The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for March 2010

Green Jobs of the Future

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the current political buzz phrases, “green jobs of the future”, gets under my skin. The 2 shots in today’s posts are what I call “snatch and grabs”, meaning that I was passing by- took a couple of quick shots- and beat it out of there. This is one of the many recycling facilities one may find in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I bring them to your attention not because of intrinsic merit or photographic interest but rather to make a certain point about this particular political meme. Non union and dirty, the recycling side of waste management enjoys a certain vogue amongst the elites of the intellectual and political class, but the truth of it is somewhat different. Were these elites to actually walk the neighborhood streets where their ideas are made manifest, one wonders how their enthusiasm would fare.

from nyc.gov

Place all paper together in CLEAR bags, or in any bin labeled with green recycling decals or marked ” MIXED PAPER”. (Or place in the white dumpster for paper recycling, if your building has one.)

Flatten and bundle large pieces of corrugated cardboard and tie with sturdy twine, or break into small pieces to place in your recycling bin or bag. (Or place loose in the white dumpster for paper recycling, if your building has one.)

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A neighbor of mine works in one of these plants, located like this one near the Newtown Creek, and has described the process of collection and sorting to me in some detail. Most of this paper ends up getting pulped and processed into shipping boxes. Raw paper is sold by the ton to be shredded into pulp, and free market vagaries apply. He’s told me that as the economy has tanked, so too have the orders for boxes from online retailers (a large part of the recycled paper market), which has depressed the market. His literal quote, which was said without a hint of irony, is that “the bottom has dropped out of the cardboard box market”.

from dec.ny.gov

In the Solid Waste Management Act of 1988, the Legislature established our State Solid Waste Management Policy. The following are the solid waste management priorities in New York State:

  • (a) first, to reduce the amount of solid waste generated;
  • (b) second, to reuse material for the purpose for which it was originally intended or to recycle material that cannot be reused;
  • (c) third, to recover, in an environmentally acceptable manner, energy from solid waste that can not be economically and technically reused or recycled; and
  • (d) fourth, to dispose of solid waste that is not being reused, recycled or from which energy is not being recovered, by land burial or other methods approved by the department (from New York State Environmental Conservation Law 27-0106.1).

The primary mandate of the Solid Waste Management Act is to reduce the amount of waste destined for landfills and incinerators in New York State. Source separation and recycling programs are fundamental components to the diminishing of the ultimate volume of solid waste requiring disposal. Source separation and recycling play primary roles in meeting this goal. In New York State, municipalities are required to enact local recycling laws under General Municipal Law section 120-aa.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 30, 2010 at 9:27 am

Terminal Destination

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in the past, your humble narrator is often employed by the advertising industrial complex to perform the job function of “photo retoucher”. What that means, essentially, is that I use photoshop to remove the mustaches and wrinkles from photos of pretty people or create elaborate images that might be composited from as many as a dozen photos (use this head, that shirt, these legs, and put these sneakers on him- for instance). This particular specialization of advertising, there are thousands, takes place on the “production” side of things. Non glamorous, we are not the “madmen” types. The madmen are in Account (a business division which handles numbers, legalities, and client relations) or Creative (strategists, art directors, copywriters). Account makes the deal, Creative imagines up the strategic thinking, Production manufactures it.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Creatives are irascible individualists, who will follow an idea right over a cliff if you let them, but that’s what production is there for. We’re the safety net beneath their intellectual trapeze act, an often 24 hour a day operation that churns out the actual ads you encounter under the close supervision of Creative and the sceptic oversight of Account. There is an expected error rate of zero in this business, and a vast support staff exists around these core services. Retouching is part of that, as well as- proof reading, human resources management, information technologies, and to a certain extent- photography. It’s all about client service, and ensuring that that all bases are covered.

Again- an expected failure rate of zero.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Our Lady of the Pentacle is also employed in the breakneck advertising industry. An ad agency which recruited her is actually the reason that she left Britain behind and came to New York, an unlucky event as it made her geographically vulnerable to the questionable charms of an inferior specimen such as myself.

