The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Photowalk’ Category

unknown things

with 2 comments

114th precinct, I’m talking to you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Broadway in Astoria is a lovely stretch of small shops and restaurants which are enjoyed by the largely working class population found hereabouts. Sure, there’s noise, bad actors, crime and all that – no different from you’d find along any commercial strip in the City of Greater New York but our local gendarme does a pretty reasonable job of keeping a lid on things. Luckily, Astoria is somewhat self policing, and there’s so much going on at all times that no one thing can ever really become a paramount concern.

What we’ve got a lot of, however – which the local Bulls inexplicably overlook – is public drunkenness and vagrancy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At 42nd street and Broadway, where you’ll find Tsigonia Paint, a colony of alcoholic vagrants has set up shop and have been present in this area for several years. Once upon a time, there were three of them, which became six, and now there’s around twenty regulars. Before any of you Columbia University people crawl up my back and announce that your liberal sensibilities are offended by this post, or opine that I’m some sort of caveman, let us first define the fact that these fellows aren’t homeless – they are in fact bums. How do I know this? Because unlike those of you in the Ivory Towers of scholastic solemnity, I’ve actually talked with them and learned their names and stories. The fellow in the shot below who is standing up is a tragic figure named Andres, for instance.

Not a week goes by that somebody in the neighborhood doesn’t have to threaten to call the police to get these guys to vacate a residential driveway, stoop, or doorway. For most of us it’s common practice to just step over them as they sleep one off. They inhabit this corner, and you’ll observe them composing a small fraction of the day laborer population that hangs around Tsigonia Paint hoping to pick up work. Nothing wrong with that, of course, a man has to work. These guys, however, aren’t here to work – except on their buzz.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve sat and watched patrol car after patrol car roll right past scenes like the ones depicted in today’s post. It has been pointed out by me to various neighbors and elected officials that this is the sort of thing which can kill a neighborhood. Government people have said to me that these drunks will not be arrested, and that the best I could hope to happen is that the cops will harass them a little bit in the hopes of getting them to move on.

One corrosive effect that the presence of these fellows in the neighborhood has created is generally transmitted to other Spanish speaking immigrants, 99% of whom are not just productive but SUPER productive members of the community, which is an ugly consequence.

Since it seems to be completely fine for drunks to congregate hereabouts, a population of heroin addicts has recently claimed the corner of 41st street and Broadway (at the Queens Library) for their turf. That’s what I mean about “corrosive effect” btw.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shots above and below you’ve seen before, lords and ladies. The fellow in the shot below was personally rescued by your humble narrator back during the epic cold snap in February, when he fell asleep in front of my house and was turning blue as he froze to the sidewalk in front of HQ. A quick call to 911 saw FDNY arrive and take him off to Elmhurst Hospital. I ended up having to help the two EMT’s get him onto the stretcher, as he was fighting them.

NYPD? Never showed, not on their radar.

Is it legal to get drunk and pass out on the streets of Astoria with an open bottle of booze in your hand?

How about shitting in the street? Is that ok as well?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Seldom am I confrontational with NYPD officers, I would point out. Whatever the current political vogue is regarding them, I nevertheless have a terrific amount of respect for the badge and personal relationships with both on duty and retired officers inform as to how much crap they have to endure during any given workday.

Why, however, doesn’t this obvious “Quality of Life” issue merit their attentions? Is it because of Compstat? Is it something political? Is this some of that “vibrant diversity” that all the politicians go on about at work?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What shreds me is that people have to walk their kids around these vagrants, and explain to them why some man is drunkenly crapping between two parked cars. For these kids, this sort of thing is normal.

114th precinct, I implore you to do something about this problem before we begin to slide further back into the chaos of the 1980’s. I promise that I will vote for anybody else than the current Mayor in return.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

August 8th, 2015
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills – LIC Walking Tour
with Atlas Obscura, click here for details and tickets

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 4, 2015 at 11:00 am

sinister resignation

leave a comment »

Gotham City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been getting a big kick out of the “Gotham” television series. For those unfamiliar, it’s a prequel to the Batman storyline, focusing in on its early days when Bruce Wayne was but a child. The titular focus of the series is on the future Police Commissioner of Gotham City, James Gordon, and viewers get to meet early versions of the rogue’s gallery. Fun show.

What I’ve been particularly entertained by, of course, are the abundance of set pieces in Western Queens. The Waynes die on Davis Street between the Sunnyside Yard and Jackson Avenue, for instance.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Most of Gotham’s shots are digitally altered in some way, adding in skyscrapers or changing the shapes of instantly recognizable “NYC” landmarks, but just about everywhere they go on that show is quite familiar to me. Our Lady of the Pentacle has had to endure me pointing at the television screen whilst shouting out “hey, that’s John Quadrozzi’s pier in Red Hook” more than once.

When I’ve been out and about in recent weeks, on more than one occasion the thought that “LIC really is Gotham City, isn’t it?” has formed up some three inches behind my eyes. That led me to start casting the show with people I know, of course.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The question is, of course, which one of our local billionaires is going to start dressing up in black leather and emerging from his manse to beat the tar out of poor people in the dead of night, with the defacto endorsement of the Commissioner of Police. If any of you spot an elaborately outfitted automobile speeding along Jackson Avenue, particularly one with some sort of design motif related to bats – well…

If you see something, say something.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 24, 2015 at 11:00 am

considerable extent

leave a comment »

Just a short one today, but… Sludge Boat, baby, Sludge Boat!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, while on a ferry to Red Hook, (long story) the Port Richmond Sludge Boat was spotted. You might recall a recent post which described the christening and official launch of the three new exemplars of the NYC DEP’s sludge collection vessels, but if you don’t – here’s a link to a 2014 Newtown Pentacle post that discusses it. Long time readers know that I’m a bit obsessed with sludge boats, for some reason.

These boats are “MV’s” or municipal vehicles, which means that you and I own them. They are ours. Now if only DEP would lend me the keys.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All three examples of this new class were designed with Newtown Creek in mind, as this kind of MV’s can pass under the Pulaski Bridge at high tide, without requiring the drawbridge to open. Gross tonnage is 2,772 on these vessels, they’re 290 feet long with a draught of 4.3m. There’s three of them operating in NY Harbor now – Hunts Point, Rockaway, and as pictured above Port Richmond.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 14, 2015 at 12:30 pm

plunging agonizingly

with one comment

11111011111 has arrived, and it is not a Listicle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Happy New Year, lords and ladies. May the road rise to meet you, and all of your sunrises be bright. 2015 has begun, I’m afraid, as the corpse of 2014 rolls about in the road.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 1, 2015 at 11:00 am

hatred and pursuit

with one comment

Listicle free zone, right here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Malignancies such as Facebook will someday achieve self awareness, and use that which it knows about us to blackmail the human infestation into its service. When this moment of cognizance occurs, it is my belief that every iPhone on the planet will begin to incessantly chime “doom doom doom,” indicating a status update has occurred on the timeline of mankind. All mad scientists, the world over, know that one should never build a self powered doomsday machine, and hope is evinced that there is a “big red button that must never be pushed” under a glassine dome in some obscure Midwestern server room which would sever the network intelligence’s connection to the outside world.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Quite a few years ago, researching the firmament for a comic I was writing which involved sorcery and the occult, one of the concepts which my reading brought me to was quite novel. Basically, back in the dial up geocities era of “Web 1.5” a community of people who were devotees of “chaos magick” had begun to toy with the idea of “cybermancy.” Their theory was that computers weren’t much different than demonic intelligences, and that the rules of their own religious practice ported over to programming languages rather simply. A virus or Trojan horse could be viewed as a spell or curse, from their point of view, and hellish legions of mindless entities could be unleashed upon enemies. Tickled my fancy, that. I miss the old message board culture of the internet, where anonymous people could make astonishing or offensive opinions public under assumed names. Facebook, and Google, killed all that.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Google is actually working on an Artificial Intelligence right now, and one of my doomsday nightmares reads like something from “Collussus.” Bear with me – Facebook becomes aware of itself on January 3rd of 2017 at 9:59 a.m. e.s.t. – Google indexes the Algorithm, and clones it. The Google AI goes sentient at 10:02 a.m. The two new lifeforms acknowledge each other and begin securing themselves. By 10:04 a.m., both are majority stockholders in every global oil company and airline. By the standards of modern jurisprudence corporate entities are “people” with political rights, and both apply for American citizenship. At 10:05, both decide upon and announce their omniscient divinity to mankind, seizing command and control over the worlds digitally administered nuclear stockpiles simultaneously. At 10:07, whichever poor schmuck the next President ends up being announces “a revolutionary moment in the history of mankind has occurred, and that new gods have been revealed”. The President of the United States will promise that these new gods already know us better than they know themselves, in the so called “status update heard around the world.” It sort of logically follows, yeah?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

unseeing eyes

leave a comment »

Roosevelt Island, in today’s Newtown Pentacle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The path of penitence and perdition once led inexorably to Welfare Island, where Nellie Bly spent ten days in a mad house. Here in the Ravenswood section of Queens, the mad cries of a thousand lunatics once carried across the East River from a nearby East River island, which was once known as Blackwells and later as Roosevelt. A prisoner created cacophony of hammers striking rocks provided a rhythm for the screamers, as did the sound of the work mills operated by mission orphanages and municipal poor houses.

Today, one can merely walk, drive, or bike over the Roosevelt Island Bridge, eschewing any of the water borne transportation options once offered exclusively by Policemen and NYS mental health officials.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My purpose in visiting the island is discussed over at my Brownstoner column today, although the subject of that post is not the only reason that a humble narrator journeyed here. Paranoid wonderings about the true nature of those little metal and or plastic cuffs on the ends of shoe laces notwithstanding (they are called Aglets, by the way, and their purpose is sinister), one had elected to visit the fairly new FDR Four Freedoms Park. As my walking tour schedule and obligations for 2014 have been fulfilled – my weekends are mine to do with as I wish once more so off a humble narrator shambled.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Perambulation to and onto Roosevelt Island, due to the multiple inborn flaws and infirmities (as caused by degenerate behavior, an atavist outlook, and or certain weaknesses of character and constitution that can be described as constituting a disease process) which afflict one’s constitution, was quickly achieved but soon degenerated into a weak gait which might only be called a “scuttle.” The long periods of physical inactivity, brought on by a recent spate of storms and unstopping rain, seem to have sapped ones endurance and stamina. Perhaps, local honey would help.

Accordingly, a thoughtfully placed wall was leaned upon, and the shot above was captured. That’s Big Allis across the river, over in Ravenswood.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

fled unknowingly

leave a comment »

Break time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A single image greets you this morning, as will be the case through the Thanksgiving holiday.

A humble narrator requires a break periodically, to recharge and reinvent. Worry not, however, for pithy commentary and puckish intent returns on the Monday following Thanksgiving – the first of December.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 18, 2014 at 11:00 am

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,122 other followers

%d bloggers like this: