The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Dutch Kills has balls

with 9 comments

Be sure to check out the large images at flickr for insane amounts of detail in these shots.
In some places- every stitch on a baseball.

Garage 1 by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I am given to moods, melancholy, and suffer from an abundance of hubris- due to a series of ego related karmic retributions. All ‘effed up, there are days- often sunny ones- when I wake from that dark and torturous dreamland inflicted on me since my wastrel youth- in one of my little moods.

from wikipedia:

The US National Library of Medicine notes that “some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and crave sweets and starchy foods. They may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up.” The condition in the summer is often referred to as Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, and can also include heightened anxiety.

also from wikipedia:

The name “melancholia” comes from the old medical theory of the four humours: disease or ailment being caused by an imbalance in one or other of the four basic bodily fluids, or humours. Personality types were similarly determined by the dominant humour in a particular person. Melancholia was caused by an excess of black bile; hence the name, which means ‘black bile’ (Ancient Greek μέλας, melas, “black”, + χολή, kholé, “bile”); a person whose constitution tended to have a preponderance of black bile had a melancholic disposition. See also: sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric.
Melancholia was described as a distinct disease with particular mental and physical symptoms in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Hippocrates, in his Aphorisms, characterized all “fears and despondencies, if they last a long time” as being symptomatic of melancholia.
In the medieval Arab world, the Arab psychologist Ishaq ibn Imran (d. 908), known as “Isaac” in the West, wrote an essay entitled Maqala fi-l-Malikhuliya, in which discovered a type of melancholia: the “cerebral type” or “phrenitis”. He carried out a diagnosis on this mental disorder, describing its varied symptoms. The main clinical features he identified were sudden movement, foolish acts, fear, delusions and hallucinations.[4] In Arabic, he referred to this mood disorder as “malikhuliya”, which Constantine the African translated into Latin as “melancolia”, from which the English term “melancholia” is derived.
Ali ibn Abbas al-Majusi (d. 982) discussed mental illness in his medical encyclopedia, Kitab al-Malaki, which was translated into Latin as Liber pantegni, where he discovered and observed another type of melancholia: clinical lycanthropy, associated with certain personality disorders. He wrote the following on this particular type of melancholia: “Its victim behaves like a rooster and cries like a dog, the patient wanders among the tombs at night, his eyes are dark, his mouth is dry, the patient hardly ever recovers and the disease is hereditary.”

The name “melancholia” comes from the old medical theory of the four humours: disease or ailment being caused by an imbalance in one or other of the four basic bodily fluids, or humours. Personality types were similarly determined by the dominant humour in a particular person. Melancholia was caused by an excess of black bile; hence the name, which means ‘black bile’ (Ancient Greek μέλας, melas, “black”, + χολή, kholé, “bile”); a person whose constitution tended to have a preponderance of black bile had a melancholic disposition. See also: sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric.

Melancholia was described as a distinct disease with particular mental and physical symptoms in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Hippocrates, in his Aphorisms, characterized all “fears and despondencies, if they last a long time” as being symptomatic of melancholia.

In the medieval Arab world, the Arab psychologist Ishaq ibn Imran (d. 908), known as “Isaac” in the West, wrote an essay entitled Maqala fi-l-Malikhuliya, in which discovered a type of melancholia: the “cerebral type” or “phrenitis”. He carried out a diagnosis on this mental disorder, describing its varied symptoms. The main clinical features he identified were sudden movement, foolish acts, fear, delusions and hallucinations.[4] In Arabic, he referred to this mood disorder as “malikhuliya”, which Constantine the African translated into Latin as “melancolia”, from which the English term “melancholia” is derived.

Ali ibn Abbas al-Majusi (d. 982) discussed mental illness in his medical encyclopedia, Kitab al-Malaki, which was translated into Latin as Liber pantegni, where he discovered and observed another type of melancholia: clinical lycanthropy, associated with certain personality disorders. He wrote the following on this particular type of melancholia: “Its victim behaves like a rooster and cries like a dog, the patient wanders among the tombs at night, his eyes are dark, his mouth is dry, the patient hardly ever recovers and the disease is hereditary.”

Nasty, and a few seconds out of synchronous function with others, I keep to myself and let hatred boil off of me in bright green sheets. For a few hours or even several sleepless days, there will be a storm in me, and in a tangential and often pedantic manner I will think aloud about existential minutiae to calm my racing thoughts… 

…November 15th, 2008, in this case…

Sunnyside Railyards by you.

