The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Queens Blvd.

convulsive cry

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Getting used to living with the tyranny of the now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One recalls all of the angry men who drove these yellow cars, and their frustrations. The angry men would have vastly preferred not having to drive you anywhere you needed to go, instead they’d have liked you to just toss a few bucks in their open window when they drove off after hearing that you didn’t want to go into Manhattan. These yellow cars were always dirty, uncomfortable, and the drivers generally bad tempered. When the ride share corporations began to chip away at the exclusive franchises of medallion taxi’s, nobody really cared about the drivers of the yellow cabs, since one of the commonalities of life in NYC involves a story about some asshole cab driver who… fill in the blanks.

Functionally speaking, there is no such taxi industry right now. The ride share drivers have been reduced down to making food and supply deliveries, but at least they’re working. Everywhere I go, entire fleets of yellow cabs are being stored in the parking lots of closed businesses, along the curbs, or anywhere you can park.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The MTA buses are still operating, as are the subways. Both options are ones you could not pay me to take right now. Since the start of all this, a thought which has been optimate and repeated like a mantra revolves around “dwell time.” It’s one thing to risk exposure to infection in terms of a quick trip to a shop – you’re in, you’re out. It’s another to “dwell” in a biologically hazardous environment. This is something I’ve learned over the years along the Newtown Creek. Don’t misunderstand me, you can still catch a viral load if all you’re doing is buying a pack of gum at a bodega and you’ve only been in there for a quick minute, it’s just that the odds of inhaling something malign are somewhat lessened if you’re not in that bodega for a half hour or hour. The longer you dwell in an air mass with people who aren’t your “quarantine buddies,” the more epidemiological mathematics begin to work against you. “Quarantine buddies” you ask? That’s your family and or domestic partners, and all of the people with whom both you and they interact with. The bigger the buddy group, the better the chance you have of getting sick.

If you’re riding on a bus, like the Q32 pictured above, everybody on the bus and everybody they interact with are now your buddy. Theoretically, so is everyone else who rode that bus since the last time it was fully disinfected – which should include the internals of the heating vents – but – MTA, so…

I think we should pay a lot of attention to filters on HVAC systems, moving forward.

Saying all that, I’m just a schmuck with a camera who likes talking about NYC history, not a doctor or an epidemiologist, and the paragraphs above represent an opinion not a fact. Do whatever the hell you want. Bleach, estrogen, fire, whatever.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Right now, a humble narrator is wishing that he had access to a private vehicle – a car, truck, or even an electrically powered bike. Under normal circumstance in the past, the cost and effort has been something I eschewed, but during those intervals one had access to the entire MTA system, ride share services like Uber and Lyft, and those angry fellows driving the yellow cars to rely upon. I’d love to jump behind the wheel right now and pop over to Plumb Beach or Rockaway and sit on a large rock while staring at the sea. C’est le vie, no?

Could be worse, of course, at least I live in a place that’s visually interesting and am surrounded by other areas which are similarly idiosyncratic and within walking distances. Also, still alive and not sick yet, so…

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, April 27th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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.


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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.

dominant figure

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What can I complain about next?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One wishes that the Mayor would hang “suggestion boxes” around the City. A new division of the municipal hive called the “Complaint Department” could be formed. This would be the thing that caused me to actually work for the City, as I’d want to be the Commissioner of Complaining. In many ways, this would be a dream come true, and everything my Mother warned me against being like would finally pay some dividends. My pal, Special Ed, once opined that he’d like to start a consulting business offering “freelance unsolicited criticism.” His business model would involve walking into a bank, for instance, and letting the manager know that the velvet ropes were arranged incorrectly, for which Ed would submit a bill.

What makes Ed so “special”? Once he moved into the wrong apartment building, and he still stores his clothing in the refrigerator. We used to live in the same building on the upper west side of Manhattan and he was my “Kramer.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found one scuttling towards the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge on an evening constitutional. A few times along the way one was overcome by ennui, and found himself crying while down on his knees and shaking his fist in the general direction of Lower Manhattan. I’m fairly happy, actually, about the complete overreaction by the Dept. of Buildings regarding that poor woman who was struck by a chunk of falling masonry over in Manhattan which has taken the form of erecting scaffolding around City owned structures to vouchsafe against liability, since I like taking pictures of scaffolded corridors. Also, they provide me with shelter from rain, sun, and a variety of sky based biblical plagues (the falling frogs, in particular). I get involved with a lot of biblical plagues during my rounds.

