The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for December 2012

twelve of twelve

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January 2012- High Doors

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Finally, the end of 2012, and the arrival of the Newtown Pentacle Greatest Hits of 2012 posting.

It was actually a pretty good year for your humble narrator, which started off when I stumbled across the fact that the Paragon Oil building in Long Island City used to be Queens Borough Hall- back in the day. check out “high doors

February 2012- mural history

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Steve Brodie said he jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge and lived, becoming one of the great celebrities of the 19th century in the process. Mr. Brodie was buried in Calvary Cemetery and in February, we paid him a visit in “mural history“.

March 2012- skillfully wafted

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In “skillfully wafted“, an opportunity to visit the titan Waste Management facility at Varick Street in Brooklyn was taken advantage of, and the LIRR Bushwick Branch received some attention as well.

April 2012- strange corridors

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An opportunity to witness the procedures followed at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in pursuit of “scientific odor control and engineering” came along, and your humble narrator leapt at the opportunity in “strange corridors“.

April was an interesting month for other reasons, especially since the news that I had discovered a missing piece of the Queensboro Bridge broke at several news sources.

Check out the dnainfo article here, and the cbs radio piece here.

May 2012- obscure world

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On the subject of odors and Newtown Creek, a great personal victory was announced when the definitive location of Conrad Wissel’s Night Soil and offal dock was revealed in “obscure world“.

June 2012- strange wanderers

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Johnston Brothers were the proprietors of the J. & C. Johnston company, located ultimately at the corner of Broadway and 22nd street in Manhattan. Their mausoleum in Calvary Cemetery was the subject of interest in “strange wanderers“.

There was also that whole NYtimes article and video about me in June- check out “Your Guide to a Tour of Decay” and “Newtown’s Champion“. To be seen, by so many, diminishes me.

July 2012- virgin aether

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The answer to the question- “what- exactly- would you have done if you suddenly had to get rid of a dead elephant in pre 1977 NYC?” was answered with “call Van Iderstine’s” in “virgin aether“.

August 2012- the last birthday of the Kosciuszko Bridge

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Kosciuszko Bridge was opened on August 23rd, 1939 by Mayor LaGuardia.

the last birthday of the Kosciuszko Bridge carries several historic shots recently made accessible via NYCMA’s Luna images.

September 2012- central chamber

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In September, the Tidewater building on the Queens bank of the Newtown Creek in Blissville received some scrutiny in the central chamber” posting.

October 2012- embowered banks

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In “embowered banks“, a little altar was discovered in Calvary Cemetery, alongside a certain “tree fed by a morbid nutrition”.

November 2012- open place

- photo by Mitch Waxman

November was defined first by Hurricane Sandy disabling New York City, and then by a back injury which disabled your humble narrator for a spell. An effort to document the post Sandy environment around Newtown Creek was detailed in several postings, the first of which was “open place“.

December 2012- palatial magnificence

- photo by Mitch Waxman

December of 2012 was dominated by the Mayan Apocalypse, and our extensive Newtown Pentacle bunker was described in palatial magnificence“.

Overall, its been a decent year.

I’ve done a plethora of walking and boat tours of the Newtown Creek- close to 900 people have attended one or another of these events.

The “Magic Lantern Show” has been presented at Universities, Colleges, and for community groups.

Thanks to everyone who has been reading and commenting here, and to everyone who came along on one of my crazy long walks around the Newtown Pentacle. Stick around, 2013 is shaping up to be a fun time.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 31, 2012 at 12:15 am

Posted in Photowalks, Pickman

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terrible gateway

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

The last Maritime Sunday of 2012 brings the estimable Buchanan 1 before you. A 1967 era tug, it is still observed navigating the Harbor of New York and New Jersey even in the dross modernity of 2012. Notice that in the shot above, it wears a different paint job than the shots below.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just the facts: Buchanan 1 was built in 1967. 89.4 length, 12 draft, and 28.1 beam, she weighs 191 Gross Tons, and is actuated by twin screws supplying 2,200 HP. tugboatinformation.com has a bit more of her story, which can be accessed by clicking here.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A hearty Maritime Sunday shout out is sent to the crew of the boat, the last time this year that any such message will be sent.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 30, 2012 at 12:15 am

reflecting ribbon

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

These shots emanate from a time in the past, an era when a young George W. Bush taught us all how to laugh. The colorful display, unfortunately, no longer graces the tableau found at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Steinway Street. A car wash still inhabits the spot, but the variegated signage has since been removed and replaced by the banal.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The prevailing light and atmosphere of 2012′s last couple of weeks is epitomized, I think, by the shot above. A sincere desire to drink in chromatic splendor demanded that the first shot in today’s post be displayed, in order to break up the fungoid monotony of December.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 29, 2012 at 12:15 am

rhythmical promise

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, occasion carried me down to Long Island City, where my stated goal was to catch the venerable East River Ferry and attend a meeting in Brooklyn Heights. It is somewhat ironic, to me at least, that the only mass transit pathway between two points on the western tip of Long Island that doesn’t involve transversing Manhattan is to use a ferry service set up to carry folks from the former to the latter. Unfortunately, just as I arrived at the dock, the boat was leaving, which in many ways is a metaphor for my entire life.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It was no tragedy, as it offered an opportunity to linger and play around with some of that night photography I was talking about at the start of the week. Manhattan can be quite lovely when viewed from outside of itself, and some effort went into the endeavor. The Empire State Building, a shining beacon of hope erected during the deep despair of the Great Depression, never disappoints.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

For some reason, the Freedom Tower will always be the name I call the building at One World Trade Center. Future generations will just call it whatever name they inherit from us, and Freedom Tower reminds me of those early days of the Terror War when terms like “blowback”, “freedom fries”, and “new normal” were coined. I think it’s important to remember that time, and that some symbolism is valuable even for the jaded mindset of modernity.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Such ruminations came to end, when the East River Ferry showed up. Their service has really matured in the last year, although the dock at Long Island City is in dire condition. It is temporary, of course, as the Hunters Point South development project surrounds and engulfs all in a shroud of ongoing construction.

edge away

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Play time is almost over now. The Honeymooners Marathon is coming on New Years, which signals that only a few days are left before the blistering reality check of a January morning. With the holidays and Mayan Apocalypse out of the way, it’s nearly time to knuckle down and get “back in session”. For today’s post though, musing contemplations and foolish wondering rule the hour.