Actually Sunnyside yards, but shot on the same day as the other ones- photo by Mitch Waxman

Warm and humid patches of air had permeated the greater New York area for several days, producing the frequent rain and gray fogs which had made the Autumn of 2008 remarkable.

After a severe squall, whose high winds and driving rains obliterated those clouds occluding the Hunter’s Moon during the previous week, and an unusually warm late summer and autumn- a phenomena once referred to as “Indian Summer“- the entirety of the area found itself coated in a grimy patina of storm blown mud and filth- like the garage door which is the photographic subject above and below. There was blown grit on the sidewalk, with wind action the presumed culprit, as the  storm picked its pathway through the rain puddles which collect in and garland the broken pavement of the Newtown Pentacle.

from wikipedia:

The DSM-IV-TR, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines Agoraphobia Without a History of Panic Disorder as:

The presence of Agoraphobia related to fear of developing panic-like symptoms (e.g., dizziness or diarrhea):

Anxiety about being in places or situations from which escape might be difficult (or embarrassing) or in which help may not be available in the event of having an unexpected or situationally predisposed Panic Attack or panic-like symptoms. Agoraphobic fears typically involved characteristic clusters of situations that include being outside the home alone; being in a crowd or standing in a line; being on a bridge; and traveling in a bus, train or automobile.

The situations are avoided (e.g., travel is restricted) or else are endured with marked distress or anxiety about having a Panic Attack or panic-like symptoms, or require the presence of a companion.

The anxiety or phobic avoidance is not better accounted for by another mental disorder, such as social phobia (e.g., avoidance limited to social situations because of fear of embarrassment), specific phobia (e.g., avoidance limited to single situation like elevators), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (e.g., avoidance of dirt in someone with an obsession about contamination), Post-traumatic stress disorder (e.g., avoidance of stimuli associated with a severe stressor), or Separation anxiety disorder (e.g., avoidance of leaving home or relatives).

Garage 3 by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The authorities at several meteorological centers warned that the arrival of winter was but a few days off, and we citizens of the megalopolis should make the best of this pleasant weather while it lasted. Just 72 hours later, the temperature would plummet to a hard freeze, and the bone cracking devastation of a metropolitan winter began in earnest. A beautiful day, I headed for joy defined hinterlands of the Newtown Creek.

Following the sun to Long Island City that Saturday, I crossed the neighborhood of Dutch Kills. Geographically distinct from the tributary of the Newtown Creek for which it is named, Dutch Kills is a mixed use neighborhood which is a dichotmous mix of lovely 19th and early 20th century homes, apartment houses, and churches with heavy industry sited incongruously nearby.

Big Allis by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Crescent St., which has carried traffic from modern day Queens Plaza to the wildly distant Bowery Bay- located on the distant northern shore of elysian Astoria- since the time of the Dutch- is where I found this enigmatic garage door.

It is odd that I am so fascinated by the world of a century ago, for were a creature of my inner weakness and faults were to appear in amongst the super predators that inhabited that Newtown, I would have quickly been sent off to a nearby madhouse. In 1887, Nellie Bly- the unofficial inspiration for Lois Lane- faked madness for the sake of investigating the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island.
Click here for a link to an absolutely free audiobook of Nellie Bly’s Ten Days in a Madhouse, from Librivox.

Garage 2 by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I must confess to one of the morbid habits which consumes me, and why I can always be found amongst the lightning crashed trees and storm tossed alleys of Newtown Creek soon after (or sometimes during) a weather event. Out of mercy for the sensibilities of those whose childhood was not spent only in the company of dusty shelves, and they whose actions are not governed by an aesthete’s desire to witness the bizarre and macabre truths of life and death, for the sake of these innocents- I do not show these forbidden photos to anyone. Even the long suffering and effusive Lady of The Pentacle is denied access to these images of broken and shattered life- which I collect after a cleansing storm washes through the Newtown Pentacle.

Garage 4 by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Detailed, and sharply focused, the bloody patches of cement and the little piles of flystruck meat are the center of a great ecosystem that somehow survives the moonscape hostility of Long Island City. These swollen and torn animals, which present themselves first via olfactory means- to me- are proof of life’s resiliency and provide great hope in their fecund example. You will never see these images. 

