The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Subway

defined apprehensions

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Twirling, ever twirling.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The affability of recent climate has seen me visiting old haunts and novel locale alike in recent weeks, which might be described as having been a somewhat pleasurable set of experiences. That would mean, of course, that your humble narrator was actually capable of experiencing a sensation called “pleasure.” A series of dull events punctuated by occasional gastro-intestinal distress, all sorts of bacterial and viral infections, and the oft bizarre actions of others is the way one such as myself describes “Life.”

One bright spark in the otherwise gathering clouds of existential horror which plague me are unexpected moments of serendipity.

A train passing by can excite one endlessly, and reminds that “you have to appreciate the little things.”

In my case, it’s big things that go “thruuummmm thruuuuuuummmm thruuummmm” or “claaacckkclaaacckkclaaacckk” as they pass by, but I’m all ‘effed up.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Good days are ones where I’m not walking to go anyplace in particular. Days when I leave the house and decide only which compass point to walk toward. For some reason, its not east that often, as that’s usually looking into the light. Instinct always points my path towards water, no matter where I am. It was kind of interesting finding myself in Queens Plaza, which I used to inhabit back in 2009 and 2010 during the Queensboro Bridge Centennial period but which I mainly cross through these days on my way to someplace in Brooklyn or Hunters Point.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, Our Lady of the Pentacle had agreed to visit the Brooklyn Grange roof top farm here in Astoria with a friend of ours who subscribes to their CSA program and I tagged along. While they picked up some quality produce, I got busy with the camera. Serendipity at work, when I woke up that morning, seeing this vista overlooking the Sunnyside Yards and the Shining City of Manhattan was not on the menu.

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solitary presence

with one comment

Loathsomeness awaits, in the deep.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One is never more alone than when waiting for a Subway to arrive. Swaddled in stifling clouds of fungal spore ejaculate and those desiccated airborne particulates of rodent excrement which lend the dripping concrete caverns their particular perfume, the “system” must be the loneliest place on earth, despite the abundant representation of the human infestation whom are found therein. Depersonalization is a specialty of the “system,” which redefines individual personages as “ridership” and let’s everybody who uses it know that there is nothing special about them, whatsoever, despite whatever status they hold in the radiant world above.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In forgotten side tunnels and hidden chambers, all throughout the system, what might lurk? One does not forget the 1980’s, when rumors of a population of indigents who set up housekeeping in these antechambers abounded amongst the above ground population. Stories of grasping hands reaching up from sidewalk grates at small dogs and women’s ankles tantalized with latent horror, during that particularly dark age in the history of the megalopolis.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In Jackson Heights, mothers assure their children that the Rakshasha do not hide in the tunnels, as do the folks in Flushing when they tell their kids that there is no È Guǐ waiting to carry them off into the darkness down here. So too do parents console, on the south side of Williamsburg and all along the G and F lines, instructing that there are no Comprachicos hiding in these vaulted tunnels of rotting cement, waiting to make a meal of some toddler or small child. It should be pointed out that MTA workers never go anyplace alone in the system, and instead prefer to move in large groups.

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

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Written by Mitch Waxman

August 21, 2014 at 11:00 am

as offerings

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Renewing my call for commercial freight service on the NYC Subway.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One has mentioned this before: why does the NYC Subway system not offer commercial freight service during the overnight hours? How many trucks could be circumvented from ever entering Manhattan if a cargo train on the E tracks were to carry just Federal Express shipments from Kennedy airport to one of the hubs in Queens or Manhattan?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Rush hour is obviously not the time period which I’m proposing this, in fact, if the sun is up – it’s probably a bad thing to cause any interruption or delay in passenger service. I’m talking about the late nights, when most of the trains are running less than 10% full.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The MTA does it now, for themselves. Moving garbage and construction supplies around on modified rolling stock, as you see in the shots displayed above and below. They used to move cash around in similar manner, onboard the fabled “Money Train.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Load the cargo on at the Corona yard, or at the 36th street one in Brooklyn, or at Hunts Point in the Bronx – any of the final destination stops, really – and bring commercial shipments into the City’s heart via the Subways. Why not? It would reduce the number of trucks on the streets, and help eliminate some of the congestion entering and leaving in Manhattan below 96th street. It would also create a brand new revenue stream for the MTA.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The fly in the ointment would be getting the bulk cargo up out of the station, but that’s something that would be easy to engineer around and one thing NYC is not lacking in are legions of stout young citizens with strong backs and a work ethic. See, it would create jobs too.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

