The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘sunnyside

palpably diabolic

leave a comment »

Being stressed out is a crutch, yo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One was scuttling along on a recent afternoon, marveling at the wonders of Queens. My day’s photographic targets having been captured, and fully entranced by one of my favorite HP Lovecraft audiobooks (The Horror at Red Hook, read by Wayne June), the path I was on had been chosen to get me home to Astoria from Newtown Creek as quickly as possible via 39th street in Sunnyside. There’s bunches of lovely residences along this stretch, but my visual instinct is generally unexcited by homes and gardens. Nevertheless, the camera is always ready to click and whirr should something interesting pop up.

I am, it should be mentioned, fascinated by the concrete clad topography of Western Queens. The “lay of the land” as it were. There’s all sorts of elluvial hillocks and ridges hidden beneath all the asphalt and brick, and when you walk these streets a lot, you can easily discern where water once flowed or pooled prior to the massive land reclamation and drainage projects of the early 20th century. These projects, and the concombinant political corruption involved with the execution of them, ended the careers of several of the early Borough Presidents of Queens in court.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

File the shot above under “you don’t see that every day,” and even for a humble narrator who has become jaded by the wonders of municipal industry, it isn’t every day that you see a heavy tow truck clad in FDNY trade dress towing an ambulance. I’m sure that the combination was ultimately heading for Maspeth, where the Fire Department maintains a couple of vehicle maintenance facilities.

After capturing the shot, I offered the driver a friendly wave of the hand. He smiled and waved back. Only employees of the FDNY seem to do this, amongst all the City agencies. Cops and Sanitation workers just kind of glare at me. I figure anything that a City employee is driving is partially owned by me anyway, so click and whirr.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above is from a different afternoon, the day that the Bicycle Fanatics came to Sunnyside to stage a protest. I took a bunch of shots of their “human protected bike lane” hooey, but do not wish to inflate their egos or cause any further than necessary. Accordingly, the crepuscular rays dancing about the Sapphire megalith and the ominous mestastase of the LIC skyline are presented instead.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Advertisements

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 14, 2018 at 12:00 pm

blind courage

leave a comment »

Luggage, shoe, gloves – in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since I am a vast physical coward, and feckless quisling, the normalized habit of a humble narrator is to avoid the horror of meeting another’s gaze by staring down at the pavement while scuttling along his path. This helps one pretend that others are not pointing, laughing, or otherwise reacting in shocked horror as he waxes and wanes through their visual field. The plus is that I seldom miss the discarded items which others strew across the public way. Most modern New Yorkers seem to leave a debris field of manufactured items behind in their wake, much like a torpedo stricken merchant ship would as it steams inexorably forward into the open sea with a crew of dead and dying men onboard.

The suitcase pictured above… what redolent cargo might it have hidden? The fetus of an albino Gorilla? A fortune in narcotics? A few pairs of dirty socks and a t-shirt? Never will I know, having been too wracked with terror to investigate any further than by recording its presence photographically.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On 31st Avenue at Crescent Street in Astoria, just a few days after encountering the portentous luggage, evidence of the latest outrage by the Queens Cobbler was observed. A likely serial killer whose ghoulish delight is leaving behind a singular shoe as a taunt to law enforcement and wholesome community members alike, the Queens Cobbler has been mentioned many times at this – your Newtown Pentacle. Last Christmas, the monster signaled that he or she knew where my home address was – as described in this post. This isn’t the first time that I’ve found a child’s shoe, as a note.

I fear you no more than every other living human being, Cobbler, which is absolutely and completely.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Oddly enough, I’ve been seeing a lot of gloves lately, positioned neatly on the sidewalks upon which they were evulsed.

You don’t suppose that there’s a Queens Gaunter running about as well?


Upcoming Tours and Events

June 9th – Exploring Long Island City – with NY Adventure Club.

Long Island City is a tale of two cities; one filled with glittering water-front skyscrapers and manicured parks, and the other, a highly active ground transportation & distribution zone vital to the New York economy — which will prevail?

Tickets and more details
here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 31, 2018 at 11:00 am

childish eyes

leave a comment »

Opposites can repulse or attract, no matter what Paula Abdul said.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Laboriously explained over the last few weeks of night shooting, the tripod technique one has been exploiting involves using small apertures, low ISO camera sensitivity, and long exposures to gather images. It’s rather the opposite of my normal shooting procedure. Out for a scuttle one recent afternoon, a humble narrator decided that since it was incredibly bright out he’d do the opposite of that normal procedure for daylight shots – wide open aperture photos with a shallow depth of field.

That’s the Harold Interlocking pictured above, at the Sunnyside Yards. A night shot from the same vantage point was offered in last Friday’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given that I was pointing the camera into a scene full of reflective surfaces which the sun was setting behind, and the aperture was set to f1.8, I had to reduce sensor sensitivity down to ISO 100 and use a shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second to control the light. 1/8000th is as fast as my shutter will flip, I would mention. That’s fast enough to freeze a bee’s wings mid flap, or to render an in flight helicopter blade static.

It’s kind of thing with me… when it’s not a shot “I have to get,” I like to experiment and see what the capabilities of the capture device are at their extremes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I wandered around a bit with this particular set of settings, which is something else I force myself to do periodically. There are days where I leave my camera bag and zoom lenses at home and go out for a stroll with just a 50mm lens attached and the camera settings locked. The “nifty fifty” as its called, offers an aperture range between f1.8 to f22, with its only real limitation being that it’s a prime lens and fixed to its singular focal range. That means I need to either get close or go further away from a subject.

There’s a reason for this, which is to keep on my toes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Limiting yourself can sometimes force you to get a bit more creative, or just deep dive into the inner workings of the camera. The shot above won’t be finding its way into National Geographic, for instance, but it was a fine balancing act challenge – exposure wise.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Be back tomorrow with something completely different at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 8, 2018 at 11:00 am

given much

with 2 comments

It’s National Brownie Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As a note – this post was originally meant to be published yesterday, and was written in two distinct sittings – I’ll get to the reason why a bit later at photo number five…

So – The other day I was hanging out with a photographer pal of mine, and she asked if I’d be interested in going to “shoot the 7” with her, an entirely wholesome activity of the sort which one readily agrees to. We met up in Astoria, rode to Willets Point and then back to 103rd street, where we debarked the train for luncheon at an eatery of my acquaintance which serves food of the Latino typology. One torta later, we were back on the 7, riding to and fro while chasing opportune lighting.

Who do you think I run into?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the 40th Lowery Street stop, Santa Claus was waiting for the train to arrive. One greeted this seasonal master of the elves, and inquired if it was kosher to collect a shot or two of it. Never piss off Santa. He’s not always a nice guy, and you don’t want to end up on that naughty list. Incidentally like god, Santa is an “it,” not a “he,” as metaphysical beings are not gendered. You don’t refer to the burning bush as “him.” What you see when a Saint, Angel, Savior, or Djinn presents themselves is all that the limited senses of men can perceive and interpret of the thing, the event horizon of something existing in multiple dimensions simultaneously, which our brains can only render as being a jolly fellow in a red suit. Santa is a dragon, an exploding star, a single quark – all at once.

The eidolon of the Yule answered my request in the affirmative, and it didn’t even cost me a glass of milk nor a cookie.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It is opined that the children this creature (whose syncretic origins tie him back through time and space to the Pagan God  Odin in the northwest of Europe and the 2nd century Saint Christian Nikolaos of Myra) defines as “good” receive toys and other decadent gifts. Those whom it has arbitrarily labeled “bad” receive a lump of coal. Occultists and certain Christian sects will inform that Santa is not this entity’s true name, and that “Santa” is just an anagram.

It is said that there are a pair of brothers who used their lumps of coal as the seed with which they founded a petrochemical empire, and rose to National political prominence. When life, or Santa, gives you lemons…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I wouldn’t be me, incidentally, if I didn’t try to ruin Santa Claus for everyone else by talking about the deep historic roots of the entity nor remind all of you that there’s a difference between the Mediterranean and Near Eastern “Christmas” and the “Yule” celebrated by the barbarian Normans. Most of what we associate with “Christmas” is actually Yule.

Christmas Eve was once called Mōdraniht by the same Northern European cultures that believed in Norns, Hamingja, the Fylgjur, and variants of Odin. These same people also dug Thor and Freya, whom they turned into Saint Michael and the Blessed Virgin Mary in Christian times, but there you are.

from wikipedia

Scholars have connected the month event and Yule time period to the Wild Hunt (a ghostly procession in the winter sky), the god Odin (who is attested in Germanic areas as leading the Wild Hunt and, as mentioned above, bears the name Jólnir), and increased supernatural activity, such as the aforementioned Wild Hunt and the increased activities of draugar—undead beings who walk the earth.

Mōdraniht, an event focused on collective female beings attested by Bede as having occurred among the pagan Anglo-Saxons on what is now Christmas Eve, has been seen as further evidence of a fertility event during the Yule period.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Now, as to the question of why this post originally meant to publish yesterday on National Cotton Candy Day rather than today… HOLY SMOKES was a humble narrator laid low by some sort of rapid onset stomach bug after attending a Christmas party in the City on Tuesday. This felt a bit more like food poisoning than a virus. I blamed one of the Billion Oysters guys, whose hand I shook when he took a break from shucking shellfish for the Xmas party, while laying there in a hallucination plagued state as my digestive system purged itself. It could also have been touching something on the subway, but I needed someone to blame, so the oyster guy got the nod.

“Both ends” of my inner worm were exit points, if you know what I mean.

Couldn’t hold down a sip of water, and I enjoyed deep bodily chills as well as fevered sweats while repeatedly running towards my porcelain throne. The time in between explosive exhalations was spent sleeping and suffering. Over a 24 hour period, all I could hold down was a bit of Gatorade, a banana, and about half a bottle of Pepto Bismol.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At this moment, one seems to be on the mend, but bodily weakness and a general turpitude prevails.

Imagine it… a humble narrator so enamored of a waterway plagued by raw sewage… laid low by a simple handshake.


Upcoming Tours and events

Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour, with Atlas Obscura – Sunday, December 10th, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Explore NYC history, hidden inside sculptural monuments and mafioso grave sites, as you take in iconic city views on this walking tour, with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 8, 2017 at 11:00 am

after action

with one comment

It’s National Have a Bagel Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Encountered at the corner of Hunters Point Avenue and 36th street, which is at the “angle” between the Blissville and Sunnyside sections of LIC here in Queens, this formerly cool car appears to have suffered through some sort of catastrophic event. You’ll notice that there’s more than few odd things about this scene. My reckoning, at least, is that I can’t imagine that this immolation of an expensive auto was desired by its owner – but who knows?

Kids these days. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This was a fairly thorough fire, by all appearances, but one that was quite selective in terms of what it consumed. Little green cards with NYPD logos on them were visible on the heap, instructing “Do Not Tow” and proclaiming the wreck as being “evidence.” The vehicle is of the Mercedes sedan type, or at least it was. This puppy is likely going to be seen somewhere along Newtown Creek in the coming weeks, squished into a pile of castoff vehicles at one scrap yard or another.

Anybody out there missing a black Mercedes sedan?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That had to be some sort of super hot fire, in my eyes, to have melted away the engine bonnet.

Apparently, though, that’s what happened. In some ways, it visually reminds one of that mysterious phenomena called “spontaneous human combustion.” That’s the one where a body is found that’s been partially burned all the way to ash but the flames were super selective, leaving behind a hand or foot that is otherwise unharmed, and with little damage to furniture or wall hangings in proximity to high temperature combustion. To get human flesh to ash, crematoriums create fiery environments that are 1,400 to 1,800 degrees fahrenheit. How can something anywhere even close to an environment of that temperature not get scorched?

I mean… this blaze was hot enough to melt the engine hood, parts of the engine, and the entire interior cabin – but the tires are perfectly intact? Weird.

Steel melts at 2,750 degrees fahrenheit, I’m told.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 4, 2017 at 11:00 am

systematic collection

with one comment

It’s National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So – last week I had a few things to do over in the Hunters Point section of LIC on a particular afternoon. A short and rapid scuttle ensued, one which saw a humble narrator hurtling south towards Skillman Avenue in a staggering pursuance of arrival in certain points found westwards of the almond eyed Astoria he calls home. Avoidance of perambulatory transit through Queens Plaza has become a “thing” for me, as the alternative route – using Jackson Avenue – is less visually interesting, and is also a somewhat harrowing journey on foot due to omnipresent construction and heavy vehicular activity.

Besides – I have zero opportunity to shoot shots of trains using the Jackson Avenue route, and I know where just about every hole in the fenceline along the Sunnyside Yards can be found. I always advise those dear to me to “stand behind something” while waiting for the traffic signals to change and allow access to cross this Northern Boulevard, I would mention, so in the interest of practicing what I preach – one ducked down and cowered behind a fire hydrant (pictured above). 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

OK – Steinway Street in Astoria is analogous to 39th street in Sunnyside, and the two are connected by one of several truss bridges that span the Sunnyside Yards. It’s actually fairly “good cardio” walking over the 39th street span if you lean into it and push towards the apogee of the thing. At the top of the arch, there’s a worker access road that would carry Amtrak and other railroad employees down into the railyard, and that’s where I spotted a percussionist practicing his craft.

Naturally – One did not wish to interrupt his reverie, so I cannot describe who the fellow was, but he was positively “rocking out.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Observedly – It was a three piece drum set which this gentleman had set up for himself, and despite having noticed a humble narrator photographing him, he never skipped a beat.

Y’know – This sort of drum kit is relatively modern in origin, and whereas it is quite familiar to modern eyes, it was only originated in the 1860’s. It’s called a “trap drum” or “double drumming” kit, and prior to the semi modern era, each one of the instruments on view (base, cymbal, snare) would have required an individual musician to operate. The trap drum innovation was conducive to the development of the musical schools of ragtime, jazz, and rock-n-roll, I’m told.

But – I digress.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Then – Although I wish I could tell you that one got caught up in the wild al fresco rhythms offered by this anonymous percussionist, as mentioned at the top of the post – I had things to do and places to be. Utilizing one of those aforementioned holes big enough to stick a lens through – in the fences of the Sunnyside Yards – and which I keep a constantly updated mental map of, to capture a shot of Amtrak’s Acela train passing through the Harold Interlocking on its way towards Manhattan. It’s the busiest train junction in the United States, actually, the Harold Interlocking. The Mayor wants to build luxury housing upon a deck on top of it. Please vote for someone else today.

Ultimately – I had places to go, and headed west into the setting sun, scuttling along with a camera in hand.


Upcoming Tours and events

Exploring Long Island City, from Luxury Waterfront to Abandoned Factories Walking Tour,
with NY Adventure Club – Sunday, November 12th, 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Long Island City is a tale of two cities; one filled with glittering water-front skyscrapers and manicured parks, and the other, a highly active ground transportation & distribution zone vital to the New York economy — which will prevail? With Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.

Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour, with Atlas Obscura – Sunday, December 10th, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Explore NYC history, hidden inside sculptural monuments and mafioso grave sites, as you take in iconic city views on this walking tour, with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 7, 2017 at 11:00 am

stymied appetites

with one comment

It’s National Seafood Bisque Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One loathes the fact that the Queens Cobbler, a probable serial killer operating on both sides of the Newtown Creek who leaves single shoes behind as a taunt to both community and gendarmes alike, left this stiletto heeled shoe behind at the very same Astoria saloon at which a humble drinks his troubles away. Just last weekend, on a night when I had brought my little dog Zuzu out with me for an evening of commiseration with the neighborhood commentariat – as I was walking my trusty canine around the corner to allow for a moment of her lavatorial relief – this scene was encountered.

Should you find a singular size 11 Merell hiking boot displayed prominently somewhere in North Brooklyn or Western Queens, that means the Cobbler has finally zeroed in on me and that you’ll need to find a replacement for this – your Newtown Pentacle. If you see a headline saying “blogger catches killer” then it’ll mean I got the best of him or her.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been working on a Newtown Creek event, one which is not public facing I’m afraid, assiduously over the last couple of weeks and is highly distracted. Due to this – and other obligations – one hasn’t had a lot of “me” time. One of those many obligations recently saw me attending a rather contentious meeting with environmental officialdom in Sunnyside, where I noticed some fellow doing his job in the rain at a local tire shop on 39th street.

The “G” bomb, which is the term I use for the unfolding wavefront of so called “gentrification” has observedly hit the street side auto industry hardest in recent years. Gas stations, taxi yards, tire shops, mechanics – have all been disappearing at a rapid rate in recent years. They occupy large lots and generally have shallow pockets, a pair of factors which are quite attractive development opportunities for the Real Estate Industrial Complex.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A Subway conductor recently told me that MTA employees absolutely hate it when shots like the one above are captured. They are especially enraged when their faces are recognizable. One plans on continuing to photograph the men and women who operate the system, however. Just last night, when a token booth worker at Fulton Street made me miss two trains so that he could complete a phone call with his wife before performing the transaction to charge up my Metrocard, I didn’t take his picture as I was particularly “geared up” with a tripod and bag of lenses and my hands were full.

Another reason for me to enjoy enraging the MTA workforce with photos captured involves the weekend habits they employ, announcing that a train is going express to some extant locale just after the subway doors close at Queens Plaza, negating any chance of not visiting Forest Hills or Briarwood.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 19, 2017 at 1:00 pm

%d bloggers like this: