The Newtown Pentacle

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

There is quite a colony of indigents to be found beneath the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

Recently observed, the encampment featured not just bedding but the rudiments of furniture as well. Stuffed into the highway girders were comestibles and other consumables. This population, hidden away in the nooks and crannies of the Newtown Pentacle, has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent months- according to personal observation. Used to be there were folks living in their cars all over the place, but these days, I’ve been seeing shanty towns springing up. I know a couple of spots where multi room shacks have remained established for years.

Welcome to 21st century New York City, lords and ladies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This particular spot is found in Greenpoint, not far from the Williamsburg border. Academics and politicians might see this as a problem to be solved, but to the calloused eyes of a humble narrator, it’s another case of “not bad, nor good, just is”.

Experience has taught me that these folks are where their actions and choices have led them to, and that what they ultimately desire is to just be left to their own devices. “Do what thou wilt” is the whole of the law, and all that.

Also remember that given the opportunity- these folks would boil you down and sell your parts by the pound as butcher’s scrap.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The duo sleeping beneath the rag piles in the shot above most likely consider each other trusted cohorts, and maintain a loose fraternity with others who share their experience. Imagine what you look like to them, with your clean clothes, credit cards, and bleeding heart. When spare change or a cigarette tumbles out of your pockets, or you leave some castaway clothing item at their camps, how do you think they interpret you?

As a mark, that’s how.

It’s not that the homeless are worse people than you and I, it’s a tribal thing. How would you feel if (metaphorical rich guy) Bloomberg showed up at your house, tsk-tsk’d at your squalor, and dropped you a few bucks to help out?

Wouldn’t you be trying to figure out some way to get his watch?

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 5, 2012 at 12:15 am

One Response

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  1. Actually there’s nothing new about people like these and the encampments they live in. It’s only since the most recent turn of the century that New York was transformed into the banal sanitized, sterilized consumer paradise on the middle-American suburban model that these folks would be noticed. Before this, people once referred to as tramps, hobos and drifters existed below the line of sight of the average citizen in a life, as you correctly put it, of their own choosing. But now, in the marketed “luxury product city” New York of Bloomberg and his developer cohorts, they are a nuisance causing property values to drop in an area slated for gentrification. It won’t be too long in the future that the site shown in this post is overtaken by glass luxury condo towers, Whole Foods, and dull, overpriced chain stores as decreed by our machine god overlords.

    It would be interesting, if not a macabre sport, to watch as the vanguard of the SWPL Eloi start wandering through.


    January 6, 2012 at 11:51 am

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