The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Remember, Remember- the 21st of December

leave a comment »

Pour me a drink and I’ll tell you some lies – photo by Mitch Waxman

An axial tilt of loathsome memories, shifting identities, and unrealized vengeance torments your humble narrator and makes him thankful that December 21st is, indeed, the shortest day of the year. The long nocturne of the Solstice, however, is no cause for celebration here in the Newtown Pentacle.

Solstice indicates that the Famine Months of January and February are upon us. The ancient Hellenes would enact the barbarous Lenaia bacchanal on solstice, and the Maenads would feast upon human flesh. It was also the central night of a week long Babylonian festival called Zagmuk, a celebration of divine Marduk’s victory over the darkness called the Anunnaki and their champion- the chaos dragon Tiamat. In modernity, in the nation of Mali, the Amma Cult of the atavist Dogon will sing and offer boiled millet at the conical altar of their high god.

from dailyworldbuzz.com

Today is the Celebration of Winter Solstice Traditions – Monday, December 21, 2009 marks the Winter Solstice traditions, and this is the announcement of the official start of the winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter Solstice is also known as Yule.

More precisely, winter solstice will take place at 12:47 pm EST (1747 GMT) on Dec. 21. It is a date that will also mark the shortest day and longest night.

Winter solstice falls every year around Dec. 21. It is because of the earth’s axial tilt, which is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. At this time of the year, the sun is closer to the horizon, thus giving out least amount of daylight therefore shortening the day and lengthening the night.

But there is a bright side to it. Starting Tuesday, the days will start getting longer, leading to summer solstice, which in 2010 will fall on June 21. At that time, the day will be the longest with the daytime lasting for about 15 hours compared to 9 hours on Monday.

Long Island City is ready for an undead invasion, so are parts of Greenpoint – photo by Mitch Waxman

Tonight- Cernunnos- the Horned God of the Wiccans, who the Arabs call Dhu’l Qarnayn, will be reborn after being ritually slain on October 31st.

December 21st is a special day in history, signs and portents abound.

Disraeli and Stalin were born in 1879 and 1804 respectively, Pierre and Marie Curie identified radium in 1898, Elvis had his famous meeting with Nixon in 1970, Ireland finally won its independence from a large and aggressive neighbor in 1948 and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves premiered in 1937. Oh… and then there was Apollo 8.

from wikipedia

Apollo 8 was the first human spaceflight mission to achieve a velocity sufficient to allow escape from the gravitational field of planet Earth; the first to be captured by and escape from the gravitational field of another celestial body; and the first crewed voyage to return to planet Earth from another celestial body – Earth’s Moon.

shot on June 21st 2009 – Summer Solstice – photo by Mitch Waxman

Do not be surprised if you see oddly costumed people beating out unfamiliar melodies on drums today as you make your way around the great metropolitan city. Gatherings of initiates are sure to form, and wild orgiastic dancing will ensue.

Can you be sure, were you to find yourself caught up in some modern celebration in Long Island City or Greenpoint, that you weren’t in the company of flesh eating Maenads? Or that you hadn’t become one yourself? Your humble narrator, lords and ladies of Newtown, will be casting one eager eye at that rivulet of arrested misery called the Newtown Creek- in particular.

from souledout.org

At certain ancient cairns in Ireland the sun only reaches deep inside on the winter solstice, only on that one day is the inner chamber lit … like the celestial body of male Sun impregnating the Mother Earth with rays of light.

At the winter solstice the sun reaches its southernmost position in the northern hemisphere perspective (**), and begins to move northward as it enters into the cardinal, earth sign Capricorn. Through the ages, the period when the sun moves northward again ~ from the winter solstice to the summer solstice ~ has been regarded as a festival season. In many lands and civilizations the winter solstice season has been associated with the coming of a Sun-God to save the world ~ bringing light and fruitfulness to the earth, and bringing hope to humanity.

Gabled roof of netherlandish design, windows glowing with a strange colour, Astoria Church – photo by Mitch Waxman

Of course, this whole rumination on the Solstice takes place against the dominant culture’s winter holiday season. For the better part of a month, ritual feasting and familial gift giving consumes the modern mind. This period of the year, beginning with “Thanksgiving”, culminates in Advent/Yule/Christmas and ends with celebration of a calendar cycling.

1,096 days ago, I was in a hospital bed, and hadn’t yet experienced the pale ecstasies found in the glass strewn alleys and loamy graveyards of the Newtown Pentacle. 26,309 hours ago

The darkest day, the longest night- my hour of the wolf is an interval of brutal introspections- here at Pentacle HQ in the ice choked heart of Astoria.

Note: Please say a quiet devotion for the ever patient and long suffering “Our lady of the Pentacle” today… she’s going to have to put up with and listen to this kind of maudlin revisionist crap all day…

from wikipedia

In many countries Advent was long marked by diverse popular observances, some of which still survive. In England, especially in the northern counties, there was a custom (now extinct) for poor women to carry around the “Advent images”, two dolls dressed to represent Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. A halfpenny coin was expected from every one to whom these were exhibited and bad luck was thought to menace the household not visited by the doll-bearers before Christmas Eve at the latest.

In Normandy, farmers employed children under twelve to run through the fields and orchards armed with torches, setting fire to bundles of straw, and thus it is believed driving out such vermin as are likely to damage the crops. In Italy, among other Advent celebrations, is the entry into Rome in the last days of Advent of the Calabrian pifferari, or bagpipe players, who play before the shrines of Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Italian tradition being that the shepherds played these pipes when they came to the manger at Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Jesus. It is the second most important tradition behind Easter for Roman Catholics.

In recent times the commonest observance of Advent outside church circles has been the keeping of an advent calendar or advent candle, with one door being opened in the calendar, or one section of the candle being burned, on each day in December leading up to Christmas Eve.

and just as a note: December 21 is also the anniversary of the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock and getting the whole “America thing” started.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 21, 2009 at 6:28 am

Calvary Cemetery Section

leave a comment »

I’ve done so many posts on the place that I thought a catch-all page was in order- This will live in the menus to the right of the screen, and will be added to as more posts on the place are added.

Walking Widdershins to Calvary

g10_img_6737_phwlk.jpg by you.

