The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

another city

with one comment

A few shots from the 11103, here in the NYPD’s 114th precinct.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As expressed in last week’s posts, a humble narrator has had a whole lot of stuff going on. Details, things to do, meetings… the usual “blah blah blah” of the daily round. Our Lady of the Pentacle announced that she was going to be heading over to the Shining City for a social engagement last Friday evening, but I had already made plans to meet with a NY Times photographer to discuss his intentions for a series of essays on the harbor of NY and NJ at my “district office” – a pub called Doyle’s Corner found at the Times Square of Astoria at 42nd and Broadway.

My evening began with a trip to the local bank to deposit and withdraw, and along the way – a genuine articact of the pre digital world was spotted sitting on the sidewalk at the aforementioned Times Square of Astoria – an IBM Selecrtix typewriter.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This brand and model of typewriter was the weapon of choice for business and professional writers during the 1980’s and early 90’s. It used to cost hundreds of dollars (which would translate into thousands these days) and was a highly coveted device. Today, it’s an analog artifact, and relegated to the corner trash pile. The hand written price tag on it, and the nearby proximity of a thrift store, allows me to hypothesize that it was likely liberated from sale utilizing the “five finger discount” method. Further supposition would suggest that the thief soon realized that there is little or no market value for a typewriter of this sort in 2015.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few quick shots of it were captured, and a paramount in my mind as I was gathering them was my pal Kevin Walsh of Forgotten-NY, who would have likely been swept up by a nostalgic wave at the sight of the thing. One continued up to Steinway Street to accomplish my banking, and then I headed back to my “district office” for my meeting with the NY Times guy. A few chums from the neighborhood also stopped by, and several pints of beer were consumed. While this mild debauch was underway, the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself disappeared, and the usual passion plays of Broadway ensued.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The fellow pictured above appeared in front of the sidewalk cafe table I was sitting at, asking for a dollar while claiming he was hungry. He wasn’t hungry, instead he was blind drunk. He decided to lecture me, in fairly good English I would add, about the differences in generosity between the Mexican and American people when refusal to part with my dollar was offered. He’s one of the population of drunks who have been plaguing the neighborhood in recent months, incidentally, and a familiar face. He announced “Soy es un burracho” and tried to find a more generous person to give him a dollar.

Soon, he collapsed onto the sidewalk and surrendered to his inebriation. Remarking to myself that he had the wrong idea about Americans, I flagged down a passing FDNY hook and ladder truck and informed them that they had a customer. An ambulance arrived, and carted him off to a hospital where he would sleep it off.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At home, later in the evening, one was hanging out with Zuzu the dog when that amiable canine began to utter a low growl. Coming from the sidewalk below was a string of Spanish curses, “puta madre” and the like. That’s when I noticed this fellow literally crawling home via the gutter.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After an interminable struggle he managed to right himself by hand holding parked cars, which were alternatively vomited and urinated on as he headed north. As mentioned at the top of the post, a humble narrator is the first one to suggest enjoying a few pints of beer. It would be hypocritical of me to say that getting a bit drunk isn’t an enjoyable yet occasional diversion. The photos of the drunks which I’ve been sharing with you, lords and ladies, are not of casual passerby who happen to be a little “effed up.” These are serial offenders. The guy in the shots above, well, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen him crawling through the gutter on his way home. The fellow passed out on the sidewalk who wanted a dollar? Same guy you see in the final shot of this post.

What we’ve been experiencing in Astoria, here in the 11103, is more than a bit over the top. This is a siege.

Just another Friday night, here in the 114th precinct, thought I.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

October 3rd, 2015
Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour
with Atlas Obscura, click here for details and tickets

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Written by Mitch Waxman

September 28, 2015 at 2:30 pm

One Response

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  1. […] “khephrens gateway.” The battle of the Borrachos continued here in Astoria, in “another city.” “Drifting Sand” visited Astoria’s Steinway Mansion and offered a shout out […]


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