The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for August 22nd, 2013

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I call thee vibrant and diverse, names by which thou shalt be known.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bland and homogenous, the rest of New York City must be a wasteland ruled by a monolithic uniculture wherein all speak the same language and subsist on a flavorless protein paste. Woe to the quartet of other boroughs, for Queens has locked up all the color and intrigue, and it is both illegal and immoral to cook with curry or cumin in Staten Island or the Bronx. We got all the peppers out here as well, so enjoy your bland gravies Manhattanites.

I have come to this realization the last time somebody in the City reacted to the unexpected news that I live in Astoria with the ubiquitous “I love Queens, it’s so vibrant and diverse, and I was in Astoria sometime in the 70’s when I had Greek food.”

By the by, the two kids in the shot above had a small table with signage that read “everything, a dollar.”

from wikipedia

Astoria is a middle class and commercial neighborhood with a 154,000 population in the northwestern corner of the New York City borough of Queens. Located in Community Board 1, Astoria is bounded by the East River and is adjacent to three other Queens neighborhoods: Long Island City, Sunnyside (bordering at Northern Boulevard), and Woodside (bordering at 50th Street). Astoria is patrolled by the New York City Police Department’s 114th Precinct.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To begin with, Astoria ain’t all that Greek anymore, they’ve largely moved on and are renting out restaurant space to the highest bidder. The section I live in is equal parts Croatian, Brazilian, Mexican, Ecuadorean, African American, and everybody else is a product of the old 20th century melting pot. The societal engineering that drove my grandparents to speak heavily accented english is gone, and the best way to describe the modern system is to reference the old testament.

This “vibrant and diverse” thing drives me crazy, something that is touted by Manhattan liberals who live in vertical affluence and believe what Time Warner Cables’ NY1 tells them and who haven’t visited Queens since that time in the 70’s they went out for Greek. Get to Queens and talk to somebody who doesn’t look like or agree with you, cliff dwellers.


If you’re looking for great Greek food or an exotic microbrew, look no further than Astoria. This northern Queens neighborhood exudes a youthful charm and welcoming attitude. In Astoria, mom-and-pop shops snuggle up to humble townhouses whose residents address one another by name. Strikingly diverse groups of people intermingle with appreciative ease in this laid-back neighborhood’s various culinary destinations and quiet streets.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some of our vibrancy is expressed in illegal dumping, the native art form of western Queens. To wit, recently observed is yet another iteration of the single shoe phenomena on Broadway nearby the 46th street stop on the R. I’ve written about this a couple of times, and am not altogether convinced that there isn’t some amputee serial killer at work in the neighborhood. Vibrant diversity, however, would explain the presence of a population of peg legged sociopaths.


Welcome to, a free site that connects people with odd shoes with people who need odd shoes! Many people with feet of different sizes buy one pair of shoes for each shoe size and use only one shoe from each pair, leaving a closet full of unused shoes. The purpose of this site is to help you get those shoes out of your closet and put money into your pocket.

Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek – Saturday, August 24, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 22, 2013 at 7:30 am

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