The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Queens Blvd.

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The fascination with photographing gasoline filling stations at night just consumes one such as myself, and I’ve found myself wandering twixt the East River and (so far) Jackson Heights in recent weeks looking for these roadside businesses. This one is found in the angle between Sunnyside and Queens Plaza along Queens Boulevard. There’s also a Car Wash at this one. Ubiquitous in prior decades, car washes and gas stations both are fewer in number these days than they used to be.

Wish it was because of environmental reasons, but instead it’s largely because these large footprint properties are extremely desirous to the real estate industrial complex as development sites.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Have I mentioned that creepy skeletal trees keep on catching my eye these days when I’m wandering about? This particular one adjoined an industrial lot with a malfunctioning light that was strobing. Took me about ten shots to catch the flash, which was happening at random intervals.

Must be lovely living on the residential plots just a block away, with a bright white/blue light flashing all night.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I really don’t know how the medallion taxi industry is going to survive COVID. This has been mentioned before, and it’s another one of those problems which is hard to solve without surrendering a ton of taxpayer money in pursuit of bailing out an entire industry. As is the case with a lot of these kinds of situations, you feel pretty bad for the actual working stiffs doing the job, but the people who own and run these companies are not exactly salubrious characters – if you catch my drift.

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, January 11th. 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

January 14, 2021 at 2:30 pm

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Thursday, and hindsight is 2020.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Survivors, rejoice. You made it. New Year’s Eve. It’s been 293 days since the New York State lockdown orders of Friday the 13th of March were announced. That’s 7,032 hours if you’re the curious type. There’s a few things I’d like you to think about as we move forward into the future, here in these United States…

The photo above depicts the Sunnyside Yards, which is rumored to have been the actual target used by the Soviets for their thermonuclear bomb tipped missiles. The United States has ostensibly been preparing and spending an astronomical amount of money for more than 70 years preparing for the various shapes which the apocalypse might take. That includes, as George W. Bush reminded us when updating the spending program twenty years ago, preparing and updating responses to attack vectors for “nuclear,” “chemical,” and “biological” weapons.

Where has all that money gone, and why were was the greatest military power in history caught so flat footed by a predictable respiratory pandemic whose scope doesn’t begin to touch what an engineered bioweapon would do to us?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Governor Nelson Rockefeller and President Richard Nixon oversaw the nationalization of local and inter city transit systems in the early 1970’s. Bankrupt private capital railroad firms were turned into publicly owned and operated “authorities” and “corporations.” Nixon created Amtrak for passenger service, and Conrail for freight. Rockefeller combined the subways, buses, and commuter trains in New York State into the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The MTA’s annual budget is 17 billion dollars. If you were to stack individual dollar bills until arriving at the amount of 17 billion, you’d have a stack of money which is 1,154.3 miles high.

Fifty years later the MTA still operates its systems as if it was day one after the nationalization of the Subways, Buses, and Penn Central commuter services, with little or no interoperability having been achieved between its various divisions in the interim, and they operate in a state of perennial near bankruptcy. Conrail is largely irrelevant these days due to the private capital underlying modern rail shipping companies like CSX, whereas Amtrak has become a political football bandied about and abused by Congressional game players. Where does all that money go, and why hasn’t NYC’s regional transit system been modernized with interoperability and shared resources in mind?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You can vow to wean your culture off of petroleum all you want, but without massive capital expenditures and tax breaks for those having to junk and replace their “installed base” of equipment you’re just blowing hot air. You can’t just quit heroin without withdrawal symptoms, can’t stop drinking without the “DT’s,” or just quit smoking the Crack without some sort of psychotic reaction. Petroleum is a drug, which you pour over your economy to make it go “vrooooom.”

