The Newtown Pentacle

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cacodaemonical ghastliness

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 21st and I was out for a short/long walk which ended up being fairly productive. I was heading towards Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary, and along the way I stopped off at “Hole Reliable,” which is found along the fencelines of the Sunnyside Yards.

The reason this hole is so reliable is that it overlooks the Harold Interlocking, a rail junction used by both Long Island Railroad and Amtrak which is the busiest such bit of infrastructure in the entire country. You don’t have to hang around Long before something rolls by.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The powers that be have been busy spending your taxes on improving the Harold Interlocking, which is part of the larger “East Side Access” project that will be bringing LIRR service to Grand Central Station, and there’s a couple of new sidings which have recently been completed and brought into usage – like the one pictured above.

Y’know, I’ve spent something like 15 years watching them do all the construction on this, and it’s kind of cool to see it being used.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Nothing new to report from Dutch Kills. Nobody cares, nothing matters, and 29th street continues to subside and sag into the collapsing bulkhead at the water’s edge. Turns out that the reason there’s always a puddle there is that the undermined street has broken a water line pipe. That’s great, as now it’s also a DEP problem – in addition to being an EPA, DEC, DOT, and MTA problem. Eventually, the entire alphabet will be involved.

Sigh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My tree of paradise seems to be embracing the warmer weather, and at the time this photo was taken, had just become clothed in foliage.

I didn’t plan on walking directly home on this particular evening, as I was desirous of getting a few low light shots of the 7 train. Accordingly, over to the Hunters Point Avenue stop did I scuttle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My 7 line plan was to take advantage of how frequently the service arrives – usually in about ten minute intervals – to hop on and hop off at the various stations that I don’t frequent.

As a note, I’m a fan of that new OMNY fare control scheme of theirs. Here’s a tip – the OMNY system lets you use your phone to pay for your fare. The credit card you thereby designate for transit use (I’m on an iPhone, can’t speak to how Google Pay works on Android) should therefore be one where you receive some sort of benefit for using it. Some cards have cash back rewards, others have airline miles that accrue with use, others send a few cents to a charity you support – you get the idea. I’ve tied all of my transit charges into a single card account – LYFT/Uber, Amtrak, Subway and Bus, Ferry. This also makes talking to my accountant about transit spending rather simple.

I have a friend who has all his monthly bills flow through benefits/rewards cards. This way he’s never late with a payment, and manages to get some benefit out of his outlandishly high electric bills.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I traveled on the 7 for a bit, following my plan to hop on and hop off. The shot above is from the 33rd Rawson stop, and it’s a Manhattan bound train rounding the elevated curve nearby the former Swingline Stapler building on Queens Boulevard. One night soon I’m going to doing this sort of night time excursion on every stop of the 7 all the way out to Flushing and back.

Keeps me out of the bars. Back next week with more, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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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.

fiendish subjects

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 19th saw me taking a short walk around the Sunnyside Yards and cracking out a bunch of shots of passing trains.

That’s a New Jersey Transit train set on the so called “turnaround” track nearby 43rd street which allows the operator to reorient the thing towards Manhattan as opposed to heading into Queens via the East River tunnels. On another siding of the turnaround track is an Amtrak Acela train set, which was just sort of sitting there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At Honeywell Street, I noticed the train cars on the lower left hand side of the shot above. They’re done up with “New York Central” heraldry. At first I thought I might be accidentally traveling in time, but no. Turns out these are “heritage” passenger car units which are operated by some private outfit.

One of the Facebook groups I’m subscribed to is for train enthusiasts, and the “foamers” filled me in as to what these cars are, who operates them, and so on. Turns out you can ride on these heritage cars if you’ve got money to burn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also on Honeywell Street bridge (which is found at Queens’ 35th street), one of the many hidden fence holes allowed a view into the Acela maintenance facility at Sunnyside Yards. This is a particularly hard thing to get a shot of, incidentally, and the shot above is heavily cropped in.

I headed back to HQ in Astoria, as the 20th was meant to be a fairly busy day that started early.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 20th I was back at Newtown Creek Alliance HQ in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section for a sit down meeting with a friend who was volunteering business advice to our little non profit that could. It may be a non profit corporation, but it’s still a corporation. When advice and wisdom are on offer from somebody who runs and has run far larger entities is on the table, you would be foolish not to absorb as much of it as you can.

Of course, I had to excuse myself a couple of times to wave the camera around as a strong front of thunderstorms approached.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Creeklands were suffused with a heavy fog, being pushed by the pressure waves of that line of storms. This kind of urban atmosphere is absolute candy for a photographer.

Saying that, after the meeting ended, I needed to “get out of dodge” and start heading home quickly lest I get drenched when the storms arrived and all of that fog suddenly condensed and dropped to the ground. A scuttle of the rapid type ensued.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My plan was to cut through the Newtown Creek Nature Walk at the sewer plant in Greenpoint, then to surmount and cross the creek at the Pulaski Bridge. Luckily, I was carrying an umbrella. Managed to get this one of the Empire State Building framed up all nice before the sky opened and it started pissing down in torrents.

More tomorrow.


“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

June 30, 2022 at 11:00 am

jaded sensibilities

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On May 15th, a humble narrator was helping out a couple of my buddies from Newtown Creek Alliance on a walking tour of the eastern side of the creek – in East Williamsburgh, Maspeth, and Ridgewood.

Pictured is the end of all hope at Newtown Creek’s English Kills tributary in the East Williamsburgh area. This is some 3.8 miles from the East River.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Water conditions back here are as bad as they get on Newtown Creek, and that’s really saying something. There’s lots of oil sheens, the water has virtually zero oxygen in it, and the only source of fresh water coming into this area other than the infinitesimal influences of the tidal cycle emerge from one of the largest open sewers in NYC, found at the head of the canal.

It smells like rotting ham and wet reptiles back here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the north side of English Kills is one of Waste Management’s transfer stations, one which is connected to the Bushwick Branch Long Island Railroad freight tracks. This is the same rail you see behind Flushing Avenue in Maspeth, and which leads to the Fresh Pond Yard found to the north east.

That’s the garbage train pictured above. Normally, when I show you this sort of thing, it’s nearby the Review Avenue Waste Management facility which is in Long Island City’s Blissville section.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Nearby the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge, this derelict tanker truck caught my eye. It’s sitting alongside the Manhattan Polybag site, which is currently abandoned and being worked on/remediated for toxic materials that were being released into the water. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is in charge of this one.

Nothing but happiness and joy at the fabulous Newtown Creek, I always say. Happiness and joy…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another tributary of Newtown Creek on the eastern side of its course is called “The East Branch.” It splits like a letter “Y” at the Grand Street Bridge. One section of it terminates at Metropolitan Avenue nearby Scott Avenue in Ridgewood, and it’s there that you’ll find the fourth largest open sewer in NYC.

Happiness and joy…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The other section of the East Branch forms a short barge sized canal, which is visible from the Western Beef supermarket’s parking lot. There’s a nice view there, pictured above, of the Grand Street Bridge.

Get your shots of this centuried span while you can, the City is in the earliest phases of replacing the thing.


“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

June 28, 2022 at 11:00 am

distant baying

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 8th found one in need of a short walk, and in tune with my recent habits, one left HQ shortly before sunset. Here I am at “hole reliable” over the Harold Interlocking again, shooting yet another west bound Long Island Railroad train.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My goal for the evening was to definitively stay away from Newtown Creek and its tributaries, and just stick to the mean streets of along Island City. The sky lit up, and as seems to be the case these days, while shooting somebody walked up to me and wanted to discuss cameras he has owned, plans to buy, and also ones used by his dad.

I excused myself after a few excruciating minutes, professing that I was losing the light. Grrrr…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Skillman Avenue led me to Thomson Avenue, where I got this shot. It’s actually a damned difficult proposition getting this shot with zero automobiles in the frame, as a note.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thomson Avenue led me back down to Jackson Avenue, where I experienced another one of those moments of sudden existential horror you tend to feel in LIC these days. Ten years ago, the Citigroup Megalith was the only large scale building here. Today, it’s actually somewhat middling in size as compared to what’s been built around it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Swinging through Queens Plaza, I noticed the 7 train perched above several of those automobiles in the travel lanes below it. I didn’t see any of the vampires though.

One continued his lonely scuttle towards Astoria, using Jackson Avenue to eventually get to Northern Blvd.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One headed back towards home, walked past a bar which I don’t seem to hang out at anymore that’s filled with people whom I’m increasingly disenchanted with. Ribald invitations to join their nightly bacchanal were rejected, and a humble narrator retreated to the nearby cloister of HQ.

Pfah.


“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

June 21, 2022 at 11:00 am

stayed on

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

May 4th was a pretty productive day for me. Caught a nice sunset from the Kosciuszcko Bridge, then began a fairly low key walk back to HQ in Astoria. Along the way, lots of things caught my eye.

43rd street offers a fairly “straight shot” for me to get back home, but I seem to prefer 39th street as that’s where my toes point.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You have to get out of Blissville first, however, so a few scary and fairly deserted highway off ramp pedestrian pathways are followed on the way. It’s the deserted thing that makes them scary, incidentally.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Boulevard forms a bit of a prominence, and one of my corny “dad jokes” revolves around announcing to anyone who might be accompanying me on a walk that “it’s all downhill from here” when passing under the elevated tracks of the 7 line subway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The reason 39th street is my preferred path has to do with “hole reliable,” an aperture in the fencing around Sunnyside Yards at the Harold Interlocking which seldom disappoints as far as offering opportunity to photograph trains.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On this particular evening, my timing was stellar, and I managed to get one coming from and one going to.

I never, ever tire of this particular composition. In many ways, “hole reliable” is where I learned how to capture low light photos.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent addition to Amtrak’s fence hole offerings allows for an unoccluded view of the “turnaround track” at Sunnyside Yards.

It’s a complicated shot, this one, given how dark it is in this corner of the yards. I had to shoot this at an unbelievably high ISO speed of 128,000.


“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

June 20, 2022 at 11:00 am

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