The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for June 13th, 2011

noble and familiar

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering aimlessly through the section of Long Island City which forms the hazed border of Dutch Kills and Ravenswood recently, your humble narrator was taken aback by the fortress like appearance of the local domiciles and businesses. Perhaps this unremarked series of blocks in western Queens harbors and shelters itself- in secret- against some unbound curse or horror unknown to neighboring communities, an invisible and omnipresent dread requiring stout gates and heavy iron clasps to vouchsafe life and limb?

I’ve never observed it in daylight, whatever this lurking fear might be, it must only come out at night.

from wikipedia

The land was acquired in 1814 by Col. George Gibbs, a businessman from New York City who developed it. Gibbs died in 1833, and the land was divided into nine parcels by three developers. From 1848, there were several mansions built on this land, but the high class housing did not survive. The spring of 1853 brought the opening of a post office of its own and country store “run by Messrs. Moore & Luyster, and Mr. Samuel H. Moore of that firm received the appointment of postmaster, handling the mails in a corner of the store.”

Ravenswood, unlike Astoria, Queens, never became a village; there was no disposition at any time to become independent as there was insufficient population or commercial activity to justify such a move. Ravenswood remained an exclusive hamlet within the Town of Newtown until its absorption with the Village of Astoria, and the hamlets of Hunters Point, Blissville, Sunnyside, Dutch Kills, Steinway, Bowery Bay and Middleton in Newtown Township into Long Island City in 1870. “Ravenswood enthusiastically accepted incorporation into Long Island City in 1870 and this absorption of the quiet village into the mainstream of commerce and industry spelled the end of the old era.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Freakish thoughts arise often during these long walks about the Newtown Pentacle, arising perhaps from the sheer oddness of what one might encounter on these perambulations- or from other strange energies encountered in the environment. When transversing the area around Big Allis and it’s various transformer farms, odd cracklings and resonances emerge from my headphones which I cannot be certain are merely electromagnetic anomalies caused by the titan powerplant. Certain evidences are consciously sought, of course, but long ago the universe was granted sway over my steps as I scuttle about the earth, and if New York City wants me to see something- she takes me there.

It is best not to disobey the City.

from wikipedia

Big Allis, formally known as Ravenswood No. 3, is a giant electric power generator originally commissioned by Consolidated Edison Company (ConEd) and built by the Allis-Chalmers Corporation in 1965. Currently owned by Transcanada Corp., it is located on 36th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard in western Queens, New York.

During 1963, Allis-Chalmers announced that ConEd had ordered the “world’s first MILLION-KILOWATT unit…big enough to serve 3,000,000 people.” This sheer scale helped the plant become popularly known as “Big Allis”.

At the time of its installation, it was the world’s largest steam energy generating facility. It is located on the Ravenswood site, consisting of Units 1, 2, 3 and 4, as well as several small Gas Turbines (GTs), and an oil depot. The site overall produces about 2,500 MW, or approximately 20% of New York City’s current energy needs. The current installed capacity of Big Allis is around 980 MW.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A certain commandment is “to see”. Bombarded with visual stimuli, the extraordinary nature of New York City becomes commonplace and quite ordinary in daily observance, and difficulty is found in filtering. This statuary on 9th street in Ravenswood… I don’t want to research its possible meanings or significance… find out who is represented or what tradition presents itself in style or execution…

Alright, I’m pretty sure it’s a Maronite Cross. The Maronites are a group of Lebanese Christians who revere St. Maron of Chrysostom, a city near Antioch in his time which was around 16 centuries ago. They are part of what is known as “Eastern Catholic Churches“, which may follow atavist theurgical or theological paths which differ from the “Roman Catholic” faction, yet are nevertheless in full communion with the Bishop of Rome.

from wikipedia

Saint Maroun (also Maron or Maro; Syriac: ܡܪܝ ܡܪܘܢ, Mār(y) Mārōn; Arabic: مار مارون‎) was a 5th century Syriac Christian monk who after his death was followed by a religious movement that became known as the Maronites. The Church that grew from this movement is the Maronite Church. St. Maroun was known for his missionary work, healing and miracles, and teachings of a monastic devotion to God. He was a priest that later became a hermit. His holiness and miracles attracted many followers and drew attention throughout the empire.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in the past, a simple 5 point methodology for discovering the hidden ecstasies of this ancient place has evolved around wholesale surrender to the directionless cosmos:

  • Keep, the sun on your back.
  • Turn, left only.
  • Follow, a cat- if encountered.
  • Move, in an alert fashion.
  • Interact, with the humans only when necessary.

For some reason, around Ravenswood, I always find myself heading for Big Allis. Mayhap it’s some electromagnetoception sort of thing…

from wikipedia

In bees, it has been observed that magnetite is embedded across the cellular membrane of a small group of neurons; it is thought that when the magnetite aligns with the Earth’s magnetic field, induction causes a current to cross the membrane which depolarizes the cell.

Crocodiles are believed to have magnetoception, which allows them to find their native area even after being moved hundreds of miles away. Some have been strapped with magnets to disorient them and keep them out of residential areas.

In 2008, a research team led by Hynek Burda using Google Earth accidentally discovered that magnetic fields affect the body orientation of cows and deer during grazing or resting. In a followup study in 2009, Burda and Sabine Begall observed that magnetic fields generated by power lines disrupted the orientation of cows from the Earth’s magnetic field.

Certain types of bacteria (magnetotactic bacteria) and fungi are also known to sense the magnetic flux direction; they have organelles known as magnetosomes containing magnetic crystals for this purpose.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 13, 2011 at 3:05 am

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