The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for November 5th, 2015

full joys

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On it, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not too long ago, some of the neighbors here in Astoria were experiencing electrical problems. The redoubtable employees of the Consolidated Edison Corporation began to appear in great numbers, arrange orange safety cones, and get busy. Luckily, for the 48-72 hours that their repairs took to administer, their idling trucks were directly in front of Newtown Pentacle HQ.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Famously, what roused me from mere proletarian to activist and “neighborhood crank” was the Great Astoria Blackout of 2006. For an entire week, this neighborhood was without power at the height of summer, and blue fire was erupting from manholes and transformer vaults. People died in the heat, and it seemed as if no one in City Hall cared. Ever since, one pays quite a bit of attention to power supply issues here in the neighborhood.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The initial swarm of Con Ed employees was soon replaced by one of their emergency units. Like DC Comic’s Flash – the emergency unit is clad in red. Also like the Flash, these workers are meta humans who move faster than the human eye can follow. Often, all you can see is a blur. Guess that’s why they get paid the big bucks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It took around 15 seconds for the junior member of this crew to assemble the safety cordon for the work site.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A more senior member moved even faster, opening the access cover to a hidden transformer vault and deploying a ladder and other equipment into it in the blink of an eye.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My upstairs neighbor Mario, who is a union guy and can get other adherents of organized labor to “spill the beans” with a few carefully placed “bro’s,” went out to get the story. It seems that some of the electrical supply cables, damaged by the surges and fires of 2006 I would add, had finally given up the ghost and that three homes on the next block were entirely devoid of juice. He deduced this from slowing down an audio recording he made of the Con Ed guys answering him, which sounded like the buzzing of a fly in the original recording.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The speedsters were assigned the duty of drawing a new set of cables from the transformer vault, in front of HQ, roughly half a block to the affected properties. It seems that in addition to the underground rooms that house the step up transformers which handle the conversion from high voltage “direct” to residential “alternating” current, there are pipes and concrete tunnels through which these wires travel honeycombing the neighborhood. This does beggar the question as to why the high voltage cables that Con Ed hung about Astoria back in 2006 to restore service are still there, but there you go.

Welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself, after all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Couldn’t get a shot of what they were doing down there, but when I woke up the next morning, the Con Ed guys were sleeping in the idling truck and I’m told that the three properties on the next block had been re-energized.

Who can guess, all there is, that might be buried down there?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 5, 2015 at 11:00 am

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