The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for May 21st, 2010

Project Firebox 1

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Project Firebox, 2447 – photo by Mitch Waxman

Found in Maspeth, across the street from a string of late in the game Matthews Model Flats.

Whoops… I am told this is actually in Elmhurst, not Maspeth.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm

weird perfumes

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned earlier, my search for information on the questionable death of a merchant from Massachusetts named Gilman has led me to some of the stranger wards of our great city. On this day, a cursory questioning of caretakers at Old St. Patrick’s pointed me in the direction of a certain Chinese mystic who occupies a run down walk up flat some 4 stories above Henry Street in New York’s bustling Chinatown.

from wikipedia

Henry Street is a street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. It runs in a northeasterly direction one-way eastbound from Oliver Street in the south and west, passing underneath the Manhattan Bridge and on to Grand Street in the north and east. The poor condition of immigrants living in squalid tenements on Henry Street and the surrounding neighborhood in the late 19th century prompted nurses Lillian Wald and Mary Maud Brewster to found the Henry Street Settlement in 1893. In recent times, Henry Street continues to be an immigrant neighborhood and has been absorbed into an expanding Chinatown.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A self described healer who claims mastery over the orgone, or Qi as the Chinese call it, he was a disagreeable fellow. Rebuffed in my attempts to gain any knowledge from him, the old man admonished me to stop looking for this Gilman, lest I find something out that I don’t want to know.

from wikipedia

Although the concept of qi has been very important within many Chinese philosophies, over the centuries their descriptions of qi have been varied and may seem to be in conflict with each other. Understanding of these disputes is complicated for people who did not grow up using the Chinese concept and its associated concepts. Until China came into contact with Western scientific and philosophical ideas (primarily by way of Catholic missionaries), they knew about things like stones and lightning, but they would not have categorized them in terms of matter and energy. Qi and li (理, li, pattern) are their fundamental categories much as matter and energy have been fundamental categories for people in the West. Their use of qi (lifebreath) and li (pattern, regularity, form, order) as their primary categories leaves in question how to account for liquids and solids, and, once the Western idea of energy came on the scene, how to relate it to the native idea of “qi”. If Chinese and Western concepts are mixed in an attempt to characterize some of the problems that arise with the Chinese conceptual system, then one might ask whether qi exists as a “force” separate from “matter”, whether qi arises from “matter”, or whether “matter” arises from qi.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm

pitiful monomania

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

East Broadway, in New York’s Chinatown, shot from the Manhattan Bridge.

I had other, mundane reasons for being in Chinatown that day, but my search for Gilman had led me to Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in search of clues to the whereabouts of the enigmatic Massachusetts man’s grave at Calvary Cemetery.

from wikipedia

East Broadway is a two-way east-west street in the Chinatown and Lower East Side neighborhoods of the New York City borough of Manhattan. East Broadway begins at Chatham Square (also known as Kimlau Square) and runs eastward under the Manhattan Bridge, continues past Seward Park and the eastern end of Canal Street, and ends at Grand Street. The western portion of the street is primarily populated by Chinese immigrants (mainly Foochowese from Fuzhou, Fujian), while the eastern portion is home to a large number of Jews. One section in the eastern part of East Broadway, between Clinton Street and Pitt Street, is unofficially referred to by residents as Shteibel Way, since it’s lined with approximately ten small synagogues (“shteibels”).

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 21, 2010 at 10:00 am

passive inconspicuousness

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Walking down the Bowery one evening, crossing Delancey. This was recently the heart of darkness in New York, a mere 20 years ago, a desolation row of flop houses and addiction. It is stunning to see its modern incarnation, sitting at the end of the Williamsburgh financial corridor.

from wikipedia

Delancey Street is one of the main thoroughfares of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, running east from the Bowery to connect to the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn. It is an eight-lane, median divided street.

Businesses range from delis to check-cashing stores to bars. Delancey Street has long been known for its discount and bargain clothing stores. Famous establishments include the Bowery Ballroom, built in 1929, Ratner’s kosher restaurant (now closed), and the Essex Street Market, which was built by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia to avoid pushcart congestion on the neighborhood’s narrow streets. As the Lower East Side becomes gentrified, more upscale retail and nightlife establishments have moved in.

Delancey Street is named after James De Lancey, Sr., whose farm was located in what is now the Lower East Side.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 21, 2010 at 5:00 am

A little experiment…

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

As you may have noticed, lords and ladies, your humble narrator has been struggling with deadlines and various other problems for the last couple of months which has resulted in a rather less than daily schedule here at your Newtown Pentacle. Part of the reason that postings have become somewhat sporadic is the enormous amount of research that goes into a 1-3 thousand word posting illustrated with photos. Fear not, long winded exposition is not going out of style around these parts, but I’m going to be experimenting a little bit with the format in the next few weeks- bear with me.

The first thing you’ll notice will be that rather than abbreviate the posting schedule- I’m going to be accelerate it. You very well might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for the next several weeks, as there will be multiple posts per day. There will still be the mega posts, and anything newsworthy will get the “full treatment”, but I’m going to bombard you with shorter postings for a bit.

My reasoning is twofold, first- it’s the time of year when I need to be outside, wandering the Newtown Pentacle itself and photographing its subtle implications. The shorter posts will allow me a little more freedom of movement, as they are simpler to accomplish and the photographic assets are extant- second- well… I’ll tell you that one in a little while…

Let me know what you think… Next post will be in a few hours.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 21, 2010 at 12:05 am

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