The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Pickman’ Category

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

acquired enough

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A short one today

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just a single shot today, depicting 31st street’s borderland between the Astoria and Dutch Kills sections of the neighborhood. That’s the N and Q tracks above, which can emit a calamitous cacophony second to none during rush hours.

Back tomorrow…

“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 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

mocking instruments

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One dares, or he dares not.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, one found himself entering the death inducing environs of Queens Plaza last week. Navigating the cryptic signage painted onto the pavement, which mixes bike lane and pedestrian lanes intermittently, at night… Well, the NYC DOT really needs to be thinking about a do-over concerning them. Path finding is not based on any sort of recognizable municipal language, and there are few if any “tells” indicating where the pedestrian pathways fall. I walk through here all the time, and it scares the patootie off a humble narrator every time.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Automotive lanes suddenly appear in front of you, ones in which cars are already moving at a pretty good clip by the time they hit a badly marked cross walk. There’s nothing to “stand behind” while waiting for the light to change, and a feeling of exposure is experienced. This can’t be right. When the Dutch Kills Green park on the northern side of Queens Plaza opened a few years back, it dramatically improved the pedestrian situation on the Dutch Kills side, but the south eastern side is dangerous as all get out and difficult to navigate.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Don’t get me wrong, the northern side ain’t perfect, but it’s vastly easier to navigate through it than its opposite. As a note, I’ve been unable to stop noticing the super tall Manhattan building “432 Park Avenue” and everywhere I go these days it’s just popping up and demanding to be acknowledged. Here it is from Queens Plaza, a monster building as seen from the central gearbox of the Great Machine. One wonders, and more than wonders, what the weather is like up there.

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abhorrent discords

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Queens Plaza is antithetical to life.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Long has one theorized that the biblical Garden of Eden was actually located in what is now known to be North America, specifically at the corner of 42nd and Broadway in Manhattan. The metaphor of mankind turning a paradise into Times Square is somewhat delicious, but one wonders if perhaps this theorized location of the former Garden of Eden is just a little too far west and that paradise lost is actually found in Queens Plaza. A vile place, fraught with multiple hazards for the itinerant pedestrian, Queens Plaza wants you dead – and it will try to kill you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

All of the human senses are under severe assault in this place. Harsh light creates glaring contrasts, and oily shadows slither twixt and fore. From above, a cacophony that drowns out all other aural information is accrued as two elevated subway lines converge. The tumult is amplified by the roadways and their torrent of automotive flow, as well as the many vertical metal surfaces which tend to amplify and reflect noise rather than abate it, while steel columns heavily shadow the pavement. Engine exhaust fills the air, and lungs, with an oily miasma. From below – the thrumming vibrations of speeding locomotives burrow deep into the intestines, shaking the bowels. Bike lanes cross and intersect with pedestrian ones, allowing spandex clad missiles purchase to surprise and surpass an ambling innocent, and a truly byzantine series of street markings conflict, confuse, and astound.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s what one experiences just as you near Queens Plaza, as vague and existential dread overtakes you. Realization of the true randomness of fate blossoms upon reaching the locus of the Great Machine, where vehicles of many types and descriptions approach mighty Queensboro. One might trip while walking cracked pavement cloaked in shadows, be pummeled by some loosened piece of the overhead tracks, or be impacted upon by 200 pounds of spandex clad primate riding his bike at 10-15 mph on the sidewalk. A car might strike, a bus would hit, a truck could squish. There’s also the other pedestrians to consider… with their blood shot eyes rapaciously darting and or noticing passerby. The world is a scary place, for one such as myself, and Queens Plaza is especially scary.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 16, 2014 at 11:00 am

rumbling, lumbering, crawling

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The horror…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One actually had to sit down and wait to get these three shots, a violation of normal shooting protocols. An interminable seven or eight minutes was spent uselessly fretting, searching for signs of an approaching chain of motorized boxes as they turned off of Queens Blvd. for Queens Plaza. Rules are rules, and if something isn’t randomly happening why I’m passing by, it might as well not have happened at all – as far as I’m concerned.

It is a delusional belief one has often enjoyed – that the rest of you simply power down, like some urbanized version of Disney’s “Pirates of the Carribbean” ride, whenever I leave the room. Right now, there’s a diner full of automata, waiting for me to trigger their pre recorded dance at dinner time. There’s also electric schoolchildren, who wait to point and laugh at the threadbare thing seen scuttling along area lanes. One pretends as if he doesn’t know, but realizes all.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The world is a stage, and we are all just players upon it… somebody said something like that, probably someone important or noteworthy… someone who was likely English and favored iambic pentameter. Confusion about whether I might be asleep in the world’s balcony cloud and perturb.

What does any of this have to do with the elevated section of the 7 line, here in Long Island City, you ask? Well, this sort of self recrimination and existential angst is how one idled away those seven to eight eternities of static position waiting for a subway to appear. I do not know how the wildlife photo people deal with the waiting.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned ad infinitum, under normal photowalk circumstance and custom, one scuttles along across the concrete devastations with no destination – allowing interest and fancy to guide me around. More often than not, when all the gears are clicking, something finds me. As I’ve grown older, I seem to avoid steep hills more and more, which means a lot of time is spent along the waterfront.

Keep moving, don’t stop, shoot on the go. That’s me. Spending seven or eight minutes waiting for a shot? Your humble narrator is getting long in the tooth, and cannot afford to waste any time at all. Seven or eight minutes might be a statistically relevant portion of my remaining time amongst the automated marionettes, here in the Newtown Pentacle.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 15, 2014 at 11:00 am

padding, clicking, walking

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Want to feel better? Take a walk in Queens.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Skillman Avenue between 39th street and 49th avenue is “big sky country” here in Western Queens, with the majesties of the Sunnyside Yard and the glorious skyline of the Shining City laid out for all observers. It has always been one of my favorite spots for a stroll, and never more so than at twilight.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a number of things I can tell you about the yards. When it opened, this was the largest coach yard on the planet, and it hosts the busiest tracks on earth to this day – specifically, the Harold Interlocking, which is shared by Amtrak and the Long Island Railroad. There’s an ocean of PCB’s and other industrial chemicals in the ground here, and its likely going to be listed for some sort of environmental cleanup or remediation before too long.

The odd and continuing appearances of cast off single shoes found along the fence line continues to intrigue and puzzle a humble narrator, but that’s another story.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It seems that the whole “deck over the yard and build a new neighborhood on top of it, with a stadium and hotel complex at the Queens Plaza side and affordable housing to the east” chestnut has surfaced again – the latest iteration of a plan espoused by Dan Doctoroff early in the first Bloomberg term. A number of people have asked me what my thoughts on the matter are.

My reply is always: How, in any way, would that be good for Queens? Does the proposal to deck the yards include hospitals and schools, an annex for the already stretched 104th and 114th precincts, additional FDNY personnel and equipment, or some mechanism to incorporate this new population into the existing wastewater system? Who will bear the costs of these municipal services? It won’t be the entity that builds a stadium or hotel complex, one guarantees you.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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