The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for May 2014

kneel before

with 4 comments

Mister or Master, Softee is a cad.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I say this every time that the Mister rings his bells: Mrs. Softee is lonely during the torrid nights of a New York summer, wondering for whom her man plays his song. Mister Softee is no damn good, and she’s sure of it.

Pictured above is a proper “Mister Softee” truck, found on its rounds in Astoria one night, doing exactly what he told the Mrs. that he’d be up to. 

Still, the Mrs. hears stories. It might be that people are describing the romantic misadventures of Master Softee, who is single, and unapologetic about it.

from wikipedia

Mister Softee is a United States-based ice cream truck franchisor popular in the Northeast. It was founded by William and James Conway (Oct. 30, 1927 – May 28, 2006) in 1956 in Philadelphia. It is one of the largest franchisor of soft ice cream in the United States. It has about 350 franchisees operating 600 trucks in 15 states. The company is headquartered in Runnemede, New Jersey. It is still run by the Conway family; James Conway, Jr. is now President.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Simone Weichselbuam wrote a fantastic piece over at nydailynews.com back at the beginning of May, describing the conflict between the long running “Mister Softee” Ice Cream Truck empire (based in NJ) and the upstart “Master Softee” operation which runs its business out of LIC. Check it out below.

from nydailynews.com

Mister Softee is anything but soft when it comes to safeguarding his cherished name.

The New Jersey-based owner of the ubiquitous ice cream trucks is suing a rogue Queens vendor, charging he opened his depot in Long Island City to peddle a knockoff version.

A mix of about two dozen nearly identical Master Softee and Mister Softee trucks are lined up inside and outside Dimitrios Tsirkos’s 11th St. garage.

The fledgling business has soured tempers throughout Mister Softee headquarters in South Jersey and its franchisees across Queens and the Bronx.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been observing the “Master” variant with increasing frequency during recent forays across the concrete devastations. So many so that I might have to start offering the following statement:

Mistress Softee is lonely during the torrid nights of a New York summer, wondering for whom her man plays his song. Master Softee is no damn good, and she’s sure of it.

from law360.com

“All Triskos did was change the ‘i’ in ‘Mister’ to an ‘a,’ [and] Tsirkos continues to use all of Mister Softee’s trade dress and the Mister Softee truck design and [jingle],” the injunction request said. “Clearly, changing just one letter in the mark and using it in conjunction with the other Mister Softee marks constitutes trademark infringement that continues to cause Mister Softee irreparable harm.”

Mister Softee says that customers buying ice cream from Tsirkos’ rogue trucks “may believe they are dealing with an authorized Mister Softee franchisee, who is storing and dispensing Mister Softee food products in a sanitary manner … when in fact, they are not.”

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Saturday, May 31st, Plank Road with Newtown Creek Alliance.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Saturday, June 7th, 13 Steps around Dutch Kills with Atlas Obscura.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

May 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

native form

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The native art form of Queens, NY.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Illegal dumping is more than just an artform here in Astoria, Queens. It’s more of a design competition, wherein participants attempt to out do each other in composition, theme, and or sourcing of materials. To wit, this tableau discovered on a Sunday morning (which is locally described as “the aftermath of Saturday Night”) along Broadway at its intersection with 43rd street.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is fairly sure that municipal regulation forbids the disposal of a perfectly recyclable bicycle in this manner. Are you supposed to put the bike in a blue bag or a clear one? Also, shouldn’t this sort of trash get its own lane?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Saturday, May 31st, Plank Road with Newtown Creek Alliance.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Saturday, June 7th, 13 Steps around Dutch Kills with Atlas Obscura.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

one night

with 5 comments

A Dark and Stormy night, upon the East River.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, an opportunity to go out for a trip on a Circle Line excursion presented itself. While onboard, Kenneth T. Jackson (The Encyclopedia of New York City) narrated the journey, which first traveled down the Hudson and then proceeded to the tip of Roosevelt Island on the East River before hanging a U-Turn.

I amused myself onboard in accustomed fashion, waving the camera around at points of interest as they were presented. On the return journey, to Circle Line’s Hudson piers, we encountered the Robert Burton tug.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A 1981 vintage boat, currently operated by Norfolk Tug, the Robert Burton’s story is well told at tugboatinformation.com, click here for their page. Her crew was manipulating a fuel barge under the Brooklyn Bridge, amongst the busy chaos of the East River’s ferry and tour boat traffic. My life was complicated by the growing fog, as an infestation of clouds began to descend upon the City, at just about the same time that sunset was meant to happen. Light and photography are complimentary, and an absence of the former precludes the latter.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, there were still a few photons floating about in the blanketing aerosol, and these admittedly grainy shots were captured. Working Harbor Committee is about to kick into its Summer 2014 schedule, by the way, check out the offerings for diversion and enlightenment here.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Saturday, May 31st, Plank Road with Newtown Creek Alliance.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Saturday, June 7th, 13 Steps around Dutch Kills with Atlas Obscura.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 28, 2014 at 11:00 am

likewise thought

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From Dutch Kills, the neighborhood.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Marching home one recent afternoon, a humble narrator was confronted with a scene that beggared description. A taxi pulled over to the side of the road, 39th avenue actually, and the driver jumped out and went into a bodega. He left his car door wide open, and the engine running. “Steal me” was the first thing that came to mind, but bear in mind that I grew up in Brooklyn, so I think “Steal Me” a lot.

Please, steal me, is what this scene says.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lucifer lays little Easter Eggs like this in front of me all the time. Temptation, temptation. I’m certain that I would be sitting in the back seat of an NYPD crusader shortly after jumping in the front seat of this cab, but… man alive… this is two blocks from Queens Plaza, and you leave your door not only open… but the engine running as well? The taxi should have been stolen just to teach the guy a lesson.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The driver eventually sauntered out of the bodega – emerging with a cup of coffee. The fellow resumed his station behind the wheel, and turned back into traffic. A humble narrator blurted out, using my best Brookleiner accent, “Hey, dis is New York City, Yo. Da fuck were’s you tinking?”.

He replied that since nothing happened, I was crazy, and inquired whether or not I needed a ride somewhere.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Saturday, May 31st, Plank Road with Newtown Creek Alliance.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Saturday, June 7th, 13 Steps around Dutch Kills with Atlas Obscura.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

elder worlds

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From Woodside

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A hand painted seal, signifying the “Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States” organization, as observed in the Woodside section of Queens, NYC.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Saturday, May 31st, Plank Road with Newtown Creek Alliance.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Saturday, June 7th, 13 Steps around Dutch Kills with Atlas Obscura.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 26, 2014 at 1:32 pm

combats betwixt

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Just like the good old days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lugging a dslr and its associated kit around can be quite a drag.

Camera body and lenses, and all the other crap I use, weigh something like ten pounds. Doesn’t sound like much, but that’s all on one shoulder and after awhile, it feels like you’ve got an anchor suspended across your back. I used to exclusively carry a Canon G10 with a specialized sort of mini tripod that involves rare earth magnets, and just to mix things up, for the last couple of days I’ve left the dslr and camera bag at home and taken the G10 and its mount with me instead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The G10 is a grand little camera, notable mainly for its lens. The tiny sensor captures a quite noisy image – these shots were captured at ISO 200’s digital equivalent. My 7D dslr would render ISO 1000 in a similar fashion, something you can chalk up to sensor size and processor chip power. Still, it’s quite liberating to be carrying something that isn’t much heavier than a book for a change, and the bulk of multiple lenses was not missed on recent walks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The singular virtue enjoyed when carrying this particular camera emanates from the fancy magnet tripod I’ve attached to it, which was originally designed to work as a mount for the sort of laser leveler which a carpenter or drywall installer might employ.

Multiple rare earth magnets provide a steady grip on any ferrous surface, allowing for a steady and unyielding mount for the image capture. At night, I’ll attach a wire release trigger to the device, which further minimizes camera shake and allows long exposure shots at ISO 100, the lowest and least noisy setting the thing is capable of.

Have a cool holiday weekend, lords and ladies, and take lots of pictures. I know I will.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 23, 2014 at 11:00 am

largely baseless

with one comment

Zombie Response Vehicle in Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This Jeep was spotted at a service station found at the intersection of Northern Blvd. and Newtown Road just the other day, and it was adorned with multiple decals indicating that it was the property of a Zombie Response Team. I’m glad that someone is finally taking this sort of eventuality seriously. Somebody has to.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are plenty of zombie apocalypse “preppers” here in Western Queens, have no doubt about it. Caches of hand weapons abound in Astoria, and there are thousands of firearms hidden away in closets, basements, and garages – just in case of a manifest plague of Zombies (or a breakout at nearby Rikers, or a sudden influx of hipsters from Brooklyn). I didn’t know there was an organized vehicle fleet, but I must point out that this sort of vehicle would be somewhat inadequate for the sort of infestation that New York City would need to deal with. You’d really need an armored car or truck.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The big question that elected officials in Queens would ponder in a Zombie uprising would be whether or not Zombies could vote. If the walking dead could cast a ballot, would they reliably vote for Democrats? It wouldn’t be the first time that the population of a graveyard helped buoy an election victory around these parts, after all, and the Zombies would be courted by them. A brain in every pot, they would promise, and resolutions to outlaw blows to the cranium would be introduced by the City Council shortly afterward.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 22, 2014 at 11:00 am

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