The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Staten Island

nobler desires

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Hey, it’s Tuesday again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, one has spent an extraordinary amount of time in the last week out on the water, specifically onboard a series of ferry boats. The reasons why revolve around another factor which has been mentioned in earlier posts, specifically the troubles I’m experiencing with my left foot and a strained muscle in my back. Nothing, but nothing, is better for stretching your back muscles than standing on a boat as it plies through the waves and you sway around keeping balance. Also, if your foot hurts when you’re walking around, it makes sense to find a moving platform to carry you about.

I’m a big fan of the NYC Ferry service. Recent endeavor saw me boarding one in Astoria after paying $2.75 for the privilege, and riding it to Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan. Once there, a short walk took me to the Staten Island Ferry’s Whitehall terminal, where I boarded one of the big orange boats for a free ride. Well, technically, I’ve already paid for that ride via income tax.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One major shortcoming experienced with the new camera system, that I especially feel when on the water, is the lack of a native “superzoom” lens. What “native” means is a lens purpose built for Canon’s new RF mount. I’ve got my old superzoom lens – a Sigma 18-300 – which was always my “go to” for such endeavors, but it was designed for a crop sensor camera like my old Canon 7D. Around half of its range produces significant vignette on the full frame camera I’m carrying now, and the only RF superzoom available right now isn’t a terribly desirable one (a 24-240mm f4-6.3 manufactured by Canon) as far as I’m concerned. Over time, third party manufacturers will release something I want, but for right now I don’t have the cash to gamble on a substandard piece of kit. I’m bringing an old lens out of retirement, thereby, a consumer level full frame 70-300 which has been lent out to several friends over the last few years and is now back at home in my camera bag.

That’s an NYPD Harbor Patrol boat, by the way, which was likely doing Homeland Security work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the Staten Island side of my afternoon, where I cooled my heels for a bit before getting back on the big orange boat to start the ride back towards home in Astoria.

For quite a few of the shots gathered on this particular afternoon, I used a native RF Mount 24-105 zoom lens and cropped in tight. Saying that, I lost 2/3rds of the image to the crop. Unfortunately, most of the truly desirable “long reach” lenses available right now for my camera require the sort of money which could also purchase a fairly decent used car.

Speaking of lensing… what are you doing on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?


“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 27, 2021 at 11:00 am

nameless panic

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The view of NYC you encounter when onboard the Staten Island Ferry is – as the British would say – “gob smacking.” You’re looking at the peninsular section of lower Manhattan called the Battery. To the south east are the Brooklyn and Queens East River coastlines of Long Island, and on the north west is New Jersey and the Hudson River section of the world. My understanding is that there are other places beyond the actual omphalos of the universe which is New York City, but I can’t speak to legend.

The actual site of the Garden of Eden is found at the crossroads of 42nd street and Broadway in Manhattan – that’s a fact. The tree of Good and Evil – it was a fairly substantial sized garden, Eden – was found at Herald Square, which later became a hellmont. The hellmont factor is why the 34th street subway complex is always so incredibly hot, as it’s a vertical tunnel that leads directly to the fire of Gehenna itself.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s always something interesting to see when riding the Staten Island Ferry, such as the Vane Bros. Hunting Creek tug managing a fuel barge with a whole pile of maritime cranes providing a backdrop for it.

One didn’t spend too much time on… Staten Island… and after checking out the vainglorious shopping mall which has recently opened to thunderous silence in St. George – Good Work, EDC – I boarded a Manhattan bound big orange boat and headed back towards Pier 11 and the NYC Ferry Astoria line for a ride back home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another tug managing another fuel barge was spotted on the way home, this time nearby Corlears Hook – which is better known as the section of Manhattan that the WIlliamsburg Bridge touches down on.

One of the epicenters of ship building during the colonial era in NY Harbor, this is the neighborhood that spawned my favorite “Gangs of New York” era group of tough guy bandits – the Sewer Rats. Freshwater pirates, they would row out into the river in the dead of night and rob anchored shipping.

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, September 7th. 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

September 11, 2020 at 11:00 am

less annoying

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, a recent day trip with a couple of friends found the camera being waved about at “Skelson’s Office,” a particularly photogenic spot on Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull waterfront frequented by a dearly departed photographer pal of mine. The bridge in the background is the Bayonne Bridge, which acts as a gateway to the Port Elizabeth Newark shipping complex. A significant percentile of the economy of the entire United States is focused through this tidal strait, I would offer.

Pictured is the Highland Eagle, an offshore supply vessel flagged in the UK.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Bayonne coastline of Kill Van Kull is all about petroleum and the various refined products derived from it.

