The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Maspeth

only memories

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“Remember me when I’m gone” is what everyone is really asking the rest of us to do.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Mt. Zion Cemetery over in ancient Maspeth has been discussed at some length at this blog, nearly 5 years ago – and yes, Newtown Pentacle has been in existence for nearly 5 years now.

Check out Mt. Zion 1 – imps of the perverse“, “Mt Zion 2- Palaces of Light“, “Mt Zion 3- threading precipitous lanes“, “Mt Zion 4- A Lurid Shimmering of Pale Light“, “Mt Zion 5- Sunken Houses of Sleep“, and “Mt Zion 6- Crystal Oblivion” for nearly everything I’d been able to scry about the place back in 2009. 2012′s “traitorous somnolence” explores the evidence left behind by certain peasant magicians at the polyandrion’s fence lines, which is worth a look.

Further research on the place - and the enigmatic Rudari tribe that once occupied the land here – however, has birthed a postulate in my mind that the so called Maspeth Gypsies are a lost civilization.

from wikipedia

Tambora is a lost village and culture on Sumbawa Island buried by ash and pyroclastic flows from the massive 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora. The village had about 10,000 residents. Scientists unearthing the site have discovered ceramic pots, bronze bowls, glass bottles, and homes and villagers buried by ash in a manner similar to that of Pompeii. Scientists believe the customs and language of the culture were wiped out. The culture was visited by western explorers shortly before its demise. They are believed to have traded with Indochina, as their pottery resembles that found in Vietnam.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There are several small communities with decidedly non mainstream cultures, ones which set out into the wooded interior of North America in the decades prior to the Civil War, that have either disappeared from the map or been absorbed into the national culture. Appalachian Hillbillies, the Shakers, the Maspeth Gypsies – all have become “civilized” and subsumed into the larger body politic. Rumor and half truths abound – suggesting that there were many, many more lost tribes of man on this continent than are commonly accepted, when the European Rationalists began to colonize the place.

from csicop.org

In one subset of the lost-civilization genre of pseudohistory, the lost civilization is not a previously unknown group of people residing in the clichéd “dim mists of time” but instead an otherwise well-known ancient society that is remarkable primarily as a result of its geography, not for its precocious level of technological sophistication. Even restricting ourselves to just North America, the list of such claims is long—though evidence is short—and includes: Celtic kingdoms in the northeastern United States thousands of years ago (Fell 1976); Coptic Christian settlements in ancient Michigan (based on the so-called Michigan Relics) (Halsey 2009); Roman Jews in Arizona (the Tucson Artifacts) (Burgess 2009); the Lost Tribes of Israel in Ohio (the Newark Holy Stones) (Lepper and Gill 2000); and strange mixtures of various ancient Old World peoples secreted in hideouts in the Grand Canyon in Arizona (“Explorations in Grand Canyon” 1909) and in a cave in southeastern Illinois (Burrows Cave) (Joltes 2003). These claims are predicated essentially on the same notion: ancient Europeans, Africans, or Asians came to the Americas long before Columbus and long—perhaps thousands of years—before the Norse; they settled here and had a huge impact on the native people but then somehow became lost, both to history and to historians.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Permanence is something which nearly every band of humans strives to achieve, and even those who are philosophically opposed to the concept – like Buddhists – nevertheless built colossal statuary and temples of stone to mark their tenancy in Asia and around the Pacific rim. The New York City way of commemorating a location is to stick a highly impermanent signboard at a noteworthy spot, but that’s mainly for Manhattan and areas which suffer a lot of pedestrian traffic. Since Mt. Zion is theoretically going to be here as long as NYC exists, how about we stick up a sign of some kind acknowledging the former presence of this tribe of wandering coppersmiths and circus animal trainers who were called the Rudari?

from wikipedia

The Boyash are a branch/caste of the Romani people who were held as slaves in Wallachia and Moldavia together with other Romani castes, up until the latter half of the 19th century; such slavery was abolished in Romanian states in 1864.

In particular, the Boyash were forced to settle in the 14th century and work in mining (a regionalism for mine in Romanian: “baie,” from Middle Age Slavonic.). Due to their close proximity with Romanian-speaking people, they lost the use of the Romani language. Some groups relearned Romani when they came in contact with other Romani-speaking Romanis, after they emigrated from Romania (for example, in Ecuador).

