The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Manhattan

bottomless pit

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

- photo by Mitch Waxman

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

- photo by Mitch Waxman

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

- photo by Mitch Waxman

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

- photo by Mitch Waxman

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

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

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

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

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 16, 2014 at 11:35 am

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

to listen

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The changing face of NY Harbor, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As Johnny Cash used to say - “I been everywhere, man, I been everywhere.” The bizarre ideation which one such as myself call “life” carries me back and forth, forth and back, across this human infested megalopolis continually. Always an outsider, always an observer. Spectating the vast changes in the East River corridor which have been underway for the last decade or so has largely involved watching the coast of Long Island being weighted down with residential towers, a process that the folks in Manhattan have been largely indifferent about.

Now, the wave of urban rebuilding and wholesale loss of neighborhood character is starting to happen to them, and the city people are all in a panic.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above is from February of 2013. It depicts the Pier 17 building of the South Street Seaport complex. Surely the worst shopping mall in the local vicinity, it nevertheless hosted several small businesses and employed many people. The decision, pre Sandy, was made to eliminate this structure and replace it with a shiny mirror box of a hotel. Post Sandy, it became a paramount of municipal importance to replace the building, because… Hurricane Sandy and Terrorism… or whatever they use to scare us into doing things we don’t want to do these days.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As this 2014 shot depicts, the demolition process of Pier 17 is quite far along at this point. The Howard Hughes corporation owns the spot, it’s private property and they can do whatever they want with it. Also, Lower Manhattan is somewhat under utilized. The hotel which will be built here will provide jobs to first construction workers and then to hotel employees. It will buoy up the local economy and act as an anchor for other businesses.

This is exactly the sort of sophistry that the powers which be have been selling us in Brooklyn and Queens over the last 20 years, while the residents of the Shining City sat on their hands watching the condos rise to the east. It’s happening to them now, and they are pissed off.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The question is not whether or not the Pier 17 structure deserved preservation or not (it didn’t). There is no room for debate regarding “growth” or “development” in the City of Greater New York (it is inevitable and unending). The question is one of empathy, and whether or not we should feel sorry for an entitled group who have finally felt a well used hammer smashing their particular nail?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There’s a Newtown Creek walking tour, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 15th, DUPBO – Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp
A FREE tour, courtesy of Green Shores NYC, click here for rsvp info

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm

to see

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If I were taller, I could have been a baller.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, one was contemplating perspective, and I wondered what the City of Greater New York must look like to our current mayor. Striding around in cyclopean fashion, able to cross the East River in two great steps, it must be fantastic to be that tall. Your humble narrator is “low average” in height, so I’ve always wondered what perspectives are enjoyed by a true giant. Don’t get me wrong, I’m only talking about height, not gravitas or other intangible efficacies.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I always notice the giants while onboard the subway, not just because they have to stoop when entering the car. They’re the ones who appear to be standing up while actually sitting down, and these are folks who can’t help but look down their nose at everyone else. The only thing people of enormous stature need to fear, other than low ceilings, are the sudden appearance of Jewish pre-teens named “Dov” or “David” who are carrying slings – but that’s kind of a cat and dog natural enemy thing.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s always been my understanding that driving the massive mountain of flesh and bone along through the world exacts a cost, cardiovascular wise (there are miles of veins and arteries within them), and that the very tall are at a significantly higher risk for certain ailments (like bird and lightning strikes) – so there’s that. Still, it would be great to see things from an Olympian perspective, wouldn’t it?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There’s a Newtown Creek walking tour, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 15th, DUPBO – Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp
A FREE tour, courtesy of Green Shores NYC, click here for rsvp info

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 10, 2014 at 10:25 am

dusk comes

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The Union guys hate it when I start shooting.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Apologies offered to all the hapless workers I’ve photographed over the years, but damn it all, they do cool things. To wit, I spotted this crew over at South Street Seaport attacking the street with esoteric machinery the other day and one could just not resist the temptation. I mean… a giant saw? Yes, please.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The saw operator noticed me, but didn’t really give a crap about being photographed as he went around his business. His colleagues on the other hand, were staring me down as if I was pointing a rifle at him. I guess that they’re hassled by cameras as they move about the city. Fair enough, who likes having a stranger show up at your job and start waving a camera about?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The sound that this machinery created was tooth shatteringly loud, a screaming and high pitched tone which sounded somewhat demonic. In the war of spinning steel versus masonry, the Belgian blocks which composed the so called “cobble stone” pavement were no match for the spinning blades.

There are three public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn and two that walk the currently undefended border of the two boroughs.

Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura, on April 26th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

DUPBO, with Newtown Creek Alliance and MAS Janeswalk, on May 3rd.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on May 18th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 23, 2014 at 11:00 am

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