The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Citibank megalith

certain scenes

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Not fit for this world, I tell ya, not fit.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

So I’m on the train back to Astoria recently, and at 59th street, the guy pictured above got on the same train as me and unveiled an accordion to all the commuters onboard. I noticed him only because that horrible droning version of the theme from the Godfather which he was attempting to play was interfering with the music which I was listening to quietly, on my headphones. As is the case with all things which annoy me, I took a picture of him.

Notice that he’s giving me the finger with his keyboard hand? He later insistently stood in front of me with his hat in hand, gesturing for some sort of tip. I inquired if he knew how to get to Carnegie Hall from our location in the Queens Plaza subway station. He indicated that he did not. “Practice, my friend, lots and lots of practice.” I’m a real pistol, I am.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

You wouldn’t believe what I had to walk and climb through to get this one, nor the intangible risks to the disposition of ones very soul which were encountered. Moments before this capture, a well meaning Hippie with a smudge pot in one hand and a feather in its conspirator sprang at me and anointed me with some sort of incense. He was part of some group, everyone seems to be part of some group, it would seem. They might have been witches, I can’t be sure, but more than one of them were bare foot… in Long Island City.

Only a witch’s foot could stand that sort of punishment. Around these parts, people buy shoes and boots for their dogs to wear.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of witches, here’s my obligatory shot of the so called supermoon, which couldn’t have been easier to capture as I set the tripod and telephoto gear up on my own porch right here at home in Astoria.

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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 13, 2014 at 11:00 am

moon cast

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The center of the earth is the end of the world, if you think about it.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Night shooting has been something which I have been working on for the last six months or so. The problem presented by lowered illumination is the need for equipment such as tripods and lighting devices such as flashes. Spontaneous moments of joy such as a train entering the elevated station are denied by such techniques. I’m a handheld kind of guy, I’m afraid, but I hate the distracting presence of color noise and the weird oranges it produces. High ISO night shots are necessarily noisy, but produce weird colors straight out of the camera- especially under the influence of NY Cty street lamps which are kind of yellow anyway.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent acquisition of a brighter lens (capable of large apertures) than the one I normally use as my general contractor has aided immensely in the pursuit of working around both my limitations and those of the capture device. The remarkable Sigma 18-35 allows for apertures as bright as 1.8, and is sharper than heck, and it is currently jutting out of the camera obscenely- it’s a very nice piece of glass. The problem which I’ve been trying to solve is a purely digital one presented by the camera software itself, and the incongruities encountered between capturing the image and processing it. I’ve long worked as an advertising photo retoucher, what can I tell you, this is the sort of stuff one ponders.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The image, as captured by the camera, is assigned settings whose parameters are determined by an onboard suite of software which assesses and assigns color temperatures when it is written to card. The camera also sets the shot to certain levels of bright and shadow, contrast and saturation. The camera, except in bright sunlight, almost always gets it wrong. Fixing these matters in a compressed format like jpeg is not so easy, so I shoot in raw format which allows me to noodle things around a little bit and get the image a little it closer to what I actually experienced in situ.

What I’ve been working on, feverishly, is using the information typically captured in the raw file (a 16 bit file richer in image data than an 8 bit jpeg) to create a predictive shooting protocol. In English- trying to figure out what the camera sees, and why, and creating a series of moves on the raw image to better represent the real life colors and range of tone which exist within the range of human vision. Nowhere even close yet, but I’m starting to think that the path lays before me.

Here’s a tip- canon’s higher iso settings produce a huge amount of noise on the red and green plates, shifting an image to colder temperatures will reduce the color noise significantly.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday- September 21, 2013
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale now.

Saturday- September 28, 2013
Newtown Creek Boat Tour with the Working Harbor Committee- tickets on sale now.

Saturday – October 19, 2013
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale soon.

Sunday- October 20th, 2013
The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek with Brooklyn Brainery- tickets on sale now

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everyday tourist

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Lurking, in fear.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It would seem that much like the hordes of rodents who tunnel and writhe below, your humble narrator is always skittish and ready to bolt for safety. Recent travels carried me through the familiar and entirely wholesome Court Square zone surrounding the megalith here in Long Island City. Certainty that I was being watched, and not just by that thing which cannot possibly exist in the sapphire cupola of the aforementioned megalith, ruled over me. Waggling my whiskers and sniffing at the air, your humble narrator suddenly felt that the presence of predators was likely and decided to make for a hasty retreat.

l’m all ‘effed up.

from wikipedia

Insanity, craziness or madness is a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. Insanity may manifest as violations of societal norms, including a person becoming a danger to themselves or others, though not all such acts are considered insanity. In modern usage insanity is most commonly encountered as an informal unscientific term denoting mental instability, or in the narrow legal context of the insanity defense. In the medical profession the term is now avoided in favor of diagnoses of specific mental disorders; the presence of delusions or hallucinations is broadly referred to as psychosis. When discussing mental illness in general terms, “psychopathology” is considered a preferred descriptor.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Perception is a deucedly odd thing, half instinct and half observation. A poor specimen, both physically and psychologically, I don’t fare well in any sort of challenge. I’ve never hit the game winning home run, acted the hero, or done much else other than cause angst and agony. It is for the best that I stay out of these bright places, and it would likely be preferable if one such as myself was exiled to a small guarded room somewhere and confined lest I corrupt or debase others.

