The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Queensboro Bridge

vague presentiment

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Mighty, Queensboro… and I guess I’m a troll now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of my recent jaunts, carrying the camera about, found me wandering around the footings of the Queensboro Bridge in LIC. The amount of wasted space under here, which is frankly squandered by the NYC DOT, is colossal. DOT has the whole area gated off, with utilitarian fencelines of the chain link type bearing signage warning passerby of non existent security, and the city block sized lots under the bridge are used as parking lots for DOT’s municipal vehicle fleets, storage areas for various sorts of equipment like bike racks and tables, or they just sit empty.

For an area that’s so visually interesting, and so close to the largest of the NYCHA campuses, not having some combination of playgrounds and sitting areas… or even a single sign talking about Lindenthal and 1909… bah.

Trolls hang out under bridges, right?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve got a special place in my three sizes too small heart for Queensboro, as the centennial for her was the first time that I participated in a public event. A humble narrator was a Parade Marshal for that event, and in fact, the very first post at this – your Newtown Pentacle – carried a shot from the upper roadway shot on that day. That’s the first and only time I got to meet Mayor Bloomberg, the first time I interacted with Congresswoman Caroline Maloney, Borough President Helen Marshall, or then DOT Commissioner Jeanette Sadik Khan.

In many ways, it was my coming out party.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Now, I’ve been bringing the thunder to Western Queens ever since, of course, but yeah Queensboro’s Centennial was the first time I stood up out of the shadows and said “Hi.”

Pictured above is one of those monumental wastes of space discussed above, a mostly empty parking lot for some of DOT’s fleet of passenger cars. Ever wonder why the DOT doesn’t require its people to ride bikes? I mean, institutionally speaking, they are the ones pushing the whole “bike lane agenda” in cooperation with the almighty TA Bicycle Lobby. You’d think they’d be providing some sort of moral example by abandoning their cars and riding bikes. The bike lobby is pushing the slogan that “street parking is theft,” right? So… what would you call that parking lot pictured above? Wouldn’t something else be a better use of the public land?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s an intricate web of ramps leading onto and off of Queensboro Bridge at the western side of Queens Plaza. You’ve also got structural steel aqueducts that carry subway lines to and from the area. The streets are pretty high volume as far as private vehicle traffic goes as well. It’s not terribly pedestrian friendly down here.

Ever notice how the pedestrians always get left out of the argument? Most people walk to and from either their cars or their bikes, as a note, and there’s some like myself for which walking is their primary manner of getting around. Saying that, it’s all about parking versus bike lanes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the bike lane front, a significant amount of conversation in the coming months is going to involve Crescent Street. The bike people, and the elected officialdom crowd, have started a process which is calling on the NYC DOT to study creating a “bridge to bridge” bike lane on Crescent Street which will negate a lot of parking, reduce the number of vehicle lanes on the southern side of the street down to one, and create a protected bike lane. It’s not necessarily the end of the world, as some would offer, and not necessarily the solution to all things as others would say. What it is, however, is problematic in terms of engineering the street’s ultimate flow of both motor vehicles and bikes onto Queensboro.

Pity me, I’m going to be right in the middle of this on Community Board 1’s Transportation Committee.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the 7 line subway tracks pictured above, and the streak of light exiting stage left is the line itself. Cannot tell you how long I stood on this corner waiting to get this shot, but I can tell you it was pretty chilly out and that shortly after the capture above, rain started to drizzle down. One headed over towards the north side of Queens Plaza, whereupon I discovered that the R line had been shut down for the night due to repairs and that MTA was running a shuttle bus instead. Luckily for me, that shuttle wasn’t asking for a swipe of the old Metro Card, so I got a free ride home.

Tomorrow, back to the fabulous Newtown Creek, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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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 17, 2020 at 11:00 am

ghastly jest

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Queensboro, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s an effort underway to create separate lanes on the lower level of the Queensboro Bridge, one for pedestrians on the southern side and one for bicycles on the northern. I’m in favor of this plan, personally, as I’ve long thought that the shared pathway currently offered is “piss your pants” dangerous. Long standing, the shared path has pedestrians dodging fast moving bike riders who pick up a generous amount of speed as they descend off the slope of the bridge. Doesn’t sound dangerous because “bicycle,” I know, but having 150-200 lbs of primate meat smack into you when it’s moving at 20 mph on a wheeled contraption isn’t pleasant no matter what the bicycle people say. With the recent addition of e-bikes and other novel forms of electrically driven transport added into the milieu, you’ve now got what are essentially motorcycles using the bike path and silently moving in excess of 30-40 mph.