Satisfy yourself instead with the amusing spectacle of these imprinted sporting goods, tattoo imprints of the actions of adolescent spirit. 

meh…

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Written by Mitch Waxman

August 30, 2009 at 10:54 pm

9 Responses

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  1. [...] At intervals throughout the cemetery, there are oddly shaped concrete pillboxes- clearly hollow- which are secured with heavy iron lids that are often padlocked. Once, I dared to look into an unlocked one, and the dread implications of a staircase allowing egress down into a corridor roughly 15 feet below the surface, and the fresh muddy footprints leading away into that underworld nearly brought on one of my nervous attacks. [...]

  2. [...] In the past, the desolating loneliness and isolation which define my internal dialogue have been described to you simply – I’m all ‘effed up. [...]

  3. [...] than my years, vast psychological inadequacies and shameful physical “episodes” render your humble narrator a helpless emotional [...]

  4. [...] In the past, the desolating loneliness and isolation which define my internal dialogue have been described to you simply – I’m all ‘effed up. [...]

  5. [...] of being observed and followed by malign forces. Such paranoia is a failing of mine, of course (I’m all ‘effed up), as I’m given to wild flights of imagination and illogical conjecture about everyday and [...]

  6. Thank you. The writings under these photographs, seem to be captured by an individual bedeviled with rage. Each photo is completely unremarkable, however the commentary by “your humble narrator” is pretentious at least & at to me, it’s boardering on vulgar. In reading these comments & on other pages, his immature remarks, criptic comments, condemnation, etc., are done only by & with “quarterback hindsight”. Any fool can look back almost 100 years, and level critical commentary, thinking otherwise is rediculous. For instance during 1900 – 1910, creating a subway tunnel connecting Long Island to
    to NYC, at that period, was break a break through project completed by Degnon Contracting Co. They were brought in only because the Steinway Co. & other firms had given up because it was so over budget, and life threatening. Many of the assumptions are strickly pompus & inaccurate. Incidently the Williamsburg was not built by one contractor, there were literally hundreds of concerns involved. To my knowledge Michael John Degnon was resonsible for the most complex, and percarious section of the bridge, the foundation, period. May I suggest that as you’re snapping away with your (automatic focusing) camera you might wander over to Jamacia Estates. There you’ll be able to have a look around the formitable Passionist Priests Bishop Malloy Retreat. This was built in 1924 on the former Degnon Estate. My grandfather transfered it along with others to the Catholic Church (for $1.00, I have the deeds). And, perhaps you will temper your not well consealed envy & contemp. Your writing seems imbued w/ such arrogance, and vengance toward those individuals who devoted there lives to progress, and giving back to their community, in inumerable ways. Also, look into the lives of the over 4,000 employees put to work with Degnon Companies, the largest builder in America at that time (NY Times 1907) Have a read, New York Times, November 6, 1904″In interviewing employess they would not work for anyone else as long as he’s (Degnon) alive…article title “Here Are the Men That Really Built New York’s Subways.” It seems that your research is clouded by “nuggets of pregnant facts”, and wandering around in your “dirty black raincoat” across Calvery Cemetary which “spreads atavistically” across deserted and blasted views of “acrpolis & necroplis, nepenthe of their silence.” Please, good God in Heaven!! Your verbosity is is offensive, Sir.
    In closing Mr. Waxman, would you be kind enough to photograph or write, and remark on all the good that has gone on all through the Long Island City region since you were born, would that bring on “a lot of heat” that you proclain you must indure?
    Have a pleasant day,
    John McCarthy

    John McCarthy

    January 29, 2010 at 7:21 am

    • To Mr. Waxman & Readers:
      In retrospect, my response to your in depth knowledge re: the developement of Long Island City and the surrounding New York Communities was criptic and unessesary. This has been more an “over reaction” as your photographs & commentary is your right. Actually, they are extensive, and excellant.
      In closing, please accept this public retraction as a true compliment to work, as well as my expression of my most sincere remiss, as earlier written privately to you sir. Have a wonderful day Mr. Waxman
      Personal Regards,
      John M. Degnon McCarthy

      John McCarthy

      February 23, 2010 at 8:18 pm

  7. [...] minds, called the DSM-5. All ‘effed up, your humble narrator has in the past detailed the multitudes of phobias, syndromes, and disorders which he falls victim to on a daily basis, and looks forward to the new volume which will offer the [...]

  8. [...] and diseased- the endless byways of the Newtown Pentacle beckon- calling out to me- the barren, the confused, the [...]


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