The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘railroad

awesome pulsing

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After spending a stinky hour and change at Penny Bridge in Greenpoint, one decided to walk back to HQ in Astoria via the pedestrian path on the Kosciuszcko Bridge. I ran into a friend and her dog on the way, and got to enjoy a bit of company. Having not seen this particular person since the start of the pandemic, she was a bit startled at how much my personality has changed in the last year and a half. I explained my philosophical embrace of sociopathy in recent months, and how freeing it is to just not care about anything anymore.

Really, I just give zero shits about anything. Nothing actually matters.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “happy place” is my pet name for industrial Maspeth. The corner which that stop sign pictured above is found on used to host a Yeshiva, which closed under mysterious circumstance back in the 1950’s. Rumors abound, including wild stories about “Dybbuk” infestations, but it’s most likely something mundane that closed the religious school. The “Frum’s” were probably just consolidating themselves into Williamsburg and or Crown Heights during this era.

Translation of Frum for Goyem – many Jews refer to the Orthodox sects (Hasids, Satmars etc.) as “Frum.” It’s a Yiddish word, which I don’t know the exact meaning of, but it seems to be related to being strict. Frum are the people you see wearing the hats and formal clothes everywhere they go, and who rigorously follow religious law and custom, and are often in the camera retail business. Conservative Jews usually dress like everyone else, but wear Yarmulkes and observe both dietary and sabbath law pretty closely, but also often ski or take cruises and that sort of stuff. Secular Jews, which are my particular tribe, are basically assimilated Americans with funny last names, except we have Chanukah substituted for Christmas.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Almost back at HQ, and suffering greatly as the humidity had risen nearly 30 points since my time at Penny Bridge, a chance meeting with a New Jersey Transit train running on the turnaround track at Sunnyside Yards necessitated a photo as it passed. Boy oh boy, was I shvitzing when I walked in the house. Oy, it’s so humid!

Back tomorrow.


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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

August 31, 2021 at 11:00 am

had ventured

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A problem often encountered regards the motivations of other people. I understand it when someone is beating the drums and they are advocating for an urgent issue of the day in vociferous fashion. Also “got” is when somebody is at their wit’s end and frustration with the various processes offered by Governmental authorities boil over. Thing is, there are some you encounter who are just plain mean.

I don’t want to indicate that they’re “mean” to others as a political tactic, since there’s apparently a validity to the strategic move of being a colossal dick – it might even make you Governor or President someday. Why be ugly when you don’t have to be? Why make enemies when you don’t have to? If you can see trouble coming, why not take steps to avoid it? Pissing contests and dominance displays amongst the mice don’t even amuse the elephants, since they’re not paying attention to what’s going on down on the ground.

Seriously, every single day that a humble narrator has to deal with this sort of thing is just one day closer to the day that I say “I’m out” and drop the mike. I’m really, really, trying to allow my better nature to remain dominant at the moment. Spring loaded, however, is “full Brooklyn.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My fascinations with the tracking systems on the newish camera continue to fascinate. I’ve been trying to figure out where it fails, and giving it difficult things to lock onto, such as the shot above with trains and overhead wires and a million little contrasty features in frame. So far, it’s a champ. At least I have technology, huh?

I should explain, in a vague way, that I’ve become embroiled in a controversy or two not of my making. A particular fire starter here in Western Queens is actually the “maker” of these imbroglios, and they have caused me no end of angst and worry and forced me into “having to deal with this.” Said arsonist will discover in January, after the current Mayor has left office, that all of their bridges have long since burnt away and that the people who currently lend them legitimacy will have either left office or will be done using them as a stalking horse. Lessons will be learned, subsequently, about arson. Be toxic, live toxic, die toxic.

On that note, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this particular player’s “cancel crowd” came after me or mine in the near future. Maybe they’ll succeed. Others have tried. Where are they now? I’ll point out that over on Newtown Creek I often tangle with trans national energy companies and Federal level regulatory entities, employees of which tell me that they’ve got private detective produced file folders on me which include my high school transcripts. Somehow I’ve survived that sort of inspection.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, while testing the autofocus setup on the camera rig, an Amtrak trainset came rolling by while lit up all nice by the setting sun. Something to hang my hat on for a late spring afternoon’s effort. I like trains.

There’s a sticky NYC summer setting up, lords and ladies. Hope your hot weather clothes still fit. Back next week 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

June 4, 2021 at 11:00 am

forgotten sculptor

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Friday, again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent daylight perambulation found a humble narrator in DUGABO, Down Under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge Onramp, in the Blissville section of Long Island City. The bridge crosses the fabulous Newtown Creek, and provides a concrete manifestation of the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens. Famously, the so called “garbage train” is assembled at the LIRR’s Blissville rail yard, and is normally hauled about by locomotive engines painted with the brand colors of the New York & Atlantic outfit. This bluebird GATX unit was a surprise, but my beloved Creek is never entirely predictable. The street down here is dubbed “Railroad Avenue” aptly.

GATX, as it turns out, is an 1898 vintage corporate entity based in Chicago that leases rail equipment on several continents and also has a sideline in aviation heavy equipment. If you want to take a deep dive, here’s their site.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The signal bells began clanging and the train started moving eastwards along the Lower Montauk tracks. As you can see in the shot above, somebody has set up housekeeping under the bridge, having constructed a shelter/shanty out of shipping palettes and other industrial leave behinds. As of yet, I haven’t talked to this fellow, but I already like him since he’s got quite a collection of cats living with him.

Thrilling is how I describe the sensation of seeing freight rail moving around at street grade in NYC. Once common, there are so few places where you see this these days… this train and it’s box cars of garbage remove hundreds of long distance truck trips every day from our roads.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Blissville’s Railroad Avenue offers quite a gallery of street art/graffiti- if you’re into that sort of thing. The building just behind the locomotive used to be a lead factory, although in recent years it’s also been home to a company that worked with plastics. These days it’s a warehouse, with a tire shop on the Review Avenue facing side.

There’s quite a bit of industrial/commercial activity going on down here in DUGABO. The N.Y. Paving Company has an enormous property where they manage a fleet of hundreds of heavy construction vehicles and store sand, gravel, and other tools of their trade. Across the street at the former HQ of the Tidewater Pipeline Company, later called the Lukoil Getty terminal, the busy Broadway Stages outfit handles movie and tv productions for Hollywood. There’s also a self storage company housed in a factory building that used to be the home of BG Pickles.

Back next week with more, 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.

held transient

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Friday is frizzled, yo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another set of Sunnyside Yards shots are on offer today, with the one above depicting the Acela maintenance operation on the north side of the gargantuan rail coach yard here in Long Island City. It’s also right about at this point in time, roughly a month ago on March 15th, that I was able to begin saying that I knew how to handle the new camera and lenses properly and predictably. What I mean by that, is that I was able to spot a scene and say “hey, switch to the 85mm for this one, using x aperture and y iso” without a trial and error phase baked into the process. Funnily enough, since I’ve been moving around in daylight again, it’s been something of a challenge to shoot when the “lights” are on, burning thermonuclear eye of god wise.

Hey, I carried the old camera (technically there were two, since one got smashed, but same model) for around ten years and it had become an extension of my arm in many ways. Didn’t even have to think about the technical side of things, since while shooting all those dials and buttons were being whirred and clicked on muscle memory. One fo the challenges of the new device has actually been teaching my fingers where the buttons and dials are.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has not had a terrific amount of fun this last week due to inclement clime, personal obligation, and official business. I found out several disconcerting things this past week that revolve around Newtown Creek, but the good news is that I was able to help organize a cleanup effort at the 19th Avenue street end in Astoria, at Luyster Creek. Great bunch of neighbors showed up, and got sweaty. The NYC DEP sent us a dumpster to collect up the garbage peeled off the shoreline, which was awesome.

This is the way.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Despite my obstacles and obligations, I still found myself standing in three of the five boroughs, which is more travel than I can describe for the last year. Looks like next week is going to involve an apocalypse of Zoom meetings. I just got renewed for another two years on the Community Board here in Astoria so there’s a long swearing in ceremony I need to virtually attend, followed by an actual CB1 meeting on Tuesday, followed by a Newtown Creek CAG meeting on… it really doesn’t ever seem to end.

Three Zoom meetings in a row are a holocaust, 4 or more are an apocalypse. A few weeks ago, I had to be in two Zoom meetings simultaneously. Whiskey was required afterwards.

Every single one of these Zoom’s feels like my soul is being run through a delicatessen meat slicer and a centimeter of my identity is being removed. Get vaxxed, lords and ladies, so we can annoy each other in person again.


“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

April 16, 2021 at 2:00 pm

spiritual rapport

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Tuesday affects us all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, a trip to Randalls Wards Island was recently enacted, during which I saw a bird – pictured above. The history of these islands are – at best – a long and convoluted tale during which they changed names several times over many hundreds of years. Great Barent Island, anyone? Suffice to say that the most important thing in the history of these East River Islands was the day that Robert Moses decided to make them his base of operations. A tributary of the East River – Little Hell Gate it was called – separated the two islands and it was filled in at his command in the early 1960’s to create a single land mass. Moses’ Triborough Bridge operation was based here as of 1936, making this the actual “House of Moses.”

There’s an amazing number of playing fields and pedestrian paths on the island, and the whole scene is framed in by the Hell Gate and Triborough Bridges.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking across a small waterway called Bronx Kill found on the northern side of the place, which is where that bird was noticed, that’s a CSX engine moving a garbage train around. The tracks lead westwards towards a Waste Management Facility, then eastwards and north towards to some unknown destination. That side of the water is an unknown country which local children call “Bronx.”

Seriously, what I know about the Bronx wouldn’t fill a thimble. I’ve been saving it for my old age. I can tell you a lot about the other four boroughs, but the Bronx? I can tell you where it is, basically. Ok, it’s Port Morris, but it’s nice not knowing everything about something for once.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking more or less westwards along the Bronx Kill from a small pedestrian span called the Randalls Island Connector, in the distance that’s a part of mighty Triborough. Specifically, I’m fairly sure that’s it’s the Truss Bridge section of the Triborough Bridge complex. The visible arch is part of the Hell Gate bridge trackage. I wonder if it’s still called the NY Connecting Railroad on this side of the river, as it is on the Queens side?

More tomorrow.

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, July 20th. 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

July 21, 2020 at 11:00 am

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