The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Manhattan

poor substitute

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

December 6th, a date which will live in infamy, as it is the anniversary of the birth of British Occultist Dion Fortune as well as the day that a man modernity knows as Santa Claus died.

The Mayan Apocalypse is only 15 days away now, so it might be a good idea to focus in on something a bit less weighty than the end of the universe. Accordingly, on a day that reminded one of nothing more than the Stephen King short story called “The Mist”, your humble narrator headed down to Queens Plaza to check out and ride the MTA Holiday Nostalgia Trains.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

These holiday nostalgia trains are a yearly event offered by the MTA, and run on the M line between Queens Plaza and the 2nd avenue stop in Manhattan. Legacy equipment, the trains are a hodge lodge of different eras in subway history, and are maintained with the historical advertising one would have observed “back in the day”. The trains are running on Sundays, with the first train leaving the city at ten and arriving in Queens Plaza for the return trip at 10:44 am. Check out this page at the MTA website for more info on train models and schedule.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Train people, rail fans as they would call themselves, are a breed apart. It is extremely easy to mock their enthusiasm and detailed knowledge of the industrial ephemera which surrounds rolling stock, and there are several nicknames for them. These denigrating nomens infuriate their insular community, in the same way that Star Trek or Comic Book people detest outsiders labeling them as nerds or geeks. This is their hobby, and its actually a fairly wholesome one at that.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s funny, how little attention or notice the actual hardware of the subways receives. Personally, the only time I truly pay attention to the cars themselves is when I find myself on a line which is using a completely different model than one of the trains which I normally travel on. The R versus the 1 for instance, use entirely different models, although I couldn’t tell you much more than surface differences, nor why the choice was made to use one of the other. The rail fan will be able to point to the exposed screw in a random light fixture and tell you an involved tale about it, usually involving long dead commissioners and obscure MTA operatives you’ve never heard of before.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

You’ve still got two more Sundays to get out and experience these vintage cars, lined with goofy advertising from the past- admonishments to “hire a veteran”, “Smoke Viceroy”, and reminders that “real men wear a hat”. Be prepared though, for camera flash and dozens of photographers roaming the trains as they hurtle along. One interesting existential observation is how “bouncy” these trains are in comparison to the modern units, they are also quite a bit louder.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, the holiday trains are moving along the M tracks, and performing regular duty for the day. An enjoyable activity is to watch the City people blindly get on board, texting and futzing about with their phones, and then suddenly cast their gaze around, noticing their surroundings and the hordes of photographers and rail fans around them. There are some photographers and “creepy camera club guys” who hire models to dress in period garb for the day, and pretty ladies and gentlemen can be observed wearing the fashions of earlier times.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One finds that you have to hold on to something when these trains are moving, lest you be tossed about. One of my many annoying habits, this one exhibited while riding the subway, is to stand on the balls of my feet with my arms at my side and “surf” as the subway moves between stations. I enjoy this, and it would be suicide to try it on the vintage trains, which demand two on the floor and one on the pole or hanging strap. The MTA, you’ve come a long way, baby.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The general protocol which your humble narrator follows for this event is to ride the train in a full circuit, from Queens Plaza to second and back to QP where I leave the train, satisfied with the experience. My rail fan friends engage in a Bataan death march of a day, riding back and forth in some kafkaesque loop, and will pack a lunch. Such devotion is remarkable, and beyond my attention span.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My personal predilection, after entering the subway system, is usually to get out of it as quickly as possible. I don’t like it down there, in that dripping stygia of rat infested tunnels. I don’t like knowing that the trains form pneumatic dams within the tunnels which push a swirling cloud of rodent droppings and desiccated decay before them and into the station. Mephitic, these dust blasts paint every surface- including me- with fecund horrors whose byzantine complexity is beyond the capacity of even a madman to conceive.

Accordingly, me and the Forgotten-NY guy went out for coffee in LIC after getting off the train at the 23 Ely stop.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 6, 2012 at 12:15 am

exhausted form

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

18 days till the Mayan Apocalypse, and only 20 until Festivus on the 23rd (there’s also that Christmas thing a couple of days later, but the holidays are really all about the end times and feats of strength). Apprehension is alleviated by looking back at photos of earlier times. These shots are from last year, gathered while wandering around Manhattan in April.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

If your humble narrator was some artsy fartsy “photographer” type, an attempt would be made to describe street photography and its many virtues. Misanthrope, I detest crowds of anti savant shoppers and demimonde tourists, eschewing any interaction with the great human hive unless absolutely necessary. A meeting at the Working Harbor Committee offices drew me to the City this day, and I decided to give this street photographer thing a whirl.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve met people who wander around looking for fights, pre focus their cameras and then shoot blindly in Times Square, all sorts of techniques are employed in this pursuit. Personally speaking, I like taking pictures of poop floating in antifreeze green water in Brooklyn and Queens, so I’m qualified to decide if this sort of thing is wholesome or not.

Look- a fireman with a drum.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 3, 2012 at 12:15 am

groveling obeisance

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, a short interval of puffy individual shots is being presented over the holiday weekend. Partially, this is owed to a debilitating back injury suffered last week which has reduced your humble narrator to the uniform of the house bound invalid- sweat pants and bathrobe- the other is that every now and then an individual image presented earlier in the year got swallowed by the post it was published in. To wit, the storied John J. Harvey fireboat upon the Hudson during the Op Sail event in late spring of 2012. A bizarre atmospheric light is captured therein, wherein storm clouds literally opened around the procession of ships and provided a somewhat eerie atmosphere. Those of us in the Working Harbor Committee ascribe such events to the otherworldly abilities of our own Captain Doswell, referring to the phenomena as “The Doswell Effect”.

hollow voice

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Consolidated Edison facility on 13th street and avenue D in Manhattan famously exploded during Hurricane Sandy. Oddly, just a few months prior to this, I had found myself perched upon the DEP property across the street- when the shot above was captured. Embedded below is a video which seems to have been captured from a vantage in Long Island City (by someone else) which depicts the explosion.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm

raised place

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Marie J. Turecamo, a Moran tug, getting all iconic on the East River. This tug has been discussed in earlier posts at this, your Newtown Pentacle, specifically the posting “Circumnavigation 1” from which the following is quoted:

…along came the Marie J. Turecamo tugboat- a 2,250 HP twin screw tug operated by Moran Towing. It was originally built as the Traveller in 1968, by Tangier Marine Transport which operated out of the Main Iron Works facility in Houma, LA.

from morantug.com

Moran is a leading provider of marine towing and transportation services, a 150-year-old corporation that was founded as a small towing company in New York Harbor and grew to preeminence in the industry. The cornerstone of our success has been a long-standing reputation for safe, efficient service, achieved through a combination of first-rate people and outstanding vessels and equipment.

Over the course of its history Moran has steadily expanded and diversified, and today offers a versatile range of services stemming from its core capabilities in ship docking, contract towing, LNG activities and marine transportation. Our tug fleet serves the most ports of any operator in the eastern United States, and services LNG terminals along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts and the West Coast of Mexico. The Moran barge fleet serves the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, the Great Lakes, the inland waters of the U.S. eastern seaboard, and the Gulf of Mexico. We also provide worldwide marine transportation services, including operations in the Caribbean and periodic voyages to South America and overseas waters.

Another appearance of the tug, wherein it played a similar iconic role and chewed a different bit of harbor scenery was in the posting “curious customs“.

Also- Upcoming tours…

for an expanded description of the October 20th Newtown Creek tour, please click here

for more information on the October 27th Newtown Creek Boat Tour, click here

for more information on the November 9th Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show, click here

for an expanded description of the November 11th Newtown Creek tour, please click here

divine figures

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- photos by Mitch Waxman

For absent friends…

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 11, 2012 at 12:15 am

20th annual Great North River Tugboat Race

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Last Sunday, the race was run on the Hudson River. Your humble narrator was onboard the “officials” boat and the following slideshow is what was captured on the day of. How’s that for a “Maritime Sunday”?

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