The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for January 24th, 2010

Back on the Case

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

The latest batch of photos are finally finished and uploaded at flickr, most of which were shot in the last month or so. Regular postings will resume within a day or two, and your humble narrator continues to suffer the stinging embrace of winter, here in the frozen heart of the Newtown Pentacle. A ridiculous collection of insulating garments, reduced to rags by constant use, adorns my withered body and restricts movement. Just to satisfy my curious nature, I recently stepped on a bathroom scale before and after preparing for a walk, and discovered that my cold weather gear added 30 pounds to my weight- making me look like a character from a Terry Gilliam movie.

This ludicrous assortment of fleece sweatshirts, long underwear, and overcoats offers me “cover” however, as there’s little chance private security or the NYPD would notice or harass an apparently homeless man walking the fences of the Newtown Creek. When they see the camera, though, the jig is up and I’m soon explaining “what I’m up to” to another armed 24 year old from Long Island with a badge. This sort of encounter has become increasingly rare in the last year, but it still happens- and I remind the intrepid photographers amongst you to always carry ID and remember to call the young officer “Sir”. NYPD responds to polity, usually, and if you’re a gentleman they will generally realize you’re “harmless”. Never call a New York City Police Officer “dude”, respect the badge, if not the person.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The cauldron of Astoria street life is at low simmer momentarily, as the hoodlums of the ancient village find the cold abhorrent. Our local fraternal youth organization has reorganized itself under a new “nom de guerre” and they seem to getting ready to announce their presence to the larger community this spring and summer, when- I’m sure- they will discover a few things about Queens street life. One of their lesser officers, a 90 pound weakling and runt of the litter, has been proclaiming “a storm is coming”. Their new branding incorporates the “M” word, which is never spoken aloud here in Queens, and I’m sure that certain older and long extant elements of the community will attempt to enforce rights to their intellectual property before the springtime thaw. At any rate, the local constabulary has been picking away at their loose structure and for the the moment at least- no one is dealing weed on my stoop as they’ve all landed on juvie probation.

The funniest quote from one of these kids, a 15 year old Algerian immigrant who is more “lummox teddy bear” than he is “stone cold gangsta” is that he wants to quit high school early and join the Marines. It seems that school has too many restrictions, and he thinks that the Marine Corps will offer him more freedom to pursue his interests.


Written by Mitch Waxman

January 24, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Posted in newtown creek

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