The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for October 10th, 2016

draped bales

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The native art form of Queens, illegal dumping, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Often has a humble narrator commented on the panache and style in which the neighbors hereabout dispose of unwanted items. Sure, you’ve got illegal dumping in Brooklyn and the Bronx, and on the islands of Staten and Manhattan, but nowhere else in the City of Greater New York will you find the compositional flare and post modern sensibility of the Queensican who is trying to dispose of an unwanted item in a clandestine manner.

In Queens, people still care about how their middens look – so go ahead and call us old fashioned!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a few items which the redoubtable Department of Sanitation either won’t take due to regulatory rules, or due to improper packaging of the refuse for collection. None of the items in the shot above are proscribed, to my knowledge, but that doesn’t mean a thing to the Woodside artisan who arranged them on a sidewalk beneath the NY Connecting Railroad tracks recently. Here in Queens, freedom of expression is sacrosanct.

Disingenuously, or casually, arranged sidewalk litter?

Not in my back yard, thank you.

Just the other night, as I watched a lady empty her vehicle of what must have been a full case of empty beverage bottles into the street in front of my own domicile, and the utter joy of her explorative compositional process nearly overwhelmed me. Calling down to her – I assured her that we local residents would be happy to take care of her installation, post facto, and thanked her for choosing my block for her canvas.

It’s important to acknowledge the artist as they pursue their work rather than after they’re gone. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There is a syncopated flair, a level of deep improvisational thought – a rythmic irony that’s at work in the expression of the native born art form of Queens, as encountered here and there. You don’t just open the door of a contractors van and push debris out in the same manner you would in Brooklyn. I’m Queens… we hold a higher standard, and our illegal dumping was “artisanal” long before Brooklyn appropriated the word.

In many ways, illegal dumping in Queens is reminiscent of 1950’s era Jazz. Think Mingo, and Monk.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 10, 2016 at 11:00 am

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