The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘photowalk

these instruments

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It’s a real mess around these parts.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

So, here’s the skinny – bulk pickup and recycling day in my part of Astoria is Monday. More specifically, we are meant to stock the curb with refuse on Sunday nights. This routinely means that the neighbors and myself end up sitting on the clear plastic bags for a week or so, as legal holidays in January and February usually fall on a Monday. Problem is that snow storms seem to come on Sundays too, which further interrupts bulk and recycling pickup. Accordingly, there are mountains of garbage both within and on top of the mountains of rock hard ice lining the sidewalk. To wit, pictured above is a piece of what my friend Heather over at newyorkshitty.com would refer to as “feral furniture” found on Broadway. It’s sitting on top of a glaciated pile of recyclables.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Despite Christmas having come and gone some two months ago, holiday trees keep turning up on the pavement. This rather creative use of the corner waste pail was shot just last week, for instance. I don’t call these things the Astoria Tumbleweeds for nothing, y’know. My neighbor, a laconic Croatian lady who believes that cracking a smile might be deadly, simply offers that “it’s terrible” and blames the Mayor.

I don’t blame the Mayor, because the entire country seems to have been damned to Viking Hell (or more accurately “Hel”) and I don’t think that’s his fault. The Mayor is very tall, however, and just might be a Storm Giant (a Jotun),so he might be somehow complicit in the whole Viking Hell thing after all.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This Astoria Tumbleweed just revealed itself to me on Tuesday, emerging along with a pile of newspapers from a sunlit section of the ice pack. It’s actually sort of grim, seeing a Christmas Tree – in February – which has been preserved in the sidewalk ice. One half expects a Wooly Mammoth to be found over on 19th avenue or something.

Reflecting on the recent cold snap, my thoughts turned first to Rankin Bass Christmas specials (because of the Tumbleweeds, I suppose) which featured the brothers Heat and Cold Miser. That led to wondering about the famous “hundred words for snow” which are attributed to the Inuit peoples of the Arctic, and why there are comparatively so few adjectives attached to winter weather, as opposed to the rich tapestry available for summer. You never hear someone say “yeah, but it’s a dry cold” or “it’s not that cold, temperature wise, but Oy it’s so humid.” Winter has a lot of Germanic sounding ones – bitter, biting, brutal.

What do I know, I’m freezing and there’s frozen garbage everywhere.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 19, 2015 at 11:00 am

perhaps pining

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Wandering, always wandering with no particular place to go.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Sadly, licpost.com reports that the Waterfront Crab House in LICs’s Hunters Point neighborhood will be closing. Although I just found out about it yesterday, owner Tony Mazzarella died a few weeks ago, and his family is reportedly selling the former Miller Hotel. Condolences are offered.

The notorious Patrick “Battle-Ax” Gleason, who served as the last Mayor of Long Island City, used to sit in a barber chair outside the Miller Hotel – which is today the Crab House – and hold court with constituent and passerby alike. This was a favorite spot, directly across the street from the LIRR train and ferry terminal. He told those he met to avoid addressing him as “Mayor”, instructing them instead to “Just call me Paddy.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Normally, one would be complaining about the cold and snow, but after having seen some photos of the conditions in Boston – it comparatively looks like springtime here in the Newtown Pentacle.

Recently, I attended a meeting in Greenpoint that discussed the DEP/National Grid partnership which will purpose waste gas generated by sewage processing into a commercial product. At the end of the meeting, I found myself reminding a high ranking City official that DEP is a tax payer funded utility and that National Grid is an extra national publicly traded energy corporation. The two entities have developed a rather chummy relationship which is a real cause for concern, in my opinion. Wait till the DEP’s solid waste to energy partnership with Waste Management kicks in – that’s going to be quite a show.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The whole “deck over the Sunnyside Yard” business proposed by the Big Little Mayor recently has been occupying a significant amount of time. To say that this idea is less than popular with anyone who lives here would be an understatement. Activism wise, Queens seldom gets past a simmer whereas Greenpoint is at full steam all the time. The Sunnyside Yard deck, however, has ignited something out here that is reminiscent of the sort of situation John Lindsay found himself in. Queens is boiling.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 18, 2015 at 11:40 am

fully ascertained

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Yggdrasil, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Yggdrasil, as you may recall, is the world tree in Viking/Norse mythos. Its roots go down into the underworld of the undistinguished dead, Hel, and it crowns in the heaven of Asgard. There’s a dragon chewing at the deepest root, the so called “Midgard Serpent,” and there’s also a couple of tale telling squirrels who spend all their time running up and down the thing. Here in LIC, the closest thing we’ve got to this allegorical tree would be the Megalith, I guess. Often have I wondered how deep this sapphire dagger goes. Is it possible that the old adage “as above, so below” applies here?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Long has one warned of that malediction which cannot possibly exist in the cupola of this structure. An impossible thing which gazes rapaciously down upon this corner of the megalopolis, watching mankind with its unblinking three lobed eye and commanding a global army of mortal acolytes – surely this is a sick fantasy, the concoction or delusion of a paranoid mind. What sort of thing does not feel, nor breathe, nor sleep – but endlessly hungers instead? Imagine that if such a sky flung thing could exist, what its subterranean counterpart might be like?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

If “as above, so below” applies and that thing which cannot possibly exist in the sapphire Yggdrasil of Queens has an antipode in the ground, what might one expect to find some fifty three stories below LIC? I can attest that never have I witnessed messenger squirrels moving along the glassine surfaces of the Megalith but I’m not in any position to tell you what’s going on beneath it.

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

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm

somehow managed

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Some archive shots, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One surprising thing, as revealed by a recent spurt of ultra violent propaganda videos offered by certain extremist groups, is how easy it is to behead a human being. These terrorist fellows are using kitchen knives, it seems. I’ve known a couple of people who were employed as butchers, of the beef and pork sort, and they were fiendishly strong but man – those cabezas really just seem to pop right off with minimal effort. It seems like the only thing that poses any sort of resistance in the neck is the spine, which is sort of interesting to me. I once had a tooth extraction that went on for more than an hour back in the early 90’s, one which saw a stout 250 pound Hasidic Dentist prying the thing out of my head with a weirdly shaped set of pliers in some Brooklyn basement office over in Midwood. In retrospect, he could have had the whole head off in a few seconds, rather than just taking a piece out of it.

BTW, Here’s a NYC tip for you from a lifer - if you have to get a tooth pulled on New Years Day or Christmas, Hasidic Dentists don’t observe these holidays and they will generally be open or available to see you. The beard can be weird, especially with a Dentist, but my guy was wearing a hospital mask style bib over his.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The whole “beheading thing” however, has led me down a dark path while trying to research it. It seems that the reason northern European swords and Chinese Swords are generally pretty heavy is to bust the spine up whilst beheading. This led me to reading up on the whole “broken on the wheel” thing, and a general exploration of well known medieval practices that involve all sorts of ugly. All of this is horrifying of course, to a 21st century fellow who was lucky enough to have been born an American. The great thing about bullets, bombs, and all the other high tech goodies our culture utilizes to kill and behead is that we don’t have to get our hands all dirty.

Americans don’t chop off one head with some crappy kitchen knife, we blow a thousand heads off at a time in an increasingly accurate and cost effective manner. America is like Superman in many ways, the hardest part of any conflict is not utterly annihilating every living thing within the determined “kill box” and holding back from using all you’ve got.

Me, I’m a bit more Scipio Africanus in my outlook, and I happen to know where we can find large quantities of salt.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over the years, I’ve been stabbed, slashed, gashed, lacerated, scraped – you name it – regardless, I still find it shocking how easy it seems to be take off ones head. Why the expense and bother of the Guillotine, then? Why does an executioner carry that ridiculous axe in Europe, or Scimitar in Turkey and Arabia? In China, they use a pistol, or the old bailey, I’m told.

Unfortunately, I did click on the link to watch that immolation video, which is freaking horrible. One thing that jumped at me, however, is that whoever put that thing together is a pretty talented video editor. Not necessarily Hollywood level, but pretty talented, but doomed. Apparently, Superman is coming.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 13, 2015 at 12:28 pm

maniacal force

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A short one today

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Long Island Railroad, transiting Sunnyside Yard A just before sunset yesterday. A dollar short and a day late, I’ll be back tomorrow with something a bit more substantial.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 12, 2015 at 12:11 pm

unrecognizable pulp

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Subway thoughts, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The “R” is now one of the subway lines offering connectivity for cellular telephones, which I guess is somewhat handy for those last minute dinner negotiations with Our Lady of the Pentacle, but the presence of the beeping and chiming and people shouting into their phones distracts one such as myself from philosophizing. Doesn’t matter how crowded the train is, you’re always alone on the Subway, and that’s the only thing I ever really liked about the system. I miss those quiet moments where you could contemplate how and when you had screwed up that day, and had the opportunity to think about how “shit” your life has become. Now, it’s just more connectivity and distraction down there in the kingdom of the rats.

Conservatively speaking, I give it around ten years for the MTA to have figured out a way to pump location based advertising to your phone as you move from stop to stop. It’ll be an “opt in” scenario, which you’ll agree to automatically, by entering the system. This is the future, btw, and it’s going to seriously annoying. As you walk down the street, your phone is going to be buzzing away, bringing you personalized “beacon” based ads.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Subway thoughts often form in cascading waves, coinciding with the rising and falling tides of the suffering and apprehension which riding it brings. Accordingly, I budget my time for self recrimination to my commutes, which frees up the rest of the day for more profitable pursuits. That moment when one realizes that it is 5:45 and the R is approaching the always crowded 59/Lex station… Now, that’s a perfect interval to tear open emotional wounds, think about dead people, and examine ones recent mistakes, omissions, or screw ups. This way, when a monstrous crowd of sharp elbowed humans surges forth – you kind of feel like you deserve it.

Certain personal failings were paramount in my thoughts one recent evening, so when the “makeup girl” whipped out her phone and started playing some atonal ditty, and with “eat greasy stuff from a paper bag” lady and “so tired that I will lean against and sleep upon strangers” woman closing in around the pole I clung to, and along came “gigantic knapsack” man… the penitence for my sinful inadequacies seemed to be at hand. As they closed in around me, I thought of my beloved creek, which offers such a splendid isolation.

At least “Korean preacher who bad mouths gay people” guy wasn’t onboard, nor “Earwire,” or “Pretends to be a Gypsy with sick baby, but is really an Albanian with a borrowed and quite healthy niece” woman were also absent, and “Is anybody Hungry, I have sandwiches” man were nowhere to found.

It’s all so depressing, really.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Subway thoughts that mainly concern me, other than vague fear over the microscopic biota which populates the air and coats every surface within these traveling aluminum boxes, is purely one of puzzled annoyance. During warmer months, one has mentioned the charming MTA practice of only switching the air conditioning on when the train leaves Queens and enters Manhattan. The one that gets me during this frigid time of the year is actually the inverse, which is running the heat at full blast. Entering the system, from wintry streets above – I, for one – am clad in twenty nine pounds of insulating garments. From observation, I am not the only traveller who is so bundled, nor am I the only one who is visibly sweating after only one or two stops.

Good one there, MTA, good one.

As mentioned, you’re always alone on the Subway, even a crowded one. Me, I’m just always alone, and prefer to remain an outsider. No, really. I’d actually much rather be outside in the fresh air than trapped with all these humans on the train.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 11, 2015 at 11:00 am

directly upward

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Whence goeth I?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Despite my vulnerability to cold – hey, Superman’s got Kryptonite but he still gets out – last week I found myself wandering around Long Island City in what felt like a negative a thousand degrees air mass. Owing to my particular weakness, rather than walking from place to place, mass transit has been utilized. Of late, I’ve found myself on a staggering number of buses and Subway lines, which is a sobering reality for the inveterate pedestrian. Don’t forget, during warmer climes I routinely walk back and forth from Astoria to Red Hook. Funnily enough however, Long Island City – which is the concentrating point of rail and subway on Long Island – often forces you to walk great distances in search of conveyances. It’s virtually impossible to find a cab here as well, despite it being the de facto home of the Taxi industry.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Walking is my preferred methodology for getting around, of course. I detest using mass transit as it’s an admission of defeat. Problem is the derelict condition of the sidewalks – isn’t there a law about shoveling snow and clearing the pavement? There is such a law, but as in many other cases, the rules which the City of Greater New York enforces upon the citizenry does not apply to itself. I can actually spot city owned property by its unkempt state during the winter, and can report that when you’re in a municipal building things are not exactly “up to code.” There ain’t no water saving toilets or CO2 detectors readily visible on Chambers Street, in my limited observations of the municipal lairs. There are hundred year old marble stand up urinals, however, which are framed in black mold.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

At Queens Plaza, the old CN building complex has been obliterated. The Real Estate Industrial complex has seized control of the site, and construction crews are busily preparing the ground for yet another residential tower. I know what you’re thinking – “Wow, I’ve always wanted to live in Queens Plaza.” “Thank goodness that the “market” has finally responded to this desire, and I can have the 7 train and thousands of motor vehicles rolling right past my window 24/7.”

I hope that this new building will be one of the transformers – apartment towers which can autonomously turn into giant robots that defend the City – which are called “the CondoBots.” At the CN site, another one of the smaller transformers was sighted, that yellow earth mover in the shot above. It calls itself Diggity Dig Dig Dig. Nice enough cyber guy, but a bit single minded.

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