The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Photowalks

terrestrial gravity

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Day two in Pittsburgh began before the sun came up, and I was showered/dressed/ and charging the camera batteries up for another bridges heavy shot list. The day’s weather forecast was perfect for me – middle 60’s, breezy, and a bit overcast but no rain.

At the center of that shot above is the tallest building in Pittsburgh. It’s the 58th tallest building in the United States, and used to be known as the USX tower. Today, it’s the called the U.S. Steel building, and it’s the HQ for that company as well as UPMC – the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – whose illuminated logo adorns the summit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Funnily enough, the shot above was total serendipity. I was throwing out a bit of garbage I had generated over the last two nights in the AirBNB at the Clark Building, and this is the view from the garbage room, which looks towards the Alcoa building on the Allegheny River’s north shore and the 10th and 9th street (Andy Warhol and Rachel Carson) bridges. I walked out onto Liberty Avenue at about 7 in the morning.

First thing on my list was breakfast, and since throughout these travels the heavy pancake/bacon/egg deal had served me well, I was looking for a diner or coffee shop to purchase a meal of that type. A bit of quick googling revealed a spot just a few blocks away, but it didn’t open until 8 a.m. so I had a little time to kill. After a cup of steaming black coffee was obtained at a convenience store, I was on my way.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pittsburgh seems to have a lot of alleys. They also haven’t turned all of their downtown parking lots into condominiums with the proviso that you should ride a bike or you’re an asshole, or intone that you hate minorities if you oppose more luxury housing, the way they do in NYC. It’s almost like Pittsburgh has other industries whose opinion matters, beyond the one offered by big real estate, when the Electeds are making decisions here.

Naturally attracted to shunned places, I had to walk through a few of them. I spotted this hilarious sign in one of those alleys.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While “photowalking” to breakfast, I spotted lots of intriguing and fairly old municipal buildings like the Firehouse pictured above. I also observed that the infamous Midwestern “Opioid Epidemic” has taken over a lot of lives hereabouts. Drug and addiction treatment centers abounded, and I saw hundreds of people waiting on line for their little plastic cups of orange liquid (methadone) who all wore the tell tale mask of heroin use on their faces. That sucks. I don’t wish that life on anyone, even if they did it to themselves. Heroin breaks people into little evil pieces, and turns them into shadows. You can call it OxyContin if you like, but it’s heroin. This drug epidemic is the actual consequence of going to war in Afghanistan, by the way.

Poor bastards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An old downtown department store was receiving a lot of attention from construction crews when I passed by, and luckily this amazing public timepiece wasn’t being demolished by them. Just look at that thing. Jeez. Talk about gilded age, huh.

Most of the historic building stock encountered was reminiscent of the early 20th century examples you encounter in Manhattan’s financial district. Ornate Neo classical facades, street level grand entrances, lots of massive stone structure punctuated with enormous plate glass windows. Cathedrals of Capitalism. Unlike NYC, setbacks for upper floors didn’t seem to be a thing here, and you have all of these dark and shadowed alleys between and behind which expose the “works” of the buildings – the HVAC piping, electrical hookups, and so on.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After breakfast, I summoned a LYFT ride share to carry me to my first destination of the day on the south side of Pittsburgh on Mount Washington. Formerly called Coal Hill, the prominence was dubbed Mt. Washington in 1876. It hosts the two inclines – or Funicular Railways – and is on the south side of the Monongahela River. Mt. Washington offers an elevated point of view from which any visiting photographer is obliged to actuate the shutter. Ultimately, most of my second day in Pittsburgh was spent in close association with Mt. Washington and the Monongahela River. The boat tour I had purchased advance tickets for would leave its dock from this side of the city later in the day.

More next week – 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

October 29, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in AMTRAK

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grew hoarser

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After returning to the Diner we had discovered the day before for another hearty breakfast, Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself agreed to separate for a few hours and do our own thing. In my case, that involved going on a photowalk in the downtown Burlington area. After all these years, one has developed a method for accomplishing this sort of task. A quick scan of Google maps revealed a reasonable to accomplish geographic area which I could explore, and I set off.

First thing I saw on my photowalk was the Burlington Fire Dept. returning to their truck. I was tempted to run alongside the truck shouting “firemen, firemen” but I’ve learned to contain these sort of impulses in my dotage.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The housing stock of this section of Burlington… there’s no way to describe it other than “quaint.” I’m sure there’s a brutalist nightmare of an apartment building somewhere in the City of Burlington, but I didn’t see any dystopian glass towers or soulless monuments to Jared Kushner anywhere. What I did see were rather large wood frame homes which had been subdivided into apartments. In my experience, the sort of place pictured above is pretty common in Vermont, at least when you’re in Cities or Towns. The population is so low in Vermont – according to the 2020 census there’s only 643,503 in the entire state – there isn’t much call for multi unit dwellings.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I found myself in Elmwood Cemetery for a short while. Can’t resist a good cemetery, me. There’s some heated local historical community controversy about whether this spot began to be used for internments in 1794 or in 1801, which makes me smile. Either way, this cemetery is about as old as the Nation is and that is just cool by me.

Not wanting to go down the rabbit hole of photographing the monuments, I forced myself to leave the place and keep walking. Very walkable, and very pleasant to walk in, Burlington is.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Burlington weather is very, very changeable. It was overcast and cool when we left the hotel for breakfast, and a mere two hours later that had turned into passing thunderstorms and ominous skies. By this point, I had found my way down to the waterfront again, and was specifically in a section called Battery Park. Signage adjured that the area surrounding this park had traditionally been an Italian neighborhood, and was known as “Little Italy” until the age of urban renewal uprooted that community to another part of Burlington.