I didn’t have a particular path in mind for this walk, incidentally, other than trying to avoid using any of my normal “routes.” It’s very simple for a creature of habit like me to find himself continually using the same pathway, but since everybody secretly or not so secretly hates me, I need to worry about assassins exploiting my predictability.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Look at that will ya? The deserted streets, the loneliness, vulnerability… nepenthe.

I for one welcome the Corona Virus, since it means that there will be fewer humans hereabouts. For decades one has opined that what this City needs is a good plague to force everyone to straighten up and fly right. I’ve also advocated for armed conflict with New Jersey, an internecine war of attrition between Brooklyn and Queens, and that the best solution for Heroin Addiction is to give addicts as much Heroin as they want since it would get them to the obvious conclusion of their hobby quicker.

One is not a terribly nice man. I pretend and aspire to be better than my nature, but there’s only so much subterfuge I can offer. Recently, I realized that I dress like Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars. If only I could shoot that purple lightning from my fingertips…


“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

March 10, 2020 at 11:00 am

possible significance

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Freaking fantastic, it’s Friday!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On one of my nocturnal jaunts across the concretized realities of Western Queens, it began to drizzle. Luckily, one happened to be hauling his carcass about in the vicinity of Queens Boulevard – the proverbial Boulevard of Death itself – and advantage was taken of the shelter which a path under the vaults of the IRT Flushing (or 7) elevated subway line would and did offer. One had his hood up, which seemingly made several of the people whom I passed by suspicious and or apprehensive of me. Humpf! No one at the Creek ever complains about my sartorial elegances.

Seriously though, this has been a thing my whole life. Sans traveling with armed guards, the safest you are ever going to be is when I’m around, but old ladies have been clutching their handbags and pearls in my presence since I was a kid. Sometimes, good guys don’t wear white.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I don’t like the act that modern day old ladies put on, actually. If you’re an old lady in 2020, odds are you were rolling around in the mud at Woodstock with some bloke and didn’t used to be the innocent and easily shocked type which you pretend to be now. The classic “old lady from Pasadena” who somehow made it to their golden years without ever experiencing the coarser side of life has always been a stereotype to reject. Of course, in general I reject any sort of stereotyping so I’m never surprised when folks turn out to be quirky and odd. This seems to be an anomalous position, especially when chatting with friends in their 20’s and 30’s who often tell me what I’m feeling or thinking based on my status as an “old white cisgender male.” When I point out that this is actually a prejudice based point of view that dehumanizes and reduces my individuality down to some identity politics check mark, and represents an inherently racist point of view, they get angry with me.

Discourse during my entire trip on this planet has been built around the attempt to not see or judge people based on their tribal/religious affiliation, skin coloration, or accent. If you think in this way, you’re actually very much in tune with the Nazis, despite your claim that this “oppressed group” or that “shunned clique” are automatically morally superior based on their prior experience of institutional or societal discrimination.

Individuals. We are all individuals, lone sailors lost on a heaving sea. Identity politics is going to be the death of this republic, as the entire ideation plays directly into the hands of actual racists. Me and you are “Us,” so stop focusing on “them.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is amongst the many reasons why I absolutely love wandering around in the dead of night during the winter, in a filthy black raincoat with my voluminous sweatshirt hood pulled up in a manner that scares old ladies, by myself. Solitude, and not having to deal with other people’s depressing views of the world, is nepenthe. I get enough of the derision and virtue signaling at all the governmental meetings I have to attend, and where I have to be somewhat polite towards the mindset. Thing is, where I belong is out here on the street, alone.

Every minute during which I’m not engaged in the operation of my camera, I’m basically wasting my time.


“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

February 14, 2020 at 11:00 am

virtuous bluster

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Happy Monday!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, a few of my friends have received a request to “be a guinea pig” for a new walking tour I’m planning on conducting this year. Accordingly, I recently dragged one of them up onto the Kosciuszcko Bridge, which will be a part of the experience. That’s one of the literally hundred shots I gathered in under twenty minutes up there, a frequency that was indicated by something like every five to ten steps. Lots to see up on the Kos. We didn’t hang around for sunset, as my friend on this particular day was desirous of heading over to Queens Blvd. and the 7 line tracks, so that she could wave her camera at the oncoming trains.