Another name for the Boyash, Rudari, comes from the Slavic ruda (“metal”, “ore”). However, a few centuries later, the mines became inefficient and the Boyash people were forced to readjust by earning their living making wood utensils (Lingurari means “spoon-makers” in Romanian; also cf. Serbian ruda, Hungarian rúd, Romanian rudă meaning “staff, rod, pole, stick”). The nickname Kashtale (“wood-workers”) was also given to them by the Romani-speaking Romanis and it has remained in Romani as a more general word for a Romani person who does not speak Romani.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 29, 2014 at 11:09 am

rattling carts

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“Last stop for gas” spake the feckless quisling.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

For some reason, NYC’s Gasoline Filling Stations keep on catching my eye, but I think they’re supposed to do that. Probably, this interest has a lot to do with all the history posts about the Petrochemical industry along Newtown Creek, but it just might be something as simple as the usage of bright primary colors used in their trade dressings as I am simple and foolish. The one above is in Maspeth, at a location which is neither tick or tock but is instead found between them.

from wikipedia

A filling station, fuelling station, garage, gasbar (Canada), gas station (United States and Canada), petrol bunk or petrol pump (India), petrol garage, petrol station (Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and United Kingdom), service station (Australia, United Kingdom and United States), or servo (Australia), is a facility which sells fuel and usually lubricants for motor vehicles. The most common fuels sold today are gasoline (gasoline or gas in the U.S. and Canada, typically petrol elsewhere), diesel fuel, and electric energy. Filling stations that sell only electric energy are also known as charging stations.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Worry about imaginary Police reports, ones which describe a suspicious middle aged man that has been taking photos of fuel stations in Queens, have crossed my mind. So much so that the last time I had the ear of my local City Councilman – my paranoid imaginings were mentioned. He promised me that he wouldn’t let them take me to Guantanamo Bay, but couldn’t offer any specific guarantees about Rikers. Either way, the elected fellow promised to ensure that I got extra cookies with my dinner, should I end up in either institution.

from wikipedia

Gasoline /ˈɡæsəliːn/, or petrol /ˈpɛtrəl/, is a transparent, petroleum-derived liquid that is used primarily as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain ethanol as an alternative fuel. In North America, the term gasoline is often shortened in colloquial usage to gas. Elsewhere petrol is the common name in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Australia and in most of the other Commonwealth countries.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Most of the pumps I see are the modern kind, dressed with digital payment terminals and all sorts of fancy kit. One suspects that there’s probably more computing power in a modern gas pump than would have been found in a high end desktop pc from just ten years ago. I’ve actually seen the old timey style pumps still at work in certain quaint hamlets in the backwoods of Vermont and Massachusetts as well as standing extant in the vast archaea of Crete.

from wikipedia

The first gasoline pump was invented and sold by Sylvanus F. Bowser in Fort Wayne, Indiana on September 5, 1885. This pump was not used for automobiles, as they had not been invented yet. It was instead used for some kerosene lamps and stoves. He later improved upon the pump by adding safety measures, and also by adding a hose to directly dispense fuel into automobiles.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 15, 2014 at 7:30 am

tossed and tattered

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A cool vantage at the foot of the Maspeth Plateau.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the neat things about Western Queens is all about its declination and altitude. The terminal moraine of Long Island sets itself up starting over in Maspeth near Mt. Olivette cemetery, and a surprising rise in the level of the land becomes apparent. I’m particularly sensitive to such phenomena having grown up in a section of Brooklyn called “Flatlands” which is right next door to “Flatbush” and several communities whose names end in basin, island, or beach. That’s the south eastern flood plain, Astoria and Hunters Point are the north western- its Maspeth and Middle Village which are the start of the high ground. That’s why the Dutch came here first.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

