The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Astoria

lavishly laden

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Parked on my block, a childhood aspiration.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Saturday last was a challenging day, and after performing certain actions and accomplishing a few obligations one headed back to HQ back in Astoria. Upon arriving on my block, one discovered a true American relic parked on the street – a 1980 Pontiac Trans AM!

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This particular line of automobiles held a sacred place in my teenage heart, although I favored the black variant with the gold eagle on the hood made famous by Burt Reynolds in the “Smokey and the Bandit” franchise of films back then (& now).Remembrances of building more than one plastic scale model of the 1980 Trans Am over the years comes to mind.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Competition in the form of the Camaro forced a change in body design sometime later in the 1980′s, a period of time when the American auto industry first lost its way and began the process of homogenizing their lineups. In the end, the Camaro and Trans Am became nearly identical fiberglass bodied vehicles.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The late 70′s and early 80′s Trans Am’s were late in the game muscle cars, driven hard by young drivers (guys mostly), and this one looks as if its been well taken care of bit did have a whole lot of cosmetic issues. Its amazing seeing one of these at all, as this is a thirty four year old car.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in the middle 1980′s, there used to be an impromptu drag strip which drew fast cars and idiot teenagers together on a backwater street found somewhere between East New York, Starret City, and Howard Beach which is called Fountain Avenue. I used to go there occasionally, and watch a few races. It’s since been resurfaced with a series of waves to discourage the racing.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One night, some guy driving a souped up Trans Am floored the gas pedal when the flag dropped, signaling the start of the race. Spinning, his wheels produced a choking veil of smoke until the tires caught traction. It was all very dramatic. At the end of the course, which was the equivalent of about two blocks away, his rear wheels were still smoking and one had little wisps of blue flame at its base.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Illegal drag racing aside, I still want one of these cars, and the logo you see on the hood of this car is the singular image which one would consider getting as a tattoo. This logo is all hot dogs and coca cola and fried chicken and pretty girls who are wearing bikinis and cowboy hats while they’re playing baseball and some guy drinks Budweiser and smokes a Marlboro while thinking about … you get the idea.

Welcomes to Astoria, we got yer Americana, rights overs heres, bro.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

July 14, 2014 at 11:00 am

mental status

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I’m all ‘effed up.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Obligation caused me to have to leave Queens the other day, and not for Brooklyn or some other attractive destination. My unfortunate destination was instead… The Shining City. Unfortunately, one has been undergoing some sort of viral attack since Sunday last which has spawned a vicious summer cold whose worst excesses were felt at the height of the recent heat wave. Regardless of how I felt, the trip was enacted, as the show has to go on no matter what.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I found myself at my destination early, which is a somewhat pathological problem for me, and sitting on a block of concrete at the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan. The concrete’s temperature was likely over a hundred degrees, so if you smelled bacon cooking while driving down the thoroughfare on Tuesday night, that was likely a humble narrator being rendered down. While slowly cooking like a piece of salmon on a hot cedar plank, anxiety steadily built up.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

What has happened to this part of the city… it’s as if the dreams of a boring 1970′s era fellow named Rich Whitey have been realized here. The section of Hudson River Park in Lower Manhattan looks and feels like an architects visualization – skinny young people jogging and kayaking while nannies march about with the children of the gentry in tow. Where’s the working part of the waterfront? Where the scabby, sometimes dangerous but always interesting, crew who once infested this section of the human hive? Where’s the fun?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 10, 2014 at 1:54 pm

simple minded

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Fireworks in Queens, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 4th, my neighbors Mario and Dario and I climbed up the little ladder which leads up to the roof hatch and surmounted our building. Arriving up at tar beach, we discovered that just about everyone else in Astoria had the same idea. Our view of the horizon and the Macy’s Fireworks show on the East River was hopelessly occluded, but who needs Manhattan’s little spectacle?

Queens never disappoints.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Off in the direction of Old Astoria, where the Triboro and Hells Gate Bridges can be found, the neighborhood was oddly quiet. There were the occasional detonations, as pictured above, but by Astoria standards – not too much was going on.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It was the to southeast where the action was going on, and it seemed that Woodside was competing with Sunnyside and Maspeth from my vantage point.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 7, 2014 at 11:00 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

perilous experiences

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Shut your trap.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

2012 and 2013 seem to have been years wherein I spent more time in Greenpoint than I did in Queens, which is something that great efforts  in the name of correction have been made in 2014. Lost in soliloquy and pondering the meaning of itself, North Brooklyn has plenty of folks watching over it, while Queens screams for attention and there seems to be only me paying it any mind. Spotted on Steinway Street in Astoria, this yellow horse offers vainglorious thrills, although it is a shadow of what is possible in the world of equestrian statuary.

I do not think that the apogee of horse sculptures will offer rides for 50 cents, however.

from wikipedia

The Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue, part of the Genghis Khan Statue Complex is a 40 metre (131 ft 3 in) tall statue of Genghis Khan on horseback, on the bank of the Tuul River at Tsonjin Boldog (54 km (33.55 mi) east of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar), where according to legend, he found a golden whip. The statue is symbolically pointed east towards his birthplace.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On Newtown Road in Astoria at its intersection with 41st street, one notices a rare artifact of an earlier age.

An uninterrupted block of Matthews Model Flats ends with a wrap around corner that hosts a commercial shop on the first floor. My network of Croatian informants tell me that they remember nothing about the storefront ever being anything other than what it is now, an electrician’s location, and one hopes that some Astorian reading this post can help fill the rest of us in on the past history of the spot.

from mas.org

The Mathews Model Flats were built by speculative developer Gustave X. Mathews and designed by Louis Allmendinger in the early part of the 20th Century. Considered to be some of the most innovative housing in the city, these “new law” tenements were designed with more space and better sanitation than their overcrowded 19th Century counterparts.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Finally- a shot from Brooklyn’s Bushwick, or East Wiiliamsburg as the Real Estate people call it.

This is the dead bang end of Newtown Creek - actually, its tributary English Kills.

More and more of the people I encounter from this neighborhood are coming down here, seeking vicarious thrills and “disaster tourism.” Some are actually dragging boats and kayaks through the sediments to get into the water.

Lords and Ladies… English Kills is an open sewer, and one of the most polluted spots in New York City if not the planet. I know a whole lot about what’s going on back here and try to limit my exposure to this spot down to 3 or 4 times a year. There’s a reason that the Feds are going to spend hundreds of millions to clean things up. If you’re going to insist on boating in Newtown Creek, please launch from someplace safer. Please?

from habitatmap.org

People using the creek for recreational purposes such as swimming and boating may come into direct contact with chemical contaminants and harmful biological organisms. People may come in contact with contaminants present in the shallow creek sediments while entering or exiting the creek during recreational activities.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are three Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Sunday, June 21st, America’s Workshop
A FREE tour, courtesy of Green Shores NYC, click here for rsvp info

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.

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