The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Jackson Avenue’ Category

ethereal harmoniousness

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Mystery is such a bother.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In another one of the dynamic and action packed moments which populate my days, your humble narrator was leaving LIC’s Sweetleaf coffee shop in LIC on Saturday when a cool car suddenly manifested itself within Jackson Avenue’s left turn lane for the Pulaski Bridge. The pillars of heaven began to shake, and the camera found itself deployed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Now, here’s the thing… one prides himself on the ability to focus in on any random thing found in the street and then finding out everything that can be reasonably discovered about it. This automobile has me stumped. Zooming in at a billion percent in photoshop shows the “lazy s” logo of the Studebaker company emblazoned on the red disks at the center of the wheel covers, but…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This car also resembles a 1939 Pontiac Deluxe 2 Door Coach in many ways, but there’s no “silver streak” running down the middle of the hood and the grill is all wrong for that model and then there’s those Studebaker logos on the wheels. Grrr. A four door version of the Pontiac model reveals a very similar silhouette to that exhibited by this car, however.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Nothing I’ve seen from South Bend, Indiana’s own Studebaker during the late 1930’s or early 40’s looks remotely like this. If there’s anyone out there with a specialized knowledge of the subject, please add a comment to this post and educate not just me but your fellow lords and ladies.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing was heading to Brooklyn, which is always kind of a mistake. Who would want to leave Queens?

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Written by Mitch Waxman

September 8, 2014 at 11:00 am

poppied silks

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Sweeping, ever sweeping.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The loudest of all municipal vehicles, other than certain members of the NYC Congressional delegation, has to be the street sweeping trucks operated by the DSNY. Heard this one coming from blocks away, spinning its steel brushes and singing its song of internal combustion.

Ever get hit with the pebbles, detritus, and other shrapnel these things spin off? Ow.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 28, 2013 at 7:30 am

shadowy colloquy

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Sometimes I fear that I will fail to feel Atychiphobic.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Failure is indeed something to fear, despite the platitudes offered by scout masters, clerics, and well meaning friends. There is nothing an American hates more than not succeeding. Winning is the name of our game, with contest winners and touchdown champions awarded the greatest of mass accolades. Think of poor old Mitt Romney, and I’ll bet it’s the first time you’ve thought of that loser since November of 2012. The only thing I’m more afraid of than failing, I think, is the idea of actually succeeding at something.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Should signs of success appear on the horizon, it is part of my nature to undermine and thwart its happy arrival. Perhaps it’s actually a fear of success which holds me back from living a life of deep meaning leading to a realization of some mythical “potential” that some have prophesied for me. It isn’t heredity, genetics, brain chemistry, or life experience that cordoned off the winners circle for me, though- instead it’s fate. Losing is a comfortable and well known experience, and I’m all about embracing the “known” rather than the undiscovered. Show me my foot, and I shall shoot it.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Amongst the multitudinous things I fail to fear while submerged in my fits of Atychiphobia are a failure to anticipate, the failure to perceive, and inability to carry out a task properly and within specifications. I’m terrified of being considered generally undesirable or professionally unsuccessful, even though Murphy’s Law is the only jurisprudence which one such as myself can acknowledge or reminisce about. Cursed, I tell you, this humble narrator was born under the influence of a ill omen, which is probably all I deserve anyway, for if tales of reincarnation are true – one shudders to think what this soul did in its last mortal guise. Into the darkness, like a leaf blown upon indifferent winds, and always an Outsider – go I.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday – October 19, 2013
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale now.

Sunday- October 20th, 2013
The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek with Brooklyn Brainery- tickets on sale now.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

known gods

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It certainly has been quite an interesting life.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

No man is a failure who’s got friends, or so they told George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Homespun aphorism and Capraesque cliche notwithstanding, I would argue that having the wrong friends is a wholly different sort of failure which far outweighs the dollars and cents of conventional success. A loner, malcontent, and altogether difficult and argumentative know it all- your humble narrator’s few acquaintances tolerate my presence, but only in small doses.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

You’ve got to use it or lose it, but what if you never had “it” in the first place? One such as myself, bereft of natural advantages such as speed, grace, strength, or athletic prowess on any level knows full well the shame of fumbling, stumbling, and or striking out. The only advantage possessed by me is a rat like cunning, although given my standing amongst the humans it would be logical to presume that I would make a poor specimen of Rattus rattus.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Like some ancient mariner lost upon the storm tossed waves go I, lashed to the frozen deck of a broken life. My wants and desires are nonexistent beyond the purely existential issues of food and shelter, as I have long ago given up pursuit of material success. There is no plan, things just happen, and the daily round is just a series of dull events. Your humble narrator is not at all driven by avarice, vainglory, or ambition in the ways that most are. Just think of me solely as the battered, the disabused, the disenfranchised, and always an outsider- if you feel the strong urge to categorize or quantize me.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday – October 19, 2013
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale soon.

Sunday- October 20th, 2013
The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek with Brooklyn Brainery- tickets on sale now

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

moon cast

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The center of the earth is the end of the world, if you think about it.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Night shooting has been something which I have been working on for the last six months or so. The problem presented by lowered illumination is the need for equipment such as tripods and lighting devices such as flashes. Spontaneous moments of joy such as a train entering the elevated station are denied by such techniques. I’m a handheld kind of guy, I’m afraid, but I hate the distracting presence of color noise and the weird oranges it produces. High ISO night shots are necessarily noisy, but produce weird colors straight out of the camera- especially under the influence of NY Cty street lamps which are kind of yellow anyway.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent acquisition of a brighter lens (capable of large apertures) than the one I normally use as my general contractor has aided immensely in the pursuit of working around both my limitations and those of the capture device. The remarkable Sigma 18-35 allows for apertures as bright as 1.8, and is sharper than heck, and it is currently jutting out of the camera obscenely- it’s a very nice piece of glass. The problem which I’ve been trying to solve is a purely digital one presented by the camera software itself, and the incongruities encountered between capturing the image and processing it. I’ve long worked as an advertising photo retoucher, what can I tell you, this is the sort of stuff one ponders.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The image, as captured by the camera, is assigned settings whose parameters are determined by an onboard suite of software which assesses and assigns color temperatures when it is written to card. The camera also sets the shot to certain levels of bright and shadow, contrast and saturation. The camera, except in bright sunlight, almost always gets it wrong. Fixing these matters in a compressed format like jpeg is not so easy, so I shoot in raw format which allows me to noodle things around a little bit and get the image a little it closer to what I actually experienced in situ.

What I’ve been working on, feverishly, is using the information typically captured in the raw file (a 16 bit file richer in image data than an 8 bit jpeg) to create a predictive shooting protocol. In English- trying to figure out what the camera sees, and why, and creating a series of moves on the raw image to better represent the real life colors and range of tone which exist within the range of human vision. Nowhere even close yet, but I’m starting to think that the path lays before me.

Here’s a tip- canon’s higher iso settings produce a huge amount of noise on the red and green plates, shifting an image to colder temperatures will reduce the color noise significantly.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday- September 21, 2013
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale now.

Saturday- September 28, 2013
Newtown Creek Boat Tour with the Working Harbor Committee- tickets on sale now.

Saturday – October 19, 2013
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale soon.

Sunday- October 20th, 2013
The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek with Brooklyn Brainery- tickets on sale now

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

fiercely and menacingly

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Darkness reaches out for darkness.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Negativity and the desolation of loneliness can turn an otherwise wholesome individual into a warped and twisted crone, I believe, one whose daily round is described by ignoring their own condition and place while casting a yellowed eye of jealousy about. Those who seek, those who find, those who discover- these are the ones whom these corrupted individuals find loathsome. They close ranks, proclaim themselves to be an elite, and forget the lessons of history.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Corruption is a term bandied about often in public circles, often referring to a “quid pro quo” between a government representative of some ilk and an illicit activity performed by another which is “swept under the rug” in connection with some sort of monetary or social reward. Religious leaders opine that if one is offered a glass of dirty versus clean water, all will choose the latter, but these people believe in a fairy tale wherein an omnipotent entity waits in the sky to adjudicate over and welcome the dead. What one observes in the daily round however, especially over in the Shining City, has nothing to do with that ideal. There, baser desires and other supernatural imperatives are adhered to.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The self appointed elites of that Shining City reel, for their chosen champion has received a sound thrashing in a recent plebiscite, something that was plain to see coming for anyone who exists in this megalopolis beyond the rivers. Corruption as described above was never the cause of this defeat, instead it was a different form of corruption which damned their eidelon, that of hubris. They have feasted long and well, these elites. Meal time is over, and its time for the rest of us to serve them all a rich and well deserved desert.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday- September 21, 2013
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale now.

Saturday- September 28, 2013
Newtown Creek Boat Tour with the Working Harbor Committee- tickets on sale now.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 18, 2013 at 11:13 am

everyday tourist

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Lurking, in fear.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It would seem that much like the hordes of rodents who tunnel and writhe below, your humble narrator is always skittish and ready to bolt for safety. Recent travels carried me through the familiar and entirely wholesome Court Square zone surrounding the megalith here in Long Island City. Certainty that I was being watched, and not just by that thing which cannot possibly exist in the sapphire cupola of the aforementioned megalith, ruled over me. Waggling my whiskers and sniffing at the air, your humble narrator suddenly felt that the presence of predators was likely and decided to make for a hasty retreat.

l’m all ‘effed up.

from wikipedia

Insanity, craziness or madness is a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. Insanity may manifest as violations of societal norms, including a person becoming a danger to themselves or others, though not all such acts are considered insanity. In modern usage insanity is most commonly encountered as an informal unscientific term denoting mental instability, or in the narrow legal context of the insanity defense. In the medical profession the term is now avoided in favor of diagnoses of specific mental disorders; the presence of delusions or hallucinations is broadly referred to as psychosis. When discussing mental illness in general terms, “psychopathology” is considered a preferred descriptor.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Perception is a deucedly odd thing, half instinct and half observation. A poor specimen, both physically and psychologically, I don’t fare well in any sort of challenge. I’ve never hit the game winning home run, acted the hero, or done much else other than cause angst and agony. It is for the best that I stay out of these bright places, and it would likely be preferable if one such as myself was exiled to a small guarded room somewhere and confined lest I corrupt or debase others.

Corrosive agonies abound in my presence.

from wikipedia

Before the American Civil War, the mentally ill were often placed in poorhouses, workhouses, or prisons when their families could no longer care for them. Patients were often forced to live with criminals and were treated likewise: locked in a cell or even chained to walls. By the 1860s, Americans wanted to provide better assistance to the less fortunate, including the mentally ill. The number of facilities devoted to the care of people with mental disorders increased significantly. These facilities, meant to be places of refuge, were referred to as insane asylums. Between 1825 and 1865, the number of asylums in the United States increased from 9 to 62.

The establishment of asylums did not mean that treatment greatly improved. Because doctors did not understand what caused the behavior of their patients, they often listed the possible causes of mental illness as religious excitement, sunstroke, or even reading novels. They believed that the patient had lost all control over their morals and that strict discipline was necessary to help the patient regain self-control. Asylums often employed straitjackets to restrain patients who could not control themselves.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This proclivity toward self recrimination is accelerated whenever I’m near mirrors, whose shocking imagery always offers horrible revelations that puncture those lies which one tells himself. Perhaps this is what set me off, while innocently traveling to and fro across the concretized realities of Long Island City, for when one observes that the absolute eidelon of senile corruption and debased sanity reflected in the mirror glass is no idle fantasy or wild illustration but is rather yourself…

How can one not realize the verisimilitude displayed, to those scurrying legions of the eternal subterranean night, and not enter into the comforting arms of madness?

from wikipedia

Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a mental disorder characterized by paranoia and a pervasive, long-standing suspiciousness and generalized mistrust of others. Individuals with this personality disorder may be hypersensitive, easily feel slighted, and habitually relate to the world by vigilant scanning of the environment for clues or suggestions that may validate their fears or biases. Paranoid individuals are eager observers. They think they are in danger and look for signs and threats of that danger, potentially not appreciating other evidence.

They tend to be guarded and suspicious and have quite constricted emotional lives. Their reduced capacity for meaningful emotional involvement and the general pattern of isolated withdrawal often lend a quality of schizoid isolation to their life experience. People with this particular disorder may or may not have a tendency to bear grudges, suspiciousness, tendency to interpret others’ actions as hostile, persistent tendency to self-reference, or a tenacious sense of personal right.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, August 10, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

13 Steps around Dutch Kills- Saturday, August 17, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

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