The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Subway

were well

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 26th brought one of those “I told you so” moments to Astoria. For literally ten years, I’ve been sounding the alarms about the ridiculous amount of dead wiring overhead – and the horrendous condition of often century old utility poles which carry them. Assemblymember Brian Barnwell heard my cry and his office tried shaking the tree at the NYS Utility commission, but just like every other part of New York State – that patronage mill called “Albany” saw no political gain in even conducting an inspection of the situation here in Queens.

A line of thunderstorms crashed through Astoria earlier in the evening, and shortly after the wind and rain stopped, the FDNY arrived on Astoria’s Broadway and began arranging caution tape.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To no one’s surprise, the storm had caused a series of live wires to crack down onto the puddle choked street and yet another Astoria hullabaloo was underway. The 46th street Subway Station was right in the middle of this municipal chaos, as a note.

You ever get the sense that the people who run this City and State would make terrible roommates?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 27th, after having completed all of my “have to’s” it was decided to take a fairly short walk. Recent habit has seen me circumnavigating the 183 square acres of the Sunnyside Yards on these short walks. I’ll leave Astoria and walk over to Skillman Avenue, which will be followed to its terminus at Hunters Point Avenue and 21st street, whereupon I’ll head over to Jackson Avenue and then follow it through Queens Plaza where it transmogrifies into Northern Blvd. at 31st street and scuttle back to HQ.

Along the way, there’s lots and lots of fence holes to poke the camera lens into, and observe what wonders there might be hidden within the colossal rairlroad coach yard. That’s the IRT Flushing 7 line train exiting Queens Plaza heading for points east.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All winter and spring, I’ve been seeing the Long Island Railroad’s newest acquisitions being put through their paces. I don’t know if these trains have entered “revenue service” yet or if they’re still being tested out.

I’ve had a horrible realization recently… good lord, have I been rail fanning? Has it really come to this?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 7 line exits Court Square Station on an elevated track, and this right of way descends down into the Hunters Point Station. Occasionally, on this particular route, I’ll actually hop on the 7 and take it back to Sunnyside or Woodside and walk home from there.

I stand on the assertion that the 7 is the most photogenic of all the subway lines.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At Hunters Point Avenue, you’ve got an absolutely incredible eastward looking view of the Sunnyside Yards. That Long Island Railroad train was heading into Manhattan, and the entrance to the East River Tunnels is nearby.

Wonders, I tell you, wonders.


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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.

lasting merely

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That machine pictured above blows. Literally. It’s a jet engine on rail wheels which the LIRR uses for clearing snow and evacuating litter and leaf debris from the tracks.

Hunters Point Yard, Long Island City. It blows, but doesn’t suck, this gizmo. Want to know what else blows? Our perception of danger, and of the return of “Fear City.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A quick walk found me riding on a 7 train, which took me to the Court Square Station in LIC. According to what I see on the news these days, I should have experienced something like Act 3 of the post apocalyptic “Road Warrior” movie, but unmolested was a humble narrator.

Seriously, other than the curious instruction from MTA, observed several times on printed and electronic poster boards within “The System” which adjures against barbecuing on subway platforms or within moving subway cars, I haven’t seen much of “out of the ordinary” down below.

It ain’t the 80’s, or even the 90’s down there… not yet, at least.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

People have been walking around with their heads up their arse for decades on the topics of “crime and safety,” which is due to “Copaganda” in my opinion.

Your chances of getting jumped… personally, I walk around everywhere with my radar on at full power at all times and have been eschewing the use of headphones while commuting… are certainly less than they were in the 1980’s, but have never been absent. Many just chose to believe that they were safe or something, and the looney tales propagated out to the news media by “certain” municipal unions which reinforce public perceptions of their centrality to all things good and great has created an impression that a) the cops could “fix it” if only they had more money and more cops and less reforms and more blah blah, and b) that the people committing these outlandish criminal acts in these stories could be cured if only there was more funding for mental health and affordable housing and blah blah blah.

Ask a hammer how to fix a broken window, it’ll say “hit it with a hammer.”

Here’s a different way to experience things – with your own eyes. Some people are good, others are bad, and a small percentage of them are straight up scumbags. We should create a penal colony on Mars and populate it with these scumbags, I’ve always thought.

Australia has worked out fairly ok, why not have a Marstrailia?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

With my own eyes – I have not seen people BBQing in the subway, but I’ve seen fare evasion and all sorts of “normal” NYC bullshit occurring more often post Covid than before.

About a month ago, an obviously ill scumbag was yelling ugly racial rhetoric at random passerby, right here at the Court Square Station. More than once have I observed the same guy doing the same thing. Cops? Nope. Would they clip him, or just force him to move on?

The one that really cooks the noodle for me is that although the ugly sentiments that this guy offered would be considered a hate crime, and despite the fact that he’s clearly “not healthy” mentally, do we really want the NYPD to get into the business of policing what people can and can’t say in the Subway – or anywhere else?

