The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘weirdness

dangerous aggregation

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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

bewildering jarring

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Today’s post is of an entirely pedestrian manner.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

For about a year, I’ve been noticing this odd pattern all around the Newtown Pentacle, wherein a seemingly discarded single shoe is left conspicuously placed. As mentioned often, my particular curse is to notice everything, and these castaway garments have captured no small amount of my attentions. What’s odd about this is not that someone is discarding an item in the street, a common enough occurrence, its that shoes come in pairs and you seldom discharge one from service but keep its antipode. The boot in the shot above was in Astoria, at the corner of 43rd street and 34th avenue.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp, or DUPBO as I refer to it, is a spot beloved by those that engage in the native art form of Queens- illegal dumping- and it is unsurprising to see entire wardrobes of clothing abandoned here. I once saw an entire dining room set down here, posed as if it was awaiting the gathering of a family to dinner.

Yet, once again, you find a single shoe.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just as the weather began to warm up in 2013, a change in the pattern was observed.

Suddenly shoes began to appear in matched pairs.

This shot is from Northern Blvd. nearby Steinway Street in Queens. At first, it seems almost normal, just a pair of abandoned shoes. Unfortunately, that’s what triggers another of my curses- which is to ask “Why?” Why would somebody remove their shoes on a busy glass strewn road, and in front of a gas station? What is the logical chain of dominoes which fell into place that brought this footwear to this particular spot? Was it the Rapture?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Presumptively, the fellow who carefully placed this abandoned set of kicks on 30th avenue and 45th street had another pair ready to go, but why not change them out at home? My habits, at least, include the sustained usage of footwear when out of the house. It is one of my deeply held beliefs that unless you’re arriving at the beach, park, or a pool and find yourself removing your shoes when out of the house- you’re either in need of medical attention or being arrested and searched (or visiting someone who made the calamitous decision to buy light colored carpets). I stay laced, but that’s me.

I grew up in a version of New York which considered smashing beer bottles on the sidewalk as being huge fun, and a City in which wearing heavy boots was an absolute necessity which had nothing to do with fashion.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The pair above were encountered in on Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside, and for once I had a witness along (Hi Tim) who can attest that they were neatly set out upon a stoop. Probably some generous soul, we surmised, setting out used shoes for the needy. Still, I wonder, and need to invoke my secondary curse. “Why”?

Personally, I have never set a pair of shoes on the curb with such a motive, and am puzzled by the offer of such back handed charity. Also, having personally known “the needy”, I can report that I’ve never seen one of them grab a pair of curbside shoes and say “huzzah.”

What is the worst part of going bowling, and if you need to wear someone else’s shoes, would it be any of these?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just the other day, on Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn- nearby Greenpoint Avenue and the Newtown Creek- a single shoe awaited me as I shambled past. It was sporty model, meant for a right foot. Back to my first curse, the one which compels me to carry a camera around and obsessively record everything encountered, and an odd detail about each and every shoe displayed in these shots- which is that they all have their laces arranged neatly.

Just to reiterate my belief that there’s something odd going on here, and demonstrate that this is “a thing” – check out the great Cecil Adams over at “The Straight Dope” struggle with the phenomena.

Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

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 27, 2013 at 1:28 am

artificial means

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Maritime Sunday is suspended again this week, so as to incorporate the timely but dire warning that another Abomination has been spotted, moving freely through the community. This time the sighting was on Greenpoint Avenue in Sunnyside, whereas the last place and time I reported that such an entity walked amongst us was in Manhattan, back in December of 2012.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The beast had taken up station on the block opposite the park, and in some wild pantomime of clumsy gesticulations admonished passersby to accept a script of some kind. The blood chills thinking about what sort of bargain might be offered by such a creature, and one wonders if there are some things which might well be worth any cost.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The whirring staccato of my camera shutter attracted the attention of this rodent of great size, no doubt due to its overdeveloped auditory capabilities. Irregular coruscations of the cardiac action ensued deep within your humble narrator when the great beast suddenly stiffened and began to turn towards me, for given the speed legendarily attributed to its kind an attempt at escape would be, at best, a fruitless endeavor.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Cruelly baleful in expression, the monster fixed me in its glare while baring monstrous teeth, which were not fangs, instead its mandibular apparatus appeared to be bare plates of bone whose prominent shape and appearance reminded one of nothing less than the steel blades of jack hammers. ThIs halfling hare was around one and three quarter meters tall, and seemed both sturdily built and well armored by a dense hide which tended to hang loosely about its presumably sinewy limbs.

Watch your back out there today, it may be Easter Sunday, but this Abomination was lurking around, on the sunny side of the Newtown Pentacle, just yesterday.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 31, 2013 at 4:06 am

nitrous wheezing

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent readings on the Satanic Cult panics of the 1980’s and 90’s, the most famous of which was the infamous McMartin case in California, revealed that a manual for the Pagan community on how to avoid circumspection was published. Its title included the phrase “How to Appear Harmless”, which struck one such as myself with a deep whimsy. Much effort is expended on my part, in order to dissuade the local gentry from lighting torches and picking up pitch forks as I near.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering about, exposed to prying eyes and on foot, one must be concerned about not just sentry men, guard dogs, and violent neighbors but with the more esoteric hazards presented by Queens. While consumed with such paranoid mutterings, this odd drawer of bubbling black slime was noticed on a deserted stretch of 37th avenue at the border of Sunnyside.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The locale is defined by the presence of a large municipal property, an enormous and ethnically Korean church, and the tracks of the Long Island Railroad. Deserted on the weekends and evenings, the street largely serves as a thoroughfare for traffic moving between the Home Depot on Northern Blvd.’s 48th street exit and 43rd street.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Initial supposition that this was merely a manifestation of the native art form of Queens- illegal dumping- was complicated by the complete lack of smell. It wasn’t paint, and it sure wasn’t oil. What the fuligin substance was is anyone’s guess, I suppose.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An impulse to poke at it with a stick was suppressed, as repeated viewings of the classic horror movie “The Blob” have taught me that such activity might allow a viscous entity of malign intelligence or intent egress to unprotected flesh.

Also:

Remember that event in the fall which got cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy?

The “Up the Creek” Magic Lantern Show presented by the Obscura Society NYC is back on at Observatory. 

Click here or the image below for more information and tickets.

lantern_bucket

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 22, 2013 at 12:15 am

trembling protest

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just the other day, one was strolling along Jackson Avenue in Long Island City and enjoying the late afternoon haze of auto exhaust when I decided to avoid a group of rough and aggressive looking youngsters by ducking down a dead end called Dutch Kills Street. Haughty and diffident, these unscrupulous looking minors had perhaps reached the third grade, but realizing that they have spent their short lifetime playing violent video games and were therefore potential killers, your humble narrator decided to walk the familiar path of ignominy and hide from them.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Such physical cowardice has often proven to be the better part of valor for one such as myself, a shunned and awkward thing which resembles a man. Dutch Kills Street, where the native art form of Queens (illegal dumping) is practiced wholly, is overflown by structures sprouting out from the Great Machine at nearby Queens Plaza. Vehicular traffic departing and approaching the mighty Queensboro bridge hurtles along overhead, and the street grade lanes end at the fence lines of the titan Sunnyside Yards..

- photo by Mitch Waxman

At the end of the street was observed another of the curious shoes which I’ve been noticing scattered around in similarly desolate locales over the last few months. Odd bordering on obsequious, the presence of just one half of the mated pair- again and again- just makes a little bell go off in my head when I see it. It is common to see all sorts of domestic and personal goods scattered about the neighborhoods surrounding the fabled Newtown Creek, but the homogeneity of these singular shoe sightings simply suggests something sinister and suspicious.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The rough looking group of third graders had noisily passed the intersection of Jackson and Dutch Kills, heading towards Tower Town down in Hunters Point. They were assembled in a “skirmish line” formation, walking abreast of each other while in the company of a group of women who seemed to have some measure of control over their movements. Some of these women had far younger children with them, who were being transported in bizarre cart like machines- whose appearance I did not like, I should add- which I found disconcerting. Your humble narrator hid behind a pile of trash for awhile, then fled the scene with haste.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 11, 2013 at 2:57 am

edge away

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Play time is almost over now. The Honeymooners Marathon is coming on New Years, which signals that only a few days are left before the blistering reality check of a January morning. With the holidays and Mayan Apocalypse out of the way, it’s nearly time to knuckle down and get “back in session”. For today’s post though, musing contemplations and foolish wondering rule the hour.

The shot above, incidentally, is from a place called Oia on a island called Thira which is the likely inspiration for the legend of the lost city of Atlantis.

from Azathoth By H. P. Lovecraft, courtesy hplovecraft.com

When age fell upon the world, and wonder went out of the minds of men; when grey cities reared to smoky skies tall towers grim and ugly, in whose shadow none might dream of the sun or of spring’s flowering meads; when learning stripped earth of her mantle of beauty, and poets sang no more save of twisted phantoms seen with bleared and inward-looking eyes; when these things had come to pass, and childish hopes had gone away forever, there was a man who travelled out of life on a quest into the spaces whither the world’s dreams had fled.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Too much time spent in contemplation and peaceful idyll is not a good thing, in fact it’s the proverbial “devils playground”. Wasteful thought processes play out, which are unproductive and annoying to those around me. One wonders how much longer these unfortunates will subject themselves to a creature like myself.

The shot above, by the way, is from a different island. One which hosts a 16th century castle built and lost by Venetians and later held first by Ottoman and then Greek. It once served as the headquarters of a confederacy of pirates whose fleet menaced Egyptian, British, and French shipping during the early 19th century.

from H. P. Lovecraft Letter to Farnsworth Wrigth (July 27, 1927), in Selected Letters 1925-1929 (Sauk City, Wisconsin: Arkham House, 1968), p.150., courtesy wikipedia

Now all my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large. To me there is nothing but puerility in a tale in which the human form—and the local human passions and conditions and standards—are depicted as native to other worlds or other universes. To achieve the essence of real externality, whether of time or space or dimension, one must forget that such things as organic life, good and evil, love and hate, and all such local attributes of a negligible and temporary race called mankind, have any existence at all.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

During these dark days of winter, a humble narrator dreams of sunshine and warmth and the sweetness of fresh bread dipped in honey consumed with the blackest of coffees. Such pleasures, however, are neither deserved nor imminent. The time is come, finally, to stare into any and all available abysses- and return to my lonely path. It is once again the hour of the wolf, here in the Newtown Pentacle. Of course, we’ve got that Honeymooners Marathon, as George the Atheist reminds. (Mr. GTA did a post documenting the moving of the Civic Virtue statue at his own blog, btw, check it out here)

Also, the shot above illustrates the shoreline of yet another island, one where European Civilization is considered to have been born roughly 5,000 years ago.

from “The Doom That Came to Sarnath” by H. P. Lovecraft, courtesy wikisource.org

There is in the land of Mnar a vast still lake that is fed by no stream, and out of which no stream flows. Ten thousand years ago there stood by its shore the mighty city of Sarnath, but Sarnath stands there no more.

It is told that in the immemorial years when the world was young, before ever the men of Sarnath came to the land of Mnar, another city stood beside the lake; the gray stone city of Ib, which was old as the lake itself, and peopled with beings not pleasing to behold. Very odd and ugly were these beings, as indeed are most beings of a world yet inchoate and rudely fashioned. It is written on the brick cylinders of Kadatheron that the beings of Ib were in hue as green as the lake and the mists that rise above it; that they had bulging eyes, pouting, flabby lips, and curious ears, and were without voice. It is also written that they descended one night from the moon in a mist; they and the vast still lake and gray stone city Ib. However this may be, it is certain that they worshipped a sea-green stone idol chiseled in the likeness of Bokrug, the great water-lizard; before which they danced horribly when the moon was gibbous.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 27, 2012 at 2:42 am

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