The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Queens Blvd.

careful be

with 3 comments

Randomly wandering around Sunnyside, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week was one of those where my calendar was absolutely packed with “have to’s” and one found himself constantly scuttling from place to place. Given that a significant chunk of my “have to’s” involved Newtown Creek and that I live in Astoria, that meant that the way home inevitably meant transiting through the Sunnyside and Sunnyside Gardens sections of Queens.

I’m led to believe that the cabling rig pictured above is the property of either Verizon or Spectrum, and one or the other is installing upgraded data cabling for high speed internet service. As a note, the Community Board people in Sunnyside insisted – many years ago – that these wired connections be installed in the neighborhood in a subterranean manner, which is why you don’t see the ugly and “willie nillie” tangle of airborne data and phone wires witnessed in other parts of Queens in Sunnyside.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The NYC EDC team who are working on the ill conceived Sunnyside Yards Deck have adjured repeatedly that the revised planning for their Death Star will require the deck to be no more than three stories above current street grade, contradicting the feasibility report they created a few years ago. In fact, they’ve said they’re “throwing the feasibility study out” and we should just ignore it.

Ok, but that’s two million smackers of tax payer money you’re throwing out, and let’s do a bit of imagining based on what you’re seeing in the shot above. This section would be relatively unchanged on the east side of 43rd street, where the LIRR is transiting above those one story garages. Figure that the train represents a second story, and that the signal boards above the tracks are roughly the third story. That’s the height of the deck? Only three stories? What about the fifteen to thirty story tall luxury apartment houses on top of the thing of the sort you see in the distance?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Patrick “Battle Axe” Gleason, the last mayor of Long Island City, left us warnings back in 1898 to not trust the Manhattan people’s intentions for Queens. He predicted that they would empty their island of the stinking factories and workhouses, and turn Queens into a charnel house of rendering plants, industrial chimneys, and gas refineries. That’s what started happening in the early 20th century. Ever since, whenever they get a bright idea over at City Hall, where they want to try it out is in Queens.

Stand up, speak out. Just say no.


“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.


Events!

Slideshow and book signing, April 23rd, 6-8 p.m.

Join Newtown Creek Alliance at 520 Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for a slideshow, talk, and book signing and see what the incredible landscape of Newtown Creek looks like when the sun goes down with Mitch Waxman. The event is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP here. Light refreshments served.

Click here to attend.

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm

contracted chill

leave a comment »

Nothing like an adventure, MTA style.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found me leaving HQ just after the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself had begun its journey across the sky. A humble narrator’s intention was to have been out and about for a couple of hours in the pre dawn part of the day, but one overslept and left the house just as dawn arrived. My eventual destination was in lower Manhattan, and my plan was to be mid span on the Queensboro Bridge when dawn occurred, but as mentioned – I rolled over and kept on sleeping rather than springing out of bed when the alarm sounded at four in the morning. It wasn’t until about 5:30 that I stumbled out into the staggering realities of Astoria.

A brief scuttle across Northern Blvd. and the Sunnyside Yards ensued, and bored with the idea of walking across Queensboro at this point, it was elected that I would catch the most photogenic of all NYC’s Subway lines – the 7 – at 33rd street and cruise into the shadowed corridors of midtown Manhattan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “international express” as it’s known, arrived in the station accompanied by announcements that due to construction there was no Manhattan bound service at 33rd street. Having set aside literally five hours for the walk, I figured I’d just play along and see where the MTA wanted to take me.

As a note, with the exception of the F line, on the weekend of the 5th and 6th of March – there was “no way to get there from here” without playing the game laid out by the MTA.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 7 carried me to the 61st Woodside stop, where Manhattan bound service could be accessed. Off in the distance, at what must have been the 69th street station, there were crews of laborers and what seemed like a crane busily at work. The normal “Manhattan bound” side was entirely subsumed by their activity.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 7 train, with its multitudinous delays and seemingly constant construction, has spawned a bit of activism. My pal Melissa Orlando, and others, formed first a Facebook group called “The 7 Train Blues,” and have since begun the formation of an organization called “Access Queens” with the intention of acting as advocates for the ridership community along this “international express” traveling between Flushing and Manhattan’s west side.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the subject of the 7 train, my immediate response is to discuss its immense photogeneity.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It is virtually impossible to point a camera at the 7 and not get something interesting. Maybe it’s the low lying nature of Western Queens, with the elevated tracks running at rooftop level… can’t say. After running through the MTA’s perverse hoops, a humble narrator found himself in the Shining City, and what was encountered at my destination will be discussed in a post presented next week at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

