The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for February 10th, 2013

energetic struggle

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This is the one thousandth posting of this, your Newtown Pentacle.

“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The other day… or night… it’s all kind of hazy… your humble narrator was afflicted with insomnia.

Having no commitments for the following diurnal cycle, a daring plan was hatched and executed wherein one left HQ here in Astoria and plunged forth into the dark. Perambulating past clustered inebriates, and cab drivers arriving at work and congregating while waiting for assignment from yard dispatchers- a steady path for the East River was magnetically adhered to. Casting myself wildly forward from ferry to ferry, one soon realized that the vast human hive had been crossed and the ground that this veritable mendicant stood upon was none other than… Staten Island.

That’s when the gargantuan Cosco Osaka container ship came into view, shepherded by the Gramma Lee T. Moran tug.


The LEE T. MORAN is an expression of brute power and utility that belies the refinements of technical engineering below her waterline. There, twin ports are cut into the steel hull to make room for the tug’s Z-drive units. On the floor of the shop they look like the lower units of giant outboard engines. Made by Ulstein, a subsidiary of Rolls-Royce, the Z-drive functions much like an outboard. Imagine two outboards extending straight down through the hull, each having the ability to rotate 360 degrees. That makes even a heavy, 92-foot tug with a 450-ton displacement very maneuverable. “It can turn on a dime,” says Doughty. “The hull bottom is slightly flatter to adjust to the two drive units. By turning each drive out 90 degrees, the captain can go from full-ahead (14 knots) to a dead stop in no time.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Awake for what would probably be two days at this point, your humble narrator was a mass of symptoms and early warning signs. Shaking from the cold, my eyes sunken back from fatigue and reddened from lack of sleep, it felt as if a narcotic haze fell over me while watching the small tug maneuver the larger vessel out of the Kill Van Kull.

Nevertheless, the attempt to soldier on was successful and these photographs were captured.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A wearier narrator scuttled back to the St. George Ferry Terminal for a ride back to the docks in Manhattan, wherein another ferry trip brought him back to Queens. By this point, the insomniac possession had lifted and pregnant fatigue indicated that it was time to fall into that same state of involuntary unconsciousness- with its bizarre hallucinatory imagery- which has plagued him since childhood.


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, on February the 15th- Next Friday.

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


Written by Mitch Waxman

February 10, 2013 at 12:15 am

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