The Newtown Pentacle

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The Astoria Tumbleweeds doth roll, and the wheel of the year turns.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The gloomy skies of late December and early January are less than inviting in the City of Greater New York. Cold – and rain – coupled with a general sense of annual ennui and thwarted personal ambition, contribute to a dire outlook and general sense of malaise. Bones creak, tendons stretch painfully, and the extremities are rendered numb as vital fluids retreat towards the core. Regardless, a humble narrator marches forth, in pursuance of presenting the truth of our times in graphic narrative – at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Raised in the Hebraic culture, it has always struck one such as myself strange that the Goyem cut down trees and drag them into their homes in December, only to cast the dearly held verge aside in January.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The tumbleweeds of Astoria have been often mentioned here. The corpses of trees abandoned, and carried by the sciroccos of Queens which cause them to drift along the concrete hereabouts unheralded. Thirty, sixty, even ninety days hence – their dehydrated corpses will be observed still rolling around the “via publica” – stripped of their verdance. Wild agglutinations of kindling will be observed sticking out of snow banks, or adorning the abandoned fence lines of construction lots.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As opined, the native art form of the borough of Queens seems to be illegal dumping, and never has this statement been truer than when the subject of Christmas trees and decorations is brought up. Observance of the habits and mores of the Sanitation department has revealed an unexplainable, and certain, reluctance to collect this particular specie of refuse. Officialdom encourages the gentry to bring the cast away trees to certain locations, usually accessible only by motor vehicle, for mulching in pursuance of creating compost.

As this would require effort on the part of the citizenry, it’s simpler for the average Queensican to just leave the thing on the sidewalk, or dump it along Skillman Avenue, and allow the wind to carry it away.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Illegal dumping is something that a humble narrator sees everywhere he goes in the borough of Queens. Some of it is simply explained as emanating from low tier building contractors attempting to avoid the cost of disposing of construction waste – manifested as a pile of contractor bags filled with dry wall or plaster that you’ll see under a rail trestle or along an industrial facilities’ fence. There’s the domestic furniture as well, and odd agglutinations of paint cans and sometimes spoiled food stuffs. A recent change in the rules enacted by State and City Governments concerning curb side pickup will undoubtedly be feeding a new phyla of curbside dumping – electronics.

The State of New York recently changed the law regarding electronics disposal, which as of April 1st of this year, make it a fineable offense to place commonly held items on the curb for DSNY pickup. A full list of the offending items can be accessed here, and the City has created intake centers – one in each borough – for electronics to be disposed of legally. In Queens, it’s in College Point, which is fairly distant for most of us and impossible to access without a motor vehicle.

Get ready to witness a new flowering of the native art form of Queens this spring.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The reason I call it an art form rather than a misdemeanor in our fair Borough is due to the careful placement and juxtapositioning of abandoned trash. Brooklyn? Haphazard and rushed dumping with nary a consideration for negative space. Manhattan and the Bronx? Disorganized piles and middens of trash placed with no aesthetic care. Staten Island? You don’t see a lot of illegal dumping on Staten Island, or at least I don’t. That’s because you’ve got a predominance of DSNY workers living there, and the garbage men like their nests neat.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 8, 2016 at 11:15 am

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