The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for April 30th, 2020

convulsive cry

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Getting used to living with the tyranny of the now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One recalls all of the angry men who drove these yellow cars, and their frustrations. The angry men would have vastly preferred not having to drive you anywhere you needed to go, instead they’d have liked you to just toss a few bucks in their open window when they drove off after hearing that you didn’t want to go into Manhattan. These yellow cars were always dirty, uncomfortable, and the drivers generally bad tempered. When the ride share corporations began to chip away at the exclusive franchises of medallion taxi’s, nobody really cared about the drivers of the yellow cabs, since one of the commonalities of life in NYC involves a story about some asshole cab driver who… fill in the blanks.

Functionally speaking, there is no such taxi industry right now. The ride share drivers have been reduced down to making food and supply deliveries, but at least they’re working. Everywhere I go, entire fleets of yellow cabs are being stored in the parking lots of closed businesses, along the curbs, or anywhere you can park.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The MTA buses are still operating, as are the subways. Both options are ones you could not pay me to take right now. Since the start of all this, a thought which has been optimate and repeated like a mantra revolves around “dwell time.” It’s one thing to risk exposure to infection in terms of a quick trip to a shop – you’re in, you’re out. It’s another to “dwell” in a biologically hazardous environment. This is something I’ve learned over the years along the Newtown Creek. Don’t misunderstand me, you can still catch a viral load if all you’re doing is buying a pack of gum at a bodega and you’ve only been in there for a quick minute, it’s just that the odds of inhaling something malign are somewhat lessened if you’re not in that bodega for a half hour or hour. The longer you dwell in an air mass with people who aren’t your “quarantine buddies,” the more epidemiological mathematics begin to work against you. “Quarantine buddies” you ask? That’s your family and or domestic partners, and all of the people with whom both you and they interact with. The bigger the buddy group, the better the chance you have of getting sick.

If you’re riding on a bus, like the Q32 pictured above, everybody on the bus and everybody they interact with are now your buddy. Theoretically, so is everyone else who rode that bus since the last time it was fully disinfected – which should include the internals of the heating vents – but – MTA, so…

I think we should pay a lot of attention to filters on HVAC systems, moving forward.

Saying all that, I’m just a schmuck with a camera who likes talking about NYC history, not a doctor or an epidemiologist, and the paragraphs above represent an opinion not a fact. Do whatever the hell you want. Bleach, estrogen, fire, whatever.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Right now, a humble narrator is wishing that he had access to a private vehicle – a car, truck, or even an electrically powered bike. Under normal circumstance in the past, the cost and effort has been something I eschewed, but during those intervals one had access to the entire MTA system, ride share services like Uber and Lyft, and those angry fellows driving the yellow cars to rely upon. I’d love to jump behind the wheel right now and pop over to Plumb Beach or Rockaway and sit on a large rock while staring at the sea. C’est le vie, no?

Could be worse, of course, at least I live in a place that’s visually interesting and am surrounded by other areas which are similarly idiosyncratic and within walking distances. Also, still alive and not sick yet, so…

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, April 27th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates as we move into April and beyond, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.

“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 for $30.

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