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with dreams

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Constrained and contained.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The winter blues are upon us all, one fears. Dark skies and so on, combined with recurrent viral infections polluting the local outlook. Not so at this, your Newtown Pentacle. This week it’s not about the blues, rather it’s the purples, and reds, bright green, and lemon yellows. Every image that will greet you this week is chosen not for some narrative purpose, rather it’s a public service whose purpose is to help combat your SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and virus addled days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This week you’ll be greeted by a series of shots culled from the archives, accompanied by a bit of text discussing that which is pictured, when warranted. Above, a barbed wire fence line in Blissville, Queens. Behind it rises the former headquarters of the General Electric Vehicle Company, which manufactured electric automobiles and trucks in LIC back at the start of the 20th century. I described the saga of GEVC in this post, which is actually a few years old at this point.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Williamsburg Bridge is actually the reason that there’s a Municipal Art Society, as the span was considered to be such an abomination when constructed that the gentry of the early 20th century wished to ensure that nothing like it ever occurred again. Personally, I don’t consider it that bad, although I prefer the venerable Manhattan and spectacular Queensboro bridges – speaking from a strictly esthetic point of view.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s at the bottom of the barrel, January, in terms of the wheel of the year. What one such as myself craves is color, saturated and bright. If all I can get is artificiality, I’ll take it.

If this Astoria vending machine, which is the sort designed to tempt a passerby to drop a few coins in pursuance of a stuffed animal which might be obtained via the use of a metallic claw, is all I can get – I’ll take it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The former Williamsburgh Savings Bank, over in North Brooklyn, has been laboriously restored to the glories typical of the era of France’s Second Empire. Luxurious detail and slavishly applied color is found on the domed ceilings of the place, both of which are sure to brighten up your wintry malaise.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back to LIC’s Blissville, in the shot above, and a religious parade committed by a small army of Bolivians at St. Raphael’s on Greenpoint Avenue. If this quartet of dancers cannot brighten a January day, I don’t know what can.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yuyzel on da cruss, as my Grandmother would have described the statuary above, is found at Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Lower Manhattan. The cruciform is backed up by stained glass which provides for a bit of color at one of my favorite and most cinematic spots in NYC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You can’t go wrong with Times Square if you’re looking to brighten up and color up your mid January. Of course, since it’s actually everything that’s wrong with modern NYC made manifest, a trip there might just backfire. Come to think of it, Times Square has always represented everything that was wrong with NYC, at least in the 20th and 21st centuries.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

FDNY always lights things up when they’re working, come to think of it.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 19, 2016 at 11:00 am

unsupervised circuit

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Life long relationships, ending, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in the late 1980’s, my first job in advertising involved making photostat enlargements and reductions for the senior designers, art directors, and production artists at an agency which specialized in “B2B” marketing involving food service. My job title was “stat boy” and my function, beyond shooting “stats” in a darkroom, was to support whatever the more senior people needed. I worked directly for the “Studio Manager,” who was a friend from College that had graduated a couple of years ahead of me and offered me my first “leg up” into the business. He would often remind me that “shit rolls down hill” and accordingly I would end up performing menial tasks that he was too busy for – ensuring that our supply closet was stocked with pads of paper or paste up supplies, running job bags around the agency for sign off’s and approvals from the various powers that be, that sort of stuff. Think Jimmy Olsen at the Daily Planet, that was me back then. Overall, the job was worth doing, and it taught me a lot about how to survive as an artist in NYC.

One day, the Studio Manager sat me down in front of a brand new Macintosh computer, handed off a pile of floppy disks, and the task was to install a suite of software on the new Mac – which was the very first one that the agency had purchased. That was the first time that I ever opened a new program called “Photoshop” and it was also the first step towards what I ended up doing for a living as a digital production artist and photo retoucher. I’ve seen the entire conversion of the industry from “paste up and mechanicals” to full digital and web production over the intervening decades.

I’ve spent most of my professional life in front of an Apple computer – this post is being written on an iPad, for instance, and every photo you’ve ever seen from me was edited and processed on a desktop Mac tower.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For a while there, things weren’t going so good for Apple. A lot of bad decisions, coupled with horrendous customer relations, had almost put the computer manufacturer out of business.

Steve Jobs returned to the company, and brought it back from the brink. The phones came along, and Apple suddenly became a mainstream company, and flush with cash. Jobs died, and a new management team took over at Apple, who have unfortunately returned the company to the bad old days. Form has taken primacy over function with this new team, and the entire concept of producing something which could be termed a “professional workstation” began to suffer. Every refinement of the core operating system released over the last decade has been crafted with the idea that its only function is to “monetize” the device, as related to selling me commercial entertainment media, and they have specifically removed capabilities from the device which were and are “mission critical” to my professional life.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent encounters with the company – one where they informed me that a three year old workstation was “obsolete” and that even a simple component replacement would be impossible by the end of this year, another where a two and half year old iPhone with a defective battery (factory issues at the time of manufacture) was also obsolete – have soured me on the whole idea of Apple. The applications which I use in my daily round, the so called “Adobe Suite,” have become platform independent in the decades since a humble narrator was commanded to install them at that B2B agency off of floppy disks, and I’m not at all sure that I want to continue paying premium prices for a device which is considered obsolete by its manufacturer less than 36 months after opening the box.

Why buy a Ducati when a Buick will do?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

These shots, of midtown Manhattan, were gathered while killing time and ruminating on my relationship with Apple at the end of December.

I was waiting out a battery replacement for the aforementioned iPhone, which – it should be mentioned – was performed flawlessly and took exactly one hour, but cost approximately one seventh of what I originally paid for the device. I pushed the folks at the Apple Store for a replacement device, but was told that this would be impossible, but that I could trade my old phone in for a couple of hundred bucks which could be applied towards the purchase of a new one (which would leave a $500 differential). Alternatively, they offered me entry into a contractual program, which would entail me giving the company $30 a month forever afterwards, that would ensure that whenever they released a new model I would receive one. That would mean a $360 per annum payment to Apple, forever and ever.

That’s a corporate tax, and the last straw, frankly.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is less than sanguine about being overly exploited by a corporation, but if the service is desirable or needed… I have no problem paying my accountant, nor doctors, nor my local bartender, baker, or butcher what they’re due. Should my bakery suddenly announce that they will require me to pay them a monthly stipend for the privilege of returning moldy bread, however, I will find a new place to shop for my cookies and pie.

Sometimes, one must address the costs of things costing too much, and remember that the costs of customer retention are not too much for a large company. There are other options, always. I’ll miss Apple.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 12, 2016 at 11:00 am

squamous aspiration

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Constantly disappointing, and complaining, that’s me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Winter boredom is anathema to one such as myself. The cold and dark, the thirty five pounds of insulation, the constant flux between the dry and cold air of the out of doors contrasted with the high temperature and humidity found within. The constancy of a drippy nose. Bah.

It’s always been a bit of a mystery to me why some feel the need to jack the heat up to the mid 80’s inside of structures, knowing full well that inhabitants and visitors will be wearing clothing appropriate for the out of doors. The worst culprit on this front seems to be the subway system, where you’ll step off of a station platform whose atmospheric temperature is commensurate with the freezing of water and suddenly find yourself in a hurtling metal box whose ambient air mass is heated to something approaching that of an afternoon in July. Add in the sniffling, coughing, and dripping orifices of the mob…

Well, I’ve often opined that what this City needs is a good plague – and I’m fairly certain that one will eventually start on a Subway in Queens during middle January. Don’t touch that subway pole, if you can help it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Ultimately, one is awaiting a particularly personal moment which occurs every year, when a humble narrator’s boredom grows so intense that he has little choice but to brave the cold and head back outside. At this juncture, however, the moment hasn’t arrived, and one has been spending his time reading about the Second Empire period of French history, Otto Von Bismarck, and researching the chemicals which the seething cauldrons of industry produce that are classified as petroleum or coal distillates. One does a lot of reading during this time of the year.

I’ve also read up a bit on Kazakhstan, the Crimean Tartars, and the Deccan Plain on the Indian subcontinent. Briefly, I also looked into the Chicago stock yards and the post civil war meat packing industry as well as the suffragettes of 19th century Brooklyn Heights. I continue to study the rise and fall of the Roman Catholic empire in New York City, which is fascinating. Also reiterated will be the fact that if you enjoy gelatin based desserts – never, ever, inquire too deeply as to what gelatin actually is nor how it is produced for you will never, ever, eat it afterwards. Jello brand gelatin was invented by Peter Cooper in a glue factory on Newtown Creek in the 19th century, which is all you really need to know about it. Isenglass is also soul chilling.

