The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for August 7th, 2020

strident pandemonium

with one comment

It’s Friday, a word that comes from the Old English “Frīgedæg” – the day of Frigga.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wee ooh did Astoria ever get hit hard by that storm the other day. For some reason or another, the corridor surrounding Newtown Road in the 40’s got pummeled by the heavy winds and the neighborhood lost a bunch of trees. Unfortunately a couple of the neighbors ended up losing their vehicles as well when the trees came down.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Astoria is a mess, as far as utility cables go. After the Great Astoria Blackout of 2006 saw their cables and underground network burn away, Con Ed did a jury rig job getting the neighborhood energized again. Fourteen years later, they haven’t come back and improved on that, so there’s layer upon layer of cables hanging from the utility poles. Said utility poles are decades old, lean at precipitous angles, and are a subject which I often bring up when talking about the neighborhood with elected officialdom.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To complicate the matter, these often 80-100 year old utility poles are also carrying hundreds of tons of telephonic and cable/data cables. The lowest level on the pole are generally cable data/tv wires, with phone above that, and electrical at the top.

There’s an absolute web of these wires overhead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The street trees basically live in a concrete box of sandy soil, which truncates their root systems. Frankly, it’s a small miracle that we don’t lose more of them every time the wind blows, but there you go. As you can see in the shot above, the concrete sidewalk slabs got picked up by the lever action of the tree going down.

Skateboard kids were standing around, waiting for their chance.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the corner of Newtown Road and 46th street, where the ancient utility poles were snapped into sections by the weight of an ancient tree suddenly landing on the abundant wires they carry.

As mentioned, this is something I’ve been raising the alarum about for a while now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured above is Broadway in Astoria, which should give you an idea of how big the issue is. Looks like those pics of Lower Manhattan from back in the 19th century, doesn’t it? Sad thing is that most of these wires are dead and connected to nothing.

You’d think that when the politicians gave the exclusive franchises for data and phone, or cable, or power to the various utility companies that there would have been some discussion of maintenance and of removing dead wires. You’ve forgotten the Borough Motto, haven’t you?

Welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself.

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, August 3rd. 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 here, 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 7, 2020 at 1:00 pm

%d bloggers like this: