The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for April 2019

schoolboys swapping

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Iron Triangle behind, Flushing Creek ahead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shots presented this week at this – your Newtown Pentacle – we’re gathered whilst attending a walk presented by the NYC H2O outfit. We started on Roosevelt Avenue, proceeded through what remains of the Iron Triangle at Willets Point, and then looped down and around towards Flushing Creek. This entire area is what I’d define as the “House of Moses,” as in Robert Moses. Pedestrian unfriendly, few if any points of access to the waterfront, and the needs of high speed roads and automotive “flow” given prominence over all other considerations.

The group negotiated the various on and off ramps of the surrounding highways and we headed towards Northern Blvd. where there’s an opportunity to get down to the waterfront.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Along the way, we encountered this late model fire engine which had an RV motor home hitched up to it. Signage adorning both fire engine and motor home indicated that it was the property of the “Ministry of Abraham,” which a humble narrator surmised as being a Korean church of some kind (a no shit sherlock level deduction offered there, the signage had Korean lettering alongside the english).

Before I got to know anybody who was ethnically Korean (when I was a kid), I always figured that Buddhism or some other “asian” faith was dominant in that part of the world. Turns out that there’s a pretty significant Protestant and Evangelical Christian population amongst those folks. Assumptions like that one is something I try to avoid as an adult. It’s where that part of me which gregariously sidles up to strangers and starts chatting with them has evolved out of.

The more you know, amirite?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the nice things about attending somebody else’s tour of somebody else’s highly polluted industrial waterway is that I get to interact with people who came on one of my walking tours, and reconnect with others whom I haven’t seen in a while. At Flushing Creek, I suddenly noticed that a friend I haven’t seen in maybe eight years was there, and a few people I’d walked around Newtown Creek came over and reintroduced themselves.

Tomorrow, more from Flushing Creek.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.


Events!

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 25, 2019 at 2:15 pm

calm calculativeness

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Willets Point.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Roman Army would arrive outside your city walls, then flood your fields with salt water, kill all your men, and rape all your women. The Romans would then declare peace as having broken out. So too, does the NYC EDC declare peace when they’ve set their sights on your corner of NYC. Just ask the people who work, and the one person who lives, in Willets Point. The City has had its crosshairs set on this part of Queens since the post WW2 period. There are no sewers in Willets Point, sanitary or storm. The City doesn’t pave the roads, nor approve permits for utility companies to service phone or electrical connections. Fire hydrants lie on their sides, utility poles bend and tilt, and despite all this – the businesses here continue on and on.

Peace has broken out in the Iron Triangle, or at least a Roman peace.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For those of you who were willing to accept the bag of polished stones the EDC offered LIC regarding the Amazon campus, or who are willing to drink their Kool Aid on the subject of the Sunnyside Yards – here is your fairness, your equity, your “tale of two cities.” Here is why I’d like to see the NYC EDC investigated on RICO charges.

Here is peace, Queens style.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That Economic Development Corporation think tank over in the City has gone out of its way to annihilate anywhere between a thousand and two thousand blue collar jobs here in Queens. They’ve been sued in Federal Court repeatedly for their double dealing, most recently for allegedly funding fake pro development groups calling for the creation of a shopping mall and “affordable” housing, and have threatened to use eminent domain powers to force businesses into shuttering their doors and sell their personal property. This so called “public benefit corporation” with its shady staff of Real Estate Industrial Complex insiders is the same crew of loathsome sentience who are driving the “Deck the Sunnyside Yards” train.

Look at your future, Sunnyside; and Astoria, and Woodside, and LIC. Peace is about to break out for us as well.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.


Events!

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 24, 2019 at 1:00 pm

illustrious bones

with one comment

Iron Triangle, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One often remarks to himself how much Batman’s Gotham City and the Borough of Queens seem to have in common. Conventional comix fandom recognizes Gotham as being an admixture of Chicago and Newark, but neither of those places has a “Ravenswood” or an “Iron Triangle.” Logical supposition would place “Stately Wayne Manor” on the northern shore of Nassau or Suffolk County, but the whole “Queens County is Gotham City” preposition begins to fall apart when you consider that Superman’s base of operations – Metropolis – is widely considered to be an analogue for Manhattan. If you’re living in a place where you need both of those super duper guys around to keep the peace, it would be a good idea to just move away to someplace a bit more quiet.

Saying all that, last weekend I accompanied a group of folks on a tour of Flushing’s Iron Triangle and Flushing Creek which was organized by my pals at NYC H2O.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The last time I scuttled around the Iron Triangle in Willets Point was with another tour, that one organized by Queens Borough Historian Jack Eichenbaum several years ago. Jack’s tour occurred earlier in the season, and the endemic flooding of the broken streets in these parts – caused by the purposeful neglect and blighting of the area by a conspiratorial alliance of Real Estate Industrial Complex players and their political puppets in both Manhattan’s City Hall and Queens’ Borough Hall which has played out over five or six decades (Mario Cuomo, for instance, began his political career around this issue) – was completely frozen over.

Jack Eichenbaum walks like a mountain goat and managed the icy devastations with grace and style, but the rest of us were slipping and sliding all over the place, as a note.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally speaking, I was just glad to be amongst people for a few hours, and to observe an area which I’m not overly familiar with. The blasted heath which is the Iron Triangle, a light industrial zone adjoining CitiField and Flushing Creek, makes for nice photos IMHO. The usual forces – EDC, the politicians, REBNY and the whole crew of loathsome sentience from over in Manhattan – want to wipe away this area and replace it with the usual totemics – “affordable housing,” a “sports field,” and or a “shopping mall.” The fact that they’ll be wiping out hundreds of blue collar jobs isn’t part of their equation or narrative, which is to act as “Progressives.”

Remember – Robert Moses was a “Progressive,” as in “Progress” and “you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.” When the modern politicians and economic development people call themselves “Progressives” they’re telling you point blank what they are, but trying to give you the impression that “Progressive” means something other than what it does.

More tomorrow.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.


Events!

TONGHT! Slideshow and book signing, April 23rd, 6-8 p.m.

Join Newtown Creek Alliance at 520 Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for a slideshow, talk, and book signing and see what the incredible landscape of Newtown Creek looks like when the sun goes down with Mitch Waxman. The event is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP here. Light refreshments served.

Click here to attend.

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 23, 2019 at 2:00 pm

nightmare ghouls

with 2 comments

A little bit of housekeeping.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

First off, I think I’ve conquered the fortress and can stop taking pictures of the Q104 bus on Astoria’s Broadway after the shot above. Nailed! Secondly, the profusion of advertising that’s appeared of late at Newtown Pentacle has absolutely nothing to do with me, rather it’s WordPress (which hosts and provides the tech underpinnings) which is both inserting and profiting off your attentions. It’s something that I’m going to have to deal with, but nothing profound is going to occur before June.

As I’ve mentioned, the week of June 6th will mark the tenth year of publication at Newtown Pentacle. I’m early planning a couple of things to celebrate, but then again I’m not really the celebration type. I’m more of the “tear your clothing and throw ash on your face type,” really.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For an interminable number of recent weeks, one has been involved with a series of “have to’s” that have taken me away from contemplation of the existential miseries, logical fallacies, and quirky historical commentary which I enjoy so much. It’s also really gotten in the way of the camera work. A lot of recent shots have been caught on the fly, as I move from one “have to” to another. Luckily, Queens is visually interesting and there’s always something to see that’s worth clicking the shutter over.

Now, if it ever stops raining…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This past weekend, I actually got to attend somebody else’s event and learn a thing or two. Luckily, that interval occurred in between sessions of rain, so one didn’t get soaked to the skin in the process. In the meantime, however…

I’ll be doing a book signing and slideshow tomorrow night in Greenpoint to support my new “In the Shadows at Newtown Creek” publication, and this weekend on Sunday the third annual Newtown Creekathon will be conducted. Come with? Links below.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.


Events!

Slideshow and book signing, April 23rd, 6-8 p.m.

Join Newtown Creek Alliance at 520 Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for a slideshow, talk, and book signing and see what the incredible landscape of Newtown Creek looks like when the sun goes down with Mitch Waxman. The event is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP here. Light refreshments served.

Click here to attend.

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm

aortic convulsions

with 2 comments

Stop fixing what ain’t broken.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seems that of late, I spend a lot of time developing workarounds for “improvements” offered by software and website providers. Famously, I don’t see the need to constantly oblige the software development teams at Adobe or Apple every time they release new feature sets that will not benefit me – I don’t have one of those stupid watches, for instance. Saying that, there comes a point when you’re essentially forced into doing an upgrade, which is usually accompanied by a drop in your productivity as you are forced into discovering how to accomplish a formerly familiar task that is now either forbidden or obfuscated behind a wall of floating menus.

I hate everyone.

Single shot today, LIC, at night.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.


Events!

Slideshow and book signing, April 23rd, 6-8 p.m.

Join Newtown Creek Alliance at 520 Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for a slideshow, talk, and book signing and see what the incredible landscape of Newtown Creek looks like when the sun goes down with Mitch Waxman. The event is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP here. Light refreshments served.

Click here to attend.

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 19, 2019 at 1:30 pm

likewise almost

with 5 comments

A quick stroll through Astoria, Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A statement offered by older New Yorkers which has always driven a humble narrator absolutely nuts is “It was different back then, you could leave your door unlocked and not have to worry.” Beyond the logical fallacy of having a door that locks and not securing it, I always inquire to the utterer what their calendrical age is and what – precisely – era they’re referring to as “back then.” When my parents used to say it, they were talking about the Great Depression and WW2 era. Somebody who’s about 70 said it to me the other night, and the era they were referring to was the 1970’s and 80’s.

Bull hockey. Nobody in 1970’s or 80’s New York City left their door unlocked. That’s when people were installing iron bars over their windows, entry doors gained steel plating, and junkies owned the streets. That’s when parked cars had signs in them saying “no radio” in an attempt to forestall windows getting smashed, and you were constantly looking over your shoulder. There were also vicious packs of roving feral dogs, which sounds like something I’m making up, but there were.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My particular style of accoutrement evolved during this time. “Look like you haven’t got two pennies to rub together,” “keep your wallet and money in separate pockets,” “keep moving.” The whole punk rock esthetic which a lot of shops will sell you this days at a significant markup evolved out of simple economics and practicality. “Army and Navy” stores were everywhere and you could get a flannel shirt for pennies as they were stylistically out of step with the polyester and shoulder pads crowd. Combat boots were a logical prophylactic, given that the entire city was covered in shattered bottle glass prior to the days of deposit and return recycling. Home sweet hell, that’s what I used to call it. Everybody carried a blade, but the City offered so many opportunities for ad hoc improvisation when it came to self defense they were seldom brandished. Metal garbage can lids were really, really versatile.

It bugs me, when I’m talking to people who weren’t there, that pine for those days. The reason that the rent was low was that no one wanted to live on the lower east side or Soho unless they had to. Also, rent as a percentage of income is critical. You may have been able to find a huge flat in some tenement for “only” $500 a month, but in the 1980’s minimum wage was $3.35 an hour.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The aphorism of “you could leave your doors unlocked” was always sort of tinged with racism, as well, at least to my ears. As offered, it pined for an early age when “the neighborhood” was composed of monolithic ethnic blocs – Greek, Italian, Jewish – whatever. The presumption of the statement was that since “redlining” had been abolished, which was a real estate industrial complex/government segregationist policy that resulted in those ethnic blocs by saying that “blacks live here” and “jews live there,” you knew and would interact with neighbors whom you could trust. High levels of street crime and the culture of that era which saw families curl up in front of the television put an end to that.

Bah. I hate false mythologies. I also hate it when somebody just twenty years older than me begins referring to the absolute low point of 20th century NYC as something wonderful. It sucked back then. NYC sucks now, but for different reasons. Read Jakob Riis and you’ll learn how it sucked in the 19th century.

Lock your doors.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.


Events!

Slideshow and book signing, April 23rd, 6-8 p.m.

Join Newtown Creek Alliance at 520 Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for a slideshow, talk, and book signing and see what the incredible landscape of Newtown Creek looks like when the sun goes down with Mitch Waxman. The event is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP here. Light refreshments served.

Click here to attend.

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 18, 2019 at 12:31 pm

disordered condition

leave a comment »

Don’t like it, but I have to leave Queens occasionally.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One had to go into the City to visit the accountant the other day, one of the few ties I still have to my old neighborhood in Manhattan. For over a decade a humble narrator was centered in a small apartment with very cheap rent on the corner of West 100th street and Broadway, a white walled box which served my needs when I was working as a corporate drone in the advertising salt mines. NYC was just getting started on its current vector back then, when a series of NBC sitcoms presented Manhattan as a viable or desirable option for midwesterners to consider. Come to the City, where you’ll have “Friends” and meet quirky characters like “Kramer” or get lucky and have some “Sex in the City.” I blame “Seinfeld” for kicking off this whole gentrification business.

I’ve always been fascinated by media portrayals of New York City, and the pop cultural interpretations thereof. Beginning in the 1960’s, Hollywood began telling you that this was a place you didn’t want to be. Fun City indeed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A mostly forgotten but well done Police procedural series offered in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s was called “Naked City.” It’s tag line was “There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.” Heavy handed on the social justice storylines, Naked City nevertheless is the prototype for later procedurals like “Law and Order” and like that long running production, was shot on location all over NYC. If you can find it, check out a few episodes and pay attention to the background landscape details. Shot during the era of urban renewal and slum clearance, Robert Moses’s various initiatives can be seen in the backgrounds, with the foreground filled by soon to famous actors playing their first major roles. There’s one with Al Pacino in it, who’s climax occurs with the raw steel of the United Nations building visible in Manhattan’s former “Blood Alley” section.

Fascinating window into the past, televised fiction can be. At the rate which NYC constantly demolishes and rebuilds itself, you have to take anything you can get in terms of what once was, I guess.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My beloved Creek is picture above, from the pigeon poop encrusted stairways of the Pulaski Bridge in LIC. Speaking of “demolishing and rebuilding itself,” let’s just say that I have seen the plans for what’s coming next, and that the area between LIC’s 2nd Street and the Pulaski/Borden Avenue and Newtown Creek (including the LIRR station) is – indeed – next. You’ll hear about it soon, I believe.

Get your pics now, lords and ladies. Tick tock.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.


Events!

Slideshow and book signing, April 23rd, 6-8 p.m.

Join Newtown Creek Alliance at 520 Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for a slideshow, talk, and book signing and see what the incredible landscape of Newtown Creek looks like when the sun goes down with Mitch Waxman. The event is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP here. Light refreshments served.

Click here to attend.

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 17, 2019 at 1:30 pm

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