The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘birds’ Category

spectral summer

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Damnation, hell, and other allegories plague my days.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s a gull catching the free ride on the Staten Island Ferry, a critter smarter than me who says “why walk (or fly) when you can ride?” Severe fatigue marks this day for a humble narrator. A freelance assignment carried one out to storied Red Hook yesterday, a trip made remarkable by the atypically wonderful weather. Having clicked the shutter while pointing the camera at my intended targets, and not having much else to do for the afternoon, one decided to walk home to Astoria.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above depicts what the City looks like from the water, at night. Walking from Red Hook to Astoria sounds insane, I know, but it’s only about 10 miles from A to B. Along the way, one gets to witness the majesty of the East River while moving out of Red Hook, into Brooklyn Bridge Park, through Vinegar Hill, past the Navy Yard, into Williamsburg and Greenpoint, over the Pulaski into Hunters Point, and then the Queensbridge, Ravenswood, and finally Astoria neighborhoods are encountered in Queens. It takes around four to five hours to do this section of the western coast of Long Island.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My beloved Dutch Kills, above. When you return home, a little puff of steam is released as you doff your shoes. You really do feel it the next day, mainly in the lateral part of the hips, which is where my feeling of fatigue comes in.

It’s actually so silly cool a walk that I’m considering organizing a free event on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, the 29th of November, and calling it the “Red Hook to Astoria Challenge.” This won’t be a tour, per se, it’ll be more of a hang out. More to come on this.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

This weekend-

Saturday, August 16th, LIC’s Modern Corridor
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

desperate care

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Happy Independence Day week, lords and ladies.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Whew. It’s been a very busy June for your humble narrator, and as has become a tradition at this – your Newtown Pentacle – when a holiday week is upon us, single images devoid of verbose description will be offered. At the beginning of the month, a trip to the Queens Zoo at Flushing Meadow Corona Park was enacted for my Brownstoner Queens column, and all the shots presented this week were collected during that excursion.

Pictured above is a Bald Eagle.

I’ll be back next week with “real” postings, after I’ve had a chance to take a breath and eat some BBQ.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 4, 2014 at 11:00 am

worms beneath

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Happy Independence Day week, lords and ladies.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Whew. It’s been a very busy June for your humble narrator, and as has become a tradition at this – your Newtown Pentacle – when a holiday week is upon us, single images devoid of verbose description will be offered. At the beginning of the month, a trip to the Queens Zoo at Flushing Meadow Corona Park was enacted for my Brownstoner Queens column, and all the shots presented this week were collected during that excursion.

Pictured above is a Swan.

I’ll be back next week with “real” postings, after I’ve had a chance to take a breath and eat some BBQ.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 3, 2014 at 11:00 am

to listen

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The changing face of NY Harbor, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As Johnny Cash used to say - “I been everywhere, man, I been everywhere.” The bizarre ideation which one such as myself call “life” carries me back and forth, forth and back, across this human infested megalopolis continually. Always an outsider, always an observer. Spectating the vast changes in the East River corridor which have been underway for the last decade or so has largely involved watching the coast of Long Island being weighted down with residential towers, a process that the folks in Manhattan have been largely indifferent about.

Now, the wave of urban rebuilding and wholesale loss of neighborhood character is starting to happen to them, and the city people are all in a panic.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above is from February of 2013. It depicts the Pier 17 building of the South Street Seaport complex. Surely the worst shopping mall in the local vicinity, it nevertheless hosted several small businesses and employed many people. The decision, pre Sandy, was made to eliminate this structure and replace it with a shiny mirror box of a hotel. Post Sandy, it became a paramount of municipal importance to replace the building, because… Hurricane Sandy and Terrorism… or whatever they use to scare us into doing things we don’t want to do these days.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As this 2014 shot depicts, the demolition process of Pier 17 is quite far along at this point. The Howard Hughes corporation owns the spot, it’s private property and they can do whatever they want with it. Also, Lower Manhattan is somewhat under utilized. The hotel which will be built here will provide jobs to first construction workers and then to hotel employees. It will buoy up the local economy and act as an anchor for other businesses.

This is exactly the sort of sophistry that the powers which be have been selling us in Brooklyn and Queens over the last 20 years, while the residents of the Shining City sat on their hands watching the condos rise to the east. It’s happening to them now, and they are pissed off.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The question is not whether or not the Pier 17 structure deserved preservation or not (it didn’t). There is no room for debate regarding “growth” or “development” in the City of Greater New York (it is inevitable and unending). The question is one of empathy, and whether or not we should feel sorry for an entitled group who have finally felt a well used hammer smashing their particular nail?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There’s a Newtown Creek walking tour, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 15th, DUPBO – Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp
A FREE tour, courtesy of Green Shores NYC, click here for rsvp info