According to the meteorological sources that I checked, we were going to lose about 90 minutes of our day to a storm, with clear weather getting pulled in behind it. An executive decision was made, and we decided to find a place to grab a drink while sheltering from the rain.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of course, while seeking out our spot for shelter and then dinner, I spotted something which absolutely needed to be photographed just to the south.

Negotiations began with Our Lady, who allowed me to abandon her for about forty to fifty minutes later in the day when the sun would be setting. She was going to install herself at a bar, and stare at the scene above. She barely noticed it when I was gone, in actuality, as she struck up a conversation with a woman who was also visiting Burlington but whose home town was Anchorage, Alaska. Wow.

I’ll show you the product of that sunset effort tomorrow.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The rain passed, the check was paid, and we still had one more “fun” thing on our list of “to-do’s” in Burlington. Our Lady and myself are both fans of hard cider, and a local brewery is the HQ of Citizen Cider. Off to the races!

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

October 7, 2021 at 11:00 am

apologetic hesitancy

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Grand Street Bridge pictured above, which I’d suggest you photograph soon if you were planning in doing so. The NYC DOT is going to be replacing it in the very near future, and this crossing of yet another Newtown Creek tributary – the East Branch – is going to look very different in just a few years time.

Oddly enough, at the start of the 20th and end of the 19th centuries, this was a very popular spot to commit suicide. There was a Catholic priest who did so here in his full ritual vestments, carrying his Mitre and everything. What?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of self destructive ideations, this sort of graffiti has been turning up all around the Creeklands in recent weeks. Allow me to decode this one for you – a “fat” lie plays into a certain political dog whistle which states that the only people who get sick or die from Covid are either overweight or already burdened with comorbidity factors like diabetes or heart disease. The “rugged individualism” types push this out there to let you know that they are too morally and physically strong for the virus to find a foothold in them. It’s like lord of the flies, I tell you.

Other lines from the same crowd include “I’ll get the shot when the illegals get it,” and “I’d gladly sacrifice my grandmother’s life for the sake of the economy.” As I’ve been opining for nearly two years now, don’t listen to Politicians about anything. Instead, observe what the most risk averse corporation in America does. Watch Disney.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Did you know that nobody has ever died on Disney property in either Florida’s Disneyworld or at any of their global parks, resorts, and cruise lines? A monorail operator employee of theirs was decapitated in an accident in Florida, and Disney’s EMT’s kept the guy’s heart beating until the stretcher wasn’t on their property anymore. He died in Orlando, not Disneyworld. Like I said, “risk averse.”

The chair pictured above was discovered on the approach to the Grand Street Bridge, and it was covered in barnacles (here’s a close up). The logical supposition is that somebody pulled this thing out of Newtown Creek. The good news is that there seem to be barnacles in the water.


“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

September 16, 2021 at 11:00 am

ostentatiously on

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few odds and ends today, including a shot above accomplished using some of my DIY made at home camera technology. That’s an office setup at one of the many auto dealerships found along Northern Blvd. here in Long Island City, one which I shot through a plate glass window. Reflections were cancelled out using an air conditioner foam insulator collar affixed to one of my lenses. Boo-yah!

I like it when my DIY stuff works.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A woman lives in that plastic cocoon pictured above. The cocoon is found along Northern Blvd. in LIC nearby another one of the many auto dealerships mentioned above. She’s the one who makes bird sounds, and then laughs in a manner which can only be described as “maniacal” whom I’ve mentioned in the past. What I mean by maniacal is the sort of laugh you’d expect an extra to offer in a “Hammer House of Horror” movie about Bedlam, a laugh which Peter Cushing’s character would ignore.

Before you ask, as I already have, she just wants to be left alone. Doesn’t want socks or “stuff” or access to services, just solitude to deal with whatever’s happening to her. Ok. She’s been here a couple of years, so…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Coming back into Astoria via Steinway Street, one encounters an automotive repair shop which often offers interesting insights into what could happen on the streets of New York City to an innocent motorist. On this particular evening, no spectacular wrecks were encountered but for some reason this towing truck with a hatchback on its bed caught my eye.

Back 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

September 14, 2021 at 11:00 am

black plastic

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Mi chiamo Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last Friday, a humble narrator decided to spend the afternoon on the water, so yet another ticket for the NYC Ferry was purchased. This particular trip paid off for me in terms of seeing maritime industrial activity, but truth be told – once a boy has visited the Kill Van Kull on a busy night, he’s jaded. The central section of the East River isn’t exactly super interesting in terms of variety and quantity of shipping activity, but it’s definitely got the best backgrounds.

That’s the Paula Atwell tug, towing a barge of what is likely either sewer solids or garbage, rounding the bend nearby Corelars Hook under the Williamsburg Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The NYC Ferry swings over to Manhattan’s 34th street street for one of its stops, and our Captain navigated that by moving past the north side of U Thant Island. Formerly Belmont Island, this little pile of rocks sits in front of the United Nations Building, and it’s manmade. Literally, these stones were the mining spoils for what we call the 7 train’s tunneling operation. U Thant was a United Nations Secretary General for whom the little island was renamed for when it was converted to a bird sanctuary and taken over by the NYC Parks Dept.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My ride continued south, and two more tugs – a large Reinauer one (gold and red) towing a fuel barge and a smaller DonJon one (blue) towing two empty bucket barges – rounded the bend in the river at Corlears Hook, opposite the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Did you know that the Williamsburg Bridge was considered to be so hideous in the years after it was built that the Municipal Arts Society was formed to ensure that nothing like it ever got built again?

Speaking of ugly… what are you doing on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?


“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

August 4, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Posted in East River, Tugboat

Tagged with , ,

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