-photo by Mitch Waxman

Click here to preview this photowalk in a google map

Hunters Point avenue intersects with the ancient course of Greenpoint Avenue at the degenerate extant of Long Island City. The Queens Midtown Expressway also comes back down to earth here, feeding Manhattan vehicular traffic to all points east. This is a very busy intersection, so be mindful of traffic, as fellow pedestrians are rare.

As with anyplace else in Queens you’d want to see, Forgotten-NY has been through here before. Click here for their page on Blissville and Laurel Hill.

Up and Through Calvary

Cavalry Cemetery by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Addled as we are by the manipulations of the political class during the 20th century, with its “ism’s” and “movements“, Newtownicans have lost sight of the fact that the Newtown Creek was the center of the world for those who dwelt here in the 19th century. Before the American Civil War, the banks of the Newtown Creek were lined with homes built to the highest aesthetic standard, and peppered with grand hotels which catered to the sportsman and recreational fisherman. It was into this pastoral wildrness that the Calvary Cemetery was embedded in 1848, and which it sought to blend into with its fine arboreal stock and tasteful mastery of the art of landscaping.

It seems odd to us- sitting in our comfortable climate controlled and fully electrified homes and offices, to put a cemetery like this- with its ornate stonework and elaborate masonry, so close to the polluted industrial zones of the nearby Newtown Creek. Calvary spreads atavistically across a deserted and blasted landscape in our 21st century, surrounded by the trampled nest and discarded remnants of the industrial revolution.

Calvary Mystery Box

g10_img_6870_phwlk.jpg by you.

Calvary Cemetery at 48th street – photo by Mitch Waxman

As one proceeds up the glacier carved hillocks that define northwestern Queens- climbing away from the terrors of Laurel Hill and leaving the malefic secrets of Maspeth and the Newtown Creek behind, the intrepid pedestrian will pass under and above an arcade of highways and find second Calvary.

Old Calvary is the original cemetery- second, third, and fourth Calvary are the metastasized and sprawling additions to the venerable original- and a significant portion of the Cemetery Belt.

Calvary Cemetery Walk

Old Calvary looking toward Newtown Creek by you.

-photo by Mitch Waxman

Just across the street from the site of the former LIRR Penny Bridge station. Easily accessed via the street, upon crossing the gates of Calvary, one will find a staircase carven into the hill by whose ascent the Newtown acropolis may be obtained. Cresting over the surrounding neighborhoods, and soaring over the Newtown Creek’s former wetlandsCalvary Cemetery keeps its secrets buried in centuried silence. Looking south toward Brooklyn, the Kosciuszko bridge approach of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway looms over its passage, carrying millions of vehicles over and across the necropolis of New York City.

Tales of Calvary 1 - The O’Briens

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Hallowmas, or All Saints Day, is coincident with the running of the NYC Marathon’s tumult laden course. The secular spectacular merely whets the appetite of your humble narrator for the open skies and sacred vantages found along those unhallowed backwaters of an urban catastrophe called the Newtown Creek.Calvary Cemetery- dripping in centuried glory- sits incongruously in an industrial moonscape stained with aqueer and iridescent colour. It’s marble obelisks and acid rain etched markers landmark it as a necropolis of some forgotten civilization.

Today, I determined to ignore the psychic effects of the graveyard, which are both palpable and remarkable. Resolving to climb to the highest point on this Hill of Laurels, my aim was to discover whose grave would occupy such a socially prominent spot. Secretly, I hoped to discover some celebrity or famous mobster’s resting place. Instead I found the O’Brien’s.

Tales of Calvary 2 - Veterans Day

-photo by Mitch Waxman

21 Roman Catholic Union soldiers are interred amongst the 365 acres of first Calvary Cemetery in Queens, nearby the cuprous waters of the much maligned Newtown Creek.

The wars of the 20th century, terrible in scope and vulgar in effect, cause us to overlook these men whovouchsafed the American Republic in the 19th century as we focus in on the veterans of the second thirty years war which modernity myopically calls World Wars One and Two. Woodrow Wilson proclaimed a federal holiday called Armistice Day in 1919, celebrating the anniversary of the legal end of the first World War in 1918. Congress agreed, seven years later, and then took six years to pass an act which made Armistice day an official United States federal holiday celebrated on November 11 annually.

Ed Rees, a populist Representative from the state of Kansas during the post World War 2 era, spearheaded a successful campaign in 1953 to have “Armistice Day” reclassified as “All Veterans Day” so as to include the veterans of WW2, and the ongoing conflicts fought by our “permanent government” on the world stage.

Tales of Calvary 3 - Rumors and stories

-photo by Mitch Waxman

Swirling, my thoughts.

A vast and byzantine pattern which extends beyond even the coming of the Europeans into the mist of olden days, traced by rail and road, reveals itself step by step as the burning eye of god itself leads me to and fro across the glass strewn Newtown Pentacle.

Bits of information, nuggets of pregnant fact, theosophical themes and mystic iconography obfuscating itstruths and meaning, a maelstrom of barking black dogs crowds my mind. Cowardly and infirm, I run to the grave.

Solace is found amongst the tomb legions, and the nepenthe of their silence.

Tales of Calvary 4 - Triskadekaphobic Paranoia

Cavalry Cemetery, a morbid nutrition 04 by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Near the crest of one of Calvary Cemetery’s hills, can be found what I’ve described in previous posts as “a tree that is fed by some morbid nutrition”.

A convenient afternoon vantage point for photographing the Johnston mausoleum and a frequent destination, a Hallowmas (nov. 1) stroll through Calvary revealed some interesting goings on beneath the swollen boughs of this loathsome landmark.

Tales of Calvary 5 - Shade and Stillness

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In the past, the desolating loneliness and isolation which define my internal dialogue have been described to you simply – I’m all ‘effed up.

Shunned by those considered normal, my human- all too human- nature forces visceral desires for companionship. Lacking fellowship amongst the the living, one instinctively reaches out for those things which are no longer- or have never been- alive. That odd man in the filthy black raincoat that you might glimpse as you drive past the graveyard, scuttling along taking pictures of sewers and odd boxes in the Cemetery Belt- might very well be your humble narrator.

I was at Calvary Cemetery, intent on investigating the puzzling knots I had observed, beneath a hilltop tree- fed by some morbid nutrition, when I came across the Sweeney monument.

