The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has no idea at all why he feels so exhausted and tired at the moment. Has nothing to do with illness, I would offer, nor is it the sensation of “waiting for the other shoe to drop” as 2020 has dropped a lot of shoes and things just promise to get more interesting as the wheel of the year turns towards Autumn. This part of August always offers that “time to go back to school” cue to me, and I feel like I’m about to have to go try on winter clothes while it’s still shorts weather. My mom would insist on buying my kid clothes from a store in either Midwood or Flatlands called “Widensky’s.” Let’s just say that even by 1970’s standards, the offerings of this particular shop were not the most fashionable choices which a young fella might make. Lots of orange courdoroy pants and multi colored velour sweaters, coupled with Buster Brown brand shoes. As soon as I started working and buying my own stuff, that story changed, but when you’re a kid you eat what they tell you to and wear what’s laid out. It’s a lot like being a prisoner, being a kid.

Seriously, I cannot tell you how uncomfortable most of those clothes were. Badly sewn, fabric that came out of a chemical drum, plastic shoes… wearing Sneakers was still seen as as an impolite gesture when worn for anything other than exercise back then. This was when the old lady had barbers craft me up the bangs and long sides Partridge Family haircut.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I remember a fad in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s where males of all ages began wearing matching sweatsuits. This was considered casual wear, and I would often notice men getting the sweat jacket (no hoodie) tailored at the dry cleaners. This was around the time that mirror sunglasses were in vogue, as well as casually wearing sweat bands on the wrists and head. I have never, ever, understood what a wrist mounted sweatband’s purpose is. If you wanted cargo shorts, you’d make them yourself out of a pair of army surplus pants you got at the second hand. People would also walk around back then wearing shirts with repeating screen printed patterns of anchors or traffic signs.

Of course, it was kind of a big deal back then that cops didn’t have bullet proof vests routinely assigned to them, and don’t get me started about the hair. I recently got sent a shot of myself from tenth grade which displayed the most embarrassing hair cut I ever had. It was the 80’s, I was young, so what can I tell you?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When you get down to it, all of us are kind of different people at different stages of our lives. Some old suit of clothes of the type you used to be known for wearing doesn’t fit anymore, so you move on to another. Shoes wear out, hair gets long and then short and then it goes and changes color on you.

Ever heard about the philosophical conundrum called “Theseus’s Ship”? It seems that when Theseus sailed back to Athens, they preserved the great hero’s boat. The thing was maintained and cared for, and if a plank of wood became rotten over time an exact copy of it was created and installed. Over several centuries, every molecule of the original boat was replaced, and the eventual realization that whereas every replacement part was an exact duplicate of the original no part of the original boat still was present offered up a metaphysical crisis. Was it still Theseus’ ship?

I often wonder if I’m still all the people I used to be.

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 17th. 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 17, 2020 at 11:00 am

One Response

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  1. You are the constantly evolving sum of every instance of you in every instant you have existed. We are dynamic – life is change. I particularly liked the photo of the plant growing through the old, crumbling beam.

    Tommy Efreeti

    August 17, 2020 at 11:18 am

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