The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for March 5th, 2018

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The “A” in MTA is for “Adventure.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Inhuman and hideous, claustrophobic and filth ridden, the nest of Mammon and Asmodeus, home sweet hell. To say that one bears a certain disdain for Manhattan in his old age would indicate that an understatement is being offered. Manhattan? That’s not where you’ll find the solution, instead Manhattan is the problem. Vainglorious pride blinds.

These days, nobody you ask would say they “want to go” to the island of Manhattan from the other four boroughs, instead they’ll say “I HAVE TO go to Manhattan.” That’s usually when the MTA comes up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One such as myself gets around a lot. There isn’t a standard commute these days, rather it’s a series of odd destinations which are often set against a patchwork of neighborhoods and places unfamiliar. How do you get from Maspeth to Red Hook, or Richmond Terrace to Elmhurst? Broadway Junction connects to which trains, and are there any that near Astoria? Best transit route from Rockaway to Greenpoint, or the Bronx Zoo?

These are the sort of questions which one asks himself regularly, but last Saturday morning my problem was a simple one – get from HQ in Astoria to Lower Manhattan to do a tour on a NYC Ferry for the NY Transit Museum. As mentioned, the “A” in MTA is for “adventure,” particularly on the weekends.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An obvious path to Pier 11 would be taking the Astoria Ferry from Hallets Cove. Unfortunately, they were operating on a winter and weekend schedule, and I would have arrived at the pier for the tour nearly an hour earlier than my customary arrival (a half hour in advance of a tour) time. I also would have to have to factor in the mile long walk to the waterfront, meaning that my journey would entail me leaving HQ something like three hours in advance of arrival if I also wanted to get breakfast, and I did want breakfast.

I decided on chancing it with the MTA, and taking the train. Realization that the Subway is now the daily gamble set in.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I boarded an R at Steinway Street, which became an F in the tunnel. It let me off at the 63rd street station, where I had to leave the system and execute a walking transfer to get to the Lexington Avenue line’s 4/5/6 platform. There, I discovered that I had to take a 6 to 42nd street to then transfer to a 5. Luckily, the 5 got me to Fulton Street where the unpleasant miasmas of the Financial District were pulsing about in a bit of fog.

What the hell is it about Lower Manhattan with the garbage and the rats and the stink and those puddles of yellow/green bubbling water everywhere. What’s that greasy black stuff all over the sidewalks, or that liquid which just dripped on me from high above, and… blech… if you say the Newtown Creek is bad… try Fulton Street and lower Manhattan in general.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If ever there was an area in which I’d like to set the Real Estate Industrial Complex absolutely loose, it’s a peninsular section of the Shining City just south of City Hall and north of Battery Park. Imagine it, all that filthy lucre to be made, and the developers could take turns bulldozing landmarks. The bike people could drive protected bicycling lanes right through the lobbies of buildings… What a time they’d have.

Thing is, whatever feeding frenzy might happen here will be limited evermore. Without reliable and predictable transit to carry people into Manhattan, the folks in outer boroughs might have to find other places to work that aren’t so disgusting.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 5, 2018 at 11:00 am

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