The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

The Bowie effect

with 2 comments

-photo by Mitch Waxman

There are those who like to tell your humble narrator that he is given to hyperbole if not outright fraud, and although I will admit to a weakness for theatrical effect, the odd subjects and situations described in these posts are not contrivances or banal set pieces. When I tell you of the odd polydactyl cats around the Grand Street Bridge or the eyeless things that wriggle in the mud during low tide at Maspeth Creek, rather than smile kindly and nod your head, shudder audibly at the terrible implications arising from their existence- which, if generally known, might herald a turning away from science by a beaten human race gladly retreating into a new dark age.

Here then is one of the curiously heterochromiatic cats found in hoary Greenpoint, which is one of the “you just make this stuff up” sore spots for a humble narrator.

from wikipedia

In anatomy, heterochromia refers to a difference in coloration, usually of the iris but also of hair or skin. Heterochromia is a result of the relative excess or lack of melanin (a pigment). It may be inherited, or caused by genetic mosaicism, disease or injury.

Eye color, specifically the color of the irises, is determined primarily by the concentration and distribution of melanin. The affected eye may be hyperpigmented (hyperchromic) or hypopigmented (hypochromic). In humans, usually, an excess of melanin indicates hyperplasia of the iris tissues, whereas a lack of melanin indicates hypoplasia. Heterochromia of the eye (heterochromia iridis or heterochromia iridum; the common wrong form “heterochromia iridium” is not correct Latin) is of two kinds. In complete heterochromia, one iris is a different color from the other. In partial heterochromia or sectoral heterochromia, part of one iris is a different color from its remainder.

-photo by Mitch Waxman

This was just one member of a colony of cats living on Commercial Street, and the rest scattered before the coloration of their ocular organs could be ascertained. Luckily this stalwart maintained a steady position, and despite the clear annoyance displayed at the horrible scuttling thing waving around a camera before it, stood it’s ground. As a fellow child of infinite Brooklyn, such tenacity did not go unnoticed. Odd eye colored Cats are special, from a symbolic point of view, and have no small amount of mythic significance – even the prized cat of the prophet, called Muezza, was odd eyed.

from wikipedia

The Cat Sìth (Scottish Gaelic: [kʰaht̪ ˈʃiː]) or Cat Sidhe (Irish: [kat̪ˠ ˈʃiː], Cat Sí in new orthography) is a fairy creature from Celtic mythology, said to resemble a large black cat with a white spot on its breast. Legend has it that the spectral cat haunts the Scottish Highlands. Some common folklore suggested that the Cat Sìth was not a fairy, but a transformed witch.

The legends surrounding this creature are more common in Scottish folklore, but a few occur in Irish as well.

-photo by Mitch Waxman

There are many odd things around the Newtown Creek, hidden away beneath the cracked cement and amongst the dripping masonry walls of those long buried and forgotten building foundations which lie just below the facade of modernity. Here you are then, the “Bowie Effect” of the Cats of the Creek is offered. Still working on getting the six toed critters in DUGSBO though…

Who can guess what other anomalous and unwholesome alterations our common urban fauna might have undergone, or are undergoing, in some runaway Darwinian reaction to those environmental stressors they have suffered over the centuries at Newtown Creek?

from wikipedia

In Irish mythology, the aos sí (Irish pronunciation: [iːs ˈʃiː], older form aes sídhe [eːs ˈʃiːə]) are a supernatural race comparable to the fairies or elves. They are said to live underground in the fairy mounds, across the western sea, or in an invisible world that coexists with the world of humans. This world is described in “The Book of Invasions” (recorded in the Book of Leinster) as a parallel universe in which the aos sí walk amongst the living.

In the Irish language, aos sí means “people of the mounds” (the mounds are known in Irish as “the sídhe”). In Irish literature the people of the mounds are also referred to as the daoine sídhe (“deena shee”), and in Scottish Gaelic literature as the daoine sìth or daoine sìdh. They are said to be the ancestors, spirits of nature, or goddesses and gods.

note: The large blue box in the background of these shots seems to have been designed to act as some sort of feral cat shelter rather than a Tardis, and bore a screed proselytizing the curious to visit the website found at

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 19, 2011 at 12:15 am

2 Responses

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  1. Neighborhood Cats is involved in TNR (trap-neuter-return) in New York City- they give free workshops occasionally to teach others how to care for feral cats. Lots of the cats you’ve photographed have been part of a TNR program; the clipped ears indicate that they’ve been spayed/neutered, and often their caretakers provide housing like the box you found.


    April 19, 2011 at 12:13 pm

  2. Dear Mr. Waxman,

    I do not think it is a coincidence that you, myself and others are drawn to the murky waters of Newtown Creek and surrounding areas.

    None other than the Great Dreamer of Horrific Landscapes, Salvador Dali, had an affinity for such places.

    His painting: “The Railway Station at Perpignan” describes his life long fascination with that particular locale.

    Personally, I find LIC, Greenpoint and Newtown Creek to be fascinating places. The reason for my attraction/obsession is unknown to me other than I perceive a connection there with things unseen.

    Maybe it is the massive cemeteries which exist there. So many souls and so many stories and now they exist only in memories and alternate realities.
    That in itself in enough to fascinate anyone.

    However, there is also the sense of history. The old rail lines are still there. Some hidden under new asphalt but still there. Where do these rail lines go now?

    Like Salvador Dali’s station, I find LIC to be the center station to a gateway.

    Maybe these The Cats of Ulthar, that you photograph, know the current schedule.

    One thing is for sure. One day I will board a train there. I suppose we all will.

    You have a great blog. Thank you for taking the time.


    April 20, 2011 at 4:07 am

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