The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for July 27th, 2012

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Continuing strife related to the lightning damage actually continues today, as that maleficent entity which is called Time Warner Cable continues to frustrate and annoy. The one component that all others rely upon in my little electronic web is unfortunately supplied by this nightmarish and ill mannered corporation, which is web access. Confirmation that everything which might potentially be wired to their equipment for this purpose is functional has been ascertained, and a trip to their Manhattan HQ yesterday consumed three hours of my remaining time on this planet.

Upon returning to my HQ in Astoria- one discovered that the replacement modem supplied by this endeavor exhibited the same bizarre behavior as the lightning damaged one. To put it mildly, the customer service representative who I spoke to after this realization got more than a small bit of spleen, and most likely needed a short break for religious reasons.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Your humble narrator is not pleased, and wonders why the seeming goal of this company’s customer service stratagems seem to be designed to inspire impotent rage. You can see the helplessness and despair displayed on the faces of their employees, who have the aspect of badly led soldiers used to losing battles. Our Lady scolds my steady invective and mean spirited attitude toward this labor force, reminding me that it’s not “their fault”. If it’s not the fault of a company’s employees that their product is inferior and badly delivered or maintained, then whose is it?

Only after a particularly pointed barrage of the purest hatred (expressed by nasty statements about the customer service representative’s paternal heritage), I would point out, that the August 8th appointment they offered me yesterday magically sprang forward to this afternoon. Why not offer the Friday appointment on Wednesday in the first place, rather than risk the ill will engendered?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, the United Nations issued a statement adding Internet access to the list of “human rights”. Here in the City of Greater New York, where that institution is housed, this human right is governed, measured, and sold at rapacious rates by a third rate provider. There are certain utility functions- phone, healthcare, electricity, water, cooking gas, heating fuel- considered too important to escape either heavy government regulation or outright municipal monopoly and official franchise. One would like to see data services break out of the 20th century metaphor of an entertainment or telephonic business model, and consequences for malfeasance and incompetence on the part of commercial franchisees added to the municipal play book of regulatory fines.

Some day we will look back and laugh, one predicts, at this rat pile of a company which exploited the early days of the digital age.


Upcoming Walking Tours:

July 28th, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Kill Van Kull walk- This Saturday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Kill Van Kull, or tugboat alley as its known to we harbor rats, is a tidal strait that defines the border of Staten Island and New Jersey. A busy and highly industrialized waterfront, Working Harbor’s popular “Hidden Harbor – Newark Bay” boat tours provide water access to the Kill, but what is it like on the landward side?

Starting at the St. George Staten Island Ferry terminal, join WHC Steering Committee member Mitch Waxman for a walk up the Kill Van Kull via Staten Islands Richmond Terrace. You’ll encounter unrivaled views of the maritime traffic on the Kill itself, as well as the hidden past of the maritime communities which line it’s shores. Surprising and historic neighborhoods, an abandoned railway, and tales of prohibition era bootleggers await.

The tour will start at 11, sharp, and you must be on (at least) the 10:30 AM Staten Island Ferry to meet the group at St. George. Again, plan for transportation changes and unexpected weirdness to be revealed to you at

for July 28th tickets, click here for the Working Harbor Committee ticketing page

August 5th, 2012- Newtown Creek Alliance Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Newtown Creek Alliance historian Mitch Waxman will be leading a walk through the industrial heartlands of New York City, exploring the insalubrious valley of the Newtown Creek.

The currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens, and the place where the Industrial Revolution actually happened, provides a dramatic and picturesque setting for this exploration. We’ll be visiting two movable bridges, the still standing remains of an early 19th century highway, and a forgotten tributary of the larger waterway. As we walk along the Newtown Creek and explore the “wrong side of the tracks” – you’ll hear tales of the early chemical industry, “Dead Animal and Night Soil Wharfs”, colonial era heretics and witches and the coming of the railroad. The tour concludes at the famed Clinton Diner in Maspeth- where scenes from the Martin Scorcese movie “Goodfellas” were shot.

Lunch at Clinton Diner is included with the ticket.

Details/special instructions.

Meetup at the corner of Grand Street and Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn at 11 a.m. on August 5, 2012. The L train serves a station at Bushwick Avenue and Grand Street, and the Q54 and Q59 bus lines stop nearby as well. Check as ongoing weekend construction often causes delays and interruptions. Drivers, it would be wise to leave your vehicle in the vicinity of the Clinton Diner in Maspeth, Queens or near the start of the walk at Grand St. and Morgan Avenue (you can pick up the bus to Brooklyn nearby the Clinton Diner).

Be prepared: We’ll be encountering broken pavement, sometimes heavy truck traffic as we move through a virtual urban desert. Dress and pack appropriately for hiking, closed-toe shoes are highly recommended.

Clinton Diner Menu:

  • Cheese burger deluxe
  • Grilled chicken over garden salad
  • Turkey BLT triple decker sandwich with fries
  • Spaghetti with tomato sauce or butter
  • Greek salad medium
  • Greek Salad wrap with French fries
  • Can of soda or 16oz bottle of Poland Spring

for August 5th tickets, click here for the Newtown Creek Alliance ticketing page

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 27, 2012 at 7:54 am

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