The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Photowalks

furry blasphemy

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Friday, it’s Shabbos to some, a nightmare for others.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My initial reaction to the new camera system (the Canon R6) has been pretty positive so far, can recommend. Last night at three in the morning, I finally figured out how to use about half of my lens collection with the thing as well, so there’s that.

Also, the Montauk Cutoff should be open to the public, I can recommend that too. As promised, I did get up there last night, and I did a whole photographic walkthrough at night which you’ll see sometime in the near future.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve often referred to the series of streets – 50th and 51st avenues in particular – shadowed by the steel truss carrying the Long Island Expressway’s “Queens Midtown Expressway” section as “the empty corridor.” In the shot above, you can see why.

Personally speaking, I’m kind of digging the reappearance of epic street graffiti in LIC. The old white washed “Giuliani time” streetscape has needed to reintroduce a bit of chaos and color, in my mind.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So… I’m all geared up and ready to rock. Where do I go next? When leaving the house, after all these months of pandemic isolation, my feet are basically on autopilot and they turn the toes towards LIC and the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek. Either that or industrial Maspeth, and sometimes Greenpoint.

Just saw an ad on Facebook from the Empire State Building people, claiming that I can spend a bit of time on their observation deck in return for a fairly affordable and pandemic era discounted admission price, so I might just venture into the City at some point in the near future. Who can say?

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, November 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 here, 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.

demoniac dexterity

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Thursday, which meant hope for the weekend once.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yup, Montauk Cutoff, Long Island City. This particular area has been referred to many times, here at Newtown Pentacle, as the “Empty Corridor.” Boy, oh boy was it empty on the night I was shooting these images. Weirdly enough, I had multiple encounters with people on the street on this particular evening. There were two young blokes who were likely considering jumping me at one point, and then a few minutes later a super expensive looking sports car with black tinted windows pulled up next to me. The window rolled down a few inches and a deep basso voice from inside began querying me about whether or not a nearby strip club was open or not.

Have I ever mentioned that I hate strip clubs? Not the idea of them, mind you, but I mark some of the most uncomfortable moments of my life as being ones where social obligation carried me into “the club.” Guys go ga gah over strippers, but in my experience they’re the female equivalent of those guys you see in a 711 parking lot with their shirts off at three in the morning in Nassau County. Hey, different strokes for different folks, who am I to judge?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Regardless of perceived vulnerability and paranoid wonderings, I continued doing my thing. The Montauk Cutoff was my particular mission on this particular evening, as it will be tonight. There’s a growing awareness of this set of abandoned railroad tracks in the body politic of Queens, and the opportunity they represent for creating a bit of public space where you can socially distance to your heart’s content.

In fact, if my plans work out, I’ll be up on the tracks tonight.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sorry for the late post today, there’s been a bit of HQ tumult today that I had to deal with. All good, everything positive, but tumult. Back tomorrow.

Also, sorry strippers, not judging on you or what you do to feed the kids. I don’t enjoy watching professional Basketball, or Football, either.

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, November 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 here, 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

December 3, 2020 at 1:30 pm

twisted about

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Wednesday, it just kind of lies there, like some sort of thing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Continuing the inaugural run with my new camera rig, a visit to the Dutch Kills tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek found in the heart of Long Island City, was a bit of a no brainer. Of course I’m going to go to one of the spots I know best to test the new gizmo out. Duh. For those of you who missed out on me rattling on about this subject on Monday and Tuesday, it’s a Canon R6, a full frame mirrorless and modern DSLR camera. 90% of the shots offered here at Newtown Pentacle over the last 8 or 9 years were captured using an older model camera – the Canon 7D – which uses a mirror system and a “crop” sensor. I won’t bore you with the technical stuff, if you’re interested in the differences between the two, there’s literally hundreds of sites which delve into the details about sensor size, mirrorless vs. mirror systems, and the benefits or negatives associated with each.

In my case, I simply outgrew the 7D. Pushed the thing to its limits, did everything with it I could, and was nearly always happy with the results. The R6 offers a different set of limits, albeit ones that are far distant from those of the 7D. I’m holding on to the older camera, for which a couple of people have asked me “why”? Answer: two is better than one.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Montauk Cutoff, specifically the section found on Hunters Point/49th Avenue in LIC. I’m going to be talking a lot about this set of abandoned railroad tracks in the next few months, and I’m making a serious commitment – photographically speaking – to recording its splendors in the coming months. At the same time, all of us at Newtown Creek Alliance are working on the Montauk Cutoff project at the moment, which is a major anchor property in what we call the Dutch Kills Loop. Check out this site which my pals at NCA have set up discussing the DKL concept and vision.

Saying all that, this is the sort of thing I’m doing on Friday nights these days, as the brief summer interval during which pandemic concerns were lowered is over, and you’re not going to see me inhabiting an outdoor table at a bar anytime soon. I seriously miss seeing my gang of Astorian idiots and drinking the Guinness right about now, but what are you going to do? Can’t argue with a logarithmic curve on the infection numbers. When you see a hockey stick shape on a graph that doesn’t show your bank account balance, you should run away from it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One spent a bit of that particular Friday night in direct proximity to the Montauk Cutoff. I’ve written about this elevated trackage before, as a note, notably in this 2015 post. I’m planning on heading back up there in the dark sometime this week, so stay tuned for some new views captured with my new camera rig.

Also, these are some seriously lonely streets with an odd and increasing number of street denizens roaming around. I recently had a weird encounter with a couple of young fellows down here in what I call the “Empty Corridor.” Stay frosty, my friends.

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, November 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 here, 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

December 2, 2020 at 1:00 pm

altogether superhuman

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Tuesday, here again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found me marching the new camera around to all the old familiar places in Long Island City. It was a comfortable night in industrial LIC, with temperatures in the high 50’s and clear skies.

Y’know, when I was composing this particular image, I was thinking “man, this is going to piss off George the Atheist.” George doesn’t like me messing around with angles like this, and I’ve received a few other “meh” statements on doing this sort of thing, but what the hell. I really wanted to get most of that tree in frame, and didn’t want to walk a block away to do so. Sorry, George.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dynamic range is a term describing the width and depth of contrast and color which a camera sensor is capable of recording, and one of several factors that governed my choice in purchasing the Canon R6 as the new “master cylinder” which would accompany me wherever I go. Pandemic spawned supply chain issues have created a situation in which even the staggeringly efficient operation that is BH Photo couldn’t fill my entire order in one go, and even at this writing I’m still waiting on various essential add-on’s and gear to arrive at HQ. Batteries, L-Bracket, an adapter which will allow my collection of older lenses to work with the new camera (there’s a new lens mount on the R series) – all have been arriving piecemeal at HQ.

One of the things I consider when buying on with a computer or camera system is the ecosystem surrounding it. Consider the iPhone, which is nearly always the category leader in the smartphone category, but only proprietary Apple branded peripherals can plug into the thing. When Apple bangs you out for $50 on a USB cable, the only USB cable you can charge the gizmo with – that’s ecosystem. On a grander scale, Volkswagen and Porsche use specialized screws in their cars, and you have to buy the screwdrivers and ratchet heads from them – expensively – if you want to repair the things yourself. Ecosystem. It’s the part of the price of things which doesn’t turn up on the sticker, and is one of the ways which modern day corporatists feed upon their customers long after the initial purchase has cleared.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Testing the capabilities of the new camera has been all consuming, so I haven’t had much time to worry about when the rest of my gear will turn up. Luckily, when my new toy was ordered, a native RF mount lens was part of the package. These shots were captured with a 24-105mm f4 L series zoom lens, for the edification of you curious pixel peepers out there.

Initial reaction? So far, I’m amazed by what the combination of lens and in body image stabilization offers me as far as hand held and low light shots – as much as 8 stops of stabilization. I’m also loving what tripod shots like the one above are rendering as, and that flip out screen is an early game changer. More to come…

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, November 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 here, 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

December 1, 2020 at 1:00 pm

highly excited

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It’s avoiding the topic Friday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You always have to be wary about Vampires in Western Queens. What, you think that the legendary diversity of the Borough of Queens only relates to wholesome or salubrious types? For every twenty hard working immigrants, there’s likely some abyssal and atavist abomination that followed them here from their aboriginal origins. I’ve warned you in the past about what might exist in the high rafters of the elevated subway system around Queens Plaza, the mischief goblins of Cretan lore called the Kalikantzaros, the presence of the Yugoslavian Strigoi, and those unnameable things rumored to be living in the turgid waters of Hells Gate.

Ever notice that most churches are built like fortresses? If you were to start up a mega church and base it in a former industrial laundry alongside a rail yard, wouldn’t you surround it with cruciforms and hire 24 hour security too? Can’t be too careful. Devils.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned earlier in the week, I like a good demolition photo. According to my understanding of the existing buildings down on the deck at Sunnyside Yards, and I very well might be 100% incorrect here so grain of salt, this building used to serve as the NYC training facility for the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Pullman Sleeping Car Porters and restaurant/bar train staff. This staff, known for a) wearing red hats and b) being almost exclusively African American, were the progenitors of the 20th century population movement from the American South referred to as the Southern Migration. Founders of what’s referred to as “The Black Middle Class” in the northeast is how the members of the (union) Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters are often portrayed. I’m not an expert by any means on this subject, so I’d ask you to google up someone who is, as it’s a great story. You could always start with wikipedia.

At least I got to tell you about these fellows, even if I might be wrong about which building was which on a couple of hundred year old maps I often refer to.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunnyside Yards is a Railroad coach yard that occupies about 183 square acres in Long Island City. Opened in 1910, it was part of a regional build out by the Pennsylvania Railroad that saw the creation of a passenger rail station in New Jersey, the creation of rail tunnels under the Hudson River and into Manhattan where they entered the original Penn Station, the tunnels under Manhattan and across the East River to Queens, and Sunnyside Yards was the final piece required for the linking up of the regional rail of Long Island (LIRR) with that of the continent. The Pennsylvania Railroad’s main competitor was the Grand Central Railroad Company, which erected the Hell Gate Bridge for the same purpose – connecting to Long Island. Sunnyside Yards was federalized in the 1970’s, which is how Amtrak ended up owning most of it, but large chunks of the property are held by MTA and by the General Motors Corporation.

103 square acres, and you can’t catch a train there. On the western side, you can catch a serious case of vampirism though, so watch out.

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, November 2nd. 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 here, 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

November 6, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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