Pictured is the Ernest Campbell, a 1969 vintage Tugboat, wrestling a fuel barge away from its dock and into the currents of Kill Van Kull. The structure behind it hosts the various hoses which the upland tank farm uses to move the product around. A bit of maritime trivia – the various hoses and fuel barges have different connectors on them to keep one product from mixing with another. The kerosene pipe doesn’t connect to the gasoline or #2 fuel oil gasket, which keeps volatile mistakes at a minimum.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Moran Towing’s Turecamo Girls Tug was likely returning to their base at Kill Van Kull when this shot was captured. Moran Towing has the iconic NYC tugs, with the red wheelhouse and big letter “M” on them. Moran names their boats after family members, generally, but in this case the 1965 tug was acquired after a merger with another towing corporation (Turecamo Towing) back in 1998.

Back Monday with more from the waterfront.

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, August 17th. 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

August 21, 2020 at 11:00 am

likewise inaccessible

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Earlier this week, one met up with his pal Val and we jumped into her shiny Valmobile with the singular intention of shooting ships. Accordingly, Val oriented the Valmobile in the direction of… Staten Island. After all these months of quarantine/pandemic walks around LIC and Newtown Creek, a humble narrator was positively squeaking with excitement as we heroically mounted the Verazzano Bridge and headed towards the Kill Van Kull waterway.

Adventure, excitement… a Jedi craves not these things, but I ain’t no Jedi.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Our first stop was at “Skelson’s Office,” where my old and dearly departed pal John Skelson used to spend his time. This is a spot along the old and abandoned Vanderbilt Staten Island Railroad tracks which follow Kill Van Kull. KVK is often mentioned here during normal times, but for anyone not clued in – it’s a tidal strait that connects the lower harbor of New York with Newark Bay and another strait called Arthur Kill.

Kill Van Kull is the preferred approach route to the New York Container Terminal on Staten Island and the Global Marine/Port Elizabeth Newark complex in Bayonne, New Jersey for maritime shipping. For enthusiasts like my pal Val and myself, it’s “tugboat alley.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The show started as soon as we arrived at Skelson’s Office.

Our efforts later in the day found us over in Bayonne, and along the Hackensack and Passaic rivers. One thing that emerged during that part of the day was a sincere desire to find out more about the industrial sections of this section of New Jersey. I mentioned several times that I wished we were in a boat on the water, and that I was also anxious to find an analogue of Newtown Creek Alliance for this area to introduce me to the place.

A third person was in the Valmobile with us, my friend Scott, but he’s a Libertarian so we didn’t pay attention to anything he had to say. 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, August 17th. 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

August 20, 2020 at 2:30 pm

thing depicted

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Happy Birthday Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One will not assert that the Verrazzano is in fact a giant cage designed to contain a Lenape earth monster submerged in NY Harbor. Instead, the focus is on the engineering achievements of Othmar Amman and the organizational prowess of Robert Moses – the two fellas who are primarily responsible for the Verrazzano opening on November 21, 1964.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator will avoid rattling on about how in just five years Moses’ crews of more than 12,000 laborers constructed the thing, nor about its various statistics and cyclopean size. One will mention that the 228 feet of clearance over high water offered by the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge is the governing height used by maritime engineers for how high to build all sorts of shipping. Sooner or later, every ship on the planet will theoretically enter NY Harbor, and the Verrazzano is the gatekeeper.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The only mistake in this fairly sublime structure’s design was the omission of a mass transit trackway between Brooklyn and Staten Island, in my opinion. The upper deck opened on this day in 1964, but the lower roadway was still under construction and wouldn’t be available for use until June 28 of 1969.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My pal Kevin Walsh of Forgotten-NY, whose childhood in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge section was framed by construction of the Verrazzano, gave a talk last night at the Bay Ridge Historical Society about the span. I wasn’t able to attend, but I’ve also been privileged to receive his remembrances about the thing in person.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seems that the towers of the Verrazzano are fairly infested with nesting Peregrine Falcons, so it can rightfully be referred to as an aerie. Down below, on the water, it’s a maritime superhighway, as the Ambrose Channel leads commercial shipping into NY Harbor towards Port Elizabeth Newark under the bridge. Suffice to say that a significant number of sensors and scanners are secreted and secured to the span, searching for various security threats which might be carried in to the inner harbor on these ships.

Friends in the maritime industrial world have opined, regarding these devices and technologies which they can’t talk about, that “it’s like Star Trek.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Today marks 55 years for the Verrazzano. As far as the “mythological” senses shattering behemoth that the Lenape whispered of as being “the grandfather of turtles,” which the Verrazzano’s great weight keeps locked in a primeval prison, the less said the better.

There are also things dwelling in the waters on the… Staten Island… side of the narrows which we must not ever talk about, lest they arise.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

Limited Time 25% off sale – use code “gifts25” at checkout.

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

November 21, 2019 at 1:00 pm

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