The Newtown Pentacle

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Merry Festivstmas Kwaazannukah, yo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After my experiences at the camera shop, which were described yesterday, a series of emails indicated that one needed to cut his visit to the Shining City short and return to the grind back at HQ in Astoria. Originally, plans to do some shooting along the Hudson were on the menu, but there you go. Down in the sweating concrete of the subterranean transportation bunkers, I decided to do some “shooting from the hip” to pass the time while waiting for my train to arrive.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Shooting from the Hip,” as I define it, is when the camera is pre focused to a certain depth of field and held away from the face. Technically, you’re shooting “blind” and operating the camera sheerly on instrumentation and by obliquely pointing it at things. Also, I usually hold the camera upside down for some reason. Many of the shots gathered this way are useless, some are “happy accidents” like the first shot in today’s post, or conventionally spotted and captured as in the portrait oriented shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As is my habit, arriving trains were catalogued. Suddenly the fellow in the shot above appeared in my diopter, and he proceeded to begin staring me down. My first instinct was that he might be some sort of law enforcement officer, and that we were about to begin a dance which would start with “what are you taking pictures of.” My answer would be “trains.” Then he’d say “why are you taking pictures of trains” which would be answered with a memorable quip, which I’d tell with a certain Brooklyn inflection noticeably present in my voice, followed by “comma sir.” Usually, being polite to law enforcement is the smart guys way to stay out of trouble, but that’s me. Thing is, the fellow (I’d say Gentleman but I don’t know if he’s landed or gentry – what am I, psychic?) in the shot just stood there and kept staring at me as the train came in. Never stepping forward or even blinking. Cops are a lot of things, but shy and or reticent ain’t on their list of traits. I started to get creeped out, what if this guy was some sort of ideologue or anarchist?

I wondered if, hoped actually, there might be a Cop nearby.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A theory hatched in my fevered thoughts that this fellow might be some sort of Bolshevik or something, sent to the 34th street Subway station to subvert or just observe the American way. His unwavering, unblinking posture, coupled with the odd wires arrayed about his neck, led me to theorize that this might be some sort of time traveling android sent back to our age – Terminator style – as an intelligence drone gathering historical data. Before I could ask if there might be a sequence of numbers handy for playing the lottery, this “Staring at me (possible) Bolshevik Drone from the Future Guy” stepped into a passing crowd and disappeared. Pfft – gone.

That was a close one, I guess. I really fricking hate being in Manhattan. It looks great from the outside, but once you’re inside of that thing – yikes!

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 24, 2014 at 12:52 pm

One Response

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  1. Mitch, you know by now that I love your photos and your literary style (i.e. diatribes). However, I do need to let you know that Manhattan is not what it used to be. So, a lot of your impressions are plain wrong. In other words, to get up to date, you need to spend some more time in my borough. My wife and I have lived here since 1998 and my wife is a Queens native. We have never, ever felt unsafe or threatened in all that time. To put that in better context, we regularly visit different neighborhoods throughout the city be they rich, poor, WASPy, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, Black, lavish or downtrodden. No problems, ever! If you want to be fair, you need to admit that the chance of getting in trouble is just about the same in any of the five boroughs. With that in mind, keep ’em coming! Happy New Year, George

    George Laszlo

    December 24, 2014 at 1:47 pm


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