The Newtown Pentacle

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dusk comes

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The Union guys hate it when I start shooting.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Apologies offered to all the hapless workers I’ve photographed over the years, but damn it all, they do cool things. To wit, I spotted this crew over at South Street Seaport attacking the street with esoteric machinery the other day and one could just not resist the temptation. I mean… a giant saw? Yes, please.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The saw operator noticed me, but didn’t really give a crap about being photographed as he went around his business. His colleagues on the other hand, were staring me down as if I was pointing a rifle at him. I guess that they’re hassled by cameras as they move about the city. Fair enough, who likes having a stranger show up at your job and start waving a camera about?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The sound that this machinery created was tooth shatteringly loud, a screaming and high pitched tone which sounded somewhat demonic. In the war of spinning steel versus masonry, the Belgian blocks which composed the so called “cobble stone” pavement were no match for the spinning blades.

There are three public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn and two that walk the currently undefended border of the two boroughs.

Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura, on April 26th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

DUPBO, with Newtown Creek Alliance and MAS Janeswalk, on May 3rd.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on May 18th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 23, 2014 at 11:00 am

tourist routes

with 4 comments

A query, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The “Big Little Mayor,” as opposed to that former elected official whom I often referred to as the “Little Big Mayor,” has announced intentions to put the Horse and Carriage businesses found along Central Park on 59th street out of business.

For generations of tourists, these carriage rides have long been a feature of a trip to New York City, and remain a romanticized experience dreamt of by many. Most New Yorkers, myself included, haven’t partaken in a ride – with expense often cited as the reason why. Many will include that they do not wish to ride one because “it’s cruel to the horses.”

Do these animals suffer for the fey attentions of the idle rich and the amusement of vagabond tourists, or are they working animals pursuing an occupation?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The animal rights people, many of whom act like wild eyed sociopaths and privileged ideologues when you actually meet them in person, claim that this business exhibits a particularly wicked form of cruelty in subjecting the horses to the pressures of the urban setting. They do make a salient and thought provoking point about the welfare and quality of husbandry of these beasts, points which are worthy of both discussion and debate. Of course, trying to have a conversation with an activist of any persuasion is akin to fostering a meaningful dialogue about the efficacy of multiculturalism with a klansman – their mind is made up.

Also, if New York City is too harsh an environment for horses, then what about humans?

Personally, I’d be kind of interested in what the condition of these horses looked like from a farmer’s POV.

Preferably an Amish farmer.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Liam Neeson and the NY Daily News support continuance of the Horse and Carriage trade in busy midtown traffic, Big Little Mayor and others wish to see the atavist conveyances replaced by a Disneyesque automobile propulsed by electrical batteries. Personally, I see efficacy on both sides, and would like to add my own rather Malthusian bit of reasoning about the subject -

The only reason that horses continue to exist is because human beings see value in them and have ordained it so. The horses were smart enough to play ball with the Human Race, early on, just like the dogs did – so we didn’t kill all of them back in the Ice Age like the Giant Sloth and those giant Flightless Birds. Take away the occupation or value of a critter, and human beings will extinct the shit out of it right quick. My favorite animal right is the right to live, but that’s a whole other conversation, and the one thing I’d like to see less than a horse get hit by a truck is a horse going to the glue factory.

And so, as to my query - what’s your opinion on this one, Lords and Ladies? Tempest in a teapot, or something that needs fixing?

There are three public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn and two that walk the currently undefended border of the two boroughs.

Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura, on April 26th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

DUPBO, with Newtown Creek Alliance and MAS Janeswalk, on May 3rd.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on May 18th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 21, 2014 at 11:00 am

without cause

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Photographers photographed while they’re photographing.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A short break, wherein offerings at this, your Newtown Pentacle, will consist of lighter fare than that normally served is underway. Obligation and a series of deadlines have dominated all attention, and accordingly – for the next few days, singular images with a pithy yet abbreviated description will be supplied. One must render unto Caesar, after all.

There are now four public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn and two that walk the currently undefended border of the two boroughs.

Plank Road, with Newtown Creek Alliance, on April 19th. This one is free, click here to get on the list.

Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura, on April 26th. Click here for more info and ticketing.

DUPBO, with Newtown Creek Alliance and MAS Janeswalk, on May 3rd. Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on May 18th. Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 16, 2014 at 11:00 am

worried faces

with one comment

Would it kill you to smile?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

While riding the Subway in New York City, observation of the interesting social behaviors exhibited by the citizenry entertains. There are those who present the “pfft, ain’t no thing” and those who present the “what the hell are you looking at” and also present are the “please, for gods sake, do not notice me” lean. Others pretend to sleep, or stare blankly at the floor (that’s the one which I favor), while a small group of extroverts feel the need to shout and otherwise draw attention unto themselves. Then there’s the buskers.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There are Mariachi’s, young couples who perpetrate the “gypsy baby” scam, those three kids who dance and perform acrobatics. Worst of all are the religious zealots, whose clumsy attempts at evangelism are enough to drive one into the arms of Satan itself. Skillfully ignoring these buskers and con artists, or not, is what separates the true New Yorker from the tourist. The tourists are the worst, of course, breaking all of the unspoken rules of subway etiquette which “regular” riders subconsciously obey and enforce. Nobody smiles, the MTA has a rule against that.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My camera is always at the ready whenever entering these concrete bunkers with their pungent atmospheres, and one of the odd things I’ve noticed in recent years is the reaction some have upon seeing the device. Lens cap on and power switch off, they will stare at the camera in the manner one would watch the countdown clock on a bomb. I don’t understand this. Humans, they’re weird, and need to smile more often.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 2, 2014 at 10:54 am

gently undulating

with 3 comments

It’s only the third most hated company in America? @twc_help

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The whole Time Warner Cable situation has me down.

Here’s the story – which is being said out loud just for the sake of sanity – back in January, the Internet service started cutting out sometime between 10 p.m. and 12:30 A.M., eventually re asserting itself after a random interval. The first week or so, I chalked it up to TWC upgrading something upstream from my connection, or performing some sort of maintenance. After the 2nd week of interruption, I called in and reported the issue. As it continued into February, I began to time my calls so that the TWC rep could remotely “ping” my modem and visualize what was happening with their network diagnostic tools.

from wikipedia

In the case of uncertainty, expectation is what is considered the most likely to happen. An expectation, which is a belief that is centered on the future, may or may not be realistic. A less advantageous result gives rise to the emotion of disappointment. If something happens that is not at all expected it is a surprise. An expectation about the behavior or performance of another person, expressed to that person, may have the nature of a strong request, or an order.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The network “pings” revealed that something was causing “48% packet loss” which is a technical term that refers to a sort of interference wherein two connected devices (server and modem) are having trouble communicating. It’s a bit more complicated than that, of course, but basically the modem is unable to supply a network connection which will allow my gizmos to connect to the web. TWC decided this was puzzling, and after forcing me to do their whole “unplug the modem, restart the computer” nonsense, agreed to send out a technician. Two missed appointments later, somebody showed up and replaced the modem. The problem persisted despite this.

from wikipedia

A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary. As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, confabulation, dogma, illusion, or other effects of perception.

Delusions typically occur in the context of neurological or mental illness, although they are not tied to any particular disease and have been found to occur in the context of many pathological states (both physical and mental). However, they are of particular diagnostic importance in psychotic disorders including schizophrenia, paraphrenia, manic episodes of bipolar disorder, and psychotic depression.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Part of the reason I hate this organization as much as I do, and I am not alone in this ennui, is that in order to solve the problems which manifest from their end the customer has to manage the situation. From my first call, I asserted that the problem was not within my walls, rather it was an issue emanating from outside of them. They sent out a “Tier 3″ guy who was afraid of the dog, who confirmed my assertion and ordered a lineman crew out. The lineman told me “yeah, the unit on the utility pole is working fine, as is your modem. The issue is actually with the wires running between the pole and your house, which show all the signs of water infiltration.” He arranged for the wires to be replaced.

Yesterday, when the “replace” guy showed up, he neglected to bring a ladder, and TWC somehow intended for one guy to replace wires hanging 40 feet over the pavement that stretch 100 feet across a busy Astoria street all by himself.

from wikipedia

Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC), formerly Warner Cable Communications and sometimes colloquially referred to as simply Time Warner, is an American cable telecommunications company that operates in 29 states and has 31 operating divisions. It is the second largest cable company in the U.S. behind only Comcast, which has agreed to acquire TWC pending regulatory approval. Its corporate headquarters are located in the Time Warner Center in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 21, 2014 at 12:16 pm

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