Sexy stuff, I know, but the so called “fin de siècle” of the late 19th and early 20th centuries are when the foundations of our modern civilization were laid down and it remains a certain benchmark from a cultural point of view. Labor unions, representative government (both socialist and capitalist), industrial warfare – all of it was imagined up back then. It’s also when the environment surrounding us began to die off due to anthropogenic reasons. The dominoes were lined up, quite unconsciously, back then for the end of our world.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Fin de siècle” is a French expression which gained popularity in the first decade of the 20th century, a part of the run up to the Great War, which indicated that the “end of the cycle” or “end of an age” was apparent. It’s part of a phenomena known as millennial fatalism, wherein a culture believes that the “end of the world” nears. It’s difficult to not think that our culture may have reached its breaking point, given what we see on the nightly news. The fatalism and general horror which the various news organizations pump into our heads is, of course, not accidental. Don’t forget that most of the news gathering and dissemination companies are owned and operated by defense contractors.

I’ve always been an optimist, however. What other choice have you got, ultimately? Winter will come and go, and then… flowers and puppies. That’s the way that the wheel of the year spins, after all.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 11, 2016 at 11:00 am

sights familiar

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Newtown Pentacle’s 2015 Year in review

January, 2015

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the Newtown Pentacle “Year in Review” post, which is replete with links to earlier postings. The links were chosen for inclusion based on my own predilection. Either the photos contained in them don’t suck, or they were written to cover something significant that passed in front of my camera. There’s some pretty good stuff contained herein, IMHO. There will be a single image posted on Thursday the 31st and Friday the 1st, and new material will resume on Monday the 4th at this, your Newtown Pentacle.

2015 started off with a bang – and the loss of a dear friend – Captain John Doswell, who was eulogized in this post on January 5th. Out of a desire to escape from existential reality, I went searching for the Vampires that hang around the House of Moses down in Red Hook. Life kept on happening though, and while enduring an excruciating interval in Manhattan’s Gas Light district, a neat relic of tenement New York at a Church on 14th and 1st was described.

February, 2015

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator spends a lot of time outdoors and concurrently complains endlessly about the weather. Too hot, too cold, humid, dry, raining, or way windy – I’m a regular complaint department on the subject. This post from February depicts a frozen over Newtown Creek, and what turned out to be creosote oil migrating out of a wooden maritime structure called a “dolphin.” “Other Objects” discusses curious altars and offerings discovered adorning certain corners in Astoria from around the time of the lunar new year. Over at Bushwick Inlet on the East River, in hoary Greenpoint, a spectacular fire at the Citystorage building was observed.

March, 2015

x

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When the Big Little Mayor announced his intentions to deck over the Sunnyside Yards, which is literally “in my back yard,” I was forced to say “not.” As history is ultimately the best weapon in my quiver, the video above was created and disseminated to the web. A dedicated effort to focus in on Queens was made in 2015, after having spent most of 2014 over in Greenpoint. Strange Oceans focused in on “used to be 5ptz” on Davis Street in LIC. Not Permitted continued to discuss the Sunnyside Yards issue, and Very Confines witnessed mystery discharges into the Newtown Creek at the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens.

April, 2015

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One spent quite a bit of time and effort visiting the “House of Moses” in 2015, and “Resting and Brooding” spent a bit of time observing the heart of Robert Moses’s empire here in Astoria – mighty Triborough. On the south end of Steinway Street, a tropical bird was noticed that was suffering from neglect in “Nearby Where,” and “Were Related” revealed where the City government stores a bunch of its gear under the Queensboro Bridge and at North Henry Street in Greenpoint.

May, 2015

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of my highlights for 2015 was getting invited down into the Second Avenue Subway project, which spawned a series of posts. “Who can guess” “all that there is” “that might be” “buried” and “down there” arrived in Newtown Pentacle subscribers email, Twitter streams, or Facebook feeds in late May of 2015. Earlier in the month, “historical realities” explored DUPBO – Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp – back at Newtown Creek.

June, 2015

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In June of 2015, I was operating at full throttle. Opening about the ridiculous lack of public bathrooms to be found in the greatest City on the planet in “fully inanimate,” discussing the ongoing Superfund situation at Newtown Creek in “arduous details,” and asserting that 7 line Subway is far and away the most photogenic of NYC’s mass transit options in “simple swains,” and I got to bring the camera out with the Working Committee on a tour of Gowanus Bay in “quaint fusion.” The HarborLab group built and delivered a dock to Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary for the usage of LaGuardia Community College’s science programs, and I tagged along to document the effort in “jouncing descent,” “grim facade,” “listless drooping,” and “stinking shallows.

