The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Astoria’ Category

jutting promontory

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Witches, or Warlocks, are at work in Astoria.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

For several years, your humble narrator has been documenting an odd usage of St. Michael’s Cemetery here in Astoria. An adherent to a presumptively afro-cuban syncretic faith has been performing rituals in Section 10 since at least 2010. The phenomena is discussed at great length in the November 2010 post “pale garden.

By 2012, things had quieted down a bit here. Perhaps the postings alerted the cemetery management to the situation or the magick worker him or herself might have come across them and realized someone was watching.

The other day, one had an afternoon to fill, and scuttled over to St. Michael’s to see if any new developments might be observed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, upon arriving at the graveyard, one observed a crew of groundkeepers hard at work. This meant that any evidence I might find would be disturbed by the actions of lawn mowers and weed whackers, but I headed over to section 10 anyway. That’s where the main “altar’ is.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On the ground, as expected, there was naught but grass clippings and the odd piece of wind blown litter. On the ‘altar” there was a small metallic chalice.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It seemed to be made of fairly common materials, possibly a cheap alloy given the cosmetic qualities of brass.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Inside was ash. A particulate and grainy sort of ash.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

By the way, there’s two cool Working Harbor Committee events going on this weekend you might want to attend.

Saturday, the 30th is a Port Newark excursion onboard the Circle Line with Captain John Doswell, Ed Kelly of the Maritime Association of Port of NY/NJ and Maggie Flanagan – Marine Educator South Street Seaport Museum. The boat boards at 10:30, sails at 11, and returns at 1:30. Click here for more info and tix.

Sunday, the 31st is the annual Great North River Tugboat Race and Competition. 10:00 AM – Parade of tugs from Pier 84 to the start line. 10:30 AM – Race starts – From South of 79th Street Boat Basin (near Pier I) to Pier 84. 11 AM – Nose to nose pushing contests and line toss competition. Noon – Tugs tie up to Pier 84 for lunch and awards ceremony. Exhibits, amateur line toss, spinach eating contest 1 PM – Awards ceremony. Tugs depart at about 2 PM.

For tix on the spectator boat, click here.

 

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

incessant reverberations

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Cool cars are everywhere in Astoria, and I don’t even have a bike.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Scuttling along in building shadows, beneath outstretched awnings, along heavily wooded lanes, and under the dripping steel of the elevated subways are the only places one such as myself can hide from the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself as its burning gaze stares down upon Western Queens during the summer.

Wan, a pale enthusiast such as myself will quickly combust if overexposed to the ultraviolet and shrinks away from direct exposure. While huddling in these particular absences of light, wonders like the sedan pictured above are encountered. This shot was from fabled 31st street, here in Astoria.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On Broadway, still in Astoria but on the way to Woodside, a relic of different but still earlier times rolled by – a Volkswagen Camper van. Many a hippie will offer tales of exciting exploration and disappointing travel associated with this model of vehicle. This survivor seems to live in the neighborhood, as it has been observed while parked on area side streets. There have been several “hipster” spottings by members of our little community of late, but until now we seem to have been free of “hippies.”

A worrying development.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Nearby the location of the passing VW Microbus, this outlandish roadster was racing its engine in anticipation of the changing nature of traffic signals. One congratulates at the style and panache of choosing an Italian made Ferrari, but is also dizzied by the ideation of sitting in stop and go traffic on Steinway Street in one. Cool cars, lords and ladies, Queens is full of them.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

exotic without

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A few shots from around the neighborhood, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over the weekend, Our Lady of the Pentacle announced that she would be bringing our dog over to Astoria Park for an early morning “off leash” dog gathering, as is her habit. A rare weekend day off for me, last Saturday was, so I accompanied her to the park. When we arrived, low hanging clouds were rolling over mighty Triborough, and your humble narrator found a favorable vantage point from which to capture the scene.