These hillocks are bordered in modernity, unfortunately, by highways such as the Long Island Expressway – which swallowed up the otherwise wholesome Borden Avenue’s historic right of way. There is a pedestrian bridge which will carry one over the highway, which is where today’s shots were captured. When I was up there, I found a Bernie hole.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Bernie Ente was, amongst other things, a photographer who lived pretty close to this spot in Maspeth. Bernie was always annoyed by fences that obscured his shots, and would sometimes open a hole just big enough to stick a lens through. There’s still a few of his holes found in the industrial fencelines around Newtown Creek, some of which I’ve shared with others, and some I keep to myself.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the view from the Bernie Hole over the Long Island Expressway. I think I might come back here with a tripod sometime, when a dramatic sky presents itself. Of course, if you want some strange looks and accusing stares thrown your way, walk around Maspeth at night with a dslr. I swear, a cadre of old ladies followed me from Maurice all the way to Middle Village the other night, convinced that I held some instrument of gleaming death within my camera bag.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 3, 2014 at 7:30 am

Project Firebox 97

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An ongoing catalog of New York’s endangered Fireboxes.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This bad boy hangs out on a corner in Maspeth, Queens. Should have stayed in school, but you can’t complain about the road you’re on when you get started. Kay sera sera. Props to the scarlet.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 23, 2013 at 7:30 am

2013 Newtown Creek Boat Tour

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The 2013 Newtown Creek Boat Tour.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On Saturday -the 28th of September- the Working Harbor Committee is producing and offering a boat tour of the Newtown Creek for any interested parties to attend. A special emphasis on the waterway’s storied history and maritime legacy will be made.

I’m going to be doing the history part, speaking in my capacity as the Newtown Creek Alliance Historian, and am tasked with highlighting the various points of interest encountered along the route. Anticipated to be some three hours in length, this boat tour will be delving some three miles inland, proceeding to the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge crossing English Kills in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Maritime History of Newtown Creek is one largely forgotten in these decadent times, but even now an odd tugboat and barge might be spied making their way down the waterway on any given day. Property owners were considered to have been blessed by some of the finest industrial bulkheads in the world a mere century ago, yet many of the businesses based along the Creek today ignore this invaluable resource, allowing their waterfront property to decay and decline.

Nevertheless, a staggering amount of maritime traffic is still observed here, and towing companies such as Reinauer, K-Sea, DonJon, and Poling and Cutler are regular visitors.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Vast operations will be witnessed by those onboard, many of which are involved in the scrap metal and recyclables trade. Responsible for an enormous amount of cross harbor shipping, companies such as SimsMetal are heavily reliant on the maritime trades for their economic success.

Not all that long ago, Newtown Creek carried a greater tonnage of cargo than the entire Mississippi River.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An active and thriving industrial zone in the center of New York City, from the water one can truly grasp the sheer scale of Newtown Creek’s busy waterfront. Normally hidden by high fences and obscured by street facing structures, the intensity of the Newtown Creek is laid bare before the admiring gaze of first time visitor and veteran urban explorer alike.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A tributary of the estuarine East River, Newtown Creek extends some 3.8 miles from its junction with the more familiar waterway, and provides demarcation for the currently undefended border of much of Brooklyn and Queens. Named to the Federal Superfund list, the Creek suffers from a history of environmental degradation and municipal neglect.

An era of great change is upon the Newtown Creek, and this trip will be one of your last chances to see it in its current form.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

We will see four moveable bridges, and this year will be your last chance to see the static Kosciuszko Bridge which carries the BQE, as the NYS DOT has indicated that construction on its replacement will begin quite soon.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Along it’s banks, great fortunes have risen.

Amongst others- Peter Cooper (BO Railroad, Canton Iron, and Cooper Union), Charles Pratt (Astral Oil, and Pratt University), and ultimately John D. Rockefeller (Standard Oil)- all grew richer than the dreams of avarice in this place. Alongside them, the darkest mills of the industrial revolution- rendering plants, yeast distilleries, bone blackers, and acid factories provided tens of thousands of jobs to the immigrant populations of Brooklyn and Queens. Today- National Grid, BP, Amoco, ExxonMobil, and a host of other multinational companies still maintain an enormous investment in this valuable industrial canal.

Upcoming tour: Hidden Harbor Tours: Newtown Creek tour with Mitch Waxman.

Come explore Newtown Creek by boat with Working Harbor Executive Director Captain John Doswell and Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman as your guides.

Boarding begins at 2:30 p.m., and departs at 3:00 p.m. sharp. The 2.5 hour, fully narrated, round-trip excursion departs from and returns to the New York Skyports Marina found at East 23rd Street & the FDR Drive in Manhattan.

There will be a cash bar onboard.

Tickets are $45.

For inquiries about group discounts please call 212-757-1600.

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