The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Cool Cars’ Category

lavishly laden

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Parked on my block, a childhood aspiration.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Saturday last was a challenging day, and after performing certain actions and accomplishing a few obligations one headed back to HQ back in Astoria. Upon arriving on my block, one discovered a true American relic parked on the street – a 1980 Pontiac Trans AM!

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This particular line of automobiles held a sacred place in my teenage heart, although I favored the black variant with the gold eagle on the hood made famous by Burt Reynolds in the “Smokey and the Bandit” franchise of films back then (& now).Remembrances of building more than one plastic scale model of the 1980 Trans Am over the years comes to mind.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Competition in the form of the Camaro forced a change in body design sometime later in the 1980’s, a period of time when the American auto industry first lost its way and began the process of homogenizing their lineups. In the end, the Camaro and Trans Am became nearly identical fiberglass bodied vehicles.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The late 70’s and early 80’s Trans Am’s were late in the game muscle cars, driven hard by young drivers (guys mostly), and this one looks as if its been well taken care of bit did have a whole lot of cosmetic issues. Its amazing seeing one of these at all, as this is a thirty four year old car.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in the middle 1980’s, there used to be an impromptu drag strip which drew fast cars and idiot teenagers together on a backwater street found somewhere between East New York, Starret City, and Howard Beach which is called Fountain Avenue. I used to go there occasionally, and watch a few races. It’s since been resurfaced with a series of waves to discourage the racing.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One night, some guy driving a souped up Trans Am floored the gas pedal when the flag dropped, signaling the start of the race. Spinning, his wheels produced a choking veil of smoke until the tires caught traction. It was all very dramatic. At the end of the course, which was the equivalent of about two blocks away, his rear wheels were still smoking and one had little wisps of blue flame at its base.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Illegal drag racing aside, I still want one of these cars, and the logo you see on the hood of this car is the singular image which one would consider getting as a tattoo. This logo is all hot dogs and coca cola and fried chicken and pretty girls who are wearing bikinis and cowboy hats while they’re playing baseball and some guy drinks Budweiser and smokes a Marlboro while thinking about … you get the idea.

Welcomes to Astoria, we got yer Americana, rights overs heres, bro.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

July 14, 2014 at 11:00 am

cities and valleys

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An awesome auto spotted in the Carridor.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

After a particularly busy week during which we only saw fleeting glimpses of each other, it was decided by Our Lady of the Pentacle that we were going to meet for an al fresco dinner at a pub in Dutch Kills. Your humble narrator was walking down Northern Blvd. – the Carridor, as I refer to it – and this cool car was observed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It wasn’t in the best condition, notably the thing was missing wheel covers and some chrome here and there, but I’m possessed of a certain fetish for mid 1960’s Buicks. The epitome of the land yacht, these mid 60’s Buicks were impossibly huge vehicles that bore powerful engines, the epitome of mid 20th century American automobile manufacturing. They use a tremendous amount of fuel, require constant attention, and fail catastrophically. Saying that, they look great.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is a 1965 Buick Wildcat. It sports either a 325 or 340 horsepower engine. Due to the missing chrome on the rear quarter panel, I can’t tell you if it’s the GS or “Gran Sports” model, which featured a ludicrously powerful 360 HP engine block, although the vast majority of “GS” models were produced in ’66. The Wildcat line ended manufacture in 1970, and was replaced in production by the Buick Centurion.

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There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, June 28th, The Poison Cauldron
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 29th, The Insalubrious Valley
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 25, 2014 at 11:00 am

odd sense

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Here’s some of yer vibrant diversity right over dere.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Spotted this Frankenstein monster on Broadway, at the angle between Woodside and Astoria, recently. That’s an electric delivery motorcycle, although legally speaking it’s a bicycle or moped, with two supermarket shopping carts that are welded together and forming a caboose hitched to a homemade hinge on the back of the bike. Seriously speaking, the engineering of this arrangement is staggeringly competent, and this is a precise example of “American Ingenuity” parked on the sidewalk.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Friends in Manhattan, some of whom work for the City in regulatory positions, always make accusations that your humble narrator has a vivid imagination. That the circumstances and inventions witnessed on the streets of Queens, improvised by those who don’t have two pennies to rub together and which are cobbled together from available materials, cannot possibly exist. I remind them that a future president of the United States is sitting in a carriage on Roosevelt Avenue eating a Churrasco, and that her parents came here as undocumented immigrants.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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

Saturday, June 7th, 13 Steps around Dutch Kills with Atlas Obscura.
Click here for tickets and more info.

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

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 2, 2014 at 12:47 pm

largely baseless

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Zombie Response Vehicle in Queens.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This Jeep was spotted at a service station found at the intersection of Northern Blvd. and Newtown Road just the other day, and it was adorned with multiple decals indicating that it was the property of a Zombie Response Team. I’m glad that someone is finally taking this sort of eventuality seriously. Somebody has to.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There are plenty of zombie apocalypse “preppers” here in Western Queens, have no doubt about it. Caches of hand weapons abound in Astoria, and there are thousands of firearms hidden away in closets, basements, and garages – just in case of a manifest plague of Zombies (or a breakout at nearby Rikers, or a sudden influx of hipsters from Brooklyn). I didn’t know there was an organized vehicle fleet, but I must point out that this sort of vehicle would be somewhat inadequate for the sort of infestation that New York City would need to deal with. You’d really need an armored car or truck.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The big question that elected officials in Queens would ponder in a Zombie uprising would be whether or not Zombies could vote. If the walking dead could cast a ballot, would they reliably vote for Democrats? It wouldn’t be the first time that the population of a graveyard helped buoy an election victory around these parts, after all, and the Zombies would be courted by them. A brain in every pot, they would promise, and resolutions to outlaw blows to the cranium would be introduced by the City Council shortly afterward.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 22, 2014 at 11:00 am

recumbent head

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Hell in a hand basket, lords and ladies, and tongue held firmly in cheek.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Nothing can cause a humble narrator to fly into a rage faster than encountering a vehicle parked on the sidewalk. This is a big problem in western Queens, where the law is enforced subjectively at best, and especially here in Astoria with its population of expatriates and immigrants who were generally too uncontrollable, troublesome, or irascible to stay in the country which they were born in.

Just the other day, on my way home, this scene was spotted on 35th avenue in the 40’s.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

These people… Sheesh. They come here with aspirations of building a new and better life, form a lasting relationship with our relatively non tyrannical government, and this is how they thank the natives? When I was a boy, people who parked on the sidewalk would find themselves swinging from a tree or lamppost, or just fed to a pack of wild junk yard dogs. It’s obviously the fault of real estate developers and our elected officials that this sort of thing is allowed to continue.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Worst of all, this isn’t even an American made car. How does some newcomer afford a foreign sports car anyway? Can’t be from earning it… next you’ll tell me it was a gift. Grants and subsidies and social welfare programs set aside for immigrants that’s how. Can you imagine how much revenue the City loses, only enforcing the parking laws on its native born citizens?

Feh, satire bites

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 19, 2014 at 11:49 am

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