July, 2015

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Amidst Glare” showcased the last photos my old camera ever took, before an accident destroyed the thing. A call out to Newtown Pentacle’s readers for financial aid in replacing it was answered handsomely, which warmed the calcified vesicle which passes for my heart. “Racing Ahead” returned to the House of Moses, and wished the Marine Parkway Bridge a happy birthday. An uncharacteristic post explored the macroscopic world of an Astoria cucumber patch in “vine encumbered,” whereas “Portal Guardians” brought me right back home to the gutter.

August, 2015

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Walking from Astoria to lower Manhattan one sunny day, via the Williamsburg Bridge, was discussed in “victoriously swept,” and led to another visit to the House of Moses in “pale vapors.” The House of Moses is citywide, and Greenpoint’s iteration was explored a bit in “staves and axes.” Over at Staten Island’s own Kill Van Kull waterway, a pretty significant bridge rebuilding project is underway at the Bayonne Bridge, which was detailed in “decadent element.” Calvary Cemetery in LIC’s Blissville neighborhood was profiled in “ordinary interpretation.” Closer to home, Astoria’s Broadway was invaded this summer by an army of drunks which the 114th Precinct refused to notice. I forced them to notice in a flurry of posts and social media efforts, starting with “unknown things,” and “parched and terrible.” My efforts at documenting the neighborhood and its issues continued with “later civilizations.

September, 2015

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In September, like every other idiot with a camera and tripod in North America, I was up on the roof photographing the so called “super blood moon” in “khephrens gateway.” The battle of the Borrachos continued here in Astoria, in “another city.” “Drifting Sand” visited Astoria’s Steinway Mansion and offered a shout out to Newtown Pentacle’s most frequent commenter – George the Atheist – for his tireless documentation of the sinful manner in which the cultural heritage of Queens is treated. At Newtown Creek, the area I refer to as DUGABO – Down Under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge – was discussed in “horrors and marvels.” I got to gather some night shots from mid channel on the Newtown Creek in “gorgeous concealment,” and tripod shots of the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek were offered in “could furnish.

October, 2015

– photo by Mitch Waxman

With tour season winding down in the late fall, my wandering about the City of Greater New York increased. Over at Newtown Creek’s Unanmed Canal at North Henry Street, a Newtown Creek Alliance event allowed me some purchase to explore the unexpected ossuary found at a semi abandoned DSNY Marine Transfer Dock in “gently heaving.” An Atlas Obscura night time event at Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery provided time and opportunity to provide some fairly surreal “night into day” shots in “breathing marble.” Back in Astoria, “swinging and plunging” showcased some passing maritime action at Hells Gate, and showcase a cool car spotted at the border of old Astoria in “other metals.” Newtown Creek has finally seen MTA re activating its rail presence, albeit for the purpose of shipping trash around, and the garbage trains at the Blissville Yard were described in “viewless aura.

November, 2015

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Halloween was spent at the corner pub which I refer to as my district office – Doyle’s at the Times Square of Astoria, 42nd and Broadway. Costumed hordes allowed me to photograph them in “rose oddly.” Oddly, my energy levels in November were quite high, whereas Consolidated Edison was busy dealing with low levels of residential supply found in Astoria as detailed in “full joys.” Discussion of manhole covers resumed in “discoursed of,” Mayor de Blasio and his agenda were derided in “mountain folk,” and LIC’s Montauk Cutoff was discussed in “these views.” The Montauk Cutoff post explored my growing interest and fascination with low light photography,  and a series of posts about a pre dawn walk from Astoria to industrial Maspeth – “grotesque night,” “betraying myself,” “duplicate and exceed,” and “ultimate effect” displayed what I saw on an uncharacteristically warm November night. Finally, DUKBO – Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge(s) Onramp(s) – and the NYS DOT construction project, was visited in “brought up,” and “leftward fork.

December, 2015

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The close of 2015 began as it started, with the death of a good friend – Kill Van Kull chronicler and Photographer John Skelson, who was eulogized in “Marine Things.” The forbidden north coast of Queens, and Luyster Creek,  was visited in “known specie,” and the Queens side of DUKBO described in “cyclopean endeavor.” A boat trip on Newtown Creek found a Hindu god lurking along the bulkheads in “systemic horror,” and an encounter with some cheeky monkeys in Central Park was described in “urge primal.

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thousand faced

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And here we are, Christmas.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I like a good religious tableau, which is odd, as I believe in nothing. Literally, “nothing.” As in the void, emptiness, and entropy. Call me a nihilist if you will, or a strict materialist – but if I can’t burn it, break it, or prove it empirically – it ain’t. Others cling to their own beliefs, and luckily many are inspired to create art to express these ideations and fantasies. Pictured above, a carved wooden nativity display observed at a church on Manhattan’s Houston Street shortly following a tense discussion with my landlord last year.

I may not believe in anything beyond dissolution (and Superman, of course), but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate someone else’s set of ideas made manifest.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saint Irene’s in Astoria displays the Orthodox splendors for which the Greek church is renowned. As the perennial outsider, I’ve always observed that a primary difference in the graphic stylings of Orthodox and Catholic Churches is in the depiction of the god head itself. The Latins prefer to focus on the final stages of the passion, depicting the Christ during or after the scourging offered by the Romans. Catholic Jesus is moments away from death, covered in wounds, and suffering. The Greeks seem to focus in on Christ in the mold of a “hero” in the classical sense – well muscled, tough and triumphant, a spiritual Spartan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in Manhattan, which is one of the most glorious interior spaces to be found anywhere on that accursed island. This shot is actually from their Irish language St. Patrick’s Day mass, which I’m mentioning simply because anyone who grew up Catholic will be able to spot the costuming on their prelates as being seasonably inappropriate. I get in trouble with the religious types all the time when I refer to the pulpit as the stage, the robes as costumes, and ask about what the script calls for.

This betrays me, as it becomes fairly obvious to all that I regard visiting a church in the same manner as I do a theater. Saying that, just because I don’t believe in what you do doesn’t make me right and you wrong, it just means we differ. I’d like to believe that everybody else out there would afford others the same courtesy, but the front pages of newspapers and the interiors of history books indicate that such a belief is a foolish but inherently American sort of idea.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

St. Andrew’s at Printers Square in Lower Manhattan, just behind the courthouse, has a spectacular pieta on display in its dimly lit chapel. This is an example of what I was saying about the “suffering Christ” iconography which seems to be preferred by the Catholic side of the great schism.

I really enjoy photographing churches and ritual spaces, incidentally, and should anyone reading this be in a position to invite me in to one for a couple of hours – I’d love to come by with the tripod and my other gear and record the scene if you can “get me in.”

As always, however, like a Vampire I need to be invited in to do my work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, what do Jews, Mohammadans, Buddhists, Daoists, Agnostics, Atheists, Nihilists, and the Hindus do on Christmas Eve? Short answer involves Chinese food, and bars. There’ll be someplace open to go tilt back a few and play some pool, discuss the issues of the day, and avoid the seasonal holidays.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Merry Christmas, from this, your Newtown Pentacle.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 24, 2015 at 11:00 am

stertorous inflection

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I like me a good truck photo, I does.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One such as myself has never experienced full throttle happiness, as there is always a shadow that looms. I point out the cloud in an otherwise clear sky to the non observant, remind people of the constant presence of existential mortality, and in general – be a sour sort of fellow. This is why it’s preferable for me to spend much of his time alone, and spare others the misery of my company. Soliloquy and a camera are my only companions when wandering about the City of Greater New York, and for one reason or another – I notice and photograph a lot of trucks – all different kinds of trucks.

The ones above are heavy duty.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s lots of private carting companies around the Newtown Pentacle, and accordingly, lots of waste transfer stations for them to bring their collections of refuse to. The sort of truck you see above is called a “packer,” but most of us just call it a garbage truck. Spotted in DUKBO, on the Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek, before the Kosciuszko Bridge project got rolling.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is a thoroughly burned up ex truck and trailer, on used to be Cherry Street in Greenpoint, before the Kosciuszko Bridge project got going. Lots of odd things used to occur in DUKBO, and it was a fantastic place to dump a vehicle – especially in the six months or so before the bridge project got rolling. At the time, I was told by one of my neighborhood informants that the truck ignited up on the BQE and that the FDNY towed it off the highway while still aflame.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In Queens, over in DUGABO, at the Sims Metal dock. That’s a DSNY packer dropping off its charge of recyclables for the global recycling conglomerate to process.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In Queensican Maspeth, the massive lot of the Ferrara Brothers Concrete company is found, and their distinctive orange and white concrete trucks are lined up and ready for duty. I’ve also remarked to myself about how finely detailed and clean the Ferrara trucks are – their fleet maintenance crews obviously give a lot of love to these machines.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Five Star Carting on Greenpoint Avenue in DUGABO and across the street from the sewer plant in Greenpoint, where one of their “roll on’s” is delivering a bin. The recycling company that the bin was being dropped off at burned down In a spectacular fire a couple of years back.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The very best kind of truck, the kind that reduces me to running behind it yelling “fireman, fireman” in the same manner that I did as a child in Brooklyn. The FDNY Hazardous Materials Unit 1 is found up the hill in Maspeth, just off Grand’s intersection with the Long Island Expressway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A tanker truck on Railroad Avenue over on the Blissville side of DUGABO in Queens. Based on the signage adorning its bumper, my bet is that it’s carrying gasoline or heating oil. By tanker standards, this is a fairly low capacity vehicle, and it’s used for “last mile” deliveries to residential and small business customers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You can find the big boys of the fuel tanker world back in Brooklyn’s DUKBO, just off Meeker Avenue, where Island Fuel maintains an enormous property. These tankers do commercial work, filling up apartment house oil tanks and supplying gas stations with fuel.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over in Greenpoint, a truck which simply sucks. When things go badly for a tanker truck, or a leak develops in some underground doohickey, you call in a vacuum truck.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On Northern Boulevard in Queens, at the border of Woodside and Astoria, a truck which is in the process of delivering trucks. Kind of like a mama turtle giving a ride to her babies, ain’t it?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over on Betts Avenue, at Woodside’s border with Maspeth, you’ll notice a series of trucks fresh off the production line and awaiting adoption parked along the fence lines of Mount Zion cemetery.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In Maspeth proper, near Grand Avenue’s intersection with Rust Street, a crimson battalion of semi rigs is often observed. The military precision of their formation is worth noting.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The worst fate that can befall a truck, I believe, is to end up in the hands of one of NYC’s “lesser” agencies – as is the case with these NYCHA trucks arranged in a midden alongside the Queensboro houses in LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A medium sized tanker, this Colony fuel oil truck was making a home heating oil delivery in Astoria. I love the color way, or paint job, that the home heating oil industry lavishes on their rigs. Exquisite business graphics often adorn their fleets, and are worthy of notice.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When I was a kid, my dream was to either drive a dump truck or a bull dozer for a living. For some lucky employee of the Corzo construction company, the latter had become a manifest reality on Astoria’s Broadway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The vast majority of NYC’s trucking companies – despite being based in Brooklyn, and Queens, and the Bronx, exist to service Manhattan’s needs. The locus point of the megalopolis, vast numbers of trucks converge on Manhattan at all hours of the day and night, choking their streets and disturbing the slumbering bourgeoise.

Of course, the Manhattan people give nary a thought as to where all these trucks go, and how they transit back and forth to their unsustainable island city.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 22, 2015 at 1:30 pm

unutterable aeries

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Tekelele, indeed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described in yesterday’s post, a sexual display committed by two monkeys at the Central Park Zoo scared me, so a retreat to the “safe space” of the Penguin house was enacted. It should be pointed out that the lighting in this section of Manhattan’s premier animal penitentiary is rather dim, which I suspect is for the comfort of the captive birds contained therein. It took every trick I know, as far as the subject of low light photography goes, to capture the images in today’s post. You can actually discern the sensor grid of my camera in a few of these shots, as it was pretty darned dark in this safe space and the exposure triangle required for hand held shots (through glass) leaned toward staggeringly high sensitivities. Also, a significant amount of condensation and moisture was observed on the barrier glass of the bird prison, which actually created some interesting visual effects, imho.

Whilst concentrating on my task, errant thoughts kept intruding, and one couldn’t help but think about H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness.” Actually, since I was listening to an unabridged reading of the novella (Audiorealms, Wayne June reading) it was extremely difficult not to think about the star crossed Elder things and their shoggoth problems. Tekelele, tekelele.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of course, given the largely useless amount of trivial information which populates my thoughts, a secondary narrative began to intrude. The Mountains of Madness tells the story of a fairly inaccessible Antarctic region which holds the remains of an alien city whose inhabitants were exterminated by a certain biological technology which ran amok, which Lovecraft called “shoggoths.” Good book, this, and Lovecraft makes a good case for letting “sleeping dogs lie.”

The ends of the earth, and the so called “poles of inaccessibility” began to come to mind. Anything, anything to erase the micro aggressions suffered at the Snow Monkey enclosure, was a welcome reprieve.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Oodap Qeqert is a bank of gravel and rock which is found off the northwest coast of Greenland, and is possibly the most northern point of land one might find before the pack ice of the Arctic Ocean obliviates terrestial life forms. Geologists don’t consider a gravel bank to be actual land, per se, and Kaffeklubben Island (also off the coast of Greenland) is officially the northernmost point of dry land you can get to if you’re on the way to the North Pole. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, and headed for the antipode, the most remote island on Earth warrants a visit. It’s a Norwegian territory, believe it or not, called Bouvetøya Island.

Unless a Penguin got seriously lost like Topper (the scarf wearing Penguin from the Rankin Bass “Santa Claus is coming to town” animated television program), you won’t find any in Greenland. You’ll find lots of Penguins on Bouvetøya Island, however.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The chilly waters of the antipode are actually quite mysterious. Lots of interesting and fairly undocumented things happen down there, like the so called Vela Incident back in 1979. The Antarctic Continent is literally the last terrestrial frontier for mankind, and was a focal point for the Super Power competitions of the Cold War era. The Soviets established Vostok Station nearby the Southern “Pole of Inaccessibility” on the continent. What that “POI” term means is that it is situated as far away from a coastline in every direction as you can get on Antarctica.

Famously, the Russians who now inhabit Vostok Station have been involved in a deep drilling experiment to access the unfrozen fresh waters of Lake Vostok, which lies some 13,000 feet beneath the glacial surface that Vostok Station sits upon. Speculations about what sorts of primeval life – the lake has been sealed off from the rest of the planet for fifteen million years – might inhabit the lake cause one to shake and quiver with horror.

Truly – who can guess, all there is, that might be buried down there?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Soviets were goofy for drilling deep holes into the Earth, it should be mentioned.

Their “Kolskaya sverkhglubokaya skvazhina,” or Kola Superdeep Borehole, not too far from their border with Finland on the Barents Sea, managed to penetrate down better than 40,000 feet. The rocks and geological layers that their drills reached to date back to the Archaen Age, which are about two and a half billion years old. The Kola project was abandoned in 2008, and the Russian Federation made it a point of not just destroying the facility and equipment, but capping the hole with reinforced concrete and steel. They likely had their reasons. What is held in the deep earth is not something that mankind truly wishes cognizance of, and were its contents to become widely known… Incidentally, Kola is the supposed location where that “well dug to hell” recording was captured, but that’s just an Internet meme, right?

Deeper holes have been drilled since Kola, in pursuance of hydrocarbon deposits nearby Russia’s Sakhalin Island in the Northern Pacific Ocean, and in the Persian Gulf by Qatar.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My recovery from the startling and outré Monkey incident accomplished, a humble narrator decided it was time to return to Queens, where my delicate sensibilities might be better coddled, cultivated, and wrapped in vibrant diversity than here in Manhattan’s Central Park Zoo.

On the whole “poles of inaccessibility” thing, I’d suggest study of the village of Suluk in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which is one of the so called “cradles of nations” and likely the most inaccessible place in Eurasia. Closer to home, the United States’s “POI” is called Corn Creek, and it’s in Allen, South Dakota. Allen is, coincidentally, the poorest county in the entire United States and the median family income thereabouts is $3,819 per annum, and that is all the justification you’ll ever need to hear for the importance of loving someplace with a harbor or port nearby.

Hell, $3,800 won’t even get you one month in a closet sized studio in Williamsburg.

The geographic center of New York State is in Madison County, and is around a half hour drive from Utica.

The geographic center of NYC is on the “Boulevard of Death” – the middle of Queens Blvd. at 58th street – according to the NYC Dept. of City Planning. There’s a brass plaque and everything on the spot, and it’s one of the places where a humble narrator likes to shout out “Tekelele, Tekelele” at passing traffic.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 18, 2015 at 11:00 am

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