The Newtown Pentacle

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sorry planet

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Something else that’s kind of odd.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills is currently a giant block of toxic ice, and I think the EPA is missing a big opportunity to just lift the water up and scrape away the black mayonnaise while the getting is good. That’s just a crazy idea, not the odd thing, however. This shot is looking south towards the estimable Long Island Expressway truss bridge over Dutch Kills, with the infinity of Brooklyn found just beyond the lugubrious Newtown Creek.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking in the opposite direction, towards the Dutch Kills turning basin and the Degnon Terminal. This is a familiar view, of course, and one of my favorite points of view along the entire Newtown Creek. As you can see, there was a fresh layer of snow recently deposited. That’s where the odd thing comes in.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Tracks were observed in the fresh snow, some of which were easy to classify. These were clearly left by a web footed bird, likely a Canada Goose due to their size and indication of gait. Also could have been a large gull. That’s still not the odd part.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

These tracks in the snow covering Dutch Kills, this is what was odd. Some of these repeating shapes can easily be chalked up to garbage rolling along the surface of the snow, driven about by the cold wind. As a fairly obvious note, I shot these differently than the photos at the top of the post, intentionally under exposing them and desaturating the color so as to capture the detail and render the textures of the snow.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I can explain away most of these oddly mechanical looking impressions in the snow. That curving series of parallels – that’s a shoebox sized box. One cannot, however, reconcile the series of circular impressions. The circular impressions – that’s what was really odd. Also, it was odd that I was out at all as it was something like ten degrees Fahrenheit outside.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 26, 2015 at 11:00 am

afterward gave

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More photos from an ice choked Newtown Creek.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The scene, as witnessed in DUGABO – Down Under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge Onramp, along Newtown Creek’s so called Marion Reach. Vast sheets of ice, carried by the languid tidal action of the Creek, headed towards the East River. These shots were captured during the brief warmup on Sunday last, and let me tell something that photos cannot convey – the smell was… even by Newtown Creek standards… incredible.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a combined sewer outfall on the Queens side, right where those ripples you see in the shot above are emanating from. With melt water feeding the system, it was releasing a month’s worth of frozen stink. The smell of raw sewage is unique, and has no odiferous analogue. Like the smell of death, you instantly recoil from it, and the best way to describe it is to compare it to the taste sensation enjoyed when licking a 9 volt battery’s contact leads.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

These piles are on the Brooklyn side, nearby the Metro bio fuel plant on Kingsland Avenue. Speaking of oil, I heard back from the NYS DEC about the flowing oil I reported and described in yesterday’s post nearby the Pulaski Bridge. They believe the material observed was actually creosote oil being released from the wooden “Dolphins” which protect the bridge from allision with maritime traffic.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Tugboat Ireland seems to have taken up a somewhat permanent residence on Newtown Creek, and was tied up at the Tidewater building. My understanding is that the former petroleum facility is now owned by the Broadway Stages company, and is being used for theatrical productions as an industrial set. Perhaps the Broadway Stages people bought Ireland as well? If so, that’s some expensive window dressing.

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cumbrous devices

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Just a short one today

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Spotted this frozen over vehicle on Woodside Avenue, near its intersection with Northern Blvd. just the other day. The entire thing seemed to be encased in about an eight of an inch of clear ice. Fascinating, at least to me.

Back on Monday with something a bit meatier for you to bite into Lords and Ladies.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 20, 2015 at 11:28 am

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?

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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

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