It happens to overlook the heavily chlorinated waters of Astoria Pool, which provided an interesting contrast given the environmental condition of morning ambience coupled with a dark sky.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Roaming around Dutch Kills recently, at the borders of Ravenswood and Queensbridge alike, an abundance of Boro Cabs lined a still industrial section of the neighborhood. That giant tangle of technology to the left of the frame is an electrical substation, which might belong to Consolidated Edison, and the big pile of red and white smokestacks is the Big Allis Power Plant on the East River.

Of course, no one can tell who owns what these days, what with their stock market whatsis and corporate whatchamacallits, but I think the substation is owned by Con Ed. I can report – authoritatively- that on hot days, when walking past this fence line, my headphones have often issued a sudden humming drone – and occasionally electrical shocks have transmitted through and them into my shell like ears. The entire block sounds like this – “mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…mmmmmmm.” This may be one of those spots where a handheld fluorescent bulb might just start to glow.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The empty corridor wasn’t so empty the other day when one wandered through on a stroll through Long Island City. Trucks were whizzing about, disgorging palettes of cargo to those who lurked within the warehouses lining the street. Several worrisome characters were closely observing my movements and the particulars of equipment employed in the capture of these images as they quaffed cheap vodka from plastic bottles and shared a marijuana cigarette, one seemingly mixed with cigar tobacco and wrapped in a coarse brown paper or leaf (which one understands as being in fashion at this time). 

A mild panic came upon me, and one felt himself descending into one of his states.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 25, 2014 at 11:00 am

dropped despairingly

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Wandering, always wandering, with no place to go. Stay paranoid, I say.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The steady staccato of foot falls is all that one can really count on, a shuffling rhythm accompanied by the tinkling of that busted glass which garnishes the sidewalks. It’s all terribly depressing, of course, utterly pedantic, and definitively pedestrian – but hey – that’s me. Recent travels carried me off to the halcyon center of “Astoria Astoria” nearby the Triborough Bridge, which I haven’t wandered around in several weeks.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, things are still the same around these parts, with the disturbingly heterogenous stock of buildings that typifies the area still present. These days, if you blink in Western Queens, entire neighborhoods might disappear overnight. It is rumored that dark cloaked figures swarm into the area from Manhattan after dusk to select targets. The Hellenes who inhabit this neighborhood hang charms, which use a blue eye motif, in their windows hoping to ward off these creatures. These predators are referred to as the “nýchta mágissa” or the “strigoi idiokti̱sías” by certain drunken octogenarians which one might encounter at disreputable or shunned tavernas which are found at less travelled neighborhood cross roads. It is claimed that these so called Strigoi want to buy your house for “development” and that they will produce foreign currencies and specie with which to do it.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It is a good idea to carry amulets and charms when perambulating along. One can easily be drawn away from the esoteric realities of this section which adjoins the forbidden northern coast of Queens and the fabled Hells Gate by the grandeur of mundanity. Case in point, an industrial wrecker clad in the scarlet color of human blood, towing a disabled bus off of mighty Triborough. Anything to keep you from noticing the truth… Who can say, all there is, that might be lurking about in the fuligin of night, beneath the buzzing of the sodium lamps?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 18, 2014 at 11:00 am

humid seas

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By jove, I nearly got wet yesterday.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Yesterday, despite the somewhat solitary inclination of mood which a humble narrator awoke to find himself in, nevertheless did he need to go to Sunnyside to talk to some people about some thing. Post facto, a leisurely stroll back to Astoria was planned upon.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As is my custom, certain breaches and apertures in the fencing which secures the Sunnyside Yards from casual observation by most, and the attentions of malodorous sappers and mad bombers in particular, were exploited for photographic use. The sky was dramatic, and active. A weak wind blew chilled air, from west north west.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking towards 36th avenue, from Northern Blvd., a certain sense of doom was laconically accepted. Surely, this will be how all is ended, in a storm. The Vikings, alas, seem to have been correct in their prophecies of the world’s end. If Ragnarok comes to Queens, it’s going to look something like the shot above.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Some wicked fancy seemed to be animating this cloud, but contemplation of such matters was not a luxury at hand. Not having any sort of umbrella or rain gear with me, haste was made to cross the few short blocks back to Newtown Pentacle HQ.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Evacuating birds were shooting through the winds, which had picked up in intensity. Oddly, there was no thunder, but a present and palpable expectation hung pregnantly about. The storm was about to break.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just as I hit 44th street, the clouds attack began, and even your humble narrator found himself struck by airborne missiles of water which had been fired from thousands of feet above. These missiles, luckily, splattered.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Cover was sought behind a simple row house, one which had a small awning. Notice the “rain shadows” forming on the sidewalk.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Experience informs that summer squalls like this are short lived, quickly passing through the neighborhood, and not worth going to extreme measures over. In the twenty minutes or so spent sitting upon some anonymous stoop, observations of the passing humans included a fellow strolling along in a business suit acting as if it were not raining and a handsome young woman who walked by with a plastic bag over her head.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

