The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for April 2nd, 2013

what manner

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hideous memory recalls an age whereupon your humble narrator dwelt within the Shining City of Manhattan.

The Upper West Side, as I knew it (I lived upper upper west side, just a few blocks shy of Harlem), was a bit seedier in those days than it is today. The neighborhood has gone strictly upper crust in the last decade and has in the process lost an idiosyncratic charm which once possessed it.

Atavist professional relationships from that period of my life persist, which have drawn me uptown on a semi regular basis over the last few weeks.

from wikipedia

The Upper West Side is bounded on the south by 58th Street, Central Park to the east, and the Hudson River to the west. Its northern boundary is somewhat less obvious. Although it has historically been cited as 110th Street, which fixes the neighborhood alongside Central Park, it is now sometimes considered to be 125th Street, encompassing Morningside Heights. This reflects demographic shifts in Morningside Heights, as well as the tendency of real estate brokers to co-opt the tony Upper West Side name when listing Morningside Heights and Harlem apartments. The area north of West 96th Street and east of Broadway is also identified as Manhattan Valley. The overlapping area west of Amsterdam Avenue to Riverside Park was once known as the Bloomingdale District.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An Accountant and an Optometrist are my only ties to this place, for like me, most of my friends have long vacated. The latter relationship, the one with my Optometrist, has been developing into a bit of an ongoing and somewhat endless saga but I won’t bore you with tales of incompetence today. A few old acquaintances still inhabit here, but most of the restaurants and bars frequented during a long tenancy are either lost or have transformed beyond all recognition due to the influences of the Real Estate Industrial Complex.

Big Nick’s is still open, thank christ.

Regarding the legendary Sal and Carmines Pizza… “Hank the Elevator Guy” texted me the other day with this exact quote:

“Ah, even with sal now making pizza for god this place still got it, carmine is still there looking like he always did, pissed off. But the pizza is just the way it always is. Pretty fucking good.”


…thousands of homebuilders, real estate agents, civil-rights leaders, and bankers who aim to deliver a similar message to Congress: Preserve government support for housing. Together, these groups represent what one might call, with apologies to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a real estate-industrial complex that transcends partisan politics, geography, and socio-economic divides.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One could simply take the Astoria to Manhattan bound train to midtown and transfer from the Broadway local to… a Broadway local… but instead the path one elects to follow is defined by walking from 5th and 59th up to Broadway in the 70’s. Interesting Architecture on the way, well cared for, Upper West Side is the poster child for gentrification.

Not for me anymore, but not some blasted hell hole. Me, I like blasted hell holes.

The only part of the walk I mind is when the carriage horses, whose tenders await customers along Central Park South, gaze at me. I fully understand the role and reality of working animals, attempt not to project an anthropomorphized soul upon them, but it is impossible to not feel empathy for pack animals who spend their days around automobile traffic.

I feel guilty when these critters look me directly in my eye, how about you?


The ASPCA believes that carriage horses were never meant to live and work in today’s urban setting. In addition to the dangers of working in congested areas, these horses spend their days directly behind cars, trucks and buses, inhaling their fumes. Given the constraints and challenges that New York City presents, and as the primary enforcer of New York City’s carriage horse laws, the ASPCA does not believe New York City can meet the needs of its horses. Neither the New York City environment nor the current law can provide horses with the fundamental necessities to ensure their safety and well being.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 2, 2013 at 12:15 am

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