The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for September 2012

things sobbing

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Like the Lois Ann L Moran in a graving dock, pictured above, this maritime sunday was not spent hard at work for your humble narrator. A marathon viewing of a cache of latter day Godzilla movies literally has stomped into my weekend, obliterating all productivity as if by a blast of atomic fire breath. This post, as is very thing else besides Godzilla (for instance- hygiene, exercise, conversation), is obligatory at this point in time. At this writing, your humble couch potato is midway through Godzilla versus Destoroyah, and on his way to “Final Wars”. Wish me luck.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm

effective radius

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

A lesser sabbat on the great wheel of the year, at 10:49 this morning, New York City will pass through the fall equinox. Today, the day and night will oppose each other equally, and from now until March, darkness will rule as relative to light. Summer ends, and the harvest time is visited upon all that walk beneath the ever fainter emanations of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Before long will we all be sitting before tables of bounty, gazing upon roasted meats and other oven baked fare. Just the other night, a filthy black raincoat was removed from its summer hook, and a humble narrator again filled it. Chill is the night, which grows ever longer. Soon shall we all feast, and learn new ways to laugh and revel and enjoy ourselves, as we give our so called “thanks”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Nepenthe is found in this season, as we slouch roughly toward Samhain and the Yule, as it’s the time of tales told. Stories of goblins and werecats, ghosts and ghasts, and the hidden world of the occultist will soon be readily revealed. On the wheel of the year, this is the start of the spooky time- when farmers fields become the property of crows and ravens, and odd occurrences abound- during the endless nights.

something luminous

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whittling away the remaining days allowed me to scuttle across the mortal coil, recent adventures have taken me to odd places. Last weekend, a humble narrator found himself in a canoe upon the fabled Newtown Creek, participating in a Newtown Creek Alliance survey of avian inhabitants of the waterway. This trip was facilitated via the equipment and skill of the mariners found at the North Brooklyn Boat Club. Discussion of this trip, and those things which we observed, will be explored in future postings as this- your Newtown Pentacle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Additionally, revelations of upcoming walking tours and other excursions I will be leading in October and beyond are coming in the next week. A flurry of such endeavors in prior months had laid one low, as to be seen by so many diminishes me. A vow offered to you, lords and ladies, is to return to historical exploration and description in the coming weeks. I’ve tales to tell, which have been sitting on the back burner for months, due to a lack of time to cogently describe and detail.

Suffice to say that we have only scratched the lipid coated surface of the Creek to this point, and we shall be diving deeper into its languid depths in the near future.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are several opportunities for enjoyment and exploration at hand, including the Field Trip day in Greenpoint on September 29th.

Queens Borough Historian Jack Eichenbaum will be conducting a Newtown Creek walking tour next week which I am looking forward to attending, also on September 29th.

Additionally, Newtown Creek Alliance has several events (not necessarily “Mitchcentric) and a meeting- at the Onderdonk House on September 27 in Ridgewood- upcoming, which have just been announced. These events include an October 7th boat tour which will be part of the Open House NY Weekend.

This is the end of the summer, officially, as tomorrow we enter into the equinox and the autumn season officially begins. Grateful thanks are offered to all the better than 600 people who have shared my summer- attending the multitudinous walking, bus, and boat tours which I’ve been involved with.

Also, a shout out on the efforts and exertions of the vernal period goes out to the long suffering “Our Lady of the Pentacle” and her infinite patience, and to my “aide de camp” and first officer Mai Armstrong.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm

something disquieting

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Truly does one struggle against the darkness. A vast and slavering dog, it is checked and kept by sturdy chains with a stout collar, but it is always just a few steps behind. Were it let loose, the very pillars of the world would crumble and shake. Caged, a storm rages, with cyclonic fires whose winds carry exultations of lament- and all of hell follows in its wake. Better to get out than dwell upon existential angst, and visit that ribbon of urban neglect known as the fabled Newtown Creek, so off I went.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Witness, if you will, the sort of life which inhabits this debased waterway. Once common, wading birds like this (presumptively) Great Blue Heron have returned to the shallows and sediment mounds in recent years. While photographing this nearly cryptic specie, your humble narrator was approached by a private security man. Girding for the usual lecture given by the “rent a cops” of the Creeklands, I was instead pleasantly surprised when the fellow engaged me in conversation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The guardsman claimed that he had witnessed a startling and unexpected mammalian apparition on more than one occasion at Maspeth Creek. The animal he described as inhabiting the shoreline cannot possibly be here, as it would defy all logic and sense. Dogs, cats, rats- even raccoons and coyotes have been reported with some frequency over the years. Their presence is logical, explainable, and entirely mundane. The security guard however, told me that he has seen a Beaver here. “A musk rat” I suggested? “No, a beaver”, he said.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 20, 2012 at 12:15 am

something alarming

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another one of the little mottoes which one such as myself offers “it’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is”. Time spent wandering around the vast human hive, with it’s teeming multitudes and aspirants, has taught me that it makes little sense to adjudicate the values of others. That being said, whilst on a pastoral stroll across the rolling landscape of Calvary Cemetery, your humble narrator found himself in Section Five.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the shot I was seeking, the ennobled Kosciuszko Bridge, as seen from the vantage of Review Avenue and Laurel Hill Blvd. and from atop the high walls of Calvary. Coming to this spot, one noticed something odd- out of place- nearby.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Upon the ground was some sort of fruiting vine, set behind a small line of high grass and small shrubs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Struck by the ideation that some accidental seeding might have taken place, unnoticed by the grounds crew, I looked around a bit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s when I discovered that somebody had planted a little garden, here in an ancient cemetery.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Nearby, there were grapes growing as well.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is. It’s also the sort of thing which really makes one question his own sanity, and thank all that’s holy that I’m able to photograph this as it is exactly the sort of story no one would believe. Tangential thoughts occur- speculations on the morbid nutrition enjoyed by these plants, suppositions about the water table they drink from (which is VERY much Newtown Creek), and other pleasant notions torment and tantalize. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is…

something singular

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

The good news is that the fragmented vernal season wherein required sleep was denied a humble narrator has ended, and one can reliably pass into unconsciousness again. The bad news is that the hallucinations which tear through my mind during these biologically mandated times reveal bizarre and disturbing psychological concerns. Likely, this is all due to the upcoming equinox and accordingly one must go to where one belongs to sort such matters out. All roads, after all, lead to Calvary…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The great working of Dagger John, scratched into the Newtown soil in 1848, First Calvary (as it is known) is the polyandrion of the Roman Catholic Church of New York City. Millions are interred here, princes and paupers, governors and gangsters. Upon entering the gates of the 365 acre property adjoining the Newtown Creek, one shortly realizes that the ephemeral analogies of the spiritual world are a tangible reality in this place. Encountered recently, one of the lagomorphs known to inhabit this section, representative of a population of groundling burrowers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The burrowers, according to aboriginal mythologies, carry messages between the bright world of the surface and the fuligin grottoes of the subterrene. Prey animals, the Lagomorpha fear all things- experience has taught them of the brutal indignities of the canine, stealth and pursuit of the feline, and the overarching horror of the high flying raptors. Vulnerable on the surface, and revealed beneath the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself, the burrowers normally bolt when one nears.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What message the lagomorphs reveal to those who consult them is not to be shared, as it emanates from a place where no light shines. As above, so below- the saying goes, and one who walks in the middle does not wish to anger or prejudice either. As far as the odd dreams and premonitions which occur to a humble narrator during those hated intervals of unconsciousness- nothing transmitted by the red eyed messenger seemed to pertain to current fantasies. Instead, dire warnings of an uncertain future and intimations of seasonal horror were hinted at. More to come on these topics, as we pass through the autumnal equinox, at this- your Newtown Pentacle.

something damnable

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Your humble narrator came to fruition in the hinterlands of Brooklyn along the vast Jamaica Bay, in the flat lands. A once thriving salt meadow, hewn roughly into dry land by fill, this flat land (nearby an area known for its flat bush) was covered by slabs of cement which carried two story structures and served as “a neighborhood”. In this “neighborhood”, one learned to appreciate the unique cultural milieu of the outer boroughs. Manhattan Special was drunk, stick ball was played, old athletic shoes adorned overhanging wires, and people sat outside their homes at night and interacted with each other. When I arrived in western Queens several years ago, I was happy to find that my new home adhered to similar custom.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It wasn’t long before one realized that malign forces are at work, all along the East River in fact, which seek to blindly wipe aside that which allows these neighborhood cultures to exist- which is the human scale of the place. What I have taken the liberty of describing as the “Real Estate Industrial Complex” seems hell bent on eradicating the actuality of these neighborhoods, in the name of an ever expanding and unsustainable balloon of profit and short term construction jobs. Such matters are “above my pay grade” of course, represent vast sociological and economic forces beyond understanding, as well as the sophistry and euphoria of an irresponsible generation given the proverbial “green light” to rethink the skyline and shape of a New York City which they loathe. It is best to retreat from such weighty matters, and attempt to lose ones self in quaint historical matters and obscure details about the past. Blissville Banshee, anyone?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yesterday, whilst scanning the vast interwebs for just this sort of Queens related minutia, one came across this noisome link over at queenscrap. It’s a real estate industrial complex oriented piece, of course, wherein a pack of jackal realtors describe their displeasure at the real estate scene here in Astoria.

The problem they describe, of course, is that they are not eking as much blood out of the ancient village as they might, should the current building stock be razed and replaced with shining towers remarkable for a vertical density reminiscent of the sort of city blocks one encounters in Judge Dredd comic books. Complaints are made of low turn over in housing stock, as people who move to Astoria like it so much that they want to stay. These profiteers and vampires say nothing of hospital beds, overcrowded schools, lessened and erratic transit capacity, or an already overburdened infrastructure of sewer and power systems. Naught is mentioned about the hordes of low life criminals who drunkenly wander the place at night, the crowds who surround noisy bars, or the insane truck traffic which makes a joke of the notion of “DOT approved truck routes” as they lumber down residential blocks. Let’s give the already overburdened 114th precinct commanders around twice their current number of cops, and then let’s have a talk about adding thousands of condo units on the East River.

As a resident of the area, I believe that the shot above represents the role played by these usurious middlemen in our culture, and describes my opinion of how they view my neighborhood. Pass the swatter, please.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 17, 2012 at 12:15 am

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