Corrosive agonies abound in my presence.

from wikipedia

Before the American Civil War, the mentally ill were often placed in poorhouses, workhouses, or prisons when their families could no longer care for them. Patients were often forced to live with criminals and were treated likewise: locked in a cell or even chained to walls. By the 1860s, Americans wanted to provide better assistance to the less fortunate, including the mentally ill. The number of facilities devoted to the care of people with mental disorders increased significantly. These facilities, meant to be places of refuge, were referred to as insane asylums. Between 1825 and 1865, the number of asylums in the United States increased from 9 to 62.

The establishment of asylums did not mean that treatment greatly improved. Because doctors did not understand what caused the behavior of their patients, they often listed the possible causes of mental illness as religious excitement, sunstroke, or even reading novels. They believed that the patient had lost all control over their morals and that strict discipline was necessary to help the patient regain self-control. Asylums often employed straitjackets to restrain patients who could not control themselves.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This proclivity toward self recrimination is accelerated whenever I’m near mirrors, whose shocking imagery always offers horrible revelations that puncture those lies which one tells himself. Perhaps this is what set me off, while innocently traveling to and fro across the concretized realities of Long Island City, for when one observes that the absolute eidelon of senile corruption and debased sanity reflected in the mirror glass is no idle fantasy or wild illustration but is rather yourself…

How can one not realize the verisimilitude displayed, to those scurrying legions of the eternal subterranean night, and not enter into the comforting arms of madness?

from wikipedia

Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a mental disorder characterized by paranoia and a pervasive, long-standing suspiciousness and generalized mistrust of others. Individuals with this personality disorder may be hypersensitive, easily feel slighted, and habitually relate to the world by vigilant scanning of the environment for clues or suggestions that may validate their fears or biases. Paranoid individuals are eager observers. They think they are in danger and look for signs and threats of that danger, potentially not appreciating other evidence.

They tend to be guarded and suspicious and have quite constricted emotional lives. Their reduced capacity for meaningful emotional involvement and the general pattern of isolated withdrawal often lend a quality of schizoid isolation to their life experience. People with this particular disorder may or may not have a tendency to bear grudges, suspiciousness, tendency to interpret others’ actions as hostile, persistent tendency to self-reference, or a tenacious sense of personal right.

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Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, August 10, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

13 Steps around Dutch Kills- Saturday, August 17, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

intently and shudderingly

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Dissonant, the mad cacophonies of Western Queens often drive one such as myself beyond the brink of madness, and solace from this unending assault can only be found deep within the grounds of Calvary Cemetery. First Calvary, that is. To me, the name of the neighborhood which hosts the burial grounds of the Roman Catholics is aptly named, and Blissville is where one retreats to commune with the relative silence of the polyandrion.

Now, over the last few years, I have seen many strange and wonderful things, and witnessed places in New York City that only a select would even suspect to exist. I have seen dead animals of all sorts littering the streets, a few killed in rituals, but mostly from accidents. I have never seen a dead human being floating by in the rivers or the creeks, nor have I found some dude lying on the side of the road- I’m lucky like that.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Imagine how excited I was, then, when this seeming casualty appeared on my jaunty stroll through First Calvary on a sunny March afternoon. Finally. That’s when the terror set in.

A question which a humble narrator often asks himself, when confronted with situations that require moral, legal, and philosophical contemplations is simply “How would I explain this to Judge Judy?.”

In the case of photographing a possibly deceased human (pondered as I shot these pictures so quite obviously one wasn’t exactly impaled on the horns of dilemma) do you photograph first and then call the cops? What exactly do you tell the cops? “Yeah… I do this blog… Yes sir, I walked here… No sir, nothing like that… Yes sir, Waxman with an x”… and so on?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As your humble narrator processed an answer which might be acceptable to both televised jurist and hard boiled gendarme, the corpse suddenly animated, its mouth parts bleating out a long and phlegmatic tone which reminded one most of snoring.

Deductive reason suggests that instead of dead, this fellow was merely asleep. A lovely place for a nap, despite the shocking suggestions offered by a prone positioned human laying stock still on the ground in a cemetery, as the sun was warm and bright, soft grass welcomes, and there is plentiful company. Below, three million lie.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The ground at Calvary is sown with “all too soon’s,” “should have been me instead’s,” and “why’s.” The soil is composed of the “they’ll never get to’s” and “cut down in their prime’s,” along with the good who died young and the bad who died old. If there is any place in New York City where one can sense that there very well might be a whole other side to existence that extends beyond the meat, it’s at Calvary.

Spending too much time here can be dangerous, a little over three hours usually does it, when a hypnagogic spell begins to infiltrate the mind of the visitor.

Lethargy and somnolence exert a pull inexorable, and afflicted day trippers experience a desire to just lay down on the ground… and nap.

“Just for a little while,” they will say. I always answer this with a single question.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

What would one dream of, if they were to fall sleep in First Calvary Cemetery?

ornate and exotic

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Maddeningly, lucky captures like the ones featured in today’s posting have been pretty rare for me of late, but here’s three from the proverbial “right place, right time.” Whilst crossing the devastations of Laurel Hill last week, enroute to a meeting in Brooklyn, those dense atmospheric conditions which had all but occluded the visual presence of Manhattan, just an hour earlier, suddenly cleared up. The burning thermonuclear eye of god itself omnipotently bathed the accursed earth in its radiation, driving away the rain laden clouds.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, I was skulking and scuttling the periphery, along an obscure pavement, of the polyandrion of the Roman Catholic Church- called Calvary. Bearing witness to this sudden explosion of majesty and inadvertent stage lighting, for one such as myself, was fraught with danger. Having grown increasingly nocturnal over the winter months, your humble narrator let slip an audibly fearful hiss when that light- which had traveled 93 million miles in seconds and was aimed directly at me- struck my shadow tempered skin. At once, I was moving eastward- and toward safe harbor in the perennial shadows of DUKBO (Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp) scuttled I.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, as it was late in the day, this luminous event was short lived and the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself now floated low to the horizon in the northwestern sky. Enormous volatility in the air and surrounding cloud systems lent an effusive quality to its emanations, which oddly framed the so called Freedom Tower- a megalith nearing completion on the site of national tragedy and aspiration. To one such as myself, however, such things are better left for others to contemplate, enjoy, and discuss. There is no place for me in the company of others. My place is here, along the Newtown Creek, and amongst the tomb legions.

passages beneath

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Confession is offered, lords and ladies, that your humble narrator has been experimenting all over the neighborhood. Trick shooting, long exposure times, specialized equipment- the whole shameful arrangement has been employed in a vainglorious attempt to alleviate tedium. It has literally been months since I’ve had anything but ground under my feet, and I can’t even remember the last time I was on a boat by gum.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A desire to just go and ride the Staten Island Ferry, braving the cold and weather, forms in me. Too timid to actuate even such a mundane plan as this, instead retreat is made to the usual and familiar, so a scuttling across the frozen concrete and urban desolations go I. An attempt has been underway to utilize some of the older cameras which have accumulated on the shelf, as well as to grow practiced with some newer gear. I’ve also been try and “slow it down” a bit, process wise.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

During the summer, at whatever adventure I happen to be participating in, things pop up fast and furious- photo wise- and speed is essential for the successful capture of a quality image. A dolphin or giant snapping turtle isn’t going to just hold a pose while you fumble around with settings on your dslr after all. Problem is that the speed you develop becomes a habit, a shortcut to the shot. At the moment, I’ve actually got some time to experiment, and I plan on using it.

Also:

Remember that event in the fall which got cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy?

The “Up the Creek” Magic Lantern Show presented by the Obscura Society NYC is back on at Observatory.

Click here or the image below for more information and tickets.

lantern_bucket

otherwise unnavigable

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]

- photo by Mitch Waxman

At the top of a fifty three story sapphire dagger plunged into the neck of a Long Island dwells an impossible thing gazing down upon the human hive via a three lobed burning eye, except that such a thing cannot possibly exist and to suggest so is madness. How could an intelligence of malign intent exist in bodiless form, and be granted the rights and privileges of citizenship with few of the obligations concurrent with such status?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An ancient path, Jackson Avenue was once a trade route connecting the grist mills and farmlands further east with the docks and wharves to the west that allowed local merchants to trade with other cities along the East River. Over the years, it has seen mule paths give way to wagon, and street car, and eventually automotive traffic. Its purpose in modernity is unclear, a secondary truck route which allows passage from Queens Plaza to Hunters Point and the Pulaski Bridge, or a residential corridor destined for bistros and cultural institutions?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent surge of building activity in the area has forced your humble narrator to consider that a bit more time must be spent here in Long Island City this year, an area which had fallen off my radar a bit in the last year. Inattention had little to do with a lack of interest, instead my time was spent “working” the zones found along Newtown Creek in Maspeth and Bushwick, two other colonial era centers seldom mentioned by the “manhattancentric crowd.”

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