The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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leers down

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A short one today, from the frozen zone.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Spotted this bicycle frozen to its pole mount on Steinway Street the other day, the presence of the Ambulance was coincidental. The FDNY personnel were headed down into the Subway station with their bags of kit – the oxygen bottles and all that other gear. Didn’t stick around long enough to find out what was doing, as a humble narrator had places to go.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This shot was also captured in Astoria, on Broadway, at one of the heaviest moments of precipitant snowfall last week. Ughhh. I’ll be back next week with some hopefully sunnier shots at this, your Newtown Pentacle.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 6, 2015 at 11:00 am

creeping silently

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Always classy, Astoria.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Since we seem to live in preternatural darkness and cold, Viking Hell as it were, one has decided to just accept the fact that it will never be warm or sunny again. There will never be a day when one needn’t pull on the twenty nine pounds of coats, boots, and sweaters again. This is how we live now, it’s the new normal, and “wet and cold” is this years version of a black t-shirt and a pair of Levi’s. Never has my Metrocard seen as much use as it has in the last few weeks, as I’m taking the bus and train to places that I normally walk to, something which I consider an admission of defeat.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing that’s really charming about this time of the year is the fact that garbage day has been cancelled numerous times due to all the snow, and giant piles of frozen trash are embedded in the mountains of ice and snow. This is fantastic for several reasons, but the big one around HQ is that my little dog Zuzu – who is an inveterate and unapologetic sniffer or trash bags – came down with some sort of stomach bug after a recent walk. Nothing improves the experience of being stuck inside more than a dog who is either vomiting or experiencing “dogarreha.” An expensive visit to the Vet seems to have cured her up, but Astoria has become a septic mess in the last couple of weeks. Realize who is saying that, incidentally, as I’m “Mr. Newtown Creek.”

How bad is the weather? The shot above is from my iPhone, which was used because I didn’t want to bring my regular camera out into this mess. Said camera is casually brandished during rain storms while out on the harbor, and I didn’t want to risk it walking down the ice clad sidewalks of Astoria. Similarily, I worry about risking the dog on these hazardous substrates.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing I worry about the most, dog wise, is actually stray voltage from brine soaked electrical infrastructure embedded in the sidewalks.

The second big dog hazard is something which I’ve been noticing the last few years. Salt is pretty terrible for the pads and naked feet of the pooch, but a simple prophylaxis against it entails the usage of something called “Musher’s Wax.” The oily substance is mainly beeswax, which when rubbed onto a dogs paw creates an oily barrier that protects and moisturizes. Of late, however, road salt has been declining in popularity in favor of some sort of “melt pellet” substance. These pellets seem to find their way into the webbing between the dogs toes, and work their way up into the pads. Since her feet are already wet, the pellets begin to dissolve and release solvents. Bad stuff, and before you ask, my little dog Zuzu ain’t gonna wear those stupid little red boots.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 5, 2015 at 11:10 am

splitting and chipping

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The Astoria Tumbleweeds doth roll about.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The little trees which the human infestation tends to adorn their hovels with during the month of December pile up on the sidewalks around these parts during the first weeks of January, waiting for the wind to take them to new and novel locales. Just last week, one of the abandoned tumbleweeds was observed laconically rolling about in the middle of the street, for instance. Everywhere you go, the Astoria Tumbleweeds doth roll.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Occasion carried me over to 36th avenue recently, nearby the Kaufman Astoria movie studio complex. That’s where the garish lighting affixed to the former Famous Players studio building, as seen in the shot above, was observed. One loves LED lighting, as the technology has allowed a new class of compact and inexpensive flashlights that possess incredible powers of illumination to find their way into my hands, but those color changing architectural ones have to go. You’ll notice these installations all over Astoria, and despite the splash of bright color, these LED color changing accent lights are somewhat lowbrow and tasteless, harkening one to remember the neon colors popular during the 1980’s – when it seemed that a box of highlighters had exploded and distributed their day glow inks all over the city.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in the past, the DSNY has issued instructions for the proper disposal of the resinous holiday trees, designed to aid the agency in putting this lumber to good use via the process of mulching. Unfortunately, the heavy winds typical of January and the presence of hundreds of illegally converted basement apartments (wherein the residents of said units are instructed by landlords to hide their presence from City officialdom by placing household trash in the street refuse wire collection baskets) result in these discarded bits of holiday cheer rolling about the street. Thusly are the Astoria Tumbleweeds released back into the wild, and freed to roam about the neighborhood.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 12, 2015 at 11:00 am

trickling from

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Those Astoria Tumbleweeds… they’re back.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Friday the 3rd of January saw a humble narrator out early, as one had professional obligations to fulfill. While waiting for my breakfast sandwich to be assembled at a greasy spoon on Broadway, here in almond eyed Astoria, observation of a carefully placed and quite discarded Christmas tree occurred. It would have made the news if this coniferous corpse was placed in a bike lane, but instead…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The ever reliable DSNY has posted an instructive page here, which describes the proper procedure for disposing of holiday cheer. The municipal organization has a large mulching operation set up to aid in the disposal of the seasonal cultivar, and no where in its list of specificities governing the process does it say “throw it into the middle of the street.” Ahh, Astoria.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The purchase of breakfast complete, one did not have time to watch the thing roll about in the street. Rather a somewhat epic journey was undertaken, wherein the longest and most expensive possible route (using mass transit) to Brooklyn was undertaken. Why do you need to leave the Long Island, traveling through Manhattan, to arrive at a spot on the Long Island less than 7 miles from your starting point? It’s just silly.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 7, 2015 at 11:00 am

plunging agonizingly

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11111011111 has arrived, and it is not a Listicle.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Happy New Year, lords and ladies. May the road rise to meet you, and all of your sunrises be bright. 2015 has begun, I’m afraid, as the corpse of 2014 rolls about in the road.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 1, 2015 at 11:00 am

human resemblances

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7 things that suck about Listicles. – which all suck.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

New Years Eve is an event eschewed, but one can be observed reluctantly engaging in a bit of socializing on the date at the urging and insistence of Our Lady of the Pentacle. Pleasant company notwithstanding, the holiday demands ribald acts and sophomoric reminiscing for a series of less than sublime moments which played out over the prior twelve months, and the celebratory ritual carries a certain expectation or promise of convivial warmth which it seldom delivers. Vast quantities of intoxicating liquors are usually on hand, and observation has revealed this particular holiday to noncoincidentally be a savager of personal relationships. New Years Eve often ends up being one of the saddest nights of the year, as one person or another falls into a dark psychic state as they recount victories and failures past.

For one such as myself, who enjoys the art of self recrimination, the “year in review” brings on naught but angst and existential horror – but I’m all ‘effed up, so there you go.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Perhaps it’s chronic sleep deprivation talking, but I’ve never experienced a good New Years Eve Party. One year in Connecticut, a friend and I spent the night chopping down a tree out of boredom, which was in fact the most fun I ever had on the date. I look forward to the long dark months between now and Saint Patrick’s day, an endless progression of cold and sunless days punctuated only by varying degrees of ice and storm. Can’t you see it? Stretching out before us like some vast bank of fog that obscures and occludes the horizon? A black dog that runs alongside of you, as you reach for a distant point in the gray haze – where warmth and light might be found – that always seems to be moving away from you no matter how fast you approach?

The black dog waits for January to beg for treats, and will more than bark if denied.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Worst of all… the resolutions and vows will be uttered by all – to shed body weight, break bad habits, or to start newer and uncharacteristically wholesome ones. Prayer and desperate pleas to other dimensional omnipotences will be offered, by zealots and drunkards and the mothers of sick children. Lovers and friends will swear false allegiances, idiots will pull off their shirts and drunkenly stand in the middle of the room screaming “HOOOYAAAA” when the clock strikes midnight. Enemies will embrace and kiss each other. When these petitioners and claimants find themselves awakened to the cold realities of the year 2015, as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself rises in the sky once again on the first day of the first month… Sigh…

It’s all so depressing.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 31, 2014 at 11:00 am

terrible enough

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Happy Boxing Day, Queensicans.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Astoria, Queens offers visitors and residents alike a cornucopia of visual stimuli – all you have to do is be observant. There’s occult altars, weird neighbors, even puzzling tableaus like the one presented above. Saying that, its always a relief to come back from wherever one might have wandered to.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

After my sojourn into the Shining City last week, a parked truck drew my attention. It seemed to be employed by some sort of concrete or construction company, this unit. Nothing extraordinary about it, really, but one was drawn in by a logo on one of its components.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Putzmeister, I’m told, is a German company that specializes in manufacturing concrete pumping equipment which is quite successful. Putzmeister, I understand, literally translates to “pump master.” Still, one finds himself chuckling at the name “Putzmeister” as my emotional maturity is that of a 12 year old boy.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 26, 2014 at 11:36 am

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