The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Dutch Kills’ Category

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

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.

any idea

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A giant boulder, encountered.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

While walking through the Dutch Kills section – up 32nd street towards 36th avenue just yesterday – one encountered a giant rock. It was more of a boulder, really, it was in fact a glacial erratic.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Fairly sure am I that I would have noticed this before, given the orange safety bollards surrounding it, but I haven’t walked through here in a month or so (normally, I stick to Northern Blvd. on my way back from ye old Creek).

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, the neighborhood hereabouts seems to have embraced the erratic, adorning it in the names of nation states. No doubt, this is symptomatic of the recent World Cup tournament fever which gripped Western Queens.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One does wonder if this is some sort of manifestation of the native art form of Queens – illegal dumping – but it’s likely related to some work going on further down the street. Wonder how long this has been here without me noticing?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

When I got home and mentioned the rock to Our Lady of the Pentacle, she handed me a Union Jack flag and told me to go back and claim it for the Queen. She’s English, and that’s her people’s vibrant diversity at work. You see a never before noticed chunk of rock, anywhere, and you claim it for the Queen. I claim it for Queens instead.

“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 31, 2014 at 11:00 am

kneel before

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Mister or Master, Softee is a cad.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I say this every time that the Mister rings his bells: Mrs. Softee is lonely during the torrid nights of a New York summer, wondering for whom her man plays his song. Mister Softee is no damn good, and she’s sure of it.

Pictured above is a proper “Mister Softee” truck, found on its rounds in Astoria one night, doing exactly what he told the Mrs. that he’d be up to. 

Still, the Mrs. hears stories. It might be that people are describing the romantic misadventures of Master Softee, who is single, and unapologetic about it.

from wikipedia

Mister Softee is a United States-based ice cream truck franchisor popular in the Northeast. It was founded by William and James Conway (Oct. 30, 1927 – May 28, 2006) in 1956 in Philadelphia. It is one of the largest franchisor of soft ice cream in the United States. It has about 350 franchisees operating 600 trucks in 15 states. The company is headquartered in Runnemede, New Jersey. It is still run by the Conway family; James Conway, Jr. is now President.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Simone Weichselbuam wrote a fantastic piece over at nydailynews.com back at the beginning of May, describing the conflict between the long running “Mister Softee” Ice Cream Truck empire (based in NJ) and the upstart “Master Softee” operation which runs its business out of LIC. Check it out below.

from nydailynews.com

Mister Softee is anything but soft when it comes to safeguarding his cherished name.

The New Jersey-based owner of the ubiquitous ice cream trucks is suing a rogue Queens vendor, charging he opened his depot in Long Island City to peddle a knockoff version.

A mix of about two dozen nearly identical Master Softee and Mister Softee trucks are lined up inside and outside Dimitrios Tsirkos’s 11th St. garage.

The fledgling business has soured tempers throughout Mister Softee headquarters in South Jersey and its franchisees across Queens and the Bronx.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been observing the “Master” variant with increasing frequency during recent forays across the concrete devastations. So many so that I might have to start offering the following statement:

Mistress Softee is lonely during the torrid nights of a New York summer, wondering for whom her man plays his song. Master Softee is no damn good, and she’s sure of it.

from law360.com

“All Triskos did was change the ‘i’ in ‘Mister’ to an ‘a,’ [and] Tsirkos continues to use all of Mister Softee’s trade dress and the Mister Softee truck design and [jingle],” the injunction request said. “Clearly, changing just one letter in the mark and using it in conjunction with the other Mister Softee marks constitutes trademark infringement that continues to cause Mister Softee irreparable harm.”

Mister Softee says that customers buying ice cream from Tsirkos’ rogue trucks “may believe they are dealing with an authorized Mister Softee franchisee, who is storing and dispensing Mister Softee food products in a sanitary manner … when in fact, they are not.”

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Saturday, May 31st, Plank Road with Newtown Creek Alliance.
Click here for tickets and more info.

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

May 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

likewise thought

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From Dutch Kills, the neighborhood.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Marching home one recent afternoon, a humble narrator was confronted with a scene that beggared description. A taxi pulled over to the side of the road, 39th avenue actually, and the driver jumped out and went into a bodega. He left his car door wide open, and the engine running. “Steal me” was the first thing that came to mind, but bear in mind that I grew up in Brooklyn, so I think “Steal Me” a lot.

Please, steal me, is what this scene says.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Lucifer lays little Easter Eggs like this in front of me all the time. Temptation, temptation. I’m certain that I would be sitting in the back seat of an NYPD crusader shortly after jumping in the front seat of this cab, but… man alive… this is two blocks from Queens Plaza, and you leave your door not only open… but the engine running as well? The taxi should have been stolen just to teach the guy a lesson.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The driver eventually sauntered out of the bodega – emerging with a cup of coffee. The fellow resumed his station behind the wheel, and turned back into traffic. A humble narrator blurted out, using my best Brookleiner accent, “Hey, dis is New York City, Yo. Da fuck were’s you tinking?”.

He replied that since nothing happened, I was crazy, and inquired whether or not I needed a ride somewhere.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Saturday, May 31st, Plank Road with Newtown Creek Alliance.
Click here for tickets and more info.

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

May 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

combats betwixt

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Just like the good old days.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Lugging a dslr and its associated kit around can be quite a drag.

Camera body and lenses, and all the other crap I use, weigh something like ten pounds. Doesn’t sound like much, but that’s all on one shoulder and after awhile, it feels like you’ve got an anchor suspended across your back. I used to exclusively carry a Canon G10 with a specialized sort of mini tripod that involves rare earth magnets, and just to mix things up, for the last couple of days I’ve left the dslr and camera bag at home and taken the G10 and its mount with me instead.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The G10 is a grand little camera, notable mainly for its lens. The tiny sensor captures a quite noisy image – these shots were captured at ISO 200’s digital equivalent. My 7D dslr would render ISO 1000 in a similar fashion, something you can chalk up to sensor size and processor chip power. Still, it’s quite liberating to be carrying something that isn’t much heavier than a book for a change, and the bulk of multiple lenses was not missed on recent walks.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The singular virtue enjoyed when carrying this particular camera emanates from the fancy magnet tripod I’ve attached to it, which was originally designed to work as a mount for the sort of laser leveler which a carpenter or drywall installer might employ.

Multiple rare earth magnets provide a steady grip on any ferrous surface, allowing for a steady and unyielding mount for the image capture. At night, I’ll attach a wire release trigger to the device, which further minimizes camera shake and allows long exposure shots at ISO 100, the lowest and least noisy setting the thing is capable of.

Have a cool holiday weekend, lords and ladies, and take lots of pictures. I know I will.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 23, 2014 at 11:00 am

beckoning beyonds

with 5 comments

Confused paranoia and insensate musing, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My feet hurt, as does a knee or two.

Worries abound, all sorts of existential threats present themselves daily. The neighbors are worrisome and curious, and many of them were born to foreign communists. Some hail from terribly artificial nation states whose judicial system is built around medieval religious law, like Italy. There are public defecators and licentious drunks without, a riot of noise erupts constantly, and my dog has been curiously alert and watching the western sky of late. This Russia/Ukraine thing is also noisome, but we need the Russians, just in case Earth is ever invaded by an alien army.

For the same reason, we must preserve the felid specie of Tigers – for service as shock troops on the front lines of a true world war.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Surely, the universe has never been more unsettling than at the present moment, one can sense that the gears of fate and the clockwork of dharma spin inexorably toward doom, with a state of jellyfish like psychic dissolution awaiting the human infestation. Fearfully, willingly, entering into a dark age of ignorance and intolerant barbarism simply in the name of forgetting the horrible truths of our time.

How one longs for the good old days of centuries past. Things are so much worse now than they were a mere hundred years ago, during the opening shots of the “World War,” don’t you think?

Note: One prefers referring to WW1 to as “Phase One of the second Thirty Years War.” The First World War was merely a consolidation and clearing away of the medieval system, removing the decayed Austro Hungarian, Chinese, and Turkish Imperial players from the chess board and making room for the modern big guns to step up in Phase Two.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Alright, a hundred years back is a bad example. Let’s do two hundred years then, in… 1814…

OK, 1714… 1614… Jeez… 1514, well, let’s just say things in the present might not be as dire, loathsome, or squamous as we might believe them to be. Things could be a lot worse. An invasion fleet of alien starships could be driving asteroids at us from just beyond Mars, shelling our cities and killing the oceans. There could be bacterial analogues, born in the horrible mouldering slopes of an alien world, festering in the throats and orifices of our livestock or offspring.

Of course, were some star born army of conquerors to arrive upon the earth with lascivious or malicious intent, tiger riding Russian troops will be there to answer them.

I think that’s fairly obvious.

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

Glittering Realms: Brooklyn’s Greenpoint with Atlas Obscura, on Saturday May 17th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor: Queen’s LIC with Brooklyn Brainery, on Sunday May 18th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 15, 2014 at 11:02 am

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