The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for December 2012

day’s gropings

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the bizarre world which your humble narrator inhabits, a Christmas Eve post is as good a time as any to expand on a little enigma which has been bugging me. As you all well know by now, the long walks around the pentacle often offer bizarre or odd details which torment and tantalize ones imagination. On a recent perambulation, I noticed yet another one of the single shoes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My curse is to notice things like this. For much of 2012, I have been observing shoes- always singular, never in pairs- discarded along my route. Once or twice, I’ve seen multiple examples of castoff footwear, but even then- orphaned individuals rather than matched sets.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shots above were gathered at 43rd street, off Northern Blvd. in Queens. Satisfied that I had documented this oddity, I continued on my path to a destination down in Long Island City. In accordance with habit, I found a moment to photograph and add to my library a few shots of the Megalith. Walking along Skillman Avenue, I was scanning the ground for more shoes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was around 36th street and Skillman that it occurred to me, suddenly, that I should look up. What did I spy, with my little eye?

Have a merry one lords and ladies.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 24, 2012 at 12:15 am

radiant energy

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Once more doth the angels sing, and the devil weepeth, for the holiday season springs forth upon us. Since most of y’all are either traveling somewhere or busy with final preparations for the annual gorging, lets take it a bit easy this Maritime Sunday, and admire the estimable Captain D tug hauling a dredge down the Kill Van Kull.

Tonight is Festivus, by the way, and I’m accepting donations for the Human Fund. Make the checks out to me, I’ll see that your donations go where they will do the most good.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 23, 2012 at 12:15 am

opiate gardens

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Imagine the surprise exhibited by Our Lady of the Pentacle and your humble narrator, when we raised the periscope from the bunker this morning, and found that the world above was intact and that the veracity and reliability of the Mayan Calendar had been overstated. Oh well, maybe next time.

Accordingly, back to the business at hand, and familiar places.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Witness, if you wouldst, this fascinating scene observed in noble Greenpoint’s northwestern quarter, specifically the warren of mostly industrial streets which span the area between Provost Street and Mcguinness Blvd. The van pictured in the shot appears to have suffered a bit of damage, perhaps running afoul of the Hulk.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This van’s repair job displays a purity of the Brooklyn, and particularly Greenpoint, mentality which would be difficult to explain to outsiders. Such displays of reckless engineering, utilitarian ingenuity, and disregard for the safety of passengers- are one of the reasons that your humble narrator is thankful for the distinct lack of apocalyptic conditions discovered this morning.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 22, 2012 at 12:15 am

ex oblivione

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Somehow, I’ve always known that I was destined to write the eulogy for the human race. Like yesterday’s posting, this one was written a couple of days in advance of the Mayan Apocalypse as Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself have sealed ourselves away in a sub astorian survival bunker with our little dog. Can’t imagine who might be reading this, or how, but epitaphs are required, I suppose.

Mayan Apocalypse Countdown: just 0 days left until the 13th b’ak’tun ends, initiating the Mayan Apocalypse. Today is December 21st, here comes the end of all there ever was and will be. Sayonara.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The devastation must be unendurable up there, with glowing clouds of radioactive dust illuminating the sooty black fumes billowing from an incinerated city. Has the cannibal instinct kicked in yet for the survivors, or do they yet cling to some myth of civilization?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The terrifying part, for the scientifically minded, must be the presence of the beasts of revelation. Those impossibly huge brass shelled locusts, the abominations of the sea, the fleets of alien warships plying the skies. Nibiru must be occluding the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself, rendering a permanent twilight with sooty gray clouds underlit by the crimson and orange of vain glory and hubris.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Down in the bunker, Our Lady and I plan on making hot cocoa today. Ruminations about our former lives are undoubtedly going to be a topic of conversation. The still suits we ordered from Amazon will provide us with an endless cycle of reclaimed urine, and the tons of MRE’s we have stockpiled should keep we apes and the canine happily fed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The purpose of this posting, which Im sure will never be read by purely human eyes, is to eulogize the planet and all life upon it in general- not to gloat over my own safety and preparedness. In my former life on the surface, I once had the pleasure of meeting Douglas Adams- author of the Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy, who was a fine and clever chap. The ending of human civilization merits a quotation from the great satirist, I believe, so here goes: “So long, and thanks for all the fish”.

I will keep posting as long as the power holds out, good luck to all of you on the surface, and I- for one- welcome our new alien overlords.

Welcome to the 14th b’ak’tun.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 21, 2012 at 12:15 am

death pleasing

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This post was written a couple of days ago, and scheduled (via the WordPress dashboard) for automated dissemination. Our Lady of the Pentacle, our little dog, and myself are already sealed up tight in the sub astorian bunker described in yesterday’s posting. We will miss the world above, Astoria was always a particularly lovely place.

Mayan Apocalypse Countdown: just 1 days left until the 13th b’ak’tun ends, initiating the Mayan Apocalypse on December 21st. Tick, tock.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the whole, our regrets are few. It is a shame that the lovely tableaus offered by the megalopolis will soon be replaced by those of a radioactive wasteland, scarred and altered by the arrival of the rogue planet Nibiru. Surely, the world will be reborn, as this fits in neatly with the Mayan conception of reality- the 14th b’ak’tun begins on the 23rd.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

According to the vast hive minds of the Internet, of course, the Mayan cosmology will be just one of the many myth cycle eschatological pay offs which those of you “up top” will experience. Expect to see Loki onboard Hel’s ship on the East River, Dark Angels in the sky, and something akin to a mixing of Monguls and Werewolves riding lizard horses down Broadway. Out in the harbor… let’s just say that something which has been waiting in its tomb- dreaming, but not dead- will awake.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Look to the northern sky, for Nibiru. It should begin to brighten things up around ten or eleven. Remember to stock up on iodine and duct tape, lords and ladies. The living will envy the dead, and all that…

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 20, 2012 at 12:15 am

palatial magnificence

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Mayan Apocalypse Countdown: just 2 days left until the 13th b’ak’tun ends, initiating the Mayan Apocalypse on December 21st. Tick, tock.

As mentioned in an earlier posting, during the very hot months of the summer of 2012, Our Lady of the Pentacle secretly excavated a vast sub astorian cavern. She has spent the autumn preparing it for usage as a survival bunker during the long scheduled Mayan Apocalypse.

Luckily, she is quite adroit in such matters, and the place has come a long way in just a few months.

As of tonight, we will be descending the first 12 stories of steel stairs which lead us from the surface world into her so called “Hidey Hole”, seeking to ride out the Mayan Apocalypse.

from wikipedia

Bunker is a relatively recent addition to the English language to describe a military structure. According to the Oxford English Dictionary its is a “A military dug-out; a reinforced concrete shelter” and its first use was 13 October 1939 “A Nazi field gun hidden in a cemented ‘bunker’ on the Western front” (War Pictorial). The word is German in origin and was used by the Germans to describe bombproof shelters both above ground as in Hochbunker and below ground as in the Führerbunker. All the early references to its usage in the Oxford English Dictionary are to German fortifications. By 1947 the word was familiar enough in English that Hugh Trevor-Roper in The Last Days of Hitler was describing Hitler’s underground complex near the Reich Chancellery as “Hitler’s own bunker” without quotes around the word bunker.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Do not think of following us, for the methods and ingenuity of Our Lady are legend. She has installed numerous, and quite redundant, security systems which display differing degrees of lethality and camouflage.

Biometric and other identifying information is required to pass safely through these ingenious and active traps, and you are warned not to enter this space uninvited- should you stumble upon it in the radiation scarred aftermath of the Mayan Apocalypse.

from wikipedia

Underground homes are an attractive alternative to traditionally built homes for some house seekers, especially those who are looking to minimize their home’s negative impact on the environment. Besides the novelty of living underground, some of the advantages of underground houses include resistance to severe weather, an exceptionally quiet living space, an unobtrusive presence in the surrounding landscape, and a nearly constant interior temperature due to the natural insulating properties of the surrounding earth. The greatest draw for most, however, is the energy efficiency and environmental friendliness of such houses. Because of the stable subsurface temperature of the Earth, heating and cooling costs are often much lower in an underground house than in a comparable above-ground house. When combined with solar design, it is possible to eliminate energy bills entirely. Initial building costs are also often exceptionally low, as underground building is largely subtractive rather than additive, and because the natural materials displaced by the construction can be recycled as building materials. However, underground living does have certain disadvantages, such as the potential for flooding, which in some cases may require special pumping systems to be installed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We will miss you all, as we descend into a further 16 levels of steel reinforced masonry and heat resistant ceramic bricks. This zone will be filled with an inert gas, rendering the presence of oxygen nigh impossible. This vouchsafes us against being consumed in the firestorm which will surely consume the lamentable world above.

It has been nice knowing you. So long.

Even we will not be able to cross this threshold without specialized breathing apparatus, so it would be a terrible idea to try it in your weakened state- should you survive the initial and quite explosive trials which will initiate the Mayan Apocalypse.

from wikipedia

Inert gas is produced on board crude oil carriers (above 20000 tonnes) by using either a flue gas system or by burning kerosene in a dedicated inert gas generator. The inert gas system is used to prevent the atmosphere in cargo tanks or bunkers from coming into the explosive range. IG keeps the oxygen content of the tank atmosphere below 8% (on crude carriers, less for product carriers and gas tankers), thus making any air/hydrocarbon gas mixture in the tank too lean to ignite. IG is most important during discharging and during the ballast voyage when more hydrocarbon vapour is likely to be present in the tank atmosphere. Inert gas can also be used to purge the tank of the volatile atmosphere in preparation for gas freeing – replacing the atmosphere with breathable air – or vice versa.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Mad science” is a trait which runs strongly in Our Lady’s genealogy, and there are two workshop levels she has devoted to pure experimentation and whimsy. Arcane and wicked, her machinations are not for the faint of heart to witness. When those lightning thrashed experiments of hers are enacted- your humble narrator and our little dog cower and seek cover.

Such is the lot of those, who will seek to survive, in the days following the Mayan Apocalypse.

from wikipedia

The prototypical fictional mad scientist was Victor Frankenstein, creator of his eponymous monster, who made his first appearance in 1818, in the novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley. Though Frankenstein is a sympathetic character, the critical element of conducting forbidden experiments that cross “boundaries that ought not to be crossed”, heedless of the consequences, is present in Shelley’s novel. Frankenstein was trained as both alchemist and modern scientist which makes him the bridge between two eras of an evolving archetype. The book is the precursor of a new genre, science fiction, though as an example of Gothic horror it is connected with other antecedents as well.

1896 saw the publication of H. G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau, in which the titular doctor – a controversial vivisectionist – has isolated himself entirely from civilization in order to continue his experiments in splicing human DNA into animals, heedless of the suffering he causes.

Another archetypal mad scientist is Faust, or Dr. Faustus. The Faust legend is a widely recognized and referenced example of selling one’s soul to the devil. In almost all cases, Faust is selling his soul for knowledge or supernatural power.

Fritz Lang’s 1927 movie Metropolis brought the archetypical mad scientist to the screen in the form of Rotwang, the evil genius whose machines gave life to the dystopian city of the title. Rotwang’s laboratory influenced many subsequent movie sets with its electrical arcs, bubbling apparatus, and bizarrely complicated arrays of dials and controls. Portrayed by actor Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Rotwang himself is the prototypically conflicted mad scientist; though he is master of almost mystical scientific power, he remains slave to his own desires for power and revenge. Rotwang’s appearance was also influential – the character’s shock of flyaway hair, wild-eyed demeanor, and his quasi-fascist laboratory garb have all been adopted as shorthand for the mad scientist “look”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The next level down is a maze of seemingly undifferentiated and innocuous electrical equipment- in actuality this is a gigajoule charged snare designed to entrap the curious and technical minded. One touch, and you shall find yourself at the center of a bluish white arc of lightning, energetically dematerializing into an ashy shadow upon the floor.

You don’t screw around, during the Mayan Apocalypse.

from wikipedia

Execution by electrocution, using an electric chair, has been employed as an official method of capital punishment in only two countries, the United States and the Philippines, and is now almost obsolete. It was invented in the US in 1881 as a more humane alternative to hanging. It was promoted by inventor Thomas Edison, who built the first electric chair, and conducted many public tests on animals, using alternating current (AC) electricity. Part of Edison’s motivation was to make AC electricity look dangerous in the public eye, to give his competing DC electric distribution system an advantage in the war of the currents. The first person to be executed by electrocution was William Kemmler in New York’s Auburn prison on August 6, 1890. One thousand volts was passed through his body for 17 seconds, however he was found to be still breathing and a second shock of 2000 volts was required to kill him.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A switch hidden in a dark recess opens an aperture to the next level, where the vast supplies of fresh water stored by Our Lady are recirculated and maintained. She has indicated that there are several layers of defensive cordon installed in this vast chamber, but insists that I don’t speak of them. She asked me to pass on this: “if you are hungry for death, come see me, for I am the flail of god”.

She really needs a cup of tea.

My personal fears center around those half dead hordes of thirsty Queensicans, roaming the parched surface of a blasted earth, after the Mayan Apocalypse.

from wikipedia

Based on crater formation rates determined from the Earth’s closest celestial partner, the Moon, astrogeologists have determined that during the last 600 million years, the Earth has been struck by 60 objects of a diameter of 5 km (3 mi) or more. The smallest of these impactors would release the equivalent of ten million megatons of TNT and leave a crater 95 km (60 mi) across. For comparison, the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated, the Tsar Bomba, had a yield of 50 megatons.

Besides direct effect of asteroid impacts on a planet’s surface topography, global climate and life, recent studies have shown that several consecutive impacts can have effect on the dynamo mechanism at a planet’s core responsible for maintaining the magnetic field of the planet, and can eventually shut down the planet’s magnetic field.

While numerous impact craters have been confirmed on land or in the shallow seas over continental shelves, no impact craters in the deep ocean have been widely accepted by the scientific community. Impacts of projectiles as large as 1 km in diameter are generally thought to explode before reaching the sea floor, but it is unknown what would happen if a much larger impactor struck the deep ocean. The lack of a crater, however, does not mean that an ocean impact would not have dangerous implications for humanity. Some scholars have argued that an impact event in an ocean or sea may create a megatsunami (a giant wave), which can cause destruction both at sea and on land along the coast, but this is disputed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

No permanent installations of easy egress- neither stairs nor ramps- are available after this floor, which is found at some undisclosed number of levels beneath Astoria. All the ladders you see in these shots will be pulled away and secured, after the blast hatches leading to them have been hermetically sealed and welded.

Such precautions are sound and reasonable, after the Mayan Apocalypse.

from wikipedia

A basic fallout shelter consists of shields that reduce gamma ray exposure by a factor of 1000. The required shielding can be accomplished with 10 times the thickness of any quantity of material capable of cutting gamma ray exposure in half. Shields that reduce gamma ray intensity by 50% (1/2) include 1 cm (0.4 inch) of lead, 6 cm (2.4 inches) of concrete, 9 cm (3.6 inches) of packed dirt or 150 m (500 ft) of air. When multiple thicknesses are built, the shielding multiplies. Thus, a practical fallout shield is ten halving-thicknesses of packed dirt, reducing gamma rays by approximately 1024 times (210).

