The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Photowalk’ Category

unseeing eyes

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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

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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

headlong down

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Nowhere to go, no one to talk to, like a falling autumn leaf – me.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One actually did have someplace to go last week - as a rare social occasion wherein a group of us who work for the Brownstoner Queens site commiserated over dinner and drinks in the Dutch Kills neighborhood last week. This drew me out just as the rain clouds were blowing out last Thursday night, and the sunset lighting one encountered was absolutely stellar.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This rainbow appeared over what is today the Center Building on Northern Blvd., but what was once a Ford Service Center and later offices for a large pharmaceutical company. The song “Somewhere over the rainbow” apparently refers to Sunnyside, it would seem.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This week I also have someplace to go to - I’ll be attending a meeting of the Newtown Creek CAG (Community Advisory Group), on October 1st. It’s going to be held over in Brooklyn, at the McCarren Play Center Community Room, 776 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn. I’m told that the EPA will be present. Come with?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

jutting promontory

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Witches, or Warlocks, are at work in Astoria.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

For several years, your humble narrator has been documenting an odd usage of St. Michael’s Cemetery here in Astoria. An adherent to a presumptively afro-cuban syncretic faith has been performing rituals in Section 10 since at least 2010. The phenomena is discussed at great length in the November 2010 post “pale garden.

By 2012, things had quieted down a bit here. Perhaps the postings alerted the cemetery management to the situation or the magick worker him or herself might have come across them and realized someone was watching.

The other day, one had an afternoon to fill, and scuttled over to St. Michael’s to see if any new developments might be observed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, upon arriving at the graveyard, one observed a crew of groundkeepers hard at work. This meant that any evidence I might find would be disturbed by the actions of lawn mowers and weed whackers, but I headed over to section 10 anyway. That’s where the main “altar’ is.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On the ground, as expected, there was naught but grass clippings and the odd piece of wind blown litter. On the ‘altar” there was a small metallic chalice.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It seemed to be made of fairly common materials, possibly a cheap alloy given the cosmetic qualities of brass.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Inside was ash. A particulate and grainy sort of ash.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

By the way, there’s two cool Working Harbor Committee events going on this weekend you might want to attend.

Saturday, the 30th is a Port Newark excursion onboard the Circle Line with Captain John Doswell, Ed Kelly of the Maritime Association of Port of NY/NJ and Maggie Flanagan – Marine Educator South Street Seaport Museum. The boat boards at 10:30, sails at 11, and returns at 1:30. Click here for more info and tix.

Sunday, the 31st is the annual Great North River Tugboat Race and Competition. 10:00 AM – Parade of tugs from Pier 84 to the start line. 10:30 AM – Race starts – From South of 79th Street Boat Basin (near Pier I) to Pier 84. 11 AM – Nose to nose pushing contests and line toss competition. Noon – Tugs tie up to Pier 84 for lunch and awards ceremony. Exhibits, amateur line toss, spinach eating contest 1 PM – Awards ceremony. Tugs depart at about 2 PM.

For tix on the spectator boat, click here.

 

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

shewing much

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A last look at Fresh Kills Park, at sunset.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is a fixed point in time and space, of course, and as Fresh Kills rotated out of its view, the lighting experienced at this bold experiment in environmental remediation and reclamation being conducted by the NYC Parks Dept. and the DSNY became dramatic and somewhat theatrical.

As described previously, Fresh Kills park is being constructed atop the 2,200 acre garbage dump and landfill which NYC operated between 1947 and 2001 on Staten Island. The Fresh Kills landfill is the largest man made object upon the earth, with hills (or mounds) that rise from 90 to 225 feet above surrounding terrain.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the interesting things which were observed here, there were many, was the way that water was beginning to chart its own course in the root beds of the chest high grasses which occluded the manufactured ground. There were several species of grasses growing here which, as I was informed, are all “volunteers” or self seeded. All this green blew in on the wind, apparently.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A stitched panorama from a high elevation, looking over the industrial landscape of New Jersey just beyond the Arthur Kill. I believe that’s Linden, just beyond the hill, and we are looking up the New Jersey Turnpike corridor towards Newark. If you click the image, it will bring you to progressively larger incarnations of it at Flickr, btw.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the Fresh Kills waterway itself, a small tidal strait which breaks off of the larger and quite industrial Arthur Kill. Notice the soft edges and natural looking mud flats along the shoreline? Many of the environmentally focused people I speak to about my beloved Newtown Creek describe the end stage of the superfund process as leaving parts of the Creek (Dutch Kills and Maspeth Creek in particular) in a similar condition.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Nearly dark, but one had a few last shots that needed capturing. The pole to the left of the shot has an Osprey nest crowning it. Seeing an Osprey in NYC is a bit like spotting a unicorn, and in this shot there are three juveniles in the nest and mama is returning from the hunt. She’s a bit blurred, but this is a handheld shot at about a thirtieth of second, so I’m just happy that I was able to get a crisp focus in what was functionally total darkness.

Tomorrow, back to Queens.

also – I’m required to state the following, regarding the access which allowed me to capture these photos – “Courtesy of the City of New York. NYC Parks and the Freshkills Park Alliance have made access available for the production of this artwork.” I’m also required to offer this link to freshkillspark.org and inform that inquiries regarding the park are best sent to freshkillspark@parks.nyc.gov

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

This weekend-

Saturday, August 16th, LIC’s Modern Corridor
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, August 17th, 13 Steps Around Dutch Kills
With Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 12, 2014 at 1:00 pm

native form

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The native art form of Queens, NY.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Illegal dumping is more than just an artform here in Astoria, Queens. It’s more of a design competition, wherein participants attempt to out do each other in composition, theme, and or sourcing of materials. To wit, this tableau discovered on a Sunday morning (which is locally described as “the aftermath of Saturday Night”) along Broadway at its intersection with 43rd street.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One is fairly sure that municipal regulation forbids the disposal of a perfectly recyclable bicycle in this manner. Are you supposed to put the bike in a blue bag or a clear one? Also, shouldn’t this sort of trash get its own lane?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Saturday, May 31st, Plank Road with Newtown Creek Alliance.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Saturday, June 7th, 13 Steps around Dutch Kills with Atlas Obscura.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

likewise thought

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From Dutch Kills, the neighborhood.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Marching home one recent afternoon, a humble narrator was confronted with a scene that beggared description. A taxi pulled over to the side of the road, 39th avenue actually, and the driver jumped out and went into a bodega. He left his car door wide open, and the engine running. “Steal me” was the first thing that came to mind, but bear in mind that I grew up in Brooklyn, so I think “Steal Me” a lot.

Please, steal me, is what this scene says.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Lucifer lays little Easter Eggs like this in front of me all the time. Temptation, temptation. I’m certain that I would be sitting in the back seat of an NYPD crusader shortly after jumping in the front seat of this cab, but… man alive… this is two blocks from Queens Plaza, and you leave your door not only open… but the engine running as well? The taxi should have been stolen just to teach the guy a lesson.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The driver eventually sauntered out of the bodega – emerging with a cup of coffee. The fellow resumed his station behind the wheel, and turned back into traffic. A humble narrator blurted out, using my best Brookleiner accent, “Hey, dis is New York City, Yo. Da fuck were’s you tinking?”.

He replied that since nothing happened, I was crazy, and inquired whether or not I needed a ride somewhere.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Saturday, May 31st, Plank Road with Newtown Creek Alliance.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Saturday, June 7th, 13 Steps around Dutch Kills with Atlas Obscura.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

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