So far, one hasn’t been hassled by any of the new Subway cops when sitting in the system, and in fact, haven’t perceived their presence whatsoever in Western Queens. I’m looking forward to the hassle, as “Giuliani Time” is so long ago at this stage that I’m actually nostalgic for the over reaching and invasive enforcement of no actual law. It’s one hundred percent kosher to photograph non commercial work in the MTA system, barring the use of tripods, lights, and flashes. If you wanted to use any of that equipment down below or up above, you need to contact the MTA and get a permit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has always been enamored with the design of the 7 line concrete aqueduct on Queens Blvd. Concrete and steel go so well together, especially when they were combined in the era of the First World War. So utilitarian! So retro!

My favorite thing, though, about the stretch of Queens Blvd. between 33rd and 48th streets is the way that the vaulted concrete arches form a “whisper gallery.” Don’t ask me to explain the physics of it, but if you’re so happy (and you know it) that you clap your hands, the percussive sound waves will travel for blocks and blocks under this structure. If you speak loudly, your voice will echo and boom. I’d like to stage a concert down here someday, one with somebody playing drums. Actually, drums and bagpipes.

File that one under “how to annoy all of Sunnyside.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Upstairs, of course, you’ve got the IRT Flushing or 7 line. I’ve got to admit, since they finished the signals upgrade – and in my experience – the 7 is arriving far more frequently than it used to. It’s also a lot more crowded than it used to be, particularly at either end of its course in Queens. I’ve also observed the train completely emptying out at its Manhattan “Grand Central” stop and have ridden in a totally empty car to the end of the line at Hudson Yards more than once. A private ride to the camera store, for a humble narrator, essentially.

I’ll let y’all know about the new walking tour when I’ve got it all set up. Going to be a good one, that. Bring a camera.


“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.

mysterious archways

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Humbug.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found one eager to waste his time attending yet another Newtown Creek oriented meeting, this time at a banal public room in Sunnyside. The puropose of this one was to give a cabal of trans national energy corporations the chance to have one of their contractors describe a cleanup process which, out of the goodness of their hearts, said cabal wishes to enact for the waterway several years ahead of schedule. It was a rainy night, my busted toe was hurting, and I took the bus over to the Queens Blvd. side of the world.

My universe is fairly limited at the moment, so a 15 minute bus ride can pretty much get me where I need to go without much fuss and also make my day. It should be mentioned that “I’m in a mood” right now. The world is a joyless pile of crap, I’ve forgotten how to be happy or satisfied with anything, and my “ass kicking foot” is still out of commission. A few friends have recently asked me, repeatedly, “are you ok?” My answer has been “yes, everything is fantastic, things are great, couldn’t be better.” Nobody wants to actually hear anything else, or really cares, they just want to be able to say they asked.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My journey involved negotiating a few blocks of Queens Blvd. on foot after debarking the bus, a feat which is now within my capabilities again. The steel shielding which the relentless incompetence of the MTA has necessitated the installation of along the 7 line, designed to vouchsafe against having chunks of steel raining down from the elevated tracks above onto the street and sidewalk alike, provide a new and visually appealing feature. Likely impermanent, the reflective metal causes a whole lot of light to bounce around in an otherwise dark and barren scene.

Dark and barren pretty much sums things up at the moment. Wet too.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is purely an audience member at the moment, and unable to actuate or in any way affect the world around me. It’s all darkness and cold. I’m sticking to the shadows, traveling light, and have grown tired of it all. In accordance with this temporary weakness caused by the busted toe, I’ve stupidly shown a bit of vulnerability, which the humans surrounding me have read as an opportunity to show their true colors. The ass kicking foot will be healed up by the start of the new year, they should remember, but let them have their fun for now. Thanks are offered to all of those who have reminded me of their own sinister nature and the general state of human interaction.

Dark and horrible will be emerging in 2020, and something wicked this way comes, I think. A humble narrator is feeling cranky, and the world only makes sense when you force it to do so.


“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 9, 2019 at 11:00 am

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