Usually, an expedient purpose-built fallout shelter is a trench; with a strong roof buried by c. 1 m (3 ft) of dirt. The two ends of the trench have ramps or entrances at right angles to the trench, so that gamma rays cannot enter (they can travel only in straight lines). To make the overburden waterproof (in case of rain), a plastic sheet may be buried a few inches below the surface and held down with rocks or bricks.

Blast doors are designed to absorb the shock wave of a nuclear blast, bending and then returning to their original shape.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Long suffering, Our Lady- in her infinity of capacity and capability- has erected a Byzantine maze of seemingly identical industrial hallways leading off to seeming infinity on the next level down. She has warned me that care must be paid, lest inattention carry me or the dog down one of the “wrong” directions. Apparently, she has been experimenting with biological organisms, some of which are best described as a corrupt and protoplasmic form of life. She claims that if you have made it this far, there is only a one in a thousand chance that you’ll make it past her pets.

She calls them “level bosses”.

Such blasphemies, I fear, will be quite common, in the days following the Mayan Apocalypse.

from wikipedia

Biological agents have the ability to adversely affect human health in a variety of ways, ranging from relatively mild allergic reactions to serious medical conditions, including death. Many of these organisms are ubiquitous in the natural environment where they are found in water, soil, plants, or animals. Bio-agents may be amenable to “weaponization” to render them easier to deploy or disseminate. Genetic modification may enhance their incapacitating or lethal properties, or render them impervious to conventional treatments or preventives. Since many bio-agents reproduce rapidly and require minimal resources for propagation, they are also a potential danger in a wide variety of occupational settings.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It should not be inferred that Our Lady has been concerning herself with some mere plague.

Instead, her experiments have resulted from a chance reference I made one evening about one of H.P. Lovecraft’s creations. The great author described an engineered debasement of life which could spawn organs and appendages as needed, recombining them back into the central mass when no longer needed. These drone organisms performed the role of servant laborers and sometime soldiers for their fictional masters.

Should they be needed, an army of these so called Shoggoths will rise to serve her, in the weeks following the Mayan Apocalypse.

from wikipedia

Being amorphous, they could take on any shape needed, making them very versatile within their aquatic environment. Though able to “understand” the Elder Things’ language, they had no real consciousness and were controlled through hypnotic suggestion.

The shoggoths built the underwater cities of their masters. Over millions of years of existence, some shoggoths mutated and gained independent minds. Some time after this, they rebelled. Eventually, the Elder Things succeeded in quelling the insurrection, but thereafter watched them more carefully. By this point, exterminating them was not an option as the Elder Things were fully dependent on them for labor and could not replace them. It was during this time that, despite their masters’ wishes, they demonstrated an ability to survive on land.

Within the Mythos, the existence of the shoggoths possibly led to the accidental creation of Ubbo-Sathla, a god-like entity supposedly responsible for the origin of all life on Earth, though At The Mountains of Madness brings up the possibility of the Elder Things being the creators, having made early life as discarded experiments in bioengineering.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Redundant workstations and control rooms for a supercomputer she has installed, a well hidden and necessary tool for controlling the multitudinous devices and security systems in our bunker, are located in several hardened sectors of our personal anthill. The artificial intelligence is programmed to react badly to any who try to access it except for Our Lady, the dog, and myself.

It is my understanding that just one of the death traps in this room involves a gelatin bullet which encases a needle of potassium cyanide loaded into a motion activated and highly accurate automatic rifle. When the bullet strikes, it shatters, and the soluble poison needle is driven into the skin. Death is near instantaneous.

Our Lady of the Pentacle doesn’t fool around, after the Mayan Apocalypse.

from wikipedia

Dr. Charles A. Forbin is the chief designer of a secret government project. He and his team have built an advanced supercomputer, called “Colossus”, to control all of the United States and Allied nuclear weapons systems. Colossus is built to be impervious to any attack, encased within a mountain and powered by its own nuclear reactor. When it is activated, the President of the United States announces its existence, proudly proclaiming it a perfect defense system that will ensure peace.

