The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Triborough Bridge

somewhat shamefaced

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Camera in hand, lonely and friendless, filthy black raincoat snapping about in the hard wind of late winter. Sometimes I’m on a boat.

Having grown up in southeast Brooklyn (Canarsie/Flatlands), one’s native speech pattern is best described by recitations of the “Brooklyn Alphabet.” “Fuckin A, Fuckin B, go fuck yourself C, kiss my ass D” and so on. This is part of my heritage, and the Brooklyn accent of my parents would pronounce common words such as birds as “boids,” toilet as “terlet,” and oil as “erl.” As an adult, an attempt is made to show a finer veneer to all of the fancy pants people I meet. Dis is da struggol you gots when’s you growed up in Brooklyn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thereby, one has embraced creative expressions of surprise for my daily use that don’t include the use of Brooklyn vernacular. Lately, I’m embracing ones like “by the misty mountains of Kuala Lampur” or “Great galloping Ganesh.” I don’t know if Kuala Lampur actually has mountains or not, or whether the beloved Hindu deity is known to gallop – but since Ganesh is an elephant, it probably would have a certain proclivity towards the occasional gallop – if only for shits and giggles.

“Holy jumping Jesus” is also another one of my refrains although scripture never mentions the Christian Savior as leaping about. My Lebanese buddy Sal has instructed me in the many possible usages of Allah u Akbar (god is great), which is the Islamic equivalent of Aloha or Shalom in terms of being an omnivorous response one is able to deploy in a variety of circumstances. New Baby? Allah U Akbar! Your mom died? Allah U Akbar… Sal has informed me that it’s all about inflection.

Saying all that, whether Ganesh or Allah or Jesus, you’re probably accidentally pissing someone off with an off hand religious reference, so “by the misty mountains of Kuala Lampur” it is.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Riding back home on the NYC ferry from the Bronx, I got to exclaim “Holy Homeland Security” when I spotted this NYPD Harbor unit boat performing that particular mission for our ferry boat. Not too long ago, I was riding on the Staten Island Ferry and a couple of tourist types asked me why the Coast Guard was following our big orange boat with machine guns deployed while we navigated from Manhattan to… Staten Island…

They really couldn’t put it together about how big a target a ferry boat might be for the bad guys. I’d tell you who the villains are, but I’m not really sure anymore. Are we still mad at the Arabs? If so, I’ll let Sal know. As mentioned, he’s Lebanese, so not too big a fan of the Arabs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was nearly sunset, and an executive decision was arrived at to debark the boat at East 90th street, alongside Gracie Mansion, and find a spot to get set up with the tripod as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself dipped behind New Jersey.

Along the way, I couldn’t help but get a shot or two of the natural light painting occurring on the Hell Gate and Triborough Bridges.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At East 90th, I took a minute to sit down and chill for a minute, then got busy again. If you set up a camera on a tripod and say “Eric Adams” three times, there’s a 40/60 chance he’ll appear, just like Candyman or Bloody Mary. Didn’t work this time, though.

This area at E 90th, by the way, is more or less the famous spot where the old Astoria Route ferry dock was found. The one that Robert Moses destroyed, an incident which Robert Caro wrote about in Power Broker.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was already beginning to disappear behind New Jersey as I found and claimed my spot.

From the looks I was getting from the passerby, you’d think that I had just released a kite into a thunderstormwhile laughing maniacally, in preparation of bringing a homemade monster to life. Really?

More tomorrow.


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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

April 11, 2022 at 11:00 am

puerile kind

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Now that’s what I call fog, baby. A promising weather report drew me over to the East River’s Hells Gate section, which paid off for a humble narrator. For these shots, I was using the Ultrapod camera support that I’ve mentioned in the past. Said device is a metal plate with four feet under it, and a tripod ball head mounted right in its center on top. This gizmo allows me to place the camera into fairly odd places, including right down on the sidewalk or onto the ledge of the Shore Blvd. retaining wall. Don’t worry, the camera’s strap was still firmly attached to my person.

That’s the Hell Gate Bridge, as if you didn’t already know that.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When an NYC Ferry boat, operating on the Soundview Route, came speeding by I quickly readjusted what the camera was pointed at and changed my lens. I was quick enough to catch the displacement wave of the ferry’s passing impacting the shoreline here in Astoria. It’s dark down there, so I set the exposure to about 30 seconds, which is why the wave water looks like smoke or mist in the shot above.

The fog helped me with this shot, as a note, since it allowed for the diffusion of illuminated light coming from Randall’s/Wards Island and the Triborough Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of mighty Triborough…

This is, of course, just a part of the bridge complex known as Triborough and it’s specifically the East River suspension bridge section.

Fog, baby, fog.


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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

February 14, 2022 at 11:00 am

infinity eddied

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Temperature inversion with an extremely high atmospheric dew point? Yes, please. Seriously, this sort of statement from the TV weather people is electrifying. As soon as it’s uttered, one gathers up his old kit bag and smiles, smiles, smiles. Fog, and in particular – peas soup fog – is the order of the day. Given NYC’s relationship to the ocean, most of our foggy days are actually “precipitating mist” days, which are ruinous for photographic pursuit. You can’t keep the lens clean due to the precipitant part of that condition.

Proper fog is fairly rare in these parts, and when it comes, a narrator humble hits the streets and heads off in the direction of something both visually interesting and distant. On my way I couldn’t resist an exposure of this “Matthew’s Model Flat” rounded corner. I’m told that the street level shop was historically a candy store. Today, I believe it sells Santeria oriented potions and charms.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hell’s Gate was my destination, which is one of the things I enjoy saying out loud as it makes me sound spooky and mysterious. A quick scuttling found me on Hoyt Avenue North, alongside mighty Triborough and heading towards the turgid waters of the East River.

