The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘signage

old but empty

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Signs and portents, portents and signage.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The problem with literacy is that one is constantly bombarded with instructions, warnings, and messaging whilst moving about the megalopolis, the visual field carries an unavoidable flood of missives adjuring one to follow posted directives. Reading, for one such as myself at least, is an instant and unavoidable pathway directly into the brain. In a city like New York, everyone from the municipality to the neighbors enjoy leaving little notes around the place which are designed to alert, adjure, or advise.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Visual clutter has and will always be a part of urban life, the Romans probably had little chunks of carved rock hanging about reminding citizens to visit the Appian Way or to pick up after their slaves. There’s probably a cuneiform tablet in the British Museum which was designed to warn the citizens of Ur not to litter or face a fine, or a polychrome sketch adorning a cave wall in France that advises its audience to avoid the sticky situations around tar pits.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Having worked in the advertising industry for many years, your humble narrator is guilty of having helped to propagate this clutter, which is just part of the long list of things which I feel guilty about. The things I’d like to see on signs these days- missives such as “politicians are your employees,” or “don’t try to argue with cops on the street,” don’t seem to make it past the cutting room floor, of course.

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Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, June 22, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

The Insalubrious Valley- Saturday, June 29, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

Modern Corridor- Saturday, July 13, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 19, 2013 at 9:14 am

found unconscious

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Whilst roaming about Long Island City recently, one has come to the realization that the long economic doldrums affecting and stultifying the rapacious desires of the Real Estate Industrial Complex have seemingly come to an end. A recent flurry of high profile constructions, demolitions of centuried warehouses, and industrial tumult points to this fact.

Accordingly, this means that several long standing structures are likely not long for this world.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Your humble narrator has little need for sprockets, bearings, or pulleys. However, this business on Jackson Avenue hosts a charming mid 20th century bit of signage which answers some need which dare not speak its name within me. A resume and history of “Century Rubber Supply” is beyond my capability or desire to delve into, and I’ve never shopped there, I just like their signage. Enormous construction efforts are underway all around the diminutive structure, and the rest of the block it occupies has shed itself of tenants.

In Long Island City, this indicates that the bell is tolling.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The malign ideation that dwells within the Megalith and its infinite army of acolytes seem to be on the right side of history. Sooner than later, one fears, the idiosyncratic wonders of Long Island City will soon be entirely replaced by shield walls of glass and steel.

Bland homogenization which stinks of the Crypto Fascist theories of LeCorbusier ruling the future is my fear, but that’s an opinion, and like the anus- everyone has one.

A singular question which will stain the lips of all the still unborn Queensicans of future times, I fear, will be: “where might I buy some sprockets?”. The very old folk who remember an earlier time will remain silent when their children offer this query, lest what else may have been lost is asked about.

reflecting ribbon

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

These shots emanate from a time in the past, an era when a young George W. Bush taught us all how to laugh. The colorful display, unfortunately, no longer graces the tableau found at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Steinway Street. A car wash still inhabits the spot, but the variegated signage has since been removed and replaced by the banal.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The prevailing light and atmosphere of 2012′s last couple of weeks is epitomized, I think, by the shot above. A sincere desire to drink in chromatic splendor demanded that the first shot in today’s post be displayed, in order to break up the fungoid monotony of December.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 29, 2012 at 12:15 am

doorless corridor

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve probably been walking past this sign for better than a year. Never actually took the time to notice it, let alone grab a shot or two. Just the other day, a casual glance caused me to register its message and delightful usage of the English language, and frozen in his tracks was a humble narrator. I can almost work out the accent of the guy who made this sign.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

To start with, I really like the idea of an inconvenience station, even if it is spelled in a rather creative fashion. Not only is the idea of a centralized location wherein one may be inconvenienced an extremely New York City sort of thing, and especially a “Queens thing”, but this might be a great- albeit “temperory”- addition to the new Queens Plaza.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 8, 2012 at 12:15 am

shutters attached

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Portents and other warnings are manifest everywhere in the Newtown Pentacle- informing, catechizing, and warning. Some instruct the reader to beware, others caution against, some merely advise, while several specifically forbid. A belief exists that if one posts a missive on a signboard, it indicates “due diligence” or extends the authority and regulations of a certain property owner onto the public thoroughfare.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Some, like this one, speak to impermanence and suggest broad strokes of demographic inspiration and desire. Spotted on the streets of Astoria, the services offered might allow my neighbors to address me as “Mitch” rather than “Mits”, “Midge”, “Meetche”, or “Meedzeche”.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Relict, and perhaps a half century old, signage found along the gates of Mt. Zion Cemetery adjures passerby from violating the sanctity of this ancient place where the Maspeth Gypsies once camped.

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