The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Mt. Zion Cemetery

henceforward have

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Anniversaries, antichrists, and apocalypse.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Something about the centennial mark of the “fin de siécle” made one think about Mt. Zion cemetery, which is pictured in today’s post. The term refers to the end of the 19th century in its literal interpretation, but broader usage of “fin de siécle” is meant to imply the sense of doom which the late 19th century’s artists and academics expressed. They knew it was coming, the end of the age, an apocalypse.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s interpretation and intuition being offered everywhere online today about the century marker for the First World War’s official start. There’s the version of the story which talks about all the war dead, the one where the United States became “America!!!” because of the conflict, and the chestnut about the decline of the European peninsula from its former status as the center of colonial supremacy. The antichrist appeared in Russia, and he raised a godless rogue state from the ashes of the Tsarist form of government.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally, I’ve always ascribed to the concept of the “Second Thirty Years War” when describing the state of world affairs between 1914 and 1945, but that period is less “fin de siécle” and more “birth pangs of the modern era,” from our perspective. We know how the story comes out.

The First World War was actually a war of industrial bases when you think about it. Vast international death machines require long logistical supply lines, or so I am told, many of which stretched all the back to my beloved Newtown Creek oddly enough. Given my particular love of the industrial sectors of LIC and Greenpoint surrounding the waterway, which were at their height during WW1, I try to only think of cemeteries when considering the conflict. Keeps me even, and helps hint at why Granpa Alex didn’t ever want to talk about the war.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

August 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm

a ghastly plot

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“Newtown Creek for the Vulgarly Curious” is a fully annotated 68 page, full-color journey from the mouth of Newtown Creek at the East River all the way back to the heart of darkness at English Kills, with photos and text by Mitch Waxman.

Check out the preview of the book at lulu.com, which is handling printing and order fulfillment, by clicking here.

Every book sold contributes directly to the material support and continuance of this, your Newtown Pentacle.

“Newtown Creek for the Vulgarly Curious” by Mitch Waxman- $25 plus shipping and handling, or download the ebook version for $5.99.

the loved dead

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

On Sunday I fell in a hole…

Literally, a pothole on 49th street (which adjoins the hideous Maspeth Creek tributary of that answer to civilization known as the Newtown Creek) swallowed your humble narrator. Banged up a bit, an injury to the left knee punctured my skinvelope and the jury was out on whether or not a finger on the right hand might have been fractured. Of all the things that can go wrong or happen to you around the Newtown Creek, falling in a hole was absolutely the last thing I worried about.

Actually, I’ve worried a lot about falling into a hole at Calvary and Mt. Zion…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On Monday my computer died.

The funeral montage for my newly deceased G5 plays unheralded in my mind. With me for quite a number of years, the Mac was a workhorse, and despite its steadily declining capabilities (it hadn’t been able to burn a DVD for years, and recently required replacement of several internal components) it never let me down. I remember the first time we went to the park together, the long nights working on freelance jobs… sigh. If you have a Windows based machine, you don’t understand this, but Mac owners develop a certain emotional bond with their gizmo and it is painful to part with it. Luckily, I salvaged the hard drive from it, and the soul of the beast was intact. So, off to the Apple store at 1AM, back home deeper in debt than ever. The good news is that the new Mac has been able to read everything, the “migration assistant” was able to transfer my files in a fairly seamless fashion, and I seem to be back in business.

Still, bad things are supposed to happen in threes, right?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Today, I’m living in fear of further possible torment and death.

Mental notes have been made to both back up the computer more often and to ensure sure footing before shifting my weight from one foot to the other.  I saw a few interesting things on Sunday, which will be discussed in forthcoming postings of this- the winter session of your Newtown Pentacle.

Note:

The Newtown Creek Alliance meeting which was cancelled due to the recent ice storm on has been rescheduled for February 17th- here’s the details:

When: Thursday, February 17th, 6:30pm

Where: LaGuardia Community College, Building E, Room 501

The agenda as listed is:

At the meeting we will be discussing:

  • The recent designation of Newtown Creek as a Superfund Site
  • The Greenpoint Oil Spill Settlement Agreement between the NYS AG, Riverkeeper, and ExxonMobil
  • The distribution of Newtown Creek Sewage Treatment Plant Environmental Benefit Funds
  • DEP’s signage for the Newtown Creek Nature Walk
  • The NYC Green Infrastructure Plan and its potential impact on Newtown Creek
  • The status of Newtown Creek Alliance’s application to incorporate as a not-for-profit organization.

The “NYC Green infrastructure plan” section of the discussion promises to be VERY interesting. Come and meet some truly smart people, in Long Island City of all places.

