The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for August 2010

good clean fun

with one comment

- photo by Mitch Waxman

At the end of June (which you’ll recall as a brutally hot and humid week), your humble narrator found himself in the wilds of Brooklyn, and observed that some New York traditions haven’t gone out of style.

Opining about the seemingly forgotten Bearclaw danish (the absence of which from New York City menus seems to indicate a glitch in the Matrix), the loss of the impact prefix “‘effin” at the beginning of every statement, and the Krishna lunch at Tompkins Square are a few of my regular rants- but until this hot day- I didn’t realize that kids just don’t play in the fire hydrant stream very much these days- a common sight during the first half of my life.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

During the 70′s- if a city kid wanted to swim, you went to the beach or a rich relative’s house on Long Island. When you wanted to cool off, you opened a hydrant. The cops and FDNY would always show up and close it with some special wrench, but eventually, sprinkler caps came in and were encouraged for use by the municipality in order to avoid a precipitous system wide drop in pressure across the neighborhood during heat waves- a deadly event in case of a house or building fire. Trusted members of the community would be entrusted with these caps, and the special wrench. Don’t forget, this is before air conditioning became ubiquitous.

On my block, I believe it was a Sheepshead Bay fishing ship’s captain- Joe Manarino (the dad, not Joseph the son or Joey the grandson)- who had the special wrench and sprinkler cap in his garage.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In Brooklyn’s less… ahem… savory… neighborhoods, the hydrants would just be thrown open with pure urban muscle to shoot high pressure water all over the kids. My dad always referred to this as “an ‘effin free car wash” and make it a point of driving around on hot days to score a free high pressure wash for the family Plymouth. He’d make a U-turn and get both sides done, much to the chagrin of the local nestlings forced to wait for the encrusted bird poop to loosen from the side windows.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The technique involved in shaping the flow of water shooting out of the hydrant nozzle involved using a tomato or coffee can with both the top and bottom cut off, which was placed flush against the nozzle. By torquing and angling the can, obtuse angles were formed, as well as shallow arcs and blasting straight shots. If you’re too close to the source, it feels like you’re being pelted with gravel, and great joy was to be had by we lads when one of the female members of our cohort would find part of her bathing suit coterie carried away by the water.

The tough guys always tried to walk right into it, but were inevitably unable to deny the “hard deck” of physics when the flow struck, below the belt.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Wonder if any of the local bakeries have Bearclaws for sale around here, or Grape Nehi, or those weird wax tubes with the sugar water in them?

This is the corner of South 4th and Rodney, just in case you’re curious.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 31, 2010 at 2:27 am

Project Firebox 11

with one comment

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This soldier of the realm is found along the hoary streets of Greenpoint in Brooklyn, specifically the corner of Leonard and Bayard streets. Having suffered the attentions of local vandals and inopportune traffic collisions for much of its long reign, this watchtower of the FDNY is stalwart in its mission. One wonders if it took up its position in the ancient time when Bayard was known as Sandford Street, and Leonard as Third Street?

ps- postings will be a bit sporadic over the next few days, your humble narrator is a bit burned out again, and requires a little break. There still will be posts coming your way through the Labor Day holiday, but they’ll be shorties- a few more “Project Firebox” and a couple of things I’ve noticed that aren’t earth shattering but interesting nevertheless. A full schedule of damned revelations and hellish probings will resume after said holiday. I’ll be roaming around the neighborhood, however, so if there’s anything crazy going on- you can always contact me here or just leave a comment. All comments are held back from immediate posting for review of course, so if its something you don’t want to disseminate to everyone, mention it at the top of the missive.

Look forward to updates on the St. Michael’s ritual site, which I haven’t mentioned for a while, but which has been monitored after each full moon. There’s also a trip through Greenpoint in the works, and a chance for you- lords and ladies- to get tickets for a boat ride up the Creek in October . More to come, promise.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 27, 2010 at 1:59 am

hollow phantoms

leave a comment »

Empire State Building 2010 from the oiled shadows of Borden Avenue, Queens – photo by Mitch Waxman

They want to build a competitor to the Empire State Building? The mayor says it’s good for the City?

Forgive my french, but this is one mighty fucking ugly building the oligarchs are going to build, imho. I’d rather see a 20 story fire breathing statue of Mike Bloomberg that proclaims “Remember Me” erected. Well, its finally starting to happen to Manhattan, this odd experience that has been felt by those of us in the lesser boroughs for the last few years.

I wonder where the money to build this monster will be coming from, and how much of the public dime will go into its construction.

from blog.archpaper.com

We know hackers and preservationists are staunchly opposed to Vornado’s 15 Penn Plaza, because the 1,216-foot Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed tower would replace McKim Mead & White’s notable-if-not-renowned Hotel Pennsylvania. Anthony Malkin, president of Malkin Holdings, is also not a fan for the simple reason that Malkin Holdings is holding the Empire State Building. And its views would most likely be compromised by 15 Penn Plaza. Malkin is now speaking out against the project, under the aegis of a group calling itself Friends of the New York City Skyline, a posse which also includes MAS, the Historic Districts Council, and the Landmarks Conservancy. It may be too little, too late.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 25, 2010 at 4:43 am

cleanly picked

with 5 comments

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On one of the periodic Working Harbor Committee trips across the estuarine expanses of New York Harbor, your humble narrator became paralyzed with terror when a benthic shadow slid alongside the vessel which carried my withered husk. The shape, as that’s all I saw of it, made no sense to me and matched no phyla or phenotype familiar to my admittedly limited experience. Imagination working, it was decided that the best course of action to steady my faltering sanity would be to focus in on those things material, tangible, and engineered according to the familiar laws of physics.

In this case, it was the Tugboat “Miss Gill” cruising in photogenic splendor against the mist wrapped backdrop of the shining city of Manhattan.

from norfolktug.com

The Miss Gill spent a year at Main Iron Works in 2005 having various tanks, exterior plate and bulwarks renewed.  During this yard period her winch was completely rebuilt and two new 2′ cables were installed.   We bought her during this shipyard renovation, operated the her for 24 months and in mid 2008 took her back to the yard for further investment.  We replaced her main engines with Caterpillar tier II technology that make her an honest 3000BHP, her reduction gears were replaced with ZF technology, and new John Deere/Kohler generators were installed.  These tier II engines are the most advanced electronic platform available.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The shadow, or shape, that I had spied was long obscured when a Coast Guard vessel suddenly burst into view. Fully armed, one of the redoubtable guardians of the archipelago’s frontier was manning a high caliber weapon and the boat was moving at a fantastic rate of speed, punching its way through the heavy wakes of ferry, tug, and ship alike. Recognizing that it shared some design characteristics with an NYPD harbor craft described in a recent post here- at your Newtown Pentacle- “exhalted beyond thought“, I noticed it was being followed by an even larger Federal boat.

I believe this to be a Defender class “Response Boat Small”.

from uscg.mil

Developed in a direct response to the need for additional Homeland Security assets in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Defender Class boats were procured under an emergency acquisition authority. With a contract for up to 700 standard response boats, the Defender Class acquisition is one of the largest boat buys of its type in the world. The 100 boat Defender A Class (RB-HS) fleet began arriving at units in MAY 2002 and continued through AUG 2003. After several configuration changes, most notably a longer cabin and shock mitigating rear seats, the Defender B Class (RB-S) boats were born. This fleet was first delivered to the field in OCT 2003, and there are currently 357 RB-S boats in operation.

The 457 Defender Class boats currently in operation are assigned to the Coast Guards Maritime Safety and Security Teams (MSST), Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT), Marine Safety Units (MSU), and Small Boat Stations throughout the Coast Guard. With an overall length of 25 feet, two 225 horsepower outboard engines, unique turning radius, and gun mounts boat forward and aft, the Defender Class boats are the ultimate waterborne assets for conducting fast and high speed maneuvering tactics in a small deployable package. This is evidenced in the fact that several Defender Class boats are already in operation by other Homeland Security Department agencies as well as foreign military services for their homeland security missions.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It was followed by a second and larger vessel, also with a manned weapons platform.  If I’m correct, this is the Coast Guard “Response Boat Medium” or “RB-M”. Vessels of this design will automatically right themselves after being capsized, incidentally.

Whether or not these federal watercraft had arrived on the scene in connection with the subsurface apparition I had witnessed is anyone’s guess.

from uscg.mil

State-of-the-art marine technology makes the RB-M a high performer with waterjet propulsion, an advanced electrical system, and integrated electronics that allow greater control from the pilot house.

Technological and design features will improve search object tracking, water recovery efforts, crew comfort, and maneuvering/ intercept capabilities for defense operations. With the latest developments in integrated navigation and radiotelephony, command and control will be greatly enhanced, as will crew safety.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

For such a busy waterway, modernity upon the Harbor of New York has not been kind to folklore. In the 19th century, lurid accounts of odd benthic organisms served to titillate and excite the attention of small boy and adult alike filtered in from the trans-atlantic routes. Stories of the Ottoman territories, and far away China, and the exotic British Raj.

There aren’t many tales I can point to which might describe anything like the shape I saw, suffice to say it was something like an egg all caught up in wriggling ropes. Most of the 19th century reports describe literal sea-serpents, but such saurian behemoths would be easy prey for the Coast Guard.

from wikipedia

The response boat-medium (RBM) is a 45-foot (13.7m) utility boat used by the United States Coast Guard. It is intended as a replacement for the Coast Guard’s fleet of 41′ utility boats (UTB), which have been in use by the Coast Guard since the 1970s. The Coast Guard plans to acquire 180 of these RB-Ms over a 6–10 year period. The boats will be built by Kvichak Marine Industries of Kent, Washington and Marinette Marine of Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It has always puzzled me, the way that New York City is nearly devoid of supernatural lore, while its counterparts- Boston to the north, and Philadelphia to the south are so rich in it. Connecticut and the corridor of towns and cities that line the Hudson all the way to its font in Lake Tear of the Clouds compose one of the great occult highways. Utopias and experiments in urban planning line the river, as do tales of hessian horsemen and ghostly ferries and trains. It all stops at the Bronx, though.

Perhaps its the financial realities of New York City, the no nonsense and to the minute mentality, or maybe its the street lighting- but London is very much in the same vein of city as we are, and they’re the original inventors of gothic spooky.

Maybe it’s that in New York, you’re biggest fear isn’t what goes bump in the night but rather losing your job, or getting into trouble with some all too human monsters.

for an overwhelming example of the defense industry’s love of CGI and fancy web design, click here to check out the USCG sitelet for the RB-M, which includes an interactive 3D model and fancy graphics.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The shadow I observed seemed to be heading toward Red Hook, but the likely explanation was that the nearby Staten Island Ferry had simply cast a refracted image of itself or that the wake of a passing tuboat had disturbed some riverine sediments. The coincidence of the arrival of two armed Coast Guard vessels was just part of some regular patrol schedule, not a response to some unknown thing which could not possibly exist down there.

Right?

from wikipedia

“Burned-over district” refers to the religious scene in upstate New York in the early 19th century, which was repeatedly “burned over” by religious revivals of the Second Great Awakening.

The term was coined by Charles Grandison Finney who in his 1876 book Autobiography of Charles G. Finney referred to a “burnt district” (p78) to denote an area in central and western New York State during the Second Great Awakening. The name was inspired by the notion that the area had been so heavily evangelized as to have no “fuel” (unconverted population) left over to “burn” (convert).

When religion is related to reform movements of the period, such as abolition, women’s rights, and utopian social experiments, the region expands to include areas of central New York that were important to these movements.

Remember, remember the 23rd of August

with 2 comments

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Supernal terror greets the calendar’s arrival on the Vulcanalia – or the 23rd of August, a chilling sense memory of forgotten anniversaries and lost worlds. Woe to we unlucky few, when the question raised by that hated phrase- “for whom the bell tolls?” – may only be answered by glancing in a mirror. In that moment, when an abominable eidelon of degenerate appearance appears within the framed glass, remember 1967 and 1968.

Realizing, some days ago, that this year’s anniversary of that annum horriblum was once more upon us- and worse still- that the abundance of cemeteries which garland the Newtown Pentacle would provide ideal conditions for a virtual army to form up virtually undetected. In the name of the community at large, I contacted expert advice, hoping to gain some reassurance that those events of the winter of 1967 and spring of 1968 which played out in the back woods of Pennsylvania would not be repeated.

Into balls of crystal was the gaze of a humble narrator cast.

from wikipedia

Radio reports explain that an epidemic of mass murder is sweeping across the eastern seaboard. The creatures are consuming the flesh of their victims. A subsequent broadcast reports that the murders are being perpetrated by the recently deceased who have returned to life, dubbed ‘ghouls’. Experts, scientists and military are not sure of the cause of the reanimation, but one scientist is certain that it is the result of radioactive contamination from a space probe that exploded in the Earth’s atmosphere. A final report instructs that a gunshot or heavy blow to the head will stop the ghouls and that posses of armed men are patrolling the countryside to restore order.

from youtube:

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Roma woman who read my tea leaves in her store front chapel began to sweat profusely when my query for divination was put forward. “Who asks such things?” she said, and told me to leave. Oddly, she threw a broom down on the floor and spit upon it, while performing a wild gestural dance with her hands.

I think that she may have been flashing me some kind of “gang sign” but I’m not that into Hip-Hop, so I don’t know.

Cursing my inability to interact with my fellow travelers upon this mortal coil, I decided to visit with a group of birds in Astoria whom I believe are attempting to communicate with us via a language of musical notation. Whether they are agents of an external sentience or have developed some sort of telepathic group mind, I cannot say, however when a question is put to them the entire flock will rearrange themselves into different patterns.

Strange, unfortunately- another of my deficiencies is the ability to read musical notation.

from wikipedia

According to the tenets of Vodou, a dead person can be revived by a bokor, or sorcerer. Zombies remain under the control of the bokor since they have no will of their own. “Zombi” is also another name of the Vodou snake lwa Damballah Wedo, of Niger-Congo origin; it is akin to the Kikongo word nzambi, which means “god”. There also exists within the West African Vodun tradition the zombi astral, which is a part of the human soul that is captured by a bokor and used to enhance the bokor’s power. The zombi astral is typically kept inside a bottle which the bokor can sell to clients for luck, healing or business success. It is believed that after a time God will take the soul back and so the zombi is a temporary spiritual entity. It is also said in voudou legend, that feeding a zombie salt will make it return to the grave.

from youtube:

- photo by Mitch Waxman

At Calvary Cemetery, whose hallowed ground will most likely (and paradoxically) be the safest location in the Greater City if events unfold like the flower of some loathsome Lily, the Groundling Burrowers were consulted. It is whispered that is they who convey the messages of the living to the underworld, and that sometimes they will bring something back to the surface from those below, if the right sort of payment is offered. Costly, their price is paid nevertheless and assurances were offered by certain subterrene potentates who would prefer to remain anonymous that this would be a year like any other.

But, all rabbits are tricksters, even the demonic kind.

from wikipedia

The zombie apocalypse is a particular scenario of apocalyptic fiction that customarily has a science fiction/horror rationale. In a zombie apocalypse, a widespread (usually global) rise of zombies hostile to human life engages in a general assault on civilization. Victims of zombies may become zombies themselves. This causes the outbreak to become an exponentially growing crisis: the spreading “zombie plague/virus” swamps normal military and law enforcement organizations, leading to the panicked collapse of civilian society until only isolated pockets of survivors remain, scavenging for food and supplies in a world reduced to a pre-industrial hostile wilderness.

The literary subtext of a zombie apocalypse is usually that civilization is inherently fragile in the face of truly unprecedented threats and that most individuals cannot be relied upon to support the greater good if the personal cost becomes too high. The narrative of a zombie apocalypse carries strong connections to the turbulent social landscape of the United States in the 1960s when the originator of this genre, the film Night of the Living Dead, was first created.

from youtube:

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Finally, “that which might exist down there”- swirling about the shadowed bottom of Dutch Kills, in the oneirontic clays and black mayonnaise which distinguish the soft bottom of all the tributary waterways which connect to the lacerated flow of the Newtown Creek- was consulted.

From a throat whose gentype and phyla is not speculated upon, suspected, or even proposed to exist- an unknowable, indescribable, and unguessable gelatin approximation of human speech – voiced in a manner which one does not hear, but instead perceives from a series of monotonous sense impacts- spoke.

Apparently, we’re going to be OK today. All sources agree that the Zombie Holocaust will not begin anew in 2010, on this 42nd anniversary of the famed “Night of the Living Dead”.

And writing this post on my Birthday is a little present to myself, just in case you thought I’d finally gone off the deep end of the Creek.

Zombieland rule # 32 applies.

from youtube.com

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 23, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 857 other followers

%d bloggers like this: