The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for December 2019

rough generalization

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Into the Shining City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The particular circle of hell which one had to navigate into recently involved heading down to Lower Manhattan in pursuance of particular shot for a client/friend of mine. Luckily, Our Lady of the Pentacle’s offices overlook the subject which needed to be recorded, so at least I didn’t have to sneak into an office building in the Wall Street area to get it, instead I was invited in. Like a vampire, that gave one leave to work freely. Saying that, one still had to negotiate the stinking concrete bunkers of the subway system, during the height of cold and flu season. All is darkness.

As you may have gleaned by now, lords and ladies, a humble narrator is in a bit of a mood at the moment. Frustration, Cronenbergian body horror, frustration.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lower Manhattan, as in the Financial District, is inhuman. Every architectural detail and street facing bit is designed to remind you of institutional permanence and the futility of individualism before the fiery event horizon of corporate collectivism. It’s not about “you,” and in fact, you don’t matter. Even the glowing emanations of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself cannot permeate down to the pavement here. The sidewalk isn’t even the ground in the financial district, rather it’s just another level of a vast complex of concrete and steel. As above, so below. At the top are the titans of industry and the Chief Executive Officers. Down here am I, an ant who is the Least Executive Officer. If I actually had two pennies to rub together, they would be used to start a trash fire in pursuance of creating warmth and illumination.

What this City needs, really needs, is a good plague – followed by a torrential rain which would carry away our filth and wash it out into the sea.

Did you know that it once rained every single day for 5.5 million years? That’s part of the process by which the Atlantic Ocean was formed. At the bottom of the Atlantic is the Marianas Trench, where untold monsters are thought to dwell. There are also gigantic and fairly primitive invertebrates down there in the pressurized deep, which consume all the dead flesh raining down from above. If any of these chitinous ghouls are dragged up to the surface, where the atmospheric pressure is comparatively slim to that of the deep, they swell up and pop in the manner of meat balloons. That’s your trivia fact of the day. Lords and Ladies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, for a bottom feeder such as myself, the POV offered by the offices of Our Lady aren’t differentially high enough from my normal elevations to cause any physical symptoms other than nose bleeds. The shot above isn’t the one I went to the City to get, but since the East River was just sitting there like a revealed whore – I couldn’t resist.

Back tomorrow with another “ring ting tingling” dirge. Bah. Humbug, all that.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! December 14th, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 10, 2019 at 11:00 am

mysterious archways

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Humbug.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found one eager to waste his time attending yet another Newtown Creek oriented meeting, this time at a banal public room in Sunnyside. The puropose of this one was to give a cabal of trans national energy corporations the chance to have one of their contractors describe a cleanup process which, out of the goodness of their hearts, said cabal wishes to enact for the waterway several years ahead of schedule. It was a rainy night, my busted toe was hurting, and I took the bus over to the Queens Blvd. side of the world.

My universe is fairly limited at the moment, so a 15 minute bus ride can pretty much get me where I need to go without much fuss and also make my day. It should be mentioned that “I’m in a mood” right now. The world is a joyless pile of crap, I’ve forgotten how to be happy or satisfied with anything, and my “ass kicking foot” is still out of commission. A few friends have recently asked me, repeatedly, “are you ok?” My answer has been “yes, everything is fantastic, things are great, couldn’t be better.” Nobody wants to actually hear anything else, or really cares, they just want to be able to say they asked.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My journey involved negotiating a few blocks of Queens Blvd. on foot after debarking the bus, a feat which is now within my capabilities again. The steel shielding which the relentless incompetence of the MTA has necessitated the installation of along the 7 line, designed to vouchsafe against having chunks of steel raining down from the elevated tracks above onto the street and sidewalk alike, provide a new and visually appealing feature. Likely impermanent, the reflective metal causes a whole lot of light to bounce around in an otherwise dark and barren scene.

Dark and barren pretty much sums things up at the moment. Wet too.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is purely an audience member at the moment, and unable to actuate or in any way affect the world around me. It’s all darkness and cold. I’m sticking to the shadows, traveling light, and have grown tired of it all. In accordance with this temporary weakness caused by the busted toe, I’ve stupidly shown a bit of vulnerability, which the humans surrounding me have read as an opportunity to show their true colors. The ass kicking foot will be healed up by the start of the new year, they should remember, but let them have their fun for now. Thanks are offered to all of those who have reminded me of their own sinister nature and the general state of human interaction.

Dark and horrible will be emerging in 2020, and something wicked this way comes, I think. A humble narrator is feeling cranky, and the world only makes sense when you force it to do so.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! December 14th, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 9, 2019 at 11:00 am

utmost fortitude

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There’s always something to complain about.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has mentioned in the past that a singular virtue of the Governor’s “enhanced stations” project – and construction spending – on the Astoria line elevated subway stops along 31st street has been the abundance of street lighting they have introduced to what was formerly a dark and unfriendly series of street intersections. Also mentioned, repeatedly, is the fact that a humble narrator is still somewhat crippled by a crush injury to the big toe of my left foot, and I’ve been trying to “keep it local” as much as possible for the last few weeks to avoid reinjuring or impeding the healing process in the affected phalange. I plan to be back to full capability in the new year, after all.

Accordingly, the residents of my side of Astoria have begun to adjust to a sight often witnessed by the denizens of several other nearby communities – that of a strange old man wearing a filthy black raincoat and brandishing a camera about wherever municipal infrastructure stands naked and revealed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the subject of complaining, or “freelance unsolicited criticism” as my pal Special Ed once called it, right about now that’s all I’ve got to fill my time. One likes to believe that he has weaponized complaint, and milled it down into a quiver of razor tipped arrows which can be fired – with some precision – at an opponent’s vital bits. Ten years of daily blogging… you get good at grousing, I always say. Nobody cares, though.

That’s the intersection of Broadway and 31st street pictured in today’s post, from three different angles. The first looks westwards, the one above south west, and the one below is looking northwards from a different corner.

On the alternative subject of people in my neighborhood getting used to seeing a humble narrator at work, unlike Maspeth or Greenpoint where the residents go out of their way to avoid human contact, Astorians will just stride right up and ask what I’m doing. Such mendacity is part of the reason that I call Astoria my home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The guy in the food cart with the glowing window seemed rather concerned about my activities, but a quick wave of the hand and his paranoia seemed assuaged. A few people who announced, unheeded, that they didn’t want to be photographed received my usual speech about long exposure shots and that unless they were standing statue still for at least half a minute while in frame there would be little more of them than a ghostly whisper or blurred outline of them in the final shot.

On that subject, I’ve got an idea about how to advance these night shots up a level, and plan on exploring a new set of techniques in the coming weeks. Somebody will end up complaining about that, though.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! December 14th, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 6, 2019 at 11:00 am

hidden laboratory

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Don’t get snotty with me, pal.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The ChristmAstoria season has begun, I do declare. This was noticed this when my neighbor Tomas adorned his house, recently. Colloquially known as “Tom,” Tomas is remarkably detail oriented on the subject of home maintenance, and owns a personal power washer in pursuance of a gum and stains free sidewalk. In a neighborhood of slobs, Tom keeps his immediate vicinity neat and clean, and is quite timely when it comes to rolling out the holiday decorations. He is one of my seasonal bellwethers.

A pet peeve we share is the habit of spitting gobs of phlegm onto the sidewalk as practiced by the local youths. Another one of those “primate dominance display behaviors” which increasingly annoy me, there seems to be a societal fad underway which requires the late adolescence humans to expunge a mucosal charge onto the public way once about every four strides.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Ptooie! I’ve never been able to get a clear answer out of the medical establishment about exactly what mucus is, other than it is produced by “goblet cells.” I’ve looked into it. Composition wise, snot is about 95% water. The remaining 5% is a variable brew of glycoproteins, proteoglycans, proteins, and DNA. The proteins are what make the stuff sticky, I’m told. Mucus is everywhere inside of the human infestation’s various avatars, and the specific to the respiratory tract stuff is called Phlegm (which, since I’m from Brooklyn, is pronounced literally as “Fleg gumm.” Everybody else says “flemm.”). Once you bark it out, it’s called “Sputum.”

This Phlegm material is conventionally “snot” and it acts as a filtering mechanism for the respiratory system. Contaminants like dust, pollen, and smoke particles get caught up in it, as do infectious biota. When you hawk a loogie out, it’s carrying these active bacterial and viral agents along with it. As the goober dries up on the pavement, these microbes and contaminants are then carried off into the the air column. That’s where the “spit every four steps” fad crosses over into a public health issue.

If you’re like me, as soon as the weather turns cold, the spigot starts running on the snot cannon in the middle of your face, and you’ve got a constantly runny nose. I’ve always got a pocket full of tissues with me, but many do not. These unprepared souls will often use a finger to close off one nostril and then exhale powerfully through the other, causing a rifle shot of sputum to rocket forth. It’s lovely.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Such behaviors are why I try not to touch any public surfaces in NYC during the winter months. This year, in particular, I’ve instituted a new policy which has been hard to enforce as it disobeys several of those “primate display behaviors” mentioned above.

I’m avoiding hand shaking entirely, and when the greeting dance requires touching somebody, I’m trying to do it with a clothed part of my body – the elbow, for instance. Why anyone would wish to touch one such as myself is beyond me, frankly, but just the other night I was touched by multiple people in these greeting gestures and one of my friends actually snuck behind me and gave me a hug and kissed the side of my head for some reason.

Keep your epithelials to your self, bro.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! December 14th, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 5, 2019 at 11:00 am

bright again

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An accidental encountered.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whilst perambulating to the gustatory battlefield which is the Thanksgiving ritual feast table, Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself encountered an “accidental” along the way. We missed the moment of kinetic contact betwixt the two motor vehicles, but the aftermath was spread out along the intersection of 45th street and Broadway, here in Astoria, for all to see. By all appearances, at least one of these vehicles – possibly both – were moving at quite a clip where they collided. There didn’t seem to be any obvious injuries, or at least there weren’t any pooling puddles of blood or other human juices.

I’ve always wondered if human blood could be called a juice. Maybe it’s a broth, or a gravy? I guess it depends on your dietary preferences, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m not a fan of the archaic yellow cab industry, and display zero sympathy for either drivers or medallion owners. A half century lived in NYC has imparted a sour taste in my mouth towards these stalwart livery service workers and the oligarchs they work for. Saying that, I hope the driver didn’t suffer any injuries other than losing the day’s earnings and what will end up being a substantial repair bill at the auto mechanic.

I recognize the white car from the neighborhood. One of the many vehicles which have been tuned up to make as much noise during normal operation as possible – it’s part of what we’ve come to refer to as the “fast and furious” crowd here in the local zone. Alterations of the proper functioning of the carburetor and fuel injection systems increase engine noise, often resulting in backfires as they sit in traffic. This crackling explosive sound must somehow excite the females in their social circles, and encourage them into mating with the drivers, which must be why the males who perform these noisy alterations risk the concurrent damage to their expensive automobile’s engines and exhaust systems.

The endless permutations of primate display behaviors offered by the human infestation hereabouts is fascinating to one such as myself.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We didn’t stick around to see the cops show up, nor the tow trucks and ambulances which usually follow the constabulary into situations such as this. Our grandiose feast and celebration of American abundance awaited.

One was busy cooking for most of the morning, assembling the contributions to the Thanksgiving meal which Our Lady and myself were participating in. I was trying to avoid all social media on Thanksgiving, since my friends who are “woke” were passing the time waiting for their feast to emerge from the kitchen reminding all who might listen about just how shit the world is, was, and will be. Additionally, they needed to remind the universe about the Native American genocide as well as imparting the importance of composting the inedible portions of the feast. Bah!

