The Newtown Pentacle

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Note: Mitch is taking the day off today, and welcoming a guest blogger for commentary on these shots. They were captured recently at Astoria Park while on a “family walk” with Our Lady of the Pentacle and Zuzu the dog. Zuzu the dog, everyone tells us, has gotten fat (even considering the fact that she has a thyroid issue, she has nevertheless put on weight over the winter) and an increased amount of exercise has been called for. Accordingly, we took her on the first of several long weekend walks to Astoria Park, and everything from this point springs from the pen of today’s guest blogger.


from wikipedia

The word “squirrel”, first specified in 1327, comes from Anglo-Norman esquirel from the Old French escurel, the reflex of a Latin word sciurus. This Latin word was borrowed from the Ancient Greek word σκίουρος, skiouros, which means shadow-tailed, referring to the bushy appendage possessed by many of its members.

The native Old English word, ācweorna, survived only into Middle English (as aquerne) before being replaced. The Old English word is of Common Germanic origin, with cognates such as German Eichhorn, Norwegian ekorn, Dutch eekhoorn, Swedish ekorre and Danish egern.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Squirrel!!! Squirrel!!! SQUIRREL!!!

from wikipedia

Astoria Park, a 59.96-acre (242,600 m2) park located along the East River in the New York City borough of Queens,contains one of the largest open spaces in Queens. The park is operated and maintained by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Situated in Astoria and adjacent to the Triborough Bridge and Hell Gate Bridge, the park contains New York City’s oldest and largest swimming pool. The outdoor 54,450-square-foot (5,059 m2) pool, planned by Robert Moses, was used for qualifying events for the 1936 and 1964 Summer Olympics.

– photo by Mitch Waxman


from wikipedia

As with other wild game and fish species, the consumption of squirrels that have been exposed to high levels of pollution or toxic waste poses a health risk to humans. A recent example of this took place in 2007 in the northern New Jersey community of Ringwood, where the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services issued a warning to anyone who eats squirrel (especially for children and pregnant women) to limit their consumption after a lead-contaminated squirrel was found near the Ringwood Mines Landfill. Toxic waste had been illegally dumped at this location for many years, before authorities cracked down on this practice in the 1980s. The warning especially affects the local Ramapough Mountain Indians, who have hunted and consumed squirrels from before European contact. The hunting and eating of squirrels is considered to be one of this people’s time-honored traditions, linking them through a process of cultural identity to their ancestors, and to each other. On learning of the ban on squirrel meat consumption, one member of the Ramapough Tribe told a reporter, “I feel my ancestry is disappearing, my heritage”.

Today’s guest blogger, as you might have guessed by now, has actually been the increasingly hungry Zuzu the dog. Her keen observations on urban wildlife, as told from a knee high perspective, are always enlightening.

Also: Upcoming Tours!

13 Steps around Dutch Kills Saturday, May 4, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Parks and Petroleum- Sunday, May 12, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

The Insalubrious Valley Saturday, May 25, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Hidden Harbor: Newtown Creek tour with Mitch Waxman – Sunday, May 26,2013
Boat tour presented by the Working Harbor Committee,
Limited seating available, order advance tickets now. Group rates available.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 3, 2013 at 12:15 am

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