The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Sunnyside Yards

all petrifying

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After the rains of Ida blasted through Queens, a humble narrator packed up his camera bag and headed over to the industrial zone of Long Island City to see if my there was any interesting damage to take pictures of. My destination was the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek, and to get there from HQ here in Astoria, I have to cross over to the south side of the Sunnyside Yards.

That’s the Standard Motor Products Building, one of several dinosaur sized industrial buildings which line the Northern Blvd. side of the Federal rail yard. Standard was a manufacturer of switches and electronics for automobiles, and still are. I have a friend who still works for them in an office in that building. On the roof is the Brooklyn Grange Urban Farm, which is definitely worth a visit if you’ve never been up there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given the sloping character of Skillman Avenue, one expected to find all sorts of storm damage here. Nada. It was as if nothing had changed since the last time I walked through here.

Well, maybe they managed to toss another luxury condo up in the last week, it’s hard to tell with Long Island City these days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One thing about that storm, however, is that everyone forgot to pat the NYC DEP on the back afterwards. I’m often in an adversarial posture towards this particular city agency, and a lot of my activist/advocacy time is spent decrying their bureaucratic obfuscations on Newtown Creek. Saying that, however, you do have to appreciate the fact that when the rain falls on us in buckets, they are the ones who drain the flooding away. Also, in NYC, you seldom get warnings about having to boil drinking water as it’s become contaminated after flooding. DEP delivers our clean water, maintains the resovoirs, and also handles sewage at their 13 treatment plants. They have a few more duties, but those are the big ones.

Thank you to Commissioner Vincent Sapienza and his DEP pals for getting us through yet another crazy weather event.


“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 9, 2021 at 11:00 am

terrifying delight

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunset is fairly spectacular this time of year, if you get your timing correct. A recent scuttle found one heading towards the familiar destination of Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary in Long Island City’s Degnon Terminal section. This is a familiar path for me, and is one of the regular night time walks which I’ve been engaging in throughout the endless pandemic months.

That water tower pictured above is on the roof of the Standard Motor Products Building, which also hosts the Brooklyn Grange Urban farm.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When I was crossing the Honeywell Truss over the Sunnyside Yards, which is one of the street bridges spanning the rail complex which connects Skillman Avenue with Northern Blvd., I got the fiery skies I was hoping for.

One was, of course, about a half hour late relative as to where I wanted to be when the sky went orange. I really wanted to be near the water, but had a bit of trouble dragging my butt out of HQ on time. This is one of the effects that the pandemic months has created for me, an inability to rush about.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s been a while since I’ve left HQ with the entire photo kit on my back – y’know, the tripod and everything. A point was made of intentionally using my zoom lenses while walking, since most of what I’ve been shooting over the last few months has been accomplished with two prime lenses. Given that I’ve brought a long lens out of retirement, I’m trying to mix things up a bit and “reach out and touch something” with it.

As mentioned, a bit of travel is in the cards for me in September. Definitely going to be visiting the pretty city of Pittsburgh with its amazing collection of bridges and funiculars, Burlington up in Vermont is on my list, as is Washington D.C. If I can make it work, I might come back from Pittsburgh via Chicago. I also have a wedding to attend in a rural section of New York State next month. Exciting, no?


“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 19, 2021 at 1:00 pm

feeble spirit

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Umbrella? Yeah, better bring one. As mentioned in previous posts, one has been experiencing several annoying and somewhat painful conditions which have been getting in my way. One of them is a pulled muscle in the spinal region. This condition is certainly temporary, which is how my experience with similar injuries in the past have played out, but it’s made me question every single item in camera bag from the point of view of weight. Sticking the umbrella in there is a drag, even though it’s only a pound or two. Seriously, when you’re marching along with the gear, even a few ounces of weight make a real difference in how happy you might be.

That’s the view of Astoria’s Broadway from HQ, gathered as one of these recent crazy storms was just blowing in. I was hoping to catch some lightning, but no luck.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Somebody on Newtown Avenue, in another section of Astoria, purpled their firebox. I know for a fact that the guys and gals who ride on the noisy red trucks don’t like when the citizenry do this, but in recent years I’ve noticed that people are taking the painting of fireboxes into their own hands.

This one isn’t too far from The Saw Lady’s house. Maybe she knows who and why. Is there a massive Prince fan living nearby?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another walk, another Tylenol for my aching back. As mentioned in the past, Sunnyside Yards is always in focus around these parts. That’s an Amtrak maintenance facility, as you may have guessed.

Lots of intentional stretching and not repeating the physical behavior which resulted in my back hurting is underway, so everything seems to be on the mend. I still need to sit down more often than normal, and I’ve figured out the exact spot between the shoulder blades to press my thumb into. That causes an audible “click” and allows the trapped muscle to degauss or disengage or whatever it is that’s going on in there.


“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, 2021 at 11:00 am

small lands

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given my new proclivity towards antiviral immunity, recent scuttles have been routed with a formerly insane ideation in mind – taking the subway home. I’m sorry to say that more often than not in the last couple of months, either weather condition or the annoying problems I’m experiencing with this malfunctioning body of mine have actually necessitated transportation be used. The sort of summer heat we’ve been experiencing – the high temperature plus high dew point and then thunderstorm kind – shuts me right down. One refers to this interval as a “reverse blizzard.” The malfunction that’s mostly getting in my way involves the left foot, which seems to have been the favored location for several injuries I’ve suffered over the decades. That crushed big toe dealie from a couple of years back seems to have set off a whole Megillah of stuff down there. Either I’m going to fire the foot and hire a new one or finally be forced into mentioning the issue to a Doctor.

The left foot does, after all, represent 50% of my roadway interface.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whilst limping about and preparing to board a 7 train back to Jackson Heights in pursuit of transferring to an R or M line subway which stops close to HQ in Astoria, however, an Amtrak train was witnessed as it approached the tunnels leading into Manhattan. Simultaneously, a 7 Line subway train was climbing out of the Hunters Point Avenue stop on its way to the Court Square station. Now you’re talking!

One limped down the stairs and slumped into the hard plastic seat of one of those 7 line trains. Uneventfully, a humble narrator proceeded with the plan and made it home. Our Lady of the Pentacle described me as looking like a sweaty mess and pointed at the shower.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While you’ve been reading these posts for the last week, I’ve been kind of busy with a series of meetings and planning calls related to my beloved Newtown Creek. Had a bit of Astoria business to handle as well. Believe it or not, next week I’m going to be encouraging you to purchase tickets for a walking tour of LIC which I’m going to be co-conducting with my pal Geoff Cobb in early August.

Imagine – seeing me limp around in person and hearing the dulcet tones of my doomsaying live!


“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 16, 2021 at 2:30 pm

baffling region

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

About a hundred and change years ago, roughly a hundred horses a day would die of exhaustion and overwork somewhere in the greater NYC area every single day. Common practice was to just abandon the corpse on the street, and an entire industrial sector operated around the collection and disposal of the beasts. Van Iderstine’s in Long Island City and other rendering operations happily accepted the bodies, and they’d melt them down into tallow. The hides, hooves, and bones had other destinations. Leather manufacturers, Neet Oil distilleries, and fertilizer mills took those parts.

What about the horse poop, you ask? If you’ve got a predictable bunch of dead horses turning up every day, imagine how many living ones there were spraying fecal matter onto the streets? Well, the Long Island Railroad had a manure dock at Newtown Creek where the collected “stuff” would be piled up, but there were lots of takers for the brown gold. Fertilizer mills, remember? I’ll bet our grandfathers and great grandfathers would have killed for a piece of construction equipment like the one pictured above, spotted on Astoria’s Broadway, back then.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunnyside Yards is always in focus here at the Newtown Pentacle. HQ is just a few blocks away from the 183 square acre 1909 vintage property, and I’ve got an inventory of holes in the fences through which I can focus the camera. Given that I end up crossing this area at least once every couple of days, I use those fence holes a lot.

That’s an Amtrak train which is coming off of the turnaround track at the eastern edge of the rail complex. That eastern edge is along 43rd street, and this shot was gathered on the Harold Avenue Truss Bridge, or 39th street as the dross commoners of Queens might call it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I happen to quite enjoy the company of those dross commoners, as a note. If you’re involved with all the high fallutin crap I am, one of the things that’s easy to lose is perspective. You forget that the things you’re fighting for and about are barely on anyone else’s radar. You spend your time battling with people who are flying some activist flag, or want to demolish your neighborhood in the name of “insert today’s cause here,” and that have long lost any track of a reality beyond their own. As I like to remind myself, these are people who eat pizza with a knife and fork, who have never been punched in the nose. You end up becoming as alienated as they are from reality when arguing with them. What’s the quote – when you fight monsters, be wary of becoming one your self – or something? I dunno, think that was in a book or whatever.

The shot above is from Queens Blvd. in Sunnyside. It was an unbelievably hot and humid evening when this was captured, and I was taking advantage of the shade offered by the elevated tracks of the 7 line to try and cool off. Seriously, my fingers were sweating and I had to keep on wiping my hands on my shorts to handle the camera. Yuck.


“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 13, 2021 at 11:30 am

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