Shortly after the broadcast ends, Colossus displays a cryptic message on its screens: “WARN: THERE IS ANOTHER SYSTEM”. It is revealed that Colossus is referring to a Soviet project very similar to itself; a supercomputer called “Guardian” that controls Soviet nuclear weapons. Both computers promptly demand a link to allow them to communicate with one another.

The link is set up, whereupon the computers exchange messages of simple mathematics. Scientists and officials of both sides monitor the activity on video screens. The communications become increasingly complex, eventually extending into mathematics that are unknown to mankind. Then the two machines begin communicating in a binary language that the scientists cannot interpret.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This computer system has already cached a large online bookseller’s entire site, as well as the entire library of certain streaming video services. Additionally, it has cracked open a large online music store and downloaded several terabytes of carefully chosen musical data. There will be no autotune in the world of tomorrow, if I have anything to say about it.

Despite the lead shielding and faraday cages she has embedded into the walls, Our Lady has ensured four bars of wifi support throughout the sub astorian complex, allowing remote access to the network of security cameras and poison blow darts. We can kill using our phones.

My girl, she was a wonder before, but her talents truly will shine during the Mayan Apocalypse.

from wikipedia

The main chambers have 15 buildings that stand free of the rock walls or roofs and are joined by flexible vestibule connections–12 buildings are 3 stories tall and others are 1 and 2 stories. For earthquakes or NUDET ground shocks, buildings are on 1,380 steel springs weighing about 1,000 pounds (450 kg) and allowing 12 inches (30 cm) of movement. Building shells are ⅜ inch (9.5 mm) continuously welded low carbon steel plates which are supported by structural steel frames. Metal walls and tunnels provide electromagnetic pulse shielding (metal doors help contain fire/smoke.) Services include a dining facility, medical facility with dental office, pharmacy and a two-bed ward; two physical fitness centers with exercise equipment and sauna; a small base exchange and barber shop are all located within the complex.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, since we will be severing all but outgoing traffic from our computer networks to ensure that no harmful radio frequencies damage our equipment- down in the “Hobbitton” like living quarters at the base of this inverted skyscraper of hers, we will be completely unaware of what is happening “up top”.

Good luck to you lords and ladies.

Do your best to enjoy these final hours, before the Mayan Apocalypse.

from wikipedia

Human extinction is the end of the human species. Various scenarios have been discussed in science, popular culture and religion (see End time). The scope of this article is existential risks. Humans are very widespread on the Earth, and live in communities which (whilst interconnected) are capable of some kind of basic survival in isolation. Therefore, pandemic and deliberate killing aside, to achieve human extinction, the entire planet would have to be rendered uninhabitable, with no opportunity provided or possible for humans to establish a foothold beyond Earth. This would typically be during a mass extinction event, a precedent of which exists in the Permian–Triassic extinction event among other examples.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 19, 2012 at 12:15 am

dangerous blossoms

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Mayan Apocalypse Countdown: just 3 days left until the 13th b’ak’tun ends, initiating the Mayan Apocalypse on December 21st. Tick, tock.

Our Lady of the Pentacle demanded that we enjoy this last weekend before the prolapse of reality on the 21st occurs.

Hence- we set off to a pair of holiday parties set at equidistant intervals from the subway and found ourselves negotiating an unfamiliar path on Queens Blvd. Saturday Night., which carried us past the Borough Hall of Queens in some garden called Kew.

