The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for January 2013

tower flanked

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having an afternoon off, and desiring to stretch ones legs, your humble narrator soon found himself in familiar locale- First Calvary Cemetery in Queens.

There are are four properties which comprise Calvary, the original occupies a hill called Laurel, and was founded in 1848 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. The combined properties host better than three million interments, making it the most densely populated cemetery on the planet. One often witnesses things there that most would describe as “odd”.

On this particular day, I noticed a trail of disturbed earth.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seemed as if some enormous slug like “thing” had pulled itself along, tearing out the turf as it convulsed and contracted and slithered. My first instinct was that whatever it was, it probably secreted acid from its skin, which is why the grass was so thoroughly scrubbed away.

Great size was suggested not just by the size of its trail but by a several inches deep disturbance of the soil.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing would have had to been enormous, a giant even by the scale of earlier aeons. Always fragile when confronted with strong emotions and unexpected stimuli, my brain began to throb with panic. Would… could such a creature, exist here?

Then a synaptic leap was accomplished, and remembered was the proximity of the nearby Newtown Creek- and the reportedly mutagenic qualities of its subaqueous sediments found nearby the Phelps Dodge site.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Close to experiencing “one of my states” at this point, my thoughts raced… could the organocoppers and volatile organic compounds known to exist in nearby waters have given rise to some sort of amphibious mutation of enormous size and unknown intent? Does some sort of blasphemous thing, a perverted and debased evolution of innocent sea life, rip its bulk from the protective depths and wander around the cemetery at night?

Would this explain the perennial existence of muddy streaks observed on the corner of Laurel Hill Blvd. and Review Avenue?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My delicate constitution, carefully balanced and maintained by a staff of doctors and medical professionals, demands that one remain reticent. This is when one of the curative tablets one has been commanded to always have at the ready was consumed, causing my heart to cease its racing action.

So steadied- an examination of my preposition, that an enormous slug like mutation born in a 20 foot thick layer of industrial waste and sewer sediment- the so called Black Mayonnaise- lining the bed of the Newtown Creek, might seem a bit far fetched.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To be fair, there is evidence that Phelps Dodge supplied refined materials for the Manhattan Project- specifically Tellerium- which would introduce radioactivity into the story. I can tell you categorically that in all the meetings I’ve attended concerning the Newtown Creek, and in all the scientific literature I’ve read about the place- not once have I heard or read about radioactivity (in the water).

There is no truth to the rumors common in Maspeth regarding a huge snapping turtle that rose from Newtown Creek and terrorized the community for an entire summer in the early 1950’s either, I am told.

Oddly enough, every time I meet somebody who works in government, the first thing they’ll say to me is: “There is no truth to the rumors common in Maspeth regarding a huge snapping turtle found there in the summer of 1954.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This track way is clearly not that of a snapping turtle, I would mention.

There would be distinct foot prints, as well as a defined pattern shaped by the tail.

It would be ridiculous to even suggest that this was the track left behind by an enormous snapping turtle of the sort rumored to have caused the death of several dogs and one mule in Maspeth during 1954, a situation which afflicted the community from the early spring and which only ended after a singular night, in August, which set the tongues of area wags wagging. The sudden appearance and deployment of several Army units accompanied by hundreds of Plain Clothes Police to the industrial quarters nearby the Haberman siding, which was explained away as a raid on illicit liquor racketeers who were operating in the area, is rumored to have put an end to the so called “Monster in Maspeth.”

None of which actually happened, I am repeatedly told.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Following the gouged trail, it suddenly became apparent that an apparently orthodox and certainly more ordinary explanation for the disturbed earth at Calvary Cemetery was at hand.

It appeared that vehicle tracks were visible at the upland section of it, and no doubt they were either cleverly trying to disguise the risible horror of some wandering slug like mutation risen from Newtown Creek to wander the graveyard in the dead of night, or that the gouged turf of the track was instead some part of their grounds keeping function.

It is up to you, lords and ladies, to decide which theorem is likely true.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You never know what you’re going to see at Calvary Cemetery, amongst the emerald devastations.

Also:

Remember that event in the fall which got cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy?

The “Up the Creek” Magic Lantern Show presented by the Obscura Society NYC is back on at Observatory.

Click here or the image below for more information and tickets.

lantern_bucket

beggars crouched

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personal velocity seems to be at an all time low, lords and ladies, as your humble narrator must have seen too many winters. A shut in and seemingly partial invalid, at least cognitively, one must do with the few pleasures left to him as the end is likely nigh and sure to be horrible. An insubstantial element of joy, however, has been watching the painfully slow processes at work around the Sunnyside Yards as the East Side access project incarnates.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Vast, the part of the project walked through in today’s post is the fascinating and parallel insertion of a second track on the LIRR main line.

My comprehension of the situation is limited, but as I understand- it involves the requirements of Amtrak, which gave up some amount of allotted space and track rights at Sunnyside Yard to the City and State project, on condition that it no longer suffer schedule interruptions due to LIRR breakdowns or bottlenecks. It seems that even with Amtrak’s former holdings, frequent service delays experienced by the LIRR rippled out from NY and across the Northeast corridor rail network.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Your humble narrator is a relative late comer to the story of the railroads, and there are incredible gaps in my understanding of the system. One thing which I’ve never been able to clarify for myself is why there isn’t more active rail at work.

Once upon a time, in the City of New York, there were miles of active tracks servicing thousands of individual businesses. The plan which is actively under construction will ostensibly improve passenger service, but what about freight?

Also:

Remember that event in the fall which got cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy?

The “Up the Creek” Magic Lantern Show presented by the Obscura Society NYC is back on at Observatory.

Click here or the image below for more information and tickets.

lantern_bucket

nitrous wheezing

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent readings on the Satanic Cult panics of the 1980’s and 90’s, the most famous of which was the infamous McMartin case in California, revealed that a manual for the Pagan community on how to avoid circumspection was published. Its title included the phrase “How to Appear Harmless”, which struck one such as myself with a deep whimsy. Much effort is expended on my part, in order to dissuade the local gentry from lighting torches and picking up pitch forks as I near.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering about, exposed to prying eyes and on foot, one must be concerned about not just sentry men, guard dogs, and violent neighbors but with the more esoteric hazards presented by Queens. While consumed with such paranoid mutterings, this odd drawer of bubbling black slime was noticed on a deserted stretch of 37th avenue at the border of Sunnyside.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The locale is defined by the presence of a large municipal property, an enormous and ethnically Korean church, and the tracks of the Long Island Railroad. Deserted on the weekends and evenings, the street largely serves as a thoroughfare for traffic moving between the Home Depot on Northern Blvd.’s 48th street exit and 43rd street.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Initial supposition that this was merely a manifestation of the native art form of Queens- illegal dumping- was complicated by the complete lack of smell. It wasn’t paint, and it sure wasn’t oil. What the fuligin substance was is anyone’s guess, I suppose.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An impulse to poke at it with a stick was suppressed, as repeated viewings of the classic horror movie “The Blob” have taught me that such activity might allow a viscous entity of malign intelligence or intent egress to unprotected flesh.

Also:

Remember that event in the fall which got cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy?

The “Up the Creek” Magic Lantern Show presented by the Obscura Society NYC is back on at Observatory. 

Click here or the image below for more information and tickets.

lantern_bucket

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 22, 2013 at 12:15 am

beckon eagerly

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whilst wandering along lost in a self critical soliloquy, as your humble narrator has more than just a few regrets and guilty interludes based around the amount of damage caused to those I care about due to my presence in their lives, this conveyance of the local gendarme caught my eye. It bears the familiar color way of the NYPD, however it is the property of the NYC Sheriff, a separate agency with a wholly different mission from the more numerous constables.

from nyc.gov

The Office of the City Sheriff, Law Enforcement Bureau (LEB) is a state and city charter mandated service of the Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff is an officer of the court, and his primary purpose and function is to serve and execute the various legal processes and mandates issued not only by and for the several courts of the state and its subdivisions, but also for the legal community and the general public.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The vehicle got me thinking about how vision and memory actually work. My addled brain wanted to file the vehicle away under “cops” upon seeing the thing, due to the familiar pattern of blue and white. Like the adaptation to smell commented upon by employees of the DEP waste water system, wherein constant environmental stimuli renders one blind to odor, how much of our frenetic visual locale is filtered out by an overwhelmed visual cortex? If these NYPD ESU trucks said “USSR”, would you notice it?

from wikipedia

The New York City Police Department Emergency Service Unit is the Emergency Service Unit (ESU) for the New York City Police Department. A component of the Special Operations Division of the Patrol Services Bureau, the unit provides specialized support and advanced equipment to other NYPD units. For example, its Canine Unit helps with searches for perpetrators and missing persons. The Emergency Service Unit also functions as a Special Weapons and Tactical Unit (SWAT) and NYPD hostage negotiators assist and secure the safety of hostages. Members of “ESU” are cross trained in multiple disciplines for police and rescue work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Often one ponders if this is the core thing which sets me apart from others, this allegiance to noticing literally everything. When entering a room, my head pivots about, and a careful inventory of my surroundings are made. I know where the fire exits are in any auditorium, catalog inconsistent details, and above all- instantly notice that which “does not belong”. More often than not, that out of place thing which does belong is myself, of course. Always must I remain an Outsider.

from wikipedia

Gestalt psychologists working primarily in the 1930s and 1940s raised many of the research questions that are studied by vision scientists today.

The Gestalt Laws of Organization have guided the study of how people perceive visual components as organized patterns or wholes, instead of many different parts. Gestalt is a German word that partially translates to “configuration or pattern” along with “whole or emergent structure.” According to this theory, there are six main factors that determine how the visual system automatically groups elements into patterns: Proximity, Similarity, Closure, Symmetry, Common Fate (i.e. common motion), and Continuity.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 21, 2013 at 12:15 am

sizable rift

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

This Maritime Sunday posting presents the crossing of the Kill Van Kull by two tugs of the Coastline Marine Towing Corporation. They are moving a crane barge from points unknown to some destination at the Port Elizabeth Newark complex. Said shots were captured while onboard a Working Harbor Committee expedition during the summer of 2012. As you can see, it was a dark and stormy night.

from coastlinemarinetowing.com

Coastline Marine Towing has been serving the New York-Metro Harbors and US Eastern Seaboard for 20 years. We provide experienced crew and vessels that are ready to accommodate the logistics of your marine project.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Little information is available on the tug Ireland, although a friend of mine asserts that it’s a 1940 vintage vessel. It did not display radio call sign information on its hull, which would have aided me in discerning its past and capabilities. The radio call sign, for maritime vessels, performs the same function which a license plate does for motor vehicles.

from workingharbor.com

Whether it’s a single barge, a group of barges made up as a single unit, or a vessel, when being moved by a tugboat, it’s called the “tow” (singular). A tug can move a tow in one of three different ways:

  • Astern – The tug pulls the tow via a tow line from the stern of the tug. This is common for ocean towing but less used in confined harbors as it may be difficult to keep the tow from swinging side to side.
  • Pushing – The tug ties off behind the tow, and pushes it forward. This provides a greater deal of control compared to towing astern.
  • Alongside (on the hip) – The tug ties up alongside the tow, typically aft of the midpoint of the tow. This method also provides a good deal of control.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The capabilities of google are confounded when a search term like “Tug Ireland” is offered to it. Lacking syntax, the algorithms of the search giant deliver a cogent result describing the coastal towing capabilities of a European nation state rather than those which would define and encapsulate the history of a single tugboat. Nevertheless, a hearty Maritime Sunday shout out is sent to both the faraway coast of an Emerald Island and to the crew of a singular tugboat alike.

also from workingharbor.com

Port refers to the left hand side of a vessel as you face forward and starboard refers to the right hand side. Before the rudder was invented (by the Chinese), boats and ships were steered by means of a steering board. Since most people are right handed, it was customary to mount the steering board on the right hand side of the ship. This, the right hand side became know as the “steering board” side, which was eventually shortened to “starboard” side, and this term is still in use today.

Project Firebox 55

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is fairly sure that this particular sentinel of the realm has been presented before, but I just like the shot. This scarlet centurion exists at the periphery of the Degnon Terminal and Sunnyside Yards A on Skillman Avenue, in the glorious industrial zone of the City of Long Island.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 19, 2013 at 12:15 am

shocking raptures

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As longtime readers of this, your Newtown Pentacle, realize- your humble narrator spends a lot of time wandering around cemeteries. Seldom am I in such a place to attend a service, but in the case of today’s posting, one found himself deep in Nassau County for a family funeral. While waiting for the services to start, however, my interest was taken by an assortment of bird houses installed upon a tree.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Cemeteries, especially the large estates like Calvary or in this case – New Montefiore in Farmingdale- perform the unintended task of serving as bird sanctuaries. To avian eyes, the grassy plain of sorrow is a welcome meadow. These bird houses, however, filled me with some nameless dread.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Strictly utilitarian, these tiny structures were obvious downtime projects of some idle groundskeeper. Simple in design and rustic in execution, there was nevertheless something “creepy” about them that caused me to reach for my camera and record their presence.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Perhaps it was a desire to separate myself from grieving relatives, or some notion that I should make productive use of the day. Can’t say, as I’m all ‘effed up, and the motivations which drive me are quite byzantine. It was an uncle who died, btw, who lived a long and healthy life and passed at an astounding 97 years of age. He was quite mobile up until the end, independent of nurses and aides and in full possession of his faculties.

As my relatives would say: “We should all be so lucky.”

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 18, 2013 at 12:15 am