The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘street furniture

mighty silence

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Long Island City is one of those places where a constancy of tumult and change can be expected. It’s photographically interesting to me, and even though you’ve walked down either this block or that one a hundred times before I guarantee that there’s some feature or weird thing you probably haven’t noticed before. My pal Ms. Heather over in Greenpoint coined the term “street furniture” for finds like the one above.

As is often the case, one had to stand in the street to get this shot. As is also often the case, the minute I decided to step off the curb, traffic volumes on this particular street rose to downtown Manhattan 1960’s levels.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m always on the lookout for evidence of Mad Science or Supervillain lairs in Long Island City. High real estate valuations have priced most of the lesser villains out of LIC in recent years. You have to be a Luthor, or a Cobblepott or Osborne, to be able to afford mad sciencing here these days. Most of the lesser villains have moved their operations north, south, and east. Edward Nigma is out on Staten Island, as are Kraven the Hunter and the Crimson Dynamo. Word has it that Kiteman is now operating out of a split level ranch house in Bayonne. I wonder what villain is operating out of those repurposed shipping containers pictured above, making monsters.

I’d like to live in a world where getting bit by a radioactive spider doesn’t just give you blood poisoning and or cancer.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I always remind people to respect the traffic in LIC, as even the traffic signs aren’t safe hereabouts. I always follow official instructions to the letter, so when the signage above points a certain way, I obey the edict. That’s why I ended up walking into a brick wall.

The brick wall didn’t give me super powers or anything, just scrapes and a bruise.


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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 20, 2021 at 11:00 am

avoided commerce

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Palpitant, I nevertheless declare this as Wednesday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the shot above, my love of Newtown Creek smashes wholeheartedly into my vast appreciation of the Northern Blvd. corridor, as the fuel truck filling the tanks at this filling station is delivering fuel from the Kinder Morgan (formerly BP Amoco) tank farm terminal in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section, which is found at the corner of Apollo Street and Norman Avenue. See? This is what it’s like inside my head.

As far as the second vaccine shot I received yesterday – yes, there are side effects with this one. Last night I got the hot/colds coupled with some body aches and most peculiarly the psychological state of “fever dreams” was plaguing me through the night, although I don’t have a fever. Fever dreams often take the form of widely spaced out awakenings, whereupon I’m convinced that I didn’t actually fall asleep and have been dreaming that I’m awake, but upon inspecting a bedside clock I discover that I’ve actually been out cold for several hours. Weird.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Street furniture – that’s what City Planners call utility poles and fire hydrants and benches. Street furniture as I define it are abandoned bits of furnishings which somebody has abandoned and left on the street for somebody else to deal with. You see feral couches and dining room chairs all the time, and this one was spotted on the corner of Northern Blvd. and Standard Lane while on my way home one night.

If I didn’t know the cause, I’d be telling Our Lady if the Pentacle that I was in the edge of getting sick right now, and expecting the rest of this week to be a wash. In addition to the immune system reaction I’m experiencing from the 2nd shot, for some reason this time the actual injection site in my shoulder is quite tender. The 1st shot felt like somebody had punched me in the upper arm, the 2nd proudly hurts.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whatever. This process makes it highly unlikely that I’m going to either cease living, or end up becoming some sort of Typhoid Mary who cause’s others to similarly cease. I still know quite a few people who are resistant to the idea of the vaccine, which is bizarre to me. As I’m wont to remind them when this opinion is offered – you’re going to have a hard time traveling, or getting on a cruise, going to Disney – all that stuff, without proof that you’re not transmissible.

And so does the winter of discontent end, with neither bang nor whisper.

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, March 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

March 24, 2021 at 11:30 am

dismal eyrie

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It’s Wednesday, the day of Woden (Odin), from the Old English word “Wōdnesdæg.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Street furniture. That’s the term coined by my old friend Ms. Heather at NY-Shitty for the abandoned or dumped furnishings or accoutrements you encounter while walking around the city. I always get a giggle out of that one, but in the case of this love seat encountered on the Pedestrian/Bike path of the Kosciuszcko Bridge, I have to respect the amount of physical labor it must have taken moving this fairly massive hunk of furniture to a prime viewing location fairly close to the center of the bridge.

A lot of muscle, time, and energy goes into illegal dumping. It’s so much simpler to throw things out in a legal fashion. The number of tires you see submerged in Newtown Creek is absolutely staggering, for instance.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This shot looks down from the bridge on the truck yard of a company which calls itself Empire Merchants. They do the holy work of god, which is delivering liquor and beer to bars and retail shops. This company has a fairly large footprint in Greenpoint, with both enclosed warehouse spaces and large vehicle storage yards like the one pictured above. They’re officially a “distributor” as a note. “Last mile delivery” is the current buzz phrase for this sort of business.

I’d love to see them replace the surface of their parking lot with something a bit more environmentally friendly in order to drink up rain water, but this isn’t necessarily the place where you’d want a lot of water entering the underground. The Greenpoint Oil Spill is centered a few blocks away, and this particular spot sits on top of a different environmental nightmare – the Meeker Avenue Plumes. Said plumes are composed of dry cleaning chemicals spilled by a now out of business factory. The hard cap of asphalt and concrete insulating the ground water from surface flow actually helps keep those chemicals in a static position.