Fever pitch, our anxiety over the fate of time and space was nevertheless abated as merrily we skipped along. Our bacchanal of perambulation, however, ended suddenly when we realized that there were shadowy forms crawling upon Civic Virtue.

from oldkewgardens.com

This landmark was designed by Frederick MacMonnies and sculpted by the Piccirilli Brothers (Ferrucio, Attilio, Furio, Horatio, Masanielo and Getulio) of the Bronx. (Attilio and Furio also sculpted Daniel Chester French’s statute of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial and the Lions in front of the New York Public Library.) Civic Virtue stood in front of City Hall [see the 1923 picture] until Mayor La Guardia decided he was sick of being mooned by it everytime he left the office. In 1941, La Guardia finally thought of a way to get rid of the thing. He made a gift of the statue to Queens County in honor of the opening of its new Borough Hall. Civic Virtue was moved to the park next to Borough Hall where it has remained since.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This was on Saturday afternoon around 4:30, an odd time for non emergency service municipal employees or contractors to be at work. A large and adroit flashgun was attached to my trusty camera, and the tableau was revealed.

Immediately, one realized that the leaders of our fair borough- realizing that the forthcoming and foretold Mayan Apocalypse would wreak havoc upon the artistic heritage of future Queensicans, had begun certain preventative measures to preserve and protect the already deteriorated statue.

from queensnyc.com

A spokesperson from Borough President Helen Marshall’s office said, “Borough President Marshall is pleased that the statue will be restored and will work to see that the base of the statue, which will remain here, will be transformed into a public sitting area with benches and landscaping. She would also like the public area to pay tribute to outstanding women who have made a significant contribution to our borough and city.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If there is one thing for which the masters of the Queens Borough Hall are known for, it is the protection of and frank veneration of the iconic symbols of Queen’s past – such as St. Saviours in Maspeth, and the Queens Plaza Millstones.

Also, it was obvious that by conducting this operation quietly, under a twilight sky and unpublished schedule, they were attempting to avoid any build up of anxiety or panic within the local population or the broader constituency of the City of New York.

Such diligent service- ensuring that the surprise of this long standing work just disappearing from a perch it has stood upon since the 1930’s would cause no great tumult during the busy work week, during which a torch bearing mob of depressives, self immolators, and arts enthusiasts would surely chain themselves to the statue in order to guarantee its permanence- is the hallmark of true civic virtue.

from nytimes.com

Despite the criticism, “Civic Virtue” remained in place, in part because politicians were leery of demolishing something on which $60,000 had been spent. It was left to George U. Harvey, borough president of Queens in 1941, to put Manhattan out of its misery. Discerning a kindred spirit, he welcomed “Civic Virtue” to Borough Hall that year, two months before Pearl Harbor.

“I have been kicked around for years, just as that statue has,” Mr. Harvey said. “I felt that he and I had so much in common that if he were over here, near my office, I could come out here sometimes and we could tell each other our troubles.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dross interpretations, influenced by politics and ideological pedagogy, described the statue as denigrating toward women. This is due to its representation of crime and vice in the fanciful form of serpentine hybrids. The 1922 Frederick MacMonnies statue originally stood in Manhattan’s City Hall Park, where it was loathed by more than one Mayor.

from politicker.com

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz‘s push for a professional soccer team in his borough–possibly at the expense of Queens–did not go over well with a certain Astoria councilman:

“Queens Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., called it a declaration of war.

‘Brooklyn is already in the process of stealing our . . . Civic Virtue statue and moving it to Green-Wood Cemetery, so what’s next, the Mets?’ he fired back. ‘I better go and lock up the Unisphere.’

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It came to Queens in 1941, just as all of Manhattan’s problems do. A rumor has been planted that the Borough Hall wishes to construct a “monument to women” here in its place, but that can’t be true- it must be a ruse designed to disguise the fact (and avert panic over) that the sculpture is simply being protected from the fiery event horizon of the looming and inevitably indescribable horrors of the Mayan Apocalypse.

from queensbp.org

Out of all of Queens today, only one farm survives — and that as an historical restoration. Henceforth, all further development will necessarily involve infilling and upbuilding, deterioration and replacement, rejuvenation and adaptation, and similar processes. Queens today is a physically mature urban territory but also one of intense social dynamism.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 18, 2012 at 12:15 am

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