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm

there flashed

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A life form, encountered.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Involuntarily marching home after a long day in the sun, one found himself on 36th avenue, in the Brazilian section. A generous and friendly, sometimes volatile creed, the Brazilians are a charismatic group who bring much needed color to an otherwise moribund section where Astoria bumps up against the Dutch Kills neighborhood. That’s where I encountered the bird, who was a member of their community.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A descendant of the mega saurians who once ruled the earth, in those days before the hammer of god itself smashed the planet into ruination, the bird was perched imperiously upon a firebox. He seemed haughty, and offered knowing glances to all the mammals marching to and fro.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The creature seemed possessed of a sentient intelligence, and one grew increasingly uneasy when its stare became fixed upon me. Wonderings about whether or not this bird might be associated with or involved in organized crime came to mind. It seemed to be demanding something.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s when this affable child of the southern hemisphere appeared, offering the avian some sort of elixir, which was served in a wholesome seeming cup. The entity quaffed whatever was in the vessel, but it’s fixed yellow gaze never left my vicinity. The birds servant opined about how wonderful the creature was, but that might have been something that he had no choice in. Was this, in fact, the Don of some underworld clique, as I suspected?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Can a bird be a member of the underworld? By definition, wouldn’t a bird be part of an overworld? Better not ask too many questions, lest my days become haunted by flocks of rough looking characters bent upon a campaign of torment and harassment. Who can guess, all there is, that might be hidden up amongst the rafters and rooftops of the Newtown Pentacle?

There are two public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in LIC, Queens and one in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Glittering Realms, with Atlas Obscura, on Saturday May 17th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on Sunday May 18th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 8, 2014 at 11:00 am

blind alley

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It’s nice just to be amongst people.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The tour schedule is underway again, which has been going pretty well. So far, it’s been a full house on every excursion. Accordingly, your humble narrator has found himself all over the City of Greater New York (avoiding Manhattan whenever possible) and one has been waving the camera around at a vast variety of subjects. As you’re reading this, I’m likely in historic Newtown (aka Elmhurst) searching for certain signs and portents left behind by earlier generations.

I was in South Brooklyn recently, for an opening reception of the “Combined Overflow” show at Proteus Gowanus, which I was invited to hang a few prints in.

from wikipedia

The English loanword “wanderlust” was already extant in the German language dating as far back as Middle High German. The first documented use of the term in English occurred in 1902 as a reflection of what was then seen as a characteristically German predilection for wandering that may be traced back to German Romanticism and the German system of apprenticeship (the journeyman), as well as the adolescent custom of the ‘Wanderbird’ seeking unity with Nature.

The term originates from the German words wandern (to hike) and Lust (desire). The term wandern, frequently misused as a false friend, does in fact not mean “to wander”, but “to hike.” Placing the two words together, translated: “enjoyment of hiking”, although it is commonly described as an enjoyment of strolling, roaming about or wandering.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

While at Proteus Gowanus, I decided to snap a couple of exposures of the lamentable Gowanus Canal as witnessed from the Union Street Bridge. Call me a “size queen,” but seriously – compared to Newtown Creek – Gowanus seems pretty compact. Attempts to get to know this waterway are being undertaken, as business carries me to South Brooklyn at least once a month these days.

from nyc.gov

The Union Street Bridge is a double leaf Scherzer rolling lift bascule supporting Union Street over the Gowanus Canal in the borough of Brooklyn. The bridge has two vehicular traffic lanes, each approximately 17 feet wide, and two sidewalks, each 6 feet wide. Both traffic lanes carry eastbound traffic.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

These two views are from either side of the Union Street bridge, and depict a landscape unfamiliar. On Newtown Creek, I can see through time and tell you about the outlines of long demolished chimneys and mills, whereas here at the Gowanus – I’m just a visiting tourist seeking the vicarious. That’s nice, I tell you. Something to learn about, new rocks to turn over, and a world which I do not know.

from wikipedia

The Gowanus Canal, also known as the Gowanus Creek Canal, is a canal in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, geographically on the westernmost portion of Long Island. Connected to Gowanus Bay in Upper New York Bay, the canal borders the neighborhoods of Red Hook and South Brooklyn to the west, Park Slope to the east, and Sunset Park to the south. It is 1.8 miles (2.9 km) long. There are seven bridges over the canal, carrying Union Street, Carroll Street (a landmark), Third Street, Ninth Street, Hamilton Avenue, the Gowanus Expressway and the IND Culver Line of the New York City Subway.

There are two public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in LIC, Queens and one in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Glittering Realms, with Atlas Obscura, on Saturday May 17th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on Sunday May 18th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 6, 2014 at 11:00 am

angry sky

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Want to see something cool?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I got to go to South Brother Island with the Audubon Society once, whereupon these three presented themselves. Baby Cormorants, soon after this shot was gathered, the one on the right vomited half a fish at me. Baby birds are bastards, but they are cool looking.

Nature wants to kill you, and one should never be seduced by its beauty. That’s nature’s game, and it’s why our ancestors paved over everything in retaliation, which brings me inexorably back to Newtown Creek.

There are three public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn and one that walks the currently undefended border of the two boroughs. I have another iron in the fire, which I’ll tell you about later this week. As you’re reading this, I’m likely on a boat with the Working Harbor Committee’s Education program, showing off the harbor to a group of high school students.

Plank Road, with Newtown Creek Alliance, on April 19th. This one is free, click here to get on the list.

Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura, on April 26th. Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on May 18th. Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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