Historically, any new or novel technology – let’s say that Star Trek style unlimited and non-polluting energy reactors appear tomorrow, for instance – it would be a good 50 years before they became commonplace. New fuel sources have historically had a long adoption period where the installed base of the last energy source is phased out and the new one is deployed. In the case of wood to coal in industry, it was about 150 years. Coal to Petroleum took around 75 years, and there are still several major industries (notably manufactured gas) which consume a magnificent amount of coal. Look to the United States Navy as the bel weather on this subject.

Happy New Year, ya filthy animals!

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, December 28th. 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 31, 2020 at 2:00 pm

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Half of everyone I know act like dicks more than half of the time, which is why I like to wander around by myself in the dead of night.

Doesn’t matter what their politics or religious life is like, still “dick” half the time. I know Christians who embrace cruelty and conformity, lefties who want to ensure their own freedoms by attenuating yours, and ideologues abound for every philosophical point and bent. Everybody has a badly formed opinion about everything, or doesn’t care about who gets annoyed as they endlessly beat their drums and drone on about something they haven’t personally dealt with. Everybody, and everything, is so freaking predictable in this behavioral climate that I find it depressing. Actuate an idea, make it real. Otherwise shut up and go along, stop trying to hurt other people in the name of making yourself feel better about the things you see when you look in the mirror. Empathy? Compassion? Bah.

Also, here’s a bit of advice – strategy and tactic are two different things. If you’re “busting a move,” it’s best to keep it to yourself until afterwards. Conservation of energy dictates that if you are, indeed, “busting a move” you should have a goal in mind while doing so. Otherwise you’re just a feeble peacock spreading your feathers and saying “look at me.” “Busting a move” is a tactic, not a strategy.

What wasn’t predictable to one as all wise and knowing as myself was encountering the weird digital looking light pattern cast through a fence by security lights and onto a line of inactive taxi cabs in Long Island City. Neato.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

During this particular photo outing, a humble narrator found himself being “eyeballed” by some guy in a gray sedan. On more than one occasion during my walk, I looked up and there he was, watching me. I smiled and waved, even when he made it a point of pulling up in front of me with his headlights pointed directly into the lens. My response was to walk around his car, while smiling, and then set up on the passenger side of the vehicle. Mood that I’ve been in lately, I was absolutely praying that he got out of the thing and started some shit with me. It’s been a long, long time…

I’m scared of groups of teenagers, not other middle aged men.

If you want to see somebody act like a dick, piss me off. Once I’ve decided – and it’s me who decides, not you – that I no longer have to pretend to be a nice guy with you it ain’t pretty. Full Brooklyn mode is engaged. Should you not wither and die before the verbal assault – and it is an assault – the physical attack is spring loaded and ready. Not bragging here, and it’s not a set of behaviors I’m proud of, but screw with the bull and you get the horns. I live my life in this manner, knowing that lots and lots of people are simmering all the time, just like me, and are ready to pop like a firecracker. Knowing that I’ve got one of those flare up kind of tempers, I’ve gone to great lengths to institute a series of psychological stop gaps in my reactive mind, which is why you’ve never seen me on one of those wanted posters at the Post Office.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So why do people act like dicks half the time, when we all implicitly know that there are pressure cooker mentalities like mine ready to go off? Not everybody has learned to put a leash on their temper the way I have. Mike Tyson has famously opined that the reason for this is the lack of physical peril offered by the Internet when you say something ugly. You can’t get punched in the nose by Mike Tyson via Twitter. If Mike Tyson is ringing your doorbell, I guarantee you are going to try polity when attempting conflict resolution with him.

It’s good to be angry, and to argue your ideas. Just don’t be a dick about it, and maybe – just maybe – think about what you’re trying to achieve the next time you cancel or shun someone. Maybe it’s better to have somebody be a known quantity whom you can use tactically as part of an overarching strategy. When anybody gets too “woke” with me, I have a Libertarian or two in my social circles whom I unleash on them.

That’s the half of the time when I’m backed into acting like a dick.

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, October 19th. 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

October 21, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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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.


“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.

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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

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