The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘weirdness

trackless and inexplicable

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Weird stuff happens in Greenpoint, all the time.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There are days when your humble narrator finds himself in esoteric places, far from the blessed hillocks which underlie almond eyed Astoria, and an alarming number of mass transportation options are required. On a certain day, in which I had been on the R and 4 lines of the subway and on the Staten Island Ferry twice, the latest leg of my journeys was accomplished onboard the East River Ferry and my goal was to get a few shots of the DEP Sludge Tank over in Greenpoint along the way.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Shortly, you will be hearing that the long maligned concrete structure found nearby the crux of Newtown Creek and the East River, which serves as the shoreline spigot which the sewer plant disgorges its product into the fleet of Sludge Boats that service the megalopolis, is slated to be demolished. One of the final stages of construction at the sewer plant, the assembly of a specialized dock on Newtown Creek’s tributary – Whale Creek – has been accomplished, and this structure is now outdated and redundant. Also, it’s in the way of a condo building which will be built as part of the Greenpoint Landing development and rich people don’t like seeing giant tanks of poop in their yards.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The riverfront property (Yes, I know, its a bleeding estuary, not a river. Look at a map, what’s it called? East Estuary? No? Then piss off) adjoining the Eagle Street sludge tank belongs to Bay Crane, and there’s something fairly odd going on there. There seems to be a structure made of shipping containers, which have cars in them, stacked five high and nine deep. It looks quite a bit like the Hot Wheels toy car case which a humble narrator was quite proud of back in grade school (ok, Junior High School).

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Incidentally - that’s the sludge tank, my intended subject, on the left side of the shot. One presumes that this is some sort of advertising or movie set, as this would be a damnably inconvenient spot to park. Especially with the East River Ferry pier in Greenpoint still out of commission.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

damnably irregular

with one comment

A curious bird, spotted in this dirty old part of the city, where the sun refuse to shine.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just the other day, a squamous thing wrapped in a dirty black raincoat was sashaying down sturdy Jackson Avenue and enjoying the glamorous environs of the Court Square section while anticipating, with palpitant heart, entering Queens Plaza when an odd avian seized all attentions. That squamous travesty, your humble narrator and faithful chronicler of all things odd here in the “Borough that Time Forgot,” accordingly stopped dead in his tracks and reached for the camera.

What, exactly, is up with those red and yellow feathers?

from wikipedia

Pigeons and doves constitute the bird clade Columbidae, that includes about 310 species. They are stout-bodied birds with short necks, and have short, slender bills with fleshy ceres. Doves feed on seeds, fruits, and plants. This family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in the Indomalaya and Australasia ecozones.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It all started when a path was being negotiated through a herd of these so called ferals. Birds know that no ill will is borne for their kind from one such as myself, and they seldom scatter when my path carries me through their chaotic gatherings on the pavement. This is an issue, as great effort is expended in the attempt not to crush or kick them while in mid step.

Whilst picking my way amongst them, one bird stood out from the pack.

from wikipedia

Feral pigeons (Columba livia), also called city doves, city pigeons, or street pigeons, are derived from domestic pigeons that have returned to the wild. The domestic pigeon was originally bred from the wild Rock Dove, which naturally inhabits sea-cliffs and mountains. Rock (i.e., ‘wild’), domestic, and feral pigeons are all the same species and will readily interbreed. Feral pigeons find the ledges of buildings to be a substitute for sea cliffs, have become adapted to urban life, and are abundant in towns and cities throughout much of the world.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Disturbingly heterogenous, Pigeons exhibit multitudes of colorations naturally, something the normal urban observer would readily acknowledge. Never has a bird of this speciation displayed anything like what’s depicted in these shots in my presence. A Pigeon with red and yellow wings is something new, to me at least.

Weird.

from phys.org

Various forms of a gene named Tyrp1 make pigeons either blue-black (the grayish color of common city pigeons), red or brown. Mutations of a second gene, named Sox10, makes pigeons red no matter what the first gene does. And different forms of a third gene, named Slc45a2, make the pigeons’ colors either intense or washed out.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It didn’t seem to be paint or dye, it should be mentioned, which would betray itself by causing the appearance of the feathers to be matted. This ain’t “photoshop” either, lords and ladies, as a note for the jaded or suspicious amongst you.

That’s a wild NYC Pigeon, with wings and a tail which are red and yellow, spotted on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City on the 9th of March in 2014 – just for the record.

from feralpigeonproject.com

Scientists have long wondered why feral pigeon populations show such plumage diversity compared to other feral animals. Generally, feral animals revert to the wild or ancestral type (in this case a blue-bar colouration), yet towns and cities are full of pigeons of a wide variety of colours. The question is, what causes this variation? Is it that female pigeons are choosing particular coloured males or vice versa? Are particular coloured pigeons more or less vulnerable to predation?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 14, 2014 at 11:30 am

regular pulsations

with one comment

In today’s post, more cast off clothing.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Whilst enacting my seemingly penitential and quite obligatory weekly walk to Greenpoint, this time for a Newtown Creek CAG meeting last week, a humble narrator was on the lookout for more examples of the “single shoe phenomena.” Oddly, one hasn’t witnessed a distaff member of a mated pair adorning the roadside middens in a few weeks. Back during the summer, it was difficult not to trip over one of them every time one left the illusion of safety offered by ones own rooms.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Opposite Calvary, this item was spotted instead, which appears to be a ladies undergarment, cast off to the mercies of Greenpoint Avenue. This is strange to me, as Our Lady of the Pentacle has explained to me on numerous occasions that such garments are quite costly.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The manner in which my brain functions demands that I attempt to explain things away, automatically generating a logical progression of probable events to explain the things I see.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Adolescent revelry comes to mind, with images of some freewheeling band of loose women and liquor fed boasting. Alternatively, darker scenarios form, but this is a family blog and salacious speculation is not the Newtown Pentacle way.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 28, 2013 at 10:24 am

almost homogeneous

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Xanthophobic horrors abound, here in the Newtown Pentacle.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

If light may be observed, and if its wavelength is between 570 and 590 nanometers, one can be reasonably assured that they are witnessing a color known as yellow. Xanthophobia is the fear of the color yellow, a sickness of the mind one must avoid at all costs, for contemplation of it serves only to populate the mad house. As a note- Sexual organs like the ones pictured above are likely to contain carotenoids- yellow and red pigments that are found in the chloroplasts and chromoplasts of plants and other photosynthetic organisms. These colorants are also present within certain algaes, amongst certain strains of bacteria, and even within fungi. All of them scare me, as I am afraid of the color yellow.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As a boy in Brooklyn, an aged neighbor named Klein farmed sunflowers, vast ugly things whose bee infested faces leered over the insufficient fence that separated his property from our own familial plot. Many a summer afternoon was passed by a young narrator in a state of mortal terror at the thought that Klein’s cyclopean flowers might achieve some form of malign sentience and free themselves from the ground.

A bizarre notion, but I was a very strange child, according to those who knew me in those days.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Commercial fisherman’s outerwear departments, safety vests, even the sudden appearance of a taxi- all can send one such as myself into a sickening spiral of hallucination and panic. It is no stretch to say that the DC comics superhero Green Lantern and I would have a lot in common and would find quite a few things to converse about concerning the subject of the color yellow.

It goes without saying that riding the otherwise wholesomely orange Staten Island Ferry can sometimes be so unbearable to me…

Upcoming Tours

Saturday – October 19, 2013
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale now.

Sunday- October 20th, 2013
The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek with Brooklyn Brainery- tickets on sale now.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 17, 2013 at 7:30 am

suffocating crawl

with 2 comments

Moon crazed scenery in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Finally, the swelter and perspiration choked season of summer has ended, as signaled by the appearance of the eye of Hecate in the eastern sky. One such as myself normally enjoys the summer, but the season just passed in 2013 bore more than a passing verisimilitude to tropical climes, weather which produced naught but dripping perspiration and dangerous levels of ennui. The filthy black raincoat has left the closet and hangs upon a hook awaiting a return to duty and its winter campaign. Finally, it is spooky time once again, in the Newtown Pentacle.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Diana is best appreciated when she hangs over the water, say I, lending her bluish glowings to the inky waves of NY Harbor. That glow is the reflected magnificence of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself, of course, which travels through weird wavelengths on its journey to the water. My little dog Zuzu is often in an odd psychological state during this time of the month. The moon provides a psychological menses for the canine race, during which they are prone to nervous barking and short tempers. Perhaps the keen sensory prowess for which Zuzu’s kind are renowned are cogent enough to realize that which we can or choose not to witness, and that the dogs know something about the planetoid which we dross primates cannot discern.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Selene herself appeared before me recently, her position in the sky during the autumn months is complimentary to the position of Newtown Pentacle HQ upon the earth, and one decided to break out the whole kit and kaboodle to capture her likeness. Using one of my worst (albeit “longest”) lenses, whose already spotty resolution was further degraded by the use of a “teleconverter”, I managed to pull the shot above off somehow. This was a tripod shot, which is a necessity when attempting anything involving the night sky with a somewhat telescopic lens attached. I set the camera to f18, iso 100, and left the shutter open for nearly a full second. The moon is nearly as bright as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself, despite appearances to the human eye, and it is quite a challenge to capture in a fashion acceptable for one such as myself.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday- September 28, 2013
Newtown Creek Boat Tour with the Working Harbor Committee- tickets on sale now.

Saturday – October 19, 2013
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale soon.

Sunday- October 20th, 2013
The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek with Brooklyn Brainery- tickets on sale now

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

 

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 24, 2013 at 12:59 pm

dangerous aggregation

with 3 comments

Single shoes, everywhere.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently observed, a midden in Maspeth on a street called Rust.

Variegated, the pile bore evidence of disregard for both the sanitary disposal of litter on the part of the populace and the indifference of municipal authorities in Queens to the borough’s native art form- illegal dumping.

My interest in the phenomena of the single shoe was piqued when it was noticed that were in fact 4 different shoes in this pile, none of which matched.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Classy, these pumps were at the far right of the pile, which was well on its way to providing a subject to explore for the doctorate of some future archaeologist. An odd thing, the presence of a soda can redeemable for its deposit was present, despite the attentions of the armies of bottle collectors who patrol the streets of Queens during the nocturne.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A castaway doll, somehow menacing in aspect, was incorporated into the midden. I suspect that this was a Barbie doll when purchased, but one such as myself is unfamiliar with such injection molded toys for children.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A white and gold ladies shoe, sporting a prodigious heel and open toes, lay alongside a slightly more sensible choice for one walking about the industrial corridor which adjoins that cataract of squalid reputation which is known to modernity as the Newtown Creek.

Prior discussion of the single shoe phenomena can be inspected here, here, here, and here.

Want to see something cool? Upcoming Walking Tours

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

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, August 10, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

13 Steps around Dutch Kills- Saturday, August 17, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 9, 2013 at 7:30 am

any limit

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Do you smell that?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Waiting for a train, and I mean a specific train of a certain line rather than just whatever might be headed toward Manhattan, entails acceptance of the fact that one must endure several pneumatic blasts of powderized rat droppings carried in the slipstream of more frequently serviced lines.

Mold, bacterial specie, and fumes generated by decaying electrical switches (as well as other more esoteric bits of equipment) are also incorporated in this refreshing torrent of miasma. Welcomed, as the static mass of air down under Broadway in Astoria (and in the subway system citywide) is a concatenation of horrors, an unmoving and highly humid jelly of stink and reprobate contamination which is at least set into a sort of motion by the action of piston leaving concrete cylinder which one might describe as a breeze.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The gentleman in the shot above noticed, as did I, certain queer movements down upon the tracks as some squamous army marched about in the fetid trickles of sewage running and pooling about in the intervals betwixt the train propelled clouds of pneumatically driven stink.

A plague of rats has tormented the neighborhood found between the Steinway and 46th street stops along Broadway for several months now, conditions accelerated and excaberated by the phenomena which is derogatorily referred to as “Bloomblight” by area wags. Named for the current Mayor, the term refers to a building lot which has been cleared of structures but has been left as an open pit while awaiting building development, in complete disregard for the safety and domestic tranquility of existing residents. Two such plots have lain open on Broadway, between the two stops, for quite awhile.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Puff after puff of vomitous stink and poisonous air follow these trains and bathe riders in contaminant particulates- and between these arrivals and departures- one is treated to a different sort of commute- that which is enacted by the nightbreed rodents.

One wonders if this vermin habitation and community, whose true size is seldom glimpsed or only ever hinted at, marches to and from Manhattan on a daily schedule as we do? Do they have some potentate there, as we do, to whom allegiance is expected? Are there rats who stay local, proclaiming the glories of their outer borough and quite subterranean lair, as we do? Do they brag about the quality and diversity of restaurant garbage in Queens?

Is there a rat 311 which they can call to complain of traps and poisons?

After all, lords and ladies, as above so below- and who can guess, all there is, that might be buried down there?

Want to see something cool? Upcoming Walking Tours

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

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, August 10, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

13 Steps around Dutch Kills- Saturday, August 17, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 8, 2013 at 7:30 am

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