Tales of Calvary 6 - The Empire State Building and the Newsboy Governor.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Looming, in this place, is the megapolis. Here lies Tammany, gazing eternally upon their work. The city. The great city.

The greatest and last of their projects is promontory above the shield wall of Manhattan, a familiar vista of Calvary Cemetery offered as an iconic representation by most.

The tower called the Empire State building was built, almost as an act of pure will, by a former newsboy from South Street.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 19, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Manhattan Bridge Centennial Parade 3

with one comment

Manhattan Bridge Tracks – photo by Mitch Waxman

Under normal conditions, the time it would take to even steady and focus my trusty Canon G10 would have seen your humble narrator reduced to juices by Brooklyn bound traffic.

Directly after the Manhattan Bridge Centennial Parade, I had a good half hour or so to just wander around the roadway (in the company of city officials and with NYPD everywhere) and just take pictures, which was kind of surreal. In the age of the Terror Wars, whose only victor will be the side that scares the other more, such access is rare.

A similar experience was had at Queensboro Bridge, several months ago, and upon the many Working Harbor Committee voyages I attended over the summer and fall.

Brooklyn Bound Manhattan Bridge- photo by Mitch Waxman

A curious defect has emerged after a year of carrying my trusty Canon G10. The lens shutters seem to be less than a tenth of a millimeter too close to the lens, and over time, symmetrical scratches have scribed into the glass. You can see one of them catching the sun in the top of the shot above. These scratches are at the wide angle, and a tiny zoom-in eliminates their effect, but regardless- the thing goes back to Canon this week for repairs- hopefully on warranty. Despite this defect, this is one great camera, whose only real weakness is in low light. Recommended.

Empire State from Manhattan Bridge – photo by Mitch Waxman

Empty Manhattan Bridge roadway perspective, facing infinite Brooklyn – photo by Mitch Waxman

Manhattan Bridge cable perspective, facing infinite Brooklyn – photo by Mitch Waxman

Manhattan Bridge disturbing rust – photo by Mitch Waxman

Manhattan Bridge Centennial Parade Fireworks Show – photo by Mitch Waxman

Later that night, incontrovertibly next to the Williamsburg Bridge in a Lower East Side Manhattan Park, a scheduled fireworks show was performed to celebrate the Bridge Centennial. Additionally, musicians plied their arts as did political speakers.

Manhattan Bridge Centennial Parade Fireworks Show – photo by Mitch Waxman

I won’t bore you with a lot of fireworks, if you could use some shells bursting on high, click over to our flickr page and check them out.

and just as a note: this is Wright Brothers Day is the USA.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 17, 2009 at 5:41 am

At the Cunard Pier, Red Hook

leave a comment »

- photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the K-Sea Taurus and its barge, fueling up the Queen Mary 2 in Red Hook at Pier 17 (the Cunard Pier) at the Brooklyn Passenger Ship terminal. Taurus is a familiar sight in NY waters.

from wikipedia

Queen Mary 2 is the current flagship of the Cunard Line. The ship was constructed to complement RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, the Cunard flagship from 1969 to 2004 and the last major ocean liner built before the construction of Queen Mary 2. Queen Mary 2 had the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) title conferred on her, as a gesture to Cunard’s history, by Royal Mail when she entered service in 2004 on the Southampton to New York route.

Queen Mary 2 is not a steamship like many of her predecessors, but is powered primarily by four diesel engines with two additional gas turbines which are used when extra power is required; this CODAG configuration is used to produce the power to drive her four electric propulsion pods as well as powering the ship’s hotel services. Like her predecessor Queen Elizabeth 2 she is built for crossing the Atlantic Ocean, though she is regularly used for cruising purposes; in the winter season she cruises from New York to the Caribbean on 10 or 13 day tours. Queen Mary 2’s 30-knot (56 km/h; 35 mph) open ocean speed sets the ship apart from cruise ships, such as Oasis of the Seas, which has an average speed of 22.6 knots (41.9 km/h; 26.0 mph); QM2’s normal service speed is 26-knot (48 km/h; 30 mph).

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Slightly less familiar, but a regular visitor, is the gargantuan Queen Mary 2, which docks in Red Hook when visiting Metropolis… uhhh… sorry- New York. The engineering of something which is essentially a floating Empire State building always astonishes me. There’s a great documentary out there, on one of the discovery channels or history channels (on one of the mil-industrial complex’s media arms, at least), which details the building of this ship.

Fascinating, as Spock would say.

from cunard.com

Majesty, redefined.

Queen Mary 2 is the most magnificent ocean liner ever built. Her every detail harkens to the Golden Age of Ocean Travel, while providing one of the most modern travel experiences on earth. From bow to stern, discover 13 spacious decks on which to relax and unwind; to indulge in pleasures and pursuits you never normally have time for. Opulent public areas, extravagant dining rooms, ballrooms, theatres, lounges…even the only Planetarium at sea.

It is only in a world like this that modern fairy tales at sea are possible – where ordinary travellers can feel like royalty for a week or two. But words can only do such a lady so much justice, for to truly revel in the grandeur that is Queen Mary 2, you must sail with her.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Surely, the sort of thinking which is applied to the production of such floating resorts with their independent desalination plants and climate controlled environments are the precursors of some future endeavor in space. Perhaps lessons for the future of lunar living or the century distant reality of martian colonization are being fleshed out in vessels like these.

Mankind has won some mastery over the alien environment of the seas only in the last 50 years, after all. The whole notion of predictable oceanic crossings, on a precisely defined and clockwork schedule, is one of the modern world’s great and historical achievements. Don’t get me started on containerization, which is the best thing that’s happened to civilization since the Arabs invented numbers and the Turks popularized coffee drinking.

The 350 sections of the Statue of Liberty in their 241 crates, after all, were almost lost to a storm at sea when it was being transported from France onboard the French Frigate Isere in 1885.

from nytimes.com

At slack tide off Red Hook, Brooklyn, there are usually lots of things floating in the water, most of which you would not want to touch without the help of a good hazmat suit. But just after sunrise yesterday, something truly strange was bobbing there in the shallows near Pier 41: a submarine fashioned almost completely from wood, and inside it a man with an obsession…


Written by Mitch Waxman

December 13, 2009 at 2:09 am

Mt Zion 5- Sunken Houses of Sleep

with 2 comments

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Steeling myself for the inevitable humiliating encounter with those oddly menacing children who seemed to be waiting for my reemergence on Maurice Avenue, I moved down the hill from the 58th street side of the burial grounds.

Older than my years, vast psychological inadequacies and shameful physical “episodes” render your humble narrator a helpless emotional cripple. Even the thought of direct confrontation with that which may exist around the Newtown Creek- or because of it- is enough to make me lightheaded and coat my skin in cold sweat. Staying out of sight, I broke into a dogtrot instead of my usual scuttle, and continued along the central artery of Mount Zion Cemetery. On the hill is the DSNY’s gargantuan Queens West Garage complex and an accompanying garbage incinerator.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The counterpoint of a Jewish Cemetery next door to an industrial incinerator is obvious and exhibits poor municipal siting, conversely this is probably an ideal location for such industry. Western Queens is the backbone of New York City, from a metropolitan industrial complex’s point of view.

Airports, railroad yards, maritime facilities, petrochemical storage and processing, illegal and legal dumping, sewer plants, waste and recycling facilities, cemeteries. The borders of the Newtown Pentacle’s left ventricle are festooned with heavy industry and the toll taken on the health of both land and population is manifest. A vast national agglutination of technologies and a sprawl of transportation arteries stretching across the continent are all centered on Manhattan- which is powered, fed, and flushed by that which may be found around a shimmering ribbon of abnormality called the Newtown Creek.

from jhom.com

The lion motif was common in the ancient Middle Eastern civilizations as a battling, fighting and attacking force. In the Bible, the lion is portrayed as both capable of destroying and punishing, and of saving and protecting. In ancient Jewish art we find the lions in this protective role, guarding the Holy Ark or at the entrances to the chapel, as in the sculpture of the ancient synagogues at Sardis (in Asia Minor), Horazin and Bar’am (in Palestine), and in many mosaics dating from the early Byzantine period.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

But that’s the “why” of how these people came to be buried in America, of all places.

They weren’t coming to be free (that’s Roosevelt talking), most of them, except to be free of poverty and warfare.

In 1894, when Mrs. Chasnov, (pictured below) was born, the last Tsar of Russia took his throne succeeding his father Tsar Alexander 3. Anarchists were tossing bombs in European capitals, and in New York City- the “Robert Moses” of the 19th century, Andrew Haswell Green, formed the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society.

In 1894, the last known antichrist was only 5 years old, and lived near Linz.

from wikipedia

The stele, as they are called in an archaeological context, is one of the oldest forms of funerary art. Originally, a tombstone was the stone lid of a stone coffin, or the coffin itself, and a gravestone was the stone slab that was laid over a grave. Now all three terms are also used for markers placed at the head of the grave. Originally graves in the 1700s also contained footstones to demarcate the foot end of the grave. Footstones were rarely carved with more than the deceased’s initials and year of death, and many cemeteries and churchyards have removed them to make cutting the grass easier. Note however that in many UK cemeteries the principal, and indeed only, marker is placed at the foot of the grave.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the generation that it” happened to.

Not these people, of course, who were safe in America- but their cousins and parents and friends who had stayed back in ancient Europe. They saw the Great War play out, displacing millions, and thought that at last the eternal struggles between Hapsburgh and Austrian and Turk and Frenchman and Russian had sorted themselves out.

It wasn’t just Jews, or Irish, or Italians- even the Roma came to America to find work. And the skills possessed by the Cunning Folk were older than the narrow streets of Rome, or the impenetrable complexity of the New York of its time- London, or even the lost city of pillared Irem in the pathless deserts of Arabia.

from nytimes.com

Maspeth is named for the Mespat Indians, who originally settled near what is now Mount Zion Cemetery, on the neighborhood’s edge. In 1642, the first formal colony was established in the area, though conflicts with Indians caused settlers to flee east into what is now Elmhurst.

Mount Olivet Cemetery boasts a much-cherished Manhattan view, and Nathanael West, who wrote “Miss Lonelyhearts” and “The Day of the Locust,” is buried at Mount Zion.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In Europe, hatred of the Hebrew race has some understandable historical underpinnings. The Moorish and Turk governments employed Jews as officials and clerks, often assigning them as tax collectors to the serf and freeman villages of their conquests. After a period of time, when the islamic tide had been pushed back by Russian, German, Pole, and especially the Wallachian and Hungarian states, the Jews were left behind.

When Peter the Great settled Jews in the so-called “Pale”, it was meant to be a punishment for the Szhlactas and Boyars (Barons and Dukes) who had opposed him. Ultimately, anti-semitism is a political thema which took root and transformed into something cultural.

Hatred of the Roma, though, is something else entirely.

from junipercivic.com

In the vicinity of Mount Zion and lower Calvary cemeteries were swamps. Frogs, polywogs, goldfish were plentiful among the tall cattails and were sport for young boys. Punks were plentiful among the cattails, the plump brown ones were cut down, dried in the sun and when lit gave off an aromatic scent that was not only pleasing to the smell, but was said to keep away mosquitoes which were a nuisance.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Lingering at the suggestively open door of a tomb, trying to ignore the singsong chant of those menacing children, your humble narrator began to once again feel light headed.

also from junipercivic.com

A short distance away along Maurice Avenue, was a Gypsy Camp. A core group of gypsies lived there permanently and others came from far and wide to visit. Colorfully dressed in gypsy regalia, they danced, sang, and partied, cooking suckling pigs on spits over roaring fires and living in ramshackle huts and tents. For them a carefree existence, but I must admit, for the local lads and lassies a somewhat frightening scene and we watched from afar. When a member of the tribe died, the wake was most often held in Vogel’s Funeral Parlor which was located on Grand Avenue opposite the main entrance to Mount Olivet Cemetery. Gypsies from all around the country would come to pay their respects, especially if the deceased was a member of the Royal family.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Metal working, particularly copper smithing, that’s what the Ludar- or as the modern Croats and Bosnians call them- the Rudari- were famed for and that’s most likely how they ended up in Maspeth. That and their skill in training animals.

Ever wonder why the annual tradition of the Circus trains coming to LIC and Maspeth, with its spectacle of Elephants marching through the Midtown Tunnel, started? The Rudari were animal trainers, as well as being copper workers. The metal shaping work was an inheritance- Rudar means miner- which is what this tribe of Roma was forced to do during their enslavement to the princes of Europe. After their suffrage, they became trainers of bears, monkeys, and horses for circuses.

All this continued in America.

Incidentally, in Romania, the Rudari were known as the Ursari. The royal potentate that ruled over them was the Voivode of the Wallachian Throne, seated high in the Carpathian Mountains, and in the 15th century- that throne was occupied by Vlad Tepes.

Dracula, as known in the west, and the gypsies mentioned in Stoker’s book were the Ursari, or Rudari.

from wikipedia

Following the immigration waves of the 19th century, Maspeth was home to a shanty town of Boyash (Ludar) Gypsies between 1925 and 1939, though this was eventually bulldozed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just what kind of place is this Newtown Pentacle, anyway?

That’s the last thing I thought, another “very bad idea”, before I passed out again in another dead faint.

from smithsonianeducation.org

The Ludar, or “Romanian Gypsies,” also immigrated to the United States during the great immigration from southern and eastern Europe between 1880 and 1914. Most of the Ludar came from northwestern Bosnia. Upon their arrival in the United States they specialized as animal trainers and showpeople, and indeed passenger manifests show bears and monkeys as a major part of their baggage. Most of de Wendler-Funaro’s photographs of this group were taken in Maspeth, a section of the borough of Queens in New York City, where the Ludar created a “village” of homemade shacks that existed from about 1925 to 1939, when it was razed. A similar settlement stood in the Chicago suburbs during the same period.


Written by Mitch Waxman

December 7, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Working Harbor September Sunset tour 4

leave a comment »

Today’s fun is a chunk of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Out of Time, with photos I shot at the Working Harbor Committee September 15th Sunset tour. For the whole story, at wikisource.orgclick here. (We’ll be returning to Mount Zion Cemetery and its revelations tomorrow)

Working Harbor Sunset by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There was a mind from the planet we know as Venus, which would live incalculable epochs to come, and one from an outer moon of Jupiter six million years in the past. Of earthly minds there were some from the winged, starheaded, half-vegetable race of palaeogean Antarctica; one from the reptile people of fabled Valusia; three from the furry pre-human Hyperborean worshippers of Tsathoggua; one from the wholly abominable Tcho-Tchos; two from the arachnid denizens of earth’s last age; five from the hardy coleopterous species immediately following mankind, to which the Great Race was some day to transfer its keenest minds en masse in the face of horrible peril; and several from different branches of humanity.

Working Harbor Sunset by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I talked with the mind of Yiang-Li, a philosopher from the cruel empire of Tsan-Chan, which is to come in 5,000 A.D.; with that of a general of the greatheaded brown people who held South Africa in 50,000 B.C.; with that of a twelfth-century Florentine monk named Bartolomeo Corsi; with that of a king of Lomar who had ruled that terrible polar land one hundred thousand years before the squat, yellow Inutos came from the west to engulf it.

Working Harbor Sunset by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I talked with the mind of Nug-Soth, a magician of the dark conquerors of 16,000 A.D.; with that of a Roman named Titus Sempronius Blaesus, who had been a quaestor in Sulla’s time; with that of Khephnes, an Egyptian of the 14th Dynasty, who told me the hideous secret of Nyarlathotep, with that of a priest of Atlantis’ middle kingdom; with that of a Suffolk gentleman of Cromwell’s day, James Woodville; with that of a court astronomer of pre-Inca Peru; with that of the Australian physicist Nevil Kingston-Brown, who will die in 2,518 A.D.; with that of an archimage of vanished Yhe in the Pacific; with that of Theodotides, a Greco-Bactrian official Of 200 B.C.; with that of an aged Frenchman of Louis XIII’s time named Pierre-Louis Montagny; with that of Crom-Ya, a Cimmerian chieftain of 15,000 B.C.; and with so many others that my brain cannot hold the shocking secrets and dizzying marvels I learned from them.

Working Harbor Sunset by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I awaked each morning in a fever, sometimes frantically trying to verify or discredit such information as fell within the range of modern human knowledge. Traditional facts took on new and doubtful aspects, and I marvelled at the dream-fancy which could invent such surprising addenda to history and science.

Working Harbor Sunset by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I shivered at the mysteries the past may conceal, and trembled at the menaces the future may bring forth. What was hinted in the speech of post-human entities of the fate of mankind produced such an effect on me that I will not set it down here.

Working Harbor Sunset by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

After man there would be the mighty beetle civilisation, the bodies of whose members the cream of the Great Race would seize when the monstrous doom overtook the elder world. Later, as the earth’s span closed, the transferred minds would again migrate through time and space – to another stopping-place in the bodies of the bulbous vegetable entities of Mercury. But there would be races after them, clinging pathetically to the cold planet and burrowing to its horror-filled core, before the utter end.

Working Harbor Sunset by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Meanwhile, in my dreams, I wrote endlessly in that history of my own age which I was preparing – half voluntarily and half through promises of increased library and travel opportunities – for the Great Race’s central archives. The archives were in a colossal subterranean structure near the city’s center, which I came to know well through frequent labors and consultations. Meant to last as long as the race, and to withstand the fiercest of earth’s convulsions, this titan repository surpassed all other buildings in the massive, mountain-like firmness of its construction.

Working Harbor Sunset by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The records, written or printed on great sheets of a curiously tenacious cellulose fabric were bound into books that opened from the top, and were kept in individual cases of a strange, extremely light, rustless metal of greyish hue, decorated with mathematical designs and bearing the title in the Great Race’s curvilinear hieroglyphs.

These cases were stored in tiers of rectangular vaults-like closed, locked shelves – wrought of the same rustless metal and fastened by knobs with intricate turnings. My own history was assigned a specific place in the vaults of the lowest or vertebrate level – the section devoted to the culture of mankind and of the furry and reptilian races immediately preceding it in terrestrial dominance.

Working Harbor Sunset by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

But none of the dreams ever gave me a full picture of daily life. All were the merest misty, disconnected fragments, and it is certain that these fragments were not unfolded in their rightful sequence. I have, for example, a very imperfect idea of my own living arrangements in the dream-world; though I seem to have possessed a great stone room of my own. My restrictions as a prisoner gradually disappeared, so that some of the visions included vivid travels over the mighty jungle roads, sojourns in strange cities, and explorations of some of the vast, dark, windowless ruins from which the Great Race shrank in curious fear. There were also long sea voyages in enormous, many-decked boats of incredible swiftness, and trips over wild regions in closed projectile-like airships lifted and moved by electrical repulsion.

Working Harbor Sunset by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Beyond the wide, warm ocean were other cities of the Great Race, and on one far continent I saw the crude villages of the black-snouted, winged creatures who would evolve as a dominant stock after the Great Race had sent its foremost minds into the future to escape the creeping horror. Flatness and exuberant green life were always the keynote of the scene. Hills were low and sparse, and usually displayed signs of volcanic forces.

Working Harbor Sunset by you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Of the animals I saw, I could write volumes. All were wild; for the Great Race’s mechanised culture had long since done away with domestic beasts, while food was wholly vegetable or synthetic. Clumsy reptiles of great bulk floundered in steaming morasses, fluttered in the heavy air, or spouted in the seas and lakes; and among these I fancied I could vaguely recognise lesser, archaic prototypes of many forms – dinosaurs, pterodactyls, ichthyosaurs, labyrinthodonts, plesiosaurs, and the like-made familiar through palaeontology. Of birds or mammals there were none that I could discover.



Written by Mitch Waxman

December 6, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Mt Zion 4- A Lurid Shimmering of Pale Light

with one comment

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Befuddled by the sing song chantie evinced by those horrible children, in whose frog like faces your humble narrator found some nameless dread and whose terrible attention initiated his flight into sylvan Mount Zion, I wandered in a haze of unknowable panic through the 72 acre graveyard. Notions of familiar aspect- the smiling face of “our Lady of the Pentacle”, the friendly greeting of my little dog- Zuzu- kept me grounded and allowed me to ignore some of the macabre details of the landscape. Crazed, however, my racing thoughts began to tangentially ruminate…

from wikipedia

Kevura, or burial, should take place as soon as possible after death. The Torah requires burial as soon as possible, even for executed criminals. This means that burial will usually take place on the same day as death, or, if not possible, the next day. Some Reform and other congregations delay burial to allow more time for far-flung family to come to the funeral and participate in the other post-burial rituals.

The traditional practice may have originated from the fact that Israel was, and is, a country with a hot climate. In Biblical times, there were few ways of keeping the dead body from decomposing. Not only would this be generally undesirable, but allowing the dead body of any person to decompose would be showing that person great disrespect. Decomposition would have occurred especially quickly in Israel due to the constant heat. Thus, the custom of burying the body as soon as possible. (Although the practice of embalming and mummification had advanced to a high level in Egypt, this, too, is considered disrespectful, since it involves a great deal of manipulation and the removal of bodily organs.) In addition, respect for the dead can be seen from many examples in the Torah and Tanakh. For example, one of the last events in the Torah is the death of Moses when God himself buries him: “[God] buried him in the depression in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor. No man knows the place that he was buried, even to this day.” (Deuteronomy 34:6)

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My eyes shot from side to side, the tombstones led me to a fortified enclosure, and half remembered minutiae nervously filled my mind…

The tiny stones, often adorned with a lamb, are the graves of children.

Vulnerable to a host of infections which have been conquered by modern science (at least in the west), the large families characteristic of the pre World War 2 era were an insurance policy for a bloodline’s future in a world without antibiotics. Don’t forget, even the son of an American President died in 1862, most likely from Typhoid fever after drinking tainted water. As late as 1963, the son of John Kennedy died from a disease whose mortality is reduced to 15% in modernity. In my own family- Great Grandmother had 13 children, of which only 7 survived to adulthood. Of the 7 survivors- all of whom emigrated to the United States prior to 1920, all of their children (with the exception of one gruesome early death due to a malfunctioning boat propellor) lived into -at least- their late 60’s, and almost all of their grand kids are still around. In the developing world, infant mortality figures are consistent, however, with the larger experience of historical record as represented at Mount Zion.

from wikipedia

Some have a custom to visit the cemetery on fast days (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 559:10) and before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (581:4, 605), when possible, and for a Yahrzeit. During the first year the grave may be visited on the shloshim, and the yartzeit.

Even when visiting Jewish graves of someone that the visitor never knew, he or she may place a small stone at the graveside. This shows that someone visited the graveside, and represents permanence. Leaving flowers is not a traditional Jewish practice. Another reason for leaving stones is tending the grave. In Biblical times, gravestones were not used; graves were marked with mounds of stones, so by placing (or replacing) them, one perpetuated the existence of the site. This was also helpful for Cohanim, who needed to avoid spiritual impurity that could be passed on by corpses/graves.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Trapped in a thanatic trance… eternally staring ceramic eyes accusing me… if only those nightmare children would stop their singing…

Many of the older headstones at Mount Zion, whose creeds list the age of the deceased, indicate a world where life was short. Men dropped off in their middle 40’s and 50’s with a few remarkable individuals who survived into their 60’s. Women were either longer lived- no doubt due to the domestic captivity they suffered which insulated them from the dangerous industrial milieu that typified the manufacturing and agricultural occupations of the males- or died in childbirth (leading cause of female mortality throughout recorded history) due to septic conditions or uncontrollable bleeding.

It cannot be stressed enough, how different the lives of these generations were from our own- and whatever its flaws are- that our age represents something wonderful, unique, and unheralded in the rich pageant of human history.

from wikipedia

Odor, color changes, and bloating of the body during decomposition are the results of putrefaction. The lower part of the abdomen turns green due to bacteria activity in the cecum. Bacteria break down hemoglobin into sulfhemoglobin which causes the green color change. A formation of gases enters the abdomen which forces liquids and feces out of the body. The gases also enter the neck and face, causing swelling of the mouth, lips, and tongue. Due to this swelling and misconfiguration of the face, identification of the body can be difficult. Bacteria also enter the venous system causing blood to hemolyze. This leads to the formation of red streaks along the veins. This color soon changes to green, through a process known as marbelization. It can be seen on the shoulders, chest and shoulder area, and thighs. The skin can develop blisters containing serous fluid. The skin also becomes fragile, leading to skin slippage, making it difficult to move a body. Body hair comes off easily. The color change of the discoloration from green to brown marks the transition of the early stage of putrefaction to the advanced decompositional stages.

During the putrefaction stage of decomposition the majority of insect activity again comes from members of the Calliphoridae family, and includes Formicidae, Muscidae, Sphaeroceridae, Silphidae, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Sarcophagidae, Histeridae, Staphylinidae, Phalangida, Piophilidae, Araneae, Sepsidae, and Phoridae. As with the fresh stage of decomposition if the body is on the ground or buried in soil there is also considerable insect activity by the soil-inhabiting arthropods.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The generations born after Napoleon and after the American Civil War- with their legendary corruption, abhorrent wars of genocide, and brutal subjugation of the ancient East- conversely built the edifice of Modernity. The “system”- university education, compulsory literacy, sewer systems, municipal projects of great scope, the elevation of law and finance over heredity and martial prowess, universal suffrage, the corporations. They are the ones who built it, their kids and grandchildren proved it’s efficacy in the second thirty years war (ww1 and ww2), their great grandkids rebelled against it. We are the ones who live in what’s left of it.

from wikipedia

After the body goes through the bloating stage it begins the black putrefaction stage. At this point the body cavity ruptures, the abdominal gases escape and the body darkens from its greenish color. These activities allow for a greater invasion of scavengers, and insect activity increases greatly. This stage ends as the bones become apparent, which can take anywhere from 10 to 20 days after death depending on region and temperature. This period is also dependent on the degree to which the body is exposed.

During the black putrefaction stage of decomposition, insects that can be found living in the body are Calliphoridae larvae, Staphylinidae, Histeridae, Gamasid mites, Ptomaphila, Trichopterygidae, Piophilid larvae, Parasitic wasps, Staphylinid larvae, Trichopterygid larvae, Histerid larvae, Ptomaphila larvae, Dermestes, Tyroglyphid mites, Tineid larvae, and the Dermestes larvae. Some insects can also be found living in the soil around the body such as Isopoda, Collembola, Dermaptera, Formicidae, Pseudoscorpiones, Araneae, Plectochetos, Acari, Pauropoda, Symphyla, Geophilidae, and Protura. The types of insects will differ based on where the body is, although Diptera larvae can be found feeding on the body in almost all cases.

After the body goes through the bloating stage it begins the black putrefaction stage. At this point the body cavity ruptures, the abdominal gases escape and the body darkens from its greenish color. These activities allow for a greater invasion of scavengers, and insect activity increases greatly. This stage ends as the bones become apparent, which can take anywhere from 10 to 20 days after death depending on region and temperature. This period is also dependent on the degree to which the body is exposed.During the black putrefaction stage of decomposition, insects that can be found living in the body are Calliphoridae larvae, Staphylinidae, Histeridae, Gamasid mites, Ptomaphila, Trichopterygidae, Piophilid larvae, Parasitic wasps, Staphylinid larvae, Trichopterygid larvae, Histerid larvae, Ptomaphila larvae, Dermestes, Tyroglyphid mites, Tineid larvae, and the Dermestes larvae. Some insects can also be found living in the soil around the body such as Isopoda, Collembola, Dermaptera, Formicidae, Pseudoscorpiones, Araneae, Plectochetos, Acari, Pauropoda, Symphyla, Geophilidae, and Protura. The types of insects will differ based on where the body is, although Diptera larvae can be found feeding on the body in almost all cases.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An industrial complex, the purveyors of doomsday tell us that the world is ending, and we greedily consume the news. Our society is failing, and will collapse soon.

A mythology of the “good old days” pervades and poisons, dividing populations over semantic points. A foreign enemy, barbarian savages devoid of mercy, threaten us. Our children are running wild, dispossessed of religious scruple or moral code. All that stands on the line between chaos and order are a self appointed few, lettered oligarchs whose accumen and opinion is never questioned. This environment of fear, a pervasive political meme, is false. It is also quite ancient, as the text above describes Constantinople.

Tonight, both a functional and statistical number of human beings will have food in their bellies when they go to sleep, as opposed to yesterday. More women will survive childbirth today than yesterday. Even the operatic tragedy of modern times, which is the AIDS epidemic in Sub Saharan Africa, is a disease- ultimately- of relative affluence and OVERpopulation. Corpus Mundi, things are not as bad as they seem to be, gentle readers. There’s a lot of bad, but as compared to even a mere 80 years ago, there’s also good.

from wikipedia

After the early putrefaction and black putrefaction phases have taken place, the body begins mummification, in which the body begins to dry out. The human carcass is first mummified, and then goes through adipocere formation. Adipocere (grave wax) formation refers to the loss of body odor and the formation of a cheesy appearance on the cadaver. Mummification is considered a post-active stage because there is less definite distinction between changes and they are indicated by reduced skin, cartilage, and bone. Mummification is also indicated when all of the internal organs are lost due to insect activity.

Insects that can be found on the body during mummification include most of the same insects as in putrefaction stage, but also include Acarina, Nitidulidae, Cleridae, Dermestes caninus, and Trogidae. The main soil-inhabiting arthropods include Dermaptera and Formicidae.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The leading cause of death in the United States in the first decade of this 21st century is Heart Disease, followed by various forms of Cancer. Your humble narrator has some small experience with the first and has resigned himself to the inevitability of the second, as he lives on a continent where Nuclear Testing was conducted.

note:

If all the Atomic tests are considered together when calculating radiation exposure to the civilian population of North America, a full scale nuclear war might as well have been fought here, and the bell curve of nuclear testing lays neatly into the rates of cancer experienced 25-30 years later. Tourist groups may visit the Frenchman Flats testing site- a “national sacrifice zone” for excursions amongst the cratered sites of Atomic detonations, I’d rather drink a glass of that queerly coloured effluviam which flows lugubriously through a crucible of dictatorial capitalism called the Newtown Creek.

Congenital illness, which medicine hasn’t figured out how to deal with -yet- notwithstanding, that which kills you these days is not an infected mosquito bite- or any of the leading causes of death in the 19th century- Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, and Diarrhea – instead its eating too much of the wrong food… which is plentiful.

Back in 1900, life expectancy was 49. Heart Disease was almost the number 4 killer, and strokes were number 5.

Number 5 is “accidents”, today. Life expectancy is almost 80.

from wikipedia

When the last of the soft-tissue has been removed from the body, the final stage of decomposition, skeletonization, occurs. This stage encompasses the deterioration of skeletal remains, and is the longest of the decomposition processes. Skeletonization differs markedly from the previous stages, not only in length, but in the deterioration process itself.

The strength and durability of bone stems from the unique protein-mineral bond present in skeletal formation. Consequently, changes to skeletal remains, known as bone diagenesis, occur at a substantially slower rate than stages of soft-tissue breakdown. As the protein-mineral bond weakens after death, however, the organic protein begins to leach away, leaving behind only the mineral composition. Unlike soft-tissue decomposition, which is influenced mainly by temperature and oxygen levels, the process of bone breakdown is more highly dependent on soil type and pH, along with presence of groundwater. However, temperature can be a contributing factor, as higher temperature leads the protein in bones to break down more rapidly. If buried, remains decay faster in acidic-based soils rather than alkaline. Bones left in areas of high moisture content also decay at a faster rate. The water leaches out skeletal minerals, which corrodes the bone, and leads to bone disintegration.

At the dry decay stage commonly found insects include Sphaeroceridae, Acarina, Nitidulidae, Cleridae, Dermestes caninus, Trogidae, Tyroglyphid mites, and the Tineid larvae. The soil-inhabiting arthropods are Collembola, Dermaptera, Heteroptera, Coleoptera and their larvae, parasitic Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Diptera larvae, Pseudoscorpiones, Aranae, Plectochetos, Acari, Pauropoda, Symphyla, Geophilidae, Protura, and Aphididae.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Still lost in those wild reveries as described above, I found myself moving ever higher in elevation. A significant and curious declination is found in Mount Zion, and as one nears the western edge of the cemetery- near the 58th street side- it becomes obvious. This was an excellent instinct which I followed, as the distance from both Maurice and 54th avenues eliminated the malefic influence of the bizarre children’s song.

Another group of children, wholesome looking urchins whose appearance was a marked contrast to that malign gathering on Maurice Avenue, appeared along the fences. They were dark and wholesome in aspect, with masses of wild black curls. Colorfully dressed, they were laughing cheerfully as they ran back and away from the vast iron gates along 53rd avenue. An odd chemical scent hung in the air and seeking a fresh breeze, I penetrated further westward.

from wikipedia

As practiced in the funeral homes of the Western World (notably North America), embalming uses several steps. Modern embalming techniques are not the result of a single practitioner, but rather the accumulation of many decades, even centuries, of research, trial and error, and invention. A standardized version follows below, but variation on techniques is very common.

The deceased is placed on the mortuary table in the supine anatomical position with the head elevated by a head block. The first step in embalming is to check that the individual is in fact deceased, and then verify the identity of the body (normally via wrist or leg tags). At this point embalmers commonly perform basic tests for signs of death, noting things such as clouded-over corneas, lividity, and rigor mortis or by simply attempting to palpate a pulse in the carotid or radial artery. In modern times people awakening on the preparation table is largely the province of horror fiction and urban myth. Any clothing on the corpse is removed and set aside and any personal effect such as jewelry is inventoried. A modesty cloth is sometimes placed over the genitalia. The corpse is washed in disinfectant and germicidal solutions. During this process the embalmer bends, flexes and massages the arms and legs to relieve rigor mortis. The eyes are posed using an eye cap that keeps them shut and in the proper expression. The mouth may be closed via suturing with a needle and ligature, using an adhesive, or by setting a wire into the maxilla and mandible with a needle injector, a specialized device most commonly utilized in North America and unique to mortuary practice. Care is taken to make the expression look as relaxed and natural as possible and ideally a recent photograph of the deceased while still living is used as a template. The process of closing the mouth, eyes, shaving, etc is collectively known as setting the features.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The aforementioned change in elevation is a morrain feature, whose glaciated sculpting endowed this corner of the Newtown Pentacle with a marshy and swamped character, in its aboriginal form. These were once -what modernity would define as- wetlands, or as the 19th century would define it- waste lands. A muddy filtration system for the Newtown Creek and part of its aquifier, these were once prime hunting grounds for Indian and Dutchman alike.

from wikipedia

Embalming chemicals are a variety of preservatives, sanitising and disinfectant agents and additives used in modern embalming to temporarily prevent decomposition and restore a natural appearance for viewing a body after death. A mixture of these chemicals is known as embalming fluid and is used to preserve deceased (dead) individuals, sometimes only until the funeral, other times indefinitely.

Typically embalming fluid contains a mixture of formaldehyde, methanol, ethanol and other solvents. The formaldehyde content generally ranges from 5 to 29 percent and the ethanol content may range from 9 to 56 percent.

In the United States alone, enough embalming fluid is buried every year to fill eight Olympic-size pools or about 20 million liters.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s when another of my “very bad ideas” came to the fore, when I wondered what it is that might be lurking down there, in the wormy mud of the Newtown Pentacle.

all but one of these links lead to wikipedia, and express just a little bit of the chemical recipe that produces an anaerobic broth like that found in the Newtown Creek

Putrescine (sometimes spelled putrescin) is an organic chemical compound NH2(CH2)4NH2 (1,4-diaminobutane or butanediamine). It is related to cadaverine; both are produced by the breakdown of amino acids in living and dead organisms and both are toxic in large doses.

Cadaverine is a foul-smelling molecule produced by protein hydrolysis during putrefaction of animal tissue. Cadaverine is a toxic diamine with the formula NH2(CH2)5NH2, which is similar to putrescine. Cadaverine is also known by the names 1,5-pentanediamine and pentamethylenediamine.

The industrial form of Putrescine is produced using hydrogen cyanide and a compund called Acrylonitrile, which is on the EPA’s list of Volatile Organic Compounds- or VOC’s. As long time readers will recall, VOC’s are amongst the primary pollutants fouling the waters of a nearby cautionary tale called the Newtown Creek.


Written by Mitch Waxman

December 5, 2009 at 3:12 am

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 879 other followers

%d bloggers like this: