The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘NY 11101

linger strangely

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The fedora district of Long Island City.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, one found himself wandering desperately through the Fedora District.

A term of my own invention, as it seems like the sort of spot built for and by fellows who routinely placed felt hats upon their heads when leaving the house. My sweaty desperation was brought on by certain bodily functions which were calling for, nay, demanding attention.

Simply put, I had to poop, drop a deuce, or extrude ex food.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the big problems experienced all over the megalopolis is a lack of publicly available rest rooms.

For some reason, the credentialed urban planners of the world do not acknowledge human biology in their calculations, nor require accessible bathrooms from the real estate people in exchange for their tax breaks and $1 land deals.

This is why people piss on their green infrastructure, there’s no where else to go.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I should have stopped at the diner on Jackson to take care of business, but didn’t have the money or time to spend on a cup of joe or similar item as a ransom for relief. Urgency commanded one to double time it back to Astoria and the comforts of those porcelain fixtures which we keep confined in a tile room. I, for one, urge the incoming Mayor’s transition team to consider the fact that humans will need to crap and pee occasionally.

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dogged patience

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Sector one, one, one, zero, one.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An area which most refer to as Long Island City has been assigned the postal zip code of 11101. That translates from the binary to the decimal as the number 29.

Oddly enough, that’s the average number of days it takes earth’s moon to complete its cycle (actually 29.530589 days) and roughly the number of earth years it takes the planet Saturn to orbit the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself.

In the I’Ching, the number 29 is referred to as K’an / The Abysmal.

from wisdomportal.com

In man’s world K’an represents the heart, the soul locked up within the body, the principle of light inclosed in the dark— that is, reason. The name of the hexagram, because the trigram is doubled, has the additional meaning,
“repetition of danger.” Thus the hexagram is intended to designate an objective situation to which one must become accustomed, not a subjective attitude. For danger due to a subjective attitude means either foolhardiness or guile. Hence too a ravine is used to symbolize danger; it is a situation in which a man is in the same pass as the water in a ravine, and, like the water, he can escape if he behaves correctly

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The zip code of any community is somewhat arbitrary, the Post Office basically started the numeration of postal zones up in Massachusetts and worked their way down the East Coast and then moved west. The Zip Code system was introduced in 1963, and the way it works is that the first three digits describe a Sectional Center Facility (Mail Sorting Center) which handles a particular region. The last two digits are a bit more specific, referring mail sorters to a group of delivery addresses within a particular city or region. Midtown Manhattan, for instance is in 10001, which translates to 17 in binary. LIC’s 11101 indicates SCF 111, delivery area 01, and again- translates as 29 in binary.

Element 29 is Copper.

from wikipedia

Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; a freshly exposed surface has a reddish-orange color. It is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, a building material, and a constituent of various metal alloys.

The metal and its alloys have been used for thousands of years. In the Roman era, copper was principally mined on Cyprus, hence the origin of the name of the metal as сyprium (metal of Cyprus), later shortened to сuprum. Its compounds are commonly encountered as copper(II) salts, which often impart blue or green colors to minerals such as azurite and turquoise and have been widely used historically as pigments. Architectural structures built with copper corrode to give green verdigris (or patina).

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Occultists believe in the symbolic power of numbers, although I believe this to be “twonk”, as my English father in law would say. Perhaps my prejudice against the viewpoint stems from a basic inability to perform simple mathematics accurately. I had the Chicken Pox in second grade when they taught long division and have never been able to catch up since. Cursory research on the way that those who ascribe to the occult worldview indicates that 29 is an ill omen, and associated with unlikely conspiracy theories centering around unholy bargains which the Rothschild and Rockefeller families are said to have entered into with extraterrestrials.

The number 29 has always terrified me personally, however, as it indicates that the rent is soon due.

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Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, August 10, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

13 Steps around Dutch Kills- Saturday, August 17, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

troubled jottings

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

The scenes depicted in today’s shots actually didn’t actually look very much like these presented photo. In general, I screw around with every shot a little bit- push or pull the exposure and midpoints of dark and light, alter the color temperature to neutralize and compensate for sodium or fluorescent lights, drop an exposure gradient into a sky or on the water to compensate for glare. I’ll do the occasional tilt shift here and there, but largely strive for the ability to do it “in camera” more than anything else. Nothing major is altered, by “retoucher” standards, who would define such adjustments as merely “helping” the photo.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

These photos, however, have had a whole bag of hammers thrown at them. One of the things I’m trying to eliminate from my mind these days is any fealty to the metaphor of film in creating a digital photograph. Even the term “photograph” is somewhat disingenuous as what these images actually “are” is a 23 megabyte computer file compiling the data captured by a sophisticated sensor. There is more information in the original file than is needed for reproduction, and the process of outputting the final image always involves a bit of photoshop editing work- deciding what to throw away, and that’s where the artsy fartsy stuff happens.

Losing this metaphor, the film one, leads one down the odd path of the so called “Uncanny Valley.” This term refers to a human perception bias which can instantaneously determine if something is artificially contrived, using CGI techniques to simulate a human face for instance. What I was “going for” in developing the shots as they are was a sort of old timey hand colored thing accomplished by a severely limited but quite saturated color range and an extremely high contrast regarding the black and white ratio. It’s a “formula” or “look” I’ve been asked to apply to other people’s files in my advertising life, by the way, usually for sports marketing stuff.

It beggars a certain question though- If it’s not a faithful rendition of the scene, a photograph by definition, what is it?

Also: Upcoming Tours!

Glittering Realms- Saturday, April 20, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

13 Steps around Dutch Kills- Saturday, May 4, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Parks and Petroleum- Sunday, May 12, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets on sale soon.

The Insalubrious Valley- Saturday, May 25, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

Hidden Harbor: Newtown Creek tour with Mitch Waxman – Sunday, May 26,2013
Boat tour presented by the Working Harbor Committee,
Limited seating available, order advance tickets now. Group rates available.

ecstasies and horrors

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Peculiar shapes framing the opalescent moon- no doubt due to a dynamic weather system, rather than some external force, intelligence, or madness inducing entity of supra normal scope which can exist only in the imaginings of a madman- caught my attention while returning to Astoria from the hoary lanes of Greenpoint. It seems sometimes that one spends most of his time occupied in perambulating between the two communities and those happy neighborhoods which adjoin the two.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Trying to ignore the shining parallelogram of clouds which lent our world’s largest satellite a menacing cast, your humble narrator elected to continue working on the whole “night photography” thing, and began fumbling about with camera settings and nervously whispering to myself. Skillman Avenue, normally a well traveled and busy thoroughfare in Western Queens which adjoins the Sunnyside Rail Yard, is a ghost town at night, although there is a feeling of being watched.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I was not being paranoid either, as dozens of security cameras actually were watching me. Whether someone is ultimately watching the camera feed is another matter, of course, but the machines notice all things. They especially notice a weirdo in a black raincoat waving a camera around in near total darkness. Such thinking kept my mind off the menace of the lunar threat, and the curious way that the parallelogram in the sky unsettled me.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One supposes that he is just too fragile for this world, a stunted flower straining out from the cracks which mar a post industrial field of pavement. Perhaps it is fated that I follow my ancestors into convalescence and begin the search for an institution of charitable design which might house and insulate me from the terrible possibilities which lurk at the edge of sanity- for if one finds himself a selenophobic, may he not be accused of being a lunatic?

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 6, 2013 at 12:15 am

somehow impelled

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Perambulating down Northern Boulevard here in Queens, one finds many gas stations and quite a few car washes. The Hess Station on the corner of Steinway offers both. A small, seemingly robotic car washing chamber exists here. Luckily, it possesses windows, which allow for some pretty intense lighting, at the right time of day. Car washes are another one of the things which your humble narrator waxes on about.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

“Back in the day,” as it were, it wasn’t customary to ride through the wash. You would leave your vehicle, and “the Brooklyn way” was to follow along with your car, viewing it through plexiglass windows as it made its way through the detention, wash, and optional Carnuba wax. At the end of the process, in a wood paneled room, would be a cashier. Loss leaders on sale at this station included key chains, porn magazines, “gas, grass, or ass- nobody rides for free” bumper stickers, and all sorts of fingerless gloves.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Whereas I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords… the long counter of air freshener products screen printed with Farrah Fawcett pin ups is missing from this automata, as is a complicated display with key chains extolling the logo of several auto brands. It does make for pretty pictures, of course, but still… Where does someone go these days for mirrored aviator sunglasses that fold, or a bumper sticker adjuring the Ayatollah Khomeni to go to hell?

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 21, 2013 at 12:15 am

stark hideousness

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

One is never truly alone in New York City, given that it is one of the most densely inhabited and developed sections of the entire planet, but one often experiences a deep and abiding loneliness here. This is paradoxical, as any New Yorker- when queried as to their deepest wish- will answer with “I’d just like to left alone and have everyone else just mind their own business instead of paying attention to mine.”

That, and they’d like to win something called the Lottery, quit their jobs, and move someplace called “the country” where there is “no bullshit.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A product of this place, having existed in its schools and streets and along the waterways, your humble narrator is lonely by nature- but that has nothing to do with the City. Vainglorious humility is oft invoked when describing myself as an Outsider, but I’m only half joking. Regardless of my social status and ability to “fit in,” one would have no desire whatsoever to leave New York were my “ship to come in.”

That would be giving in, and allowing the City to say that it beat you (although the thought of a little country place in Vermont sounds pretty sweet).

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The desolations of solitude, wherein the mind spawns metastases of self accusation and secondary guessing, are at the root of much of what ails most. How can one truly be alone in a crowd, or lonely in New York City? One such as myself craves (and in fact deserves) desolating isolation, the quiet of the tombs, and the absence of others.

Then again, I was raised as an “only child” and never had to share a bedroom with someone I didn’t wish to.

sufficient accuracy

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DUE TO AN ILLNESS, THE FRIDAY NIGHT MAGIC LANTERN SHOW WILL BE POSTPONED!!!

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

A week of darkness was promised you, lords and ladies, and this Friday posting provides a neat bookend.

Long Island City is one of the most difficult spots in New York City to hail a cab, precisely because so many Cab companies are based here. Drivers don’t want to pick you up if they’re in the neighborhood, as Cab Drivers are generally heading here to drop off the car and end a shift before they get hit with a penalty for being late.

The reverse of “bringing coal to Newcastle”, it would seem, is in effect.

from nytimes.com

Many taxicabs are used by two drivers a day, each working a 12-hour shift. To ensure that each leg is equally attractive, taxi owners schedule the shift change in the middle of the afternoon, so each shift gets a rush hour.

But the switch cannot happen too early, either: a 2 p.m. changeover, for instance, would require a day driver to start his 12-hour shifts in the wee hours of the morning. And cabbies say the midafternoon offers brisk business not evident 12 hours later, when fares mainly consist of late-night revelers.

Hence the 5 p.m. compromise. When the changeover became standard, its timing did not pose a big problem for passengers. Many taxi garages were situated on the Far West Side of Manhattan, requiring cabs to make only a short trip to 11th Avenue before heading back to Midtown with a fresh driver.

But in the 1980s, as commercial rents rose, taxi fleets began migrating across the East River, particularly to Long Island City, Queens. The 5 p.m. shift change now included a journey over the often-packed Queensboro Bridge, not to mention the return slog to the city. Drivers started going off duty between 4 and 4:30 p.m., to ensure that they had enough time to make it to the garage; even today, tardy cabbies can be hit with a $30 fine.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It is an interesting sight, seeing hundreds of Taxis arrayed about their dispatch and maintenance yards in the wee hours of the morning. Taxi’s are not unlike Police cars in this manner, inasmuch as they seem to be in perpetual motion and always in gear.

Drivers have described the system to me, shift work accomplished in long stretches behind the wheel during which they struggle to first pay the day’s lease on the car and then the fuel bill. Once this sum has been reached, whatever is left over is theirs to keep. They are functionally without a union, and vulnerable to the whims of politician and businessman alike. The overnight drivers also describe having to deal with cleaning up a lot of bodily fluids, the product of nightlife and its revelry.

from wikipedia

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) was established in 1971 with jurisdiction over the city’s medallion (yellow) taxicabs, livery cabs, “black cars”, commuter vans, paratransit vehicles (ambulettes) and some luxury limousines. The TLC was founded to deal with the growing number of drivers and to address issues important to both the taxi and livery industries. Its predecessor was the New York City Hack Bureau, operated under the aegis of the New York City Police Department. TLC Inspectors are New York State peace officers who carry batons, pepper spray, and handcuffs.

In the 1970s and 1980s both the unofficial livery services and the medallion taxicab companies began finding more and more of their drivers in the growing populations of black, Latino, and middle eastern immigrants to the city as the previous generation of cabbies retired and moved out of the city. Crime in New York City had become severe at this point, and cabbies were often the victims of robberies and street crime.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On a different note, a distinct point of interest is the Court Square Diner, which is a completely different structure at night than during the day. On this particular morning, despite my screaming desire for a cup of joe, the place was passed by and merely photographed. The whole “shooting at night” thing was produced by a bout of insomnia, after all, and the last thing that the sleepless needs is the sort of hot brown jet fuel sold at Court Square.

from courtsquarediner.com

Court Square Diner was built in 1946. Since then it has only had three ownerships.

The current owners, Steve and Nick have been in operation since 1991. When they had first purchased the diner, it was mainly a small diner for breakfast and lunch. In 2009, the Court Square Diner was renovated with an all new retro look. Now it is a full service 24 hour seven day a week successful diner complete with breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner. The delivery service is 24 hours a day seven days a week. All the baking for the diner is done on the premises.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 15, 2013 at 12:15 am

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