The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Long Island City’ Category

defined apprehensions

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Twirling, ever twirling.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The affability of recent climate has seen me visiting old haunts and novel locale alike in recent weeks, which might be described as having been a somewhat pleasurable set of experiences. That would mean, of course, that your humble narrator was actually capable of experiencing a sensation called “pleasure.” A series of dull events punctuated by occasional gastro-intestinal distress, all sorts of bacterial and viral infections, and the oft bizarre actions of others is the way one such as myself describes “Life.”

One bright spark in the otherwise gathering clouds of existential horror which plague me are unexpected moments of serendipity.

A train passing by can excite one endlessly, and reminds that “you have to appreciate the little things.”

In my case, it’s big things that go “thruuummmm thruuuuuuummmm thruuummmm” or “claaacckkclaaacckkclaaacckk” as they pass by, but I’m all ‘effed up.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Good days are ones where I’m not walking to go anyplace in particular. Days when I leave the house and decide only which compass point to walk toward. For some reason, its not east that often, as that’s usually looking into the light. Instinct always points my path towards water, no matter where I am. It was kind of interesting finding myself in Queens Plaza, which I used to inhabit back in 2009 and 2010 during the Queensboro Bridge Centennial period but which I mainly cross through these days on my way to someplace in Brooklyn or Hunters Point.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, Our Lady of the Pentacle had agreed to visit the Brooklyn Grange roof top farm here in Astoria with a friend of ours who subscribes to their CSA program and I tagged along. While they picked up some quality produce, I got busy with the camera. Serendipity at work, when I woke up that morning, seeing this vista overlooking the Sunnyside Yards and the Shining City of Manhattan was not on the menu.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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.

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

certain scenes

with 2 comments

Not fit for this world, I tell ya, not fit.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

So I’m on the train back to Astoria recently, and at 59th street, the guy pictured above got on the same train as me and unveiled an accordion to all the commuters onboard. I noticed him only because that horrible droning version of the theme from the Godfather which he was attempting to play was interfering with the music which I was listening to quietly, on my headphones. As is the case with all things which annoy me, I took a picture of him.

Notice that he’s giving me the finger with his keyboard hand? He later insistently stood in front of me with his hat in hand, gesturing for some sort of tip. I inquired if he knew how to get to Carnegie Hall from our location in the Queens Plaza subway station. He indicated that he did not. “Practice, my friend, lots and lots of practice.” I’m a real pistol, I am.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

You wouldn’t believe what I had to walk and climb through to get this one, nor the intangible risks to the disposition of ones very soul which were encountered. Moments before this capture, a well meaning Hippie with a smudge pot in one hand and a feather in its conspirator sprang at me and anointed me with some sort of incense. He was part of some group, everyone seems to be part of some group, it would seem. They might have been witches, I can’t be sure, but more than one of them were bare foot… in Long Island City.

Only a witch’s foot could stand that sort of punishment. Around these parts, people buy shoes and boots for their dogs to wear.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of witches, here’s my obligatory shot of the so called supermoon, which couldn’t have been easier to capture as I set the tripod and telephoto gear up on my own porch right here at home in Astoria.

“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 13, 2014 at 11:00 am

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

record scroll

with 5 comments

One does not complain, it is “Kvetching,” which is a whole other thing.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Several comments received both here, at your Newtown Pentacle, and in the real world “meatspace” have opined that your humble narrator spends too much time complaining about this or that. My obviate ranting about the singularly horrible Time Warner Cable, the inebriate legions who pollute the sidewalks of Astoria with their besotted carcasses, or the ludicrous amount of environmental noise offered freely by the neighbors – it would seem – have struck an odd chord and lent an incorrect impression to my narrative.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

First off – I grew up Jewish, and “kvetching” is as much a part of my culture as is coffee and cake – so respect the hell out of my vibrant diversity or I’ll slap a hate crime sticker on you. Secondly, one of the things that I’ve observed about the Borough of Queens over the years is the stoicism which the citizenry hereabouts displays in the face of the daily avalanches of those improprieties which they suffer. Nothing changes unless you speak about it aloud, and “just get used to it” is the precursor to a commonly quoted parable about a frog in a pot of water on a stove who doesn’t realize he’s being boiled alive because the temperature of the water is being raised in a slow and subtle fashion.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Kvetching is a running sarcastic commentary on existential woes, a general call out to others commenting on the sisyphean suffering which existentialist goyem like Albert Camus or Franz Kafka made their careers out of. Kvetching is an attempt at voicing an unease with the status quo, in the hopes of discovering other unfortunates who share in the misery. Kvetching is an attempt to stimulate a conversation about that which is wrong, one which the powers and potentates of this world might take notice of and attempt to ameliorate. Kvetching is your right, as an American, it’s called “speech.” Complaining is something else entirely.

“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 29, 2014 at 12:49 pm

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