Physics, bike people, physics.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s a devilish challenge doing any sort of long exposure work up on Queensboro, despite its apparent stolidity. The bridge is a cantilever type, meaning that each section is geared up to the next one, and each piece is constantly moving and vibrating, particularly when heavy vehicles like garbage or semi tractor trailer trucks are crossing it. Given the high volume of traffic on Queensboro, there’s a whole lot of shaking and moving going on, thereby.

That white line, incidentally, is the only divider between the bike lane (left side) and the pedestrian lane. There are no speed enforcement mechanisms in place here, or at least none that I can point to. Those e-bikes, the mono wheels, the hover boards, and all the other novel new methods of getting around can and do go as fast as they want to go. On the very cold evening I shot these photos, I had to duck out fo the way of a couple of groups who were riding four abreast. Dangerous, this. I have spoken.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The bicycle people will jump about and yell about how motor vehicles are the real menace, calling them two ton death machines. At least due to license plates and mandated insurance I have somebody to sue for damages. I’m at a loss as to how the city can classify e-bikes and the ilk as anything other than motor vehicles, but sense and logic don’t find an easy place to fit into the modern political dialogue. Everything is a life and death emergency, except when it comes to pedestrian safety. Given that my “Transportation Alternative” is walking, you’d think that maybe that POV would be a part of the conversation, but there you are, and there I am dodging bikes, e-bikes, and those weird wheel things.

See you next week, 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 7, 2020 at 11:00 am

nameless hybrids

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In the end, there is only one question.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve asked it time and againwho can guess, all there is, that might be buried down there? A recent scuttle found one headed towards Queens Plaza and discovering that a subterranean parking garage had been recently constructed that offered one a partial answer to that question. Cars. There’s cars down there.

Y’know, if you’re moving to a high rise building located at the destination point of nearly every bus and subway line in the Borough of Queens, and a couple of blocks from the Queensboro Bridge, a question to ask yourself is “do I really need to have a car, instead of renting one when I need one, since I live one subway stop from Manhattan”? Pfagh!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One remains endlessly fascinated by the visual splendors of Queens Plaza. Long exposure shots such as the one above, which captured the quick passage of a bus past the camera, are the sort of thing I’m after these days. When I see a bus coming, an attempt is made to get the shot set up and framed before it passes me by, as a matter of fact. That streak of light in the middle of the shot above is actually an N train entering the Queensboro Plaza station on the elevated track, so for once my timing worked out perfectly, MTA wise. I always say “the A in MTA is for adventure.”

This was a particularly cold night, but the recent desire for a return to physical and photographic discipline after the long convalescence related to that broken toe at the end of 2019 is something which I cannot deny myself. Also, by staying busy in the slack time of my year, I’ve avoided the depressed mood and doldrums which normally afflict me during the winter months.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since the air temperatures were in the high twenties, and it was quite breezy, the only logical choice I could make was to visit the Queensboro Bridge bike and pedestrian path, since a cold January night is exactly when you want to find yourself about ten stories over the East River – right?

Used to be that I’d find myself walking over Queensboro a couple of times a week, but for the last few years not so much. I also never used to drink tea, but these days I look forward to a good “cuppa” now and again.


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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.

correlated little

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Rounding the week out with the trains

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is just about done with 2019 here, as I imagine most of you are. It hasn’t been a great year, but there you are. As my old man used to say, if you’re able to complain about it you’re still alive so there isn’t that much to complain about. He’d then indicate that I was probably bored if I had time to complain and offered to fill my time with some chore. Nobody has wished me a Fun Festivus (which is Monday the 23rd, btw) at any of the holiday parties I attended, which I’m upset about. It’s good though, as I’m a little “partied out” at this point in time, and don’t have the bandwidth to gather around the aluminum pole and air my grievances this year.

What can I say, I’ve always been a grumpy loner, now I’m a grumpy old man.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Where am I going next? It’s an existential question I keep asking myself, and the answer is ultimately “where the world takes me.” One of the bits of sage wisdom this grumpy old man can offer is to not try to force things into happening. Paradoxically, I’ll also offer that the world only makes sense when you force it to do so.

To put it into mundane analogical terminology – it makes no sense to lean over the platform edge looking for the subway, as it won’t force the subway to appear. The train is going to get there when it gets there. Making good use of your “dwell time” in the station (as MTA refers to it) is forcing the world to make sense somehow. In my case, that means taking a lot of photos.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent encounter, which wasn’t the particular moment I was shooting this set of photos, involved the “what and why are you taking pictures of” trope down in one of the sweating concrete bunkers under Manhattan. This encounter wasn’t with law enforcement, members of which I had a couple of notable “in the field” conversations with in 2019, it was just some fellow commuter. I explained my activities to this particular petitioner by asking if she ever saw any of those cool old photos of NYC depicting subways or trolleys in BW photos from the 1930’s or 40’s on her Facebook feed. When she responded yes, I said “I’m the one whose photos your grandkids will be looking at.” She chuckled.

