The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Queens Blvd.

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

with 4 comments

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

wailing grew

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Minimalist Wednesdays? I dunno.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has always opined that Queens will show you things if you just listen to her. Sometimes these things are ominous and weird, like the abundance of single iterated cast off shoes associated with the notorious Queens Cobbler. Other times they are just puzzling, and turn out to be a missing piece of the Queensboro Bridge. Go figure.

Recent endeavor encountered this hollowed out watermelon on Queens Blvd. It looked like somebody was eating it with a big spoon. I know… you’re thinking “rats,” but look at those clean (and clearly made by a knife) edges on the thing. Also, that would be one hell of a rat and rats don’t use giant spoons, as their hands as shaped like sporks with fingernails. Who can guess, though, what weird forms of (watermelon eating and giant spoon using) intelligence may exist, hidden in plain sight along the Boulevard of Death?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Something else one might witness along the old “bulevar de la muerte,” if – like a humble narrator – you’re trying to look “up, down, and all around,” whilst scuttling along the pedestrian lane are non standard sewer grates and other atavistic street furniture. The hodge podge of municipalities, towns and villages which were composited in 1870 as “Long Island City” and later as “Queens” is something that the first Queens Borough Presidents spent a lot of money on. If you look carefully, you’ll see a variety of approaches to drainage and sewer systems in the various neighborhoods. Several are relatively modern, others – like the one pictured above – date back to about the First World War. South Sunnyside was still defined by small family farms back then, and the area we call the Sunnyside Yards still had buildings standing that dated back to the Dutch Colonial period.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, what’s up with this “minimalist wednesday” thing, and how does it involve what the Romanians would call the “Bulevardul Morții”?

Simply put, every once in a while I try to frame up simplified and isolated shots, which is a lot easier said than done here in the super complicated layer cake of attention grabbing clutter called NYC. It’s kind of a challenge to do so, so… hence.

As far as the “Boulevard Mortis” – as you’d say it in Latin – goes, it’s just where I happened to end up one day, along with all the other wind blown trash in Queens.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Upcoming Tours and Events


Thursday, July 11, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

“Infrastructure Creek” Walking Tour w Newtown Creek Alliance

If you want infrastructure, then meet NCA historian Mitch Waxman at the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn, and in just one a half miles he’ll show you the largest and newest of NYC’s 14 sewer plants, six bridges, a Superfund site, three rail yards with trains moving at street grade (which we will probably encounter at a crossing), a highway that carries 32 million vehicle trips a year 106 feet over water. The highway feeds into the Queens Midtown Tunnel, and we’ll end it all at the LIC ferry landing where folks are welcome to grab a drink and enjoy watching the sunset at the East River, as it lowers behind the midtown Manhattan skyline.

Click here for ticketing and more information.


Saturday, July 13, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

“Exploring the East River, From General Slocum Disaster
to Abandoned Islands” Boat Tour w NY Adventure Club

Onboard a Soundview route NYC Ferry – Join New York Adventure Club for a two-part aquatic adventure as we explore the General Slocum disaster, and historic sights and stories along the East River, all by NYC Ferry.

Click here for ticketing and more information.


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

July 10, 2019 at 11:00 am

abundantly able

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Hot time, summer in the city…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While wandering around recently, on a particularly warm and sticky day, the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself seemed positively fixed upon the humid surface of Queens. A humble narrator was wearing his summer costume, which includes a white shirt and hat, but regardless of this – shelter from its radiation was required. As one made his way eastwards long Queens Boulevard, the cement overpass which carries the IRT Flushing line subway offered surcease from the emanations, and since I have always thought it a visually interesting place, I got busy with the camera shutter.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Shadow and bright sunlight offer an interesting quandary to the roving photographer, given the high contrast and conflicting exposure triangles needed for both. The particular late afternoon light encountered, however, was casting long shadows punctuated by shafts of white hot light.

The burning thermonuclear eye of god itself, indeed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Huitzilopochtli or Tonatiuh, Apollo or Helios, Surya, Shamash, Nyambi, Ra – everybody had a name for the deity of the sun, and they were almost always warrior gods who required some sort of appeasement. Sol Invictus was what the Romans called it, as in the “unconquered sun.”

A humble narrator grew up in a monotheist tradition however, so my perception of the nuclear fireball in the sky is that of a single unblinking eye set into the starry face of an extra dimensional intelligence who keeps count of how many times each and every human being has masturbated.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Upcoming Tours and Events


Thursday, July 11, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

“Infrastructure Creek” Walking Tour w Newtown Creek Alliance

If you want infrastructure, then meet NCA historian Mitch Waxman at the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn, and in just one a half miles he’ll show you the largest and newest of NYC’s 14 sewer plants, six bridges, a Superfund site, three rail yards with trains moving at street grade (which we will probably encounter at a crossing), a highway that carries 32 million vehicle trips a year 106 feet over water. The highway feeds into the Queens Midtown Tunnel, and we’ll end it all at the LIC ferry landing where folks are welcome to grab a drink and enjoy watching the sunset at the East River, as it lowers behind the midtown Manhattan skyline.

Click here for ticketing and more information.


Saturday, July 13, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

“Exploring the East River, From General Slocum Disaster
to Abandoned Islands” Boat Tour w NY Adventure Club

Onboard a Soundview route NYC Ferry – Join New York Adventure Club for a two-part aquatic adventure as we explore the General Slocum disaster, and historic sights and stories along the East River, all by NYC Ferry.

Click here for ticketing and more information.


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

July 9, 2019 at 1:15 pm

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

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