 

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 8, 2011 at 10:53 pm

for silver

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“Newtown Creek for the Vulgarly Curious” is a fully annotated 68 page, full-color journey from the mouth of Newtown Creek at the East River all the way back to the heart of darkness at English Kills, with photos and text by Mitch Waxman.

Check out the preview of the book at lulu.com, which is handling printing and order fulfillment, by clicking here.

Every book sold contributes directly to the material support and continuance of this, your Newtown Pentacle.

“Newtown Creek for the Vulgarly Curious” by Mitch Waxman- $25 plus shipping and handling, or download the ebook version for $5.99.

History of the Necronomicon by H. P. Lovecraft

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Notes:

  • Don’t miss the Hunter’s Point Avenue Bridge Centennial tomorrow, on December 11th, a free event. For more on the HPA Bridge Centennial, click here.
  • Also, please consider purchasing a copy of the first Newtown Pentacle book“Newtown Creek for the Vulgarly Curious” – a fully annotated 68 page, full-color journey from the mouth of Newtown Creek at the East River all the way back to the heart of darkness at English Kills, with photos and text by Mitch Waxman.

Woodside Botanica – photo by Mitch Waxman

History of the Necronomicon

by H. P. Lovecraft

text from wikisource.org

Written 1927. Published 1938.

Original title Al Azif — azif being the word used by Arabs to designate that nocturnal sound (made by insects) suppos’d to be the howling of daemons.

Composed by Abdul Alhazred, a mad poet of Sanaá, in Yemen, who is said to have flourished during the period of the Ommiade caliphs, circa 700 A.D. He visited the ruins of Babylon and the subterranean secrets of Memphis and spent ten years alone in the great southern desert of Arabia — the Roba el Khaliyeh or “Empty Space” of the ancients — and “Dahna” or “Crimson” desert of the modern Arabs, which is held to be inhabited by protective evil spirits and monsters of death. Of this desert many strange and unbelievable marvels are told by those who pretend to have penetrated it. In his last years Alhazred dwelt in Damascus, where the Necronomicon (Al Azif) was written, and of his final death or disappearance (738 A.D.) many terrible and conflicting things are told.

He is said by Ebn Khallikan (12th cent. biographer) to have been seized by an invisible monster in broad daylight and devoured horribly before a large number of fright-frozen witnesses. Of his madness many things are told. He claimed to have seen fabulous Irem, or City of Pillars, and to have found beneath the ruins of a certain nameless desert town the shocking annals and secrets of a race older than mankind. He was only an indifferent Moslem, worshipping unknown entities whom he called Yog-Sothoth and Cthulhu.

Vanderbilt Study – photo by Mitch Waxman

In A.D. 950 the Azif, which had gained a considerable tho’ surreptitious circulation amongst the philosophers of the age, was secretly translated into Greek by Theodorus Philetas of Constantinople under the title Necronomicon. For a century it impelled certain experimenters to terrible attempts, when it was suppressed and burnt by the patriarch Michael. After this it is only heard of furtively, but (1228) Olaus Wormius made a Latin translation later in the Middle Ages, and the Latin text was printed twice — once in the fifteenth century in black-letter (evidently in Germany) and once in the seventeenth (prob. Spanish) — both editions being without identifying marks, and located as to time and place by internal typographical evidence only.

Altar at Mt. Zion cemetery fenceline – photo by Mitch Waxman

The work both Latin and Greek was banned by Pope Gregory IX in 1232, shortly after its Latin translation, which called attention to it. The Arabic original was lost as early as Wormius’ time, as indicated by his prefatory note; and no sight of the Greek copy — which was printed in Italy between 1500 and 1550 — has been reported since the burning of a certain Salem man’s library in 1692.

An English translation made by Dr. Dee was never printed, and exists only in fragments recovered from the original manuscript. Of the Latin texts now existing one (15th cent.) is known to be in the British Museum under lock and key, while another (17th cent.) is in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris. A seventeenth-century edition is in the Widener Library at Harvard, and in the library of Miskatonic University at Arkham. Also in the library of the University of Buenos Aires.

Numerous other copies probably exist in secret, and a fifteenth-century one is persistently rumoured to form part of the collection of a celebrated American millionaire. A still vaguer rumour credits the preservation of a sixteenth-century Greek text in the Salem family of Pickman; but if it was so preserved, it vanished with the artist R. U. Pickman, who disappeared early in 1926. The book is rigidly suppressed by the authorities of most countries, and by all branches of organised ecclesiasticism. Reading leads to terrible consequences. It was from rumours of this book (of which relatively few of the general public know) that Robert W. Chambers is said to have derived the idea of his early novel The King in Yellow.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 10, 2010 at 2:28 am

confines of our kingdom

leave a comment »

“Newtown Creek for the Vulgarly Curious” is a fully annotated 68 page, full-color journey from the mouth of Newtown Creek at the East River all the way back to the heart of darkness at English Kills, with photos and text by Mitch Waxman.

Check out the preview of the book at lulu.com, which is handling printing and order fulfillment, by clicking here.

Every book sold contributes directly to the material support and continuance of this, your Newtown Pentacle.

“Newtown Creek for the Vulgarly Curious” by Mitch Waxman- $25 plus shipping and handling, or download the ebook version for $5.99.

restless lichens

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

A sharp eyed reader and fellow haunter of the tombs tipped me on to this, something I never noticed on 58th street, a sidewalk deprived viaduct that runs between two cemeteries- New Calvary and Mt. Zion.

from mountzioncemetery.com

Mount Zion Cemetery encompasses an area of 78 acres. This cemetery is located in Maspeth, Queens near the Manhattan Border. When this cemetery was first established the surrounding area was considered to be rural. There was an ongoing need for burial spaces to accommodate the explosion of the immigrant population in not only Queens, but also the nearby neighborhoods of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Mount Zion Cemetery has more than 210,000 burials on its 78 acres making it one of the more interesting burial grounds.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Nitre dripping, the walls of Zion are composed of conventional mortar and stone for much of their length, protecting its centuries of interments with a stout but rusty fence.

from wikipedia

Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone such as marble, granite, travertine, limestone; concrete block, glass block, and tile. Masonry is generally a highly durable form of construction. However, the materials used, the quality of the mortar and workmanship, and the pattern in which the units are assembled can strongly affect the durability of the overall masonry construction.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As one nears Laurel Hill Blvd. and the stature of the masonry wall shrinks back to a human scale, a curious heterogeneousness in its composition is noticed. Suddenly granite and “finishing marble” is noticed.

from wikipedia

Sculpture

White marble was prized for its use in sculptures since classical times. This preference has to do with the softness and relative isotropy and homogeneity, and a relative resistance to shattering. Also, the low index of refraction of calcite allows light to penetrate several millimeters into the stone before being scattered out, resulting in the characteristic “waxy” look which gives “life” to marble sculptures of the human body.

Construction marble

Construction marble is a stone which is composed of calcite, dolomite or serpentine which is capable of taking a polish. More generally in construction, specifically the dimension stone trade, the term “marble” is used for any crystalline calcitic rock (and some non-calcitic rocks) useful as building stone. For example, Tennessee marble is really a dense granular fossiliferous gray to pink to maroon Ordovician limestone that geologists call the Holston Formation.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Proceeding up the block, certain familiar shapes become recognizable in the wall, and a cold dread is realized. Tombstones. They used tombstones to make this part of the wall.

from wikipedia

The stele (plural stelae), as they are called in an archaeological context, is one of the oldest forms of funerary art. Originally, a tombstone was the stone lid of a stone coffin, or the coffin itself, and a gravestone was the stone slab that was laid over a grave. Now all three terms are also used for markers placed at the head of the grave. Originally graves in the 1700s also contained footstones to demarcate the foot end of the grave. Footstones were rarely carved with more than the deceased’s initials and year of death, and many cemeteries and churchyards have removed them to make cutting the grass easier. Note however that in many UK cemeteries the principal, and indeed only, marker is placed at the foot of the grave.

Graves and any related memorials are a focus for mourning and remembrance. The names of relatives are often added to a gravestone over the years, so that one marker may chronicle the passing of an entire family spread over decades. Since gravestones and a plot in a cemetery or churchyard cost money, they are also a symbol of wealth or prominence in a community. Some gravestones were even commissioned and erected to their own memory by people who were still living, as a testament to their wealth and status. In a Christian context, the very wealthy often erected elaborate memorials within churches rather than having simply external gravestones.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Section markers and footpath monuments are used, as well as grave markers whose screed faces inward. Oh what treasures may be entrusted to the grave’s holding that only some future archaeologist will know?

from sciencedaily.com

“Until now we have relied on evidence from medieval rubbish – including food remains, pottery and other finds – to build up a picture of medieval life in the city. This group of burials represents the first opportunity to examine the medieval population itself, in terms of life expectancy, stature and health.

“Evidence of some communal burials and high infant mortality also indicate evidence of infection and disease.

“The skeletons are very well preserved – some were in coffins and others weren’t and were placed in shrouds. We were expecting there to be some 300 skeletons- but the scale of this discovery is stunning.”

The site dates from between the 12th century and the mid 1500s and is part of the medieval church of St Peter’s – one of two parish churches in the city which disappeared in the late medieval period.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 23, 2010 at 10:00 am

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