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

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Part of a largish waste transfer station, one which handles all of the good stuff – paper, metals, and putrescents – but specializes in construction debris, is pictured above. One of the interesting things, for me, about the new Kosciuszcko Bridge walkway is the window it gives you onto this sort of scene.

For years, when walking by on the street, you’d be able to see peeks of this scene. The fellows who work here… well… let’s just say that they’ve never been friendly to the odd itinerant photographer and environmental activist who was just passing by.

Back tomorrow with something else, 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, August 3rd. 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 5, 2020 at 11:00 am

kindred wells

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The Astoria street furniture dance has begun anew.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The other night, one noticed the display above on the corner of Broadway and 43rd street. The cast off box spring somehow evaded the bulk pickup day efforts of the DSNY, or it came from an “illegal” apartment, and had made its way down to the corner, where some wise Astorian had decided to attempt disposal of the large item by putting it into proximity with the corner trash basket. The entirely accidental nature of its pleasing esthetic – with a slab laid in triangular fashion over the cylindrical trash barrel – is fairly common for these parts. Everyone is an artist, even if they don’t know it.

For those of you not in the know, or who sleep on the floor, a box spring (or Divan) is a wooden or metal frame covered in fabric that encapsulates metal springs. It provides a base for, and adds height to, a softer mattress which sits on top of it. Box Springs used to be a fairly western european and american “thing” but as the material and financial pleasures of a “modern western economy” have spread around the planet, so too has this style of bedding. A notable holdout on this are the Japanese people, who still prefer their traditional “futon” style bedding.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Box Springs, and mattresses for that matter, are fairly robust in construction and cause no small amount of trouble for DSNY (NYC Department of Sanitation) and other entities that handle the flow of waste and trash. Bedding is fairly huge, easily lights on fire, and is designed to resist both weight and pressure. Bedding items choke shredding machines, fill landfills and collection trucks up rather quickly, and given their central role in the citizenry’s off hour pursuits (sex, sleep, drooling etc.) are often biohazards. Recent years have seen regulations created here in NYC that demand box spring and mattresses left out for bulk collection be wrapped in specialized plastic sheeting to keep them from spreading the plague of bedbugs (or vantsem, in Yiddish).

Here in Astoria, where we have a fairly severe problem as far as the subject of illegally dumping unwanted items on the sidewalks on a good day, the dance of the street furniture has officially begun. This thing will be, and has been, moving around Broadway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above was captured the same night as the first two, just a few hours later when I was returning from my evening activities.

So… why did the box spring cross the road?

Short answer is the likely one, which is that the building owner on the side of Broadway where it was originally discarded didn’t want to take the chance of getting a ticket from the DSNY inspectors who would be showing up along with the collection trucks the next morning, so they shunted the problem off onto someone else. I’ve observed the “dance of the street furniture” before, and it’s entirely likely this thing is going to become very well travelled before it finally gets taken away.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Upcoming Tours and Events


Thursday, July 25, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Greenpoint Walking Tour w NYCH20

Explore Greenpoint’s post industrial landscape and waterfront with Newtown Creek Alliance historian Mitch Waxman.

Click here for ticketing and more information.


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 24, 2019 at 1:00 pm

honest bourgeoise

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Street Furniture, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is still a bit behind in his schedule, and a series of peregrinations over the weekend diverted one from producing new posts or putting the finishing touches on any new shots, so I reached into the archives for today’s post. It’s one of my favorite subjects – street furniture. Normally that term applies to fire hydrants or lamp posts or benches, but in my little world it can also be used for the cast off furnishings that the humans who inhabit this urban hive position on the street in the hope that some one, anyone in fact, might lessen their burden and take the unwanted thing.

Interesting thing about street furniture is that it often speaks to the economic status of the neighborhood you encounter it in. To wit – this rather expensive looking chair encountered along the sidewalks of the Upper East Side of the Shining City of Manhattan, pictured above. That’s some high class trash, yo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Brooklyn rules” state that if something has been abandoned on the sidewalk, it’s yours for the taking. Before the reemergence of bed bugs (or “vantzem,” as my Grandma would have said) in NYC in recent years, it was fairly commonplace for young folks and college students to furnish their entire apartment with found furniture.

Not so much anymore, I’m told.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is always impressed with the material wealth of our culture. The amount of usable and fairly well conditioned furniture cast aside in the pursuit of redecorating is kind of staggering. Often it seems that you could fill an entire apartment with stuff you’d find after a bit of leg work on bulk pickup days.

I’d need to buy a new mattress, as a note. There are certain items which I categorize as “personal” – hats, shoes, underwear, bedding. Items that might spend a lot of its time absorbing bodily fluids like spit or sweat are things you really want in “virgin” condition, in my opinion.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are a few non profits out there, beyond the morally circumspect Salvation Army people, who will take your “good condition, used” category furniture items and see that they find a new home with somebody in need. There’s “Build it Green” here in Queens, for instance. I’ve always wondered why the Sanitation Department doesn’t do something similar with good condition furniture left on the curb.

I would guess that the logistics of redistribution rather than disposal would be too expensive and complicated to be feasible.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A complaint often offered at this – your Newtown Pentacle – centers around the lack of public lavatories in NYC.

This sidewalk find in LIC suggests that all things are possible if a little imagination is utilized.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This fellow is a hero to all Astorians, having dragged his reclining “dad chair” into his minivan and then deploying it at Astoria Park. Thusly, the very best definition of street furniture is submitted for your approval.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 15, 2018 at 1:00 pm

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