Brilliant and successful, Our Lady (in her current incarnation) found need for a photographer to accompany her team around a client’s place of business one day in January, but had no budget. A feckless quisling and traitor to joy, I nevertheless was enlisted to join with the team and explore the client’s property with perfect freedom to just shoot as many photos as I wanted to (as well as dozens of shots of kiosks, signs, counters, and other ad specific duties- and within certain ground rules as the federal government takes security here VERY seriously, and one is normally denied such opportunity by the cold reality of the Terror Wars).

Many of the shots I took are in the hands of Our Lady of the Pentacle, but these were just for me. Welcome to JetBlue’s Terminal 5, at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Designed by an architecture firm which mankind knows as Gensler, a multinational firm based in San Francisco, Terminal 5 is a nearly billion dollar complex of runways, passenger waiting areas, and a state of the art check in facility. The design stats on the place sound made up; a facility designed to handle 250 flights a day, 26 gates, 20 security checkpoints, 625,000 square feet, 20 million passengers a year- and as construction started some 4 years after 911- it is task built with security in mind.

I’ll tell you, though, that these Gensler folks understand light.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Clever gels and tinted windows cast the “brand colors” of the airline about the terminal, and made for brilliant swatches of color. The warm and cold colors also happened to concur with the colors of New York’s state flag, which is coincidence as far as I know, but lucky for both parties. The structure performed its central function though, and navigating its cavernous depths was intuitive.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A central atrium provides access to the long banks of passenger gates, with retail vendors strategically arranged. The quality of light in these bays is spectacular.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Those Gensler folks are good with light, I tell you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Terminal 5′s central theme is curvilinear, attempting to invite the sensation of soaring. Incidentally, just in case you’re thinking I’m writing some sort of ad puffery, forget that. The place really is gorgeous, form and function are quite balanced. If this was an ad, you’d know it.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The baggage Carousels, for instance, don’t look this good at LaGuardia or Heathrow. The place is also impeccably clean, but then again, it is a recently completed structure.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the constraints on photography I was under that day, and appropriately so, was to not capture images of the check in area or the security apparatus and personnel. There is a Casino level of security here, with watchers being watched by those who are watched- I’m pretty sure that they have ninjas on staff somewhere, but our attendant guided us away from troubles and escorted us through the steady stream of passengers and explained our activity to inquiring constables.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

To advertising people, jaded and scarred, my mention of the trip through here was greeted with “oh yeah, that’s cool”- but antiquarians and neighborhood cranks immediately asked “did you get into TWA – the Saarinen building?”.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the world’s great buildings is just outside Terminal 5, the TWA World Flight Center, and was built by a genius named Eero Saarinen. Still undergoing renovation and repair, it is an iconic structure and its future seems quite bright. This is the rear of the building, incidentally.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It was time to leave, with Our Lady’s team needing to return to the Shining City and take up once more the reigns of advertising, and for your humble narrator to scuttle mournfully home to sun kissed Astoria.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 28, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Posted in JFK, Photowalks

Tagged with , , , ,

One of those days

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

March 25th… this is one of those days on which a random series of events lend the day a sense of odd concurrence and portentous destiny. Cherry picking any series of historical events in the name of stitching together a narrative is an easy thing to do, and its best practice is expressed by the art of propaganda. Certain patterns, moments of causality and traditional celebration, however, do seem to cluster around parts of the year. Equinoxes or traditional holidays that transcend temporal distance and cultural extinctions, the remarkable October 31-Nov. 2 period, the end of december and first week of january, middle-late march, and the last week of august all have long chains of historical events that coincide with ancient Roman feast days- which were post modern celebrations of antiquity even in their own time.

from wikipedia

At an equinox, the Sun is at one of two opposite points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator (i.e. declination 0) and ecliptic intersect. These points of intersection are called equinoctial points: the vernal point and the autumnal point. By extension, the term equinox may denote an equinoctial point.

An equinox happens each year at two specific moments in time (rather than two whole days), when there is a location on the Earth’s equator where the centre of the Sun can be observed to be vertically overhead, occurring around March 20/21 and September 22/23 each year.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Roman feast of Hilaria Matris Deûm (honoring Cybele) fell to it’s apex today, and of course its the Christian Feast of the Anunciation, and the British Empire legally abolished the Slave Trade on March 25 in 1807.

