The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Photowalk’ Category

by surprise

with one comment

Cool atmospherics in Sunnyside.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One of those periodic blasts of duty has been upon me for the last week or so, a lot to do with little time to do it, and the rain last week didn’t help. Got in the way of one project, delayed two others, and obliterated any semblance of free time when precipitants fell not. Accordingly, rather than walking everywhere, as I just did not have the time, mass transit was utilized.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Unlike several of my friends, especially that walking encyclopedia of regional transport options – Kevin Walsh of Forgotten-NY, I generally don’t familiarize myself with transit lines that I don’t frequent. Limited space available on my internal hard drives, and the needs of the now often crowd out things I don’t need to use often. However, I was quite proud of myself while improvising a bus and train path on the fly, just the other day, which is how I ended up on the 7 train.

Normally, I’d just walk from Greenpoint to Flushing, as it’s only a few miles and carries one across a staggeringly interesting cross section of Brooklyn and Queens.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The good news is that the first walking tour of 2014 is now accomplished, on Saturday I did the “13 Steps around Dutch Kills” tour with Atlas Obscura, which was one of the many things I had to do last week. Next tour with the Obscura Society will be “The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek” on April 26, tickets are available here.

The reason I was heading to Flushing, and lucky enough to catch these cool atmospherics and lighting in Sunnyside, was to get some shots of the Unisphere for my Brownstoner column – check them out here.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

arisen another

with 7 comments

Tug Dory at Newtown Creek in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Heading over to Greenpoint, which seems to be my occupation sometimes, your humble narrator was utilizing the Pulaski Bridge to cross the malign Newtown Creek. Suddenly, from below, waves began crashing and a vast oblong shape appeared from the void formed by the span.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This barge likely came from Allocco, an aggregates company based on Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint. Allocco, by the way, isn’t some fey corporate composite name, rather its a family name. I’ve met members of the eponymous clan, and they’re nice guys. They sort debris into graded materials – sand, gravel etc. for resale. Allocco is one of the few corporations along Newtown Creek who fully utilize their maritime bulkheads, so I’m a fan. What’s being moved around in that barge would require the services of around 30 trucks otherwise.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Never have I seen the Tug Dory on the Creek before. This boat is a bit of a mystery to me, and not much is available on it. Unfortunately, they weren’t displaying their IMO number in a place visible from my vantage, so I’m afraid that all I can tell you is that it’s painted white.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

She may be somewhat anonymous, a pale enigma posed alongside an oblong shape if you will, but Tug Dory still looks pretty good heading out of the Newtown Creek on her way to the East River.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 4, 2014 at 11:00 am

flushed and excited

leave a comment »

Come on now, this is just someone messing with my head.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The other day, Friday to be exact, a buddy of mine who is new to the neighborhood was subjected to a short examination of the tripartite borders of Sunnyside, Woodside, and Astoria. We found ourselves on Skillman Avenue headed for Roosevelt Avenue when this scene presented itself. Like some sort of monstrous hybridization of “Project Firebox” and the “Mystery of the Single Shoes,” this mysterious tableau shed its birth caul and revealed itself to us.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in the past, a pet theory that there’s a serial killer stalking the concrete devastations of Western Queens and North Brooklyn who leaves single shoes in deserted places has taken root in my mind. Having published several posts about the phenomena at this – your Newtown Pentacle – the sociopath has likely found out that I’ve noticed him and has begun leaving trophies for me to find. The firebox thing makes it obvious. Who else notices fireboxes?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m going to refer to the hidden menace, who must be an ever watchful and lurking fear, as “The Queens Cobbler” from now one, and and I’m going to double knot the laces of my shoes whenever I leave the house. I will never wear loafers again, and have long avoided the perils of sandal or flip flops. The Queens Cobbler will not drag me partially bare footed into that good night.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 10, 2014 at 9:30 am

The Newtown Creek “Magic Lantern” Show

with 2 comments

The Newtown Creek Magic lantern show returns, tomorrow night at Brooklyn Brainery.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On February 27th, your humble narrator will be narrating humbly at the Brooklyn Brainery - here’s the details. This is the 2014 version of the thing, btw, updated with newly learned information and recently captured images. In the past, this photo presentation and info dump has been offered to political clubs, historical societies, and to the general public at a variety of venues.

Come with?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Brooklyn Brainery is a swell operation, located in the nice part of Brooklyn nearby Grand Army Plaza and several Subway lines. I’ve worked with them a few times in the last year, doing walking tours, and they’re very cool folks. Also, the space they’re located in is very nice – physical comfort wise and such.

From their website -

We host classes about all sorts of things: from physics to Australian desserts, from HTML to shorthand and just about every nook and cranny in between.

All of our course topics are dreamed up and suggested by you, and our teachers are a group of awesome people from around Brooklyn and the whole city. Anyone can teach–you just need a passion for the topic and a desire to share it with others. We do all the planning, taking care of sign ups, marketing, and materials, so you can focus on the important stuff (teaching, duh).”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The presentation will be about 2 hours long, with the actual slideshow and talk occupying roughly one and a half hours. What follows will be a Q&A session, wherein questions will be offered that a humble narrator will endeavor to intelligently answer. Brooklyn Brainery is asking $12 for the class.

There are still a few tickets left, so click on through and join the conversation about Newtown Creek on February 27th at 8 p.m.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 26, 2014 at 11:37 am

frigid and impersonal

leave a comment »

Gotham City, or Metropolis?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

First, Happy Regifugium.

NYC – barely recognize the place these days, although I’ve watched it all happening, the Shining City has started looking like Metropolis of late – but we ain’t got no Superman. Accordingly, one would presume to be the first person, perhaps in decades, to offer and advance a suggestion that we just get it over with and build a dome over the city. We all know that this will happen eventually. We’ve always known, deep inside.

Imagine, that we are destined to gambol and labor within a vast and transparent geodesic dome spanning all five boroughs (and the Hudson riverfront of New Jersey). We could build very tall around the center, and project ads on it at night. It would pretty much let us laugh at floods from within the fishbowl, and everybody’s friends at the NYC DEP could be responsible for air freshness and circulation (and billing). That would be swell.

Also, if we used to be Gotham, then where’s the other guy?

from wikipedia

In ancient Roman religion, Regifugium or Fugalia (“King’s Flight”) was an annual observance that took place every February 24. The Romans themselves offer varying views on the meaning of the day. According to Varro and Ovid, the festival commemorated the flight of the last king of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus, in 510 BC. Plutarch, however, explains it as the symbolic departure of the priest with the title rex sacrorum.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Secondly, Happy Dragobete.

Of course, rain and weather issues would be a thing of the past under the dome, but sky graffiti would likely become a huge issue. The sunset would likely illuminate a “REVS” tag before long. One surmises that poorer sections of the City would receive fair shares of air circulation and as clean a patch of dome as Manhattan’s Financial District or Central Park would get but we all know how things really work in this town, with or without a theoretical yet definitively hemispherical enclosure. If there’s a dome over new York City, Far Rockaway’s section of the Euclidean shield will have a crack in it.

The scorched reality found, as the path of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself tracks across the sky in seasonally appropriate positions and passes over the curved reflective surface of the dome – any damage which might be visited upon neighboring counties by the intense heat and radiance could be considered an unfortunate consequence suffered by an outside few for for the greater good of the many inside. Just like the way that the water system was built.

Also, terrorism.

from wikipedia

Dragobete is a traditional Romanian holiday originating from Dacian times and celebrated on February, the 24th. Specifically, Dragobete was the son of Baba Dochia, which stands for the main character in the pagan myth related to spring arrival and the end of the harsh winter.

The day is particularly known as “the day when the birds are betrothed”. It is around this time that the birds begin to build their nests and mate. On this day, considered locally the first day of spring, boys and girls gather vernal flowers and sing together. Maidens used to collect the snow that still lies on the ground in many villages and then melt it, using the water in magic potions throughout the rest of the year. Those who take part in Dragobete customs are supposed to be protected from illness, especially fevers, for the rest of the year. If the weather allows, girls and boys pick snowdrops or other early spring plants for the person they are courting. In Romania, Dragobete is known as a day for lovers, rather like Valentine’s Day.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Political or business insiders would achieve a new cache from the descriptor in this dream of a humble narrator. As a child, comic books coupled with speculative fiction stories filled his mind with images of domed cities and other marvels of the world that was to come. These domed cities were populated by a group of athletic people who wore stretchy superhero style clothes and used handheld computers. They ate artificial food, had remote control robot armies fight for them, and they lived in cities which had both movable sidewalks AND jet packs for longer distance travel. We’ve got all of that already except for the Dome and the Jet packs… I think Metropolis has Jet Packs, in Gotham you swing from a rope.

Also, it’s August Derleth’s birthday.

from wikipedia

August William Derleth (February 24, 1909 – July 4, 1971) was an American writer and anthologist. Though best remembered as the first publisher of the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, and for his own contributions to the Cthulhu Mythos genre of horror, as well as his founding of the publisher Arkham House (which did much to bring supernatural fiction into print in hardcover in the US that had only been readily available in the UK), Derleth was a leading American regional writer of his day, as well as prolific in several other genres, including historical fiction, poetry, detective fiction, science fiction, and biography.

A 1938 Guggenheim Fellow, Derleth considered his most serious work to be the ambitious Sac Prairie Saga, a series of fiction, historical fiction, poetry, and non-fiction naturalist works designed to memorialize life in the Wisconsin he knew. Derleth can also be considered a pioneering naturalist and conservationist in his writing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 24, 2014 at 9:30 am

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 772 other followers

%d bloggers like this: