The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘NYPD’ Category

shall vex

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A baited trap, in LIC.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Everyone knows about the particular predilection that the Gendarme has for those toroids of fried and sweetened dough which are commonly called Donuts, and it is simply “messed up” that someone seems to using one as bait. Should a hungry constable happen along and happily reach for this confection, what sort of snare might be triggered? Is this a cop trap of some kind? What’s hidden inside that duct or pipe?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The funny thing about the cop/donut myth is that it really isn’t true. Most of the police officers I’ve met over the years were actually in pretty good shape, and the ones who weren’t in wholesome condition owed it to a love of the brewer’s art rather than that of the baker’s. Still one wonders how many innocent but hungry servants of the realm hereabouts have been ensnared on this LIC block, adjoining Skillman Avenue?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Commonly held, the mythology about American Police and their love for donuts is reasonably predicated upon the frequent observation of unit cars and uniformed personnel, by the citizenry at large, congregating at locations commonly called “Donut Shops.” Simply answered, even if your job is to drive around a neighborhood for eight hours at a pop, you still need to pee and or buy coffee periodically – an endless cycle in itself – and sharing a common location for such activity allows units to compare notes on the days events. Donut shops are open late, as are the Police. It’s messed up that someone is setting out donut baited snares though, and provides for a worrisome development within this, our Newtown Pentacle.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 31, 2014 at 9:30 am

uneasy voices

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Quite the hullabaloo over in Astoria last Friday.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Rainy, last Friday evening, a sudden explosion of sirens and a characteristic strobing of red and white light announced that members of the Fire Department had arrived to pursue their occupation. I grew interested when Rescue 4 showed up, which I understand to be a sort of mobile command post and which I’ve only seen when the situation is truly serious.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There were two crewed trucks, a hook and ladder unit and an engine unit. In addition, the Rescue 4 truck and this “Haz Tac” unit arrived on scene along with a couple of ambulances. The setting is Broadway in Astoria, by the way, between 43rd and 44th streets.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There were enough FDNY personnel down there to start a soccer team, but they all seemed to be milling about, rather than the rushing around and “crash bang” action which normally describes the pursuit of their occupation.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

NYPD sent an ESU (Emergency Services Unit) truck as well as a highway patrol and several ordinary unit cars, and being the nosey sort, this motivated me to throw the filthy black raincoat on and find out what was going on.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The municipal employees were tight lipped, as usual, but my network of local Croatians had already created a cogent narrative. The whole thing revolved around this van.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As transmitted to me by the Istrian witnesses, there was an accident. A typical fender bender with no injuries, the driver of the van nevertheless fled the scene and abandoned the vehicle.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Some unknown municipal threshold must have been achieved, in terms of ascertaining the threat posed by the vehicle, and the FDNY began to pack up and leave. NYPD got busy with traffic cones and redirecting traffic. One wonders, however, what triggered this massive response to an abandoned van.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 9, 2013 at 9:20 am

sluggish river

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Maritime Sunday witnesses a somber duty.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The infamous Newtown Creek, at its junction with the East River, flows languidly between Greenpoint in Brooklyn and Long Island City in Queens. This post is being written on Friday the 18th, and at the time of this writing, a young fellow named Avonte is still missing. Avonte Oquendo, a 14 year old Autistic boy, wandered out of his school in LIC on October 4th and has been missing ever since. To their credit, the NYPD is leaving no stone unturned in the search for the kid, which includes my beloved Creek.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Patrol Boat 315, a SAFE boat, was recently observed combing the shoreline. One of my informants on the Brooklyn side told me that they had witnessed NYPD individually checking the private boats which proliferate on the Queens side as part of the so called “Vernon Boat Sanctuary.” Descriptions of uniformed patrol units working in concert with the harbor units have all reached my ears. The sky has been alive with helicopters as well, which I can personally attest to.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Today’s Maritime Sunday shout out goes to the uniformed crew of 315, tirelessly searching Newtown Creek for a local kid who’s in trouble. If you’ve got any info about Avonte or his whereabouts, his family is absolutely sick with worry. Avonte is described as 5-foot-3 and weighs about 125 pounds. He was last seen wearing a grey striped shirt and black jeans.

Those with information are asked to contact the NYPD at 800-577-TIPS.

goaded into

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The floating fuzz.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Harbor Launch No. 451 was christened with the name PO Edward Byrne when it was launched in 2010, and just the other night, it was literally running circles around the Working Harbor Committee. We were onboard the Zephyr, an excursion vessel, and the cops came roaring up alongside and began to circle us. Doesn’t matter what you’re driving, when a bunch of cops pull up next to you, you stiffen up and try to present overt signs of wholesomeness in an effort to avoid their attentions.

from nyc.gov

“This new launch will enable us to be even more vigilant in keeping the city safe from crime and terrorism,” Commissioner Kelly said. “It is a tangible symbol of Eddie Byrne’s legacy. All who see it will be reminded of his courage and his sacrifice.”

The new boat will be used for various police emergencies and operations in New York Harbor , including search and rescue and recovery and proactive counterterrorism patrol. The 45-foot vessel is custom equipped with a thermal camera and advanced navigation system, enabling police officers to better conduct search and rescue operations in low-visibility conditions. It can travel up to 48 knots, or 53 m.p.h.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The vessel in today’s shots is a SAFE Boat, which is a pretty sophisticated little craft that can take on a variety of utility and security functions depending on who its customized for. There’s a Coast Guard variant, and an FDNY one, and every agency that has any jurisdiction on the water seems to have at least one of these increasingly ubiquitous vessels bobbing around NY Harbor.

from wikipedia

Commanding Officer of Harbor Unit – Deputy Inspector David Driscoll

On March 15, 1858, five members of the New York City Police Department rowed out into New York Harbor to combat piracy aboard merchant ships lying at anchor. The NYPD Harbor Unit has existed ever since, protecting life and property. With hundreds of miles of inland waterways to cover, the unit operates 27 boats from three bases.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Harbor Patrol actually predates the Civil War, but in the beginning, they were all about fighting River Pirates. Back in the heyday of NY Harbor, pirates would launch from shore in rowboats with felt wrapped oars. They would sneak onboard anchored ships in the maritime equivalent of a modern “home invasion” and grab whatever they could carry. The problem was so rampant that the Harbor Patrol was formed. Today, the piracy problem is under control, and the unit largely works the Homeland Security beat instead.

from policeny.com

The Metropolitan Police’s Harbor Police were established on Feb. 15, 1858 as the 24th Precinct. When established the command consisted of 2 sergeants and 25 patrolmen. Harbor’s first station house was located at 21 State Street, near the corner of Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan.

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Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

Glittering Realms- Saturday, August 3rd, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 2, 2013 at 10:04 am

beckon eagerly

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Whilst wandering along lost in a self critical soliloquy, as your humble narrator has more than just a few regrets and guilty interludes based around the amount of damage caused to those I care about due to my presence in their lives, this conveyance of the local gendarme caught my eye. It bears the familiar color way of the NYPD, however it is the property of the NYC Sheriff, a separate agency with a wholly different mission from the more numerous constables.

from nyc.gov

The Office of the City Sheriff, Law Enforcement Bureau (LEB) is a state and city charter mandated service of the Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff is an officer of the court, and his primary purpose and function is to serve and execute the various legal processes and mandates issued not only by and for the several courts of the state and its subdivisions, but also for the legal community and the general public.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The vehicle got me thinking about how vision and memory actually work. My addled brain wanted to file the vehicle away under “cops” upon seeing the thing, due to the familiar pattern of blue and white. Like the adaptation to smell commented upon by employees of the DEP waste water system, wherein constant environmental stimuli renders one blind to odor, how much of our frenetic visual locale is filtered out by an overwhelmed visual cortex? If these NYPD ESU trucks said “USSR”, would you notice it?

from wikipedia

The New York City Police Department Emergency Service Unit is the Emergency Service Unit (ESU) for the New York City Police Department. A component of the Special Operations Division of the Patrol Services Bureau, the unit provides specialized support and advanced equipment to other NYPD units. For example, its Canine Unit helps with searches for perpetrators and missing persons. The Emergency Service Unit also functions as a Special Weapons and Tactical Unit (SWAT) and NYPD hostage negotiators assist and secure the safety of hostages. Members of “ESU” are cross trained in multiple disciplines for police and rescue work.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Often one ponders if this is the core thing which sets me apart from others, this allegiance to noticing literally everything. When entering a room, my head pivots about, and a careful inventory of my surroundings are made. I know where the fire exits are in any auditorium, catalog inconsistent details, and above all- instantly notice that which “does not belong”. More often than not, that out of place thing which does belong is myself, of course. Always must I remain an Outsider.

from wikipedia

Gestalt psychologists working primarily in the 1930s and 1940s raised many of the research questions that are studied by vision scientists today.

The Gestalt Laws of Organization have guided the study of how people perceive visual components as organized patterns or wholes, instead of many different parts. Gestalt is a German word that partially translates to “configuration or pattern” along with “whole or emergent structure.” According to this theory, there are six main factors that determine how the visual system automatically groups elements into patterns: Proximity, Similarity, Closure, Symmetry, Common Fate (i.e. common motion), and Continuity.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 21, 2013 at 12:15 am

mountain freedom

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Mayan Apocalypse Countdown: just 5 days left until the 13th b’ak’tun ends, initiating the Mayan Apocalypse on December 21st. Tick, tock.

Luckily, since the world’s end is upon us, America is possessed of an enormous military capability. Even our littoral fleet is larger than most national navies, armed heavily, and staffed by expert marksmen. It is comforting to know that if the Mayan Apocalypse proceeds on schedule- we go down fighting.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Here at Newtown Pentacle HQ, preparations are under way. Our Lady of the Pentacle is sharpening knives, the dog has grown used to the bladed Kevlar body armor, and your humble narrator has crafted a quite fashionable series of tin foil hats. Of course, a recent announcement made the case that such chapeaus actually increase the efficacy of broadcast spectrum mind control radiation rather than providing prophylactic effect. Regardless, they are quite comfortable.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Down in the vast sub astorian bunkers excavated by Our Lady (during the really hot months of the summer), she used teaspoons for this endeavor by the way, we have a pretty nice set of digs. It was simple to dispose of the tailings from her mining using the “Great Escape” method. We opted out of the “Zion esthetic” from the Matrix movies and went for a “Hobbiton” Lord of the Rings sort of thing. Lots of faux wood and sconce lighting, with stacks and stacks of canned beans and dog food. The bunker is quite sound, and on the hatch is a sign that says “Gas, grass, or ass- no one survives for free”.

Obviously, this penultimate Maritime Sunday post is dedicated to Americas fighting men and women, and all our ships at sea.

chiseled likeness

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently observed patrolling the languid expanses of the Newtown Creek, the NYPD Harbor Unit’s “Lt. Federico Narvaez”. The coppers name their boats after fallen comrades. There is also a playground in Brooklyn named after the departed officer.

from nycgovparks.org

Police Lieutenant Federico Narvaez (1956-1996), who was born in Brooklyn and died in the vicinity of this Flatbush playground. Following his graduation from high school in Williamsburg, Narvaez studied business at Baruch College, where he met his wife, Marilyn. The two married in 1980 and had one child, Katrina. Appointed to the Police Department in 1979, Narvaez served at the 25th, 34th and 23rd Precincts before his promotion to Lieutenant in 1993. In addition, Narvaez had tours of duty with the Narcotics Division, the Warrant Division and the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The story of the fallen officer is told at the “NYPD Angels” site, linked to below. This is a message board frequented by the members of the force, and often displays a “pulls no punches” manner- so be warned if you click through. Launch 3 is technically a ship, not a boat. It’s a ship because it can launch a boat, which is one of those little bits of maritime knowledge you pick up hanging around sailors. There are enormous vessels out there- Tugs come to mind- which cannot launch a boat. It’s one of those minor points…

from nypdangels.com

Lieutenant Narvaez was shot and killed after being flagged down by a female pedestrian. The pedestrian told him that she was being stalked and Lieutenant Narvaez approached the man after calling for backup. The man turned and fired, striking Lieutenant Narvaez in the face. The man ran down a street but was stopped by other responding units. He was told to drop his gun but fired at the units and was shot and killed.

Lieutenant Narvaez had been on the job for 17 years.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This Police ship, not boat, is actually pretty large. Most of the NYPD vessels you see are actually rather small, built for speed rather than capacity. On the day which these shots were captured, I was waiting for a group to arrive (who were running late) and whatever the Cops were doing on the Creek, they were back there for a good hour or more before I saw them heading back out to the East River.

from wikipedia

Commanding Officer of Harbor Unit – Deputy Inspector David Driscoll

On March 15, 1858, five members of the New York City Police Department rowed out into New York Harbor to combat piracy aboard merchant ships lying at anchor. The NYPD Harbor Unit has existed ever since, protecting life and property. With hundreds of miles of inland waterways to cover, the unit operates 27 boats from three bases.

For underwater work, the department used to contract with private diving companies when weapons or other evidence had to be recovered from the bottom of New York’s many rivers and waterways. In the early 1970s, however, the Harbor Unit formed a specialized scuba team that today numbers around 30 officers. Unlike many police dive units, whose members dive only part-time, NYPD divers are assigned to the unit full-time. (The exception are some scuba-trained officers in regular patrol units who are detailed to the team temporarily during the busy summer months.) In addition to the normal duties of evidence recovery, the Scuba Team’s mission has expanded since 9/11 to include a counter-terrorism role. For air-sea rescue work, the Harbor Unit keeps two divers assigned to the Aviation Unit 24 hours a day, seven days per week, all year round. These divers will work with their counterparts in the FDNY, who arrive at incidents by fireboat or rescue company.

image from wikipedia

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Upcoming Walking Tour- The Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Meetup at the corner of Kingsland and Norman Avenues in Greenpoint at 11 on Saturday, August 25th.

We will be exploring the petroleum and waste transfer districts of the Newtown Creek watershed in North Brooklyn. Heavily industrialized, the area we will be walking through is the heart of the Greenpoint Oil Spill and home to scores of waste transfer stations and other heavy industries. We will be heading for the thrice damned Kosciuszko Bridge, which is scheduled for a demolition and replacement project which will be starting in 2013. Photographers, in particular, will find this an interesting walk through a little known and quite obscure section of New York City.

Be prepared: We’ll be encountering broken pavement, sometimes heavy truck traffic, and experiencing a virtual urban desert as we move through the concrete devastations of North Brooklyn. Dress and pack appropriately for hiking, closed toe shoes are highly recommended- as are a hat or parasol to shield you from the sun.

Bathroom opportunities will be found only at the start of the walk, which will be around three hours long and cover approximately three miles of ground. Drivers, it would be wise to leave your cars in the vicinity of McGolrick Park in Greenpoint.

Click here for tickets, and as always- a limited number of walk ups will be welcomed- but for safety reasons we need to limit the group to a manageable size. Contact me at this email if you desire further details.

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