The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

enough rumors

with one comment

It’s National Cheeseburger Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My habit, when conducting a walking tour on any given Saturday or Sunday, is to rewalk the route a couple of days in advance of the actual event. The reason for this is twofold – first to scout any new or emergent obstacles along the path, second to reacquaint myself with all the little details. In the case of First Calvary Cemetery, which I conducted a tour of just last week, it’s about getting all the sight lines lined up. Everybody who comes to Calvary with me on one of these walks always comments about how I “find the needles in the haystack” so easily. Short answer is that I do, in fact, know the place like the back of my hand. Long answer is that I was just there a day or two ago and walked out the route to ensure that I don’t end up looking like a dope searching for the grave of Esther Ennis (the very first interment, which is marked by a tiny foot stone) in front of a group of people.

Accordingly, a couple of days before the tour, I trekked over to Blissville from Astoria to take a walk amongst the tomb legions. As always, the camera was dangling at my side.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a 24/7 line up of traffic on Greenpoint Avenue where drivers wait at a traffic light to enter the onramp for the Long Island Expressway, and of late two enterprising fellows have been working the lineup. The gentleman on the left is selling bottles of water and other consumable items to the passing motorists, whilst the fellow in the middle of the street is holding up a cardboard sign proclaiming his destitution and adjuring them to donate charitable contributions to help him weather an existential crisis.

There’s some kind of parable at work in the comparison between their two approaches at survival. Boot straps versus appealing to guilty compassion, that sort of thing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whatever approach any of us have evolved at survival, however, is ultimately pointless and doomed to failure.

All roads lead to Calvary, as they used to say back in Manhattan’s Five Points during the 19th century “Gangs of New York” era. If you think about it, that’s kind of a relief. Whenever my pal Mattie the Vampire back here in Astoria discusses Constantinople, he gets a sad look in his watery yellow eyes, and I get the sense that immortality – or at least Mattie’s version of it – ain’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Upcoming Tours and events

The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek Walking Tour,
with Atlas Obscura – Saturday, September 23rd, 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Join us on the wrong side of the tracks for an exploration of the hidden industrial heartlands of Brooklyn and Queens, with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.

Exploring Long Island City, from Luxury Waterfront to Abandoned Factories Walking Tour,
with NY Adventure Club – Saturday, October 7th, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Long Island City is a tale of two cities; one filled with glittering water-front skyscrapers and manicured parks, and the other, a highly active ground transportation & distribution zone vital to the New York economy — which will prevail? With Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 18, 2017 at 11:00 am

One Response

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  1. The vampires.
    They will often eschew feeding on one if one were well read and to offer them good conversation. They have a soft spot for mortals that are alienated in some way from the mortal world, perhaps seeing something of themselves in that mortal and at some point will share their observations, especially regarding their own condition.

    Yes they are a sad lot when you get to know them socially for in their search for immortality they have discovered they have sought in vain. The finite mind of man cannot really contemplate infinity. Then over the millennia they go insane watching the ever changing tableau of the world around them becoming for them an unintelligible jumble of images with themselves as the only stationary force. They are no more a part of this world than an insect frozen in petrified amber and watch in despair as all they grow to love withers to dust over and over again. The vampires say God has a mean sense of humor.

    At some point in their blighted existences they follow the sciences hoping for salvation only to learn that even their immortal bodies of matter, having no choice than to obey the laws of thermodynamics, will eventually succumb to relentless entropy as will all matter in the universe. Eternity does not exist here. So they know that their eventual doom will fall but only over an agonizing span of many billions of years.
    In the end, vampires are just pathetic refugees from death.

    They may ruthlessly feed upon us mortals, viewing us as mere cattle, but they are deeply envious of us who can die before the weight of existence crushes our minds and souls to dust.

    “Whatever approach any of us have evolved at survival, however, is ultimately pointless and doomed to failure.”

    You set a mean table.
    Bertrand Russell is such a drag. I much prefer T.S. Elliot.
    Regarding the entrepreneur and the beggar, which of these two fellows would you say is more of a Nietzschean superman?

    “All roads lead to Calvary…”

    Our humble narrator is a man of fine taste and discernment.
    Here is true eternity and perfection. Death is an eternal and unchanging state thus perfect. How ironic that mankind can only reach eternity, achieve perfection and true equality in a state of non-being.
    God does indeed have a sense of humor.

    Oh, and by the way, if you see Melinoe around the cemetery, tell her I’m sorry as I’ve been crazy busy recently and I do promise to call. Yeah, I guess I’ve been remiss on a number of other friends too…sorry.

    Don Cavaioli


    September 18, 2017 at 4:01 pm

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