swirling away

with 3 comments

The whole 7 train thing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I don’t live along this particular subway line, the 7, but many of my friends in Sunnyside and Jackson Heights are finding themselves driven to a state absolute despair by its recent troubles. Over at my Brownstoner column, a report on the subway situation was offered, and a description of a recent rally held by NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer protesting the increasingly unreliable service was described here. On Facebook, a group page called #7trainblues has sprung up, where affected riders can express their ennui.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Long time Sunnyside residents tell me that they used to enjoy a 20 minute commute into Manhattan, a journey which can now take up to 45 minutes on a good day. In all fairness, the MTA’s outdoor lines were all hit rather hard by the recent spate of arctic weather in February, but the 7 train’s average “on time” rate is a few percentage points below that of the rest of the system – according to experts with whom I’ve consulted. Factor in an astounding 22 weeks of weekend track work and signal system upgrades – which turns service off completely, and you can understand the amount of pique which is growing in the neighborhood towards the MTA.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are certain things which Government employees do not understand about the private sector, as it is outside of their personal experience. Nobody gets out of work at five p.m. anymore in corporate America, as municipal employees still do. Nobody in the private sector can say “I don’t work weekends” or “sorry that’s a holiday” or “that’s not my job” anymore, and we haven’t been able to do so since the late 90’s. Recently, I found myself on the R at 9 p.m. on a Sunday, and it was standing room only. Similarly crowded conditions are observed at all hours of the day, and rush hour has become something of a cautionary tale told by Queensicans to their children.

The proletariat has responded to the municipal call to abandon the automobile and use mass transit instead, it would be nice if the MTA wasn’t making us regret that decision on a regular basis.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 23, 2015 at 11:00 am

saucily cocked

leave a comment »

The boulevard of death.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Boulevard has the single greatest appellation of any street in New York City – the “Boulevard of Death.” The thoroughfare has earned its nom de plume via the ridiculous number of people who have been smashed to death by automotive traffic along its length over the years, and as is the case with most things municipal, the elected guardians of the citizenry have enacted various programs and campaigns to safeguard against future tragedy. None of these well meaning efforts have been terribly successful.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The failure of “traffic slowing” or whatever they call it this week or year is generally not being caused by inherent flaws in municipal design or logic, instead, it boils down to the same thing that a corporate IT officer will blame 90% of their computer problems on – user error. As a dedicated pedestrian, I see this happening all the time, and I’m not really sure how much “cherishing of life” nor “sense of self preservation” is possessed by someone who tries to cross Queens Blvd. diagonally and from the middle of the block has, nor how you can codify or legislate that sort of stupidity away. In many ways, its Darwinism at work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Remember “public service announcements”? PSA’s used to admonish against littering, or starting fires, and instructed on proper etiquette when onboard bus or subway. The PSA’s also used to inform newcomers on how to safely cross the streets and follow the rules. If you follow the street rules, odds are that you won’t end up as a greasy smear on the streets on Queens. Cross at corners, wait for the walk/don’t walk sign to flash white, look both ways before entering the vehicle lane. A humble narrator advises standing behind something like a street lamp when waiting to cross a high speed eight lane street, out of an abundance of informed caution.

This sort of conventional wisdom seems out of style at the moment, and Queens Blvd. remains the “boulevard of death.”

There are two public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in LIC, Queens and one in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Glittering Realms, with Atlas Obscura, on Saturday May 17th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on Sunday May 18th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 9, 2014 at 1:08 pm

by surprise

with one comment

Cool atmospherics in Sunnyside.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of those periodic blasts of duty has been upon me for the last week or so, a lot to do with little time to do it, and the rain last week didn’t help. Got in the way of one project, delayed two others, and obliterated any semblance of free time when precipitants fell not. Accordingly, rather than walking everywhere, as I just did not have the time, mass transit was utilized.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unlike several of my friends, especially that walking encyclopedia of regional transport options – Kevin Walsh of Forgotten-NY, I generally don’t familiarize myself with transit lines that I don’t frequent. Limited space available on my internal hard drives, and the needs of the now often crowd out things I don’t need to use often. However, I was quite proud of myself while improvising a bus and train path on the fly, just the other day, which is how I ended up on the 7 train.

Normally, I’d just walk from Greenpoint to Flushing, as it’s only a few miles and carries one across a staggeringly interesting cross section of Brooklyn and Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The good news is that the first walking tour of 2014 is now accomplished, on Saturday I did the “13 Steps around Dutch Kills” tour with Atlas Obscura, which was one of the many things I had to do last week. Next tour with the Obscura Society will be “The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek” on April 26, tickets are available here.

The reason I was heading to Flushing, and lucky enough to catch these cool atmospherics and lighting in Sunnyside, was to get some shots of the Unisphere for my Brownstoner column – check them out here.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

tunnel under

leave a comment »

Today’s post depicts twilit scenery in Western Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of my winter projects continues, which is called by the ineluctably unimaginative name “operation: night shooting.” The goal of this exercise is to practice low light photography techniques which forbids the usage of camera stabilization equipment such as tripods or clamps. The obvious instructions to increase ISO sensitivity and aperture are just the start of the operation, which has necessitated a change in both shooting posture and approach to handling the camera as compared to normal daylight conditions.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shots are pretty noisy for my taste, but color contrast and a decent tonal range are present, so I think that the right track has been found. Not bad for something hand held, however. Ultimately, the shot above isn’t something I could have pulled off a year ago, so some small victory is apparent.

Yay for me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It isn’t necessarily the “capture” that plagues me, of course, that’s just the small details and formulae of the dross settings on a dslr. Instead, it’s the time spent with the “raw file(aka “digital negative”) in front of my monitor back at HQ that matters most.

“Operation: night shooting” continues apace, I’ll let you know what I get in the future.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Want to see something cool? June 2013 Walking Tours-

The Poison Cauldron Saturday, June 15, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Kill Van Kull– Saturday, June 22, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

The Insalubrious Valley Saturday, June 29, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

marble and porphyry

leave a comment »

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Crazed by heat and a lack of slumber, one nevertheless must continue the never ending walking of the earth and incessant inspection of relict districts, as such activity is nepenthe to one such as myself.

This day, perambulation carried me to the so called “Boulevard of Death”, the Appian Way of Queens- Queens Boulevard itself. Radiant heat rising from the thermally charged pavement, coupled with the blasting emanations streaming down from the thermonuclear eye of god itself, combined to disorient and dehydrate.

Shivering with excitement, one dared to stand still for a moment and record the omnipresent flow of machines, streaming toward the center of the human infestation in Manhattan.

from wikipedia

Ganser syndrome is a rare dissociative disorder previously classified as a factitious disorder. It is characterized by nonsensical or wrong answers to questions or doing things incorrectly, other dissociative symptoms such as fugue, amnesia or conversion disorder, often with visual pseudohallucinations and a decreased state of consciousness. It is also sometimes called nonsense syndrome, balderdash syndrome, syndrome of approximate answers, pseudodementia, hysterical pseudodementia or prison psychosis. This last name, prison psychosis, is sometimes used because the syndrome occurs most frequently in prison inmates, where it may represent an attempt to gain leniency from prison or court officials.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Long imprisoned by such motivations, your humble narrator’s fever crashed mind began to wander, with every thought resolving into some kind of incomprehensible gibberish.

Were your humble narrator truly alive, instead of some partially animated mass of shambling flesh, standing in this traffic cursed spot would have surely caused his blood to run cold. Unfortunately, the black ichors which carry certain vital gases about within me have long since ceased their proper fluctuation, and some unknown motive force keeps my feet moving. Stubborn purpose is all that causes me to pretend to be one of the living, and it is hard to shake the delusion that current experience is not some hallucination being suffered in a temporally displaced hospital bed.

I’m all ‘effed up.

from wikipedia

The Cotard delusion, Cotard’s syndrome, or Walking Corpse Syndrome is a rare mental disorder in which people hold a delusional belief that they are dead (either figuratively or literally), do not exist, are putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs. In rare instances, it can include delusions of immortality.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Often have I wondered why I’m drawn to locales of morbidity such as this “Boulevard of Death”, whether they be cemeteries or other places of tragedy. Scuttling across the concrete devastations provides all manner of time for introspection, and time to craft cogent fantasies, some of which are shared with others.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, if one walks directly beneath this barrel vaults of the viaduct (which carries the 7 train) pictured above- beginning at 33rd street- a curious effect might be observed. A parking lot exists beneath the structure, and the high arches above are shaped in such a manor that sound waves travel through the spot in a bizarre manner, forming an echo chamber. Stand in the center of the parking lot at 34th street, and shout or sing, and it will reflect back to you.

One has tried this with the chorus from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, and the effects are startling.

from wikipedia

Folie à deux (English pronunciation: /fɒˈli ə ˈduː/, from the French for “a madness shared by two”) (or shared psychosis) is a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief are transmitted from one individual to another. The same syndrome shared by more than two people may be called folie à trois, folie à quatre, folie en famille or even folie à plusieurs (“madness of many”). Recent psychiatric classifications refer to the syndrome as shared psychotic disorder (DSM-IV) (297.3) and induced delusional disorder (F.24) in the ICD-10, although the research literature largely uses the original name.

____________________________________________________________________________

Click for details on Mitch Waxman’s
Upcoming boat tours of Newtown Creek

July 22nd, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat Tour

%d bloggers like this: