The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

ordered terraces

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

The blasted heaths of Western Queens, which the art of engineering have conquered fully, must have once been quite lovely. What exists at the dawn of the second millennia, however, represent obeisance to the motor vehicle and “flow”. Gaze in horror upon the Queens Midtown Expressway section of the Long Island Expressway, a 1939 expression of the seeming ennui felt by Robert Moses for the ancient villages and communities of Long Island City.

Your humble narrator is often struck dumb and blind when doing so.

from wikipedia

Symptoms of acute stress reaction

The symptoms show great variation but typically include an initial state of “daze”, with some constriction of the field of consciousness and narrowing of attention, inability to comprehend stimuli, and disorientation.

This state may be quickly followed by either further withdrawal from the surrounding situation (to the extent of a dissociative stupor), or by agitation and overactivity, anxiety, impaired judgement, confusion, detachment, and depression. Autonomic signs of panic anxiety (tachycardia, sweating, flushing) are also commonly present.

The symptoms usually appear within minutes of the impact of the stressful stimulus or event, and disappear within 2–3 days (often within hours). Partial or complete amnesia for the episode may be present.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

At its apex over the Dutch Kills tributary of the languid Newtown Creek, which climbs to some one hundred and six feet over the water, the steel roadway begins a precipitous change in declination which carries vehicular traffic to the subaqueous Queens Midtown Tunnel and into Manhattan. The roadway was elevated to this altitude for no reason other than allow ocean going vessels egress to the turning basin of the Degnon Terminal at the head of Dutch Kills, and the blighting effect it had on Long Island City was quite unintentional. The industrial center became something to be ignored, driven over, forgotten, and quite irrelevant- seemingly by design.

If this is not the case, why are there no entrance or exit ramps between Greenpoint and Vernon Avenues?

from wikipedia

Depersonalization disorder (DPD) is a dissociative disorder (ICD-10 classifies the disorder as an anxiety disorder) in which the sufferer is affected by persistent or recurrent feelings of depersonalization and/or derealization. A diagnosis is made when the dissociation is persistent and interferes with the social and occupational functions necessary for everyday living. Diagnostic criteria include persistent or recurrent experiences of feeling detached from one’s mental processes or body. “Dissociation is defined as a disruption in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity and perception, leading to a fragmentation of the coherence, unity and continuity of the sense of self.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The complicated snare of vehicular access to Manhattan as it all compacts in Long Island City has often caused me to fall into a stupor when contemplated. Subway lines, railroads, passenger and freight vehicles- all form a tight fist gripping the heart of this formerly vital center. Storm water flows freely from exhausts onto local streets, causing temporary lagoons of sooty liquids to agglutinate about garbage choked sewers. Many of these sewers bear the screed “no dumping, drains into waterway” embossed directly on the iron grates.

Perhaps one is entangled in some waking nightmare, and all of what may be observed is merely some fevered ideation?

from wikipedia

Oneirophrenia is a hallucinatory, dream-like state caused by several conditions such as prolonged sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, or drugs (such as ibogaine). From the Greek words “ὄνειρο” (oneiro, “dream”) and “φρενός” (phrenos, “mind”). It has some of the characteristics of simple schizophrenia, such as a confusional state and clouding of consciousness, but without presenting the dissociative symptoms which are typical of this disorder.

Persons affected by oneirophrenia have a feeling of dream-like unreality which, in its extreme form, may progress to delusions and hallucinations. Therefore, it is considered a schizophrenia-like acute form of psychosis which remits in about 60% of cases within a period of two years. It is estimated that 50% or more of schizophrenic patients present oneirophrenia at least once.

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Click for details on Mitch Waxman’s
Upcoming boat tours of Newtown Creek

July 22nd, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat Tour

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