On that note, the 2020’s are coming and I plan on doing a lot of roaring in the next decade.


“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 20, 2019 at 2:30 pm

reserve use

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Joy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last night, the NYC EDC’s dog and pony show for their Sunnyside Yards project at Aviation High School went down in flames when a large group of protestors showed up, started chanting, and took over the event. The best part? I had nothing to do with it. This was a youth oriented thing, by my observation, and I recognized people from the Democratic Socialists of America, Queens Neighbors United, the Justice 4 All coalition, and a few other leftie groups amongst the protestors. The EDC had neglected to hire any Pinkertons to crack heads or maintain order, and the only security in the room was provided by two high school security guards who frankly “dint want any of that.” The “powers that be” in LIC were clearly worried, and scampered back to their nice and safe Manhattan luxury towers in Ubers.

Me? I’m no socialist, but think that this nation of ours would benefit by moving the needle a couple of notches back and to the left towards the center of the gauge. It made me happy though, to see the generation who were young kids on 9/11 voicing up. They’re mad as hell, and won’t take it anymore. I’d advise DSA to scale back on the Trotsky stuff in their public rhetoric, however, as that doesn’t play well at all in the United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“You come to my house and complain about the noise?” is what John Goodman bellowed in the explosive finale of the Cohn Brother’s “Barton Fink” movie. That was what I was thinking about while walking home last night. My part of annoying these EDC people was when I noticed that they had affixed white tape over one of the lines on the astounding 59 signboards which lined the space. It was a line discussing the astounding projected $22 billion cost of the deck project, and it’s something I pointed out to the various reporters in the room whom I know.

The EDC folks got very nervous about this, peeled off the tape, and began telling me how transparent they are. I agree, EDC is very transparent. These people could fuck up making a sandwich.

If one wishes to hire a contractor of any kind, you would review their resume. These are the people who brought you the Staten Island Ferris Wheel, the largely empty Industry City project which made EDC the 4th largest landlord in NYC, and the Amazon debacle. Do you want to give this group $22 billion to manage another boondoggle? I sure don’t.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The World’s Borough is awakened, mad as hell, and doesn’t want to take it anymore.

Chaotic and scary, ain’t it? Interesting times. Can’t wait to be branded either a counter revolutionary element of the old regime who needs to be ideologically corrected in a gulag, or as a disestablishmentarian busybody without any tangible investment in Long Island City. I give it five years before rhetoric gives way to brickbats.


“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

September 17, 2019 at 1:30 pm

general noisesomeness

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Things I’ve seen, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunday last, the estimable Working Harbor Committee (which I’m proud to be a part of) produced the 2019 Great North River Tugboat Race over on the Hudson River. One had to show up medium early in Manhattan for this one, but a good time was had by all and it was a fairly nice day – weather wise. WHC will be publishing official race results and describing who won what trophy as soon as everyone recovers from the effort.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My pal Val drove into the City for the event, and then gave me a lift home afterwards. While crossing the East River on the Queensboro Bridge, the camera was brandished – as is my habit – and the shot above was collected. Funnily, it reminds me of the opening video scrawl from the ’80s sitcom Taxi.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

First Calvary Cemetery in the Blissville section of Long Island City just before sunset offers long shadows for the itinerant photographer to record, and luckily I was there at a particularly picturesque moment.

Back next week, with more sights.


“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.

pillared hall

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Getting high in LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One managed to get himself invited to a mixer/party being thrown by the Queens Economic Development Corporation in LIC last week, at the Z Hotel rooftop bar. Unfortunately, circumstance didn’t allow for the setting up of a tripod and getting “truly” busy, but I did manage to squeak out a few shots while I was ten or so stories up.

Above, looking eastwards towards Queens Plaza just after sunset.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The POV normally encountered by one such as myself is firmly terrestrial and on the street, of course, so whenever an opportunity to gain some altitude is encountered it is grabbed at hungrily. Also, they had drinks, so…

Last time I was down here it was actually quite late on an early August night, and it was one of the many times that I got caught in the rain this year. That stretch of time right in the middle of the summer season between July and August, when the City was getting hit with daily thunderstorms, saw a humble narrator constantly getting caught outside in sudden downpours. Bother!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Z Hotel’s rooftop is lined with glass panels, which are anchored into the building with metal posts. I used one of those posts to steady the camera, and having remembered to turn off the image stabilizer on my lens (checklist!), and then got into the clicking and whirring action with the camera.

Y’know, this reminds me… I’ve got to get up onto the Empire State Building sometime soon, for a shot of Newtown Creek from up on high.


“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

September 3, 2019 at 11:00 am

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