The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

be ready

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Green Acres, that’s the place for me?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I grew up in a place called Brooklyn. I lived there nearly half my life, followed by a decade in Manhattan, and the most recent portion has been in Queens. Occasionally, I’ve visited… Staten Island… and the Bronx. The only time I’ve ever spent outside the City were a) day trips to various Aunts and Uncles who lived in New Jersey, Maryland, or Long Island when I was a kid, b) business trips around the Eastern Seaboard back when I was drawing comics, c) or on vacations with Our Lady of the Pentacle. When the news of the day reaches me, my first question always revolves around “how does this affect me?” This selfish interpretation of events makes me an archetypal New Yorker.

All told, I’ve probably spent all but an aggregate of maybe 3-4 months of my entire existence (nearly five decades now) outside of the Megalopolis. I always say that if I moved away, it would be ceding victory to the City that it had finally beaten the tar out of me.

I guess that makes me a “City Boy.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally, I’ve considered it a privilege to live my life at the very navel – the omphalos, if you will – of the American Civilization, but when I mention the fact that my experience in life is fairly well limited to the Megalopolis – a lot of people I mention this to get a sad or pitiful look in their eyes. My environmentalist buddies, in particular, will offer to take me camping or something with them so I can experience the wonders of untamed nature.


I went camping once, just once. I ended up sleeping in the car as it had doors which locked, it was dry, and there were cushioned seats. A day trip to the woods sounds like fun, but with a sunburn and mosquito bites, and the “Brooklyn” wiseass in me offers that I have an apartment with a bed in it. Like I said – City Boy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve often reminded people that the ocean is a giant stomach desperate to digest you, that woodlands are full of ticks and bears and other critters which are specifically designed to overpower and consume you, that there’s a reason our ancestors paved over everything, and that the entire history of mankind – up until the 1970’s – was about not just taming nature but utterly subjugating it. Look at the shot above for confirmation of this fact, which is the epitome of what was once called “Progress.”

Now, I’m not saying that my antipathy towards clouds of biting insects and giant Pleistocene era predators is normal, nor necessarily desirable, nor something you should make a part of yourself. If you enjoy this sort of activity – Mazel Tov. I like hanging out in Astoria and nursing a pint at my local. What I’m trying to get to is this:

The littoral environment hereabouts is somehow recovering from the centuries long hammer blows of open sewage, ocean dumping of garbage, and industrial effluent which it was been hit with. The continued existence of our own species is directly tied to this recovery, IMHO, which is why this City Boy has found himself constantly talking about environmental issues. If we can’t control and promote environmental health in the built environment of NYC, where a switch or lever can be thrown to control nearly everything you can think of – where else can you figure out how to fix the future?

NYC has always led the Nation, it’s the bow of the American ship. We need to find out, together, how to be a mega city for plants and animals and humans and commerce and be the global example on the subject of clean water in an urban environment. The City boy has spoken.

Upcoming Events and Tours

Thursday, May 26th at 6 p.m. –
Brooklyn Waterfront: Past & Present Boat Tour,
with Working Harbor Committee. Click here for more details.

Saturday, June 4, 11:00 a.m. -1:30 p.m. –
DUPBO: Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp,
with Brooklyn Brainery. Click here for more details.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 25, 2016 at 12:00 pm

2 Responses

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  1. In what ways have New York City led the nation? A city that will fine its subjects for not using officially approved and mandated neologisms in the place of personal pronouns?

    Whom the gods destroy, they first drive mad, or make the leadership into infantile, delusional half-wits.
    It’s clear where the bow of this ship is heading.

    Conservate ipse ex dementia

    Don Cavaioli


    May 25, 2016 at 4:01 pm

  2. “Nature to be commanded, must be obeyed.” – Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, 1620.

    You could have avoided those mosquitos if you had Deet bug spray and used mosquito netting in your tent and around your head. Check out the Campmor site:*&minPrice=&categoryId=200368371&storeId=226

    Now you’re missing out on the primal campfire – where you can as well “nurse a pint” – and the myriad of stars. I go camping quite often and I find I sleep BETTER on an air mattress under a sleeping bag in a tent than in my own bed. Then back to The City – rejuvenated.

    You weren’t equipped correctly to enjoy the outdoors.

    georgetheatheist . . . I see the Big Dipper and the 4 Moons of Jupiter

    May 25, 2016 at 6:27 pm

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