The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for February 22nd, 2016

many went

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My favorite place, when I was a kid.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On Facebook the other day, I mentioned to my little collection of friends that I had signed up for one of those NYCID cards in pursuance of all the free stuff you get in return. There’s a collection of institutions which normally cost a larger than you’d expect fee at the front door, and the NYCID card gets you a free membership which negates any sort of payment for 12 months.

One of them is the American Museum of Natural History. You present your NYCID at the front desk, and you get a complimentary year of membership to the institution.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I was in the City anyway, and had a couple of hours to kill in between appointments, so I hopped on the B and went over to 81st and Central Park West and did the deed. Having a little time to kill, I strolled around the museum before it got too crowded. By about 12:30 p.m., I had discovered where every tourist visiting NYC with small kids in tow goes in the afternoon and given my lack of patience with crowds – well, it was time to head back to Queens and get back to work at HQ anyway after about an hour and fifteen minutes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I did manage to visit a few exhibits. I’ve always been kind of partial to the ice age mammals, personally, but let’s face it – you don’t go to Natural History to see Mammoth bones. You go for the dinosaurs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned above, when I was a kid this was my favorite place in the world. Last time I spent any length of time at the museum was back in the early 90’s when I lived not too far away at the corner of 100th street and Broadway. I had been hanging around that section of the Upper West Side for awhile, going back to the late 80’s when I worked a college job as a non Union doorman in a building I would later live in.

Mostly boring work, but good for studying, and I had to get physical a few times with crack heads who wanted to use the lobby to smoke up. The neighborhood gentrified quickly, and became both crack head free and banal, back in the late 90’s and by 2003 – Astoria beckoned. I’ve been back to the Natural History museum just once in the interval since then, accompanying a buddy who was drawing a comic for Marvel and needed to do some Pterodactyl and Archaeopteryx research.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The NYCID thing was actually kind of painless to handle. I made an appointment, at LaGuardia Community College of all places, and showed up with proof of address and a couple of other required documents. The whole thing took about 15 minutes and the card came in the mail about a week later. I’m signed up at Moving Image here in Astoria and at Natural History, so far.

The part I’m excited about is the free zoo membership, of course. Only problem with that is that I have to go to Bronx Zoo to do the signup, which is a great example of the macabre sense of humor which New York City exhibits. Expect many, many, copulating monkeys at this – your Newtown Pentacle – in 2016.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The crowds at American Museum of Natural History really begin to dense up in the early afternoon, and as I was leaving it was noticed that there was a good sized lineup of people out on the steps waiting their turn to stand on the lines inside. Have to say – one of the many things which has changed since a humble narrator was young is that back in the 80’s and 90’s you were pretty much alone in these museums on week days.

There’s no way you could just drop yourself down on the floor and throw open a sketch book with all the tourists clodding about these days. New York really isn’t for New Yorkers anymore, I guess.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Written by Mitch Waxman

February 22, 2016 at 11:00 am

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