The Newtown Pentacle

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damp rock

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I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

For the last couple of weeks, an abundance of “business” has occupied my days and nights. Nothing I’ve had to do has been too extreme, but a surfeit of multiple hour long tasks has plagued me. Today, one needs to prepare to see the accountant later in the week and tie off last years tax obligations, but a point will be made to experience some “r&r” in the afternoon.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The good news is that after all these tasks are accomplished, I can get back to doing actual work. You know, the whole “walk around Queens and explore its amazing and oft occluded past” thing. The even better new is that a whole series of excursions which will allow me to share this wonderful place with others are coming as well, and some of them will even be free events.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As is my habit when so overwhelmed, Newtown Pentacle will be going into single image mode for the next few days. Keeping up with content discovery and capture is a bear sometimes, especially when constricted by the never ending series of storms and lousy weather which has so far made 2014 remarkable.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm

recognizable passages

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One of those days, it’s one of those days.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Today’s the day that Copernicus’s “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium” was “withdrawn from circulation” in 1616 over religious exceptions to its blasphemy, which is not exactly a high point in history for the Roman Catholic Church. In 1770, the Boston Massacre (aka the Incident on King Street) set the stage for an American Revolution amongst the North American holdings of the British Crown to occur. In 1933, the Nazi party and its leader Adolph Hitler received enough of a majority in nationwide elections to dissolve the German government and establish a dictatorship. In 1946, Winston Churchill introduced the public to the term “Iron Curtain” for the first time – in Missouri, of all places.

March 5 is just “one of those days,” I guess.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In 1963, singer Patsy Cline died in a plane crash. She beat Joseph Stalin, who died a decade earlier from complications brought on by a stroke on March 5, 1953. More recently, in 2013 as a matter of fact, it was Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that suffered a cessation of his cardiac rhythms on March 5. Patsy Cline is the one to be missed out of this trio, as the two fellows were of the troublesome sort, and it would be crazy to want to see them again.

Today is also the 15th day of a month called Esfand, and it’s “National Tree Planting (or Arbor) Day” over in the Islamic Republic of Iran (additionally, it’s the year 1393 there, according to their Solar Hijri calendar).

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over in the middle kingdom of the People’s Republic of China, or “中国 or Zhōngguó” as they might call it, March 5 is “Learn from Lei Feng” day. Let your inner revolutionary flower, work for the proletarian masses today instead of selfishly poisoning minds, with your counterrevolutionary disestablishmentarianism and oppressively selfish bourgeois revisionism. Be like Lei Feng.

The Irish Saint Ciarán of Saigir enjoys a feast day on March 5th, which this year falls on Ash Wednesday, and he is one of the few Saints venerated for, or credited with, causing a castle roof to collapse on a company of rebel soldiers. Ciarán was only 29 when he went, and was way too young, if he ever existed at all. Lei Feng was only 21, and was likely fictional.

March 5th, 1982 is the day that John Belushi died. Belushi was real, but no saint.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 5, 2014 at 9:30 am

rusty impediments

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Your motive is loco, man.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

So few places to go, no one to see. The gray frigidity has me down, lords and ladies, and it is not impossible that over the last few weeks, I’ve watched everything on Netflix- including a couple of episodes of “Power Rangers Jungle Fury.” Playing with the cords on my hoodie, counting the floor tiles, bored. That’s me. Cabin Fever, I think they call it.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Been reading lots of good stuff, including a marathon exploration of the dissimilar topics of leprosy and the genetic consequences of multi generational incest- both of which led to the Hapsburgs. None of this relates one little bit to the history of Newtown Creek nor Queens, which actually has been my intention. Little projects like mine tend to drag you down a long drill hole, and you become so focused that you lose sight of the bigger picture… which somehow includes leprosy and incest.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Its cheerier reading than I normally do during this time of year, when my google searches have historically included “stages of putrefaction of cadaver” and “common practices of yeast distillation in 19th century america.” Hey, a guy gets curious about things. Its better to know something, well… some things… than to remain willfully ignorant about unpleasantries.

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crystal dais

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Everybody has someplace to go.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

New York City marathon day offers one the opportunity to wander around a largely traffic free Queens Plaza. An event I used to photograph regularly, I avoided it this year in the wake of the Boston bombings. Didn’t want to get all tangled up in the security web of the terror warriors.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 29, 2013 at 7:30 am

moist verdure

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A life well lived is a series of dull events.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My annual pilgrimage to the MTA Holiday Nostalgia “Shoppers Special” Subway event carried me to Queens Plaza one recent Sunday. It’s a fun and wholesome thing to do.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, I have more than just a few acquaintances and friends who also enact this yearly journey, wherein legacy subway cars are run on the M line in a circuit between Queens Plaza and 2nd avenue in Manhattan.

It’s always nice to see someone you know.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The weird thing, for me, is that it involves willingly heading down into the rat infested tunnels- an activity which normally fills me with a malign dread.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

These are all retired subway cars, once typical, that represent various eras of design. At the time of their original deployment, each of these legacy units were state of the art.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The legacy cars performed well, although they are quite rickety in comparison to modern subways units. There was a brief interval wherein a door got stuck in the open position, but the MTA guys sorted that out in no time.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An odd mix of folks were observed onboard. Some were ordinary commuters and customers of the M line, while many were hardcore rail fans. More than one photographer was spotted shooting models in period dress.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The rail guys, they’re mostly guys, are the quiet ones on the train who watch every little detail and are listening to the machine. These cats can tell you the part number for individual screws on these trains, and you ignore their knowledge at your own peril. Foamers indeed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This show will be running every Sunday on the M line in December, operating between Manhattan’s 2nd Avenue and Queens Plaza. Check out the MTA Holiday Train page for schedule info.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 13, 2013 at 7:30 am

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