The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for October 2013

atavistical menace

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Welcome to the darker side of the year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Call it what you will. There’s Samhain, and Calan Gaeaf, and we’ve also got All Hallows’ Eve – but it’s just Halloween here at Newtown Pentacle HQ. 2013 has been a slow one for the occult and magick beat, I’m afraid. Haven’t been able to bring you much more than a few headless chickens found on the rail tracks in Maspeth, actually. It’s not that I haven’t been looking, mind you, but I just keep on finding singular shoes divorced from their mated pair. Try and convince me that there isn’t some serial killer at work behind this phenomena, I dare you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A lurking fear of mine is the sure knowledge that there are rats in the walls. Just beyond the reach of station lights, they squirm and breed and hunger. Remember last year- directly following the storm- when concerns about this rodent army leaving the flooded tunnel system to try their luck above ground, in the darkened streets of lower Manhattan, were openly debated? Who can guess all there is, that might be down there?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Manhattan terrifies. Its teeming masses yearn to breathe free, but are forced to congregate in the great human hive in the name of industry. The atmosphere hosts a thriving variety of bacterial and viral specie, which float along on gusts of contaminant laden air from host to host. Pandemic is inevitable, and it would not be the first time either. First Cholera, then Typhus, Tuberculosis, and Influenza have historically cut great swaths of the population down on this crowded island. Always there are those who cannot afford to be sick, and are forced to go about their business with the affect and manner of the walking dead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Halloween though, isn’t about some mad serial killer operating in Queens, or an army of starving rats emerging from the Subways to feast, nor some plague that renders its victims with a virulent visage reminiscent of the living dead. Instead, it’s about spectral menaces rising from graveyards to wander the land in search of living souls to take back to hell with them, silly. The Danse Macabre is underway, so watch out Newtownicans, for evil of the most vile sort is afoot.

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weary trip

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Watch out, its Mischief Night.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 30th, for some, is a day when normal inhibitions against creating chaos are suspended. Mischief Night is the common term for this orgy of self indulgence and prankery perpetrated upon the wholesome masses and jaded gentry alike, and it is also known as Cabbage Night or Devils Night. Chilling traditions followed by its adolescent adherents include the hurling of toilet paper rolls into trees and over homes, bombardment of passerby and vehicles with cabbage, the ringing of doorbells, and relocation of garden furniture or statuary to distaff locale. There is also quite a bit of pumpkin smashing. All of this in the name of mischief… and that means one thing to me- LOKI.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Fearing that a Viking God might be behind all of this so called “tradition,” your humble narrator made his way to Manhattan’s west side to converse with the ascended masters. Consultations with an unreliably accurate storefront psychic in Hells Kitchen had proved fruitless in ascertaining if my assertions ascribing that the influences felt by many on this so called “Mischief Night” were, in fact, due to the influences of the Jotun born lord of mischief and father of Hel. My path took me to a certain relict saloon on 9th avenue, a dark corner of the Shining City and a place wherein a certain retired sea captain is known to inhabit. This too proved a waste of time, but I had a very nice whiskey while visiting.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unhappy act, I soon realized that this whiskey was no mere liquor and my thoughts began to gallop towards the bridge of incontinent madness, and one began contemplating and growing increasingly concerned what Mischief Night might involve. Hallucinations spawned by the drink included an impossibly large sailing ship, made out of the toenail clippings of corpses, roaring into NY Harbor. Clouds of Valkyrie accompanied, smashing the Verrazano to bits as they descended upon an unsuspecting City, while the ships Captain- Loki itself- cackled in cacodaemonic hilarity on its bow.

My last clear memory was draining of that glass, and then snapping out of it on the R train on my way back to Astoria. I’ve really got to stay out of the City, man.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 30, 2013 at 7:30 am

distant hills

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So, what were you up to a year ago?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As has been and will be repeated to you all day by everyone, today is the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy blowing in and kicking New York City’s ass, and the start of an era in which discussion of the environment became a politically expedient and quite mainstream issue. A twelve to fourteen foot high wall of water suddenly surging through the neighborhood can do that. A lot of swell planning, plotting, and intentions “to armor up” has been going on in the intervening year. Stout terms like “resiliency” and “soft edges” have been wielded by pundit and potential contractor alike, and offered to a shaken public. Whether this plan is palliative or prophylactic, only time will tell.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dozens of people have volunteered the stories of their trials that night to me over the last year, and others proudly talk about their time with Occupy Sandy and other relief efforts. The storm kicked New York City’s ass- that’s for sure- but New Yorkers are quite used to a swift kick in the butt, periodically. Personally speaking, your humble narrator counts his lucky stars that HQ was largely untouched by the storm’s deleterious effects (although, to be fair, HQ was hit by lightning the previous spring which destroyed a small fortune in electronics). We suffered no ill effect other than the difficulties encountered by Our Lady of the Pentacle in her quest to return from the west coast. Astoria, at least my part of it, was unscathed and largely open for business by the next morning.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My thoughts, however, remain centered on the sorrow of it all. Images abound- loss, and death, and fire, and storm tossed terror. Scared kids and barking dogs, firemen in boats, all that stuff. That’s the public side of it. Anecdotes and off the record statements offered to me by those who serve the public in a variety of official roles describe a city laid low and nearly sunk. For those who died during or because of this storm, and the multitudes whose lives were inextricably altered by it, condolences are offered. It is hoped that the images of Sandy, and those of Katrina, will similarly not be forgotten.

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regular pulsations

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In today’s post, more cast off clothing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whilst enacting my seemingly penitential and quite obligatory weekly walk to Greenpoint, this time for a Newtown Creek CAG meeting last week, a humble narrator was on the lookout for more examples of the “single shoe phenomena.” Oddly, one hasn’t witnessed a distaff member of a mated pair adorning the roadside middens in a few weeks. Back during the summer, it was difficult not to trip over one of them every time one left the illusion of safety offered by ones own rooms.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Opposite Calvary, this item was spotted instead, which appears to be a ladies undergarment, cast off to the mercies of Greenpoint Avenue. This is strange to me, as Our Lady of the Pentacle has explained to me on numerous occasions that such garments are quite costly.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The manner in which my brain functions demands that I attempt to explain things away, automatically generating a logical progression of probable events to explain the things I see.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Adolescent revelry comes to mind, with images of some freewheeling band of loose women and liquor fed boasting. Alternatively, darker scenarios form, but this is a family blog and salacious speculation is not the Newtown Pentacle way.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 28, 2013 at 10:24 am

size and cunning

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Today’s Maritime Sunday visits the family Bouchard.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Evening Star emerging from the mists of the Kill Van Kull, as recently observed. Brand new and shiny, the tug was built in 2012 and sports a 4000 HP power plant.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Project Firebox 94

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An ongoing catalog of New York’s endangered Fireboxes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This soldier of the realm is found at the corner of Grand Street and Morgan Avenue in infinite Brooklyn, not too far from the darkest of those hillside thickets found along the Newtown Creek- which is its tributary English Kills. This is is Bushwick, historically, but the area has come to called East Williamsburg in modernity- a term which has zero historical precedence. Of course, ask a realtor where Williamsburg ends these days and they’ll tell you Lake Ronkonkoma.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 26, 2013 at 7:30 am

skillful blows

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Random events witnessed and recorded.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While heading for Brooklyn one morning, I noticed these guys screwing up Queens at the Sunnyside Yards. They were part of the army of construction crews working on the East Side Access project, I’d wager.

If you’ll notice, they are literally operating a giant screw housed on that yellow piece of equipment.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not too sure what they were doing, but one suspects it has to do with the complex hydrology which underlies the yard. When the place was established at the start of the 20th century, all sorts of issues were encountered in the name of conquering the land.

This was once an enormous swamp, found at the foot of a rocky outcrop known in the 19th century as “Long Island City Heights” which was rebranded in the 20th century as “Sunnyside.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of Sunnyside, I’ve been keenly watching the construction of the new school on 43rd street. This is a BIG project, and the steel for the new building is rocketing up towards the sky. Good to see that the municipality is actually reinvesting in the infrastructure of the neighborhood as the rapacious eye of the Real Estate Industrial Complex bears down on western Queens.

We get a few more hospitals, schools, fire houses, and police stations and there just might be a possibility of us surviving the 21st century in as fine a fettle as we did the 20th.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 25, 2013 at 7:30 am

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