The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Astoria

delicate adjustments

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The night time is the right time…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering about Astoria with a little dog called Zuzu, one observes a series of interesting tableaus. Zuzu requires a certain daily amount of marching about, so as to check her “pee mail” at every tree pit – and given her legendarily thick double coat of fur, this is best accomplished long after the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself has exited the scene and the pavement has cooled. Luckily, this puts me out on the street just as the party seems to be getting started for everyone else.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The human hive is surprisingly active well into the wee hours around these parts. Parental admonishment rings forth from open windows, queer foreign voices drunkenly slur and babble in unknown tongues, automobiles operated by adolescents screech along the streets. The smell of curry and burning olive oil are everywhere, along with the occasional wisps of cannabis. Eventually, things will quiet down, usually when the saloon keepers have served their “last call.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Lately, one finds himself yearning for elevation over the dross theater of Astoria. Vantage over the scene calls to me, although what one might encounter up here is no different than the sidewalks, except for its lower population numbers. You’ll find drunks and inebriates up here if you look, or forget to lock the door. Once or twice a week, when the LaGuardia flight path carries aeronauts over the neighborhood on the way to their landing strip, an NYPD helicopter will appear and play a light over these tar beaches – likely searching for foreign sappers seeking to cause chaos. Not up to anything more sinister than photographing one thing or another, your humble narrator usually just waves at the aerial gendarme. Zuzu could care less, as she cannot climb ladders.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, September 27th, 13 Steps Around Dutch Kills
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, September 28th, The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek
Walking Tour with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 18, 2014 at 12:44 pm

plutonic gulf

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Supermoon, September version.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Monday last was when one might expect to witness the so called Harvest Moon, which was coincidentally a “Supermoon” as well. As one who seldom needs a reason to stare at the moon shaking his fist, with camera gear in hand I surmounted the roof of HQ and set up shop to do some night time photographic stuff. Nothing too esoteric was found in my camera bag, other than a 2x tele extender for my long lens, just for those who might be curious. The main bit of required kit was ultimately a tripod. The shot above is looking east along Astoria’s Broadway in the direction of Woodside and Jackson Heights.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Amongst the worst sorts of weather for trying to get shots of the night sky, there were vast seas of wind driven clouds that were boiling about and occluding the moon. Seeing that a break in the clouds was coming and that an interval of clear sky was blowing in from the west, I decided to just sit and be patient up on my roof, so I was soon texting Our Lady of the Pentacle to let her know that I hadn’t fallen off the building and that I’d be up occupied up here for awhile. While I was waiting, I listened to a historical podcast by Dan Carlin about the opening shots of the First World War.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Finally, she popped out into somewhat clear sky, and Selene was wearing her halo. The light from this moon was strong enough to cast shadows, which illuminated the rooftops all around me. The podcast was busily describing the massive Wehrmacht efforts in France, and the absolute heroism of the French armies who were ground into bloody paste before it, while your humble narrator was busily clicking away at the one thing which all humans from the beginning of time have had in common – staring up at the full moon while awestruck by its otherworldly fluorescence.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 10, 2014 at 12:20 pm

incessant reverberations

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Cool cars are everywhere in Astoria, and I don’t even have a bike.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Scuttling along in building shadows, beneath outstretched awnings, along heavily wooded lanes, and under the dripping steel of the elevated subways are the only places one such as myself can hide from the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself as its burning gaze stares down upon Western Queens during the summer.

Wan, a pale enthusiast such as myself will quickly combust if overexposed to the ultraviolet and shrinks away from direct exposure. While huddling in these particular absences of light, wonders like the sedan pictured above are encountered. This shot was from fabled 31st street, here in Astoria.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On Broadway, still in Astoria but on the way to Woodside, a relic of different but still earlier times rolled by – a Volkswagen Camper van. Many a hippie will offer tales of exciting exploration and disappointing travel associated with this model of vehicle. This survivor seems to live in the neighborhood, as it has been observed while parked on area side streets. There have been several “hipster” spottings by members of our little community of late, but until now we seem to have been free of “hippies.”

A worrying development.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Nearby the location of the passing VW Microbus, this outlandish roadster was racing its engine in anticipation of the changing nature of traffic signals. One congratulates at the style and panache of choosing an Italian made Ferrari, but is also dizzied by the ideation of sitting in stop and go traffic on Steinway Street in one. Cool cars, lords and ladies, Queens is full of them.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

exotic without

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A few shots from around the neighborhood, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over the weekend, Our Lady of the Pentacle announced that she would be bringing our dog over to Astoria Park for an early morning “off leash” dog gathering, as is her habit. A rare weekend day off for me, last Saturday was, so I accompanied her to the park. When we arrived, low hanging clouds were rolling over mighty Triborough, and your humble narrator found a favorable vantage point from which to capture the scene.

It happens to overlook the heavily chlorinated waters of Astoria Pool, which provided an interesting contrast given the environmental condition of morning ambience coupled with a dark sky.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Roaming around Dutch Kills recently, at the borders of Ravenswood and Queensbridge alike, an abundance of Boro Cabs lined a still industrial section of the neighborhood. That giant tangle of technology to the left of the frame is an electrical substation, which might belong to Consolidated Edison, and the big pile of red and white smokestacks is the Big Allis Power Plant on the East River.

Of course, no one can tell who owns what these days, what with their stock market whatsis and corporate whatchamacallits, but I think the substation is owned by Con Ed. I can report – authoritatively- that on hot days, when walking past this fence line, my headphones have often issued a sudden humming drone – and occasionally electrical shocks have transmitted through and them into my shell like ears. The entire block sounds like this – “mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…mmmmmmm.” This may be one of those spots where a handheld fluorescent bulb might just start to glow.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The empty corridor wasn’t so empty the other day when one wandered through on a stroll through Long Island City. Trucks were whizzing about, disgorging palettes of cargo to those who lurked within the warehouses lining the street. Several worrisome characters were closely observing my movements and the particulars of equipment employed in the capture of these images as they quaffed cheap vodka from plastic bottles and shared a marijuana cigarette, one seemingly mixed with cigar tobacco and wrapped in a coarse brown paper or leaf (which one understands as being in fashion at this time). 

A mild panic came upon me, and one felt himself descending into one of his states.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 25, 2014 at 11:00 am

dropped despairingly

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Wandering, always wandering, with no place to go. Stay paranoid, I say.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The steady staccato of foot falls is all that one can really count on, a shuffling rhythm accompanied by the tinkling of that busted glass which garnishes the sidewalks. It’s all terribly depressing, of course, utterly pedantic, and definitively pedestrian – but hey – that’s me. Recent travels carried me off to the halcyon center of “Astoria Astoria” nearby the Triborough Bridge, which I haven’t wandered around in several weeks.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, things are still the same around these parts, with the disturbingly heterogenous stock of buildings that typifies the area still present. These days, if you blink in Western Queens, entire neighborhoods might disappear overnight. It is rumored that dark cloaked figures swarm into the area from Manhattan after dusk to select targets. The Hellenes who inhabit this neighborhood hang charms, which use a blue eye motif, in their windows hoping to ward off these creatures. These predators are referred to as the “nýchta mágissa” or the “strigoi idiokti̱sías” by certain drunken octogenarians which one might encounter at disreputable or shunned tavernas which are found at less travelled neighborhood cross roads. It is claimed that these so called Strigoi want to buy your house for “development” and that they will produce foreign currencies and specie with which to do it.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It is a good idea to carry amulets and charms when perambulating along. One can easily be drawn away from the esoteric realities of this section which adjoins the forbidden northern coast of Queens and the fabled Hells Gate by the grandeur of mundanity. Case in point, an industrial wrecker clad in the scarlet color of human blood, towing a disabled bus off of mighty Triborough. Anything to keep you from noticing the truth… Who can say, all there is, that might be lurking about in the fuligin of night, beneath the buzzing of the sodium lamps?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 18, 2014 at 11:00 am

humid seas

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By jove, I nearly got wet yesterday.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Yesterday, despite the somewhat solitary inclination of mood which a humble narrator awoke to find himself in, nevertheless did he need to go to Sunnyside to talk to some people about some thing. Post facto, a leisurely stroll back to Astoria was planned upon.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As is my custom, certain breaches and apertures in the fencing which secures the Sunnyside Yards from casual observation by most, and the attentions of malodorous sappers and mad bombers in particular, were exploited for photographic use. The sky was dramatic, and active. A weak wind blew chilled air, from west north west.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking towards 36th avenue, from Northern Blvd., a certain sense of doom was laconically accepted. Surely, this will be how all is ended, in a storm. The Vikings, alas, seem to have been correct in their prophecies of the world’s end. If Ragnarok comes to Queens, it’s going to look something like the shot above.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Some wicked fancy seemed to be animating this cloud, but contemplation of such matters was not a luxury at hand. Not having any sort of umbrella or rain gear with me, haste was made to cross the few short blocks back to Newtown Pentacle HQ.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Evacuating birds were shooting through the winds, which had picked up in intensity. Oddly, there was no thunder, but a present and palpable expectation hung pregnantly about. The storm was about to break.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just as I hit 44th street, the clouds attack began, and even your humble narrator found himself struck by airborne missiles of water which had been fired from thousands of feet above. These missiles, luckily, splattered.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Cover was sought behind a simple row house, one which had a small awning. Notice the “rain shadows” forming on the sidewalk.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Experience informs that summer squalls like this are short lived, quickly passing through the neighborhood, and not worth going to extreme measures over. In the twenty minutes or so spent sitting upon some anonymous stoop, observations of the passing humans included a fellow strolling along in a business suit acting as if it were not raining and a handsome young woman who walked by with a plastic bag over her head.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

This weekend-

Saturday, August 16th, LIC’s Modern Corridor
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, August 17th, 13 Steps Around Dutch Kills
With Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 14, 2014 at 11:00 am

states suggested

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Drunkard of the week.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Back to the Kvetching, lords and ladies, and things that are definitively not alright.

This fellow spent a lovely afternoon dozing in the sun, in an obviously inebriate state, at the corner of 41st and Broadway in front of the Loyal order of Moose building. He was sleeping one off, by all appearances. This shot was captured around 6:45 in the evening, but I had spotted him in the same spot earlier in the day, around 2 p.m. Nearly five hours.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

During the late afternoon, and into the early evening, vast numbers of people walked by this man. Mothers and children, old ladies and new immigrants took in the spectacle as they passed by. Hundreds of automobiles stopped at the red light on the corner, with this napping fellow in plain sight and actually illuminated by a setting sun. How many of those cars, I wonder, were driven by the Police?

How is this oft observed behavior in the public space OK, and shouldn’t some member of the Gendarmé have checked to see if this guy was dead or alive?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The fellow singled out in today’s post is part of a small population of inebriated gentlemen who frequent the Steinway and Broadway intersection. A small population of junkies also seem to be favoring the corner of late, with many encamping themselves at the Library. Anybody who lives hereabouts will tell you this, yet, few complain or “kvetch” about it.

“What can you do about it? Don’t start trouble”- that’s the Astoria motto.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A shot from around 7:50 or so, when I was making my way back home. This guy actually gets more sleep than I do, by all appearances, and he remained unmolested by the Police or the people in the shops for more than 5 hours. All the while in public view from an intersection. There was a guy sleeping around 2 on the opposite corner, but he had removed himself by the time I came through around 6:45.

“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

August 1, 2014 at 2:58 pm

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