The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

fancying that

with 2 comments

The new normal, the way we live now, and so on.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The recent imbroglios surrounding breaches of security in and around the fabled Brooklyn Bridge does not surprise one at all. For several years, your humble narrator has been pointing out that there is no security whatsoever – outside of highly visible areas within Manhattan – being provided to NYC’s infrastructure other than “security theater” which is a sort of kabuki. Billions have disappeared into the black hole that is “homeland security” over the last decade, and when officialdom is asked where it has gone the response is often a play on “if I told you, I’d have to kill you to maintain the secret.” Meanwhile, within a period of just a few weeks over the summer, foreign nationals have managed to penetrate the so called “ring of steel” at the Brooklyn Bridge twice.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One cannot count the number of times that this blog has discussed this “apeshit security situation” – whether it be fences left unlocked and unguarded at the Sunnyside Yard on holiday weekends (or any of the hundreds of unmonitored infrastructure sites in LIC which are left to fend for themselves) or the abrogation of any semblance of sense that allows anonymous cars and trucks to be parked directly under the structural elements of area bridges. If a group of German hipsters can swap out the flag on the Brooklyn Bridge, they had time… and opportunity. Should a bad actor have gotten up there, and not some Russian tourist hoping to take a selfie just a few weeks after the flag incident, we’d be having a very different conversation than whether or not the Mayor’s family danced well at the Caribbean Day Parade or not.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m reminded of a presentation and speech offered by a certain Lieutenant in the NYPD Counter Terrorism Unit who showed up in Astoria at a community meeting around a year and a half ago. The officer instructed the citizenry that should they witness anyone taking pictures of the various area bridges, a call to the Police should be made, intoning that photographers are probably working with foreign Terrorist organizations as scouts. This fellow turned up in combat gear, wearing an aviation jumpsuit and sporting a speed holstered automatic weapon rather than a standard NYPD duty or even dress uniform. It should be pointed out that despite his rhetoric, and the billions that have been poured into securing the vital infrastructure of NYC, I still could have done whatever I wanted under the Queensboro bridge when shooting these pictures of its underpinnings just last week (and on the very same day the NYPD Commish announced a tightening of the reigns around such structures). There are no cameras, drones, sensors, or even some schmuck cop who has been consigned to walking a beat keeping an eye on things down here. Where has all that Homeland Security money gone? Are we allowed to know, or is that a state secret?

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This weekend-

Saturday, September 6th, The Insalubrious Valley of the the Newtown Creek
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 3, 2014 at 12:36 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Why that’s no secret at all!
    Simply put all the money went into a big jobs program called “Homeland Security” that encompasses law enforcement all the way down from federal to local level. After decades of crushing free enterprise and strangling industry under a growing mountain of regulations and added expense what else is left for jobs and an economy?
    It’s government not only hiring more people but creating the market for the goods and services. And we have no choice but to buy it and pay for it.

    It’s done by creating or exaggerating a crisis in which we’re all going to die or it’s for the good of the children and no debate, we must act NOW!

    As with any bureaucracy, the DHS bureaucrats concentrate on holding on to their sinecures, expanding the size of their department and scope of their power, and featherbedding their budgets. Hence, the budgets must always grow. Bureaucrats are punished for being efficient and spending less than they were alloted by having their budgets cut and nobody wants that. So where the money went is no mystery at all and be prepared to spend more.

    Fits in well with our recent mania for all things European: Rigid hereditary class structure social with mobility not permitted, traditional strongman governments and a fresh high-tech look National Socialism. Funny how people here in NYC just lap this stuff up.

    But lets not include the goosestep, tres gauche.

    As an aside, I’d probably get lynched for saying “lassiez faire economics”….


    September 3, 2014 at 1:55 pm

  2. Oh, and your lieutenant buddy most likely gets extra money called special assignment pay for doing his little dog and pony shows. Sure beats working patrol, doesn’t it. SA pay is pensionable too. Gotta love that…


    September 3, 2014 at 2:01 pm

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