The Newtown Pentacle

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Astoria, land that I love, stand beside her…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Generally speaking, your humble narrator is a misanthrope, avoiding the company of other people. When I say I’m a street photographer, I mean that I literally like taking pictures of unpopulated streets. People tend to clutter up my shots and are best avoided. Other people who describe themselves as “street photographer” focus in on the humans as they scurry about the hive and make trouble for themselves, whereas I’m a bit more interested in the hive itself. Still, in the name of breaking things up and “doing the opposite,” every now and then I wave the camera around at folks to see what I might get.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured above is the bland homogeneity of a street fair imposed on the vibrant diversity of Astoria the other day. These street fairs are traveling corporate circuses, selling foodstuffs which the Mayor would probably attempt to outlaw for the amount of fat and salt they distribute to the unsuspecting Astorians who so desperately need the dietary guidance of the oligarchs and elites of Manhattan. I remember when the current form of these events took shape back in the 1990’s- with the “as seen on TV” products, sunglass vendors, and mozzarepa stalls. It always seems to be the same players, who noisily sweep in and suppress sales for local shop owners for a day, all the while running gasoline powered generators to power refrigerators and lights. The worst are the DJ booths, with throbbing club music broadcast to a neighborhood which had its fill the night before.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The fellow pictured above is one of our local “Crows,” a metal collector who scours the streets for anything shiny which might be salable to the scrap metal industry, and he opted for an al fresco lunch directly beneath my vantage. He’s a tragic and scorned figure in the neighborhood, part of a huge immigrant population of single men who arrived in Queens from foreign quarters looking for work, often witnessed lying prone on the sidewalk after a bout of drinking. Latino, the neighborhood refers to all of these characters as “the Mexicans,” although there is no guarantee that this is where he’s from. I could ask, of course, but that would get in the way of my general misanthropy.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

Glittering Realms Saturday, August 3rd, 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

August 1, 2013 at 12:03 pm

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