The air was thick, and it smelled like a combination of sewer gas and petroleum exhaust, with a hint of cinnamon. There was also a nearly imperceptible hint of thyme as well, but somebody nearby was probably roasting a chicken. You smell a lot of things in Astoria, but mostly weed. Astoria smells like college most days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My path carried me through Astoria Park’s parking lot, which definitely smelled like weed. Weed, and Tinder/Grindr hook ups. I kept my head on a swivel, as the saying goes. Lots of weird shit happens in Astoria Park at night, of the sort which you don’t want to be involved in. It’s dark, and there’s small groups of people everywhere. Some have malign intent, some are just looking for a place to sleep where they won’t be hassled, others are looking to fill their pockets with whatever you might have in your own.

Saying all that, made it through the park in fine fettle and nobody messed with me. Got myself down to Shore Road and made myself conspicuous by whipping out the camera and getting busy with it. Unfortunately for you, lords and ladies, you’ll have to wait till next week to see what I saw.


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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

February 11, 2022 at 11:00 am

sputtering attorney

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another day, and this time I was out at sunset here in Astoria. Shore Road, alongside Astoria Park, offers commanding views of the Hells Gate section of the East River and the two bridges spanning it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Triborough Bridge’s East River Suspension Bridge section is in the fore, and the Hell Gate Railroad Bridge is in the rear. I’m purposely letting the photos speak for themselves today rather than describing the tableau, by the way.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was actually a lucky stroke for me to be here on this particular evening, as the sunset colors were explosively saturated.

Back next week.


“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

December 10, 2021 at 11:00 am

untellable secret

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The next excursion on my September list of places to go involved a wedding in Watertown, New York. Watertown is in the same neighborhood as West Point, and my pal Hank the Elevator Guy was also invited to the affair, so we arranged to meet up with him and he drove Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself there. The trip was pretty straightforward, and once we cleared the 7 or so miles it would take us to get the hell out of NYC, was fast moving.

Triborough to Cross Bronx to George Washington Bridge to Palisades Parkway – I think that’s the basic route. Hank was angrily jumping around in his seat while driving through the choke points leading out of the City. Our Lady was playing with her phone, and I was shooting from the open windows.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Upstate” and heading towards the AirBNB lake house we had rented for the weekend. The fellow getting married is one of my oldest and dearest friends. Jim and I misspent a lot of our youth together at biker bars. We used to be fixtures at Coyote Ugly, Hogs and Heifers, Village Idiot and too many irish bars along Third Avenue to mention. For at least half of the stories I tell about those years, Jim is one of the main players. My buddy.

As a note, I believe that’s the Bear Mountain Bridge, crossing the Hudson River.

Jim left NYC a few years ago, after a stint working as a Union Iron worker, after he met his future bride. He’s been living in Watertown for a while now, and is a volunteer fireman in his off hours. Good guy, Jim is.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When we arrived at the lake house, it was discovered that the lake it adjoined was a bit more of a marsh or swamp than it was advertised as being. This is Beaver Dam Lake, which is in the next town over from Watertown – New Windsor. It’s an artificial waterbody, which was created by a dam to act as a water reservoir, in the 1870’s, for an outfit called the “Arlington Paper Mill.” A few years ago, it seems, it was determined that the dam needed to be rehabilitated to insure against catastrophic failure and consequent flooding so the lake was drained and it became a meadow.

Work on the dam was finalized, and the lake/meadow was allowed to flood again. As the water level goes up, the shoreline vegetation will alter, but for right now there’s this weird swamp along the waterfront.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given that it’s impossible for me not to photograph everything I see or experience, an alarm was set for early in the morning so I could feed the mosquitos while setting up the tripod and camera.

Another couple from my friend group arrived at the lake/swamp house, and after us getting all “faputzed” we attended the wedding – which ended up being quite the bacchanal. Wouldn’t expect anything different for my buddy Jim’s big day, actually. What surprised me was that nobody rode a Harley in and onto the dance floor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Seeing the way that the evening was proceeding, I made an early decision not to drink too much. The role of custodian for drunken friends is one that I often found myself in back in the old days, given my particularly high tolerance for intoxicants of all kinds. I’m one of the two people who “talked to the Cops” back during college, thereby, promising the gendarme that I’d get the subject of their ennui home safe and keep them from doing anything untoward on the way. Really – getting me drunk – drunk requires voluminous amounts of booze. I can out drink a Russian if I have to. It’s a life skill. When I get drunk, it’s usually an accident.

A recent example of this sort of accident involved me losing count of how many Gin and Tonics I had quaffed at an Astoria bar, and starting to nod out. It turned out, according to my bartender’s recollection the next day, that I had drank more than a half gallon of Gin and Tonics over a three hour period. Woof, accident. Thing is, with the crowd that I used to run with back in the old days, that sort of volume is considered to be “just getting started” on your weekend.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We left New Windsor the morning after the wedding, and Hank the Elevator Guy returned Our Lady and myself to Astoria. Relaxation was not on my to do list for this Sunday afternoon, however, as I had to prepare and pack for a week long trip on Amtrak which I would be embarking on early Tuesday morning. I would have to get ready for a long photo oriented solo trip, one which would start at 3:30 in the morning on Monday night/Tuesday morning. Batteries to charge, lenses to clean, how many pairs of socks would I need to take with me?

The adventures continue tomorrow – 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 12, 2021 at 11:00 am

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