The Newtown Pentacle

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“Wet Paint,” said the sign.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A short break, wherein offerings at this, your Newtown Pentacle, will consist of lighter fare than that normally served is underway. Obligation and a series of deadlines have dominated all attention, and accordingly – for the next few days, singular images with a pithy yet abbreviated description will be supplied. One must render unto Caesar, after all.

There are now four public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn and two that walk the currently undefended border of the two boroughs.

Plank Road, with Newtown Creek Alliance, on April 19th. This one is free, click here to get on the list.

Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura, on April 26th. Click here for more info and ticketing.

DUPBO, with Newtown Creek Alliance and MAS Janeswalk, on May 3rd. Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on May 18th. Click here for more info and ticketing.

 

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 15, 2014 at 11:00 am

damp rock

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I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

For the last couple of weeks, an abundance of “business” has occupied my days and nights. Nothing I’ve had to do has been too extreme, but a surfeit of multiple hour long tasks has plagued me. Today, one needs to prepare to see the accountant later in the week and tie off last years tax obligations, but a point will be made to experience some “r&r” in the afternoon.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The good news is that after all these tasks are accomplished, I can get back to doing actual work. You know, the whole “walk around Queens and explore its amazing and oft occluded past” thing. The even better new is that a whole series of excursions which will allow me to share this wonderful place with others are coming as well, and some of them will even be free events.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As is my habit when so overwhelmed, Newtown Pentacle will be going into single image mode for the next few days. Keeping up with content discovery and capture is a bear sometimes, especially when constricted by the never ending series of storms and lousy weather which has so far made 2014 remarkable.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm

by surprise

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Cool atmospherics in Sunnyside.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One of those periodic blasts of duty has been upon me for the last week or so, a lot to do with little time to do it, and the rain last week didn’t help. Got in the way of one project, delayed two others, and obliterated any semblance of free time when precipitants fell not. Accordingly, rather than walking everywhere, as I just did not have the time, mass transit was utilized.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Unlike several of my friends, especially that walking encyclopedia of regional transport options – Kevin Walsh of Forgotten-NY, I generally don’t familiarize myself with transit lines that I don’t frequent. Limited space available on my internal hard drives, and the needs of the now often crowd out things I don’t need to use often. However, I was quite proud of myself while improvising a bus and train path on the fly, just the other day, which is how I ended up on the 7 train.

Normally, I’d just walk from Greenpoint to Flushing, as it’s only a few miles and carries one across a staggeringly interesting cross section of Brooklyn and Queens.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The good news is that the first walking tour of 2014 is now accomplished, on Saturday I did the “13 Steps around Dutch Kills” tour with Atlas Obscura, which was one of the many things I had to do last week. Next tour with the Obscura Society will be “The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek” on April 26, tickets are available here.

The reason I was heading to Flushing, and lucky enough to catch these cool atmospherics and lighting in Sunnyside, was to get some shots of the Unisphere for my Brownstoner column – check them out here.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

worried faces

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Would it kill you to smile?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

While riding the Subway in New York City, observation of the interesting social behaviors exhibited by the citizenry entertains. There are those who present the “pfft, ain’t no thing” and those who present the “what the hell are you looking at” and also present are the “please, for gods sake, do not notice me” lean. Others pretend to sleep, or stare blankly at the floor (that’s the one which I favor), while a small group of extroverts feel the need to shout and otherwise draw attention unto themselves. Then there’s the buskers.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There are Mariachi’s, young couples who perpetrate the “gypsy baby” scam, those three kids who dance and perform acrobatics. Worst of all are the religious zealots, whose clumsy attempts at evangelism are enough to drive one into the arms of Satan itself. Skillfully ignoring these buskers and con artists, or not, is what separates the true New Yorker from the tourist. The tourists are the worst, of course, breaking all of the unspoken rules of subway etiquette which “regular” riders subconsciously obey and enforce. Nobody smiles, the MTA has a rule against that.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My camera is always at the ready whenever entering these concrete bunkers with their pungent atmospheres, and one of the odd things I’ve noticed in recent years is the reaction some have upon seeing the device. Lens cap on and power switch off, they will stare at the camera in the manner one would watch the countdown clock on a bomb. I don’t understand this. Humans, they’re weird, and need to smile more often.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 2, 2014 at 10:54 am

recognizable passages

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One of those days, it’s one of those days.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Today’s the day that Copernicus’s “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium” was “withdrawn from circulation” in 1616 over religious exceptions to its blasphemy, which is not exactly a high point in history for the Roman Catholic Church. In 1770, the Boston Massacre (aka the Incident on King Street) set the stage for an American Revolution amongst the North American holdings of the British Crown to occur. In 1933, the Nazi party and its leader Adolph Hitler received enough of a majority in nationwide elections to dissolve the German government and establish a dictatorship. In 1946, Winston Churchill introduced the public to the term “Iron Curtain” for the first time – in Missouri, of all places.

March 5 is just “one of those days,” I guess.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In 1963, singer Patsy Cline died in a plane crash. She beat Joseph Stalin, who died a decade earlier from complications brought on by a stroke on March 5, 1953. More recently, in 2013 as a matter of fact, it was Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that suffered a cessation of his cardiac rhythms on March 5. Patsy Cline is the one to be missed out of this trio, as the two fellows were of the troublesome sort, and it would be crazy to want to see them again.

Today is also the 15th day of a month called Esfand, and it’s “National Tree Planting (or Arbor) Day” over in the Islamic Republic of Iran (additionally, it’s the year 1393 there, according to their Solar Hijri calendar).

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over in the middle kingdom of the People’s Republic of China, or “中国 or Zhōngguó” as they might call it, March 5 is “Learn from Lei Feng” day. Let your inner revolutionary flower, work for the proletarian masses today instead of selfishly poisoning minds, with your counterrevolutionary disestablishmentarianism and oppressively selfish bourgeois revisionism. Be like Lei Feng.

The Irish Saint Ciarán of Saigir enjoys a feast day on March 5th, which this year falls on Ash Wednesday, and he is one of the few Saints venerated for, or credited with, causing a castle roof to collapse on a company of rebel soldiers. Ciarán was only 29 when he went, and was way too young, if he ever existed at all. Lei Feng was only 21, and was likely fictional.

March 5th, 1982 is the day that John Belushi died. Belushi was real, but no saint.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 5, 2014 at 9:30 am

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