The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Subway’ Category

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Renewing my call for commercial freight service on the NYC Subway.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One has mentioned this before: why does the NYC Subway system not offer commercial freight service during the overnight hours? How many trucks could be circumvented from ever entering Manhattan if a cargo train on the E tracks were to carry just Federal Express shipments from Kennedy airport to one of the hubs in Queens or Manhattan?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Rush hour is obviously not the time period which I’m proposing this, in fact, if the sun is up – it’s probably a bad thing to cause any interruption or delay in passenger service. I’m talking about the late nights, when most of the trains are running less than 10% full.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The MTA does it now, for themselves. Moving garbage and construction supplies around on modified rolling stock, as you see in the shots displayed above and below. They used to move cash around in similar manner, onboard the fabled “Money Train.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Load the cargo on at the Corona yard, or at the 36th street one in Brooklyn, or at Hunts Point in the Bronx – any of the final destination stops, really – and bring commercial shipments into the City’s heart via the Subways. Why not? It would reduce the number of trucks on the streets, and help eliminate some of the congestion entering and leaving in Manhattan below 96th street. It would also create a brand new revenue stream for the MTA.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The fly in the ointment would be getting the bulk cargo up out of the station, but that’s something that would be easy to engineer around and one thing NYC is not lacking in are legions of stout young citizens with strong backs and a work ethic. See, it would create jobs too.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

This weekend-

Sunday, August 3rd, Kill Van Kull Walking Tour
With Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 30, 2014 at 11:31 am

bottomless pit

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NYC is full of bowels, my friends, full of them.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Various travels and tribulations cause one such as myself to appear in different sections of the Megalopolis continually, and sometimes the distance is too great to walk in my allotted time. Luckily, most of my travels involve short hops on the Subway, but occasionally the end of the line is where I’m headed. Never a fan of being confined in a dripping wet concrete bunker full of rats and insectivorous life forms, the same discipline used while sitting in a Dentist’s chair is invoked, and I’m able to endure the experience. I’m sure that you, Lords and Ladies, do the same.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It is impossible, however, for my mind not to wander. Great effort is made not to make eye contact with the humans who infest this Megalopolis – they are changeable and can often be dangerous – when intervals of travel in these subterranean aluminum and glass boxes are thrust upon me. Often, my thoughts turn to how easy it would be to conceal unpleasantries down here – in some side tunnel or hidden chamber down here in NYC’s guts.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Morlocks, dough colored hairless lemurs, or other extant iterations of the monkey tribe could easily exist down here. The possibility of Rat Kings, basilisks, or even goblins existing in great numbers crosses my mind when on a long subway trip. Those hidden galleries, abandoned platforms, and the blue lit emergency exit points which flash by as the train moves along populate my mind with outlandish possibility.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s at the “end of the line” stations where my apprehension grows to unbearable proportion. Recently, on the 5 train as it neared its final destination deep in Brooklyn, the entire car emptied out. For more than three stops, a humble narrator rode alone, expecting some nightmare entity to board the train who would proceed to masticate and ingest me. Another lost soul, who disappeared after entering the system…

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, July 26th, The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek
With Atlas Obscura, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, July 27th, Glittering Realms
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 16, 2014 at 11:35 am

valley and grove

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Why do they only turn the air conditioners on when the trains reach Manhattan?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

If you live in the 80% of New York City that is not Manhattan, there is little doubt about the inequality exhibited by those who rule over the shining city when it comes to cutting up the municipal pie. The rest of us get to deal with Manhattan’s garbage, traffic, sewage, and everything else that they want to pretend isn’t a problem. Unfortunately, we need to go to work, and the vast majority of jobs are “over there.” What I can’t understand is why the air conditioning on the trains only seems to get switched on when the subways hit the East River Tunnels.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The ridiculous life I live routinely carries me all around the City, just last week I was in every borough but the Bronx, and found myself on something like 8 different train lines. Without exception, the AC was cut off when leaving Manhattan or turned on when entering it. I could accept this practice if it was close to the end of the line, like the Astoria elevated station pictured above, but an E train entering Queens Plaza has already travelled a considerable distance when it arrives at the station.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s likely a technical reason, or some union exemption, which necessitates that passengers sweat it out on the way to work. Perhaps it’s Sandy, or concerns about terrorism, which demand that the climate controls on the Subway remain off when the train is outside Manhattan. Either way, always remember that the Borough motto of Queens is “Welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself.”

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, June 28th, The Poison Cauldron
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 29th, The Insalubrious Valley
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 24, 2014 at 11:00 am

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.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 5, 2014 at 9:30 am

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