The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘The Skillman Corridor

titanic chisel

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back home in Queens, after my day trip to Philadelphia, and I’m sorry to report two things. First, a combination of obligation and precipitation conspired against me taking a single picture for a week after the 7th. The second is that the obligations took the form of an endless series of Zoom meetings which just happened to occur on the few days when it wasn’t raining in the second week of March.

The only good news about this series of Newtown Creek related, or non profit advocacy group focused, or Community Board meetings I participated in is that while the “blah blah blah” and virtue signaling was happening, I was developing all the shots from Philadelphia that you’ve seen over the last couple of weeks on a different screen.

Multi tasking!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 14th of March, a Monday, a very long walk was undertaken. My pathway involved first crossing the Sunnyside Yards, and then scuttling along the Skillman Avenue corridor which follows the southern side of the vast Federally owned railroad coach yard.

Famously, a humble narrator has a catalogue of every hole in the fences which is large enough to allow a lens sized point of view. After a spate of outings during the winter months, ones which saw me going out in the early hours of the morning in pursuit of the rising of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself, this was the first of several spring outings timed for the recession of the fiery orb to its receptacle somewhere behind New Jersey.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Hole reliable” is actually two holes. They appear to be surveyor’s points, and they are cleanly cut apertures punched out of the steel plate fences. There’s four kinds of fencing around the yards, with three of them being absolutely disastrous in terms of photos – save for these rare surveyor points.

The funny thing about the so called “security” situation here are the rail cops sleeping in their cars alongside wide open gates, contrasted with an abundance of “block the view” or “unclimbable” fences.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This shot was gathered while lingering, unchallenged, at one of those open gates. There was a cop sleeping in his car directly behind me, with a tablet playing a TV program in his passenger seat.

I literally could have done anything I wanted here – walked right down to the tracks and waved at passing trains. Anything. It’s all theater – security kabuki.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the 7 line subway heading eastwards out of Queens Plaza towards Sunnyside pictured above. The tracks it travels on are suspended high above the ground level tracks used by Long Island Railroad and Amtrak. In between, there’s a truss bridge which carries vehicle traffic into and out of Queens Plaza, where the travel lane approaches to the Queensboro Bridge are found.

I moved on, the cop never woke up. Maybe he was dead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, just as I arrived at my first actual destination, the sky lit up with oranges and yellows. I miss the old days in Long Island City, before big real estate crossed the river from Manhattan and stole the sky.

More tomorrow, from Long Island City, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“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.

rat tracks

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s fall foliage time in Long Island City, so capturing the bucolic splendor of the Industrial Business Zone is on my menu this week. Admittedly, there’s a definite deficit in these parts – vegetation wise. You take what you can get, I always say.

This shot is from Skillman Avenue, nearby a company called “Propper” which seems to manufacture and distribute military and utility oriented clothing (army pants and service uniforms) that have more than the usual number of pockets sewn into them. I wear army pants most of the time for both comfort and utility, but order a different brand than propper, one that includes a lot of velcro closures on those many pockets. My particular brand also has several internal pockets sewn into the velcro closure outer ones, which comes in handy when I want to leave the camera bag at home. Between the pants and my trusty Scott E Vest sweatshirts, I’m packing (literally) 39 distinct and secure pockets at all times. Literally – I’m Mr. Big Pants.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One lost track of time on this particular lonely walk around a nocturnal Long Island City, what with the unseasonably warm November weather last week. Additionally, the route I chose successfully avoided the presence of any other humans somehow, so possibly my missing time involved an abduction by aliens. Solitude is no mean trick, given how this section of Western Queens which I call home counts amongst the most densely populated sections of North America.

Under normal circumstance, solitude is reached for and desired, during a pandemic season – it’s nepenthe.

This particular route isn’t exactly unfamiliar to longtime readers of Newtown Pentacle, of course, and I’ve been marching along it throughout the pandemic. I’ve actually been making it a point of visiting certain spots at different seasonal intervals, which has been kind of a “thing” for me to do. We’ve all had to find something to do during this weird interval, I would imagine. Adapt or die, right?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given that it looks like the long dreaded second wave of Covid is upon us here in the big City, I’d like to join the chorus and remind all to be preventative and careful as you move around the world in the next few months. I know a LOT of people who experienced the virus during the first wave and even the folks who didn’t end up in the hospital due to it described a pretty undesirable experience. Who wants to get sick, anyway?

It’s going to be a very cold winter, after a very hot summer and a definitively annoying autumn. I imagine somewhere around the middle of December we are going to start hearing about a baby boom, as December 13th will make it 9 months since this all started and “Netflix and chill” became a lifestyle. Damn.

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, November 16th. 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

November 16, 2020 at 11:00 am

unmistakeable facades

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Announcing a new walking tour, the Skillman Corridor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Obscura Day is Atlas Obscura’s global outing, and this year I’m going to be offering a new walking tour that has been in the works for awhile now – The Skillman Avenue Corridor. This will explore the southern border of the Sunnyside Yards, descending from the heights of Sunnyside to the flood plain of the Newtown Creek’s tributary Dutch Kills.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As long time readers of this, your Newtown Pentacle, know – Skillman Avenue is one of my “happy hunting grounds” for photographic pursuits. Those of you who share the same obsessions with infrastructure and photography thereof that possess me will find this an immensely satisfying experience. Along the way, the history of Sunnyside Yards and the industrial giants which surround it will be explored.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We will also be visiting Dutch Kills next weekend with Atlas Obscura (May 16, see the link below), on the 13 steps tour, which was actually premiered on Obscura Day several years ago. The Skillman Corridor is the first of several new tours which I’m conjuring up that aren’t directly “Newtown Creek” oriented which will occur in LIC, btw.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

May 16, 2015 –
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills with Atlas Obscura

with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman, click here for details and tickets.

May 30, 2015 –
The Skillman Corridor with Atlas Obscura

with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman, click here for details and tickets.

May 31, 2015 –
Newtown Creek Boat Tour
with Working Harbor Committee and Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman, click here for tickets.

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