The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Manhattan

fled into

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Break time.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A single image greets you this morning, as will be the case through the Thanksgiving holiday.

A humble narrator requires a break periodically, to recharge and reinvent. Worry not, however, for pithy commentary and puckish intent returns on the Monday following Thanksgiving – the first of December.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 17, 2014 at 11:00 am

central and supreme

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I been everywhere, man.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Actually, despite the bold statement above, I’ve hardly been anywhere at all. There are spots which one is overly familiar with, of course, but the daily grind does tend to oppress. Just the other day, one had to undertake one of those ludicrous commutes which have been enjoyed throughout the last year, crossing from Astoria out to the New Jersey side of… Staten Island… via mass transit.

What I was doing on Staten Island will be the subject of a post later this week, but today I’m just complaining about how long it all took. Rapid transit indeed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The 59th and Lex Subway Station is surely meant to serve as a vast sculptural interpretation and exemplar of the spiritual concept known as “oppression.” Kafkaesque in layout, it always seems claustrophobic when I visit. The ceilings are lower, platforms narrower, stairs steeper… Last week, at least, I got to add a shot or two to my collection of “photographs of photographers photographing.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An somewhat accidental detour into Brooklyn occurred on the return trip, which I found rather ironic. It was nice to visit the Borough Hall station, but I needed to get back home before the indomitable bladder of Zuzu the Dog exploded. Has it ever been mentioned that my own personal version of hell is an eternity spent on a long commute through an endless labyrinth of tunnels?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, November 8th, Poison Cauldron
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Note: This is the last Newtown Creek walking tour of 2014, and probably the last time this tour will be presented in its current form due to the Kosciuszko Bridge construction project. 

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 3, 2014 at 11:00 am

must each dwarf

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“They rob, kill and plunder all under the deceiving name of Roman Rule. They make a desert and call it peace” – Tacitus

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Moving through lower Manhattan, the long time New Yorker cannot help but notice the changes to the area beneath the FDR drive. One remembers a day when this area was used for parking, and also served as a camp for homeless folks. My mental picture of this spot – a dank, dark, dripping waterfront mess infested with dangerous, and often addled or demented, primates – was forged in the 1980’s, so admittedly – it’s thirty years out of date. I also remember a day when Carvel Ice Cream shops were ubiquitous.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

What you’ve got down here in modernity is a very well used “sort of” park or public space. There’s “model chicks” jogging around in yoga pants, “stock broker” guys leading tiny dogs around on leads, and lots of people lounging about. Pier 11 has become a sort of commuter hub these days, and there are hot dog carts and other vendors set up under the highway who charge $4 or more for a bottle of Snapple Iced Tea. CitiBike has one of its bike share racks in the area, and South Street has accordingly had bike lanes deducted from it. Al Smith would hardly recognize the street he grew up on.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In contrast, there’s Queens. This is the 7 elevated subway pictured above, as it leaves Court Square toward Hunters Point in LIC. Now, this is the same block which 5ptz once occupied, and one wonders if – when the luxury condos which will replace the art institution open – some future version of myself will say that they remember an earlier iteration of reality. Of course, many have told me that I watch too many movies, but I’d really love to be able to see the future as well as the past.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, October 25th, Glittering Realms
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 24, 2014 at 11:00 am

tripping on

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Glamour, intrigue, concerns about Popeye’s health – that’s what I’m about.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Raconteur is not how you’d describe a humble narrator, but I am a man about town. So much so that I find myself positively dizzied from exposure to those malfeasant atmospherics typically found within that nightmare of the claustrophobe which is particularly known as the NYC Subway system. Often, it feels as if one has become detached from reality when below, and has been reduced down to a statistical average. Limbo, indeed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Perhaps it is the unwillingness of Station Managers to activate the exhaust fans at certain stops along the line? The unwelcome dustings of rodent feces and other foul exhalations which signal the arrival of a train? Mayhaps, it is the dripping concrete and smell of rotting masonry? On long trips which require many connections, one such as myself experiences a disordering of thought. If there is a hell, my specific punishment will be an infinite commute.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Often, one experiences his most intriguing thoughts while attempting to ignore the quite possibly dangerous humans who infest the system. All social interaction is fraught with risk, so the humans are best avoided. Instead, one ponders deep thoughts while lost in the labyrinth.

Recently, while considering the appearance of the cartoon sailor Popeye, it occurred to me that the characters peculiar physiognomy might indicate that he is a stroke victim. Frozen expression, swollen extremities, speech impairment – think about it, he’s also a smoker. The spinach might be on advice of medical professionals. Also, Poop Deck Pappy presents the same disabilities, so it might be some form of hereditary arteriosclerosis which affects the mariners.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Time lost, time gained. Down here, where I am useless and bored, is the platform for deciding the right course of action on a series of meaningless points. Often, I find myself just clicking the camera off randomly, turning it at funny angles to the scene. That’s kind of how the shots in today’s post came together. While developing them, I realized that my brain was working really hard working out the angles and perspectives.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Unconsiously, my head kept on turning, craning over to one side, as the visual information processing section of my head took over. When I caught myself doing this over and over, autonomiclly, a point was made to pass some of my time in subterranea waving the camera around randomly.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s something so odd about this image, and it’s just that it was shot upside down. It’s interesting, neurologically speaking, this “perception thing,” isn’t it? Ever notice that when you see a photo or video of yourself, it doesn’t seem to look right? That’s not the face you see in the mirror every day, is it? Thing is, what we think of as “our face” is actually a flopped mirror image, which indicates… what do I know, I’m on the friggin subway all the time.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 2, 2014 at 12:23 pm

mad and fantastic

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Busy bees, and misanthropy, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The insect above was busily raiding Our Lady of the Pentacle’s herb garden one recent afternoon. Accordingly, I chased it around from blossom to blossom with a camera and flash. Soon, it was chasing me around. Such is my lot. The bee was merely attempting to shoo a representative of NYC’s human infestation away, something for which I can hardly blame it. There’s too many of us.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One shouldn’t be surprised at the various indignities and inequities commonly experienced along the daily round, I suppose, given that many of the places I find myself have the word “hell” in their place names. Over in Manhattan’s Hells Kitchen, for instance, this taxi garage was queerly devoid of human habitation. A good start, I guess, but there’s still too many of us.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Down on the Lower East Side, in an area once known as “Jew town,” this laundromat scene reminded me of certain Edward Hopper paintings. The facility was offering the humans housed therein a chance to remove the soils and bodily excreta which had accreted into their textile garb – using a variety of semi caustic chemicals, detergents, and mechanically agitated hot water. There’s way too many of us, and I fear that what this city could really use is a good plague.

Someday a real rain will come and wash these streets clean…

Sorry for the misanthropy, I get a bit “Travis Bickle” when my back hurts…

“You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin’ to? You talkin’ to me? Well I’m the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?”

photo courtesy wikipedia

“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 16, 2014 at 12:18 pm

solitary presence

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Loathsomeness awaits, in the deep.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One is never more alone than when waiting for a Subway to arrive. Swaddled in stifling clouds of fungal spore ejaculate and those desiccated airborne particulates of rodent excrement which lend the dripping concrete caverns their particular perfume, the “system” must be the loneliest place on earth, despite the abundant representation of the human infestation whom are found therein. Depersonalization is a specialty of the “system,” which redefines individual personages as “ridership” and let’s everybody who uses it know that there is nothing special about them, whatsoever, despite whatever status they hold in the radiant world above.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In forgotten side tunnels and hidden chambers, all throughout the system, what might lurk? One does not forget the 1980’s, when rumors of a population of indigents who set up housekeeping in these antechambers abounded amongst the above ground population. Stories of grasping hands reaching up from sidewalk grates at small dogs and women’s ankles tantalized with latent horror, during that particularly dark age in the history of the megalopolis.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In Jackson Heights, mothers assure their children that the Rakshasha do not hide in the tunnels, as do the folks in Flushing when they tell their kids that there is no È Guǐ waiting to carry them off into the darkness down here. So too do parents console, on the south side of Williamsburg and all along the G and F lines, instructing that there are no Comprachicos hiding in these vaulted tunnels of rotting cement, waiting to make a meal of some toddler or small child. It should be pointed out that MTA workers never go anyplace alone in the system, and instead prefer to move in large groups.

Who can guess, all there is, that might be buried down here?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 21, 2014 at 11:00 am

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

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