentioned above.

I’m avoiding hand shaking entirely, and when the greeting dance requires touching somebody, I’m trying to do it with a clothed part of my body – the elbow, for instance. Why anyone would wish to touch one such as myself is beyond me, frankly, but just the other night I was touched by multiple people in these greeting gestures and one of my friends actually snuck behind me and gave me a hug and kissed the side of my head for some reason.

Keep your epithelials to your self, bro.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! December 14th, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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

December 5, 2019 at 11:00 am

damp pavement

with one comment

It’s Monday, are you cybering?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The fractured phalange situation is improving, and accordingly a humble narrator has been enjoying brief trots about the neighborhood once more. One is still taking it easy – baby steps as it were – since the busted toe smarts a bit and it’s always best to error on the side of caution with such matters. Nevertheless, the camera can’t be allowed to accumulate dust any longer and neither, concurrently, can I.

That’s 45th street between Northern Blvd. and 34th avenue pictured above, which will soon be where a vulgar display of power will be offered by the real estate industrial complex. It’s coming, Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In my attempts at staying close to home, one has been positively haunting the Northern Blvd. and Broadway corridors here in Astoria. Of special interest during the endeavor, long exposure views of automotive traffic seem to be catching my eye. One has opined to anyone who might listen that this camera technique can reveal the hidden patterns of automotive “desire paths” and act as an aid to conversation about how to better use the shared roads of NYC.

Pictured above is a Q66 bus, which arrived in frame at an opportune moment.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One will resist the urge to visit Newtown Creek this week, unless duty calls. There’s a Newtown Creek Community Advisory Group meeting tonight at Sunnyside Community Services on 39th street, which I’m hoping will provide me with an opportunity to wave the camera around afterwards. I’m also meant to attend a holiday party towards the end of the week in lower Manhattan, one which I’ll likely sneak out of for a bit to set up the tripod and do some shooting. It’s nice to be mobile again.

If anybody knows of a section of Western Queens where an over the top display of Christmas lights might be found, leave me a message in the comments.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! December 14th, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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

December 2, 2019 at 12:15 pm

wholly allied

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A Jedi craves not these things…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My hermitage and recovery period for the broken toe has been, frankly, driving me nuts with boredom. Given the diminished capacity one is experiencing on the walking around front, a humble narrator evolved a plan which would involve a fairly minor amount of scuttling about while also putting the camera in front of picturesque locales. A quick limp over to my local subway stop ensued, whereupon a transfer to the IRT Flushing or 7 Line subway line was accomplished in Jackson Heights – pictured above.

A long standing assertion of mine is that the 7, of all NYC’s subway lines, offers the most interesting and picturesque set of views to be found in the entire system (Ok, I’ll admit that Broadway Junction over in Brooklyn is pretty amazing as well).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given that I have been a caged animal and literal cripple of late, I haven’t been able to shoot anything intentional in awhile. What I’ve been offering for the last few weeks here at Newtown Pentacle has either been shots from the archives or “catch as catch can” snapshots gathered when I absolutely positively had no choice about being “out there” despite the broken toe and badly swollen left foot. Last week, I finally got to think out a route – and plan in advance – a few shots I was desirous of capturing.

The one above represents around a thirty second exposure from the 40th/Lowery stop, looking down on the northern side of Queens Blvd. from the elevated station. I was using that ultrapod gizmo I’ve been rattling on about, which is small enough to allow me to skate around MTA’s rules about using a tripod on their properties without a permit. Saying that, I did have the photo bag kit and kaboodle with me, gear which was used at other locations with less restrictive rules.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot directly above is from the 33rd/Rawson stop on the 7, looking again towards the northern side of Queens Blvd., and that factory building with the inflatable tennis dome on it is the former Swingline Staplers factory. One of the things I find interesting about the long exposure stuff is the way that traffic patterns get visualized by the long streaks of brake light as automobiles shoot through the frame. When you talk to transportation advocates or the city planner types, they always spout about “should be’s” and “design intents.” I usually offer them unwanted feedback about “desire paths” and “the best laid plans of mice and men.”

Whatever these characters want people to do on these roads, pictured above is a graphic representation of what actually happens.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! December 14th, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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

November 25, 2019 at 11:00 am

exhausted whining

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Not so minimalist Wednesday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, one had a couple of “have to’s” this week which forced me to limp out of the house and along the way shoot some photos. Monday night, in particular, was interesting visually due to the steady rain. I will stand behind and defend the assertion that NYC never looks as good as it does when it’s raining.

Pictured above is the IRT Flushing line entering the Court Square station during a precipitant interval.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in Astoria, a humble narrator was waiting for Our Lady of the a Pentacle to emerge from within a bodega with the loaf of bread and quart of milk she ventured within to attain. My thoughts were centered around my beloved Newtown Creek, and the torrent of sewage which was undoubtedly pouring into it during the rainstorm.

When I long for the Creek, I stare at sewer grates, which make me feel connected to it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last night it wasn’t raining, but I did manage to garner a bit of exercise walking to and from the Community Board meeting on the other side of the neighborhood. I hate the fact that this is the longest walk I’ve willingly undertaken in the last three weeks. I also hate how long it took, due to the pace I now walk at, and how many shots of mundane things like this child’s ride in front of pizza joint on Steinway Street I gathered.

Death. Annihilation. Hatred.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

Limited Time 25% off sale – use code “gifts25” at checkout.

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

November 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm

fungus eyelets

with one comment

Always a first time for everything.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Normally, if one wished to visit Roosevelt Island (which is an occasional fancy), it’s a fairly short walk from the rolling hills of almond eyed Astoria to the East River and then over the estimable Roosevelt Island Bridge. Given the novel form of broken toe infirmity one is currently enjoying, alternative means were required to get to the NYPL Roosevelt Island Library branch to deliver my Newtown Creek lecture there last week. I took the train!

I’ve never taken a train to Roosevelt Island! Ferry? Tram? Walked? Yes to all three, but as far as the train – first time.

A short hop over to Jackson Heights on the R line found me awaiting the F line at the Roosevelt Avenue station, and soon I was positively hurtling towards the former Welfare Island. It went well, and the people on the train seemed nice.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s some debate about which subway station is most deeply buried. It’s not exactly a raging debate, but there’s a stop in upper Manhattan which is a contender due to the altitude of the land it sits under, and there’s the Roosevelt Island stop which is also a contender due to its relationship to sea level. At any rate, I was just glad that the escalators were functioning so that I didn’t have to limp my way up and out of the 63rd street tunnel.

One found his way to the library, got my gear set up, and told the story of Newtown Creek and my recent nocturnal explorations thereof. Afterwards, I was unwilling to chance entering the system due to the endemic repairs and service alterations familiar to the current era, and decided on using a cab to return to Astoria. Of course, I was on Roosevelt Island… so I opted to take a short walk over the Roosevelt Island Bridge and find a car on the Queens side of the river.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Truth be told, I saw an opportunity to brandish the camera for a few minutes on my way, a desire which trumped the toe drama for a few minutes. That’s the Roosevelt Island Bridge pictured above, looking towards the Ravenswood section of Long Island City in Queens.

Back tomorrow with something different, at this, your Newtown Pentacle.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

Limited Time 25% off sale – use code “gifts25” at checkout.

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

November 19, 2019 at 1:00 pm

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