Take a day off, I say.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! December 14th, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm

agriculturally challenged

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Does anyone ever say “thank god, it’s Tuesday”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Banal and sad is how I’d describe the current state of the Steinway Street commercial corridor here in Astoria, where the most interesting destination restaurants are often food trucks. Online, and in person, conversations about the subject lament the modern state of this old commercial strip.

Block after block of empty storefronts, sidewalk gathering places for lawless inebriates, law and order issues, blight. High commercial rents are usually blamed, or Amazon, or the “new people” who don’t shop locally and order everything online. High traffic volumes, a dearth of street parking, are also offered as causal factors for the current state of the street. Funny thing is, there are plenty of shops on Steinway which are doing extremely well, serving the needs and wants of the “new people.” I’m suspicious of all this, and wonder if some game is afoot. The answer offered to any problem these days is to demolish the current building stock and erect new structures, right?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The best example of this going on in the neighborhood, in my eyes, revolves around the not too far in the future expulsion of the used car and automotive businesses along Northern Blvd., in favor of building more and more “affordable” housing on the large footprint property lots these entities currently occupy. Why we aren’t talking about converting these spaces over to some sort of retail or other commercial function is beyond me. I’ve long believed that what Astoria, and LIC in general, needs is to cease being a referential dormitory community dependent on Manhattan and to plan/develop purposely as an exurb “city” instead.

The problems facing Steinway Street’s commercial establishments are hardly unique in modern day NYC, but the solution isn’t going to be offered by “anchor tenants” like Taco Bell or Chipotle. Steinway Street is not some midwestern shopping mall. Look to Roosevelt/Corona or Flushing for solutions to the retail crisis.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given my recent trials, it’s kind of a rare thing for me to present either a shot of the Sunnyside Yards or a photo captured while the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself was twisting about in the sky, but there you are. One happened to be returning from a protest event offered by a cabal of leftist groups decrying the Sunnyside Yards proposal last week, and on my merry way back home I couldn’t help but crack out a couple of exposures at one of the facilities many fence holes, most of which are in my mental catalog.

Back tomorrow with something else, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! December 14th, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 3, 2019 at 1:15 pm

damp pavement

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It’s Monday, are you cybering?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The fractured phalange situation is improving, and accordingly a humble narrator has been enjoying brief trots about the neighborhood once more. One is still taking it easy – baby steps as it were – since the busted toe smarts a bit and it’s always best to error on the side of caution with such matters. Nevertheless, the camera can’t be allowed to accumulate dust any longer and neither, concurrently, can I.

That’s 45th street between Northern Blvd. and 34th avenue pictured above, which will soon be where a vulgar display of power will be offered by the real estate industrial complex. It’s coming, Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In my attempts at staying close to home, one has been positively haunting the Northern Blvd. and Broadway corridors here in Astoria. Of special interest during the endeavor, long exposure views of automotive traffic seem to be catching my eye. One has opined to anyone who might listen that this camera technique can reveal the hidden patterns of automotive “desire paths” and act as an aid to conversation about how to better use the shared roads of NYC.

Pictured above is a Q66 bus, which arrived in frame at an opportune moment.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One will resist the urge to visit Newtown Creek this week, unless duty calls. There’s a Newtown Creek Community Advisory Group meeting tonight at Sunnyside Community Services on 39th street, which I’m hoping will provide me with an opportunity to wave the camera around afterwards. I’m also meant to attend a holiday party towards the end of the week in lower Manhattan, one which I’ll likely sneak out of for a bit to set up the tripod and do some shooting. It’s nice to be mobile again.

If anybody knows of a section of Western Queens where an over the top display of Christmas lights might be found, leave me a message in the comments.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! December 14th, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 2, 2019 at 12:15 pm

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