Today is also the anniversary of the 1947 Centralia Mine disaster (a seminal moment in the history of the American Labor movement), the Rev. Martin Luther King’s 3rd march on the state capitol in Montgomery, and closer to home- it’s the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire which happened in 1911.

from wikipedia

The Annunciation is the Christian celebration of the announcement to Mary by the angel Gabriel that she would become the Theotokos (God-bearer). Even though a virgin, Mary would conceive a child who would be the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Jesus (“Yahweh delivers”). Most of Christianity observes this event with the Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March.

According to the Bible, the Annunciation occurred in “the sixth month” of Elizabeth’s pregnancy (Luke 1:26) with the child who would become known as John the Baptist. This celebration of Jesus′ incarnation falls nine months before that of his Nativity.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Deep in our colonial past, prior to 1752- in fact all across the early British Empire – March 25th was actually New Year’s Day. Commonly called Lady’s Day, it dates from the days of the Julian Calendar, which was established by Caesar.

from wikipedia

The logic of using Lady Day as the start of the year is that it roughly coincides with Equinox (when the length of day and night is equal) and it is worthy to note many ancient cultures still utilse this time frame as the start of the new year, for example Iranian new year. In some traditions it also reckons years A.D. from the moment of the Annunciation, which is considered to take place at the moment of the conception of Jesus at the Annunciation rather than at the moment of his birth at Christmas.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 25, 2010 at 12:12 am

Posted in linkage, Photowalks, Pickman

Tagged with , ,

No surgery! No Suffering!! Make Your Life Better!!!

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

The ridicule of pretention and a desperate desire to describe wonders witnessed drive your humble narrator to offer these recent photos. Driven by hubris and frustrated aspirations, vast journeys across the major metropolitan city have been accomplished, and hundreds of images have been uploaded to my flickr page in the last week with dozens more awaiting review and file transfer. To wit…

Check out the Breezy Point ferry set here.

Leaving pre dawn from Pier 11 in Manhattan, the Breezy Point Ferry was potentially on its last run. Maritime enthusiasts, a quartet of us were assembled onboard. The burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was occluded by the silhouette of infinite Brooklyn as it opened upon the great metropolitan city. The fury of its gaze was apparent when the tiny ship entered the narrows, and the horizon was lit by omnipotent luminosity. That’s the Jane Reinauer tugboat, incidentally.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Other new photos to check out have recently hit flickr… Continuing experimentation with the “new camera” is producing intriguing views and exhibiting technical exercise and exploration of the wild possibilities and damning limitations hinted at in the first 3 months I’ve owned it.

Check out the Newtown Pentacle 14 set here.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a walk over the Williamsburg Bridge to be found in this NP 14 set…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering aimlessly around Queens never fails to produce interesting and enigmatic images… and for rail fans, there are shots from the A line in Rockaway in NP 14.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A walk through Mt. Olivette cemetery in Maspeth and the revelations found atop the high ground of the terminal morraine… as well as the bottom of the hill along the Newtown Creek and adventures along the Kill Van Kull abutting Staten Island can be accessed in the Newtown Pentacle 13 set here.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Lots of cemetery wandering can be observed in recent uploads, actually, it’s where I belong after all…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Check ‘em out, if you want a preview of the next few weeks of postings, there’s also an awful lot of photos at my flickr page.

I’m off on a boat trip in the storm today, heading for Albany along the Hudson River, an all day journey which will be completed by a twilight journey back by rail…

additionally, I’ve been helping out on the fledgling LIC Millstones blog, and have just uploaded a little history lesson from Bob Singleton of the Greater Astoria Historical Society that explains just what the heck a millstone is and why it matters that a significant and totemic piece of Queens from the colonial days is sitting in a construction zone in Queens Plaza. Here’s the vid:

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 23, 2010 at 12:42 am

family photos

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Check out the work of our Lady of The Pentacle, me missus, as she exhibits our weekend excursion to the wilds of the Long Island Gold Coast and exploration of the Vanderbilt Mansion. Her blog post about it is here, and check out her flickr slideshow

Here’s a flickr slide show of my own, detailing the recent Breezy Point Ferry trip I was on (I’ll be doing a proper post on this later on this week). Check out NY Harbor at dawn…

Another crazy series of experiences is underway, hundreds and hundreds of new photos are in the oven right now…

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 22, 2010 at 1:57 am

Posted in linkage, New York Harbor

Tagged with ,

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