The shot above, incidentally, is from a place called Oia on a island called Thira which is the likely inspiration for the legend of the lost city of Atlantis.

from Azathoth By H. P. Lovecraft, courtesy hplovecraft.com

When age fell upon the world, and wonder went out of the minds of men; when grey cities reared to smoky skies tall towers grim and ugly, in whose shadow none might dream of the sun or of spring’s flowering meads; when learning stripped earth of her mantle of beauty, and poets sang no more save of twisted phantoms seen with bleared and inward-looking eyes; when these things had come to pass, and childish hopes had gone away forever, there was a man who travelled out of life on a quest into the spaces whither the world’s dreams had fled.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Too much time spent in contemplation and peaceful idyll is not a good thing, in fact it’s the proverbial “devils playground”. Wasteful thought processes play out, which are unproductive and annoying to those around me. One wonders how much longer these unfortunates will subject themselves to a creature like myself.

The shot above, by the way, is from a different island. One which hosts a 16th century castle built and lost by Venetians and later held first by Ottoman and then Greek. It once served as the headquarters of a confederacy of pirates whose fleet menaced Egyptian, British, and French shipping during the early 19th century.

from H. P. Lovecraft Letter to Farnsworth Wrigth (July 27, 1927), in Selected Letters 1925-1929 (Sauk City, Wisconsin: Arkham House, 1968), p.150., courtesy wikipedia

Now all my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large. To me there is nothing but puerility in a tale in which the human form—and the local human passions and conditions and standards—are depicted as native to other worlds or other universes. To achieve the essence of real externality, whether of time or space or dimension, one must forget that such things as organic life, good and evil, love and hate, and all such local attributes of a negligible and temporary race called mankind, have any existence at all.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

During these dark days of winter, a humble narrator dreams of sunshine and warmth and the sweetness of fresh bread dipped in honey consumed with the blackest of coffees. Such pleasures, however, are neither deserved nor imminent. The time is come, finally, to stare into any and all available abysses- and return to my lonely path. It is once again the hour of the wolf, here in the Newtown Pentacle. Of course, we’ve got that Honeymooners Marathon, as George the Atheist reminds. (Mr. GTA did a post documenting the moving of the Civic Virtue statue at his own blog, btw, check it out here)

Also, the shot above illustrates the shoreline of yet another island, one where European Civilization is considered to have been born roughly 5,000 years ago.

from “The Doom That Came to Sarnath” by H. P. Lovecraft, courtesy wikisource.org

There is in the land of Mnar a vast still lake that is fed by no stream, and out of which no stream flows. Ten thousand years ago there stood by its shore the mighty city of Sarnath, but Sarnath stands there no more.

It is told that in the immemorial years when the world was young, before ever the men of Sarnath came to the land of Mnar, another city stood beside the lake; the gray stone city of Ib, which was old as the lake itself, and peopled with beings not pleasing to behold. Very odd and ugly were these beings, as indeed are most beings of a world yet inchoate and rudely fashioned. It is written on the brick cylinders of Kadatheron that the beings of Ib were in hue as green as the lake and the mists that rise above it; that they had bulging eyes, pouting, flabby lips, and curious ears, and were without voice. It is also written that they descended one night from the moon in a mist; they and the vast still lake and gray stone city Ib. However this may be, it is certain that they worshipped a sea-green stone idol chiseled in the likeness of Bokrug, the great water-lizard; before which they danced horribly when the moon was gibbous.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 27, 2012 at 2:42 am

fortunately verifiable

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

“Choose your battles” is what the old man used to say. Then he’d remind me of how I physically compared with other members of my peer group and advised “pick up something- a brick, pipe, garbage can lid- throw it at their head, and then run away as fast as I could”. Following this advice over the years, I’ve learned something. I am not a fast runner.

Walking, however, is something I can do for hours at a pop.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Choosing the battle, however, during the short and dark days of the winter is not always up to me. Complicating my life, the recent multiple day long spurts of rain has made getting out something of a luxury. One can withstand some amount of cold, or a limited quantity of wet, but not both. In recent years, your humble narrator has developed a nearly comic book level “vulnerability to cold”.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s a funny thing. The various groups I work with along the Newtown Creek and New York Harbor have a lot of meetings which I am compelled to attend, whether it be out of interest or obligation. More often than not, these meetings take place far from home, and I will take advantage of “getting there” via scenic routes in order to collect photos and tour certain locales. Unfortunately, during the winter months, darkness begins as early as half past four in the afternoon, and these meetings often start more than hour or two after sunset.

Unable to follow the old man’s advice and choose my battles, as I cannot throw a brick at natures head, an attempt is underway to improve my “hand held at low light” photgraphic skill set.

bleak ice pinnacles

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Happy Christmas, don’t eat too much and end up like the guy in the shot above.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 25, 2012 at 12:15 am

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