This weekend-

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

Sunday, August 17th, 13 Steps Around Dutch Kills
With Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 14, 2014 at 11:00 am

states suggested

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Drunkard of the week.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Back to the Kvetching, lords and ladies, and things that are definitively not alright.

This fellow spent a lovely afternoon dozing in the sun, in an obviously inebriate state, at the corner of 41st and Broadway in front of the Loyal order of Moose building. He was sleeping one off, by all appearances. This shot was captured around 6:45 in the evening, but I had spotted him in the same spot earlier in the day, around 2 p.m. Nearly five hours.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

During the late afternoon, and into the early evening, vast numbers of people walked by this man. Mothers and children, old ladies and new immigrants took in the spectacle as they passed by. Hundreds of automobiles stopped at the red light on the corner, with this napping fellow in plain sight and actually illuminated by a setting sun. How many of those cars, I wonder, were driven by the Police?

How is this oft observed behavior in the public space OK, and shouldn’t some member of the Gendarmé have checked to see if this guy was dead or alive?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The fellow singled out in today’s post is part of a small population of inebriated gentlemen who frequent the Steinway and Broadway intersection. A small population of junkies also seem to be favoring the corner of late, with many encamping themselves at the Library. Anybody who lives hereabouts will tell you this, yet, few complain or “kvetch” about it.

“What can you do about it? Don’t start trouble”- that’s the Astoria motto.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A shot from around 7:50 or so, when I was making my way back home. This guy actually gets more sleep than I do, by all appearances, and he remained unmolested by the Police or the people in the shops for more than 5 hours. All the while in public view from an intersection. There was a guy sleeping around 2 on the opposite corner, but he had removed himself by the time I came through around 6:45.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

This weekend-

Sunday, August 3rd, Kill Van Kull Walking Tour
With Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 1, 2014 at 2:58 pm

as offerings

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Renewing my call for commercial freight service on the NYC Subway.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One has mentioned this before: why does the NYC Subway system not offer commercial freight service during the overnight hours? How many trucks could be circumvented from ever entering Manhattan if a cargo train on the E tracks were to carry just Federal Express shipments from Kennedy airport to one of the hubs in Queens or Manhattan?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Rush hour is obviously not the time period which I’m proposing this, in fact, if the sun is up – it’s probably a bad thing to cause any interruption or delay in passenger service. I’m talking about the late nights, when most of the trains are running less than 10% full.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The MTA does it now, for themselves. Moving garbage and construction supplies around on modified rolling stock, as you see in the shots displayed above and below. They used to move cash around in similar manner, onboard the fabled “Money Train.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Load the cargo on at the Corona yard, or at the 36th street one in Brooklyn, or at Hunts Point in the Bronx – any of the final destination stops, really – and bring commercial shipments into the City’s heart via the Subways. Why not? It would reduce the number of trucks on the streets, and help eliminate some of the congestion entering and leaving in Manhattan below 96th street. It would also create a brand new revenue stream for the MTA.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The fly in the ointment would be getting the bulk cargo up out of the station, but that’s something that would be easy to engineer around and one thing NYC is not lacking in are legions of stout young citizens with strong backs and a work ethic. See, it would create jobs too.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

This weekend-

Sunday, August 3rd, Kill Van Kull Walking Tour
With Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 30, 2014 at 11:31 am

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