The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for July 8th, 2013

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Do you smell that?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Waiting for a train, and I mean a specific train of a certain line rather than just whatever might be headed toward Manhattan, entails acceptance of the fact that one must endure several pneumatic blasts of powderized rat droppings carried in the slipstream of more frequently serviced lines.

Mold, bacterial specie, and fumes generated by decaying electrical switches (as well as other more esoteric bits of equipment) are also incorporated in this refreshing torrent of miasma. Welcomed, as the static mass of air down under Broadway in Astoria (and in the subway system citywide) is a concatenation of horrors, an unmoving and highly humid jelly of stink and reprobate contamination which is at least set into a sort of motion by the action of piston leaving concrete cylinder which one might describe as a breeze.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The gentleman in the shot above noticed, as did I, certain queer movements down upon the tracks as some squamous army marched about in the fetid trickles of sewage running and pooling about in the intervals betwixt the train propelled clouds of pneumatically driven stink.

A plague of rats has tormented the neighborhood found between the Steinway and 46th street stops along Broadway for several months now, conditions accelerated and excaberated by the phenomena which is derogatorily referred to as “Bloomblight” by area wags. Named for the current Mayor, the term refers to a building lot which has been cleared of structures but has been left as an open pit while awaiting building development, in complete disregard for the safety and domestic tranquility of existing residents. Two such plots have lain open on Broadway, between the two stops, for quite awhile.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Puff after puff of vomitous stink and poisonous air follow these trains and bathe riders in contaminant particulates- and between these arrivals and departures- one is treated to a different sort of commute- that which is enacted by the nightbreed rodents.

One wonders if this vermin habitation and community, whose true size is seldom glimpsed or only ever hinted at, marches to and from Manhattan on a daily schedule as we do? Do they have some potentate there, as we do, to whom allegiance is expected? Are there rats who stay local, proclaiming the glories of their outer borough and quite subterranean lair, as we do? Do they brag about the quality and diversity of restaurant garbage in Queens?

Is there a rat 311 which they can call to complain of traps and poisons?

After all, lords and ladies, as above so below- and who can guess, all there is, that might be buried down there?

Want to see something cool? Upcoming Walking Tours

Modern Corridor Saturday, July 13, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Kill Van Kull Saturday, August 10, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

13 Steps around Dutch Kills Saturday, August 17, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 8, 2013 at 7:30 am

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