The Newtown Pentacle

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heading home

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After exploring a bit around the First Street Station on the T, in downtown Pittsburgh, one took a bit of a walk and decided on how my path back home via the light rail service would shape up. A brief scuttle soon found me perambulating across the Smithfield Street Bridge and crossing the Monongahela River towards the south side, as the locals would refer to it. Conversations with these locals will often result in a suggestion to check out a spot with a goofy name like “Deadman’s Hollow” or “Girty’s Run,” or some other fun nomenclature. I have to remind them that I’m still learning how to reliably drive back home at this stage of the game.

It was a lovely day in Pittsburgh, for early January, with air temperatures hovering in the high 40’s and low 50’s with calm winds.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Monongahela itself was carrying a significant amount of what appeared to be soil. This river flows, I’m told, out of West Virginia to the south and along its route it transits through first wild and then rural areas where its tributaries carry a not insignificant amount of solute into the river. The closer you get to Pittsburgh, the more industrialized and developed the banks of the river get, and the entire region of its transit in this part of Pennsylvania is referred to as “The Mon Valley.”

My plan for the remainder of the day was simple, but Pittsburgh didn’t comply with my wishes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I spotted the T crossing the river on the nearby Panhandle Bridge, which was described in earlier posts this week, while walking across the Smithfield Street Bridge.

My plan, as it were, involved getting several loving shots of freight rail trains moving along the south shore of the river.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

None appeared, despite the absolutely fantastic framing that I was so proud of finding for the shot. When you’re going after trains, it’s a lot like fishing – sometimes they’re not biting no matter how patient you are.

C’est la vie, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I did get a tugboat, however, so there’s that.

I’ve been seeing a bunch of these river tugs moving about, towing mineral barges of what looks like coal or coke.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While walking to the T stop on the south side at Station Square, I did get a train photo – a Norfolk Southern unit moving along an elevated trackway carved into Mount Washington. I’m working out how to get a bit closer to this track, somewhere where a better angle of view with something that “says Pittsburgh” in the shot. In NYC, as long as you have the Empire State Building somewhere in view – bam, that’s a NYC photo. Sense of place, and all that.

Back next week, with more from my initial attempts to explore Pittsburgh and its environs.


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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

January 20, 2023 at 11:00 am

vanished morning

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What with the looming move to Pittsburgh coming up in just one week, and with Thanksgiving and everything else going on at the moment, a humble narrator is forced into taking a bit of a break this week. Single images will be greeting you, thereby.

Hopefully – next week, “normal” posts will return, but there’s a possibility that during the first week of December you very well might still be seeing single images here. As mentioned – a lot of balls are in the air and are being actively juggled at the moment. At any rate, I’ll definitely be posting about NYC and Newtown Creek through the end of the year, and possibly a couple of weeks into the new one. I’ve really been all over hill and dale, and the blasted heaths and concrete devastations, in the last month. Everybody is asking, so – yes, I plan on continuing to post here at Newtown Pentacle and no – I’m not changing the name. Things will transition over to Pittsburgh, and I’m hoping that y’all will stick with me as I learn about and experience my new home. It’s an extremely interesting place.

Pictured above is a Tugboat on the Hudson River – competing in the 2019 Great North River Tugboat Race and Competition. As it turns out, this was my last rodeo at the Tug Race. Covid, the death of Working Harbor Committee’s prime movers… dissolution and depression… The Working Harbor Committee is marshaling itself for next year to attempt to pull off this event again for 2023, but I won’t be a part of it.


“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 25, 2022 at 11:00 am

formal blessing

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Every time might be the last time,” I keep saying. On the 27th of September, one was traveling during the late morning to Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section. Specifically, I was heading for the Manhattan Avenue street end. An appointment was involved, and to ensure my timeliness the Subway was invoked.

Moving through the transit portals I do, one inevitably found himself over at the MTA’s Court Square facility, and the G line subway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A brief ride, and then one found himself in Greenpoint itself. The MTA has recently installed an elevator system in this station.

Its signage caught my eye.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That must be some elevator, thought I.

Since I like using things I’ve helped pay for, I hit the button and had a funny exchange about the improvement with another commuter, whose personal invective was framed by English spoken with a syrupy Polish accent. Ahh, Greenpoint, how I’ll miss the default state of sarcasm that you inspire, and that I always enjoy interacting with, in your residents.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One scuttled down hill along Manhattan Avenue, towards the fabulous Newtown Creek.

“Every time might be the last time,” and this time around, I was meeting up with a friend that owns a boat. He offered to take me out for one last “from the water” photo session on my beloved Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While I was waiting for him to arrive, the tug Miss Madeline reappeared in front of the camera.

Just a few days ago, shots of the selfsame vessel attempting to conquer the laws of physics and mechanical engineering were offered here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Tomorrow – I’ll show you what I captured on this particular day.

Miss Madeline navigated under the Pulaski Bridge, as we soon would.

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

October 26, 2022 at 11:00 am

times amidst

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A long walk continues! From Astoria to LIC’s Blissville, and then looping around and through Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section, on the 23rd of September of 2022. “Every time might be the last time…”

Scuttling along the hoary asphalt, which armors the oil choked loam of this ancient outpost of the decadent Dutch, a humble narrator suddenly realized that both altitude AND declination were warping, as he had blindly wandered onto those entirely euclidian angles which are offered by the New York State Department of Transportation via the bicycle and pedestrian pathway of the Kosciuszcko Bridge which said agency maintains.

Thoroughly modern in both function and design, the Kosciuszcko Bridge(s) nevertheless are visually pleasing to me – a barren creature, broken and bruised, bereft, bankrupt and often beleaguered – your always humble narrator. The Kosciuszcko Bridge carries, in addition to the path one scuttled atop, the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, and its teeming multitudes of automotive wanderers, high over the iridescent waveforms of an aqueous ribbon of urban neglect which is known, to modernity, as the Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The burning thermonuclear eye of God itself was descending behind New Jersey, just as the monocular of the camera was being moved into position high over the jellies and tepid currents of said waterway. One actuated the shutter button again and again while shuffling along…

It has been years since one has spoken to you, lords and ladies, in this sort of way. Colloquial verbiage and easy conversational voicing has been my intent in recent intervals. Nearing the end of all things, and the shadowy beginnings of a new chapter, one instead feels a deep desire to revisit the past. To plumb the depths.

Always have I been an outsider, attracted to things ancient and unloved.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Who can guess, thereby, all that might be buried down there – beneath the waters buoying that tugboat? What foul truth might lurk, concealed in the black mayonnaise which sits patiently along the bottom of the glacier carved ancestral valley that Newtown Creek floods and calls its bed?

The “bad water place” is what one of the Lenape words for the Newtown Creek is said to translate into English as. That, and those, who are rumored to dwell in the broken stone floor of the nearby Hells Gate section of the East River, might know other words. Perhaps, and perhaps not. I’ve likely said too much.

Let’s change the subject… how about that sports ball team hereabouts? Might this be finally the year of affirmation for our civic and mutual worth, displayed to the globe by champion status in sports ball?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The locale of the forbidden colony of New Arnheim, detested and personally destroyed by the Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant, is not too far away from this spot, just east and towards the Brooklyn side. So too is the forgotten Blissvillian tributary of Wolf Creek, and the overwhelming necropolis called Calvary Cemetery.

The latter hosts its own storm sewer and drainage systems, whose horrifying outflows into the Newtown Creek are not just splendiferous in coffin varnish, adipocere, and formaldehyde. The black mayonnaise underlying the waters here are rich with acrylonitrile concentrations – according to environmental scientists. Toxic, certain groupings of this type of organic chemicals are commonly referred to as “cadaverine” and “putrescine.” This and many other reasons underlie the presence of signage around this waterway adjuring the citizenry against consuming fish or crabs captured from its volume.

This outflow pipe for the cemetery is found directly below the railroad tracks in the photograph above, which are upon the former site of the Penny Bridge crossing demolished in 1939, and a former Long Island Railroad stop also called Penny Bridge which was eliminated by the MTA under mysterious circumstance in 1998. This is the part of Newtown Creek where hauntings of the Blissville Banshee were oft reported.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Horror lurks everywhere along Newtown Creek. Approximately 170,000 vehicle trips cross the Kosciuszcko daily, as reported by Governmental agencies knowledgable about such statistical data. One wonders… statistically speaking, how many times a day does a murderer cross the bridge? Figure there’s two people in every car… how many murderers are there per hundred thousand New Yorkers?

As above, so below?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One found his way back down to the poison ground, alongside First Calvary Cemetery, and its tomb legions, at the outskirts and border of both Blissville and ancient Maspeth, in Queens. The camera’s functional optics were swapped out, and a quick conversion over to the “night kit” was effected. The “daylight” zoom lenses were stored away, and my next steps considered. Into the darkness, yes, but which pathway?

Ahem… truth be told, my feet were hurting at this point so I just called a cab and headed back to HQ in Astoria. I had another busy couple of days coming up, and…

More 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 24, 2022 at 11:00 am

breathing things

with 2 comments

Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I was mid span on the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge, a double bascule drawbridge that spans the fabulous Newtown Creek, and photographing a maneuvering tug called “Seeley” when the bridge’s alarm bells began to sound and a NYC DOT employee began motioning for me to get to the other side.

The bridge was about to open!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m known, in my middle 50’s, for running down the block and chasing a fire engine while yelling “firemen, firemen” just like I did when I was 5. I get excited about things that other adults consider to be a nuisance.

I love it when a drawbridge opens up, and never miss a chance to grab shots of the action.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I didn’t have time to swap out lenses for the one that fits into the apertures of the chain link fence, so I just fired the shutter anyway.

I prefer a clean shot, but the fence is part of the environmental milieu, so, there you go.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As traffic was stopped for the open bridge, I was able to run across Greenpoint Avenue Bridge without getting squished by traffic.

Found a decent spot, one which long experience dictated as being a good one to shoot from, and followed the Tug Seeley as it headed westwards towards the East River.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve grown fairly jaded about this sort of thing in recent years, but the sun was painting the sky with orange and gold.

What a dynamic set of weather conditions it was on August 1st. The fog and mist, the dispersal of the same, and now this sort of saturated color. Wow.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Shortly after these shots were captured, I decided to make a right turn after arriving in Long Island City’s Blissville section and head towards the Kosciuszcko Bridge. Ultimately, that was a bit of wasted effort, bu there you go. Cannot complain, this was an extremely productive day.

Back tomorrow with something different, 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

August 31, 2022 at 11:00 am

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