This weekend-

Sunday, August 3rd, Kill Van Kull Walking Tour
With Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 30, 2014 at 11:31 am

bottomless pit

with 2 comments

NYC is full of bowels, my friends, full of them.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Various travels and tribulations cause one such as myself to appear in different sections of the Megalopolis continually, and sometimes the distance is too great to walk in my allotted time. Luckily, most of my travels involve short hops on the Subway, but occasionally the end of the line is where I’m headed. Never a fan of being confined in a dripping wet concrete bunker full of rats and insectivorous life forms, the same discipline used while sitting in a Dentist’s chair is invoked, and I’m able to endure the experience. I’m sure that you, Lords and Ladies, do the same.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It is impossible, however, for my mind not to wander. Great effort is made not to make eye contact with the humans who infest this Megalopolis – they are changeable and can often be dangerous – when intervals of travel in these subterranean aluminum and glass boxes are thrust upon me. Often, my thoughts turn to how easy it would be to conceal unpleasantries down here – in some side tunnel or hidden chamber down here in NYC’s guts.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Morlocks, dough colored hairless lemurs, or other extant iterations of the monkey tribe could easily exist down here. The possibility of Rat Kings, basilisks, or even goblins existing in great numbers crosses my mind when on a long subway trip. Those hidden galleries, abandoned platforms, and the blue lit emergency exit points which flash by as the train moves along populate my mind with outlandish possibility.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s at the “end of the line” stations where my apprehension grows to unbearable proportion. Recently, on the 5 train as it neared its final destination deep in Brooklyn, the entire car emptied out. For more than three stops, a humble narrator rode alone, expecting some nightmare entity to board the train who would proceed to masticate and ingest me. Another lost soul, who disappeared after entering the system…

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, July 26th, The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek
With Atlas Obscura, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, July 27th, Glittering Realms
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 16, 2014 at 11:35 am

to fade

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The Stygian depths, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

After a glorious day, enjoying the emanations offered by the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself whilst wandering about the heart of the human infestation, one was forced into entering the underworld to return home. Neither heroic journey, nor some Campbellian metaphorical archetype, your humble narrator entered the vast network of verminous tunnels that underlie the metropolis with the intention of riding within those contrivances which ply them. Unfortunately, as one of those periodic service interruptions which plague the weekend was underway, the trains were crowded… and with families. Large families with hundreds of kids.

As a note, were I to have behaved in this manner in public – with or without my parents present – as soon as word of it reached them, they would have murdered me where I stood. A homicide – and I’m not kidding – and it would have been my mother who ended me.

Statements like this are how I know that I’m getting old.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Upon arriving at Queens Plaza, where my personal radar or “Spidey Sense” always tingles, I discovered three things.

The first was this rather bold graffito, whose meaning or intent is something unknown and that I can only speculate about. There are organized crime elements, of fearsome reputation, who use the number 13 as part of their “trade dress” or “branding” at work in western Queens – this might be them. As an old and solitary fellow, I really have no clue about such matters, although one suspects that more than a few could identify the tag and provide a back story.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The second thing encountered was what seemed to be a broken arrow, or perhaps the snapped wooden stick of a flag. It was arranged nearby the graffiti, so I like to think that some clandestine drama had played itself out here on the local side of the platform. All sorts of urban scenarios could have occurred, many of which might have ended with the above scene.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The third thing I found was a neighbor that was also returning home after a day spent out and about. The fellow greeted me and asked how I was doing. Tersely spoken, my reply was “that this city could use a good plague.” I could have offered “people walk around like they’re safe or something,” or one of the other favorite mottoes of youthful times. He seemed disturbed by my answer, and queried if I really meant that.

The human infestation can be a bit overwhelming sometimes, for a creature like myself.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There’s a Newtown Creek walking tour, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 15th, DUPBO – Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp
A FREE tour, courtesy of Green Shores NYC, click here for rsvp info

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 9, 2014 at 11:00 am

probably below

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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.

 

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 15, 2014 at 11:00 am

damp rock

with 2 comments

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.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm

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