The Newtown Pentacle

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The Queens Cobbler, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

For several years one has been documenting the appearance of single shoes, divorced from their life partners, scattered about the larger Newtown Pentacle. This topic has been mentioned before, as has the supposition that this might be evidence of a secretive serial killer amongst us, one who keeps a singular shoe as a trophy of their kill while discarding the other on area streets.

For lack of a better name, I have christened this possible predator the Queens Cobbler.

from nytimes.com

Is the Single Shoe Phenomenon characteristic of a particular ethnic group? Can they be categorized according to educational level? Is this a product of social class? Do they know one another? Are they organized? Is there a club? Are hundreds – possibly thousands – of people out there hopping around on one foot?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As far back as 2011, a humble narrator has been taking note and photographing these singular garments whenever and wherever they present themselves. There seems to be a lot of activity in the Skillman Avenue corridor, alongside the Sunnyside Yards, but in any deserted industrial area adjoining the Newtown Creek – you might find evidence of the Cobbler if you observe your surroundings carefully. That’s how the actions of the so called and still at large Gilgo Beach Killer came to light.

from wikipedia

The Long Island serial killer (also referred to by media sources as the Gilgo Beach Killer or the Seashore Serial Killer) is an unidentified suspected serial killer who is believed to have murdered 10 to 15 people associated with the sex trade over a period of nearly 20 years and dumped their bodies along the Ocean Parkway, near the remote Long Island beach towns of Gilgo Beach and Oak Beach in Suffolk County and the area of Jones Beach State Park in Nassau County.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The actual location where the Queens Cobbler might do his or her nefarious work is undoubtedly the sort of thing you’d expect to see in an Eli Roth “gorno” movie, but it is unrevealed and hidden still. Personally, a bit of quasi nausea is experienced at the notion that my revelations and descriptions of the Cobbler to the electorate might draw his or her attentions on to myself. Precautions have been taken – the wearing of a chain mail shirt and the carrying about of hatchets – in the style of the legendary “Mock Duck” who was the greatest warrior of Manhattan’s early 20th century Chinatown – has been undertaken.

from wikipedia

In 1900, Mock Duck demanded half of Lee’s revenue from illegal gambling operations. When Lee refused, within 48 hours Mock Duck declared a Tong war against the On Leongs. Hip Sing men set one of Lee’s boarding houses on fire, which resulted in the deaths of two men. In another incident, an On Leong man was decapitated by two Hip Sing hatchetmen, and open warfare began in Chinatown.

One Chinatown historian describes Mock Duck in 1904 as “strutting around on Pell Street, covered in diamonds,” adding that, at that time, “Mock Duck is firmly in control of the Hip Sing, his sinister image bolstered by his long, lethal-looking fingernails, which signal he is too grand to do the dirty work he assigns to others.”

Mock Duck survived repeated attempts on his life and wore a chain mail vest. He was named by the press the “Clay Pigeon of Chinatown” and the “Mayor of Chinatown”. During several attempts on his life, Mock Duck reportedly squatted down in the street and fired at his attackers with two handguns with his eyes closed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Police officials offer a wry and patient smile when a humble narrator inquires as to their thoughts on the Queens Cobbler, and local elected officialdom refuses to even acknowledge the possibility that a killer might walk amongst us. How many people disappear in NYC annually, with the assumption made by neighbors that they’ve simply moved away?

I remember the tales of the “Brooklyn Vampire,” Albert Fish, does anyone else?

from wikipedia

Hamilton Howard “Albert” Fish[3] (May 19, 1870 – January 16, 1936) was an American serial killer. He was also known as the Gray Man, the Werewolf of Wysteria, the Brooklyn Vampire, the Moon Maniac, and The Boogey Man. A child rapist and cannibal, he boasted that he “had children in every state”, and at one time stated the number was about 100. However, it is not known whether he was talking about rapes or cannibalization, less still whether he was telling the truth. He was a suspect in at least five murders during his lifetime. Fish confessed to three murders that police were able to trace to a known homicide, and he confessed to stabbing at least two other people. He was put on trial for the kidnapping and murder of Grace Budd, and was convicted and executed by electric chair.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Profiling such a creature as the Queens Cobbler is surely an action that the FBI experts in Quantico, Virginia could undertake. I’m sure NYPD would reject their help, due to the stupid internecine battles over turf common between the two organizations. In the meantime, the Cobbler can walk freely amongst us, picking out and taking out their future victims.

Nobody believed that prostitutes from the Lower East Side were disappearing back in the 1990’s, until the cops busted Joel Rifkin.

from wikipedia

Joel David Rifkin (born January 20, 1959) is an American serial killer convicted of the murders of nine women (although it is believed he killed as many as 17, mostly drug addicted prostitutes, between 1989 and 1993 in New York City. Also, he is suspected by some to be responsible for some of the Long Island Prostitute Murders whose remains were found in March and April 2011, as four of his victims’ bodies were never found. In an April 2011 prison interview with Newsday, Rifkin denied having anything to do with recently discovered remains. Experts and victims’ rights advocates, however, believe that Rifkin’s recent statements have no value. Although Rifkin often hired prostitutes in Brooklyn and Manhattan, he lived in East Meadow, a suburban town on Long Island.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

How many singular shoe finds do will it take for officialdom to acknowledge the Queens Cobbler, and for the community to demand action? Does every shoe displayed in today’s post represent a human life cut short by the actions of a madman? Will we see news reports of some grisly trophy room found in some abandoned factory in Maspeth or East Williamsburg eventually?

Could the satanic cult that David Berkowitz was a member of in Yonkers still be active, and operating in Brooklyn and Queens?

from wikipedia

In 1979, Berkowitz mailed a book about witchcraft to police in North Dakota. He had underlined several passages and written a few marginal notes, including the phrase: “Arliss [sic] Perry, Hunted, Stalked and Slain. Followed to Calif. Stanford University.” The reference was to Arlis Perry, a 19-year-old North Dakota newlywed who had been murdered at Stanford on October 12, 1974. Her death, and the notorious abuse of her corpse in a Christian chapel on campus, was a widely reported case. Berkowitz mentioned the Perry attack in other letters, suggesting that he knew details of it from the perpetrator himself. Local police investigators interviewed him but “now [2004] believe he has nothing of value to offer” and the Perry case remains unsolved.

After his admission to Sullivan prison, Berkowitz began to claim that he had joined a Satanic cult in the spring of 1975. He had met some of its members at a party, and initially thought the group was involved only in occult activities such as séances and fortune telling; the group, however, gradually introduced him to drug use, sadism, crime and murder. Berkowitz states that he knew roughly two dozen core members in New York – the “twenty-two disciples of hell” mentioned in the Breslin letter – and that the group had ties across the U.S. in drug smuggling and other illegal activities.

In 1993, Berkowitz first made these claims known when he announced to the press that he had killed only three of the Son of Sam victims: Donna Lauria, Alexander Esau and Valentina Suriani. In this revised confession, Berkowitz says that there were other shooters involved and that he personally fired the gun only in the first attack (Lauria and Valenti) and the sixth (Esau and Suriani). He says that he and several other cult members were involved in every incident by planning the events, providing early surveillance of the victims, and acting as lookouts and drivers at the crime scenes. Berkowitz states that he cannot divulge the names of most of his accomplices without putting his family directly at risk.

Among Berkowitz’s unnamed associates was a female cult member who he claims fired the gun at Denaro and Keenan: the victims survived, he said, because she was unfamiliar with the powerful recoil of a .44 Bulldog. Berkowitz declared that “at least five” cult members were at the scene of the Freund–Diel shooting, but the actual shooter was a prominent cult associate who had been brought in from outside New York with an unspecified motive – a cult member whom he identified only by his nickname, “Manson II”. Another unnamed figure was the gunman in the Moskowitz–Violante case, a male cult member who had arrived from North Dakota for the occasion, also without explanation.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Lock your doors, lords and ladies, and especially today – for Samhain is upon us and the wheel of the year is once again turning toward the dissolution of winter. If there is someone who seems to be taking an odd interest in what your are wearing on your feet – well… if you see something, say something.

from wikipedia

Irish mythology was originally a spoken tradition, but the tales were eventually written down by Christian monks in the Middle Ages, who are thought to have Christianized many of them. According to Irish mythology, Samhain (like Beltane) was a time when the doorways to the Otherworld opened, allowing the spirits and the dead to come into our world; but while Beltane was a summer festival for the living, Samhain “was essentially a festival for the dead.”[ The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn says that the sídhe (fairy mounds or portals to the Otherworld) “were always open at Samhain.” Like Beltane, Lughnasadh and Imbolc, Samhain also involved great feasts. Mythology suggests that drinking alcohol was part of the feast, and it is noteworthy that every tale that features drunkenness is said to take place at Samhain.

Many important events in Irish mythology happen or begin on Samhain. The invasion of Ulster that makes up the main action of the Táin Bó Cúailnge (Cattle Raid of Cooley) begins on Samhain. As cattle-raiding typically was a summer activity, the invasion during this off-season surprised the Ulstermen. The Second Battle of Maighe Tuireadh also begins on Samhain. The Morrígan (Morríghan) and The Dagda (Daghdha) meet and have sex before the battle against the Fomorians; in this way the Morrígan acts as a sovereignty figure and gives the victory to the Dagda’s people, the Tuatha Dé Danann.

According to the Dindsenchas and Annals of the Four Masters, which were written by Christian monks, Samhain in ancient Ireland was associated with the god Crom Cruach. The texts claim that King Tigernmas (Tighearnmhas) made offerings to Crom Cruach each Samhain, sacrificing a first-born child by smashing their head against a stone idol of the god.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Focused on entirely modern tropes such as lone wolf jihadists, school age shooters, or the unlikely attack of a Cobra like terrorist organization armed with the sort of weapons enjoyed by only the strongest of national militaries – our municipal security apparatus might be unable to spot a possible serial killer whose only calling card is the scattering of singular shoes around the neighborhood. In their defense, however, terrorist bombings are an entirely modern phenomena, with little or no historical precedent – according to modern political narrative.

Oh, how one longs for the good old days when you could leave your door unlocked and or sleep out on the fire escape as described by New Yorkers born in the 1930’s and 40’s.

from wikipedia

George P. Metesky (November 2, 1903 – May 23, 1994), better known as the Mad Bomber, terrorized New York City for 16 years in the 1940s and 1950s with explosives that he planted in theaters, terminals, libraries, and offices. Bombs were left in phone booths, storage lockers, and restrooms in public buildings, including Grand Central Terminal, Pennsylvania Station, Radio City Music Hall, the New York Public Library, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the RCA Building, as well as in the New York City Subway. Metesky also bombed movie theaters, where he cut into seat upholstery and slipped his explosive devices inside.

Angry and resentful about events surrounding a workplace injury suffered years earlier, Metesky planted at least 33 bombs, of which 22 exploded, injuring 15 people. He was apprehended based on an early use of offender profiling and clues given in letters he wrote to a newspaper. He was found legally insane and committed to a state mental hospital.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Whence goeth the Queens Cobbler? Is it an individual, or is some group of murder happy characters and killer cultists amongst us? Nobody believed that the “Midtown Slasher” was a single individual until the Police accidentally found evidence of his crimes, after all.

Happy Halloween, y’all, and keep your eyes peeled.

from wikipedia

Joseph Christopher (1955 – 1992/1993) was an American serial killer, active from September 22, 1980 until his arrest on May 10, 1981. He was known as the “Midtown Slasher.” It is believed that he killed twelve individuals and wounded numerous others, almost all of them African American, with one Hispanic male.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, November 8th, Poison Cauldron
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Note: This is the last Newtown Creek walking tour of 2014, and probably the last time this tour will be presented in its current form due to the Kosciuszko Bridge construction project. 

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 31, 2014 at 12:49 pm

was indubitably

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Samhain has nearly arrived, are you prepared?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is prepared for a siege originating in the occult world, and has gathered bags of salt, bees wax candles, and vast amounts of blessed holy water unto himself in preparation for Samhain. One shall avoid descending into the sweating cement bunkers of the Subways after this morning, for who knows how deep some of those tunnels might go?

Perhaps - some connect to the upper reaches of Tartarus (this would explain the smell at the Queens Plaza R/E/M station, incidentally). Mephitic miasmas, carried along by the piston action of the train carriages, might mutate, metastasize, or metamorphosize men into malign or malfeasant monsters. Normally, this would be paranoid fantasy, and a mad ideation. Not so on the holy day of the Witches, when the psychospheric climate is appropriate for the fantastic and impossible to randomly occur.

The Horned God will have his annual dance.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Beginning at midnight tonight, salt will be laid across every entrance to HQ, and “Mezuzah’s” will be affixed to each door and window post. Mirrors will be affixed to the doors themselves, and garlic hung from the lintels. I have a couple of those “super soaker” water gun rifles which I’ll be filling with the holy water. Also, a local butcher has agreed to supply me with a few gallons of lamb’s blood today, with which I intend to paint the sigil of the archangel Michael upon my doors, in the style of the Jews of ancient Egypt. Just for good measure, and to hedge my bets, I’m going to render the sigil representing the archangel Lucifer in butcher’s blood as well.

Just in case.

One feels that it’s best to try not to offend anyone, after all, and keep your options open. Samhain, or Halloween, is not a time you want to take chances, or choose the wrong side.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Concerns about certain steel and concrete gateways to the underworld, found here and there in LIC, form the primary firmament of my concerns. As is the case in the shot above, some of these portals are rather large. Gigantic daemon things could easily find their way to the surface on the annual sabbat of the old gods, walk upon the surface of the earth, and unleash the chaos of the pit itself upon the concrete devastations of Queens. Titanic in scale, there would likely be very little that the average citizen could do to combat the influence of these elder things and their minions. When confronted with such entities, most will simply abandon sanity – retreating into the blanketing comfort of gibbering madness, after all.

Luckily - and not many people know this – NYPD issues silver bullets to its patrol units on Halloween and their ESU teams (Emergency Services Unit) atypically bring a third man along on its calls – a Police Exorcist.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, November 8th, Poison Cauldron
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Note: This is the last Newtown Creek walking tour of 2014, and probably the last time this tour will be presented in its current form due to the Kosciuszko Bridge construction project. 

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

wondered whether

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My Bubbe would have described the first shot as “Yoyzel on de cross.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

For those of you who didn’t grow up in a Jewish family, “Bubbe” is Grandma, and let me tell you this – Sarah would not have liked me even taking pictures of a crucifix, let alone hearing about me wandering through First Calvary cemetery on a regular basis. She was not a big fan of Halloween either, preferring to see the masks and costumes come out for Purim instead. Hailing from the Pale, and having lived through late 19th and early 20th century Pogroms (and other indignities) inflicted upon her rural community by the Cossacks, my Grandmother was particularly suspicious of the Goyem. She instructed that one should dwell with their own kind, because at least then “you’d see it coming when somebody had it in for you.” You have to cut the old lady some slack though, she saw her younger brother’s head chopped off by the Cossacks, who played a drunken match of polo with it afterwards. For Bubbe Sarah, the word “Russian” was a synonym for “rapist.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

While reminiscing about transmitted generational prejudices and familial lore, one happened to notice this odd scene at the monument to Sarah Bell and the Kelly family. A doll lay upon the loam, in a position which would be familiar to crime scene investigators. No investigation of the Bells or Kelly’s has been undertaken, but one suspects that their sentiments about the English were probably quite similar to my Bubbe’s feelings about the Russians. It amazes me to this day how much effort, finance, and political capital these two empires expended in the name of oppressing and exploiting rural peoples – the Irish and the Jews of the Pale – over the centuries. The same goes for the United States, incidentally. How much has our government spent over the centuries suppressing – not just the aspirations of negroes and native Americans – but a vast rainbow of minority opinions?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally, I’m in the “if it doesn’t affect me, why should I care what you do” camp, and that’s the end of my progressive neo prudentialist liberal politics for the day. Bubbe would have been beside herself at the idea that some child had lost her dolly, however. She would have used the astoundingly forceful personality for which she was famed, during her “shtetl” and Lower East Side garment worker days, to compel me to stand out in the middle of Greenpoint Avenue and ask every passing motorist if their child had lost their toy until it got dark. The old lady was tougher than leather, but had a big heart, which bled for everybody that told her a sad story. She also made one hell of a pot of chicken soup, which is dearly missed by one such as myself in the autumn.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, November 8th, Poison Cauldron
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Note: This is the last Newtown Creek walking tour of 2014, and probably the last time this tour will be presented in its current form due to the Kosciuszko Bridge construction project. 

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 28, 2014 at 11:20 am

unthinkable hands

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Adventure and excitement.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Working Harbor Committee’s annual Circumnavigation of Staten Island tour carried me out onto the Kill Van Kull recently, and despite it being a Sunday, the waterway was teeming with busy tugs. Moran, in particular, was quite occupied.

Pictured above is the Barney Turecamo.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The tugs were accompanying MSC Busan, a cargo ship, from Port Elizabeth Newark to the outer harbor along the narrow and busy Kill Van Kull.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Barney Turecamo was leading the way, and bringing up the rear were Miriam Moran, Gramma Lee T. Moran, and Laura K. Moran. All the Moran tugs have painted their “M” pink to raise awareness for Breast Cancer research.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

By cargo ship standards, MSC Busan isn’t that big a boat. Built in Korea in 2005, flagged in Liberia, she’s 324,80 meters long and can carry 8089 TEU worth of containers. TEU means “ton equivalent unit” and the cargo containers you see onboard are either 20 or 40 TEU boxes, which the boat can carry 6275 of.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, November 8th, Poison Cauldron
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Note: This is the last Newtown Creek walking tour of 2014, and probably the last time this tour will be presented in its current form due to the Kosciuszko Bridge construction project. 

enormous circumference

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Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, or perhaps Goldfinger’s yacht, I would presume…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Last weekend, a humble narrator was out on the water, and this luxury yacht was encountered nearby the Statue of Liberty. Painted on the hull is the legend “Altessa IV,” which a bit of googling has revealed as being the property of a fellow named Dennis Washington. A Montana businessman of some note, calling Mr. Washington’s vessel a mere yacht does the thing a disservice. This is an incredible ship (an accurate description, as Altessa lV can actually launch two smaller vessels from within her hold). Also, there’s a helicopter deck.

Apparently, Mr. Washington lent the thing to Bill Gates for a family vacation to Belize back in 2012.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

To me, it looks like this ship is ready to jump into the air and transform into some sort of giant fighting robot, but I’m an idiot.

Forbes got onboard, and there’s a great set of shots by Neil Rabinowitz that detail the interior spaces onboard here. Boatinternational.com also hosts a set of images from the same photographer, which can be viewed here.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luxury yachts are not normally something I point out, but the Altessa lV was a striking ship. As to what I was doing on the water, suffice it to say that I was circumnavigating Staten Island with the Working Harbor Committee and let’s leave it at that.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, October 25th, Glittering Realms
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 23, 2014 at 11:00 am

devil cursed

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Magickal Astoria, where “small parts and small balls” may be found.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One had no particular place to go, one recent afternoon, but the desire to stretch my roadway interfaces, get away from my desk, and exercise my aches and pains away overwhelmed. Accordingly, a short saunter from HQ down to the East River and back was enacted. Along the way, one encountered these vending machines adorning a supermarket near Crescent Street. The very idea of occult talismans being offered in such a manner tickled me, as it is so very American, and the camera was deployed to record the scene.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Upon returning to HQ, the shots were copied off of the memory card and inspection of the images revealed this lovely bit of legal ass covering incorporated into the signage adorning the trinket dispensing device. The “small parts and small balls” line mightily amused me, but I’ve never really grown up and am emotionally locked into a junior high school level psychology. I’m from Canarsie, in Brooklyn, and you cannot say “small parts and small balls” to me without causing a smirk to cross my face.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Inquiries with merchants and shop keeps about similar retail level vending machines, including the sort of “ride” pictured above, have intrigued me. Several bodega owners have told me that the ride just showed up in front of their place one day. The owners and maintainers of these devices offer a 50/50 split with the shop, I’m told. One or two friendly shop keeps have told me that these machines can earn several hundred dollars a month, money which the shops are not obliged to report to tax officials as their cut is paid in cash. My interest in them is strictly artistic, and I’ve noticed a distinctive set of “hands” at work in many of their paint jobs.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, October 25th, Glittering Realms
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 22, 2014 at 11:00 am

known terrors

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The last time I’ll buy an “organic” pumpkin, I tell you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just look at what has happened to my beautiful Jack O’ Lantern after a mere two weeks. When this pumpkin came home with me, it was robust and singularly stout. Now its a moldy pile of squishy orange rot, and having bought a so called “organic” pumpkin has bit one in the posterior as Halloween nears. If this thing was full of pesticides, a proper American pumpkin that would have been familiar to my father and or Harry Truman, this dissolution would not have occurred until at least Christmas.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

October fourth was officially the “carve date” for the family pumpkins, and the newly carven Jack o’Lanterns were displayed in this Newtown Pentacle post from October 6th. I cannot display the remains of our Lady of the Pentacle’s seasonal display as it has collapsed in a pile of fecundity, and I think there might be a family of rats living in it. The rats all wear hats and scarves, but the momma rat is clearly identifiable by her apron. Several spools of thread have gone missing around HQ, so I presume that the rats are using them as furniture. I would set out traps for them, but vibrant diversity.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is indeed the same comestible pictured in the second photo, although it is fairly unrecognizable as such. I got a good price on the produce, and Our Lady cooked up the seeds that we scooped out of them with some sort of worcestershire sauce recipe, so one does not feel entirely cheated. A suspicion that I should have sprayed some sort of lacquer within the pumpkins seems to have been confirmed, however. Problem with organic fruits and vegetables is their severe lack of chemicals, I always say.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Ultimately, this has ruined Halloween for me. Blame is assigned to the organic food craze, and I plan on contacting Monsanto to inquire whether or not they can do anything about engineering a better Jack O’Lantern. Perhaps a pumpkin that glows in the dark without the need for a candle? What about a pumpkin which is itself partially composed of paraffin? Progress, lords and ladies, progress – better living through chemistry – that’s the American way.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, October 25th, Glittering Realms
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 21, 2014 at 11:49 am

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