The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for December 2011

shadowy corners

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, your humble narrator had occasion to visit the Shining City of Manhattan, and having a few free minutes between appointments- I decided to visit the High Line park. Now, the last time I was up here was on some shadowy and half remembered date in the early 1990’s, a time when the High Line was referred to as “the world’s longest Homeless camp”.

Back then, you literally had to climb up there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The views from the High Line are impressive, however the modern architecture and design of the park reveals its planners adherence to hideous and short sighted modernism. Frankly, this thing ain’t sustainable, and my prediction is that within 20 years this place will be a dusty footnote and emblematic of the failings of the current Manhattan establishment and their allegiance to the whims and desires of the Real Estate Industrial Complex.

Maybe I’m wrong, but as a native New Yorker, which most of the people running the City these days are not, so mark this as one of my little prophecies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing that struck me, as we neared the Meat Market side of the High Line, was the clear and uninterrupted view of both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from its decking. The streets below are familiar to me, and were considered “stomping grounds” for a younger and angrier narrator back in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. These streets were industrial then, mobster controlled and policed, a warren of abattoirs and fishmongers which only superficially resembles the modern neighborhood of high priced shops and so called “mall stores”.

A few saloons and sex clubs were the only “draw” back then.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above is included only because it reminds me of the soporific architect renderings which accompany the announcement of projects such as the High Line. Vague, it suggests a clean and sterile form of street life acceptable to the tastes of tourists and virgins. Controlled, policed, and leashed- it flies in the face of the brash and dangerous New York City of olden times.

Artists offer non confrontational images, whilst displaying vendor license and tax identification, and demure European tourists wander along a former industrial hinterland that was considered distasteful because of the coppery smell of animal blood which once ran freely along the gutters.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 26, 2011 at 12:15 am

A Pink Snowman

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Merry Christmas from the Newtown Pentacle.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 25, 2011 at 12:15 am

Project Firebox 25

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

24th Street and 42nd Road in Long Island City, in addition to being a geographic palindrome, hosts this centuried sentinel of the realm. It’s crown is long lost, and core functionality is suspect, yet its columnar presence still affirms the presence of redoubtable guardianship and an omnipresent vigilance. It has been too long since the watchtowers of Long Island City have graced these postings, and so we celebrate a seasonal return to Project Firebox.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 24, 2011 at 12:15 am

forgotten hands

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

On another one of the long marches across the concrete desolations of Western Queens, it occurred to me that I should pay more attention to the steel fingers of the Great Machine than has been formerly applied. This is a problematic notion, of course, as we live in the age of terror- and taking pictures of transportation infrastructure is largely frowned upon by governmental institutions such as the NYPD for understandable and prosaic reasons.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Part of my outlandish sense of entitlement, imagined largesse, and pompous self importance demands that I do not allow such entities to inhibit my activities.

I’m happy to be questioned by the gendarme whenever they might approach me with queries as to identity and purpose. Law demands that a citizen must carry some form of identification, otherwise the police may detain you with the intention of assessing your identity (for a limited period of time), which is something I always comply with. No such law allows law enforcement to demand that you show them what you’re shooting (they need a warrant for this kind of search), explain why you’re shooting it (that’s what you tell a judge), or to delete images from your camera- or so I am told by those versed in the finer points of law.

If you are in a place which is “in public”, you can feel free to do whatever you want with your camera, within certain limitations (defined around the commercial use of likenesses and editorial implications implied thereof). If on private property, however, the owner or its representatives can ask you to vacate the locale and you must comply with their wishes or be charged with trespassing (however these private entities are similarly restricted in not forcing you to display, delete, or otherwise explain yourself to them).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of course, this is an ideal presentation of encounters between photographers and those who wish that the only cameras which existed were those monitoring the citizenry for criminal transgression and evidentiary collection.

Often, one will experience an encounter with a rookie cop, unusually aggressive private security guard, or criminal who does not hold to this liberal interpretation of constitutionally guaranteed free speech. Refer to the recent controversies surrounding the Occupy Wall Street protests, and the widely rebuffed handling of mainstream press photographers by the NYPD for an example of how things can go wildly wrong in the real world.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Once, whilst capturing an image of the charming St. Irene’s Church here in Astoria, an angry chorus of Greek women took it upon themselves to brand me a terrorist and chased me for several blocks- all the while hurling Hellenic invective. Many of them curled their hands into balls and stuck their thumbs out between middle and ring fingers, and one of them called me “A Bin Laden”.

That’s when I turned around and confronted the group asking “Wouldn’t a Terrorist have a car?”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Regardless of risk and the malign attentions of both private and public security, your humble narrator is nevertheless highly motivated to capture and record the magnificent transportation infrastructure which forms the fingers of the Great Machine. I’m sure that they won’t let me take the DSLR into central booking with me, but as I’ve never been accused of anything but driving too fast on the Taconic Parkway and Pennsylvania Turnpike by law enforcement, it sure will be interesting standing in front of a judge.

And by the way, Happy Festivus.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 23, 2011 at 12:15 am

abominable iniquity

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “Psalm 53, verse 3” which is referred to in the graffiti scrawl above, as recently observed, is offered by the King James variant of the Bible as: “Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that does good, no, not one.”

A passing truck blotted out the background of the scene, and although it is a little hard to make out, the writer included an affirmation of love for the christian godhead just below the main credo.

from readersandrootworkers.org

Hoodoo psychic readers, spirit workers and root doctors who recite Psalms on behalf of clients may work with Psalm 53 during altar work and prayers to protect the client from enemies, both known and unknown. If the client is beset by enemies, this Psalm can be used to keep them safe.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After the truck passed, it becomes- to careful observers- obvious that this lamp post is on Greenpoint Avenue in Brooklyn, and one begins to wonder about an intended contextual meaning for the scrawl.

Just for the heck of it, here’s the way that the whole 53rd Psalm reads, and most biblical scholars indicate that the legendary King David was the author- although most agree that David probably just got credit for it.

To him that presides upon Machalath; an instructive Psalm of David.

  1. The fool has said in his heart, There is no god. They are corrupt, they have done abominable iniquity; there is none that does good.
  2. God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of man, to see if there were any that is intelligent, that seeks god.
  3. Every one is gone back; together are they become corrupt: there is none that does good, not even one.
  4. Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon god?
  5. Then shall they, who had no fear, be greatly afraid; for god will scatter the bones of them that encamp against you; you shall put them to shame, because god has rejected them.
  6. O that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When god shall bring back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

from over at bible.cc, where they’ve got a few different interpretations of what these apparent song lyrics mean, as well as differing translations of the thing.

53:1-6 The corruption of man by nature. – This psalm is almost the same as the 14th. The scope of it is to convince us of our sins. God, by the psalmist, here shows us how bad we are, and proves this by his own certain knowledge. He speaks terror to persecutors, the worst of sinners. He speaks encouragement to God’s persecuted people. How comes it that men are so bad?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, this missive adorned a lamp post on Greenpoint Avenue, one which is directly across the street from the high temple of Cloacina, known to most as the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

One wonders, and more than wonders…

from jamesbradfordpate.wordpress.com

What does “Mahalath” (or, actually, “Machalath”) mean?  It could be an instrument, or even a dance, for E.W. Bullinger associates the term with the Hebrew word mecholoth, which refers to dances (Judges 21:21; Psalm 149:3; 150:4), and Bullinger speculates that this Psalm relates to David’s dance after God had brought David through difficulties.  Jewish and Christian interpreters have related the term to the Hebrew word machalah, which means “sickness”

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 22, 2011 at 4:02 am

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