I’ve mentioned in this space that I’ve had weird encounters on the street during the pandemic, which could have gone “ass over tits” quickly if I didn’t possess the experiences of having grown up and lived in NYC all my life. I know how to talk and act in these situations, and when it’s time to run away or scream at the top of my lungs for help.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Plaza was the next point of subway line transfer, where I would connect with an R line subway that would carry me to the subway stop which is nearest to HQ in Astoria. Queens Plaza is where some poor woman got attacked with a hammer, with said hammer wielded by some scumbag from Manhattan. The subway stop in Astoria I was aiming myself at is found at an intersection where, in 2020, a young mother found herself caught in a crossfire of bullets being fired indiscriminately by two random bunches of local scumbags. She died.

If the cops happened to be in the Queens Plaza station, and also happened to be nearby that staircase where the scumbag with the hammer attacked that woman, you can bet your bottom dollar that NYPD’s legendary lack of subtlety would have been on full display. The gunfight in Astoria, which was one of about 8 or 9 such exchanges which have occurred within a couple of blocks of that Astoria subway stop… how do you stop that? Drug trade gonna drug trade, gangstas gonna gang, bangers gonna bang.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, my radar is being maintained at full power these days.

Nobody gets to within eight steps of me without an assessment, and receiving a series of non-verbal cues that they’ve been noticed and are dancing too close. Saying all that, be careful, scumbags are and always have been everywhere.

Real life isn’t what you hope it is, instead it’s entirely unpredictable and two out of every ten people are scumbags. Further, four of the remaining eight can flip either good or bad depending on the crowd they’re in. Good news? There’s generally two out of the ten who will be ok people no matter what happens.

Thankfully, the R train arrived. Some scumbag took a dump in the car I was riding in, but hey – it’s only three stops to where I gotta get off so…


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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

May 18, 2022 at 11:00 am

all observant

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s all so depressing… shortly after cataloguing the dissection of the Dutch Kills shoreline, and other features in the immediate vicinity thereof, one hopped on the 7 train at the elevated Court Square station.

It was time to head home, and after spending a full early February day out and about, my energy was ebbing low.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The plan I had hatched involved taking the 7 to Queens Plaza, and then hopping aboard an N or W train to Astoria, whereupon a short walk to a local pizzeria would result in me walking into HQ and greeting Our Lady of the Pentacle – with a triumphant couple of slices in hand.

The MTA, though… their game is strong.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The frequency of the 7 line is pretty fantastic these days, since they’ve completed the decades long CBTC signals replacement project. It really does come every 5-10 minutes, the 7.

Unfortunately, the gold badged Broadway line trains – R, N, W – never received an upgrade to their signals, and especially so in midtown Manhattan, where it is desperately needed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The signals upgrade allows for precise control of train set positioning and line wide coordination. This allows the trains to be run much closer together than using the old 1920’s style system, and allows for better “transit saturation.”

Over in the Shining City, there are several choke points for Queens bound trains – notably at the tracks leading into 34th/Herald Square and 42nd Times Square, and at the approaches to the Steinway and 63rd st. tunnels under Columbus Circle. If ANYTHING goes wrong at any single one of those points, EVERYTHING goes wrong with all three lines – as well as affecting the M, and the E, and the F lines. This triggers a meltdown in the system that can ripple from Manhattan all the way back to Brooklyn and Queens within minutes.

The Q, which formerly was part of the Astoria line, is now Manhattan only and running on the Second Avenue Subway tracks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After about twenty minutes of standing on the platform at Queens Plaza, I got bored and started waving the camera around.

What is it with the new people in the luxury condos and their lack of drapery, window coverings, or Venetian Blinds?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After about a half hour, during which I was dreaming of pizza, the N finally arrived.

It was long day, and there were lots of photos that needed developing when I got back to HQ.

More tomorrow.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 31, 2022 at 11:00 am

simpering inanities

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A brief stop over in Pennsylvania’s Harrisburg saw Amtrak change out the crew on my Pittsburgh to NYC journey. Pennsylvania’s Capitol, Harrisburg, offered a 15 minute or so “leg stretch” and “smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em” interval, and half the train staggered out into the daylight to do one thing or the other and sometimes both. We had collectively boarded the train at 7:15 in the morning, after all.

After the bells rang and we all filed back onboard, an announcement that the cafe car was reopened occurred, and a humble narrator purchased a range of comestibles for luncheon and settled back into the seat I had been assigned. After quaffing some coffee and eating an Amtrak Hot Dog, I got back to pondering my fate and staring out the window while watching America roll past. The camera was gathered out of its sack, and I got back to looking for interesting sights.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The landscape in Pennsylvania fascinates me. The Appalachian Mountain range and plateau is incredibly ancient, is a geologic feature which Pennsylvania is situated on the northern reaches of, and it dates back some 480 million years to the Ordovician Period – which is when ocean critters first started exploring dry land. Formed by the action of tectonic plate compression when the super continent Pangaea begin to split up, the Appalachia once rose as high as the Alps or Rockies do today. They’re referred to as “folded mountains” and the reason that all that coal is buried in them is due to their presence during the highly forested Carboniferous era (that’s when the giant dragonflies were around, and you had centipedes the size of school buses sliding around in the swamps). An absolutely staggering amount of effort and expenditure in the 19th and 20th century saw Americans burrowing and mining into, blasting rights of way through, and building upon and around the Appalachia Range.

Fascinating. Really. Mountains older than the dinosaurs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At 30th street Station in Philadelphia the now familiar dance of changing out the locomotive engine from the diesel powered model to the electrified “coGen” unit used for the Northeast Corridor was enacted by the Amtrak people. They did their thing, and waved lanterns at each other, and then it was time to get back onboard again and head back to “home sweet hell.” This was another “stretch your legs” break and a good number of people onboard took advantage of it.

A humble narrator settled back into the assigned seat, and picked up the camera. I affixed the foam collar to my lens and began passing the time by shooting through the windows again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s Philadelphia, America’s consolation prize, pictured above.

After spending an entire day on the train, and eating two Amtrak meals along the way, I was quite ready to return to the grinding existential nightmare of a dystopian shithole which I call “home.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Upon my return to Penn Station, I ducked outside onto 8th avenue to breathe a bit of what passes for fresh air in Midtown before heading back to Astoria on the subway. It was rush hour, and despite Covid, the subways were quite busy. Unlike the last time I exited from that door pictured above, this time I didn’t see anyone masturbating into a street grate. There was a guy who offered to sell me something, but I’m not sure what he was offering. Could have been a gold chain, or crack, or sex. Wasn’t interested, me.

A quick ride on the E line got me out of Dodge, and soon I was at Queens Plaza. As is usually the case with me, as soon as the train entered Queens, I felt a rush of energy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The final leg of my long journey arrived at Queens Plaza just as I did, a local R line which would carry me to Astoria.

Our Lady of the Pentacle had arrived home the night before, and had graciously obtained food stuffs which were waiting for me back at HQ. I tore into a bagel like it had done something to my mom, and began downloading all of the photos you’ve been looking at for the last two weeks onto the computer for processing.

I felt a need, and a desire, to listen to this song while setting myself up for the labor of developing them.


“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 1, 2022 at 11:00 am

he flees

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On one of the very few public facing Newtown Creek walks of 2021, I was approached afterwards by one of the Gradate Students who had attended the thing. They asked me if I’d be willing to “show them the ropes” on the eastern side of Newtown Creek. This was before the current Pandemic surge condition set up, so I said “sure.”

I set a meet up point at 43rd street and Queens Blvd., but decided to take the train there from Astoria instead of the Q104 bus or just walking. M line to Jackson Heights, and transfer to the 7.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A buddy of mine in Astoria gives me the “you’re crazy” face when I tell him to go this way, as he likes transferring to the 7 Line at Court Square. He’s wrong, as it’s three stops to Jackson Heights from my stop in Astoria and 4 stops to Court Square. Given that his route goes through Queens Plaza, it’s always going to take longer.

I’m smart… Smart, not dumb, not like people say.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The particular path I took the grad student on involved some of the less visited spots along Newtown Creek like Maspeth Creek. As open sewers go, it’s a beauty.

Foliage, that’s what I kept on thinking. Foliage.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, the pandemic has annihilated another Newtown Creek business, this one a distribution hub for an international bakery company that sells snack cakes. Accordingly, open fences, and an opportunity to get a shot that I’ve never gathered before.

Funnily enough, some of my Newtown Creek people – who always tell me that I’ve seen too many movies – recently discovered that the Mafia are still active in the Maspeth area. Surprising, huh? Beverage and snack food distribution using fleets of trucks to deliver to all cash businesses like Bodegas… who would associate the Mafia with that… I mean, it’s not like you grew up in New England and I grew up in 1980’s Flatbush and Canarsie. Thereby, your point of view on this topic is superior to mine. Saying that, I had a neighbor whose car horn literally played “The Godfather”’s theme music.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Around the end of our walk, I asked the Grad Student where they wanted to be for sunset, which was greeted with a shrug. I suggested the Grand Street Bridge, and the view you see above.

This shot is from early December, which ended up being a pretty productive month for a humble narrator. The reason I’m embedding six shots in the posts at the moment is to try and catch up with the actual calendar.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Technically, this shot was captured in Brooklyn. The actual dividing line between the boroughs is more or less the dead bang center of the Grand Street Bridge.

More tomorrow.


“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 6, 2022 at 11:00 am

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