The Newtown Pentacle

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long sleep

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“…To the last, I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart, I stab at thee; for hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Moby Dick quotation above, made famous by Ricardo Montalban in his role as Star Trek’s Khan, is something I recently said to a Time Warner Cable representative. The latest round of outages in Astoria began with the lightning storms that provided the ramp up to the 4th of July holiday. Storm damage is understandable, but this had nothing to do with weather. Instead, it was just another one of their periodic screw ups which randomly black out cable modems and TV screens in the neighborhood. Luckily, we only use the internet service that these clowns offer, but upstairs – Mario and Dario could not watch their beloved World Cup.

You stand between Croatians and their soccer at your peril, I will warn you.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The usual dance with the TWC call centers ensued, the one where you speak first to a Canadian who “is all aboot getting yer service restored” but can’t actually do anything as she’s works for a third party company whose job can be basically described as “delaying tactics.” Understanding their woeful system as I do, I mentioned the word “FIOS” several times, which allowed me to skip up the managerial levels until I finally spoke to someone in NYC. This TWC employee actually admitted that there was an outage in my area, which is a bit of a victory on the TWC front.

If there was an award for “sucking,” TWC’s system would be placing a lot of little statues on its shelves.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This time around, it took around two days for them to get the system back on. It’s still sort of tremulous, with the signal turning on and off several times a minute, and I find myself plugging and unplugging the TWC modem a few times a day to restart or refresh the connection with the central switch. The issues with their network have much to do with the nightmarish wiring job they’ve installed around the neighborhood, and I find the infinity loop of wire pictured above to be a rather appropriate symbol for what its like dealing with the de facto monopoly of suck that is TWC.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

July 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm

waking experiences

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The big rigs, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

When I was a young narrator, I had a friend named Ronnie. Ronnie adorned his walls with posters, most of which featured engenues and actresses. Farrah Fawcett sat next to Heather Locklear over his bed, and the Trans Am driven by Burt Reynolds in the “Smokey and the Bandit” movie series was also given a special place. Ronnie also liked trucks, especially the Peterbilt brand. Ronnie is long departed from this mortal coil, as is Farrah Fawcett, but the trucks remain.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I spotted this somehow sinister seeming convoy the other day, as it thundered across one of the truss bridges carrying traffic over the Sunnyside Yards. A sense of latent menace which they projected – I think a came from the tight, almost military, formation in which the trucks were being driven. Also, the tinted windows on the drivers cabin helped promulgate a certain air of mystery about the purpose and intentions of this convoy.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Hanging around industrial zones, as one does, a useful habit I’ve acquired is to not walk in front of a vehicle or piece of construction equipment without first making eye contact with and then being acknowledged by its operator. Perhaps this is why the tinted windows disturbed me so. Mayhap too little sleep had been enjoyed before I stumbled out of the house, or it was the loud music that my headphones were playing which had put me into an agitated state. Either way, the convoy seemed to be up to something sinister, here in Sunnyside. One thing I can tell you for sure – my old friend Ronnie would have hung any of these three shots up in his room, but none of them would have displaced Farrah or Heather.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

July 8, 2014 at 11:00 am

simple minded

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Fireworks in Queens, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 4th, my neighbors Mario and Dario and I climbed up the little ladder which leads up to the roof hatch and surmounted our building. Arriving up at tar beach, we discovered that just about everyone else in Astoria had the same idea. Our view of the horizon and the Macy’s Fireworks show on the East River was hopelessly occluded, but who needs Manhattan’s little spectacle?

Queens never disappoints.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Off in the direction of Old Astoria, where the Triboro and Hells Gate Bridges can be found, the neighborhood was oddly quiet. There were the occasional detonations, as pictured above, but by Astoria standards – not too much was going on.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It was the to southeast where the action was going on, and it seemed that Woodside was competing with Sunnyside and Maspeth from my vantage point.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

July 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

desperate care

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Happy Independence Day week, lords and ladies.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Whew. It’s been a very busy June for your humble narrator, and as has become a tradition at this – your Newtown Pentacle – when a holiday week is upon us, single images devoid of verbose description will be offered. At the beginning of the month, a trip to the Queens Zoo at Flushing Meadow Corona Park was enacted for my Brownstoner Queens column, and all the shots presented this week were collected during that excursion.

Pictured above is a Bald Eagle.

I’ll be back next week with “real” postings, after I’ve had a chance to take a breath and eat some BBQ.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

July 4, 2014 at 11:00 am

lean notary

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Shots from all over the edge of a Long Island.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a cargo ship was unloading a load of concrete manufacture supplies. The ship was performing the unloading process all by itself, with a series of swing out booms and cranes with mechanical buckets and shovels all busily employed. These shots were all gathered during the Solstice, when everything looks a bit ethereal, as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is in its position of annual primacy over the megalopolis.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

You can’t see the Williamsburg Bridge lit like this during winter time, as the angle of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is considerably less efficacious. My camera’s color and light meters were all over the place when I shot these, as what would normally be thought of as afternoon lighting lasted well past 6 pm – I think this particular shot was from around 6:30-7. Notice the wild angle that the light is falling at – longest day of the year light.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is from pretty late in the day, as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is finally slipping down past the shield wall of Manhattan. It depicts my beloved Newtown Creek, as shot from a familiar spot on the Pulaski Bridge. It’s a handheld shot, and is a bit grainy, but there was just something wonderful about the scene – couldn’t resist.

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There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, June 28th, The Poison Cauldron
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 29th, The Insalubrious Valley
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

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