The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Queensboro Bridge

neglected orchard

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Terror and habitual anxiety color my days, so the best time to just “do me” seems to be at night. Believe it or not, the spaces pictured in today’s post were once analogous to the modern day Hamptons, and the golden coast of northern Long Island City – basically between Anable Basin and Hallets Cove – was replete with the grandiose mansions and walled gardens of New York’s elite social and financial upper classes. Several of these conspicuous mansions were converted to charitable institutions after the mercantile families moved North, West, or East, or when they degenerated into common rabble as their fortunes faltered. The old manor houses and mansions became orphanages, homes for the insane, and asylums for fallen women (which is what they used to call “Sex Workers” in the late 18th and most of the 19th century, for those of you in the “woke” crowd). 1909 is the year that Queensboro opened for business, and that was just ten years after Queens itself was fashioned by Manhattan’s ready political hands. Then, as now, riverfront property is quite valuable. Prime industrial land was being “wasted” on the indigent and immoral, so these mansions became quite prone to grisly total loss fires. “Can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs” as the saying goes.

Nomenclature from the time, specifically the late 19th century, including referring to homeless children as “street arabs.” Life was cheap and short then, as it is now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For once, my timing was impeccable. Arriving at this particular spot just as a passing subway train was climbing out of its tunnel hole and towards the elevated station, I got to crack out a few shots as it’s wheels and third rail shoe were creating flashes of electric arc light. You have to be a bit careful in this particular area under Queensboro, due to the plague of vampires that hide amongst the bridge’s nest of steel girders and structural supports.

You don’t find the undead – or Vampires, at least – East or North of 31st and Northern Blvd., probably due to underground streams of flowing water, and certain magical arts carried into Astoria by Coptic and Orthodox Monastics who carried it from their ancient homelands in Egypt and Greece. These protective charms would be decried as Wizardry were they not so old and enshrined, and were known in both Constantinople and Alexandria long before the arrival of the Turk.

They’ve always had a Vampire problem in Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Peasant superstitions notwithstanding, one of the truly wasted spaces in NYC is found at the western edge of Queens Plaza, under the Vampire colony. The arched vaults of Lindenthal’s cathedral of steel and utility are used to store municipal junk, NYC’s municipal fleet vehicles, and unknown items wrapped in fluttering tarps. Why wouldn’t you surround an architectural and civil engineering masterpiece with razor wire and use it as a parking lot?

Perhaps it’s because…

Vampires?

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, February 22nd. 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

February 26, 2021 at 11:00 am

induced gate

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Fill ‘er up, buddy. You don’t get to say that very often, or at least not geographically often, in Western Queens these days. The rapacious hunger of the Real Estate Industrial Complex, which will be slaked only when each and every property lot in NYC has had a residential tower built upon it, often focuses in on the easy kill. Like lions stalking a wounded antelope, the REIC agents hungrily circle around gas stations and supermarkets. The large footprint and air rights enjoyed by these businesses cause gastric juices to drip from the quivering maw of the REIC agents, and the sight of open sky causes the deeply seated pancreases to begin secreting hormones that quicken the pulse and respiration. Kill, kill. More, more. AMI, MIH, jobs, more, more.

Most of the gas stations remaining in NYC are franchises, parts of some far flung petrochemical empire run out of air conditioned offices in other states that smell of expensive cologne. The one pictured in today’s post is that rarest of prey animals for the REIC predator – an independently owned filling station which offers no corporate logo or branding. They sell gas and fix cars, here at Bridge Stop.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The REIC acquisitions people are trained killers, and are the agents of extinction for small business. It surprises me that neither the Silvercup crew, nor the Kaufman Astoria mechanics, or the HANACssassins have pried the deed for this property away from whomsoever holds it. This is the turf of those three members of the REBNY crime families. Want to know how they do business, the Real Estate Industrial Complex? One of them was just your President, the one who was impeached for inciting a mob to storm Congress. His son in law and principal advisor is another member of this club, but his holdings are largely found in the WIlliamsburg and Greenpoint sections of Brooklyn, as well as an aptly addressed Manhattan office tower at 666 Fifth Avenue.

Long have I advocated for the Federal Government to conduct a RICO investigation of not just the Real Estate Board of New York, but also of their enablers in municipal service at the NYC Economic Development Corporation. Perhaps, someday, all the poisons in the mud will leech out…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

1909 was a pretty big year for Queens. The Queensborough Bridge, Sunnyside Yards, Subway work was underway, the NY Connecting Railroad… all kinds of good stuff was being built. Back then, you still had people growing potatoes in fields around these parts as the steel for the transit system was being installed. The infrastructure was built, and that lit off a fifty year long period of breakneck economic growth and development. The growth was bolstered in the 1930’s and 40’s when Robert Moses began building highways, and Cord Meyer began building eastern Queens suburbs to surround the off ramps of those highways. Again – infrastructure creation was followed by economic growth. Pattern?

The way they’re trying to do it today is backwards, but the people doing the planning these days eat Pizza with a knife and fork. New York City does not have a housing problem, it has a transit problem. We solve transit for the 21st century, we save the City, and in turn we save the country. We begin by learning to ignore the zombie hordes of “YIMBY’s” and the “housing growth first” cult of density worshipping sycophants with their shadowy connections to Real Estate Industrial Complex.

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, February 22nd. 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

February 25, 2021 at 11:00 am

hypnotic fumes

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Monday is Monday, whatever year it is.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that getting a few shots of the Superfund related dredging being conducted down at the Gowanus Canal in in South Brooklyn might come in handy down the line for my beloved Newtown Creek. Accordingly, I decided to head over to the Red Hook/Sunset Park area. Normally, I’d just hop on the Subway, but… y’know… plague times, so I took the NYC Ferry instead as I’d be able to hang out on the top deck in the open air rather than sitting on the thermos bottle like G train for an hour. My plan was valid, but the day I chose to go ended up being an incredibly cold one.

I spent the prior evening packing my camera bag, and laying out warm clothes. Slept on the couch so as to not terrify Our Lady of the Pentacle when my alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning. One woke, inhaled a bunch of coffee and a couple of glasses of water, then bathed and dressed. Left HQ at about 5:30, when it was still dark, and got an egg sandwich at the local bagel shop to provide fuel for the mission. Walked over to the East River, and boarded a southbound ferry as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself rose in the eastern sky. Luckily, my forethought and preparation involved a secondary layer of thermal underwear, as it was bitterly cold out.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The NYC Ferry offers a free transfer within 90 minutes of activating (via the app) or buying your ticket. The service allows you to jump from one line to another at several locations, notably the 34th street and Pier 11 stops on the Manhattan side act as hubs where multiple ferry lines meet. I rode the Astoria line boat to Pier 11/Wall Street in lower Manhattan’s financial district and then transferred onto the South Brooklyn service. South Brooklyn Ferry now has a stop inside of Atlantic Basin, which is meant to serve the Red Hook neighborhood. In retrospect, I should have debarked there, but instead I went to the Brooklyn Army Terminal stop about a mile or so south.

Hey, I got up at 4:30 in the morning for this, you think I’m not going to walk through Industry City when I’m in the neighborhood? Sheesh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My ultimate goal was to get to the Gowanus Canal about 10 a.m., which is when my sources inside the Federal Superfund Operation told me that I’d most reliably see dredging operations at work. Thing is, it’s been so long since I’ve been out with the camera during daylight hours that I decided on making this one of my “adventures.”

Adventure and excitement are things which a Jedi does not crave, of course, but I am no Jedi. There are so many experiences which I was forced to leave on the table in 2020 due to the Pandemic that the notion of having an interesting day was just too much for me to pass up. More tomorrow, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

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 4th. 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 4, 2021 at 1:00 pm

dazzling violet

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Thursday, they’s.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After the whole Staten Island Ferry leg of a recent day was over (described earlier this week), getting back home to the rolling hills of almond eyed Astoria involved using the NYC Ferry Astoria line. Even pre pandemic, one preferred this mode of transit to the hurtling metal boxes moving through the rotting concrete of buried tunnels variety, and prefer it even more so after the emergence of the virus. One of the stops offered by the ferry service is at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which is where I cracked out the shot above.

Yeah, I was intentionally trying to get a bit minimalist with these three. Artsy fartsy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One wishes that East River water was as clear as glass, and that we would be able to peer downwards and see all the wonders down there. Just in the shot above, you’d see gas pipelines and electrical conduits, an enormous pipe carrying Manhattan’s sewage to Greenpoint, and theoretically a long rock mound or berm which the Subway and Long Island Railroad tunnels are armored against the tide and other elemental forces with. There would be hundreds of conduit pipes carrying electrical and communications wires as well, and there’s likely a few unplanned features down there involving vehicles and household appliances which found their way into the water somehow. I’m told by professional divers, however, that the East River has so much solute suspended in the water column that you literally cannot see your hand in front of your face once you are a meter or two below the surface. They work by touch and feel, in absolute darkness, these divers.

Who can guess, though, all there is that might be buried down there?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another stop on the Astoria line is found at Roosevelt Island, right under mighty Queensboro. Luckily, just as the boat arrived in the shadow of the great bridge, the Roosevelt Island Tram was seen dangling from its harness of transport wires.

What fun.

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 5th. 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 8, 2020 at 11:00 am

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.


“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 17, 2020 at 11:00 am

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