The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for March 2nd, 2021

adventurous assurances

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It’s Tuesday again, now more than ever.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, my obligations to the Community Board carried me along to Northern Blvd.’s intersection with Broadway recently to inspect an area where the NYC DOT is planning on expanding its network of protected bike lanes. I really don’t care what your opinion of this program is, since nobody really cares what my opinion is, and this is a Governmental effort which spawns from the highest eschelons of the political world. Thereby, my opinion matters only in the context of pointing out and advocating for small changes to the overarching scheme. Amongst my small changes were reminders that the new pathway will bypass three distinct religious facilities, and to offer the observation that such entities routinely conduct funerals and weddings, and that the planners should plan on that being a problem they need to solve by incorporating loading and unloading zones nearby those facilities.

Seriously, the level of divisiveness surrounding bike lanes mystifies me. We’ve got electrical transformers exploding and torching parked cars, utility cables hanging off of the poles, wandering wackadoodles, porch pirates, race cars rallying… and… remember all the fireworks from last summer? With all of this going on, you’re worried about bike lanes and about losing parking?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Who’s Papi, you might ask. Tires by Papi is the answer, if you’re a member of the tire buying and tire replacement market. The ebullient signage and quarter acre of warm light offered by this tire shop on Broadway in Woodside always pulls me in. In addition to Gas Stations, one of the other disappearing vehicle maintenance parts of the streetscape are tire shops. I’ve got a friend, really a friend of a friend, who finds his way through the worldly milieu selling hubcaps, wheel covers, and other automotive ephemera. My pal Kevin Walsh from Forgotten-NY is the connective tissue with this fellow, whom Kevin has christened as “Hubcap Joe.” Now that… that… is a nickname.

I’ve got Hank the Elevator Guy, Sean the Carpenter, Mumbly Joe the Insulator, Lee the Machine, the Bulgar… the list goes on and on. Nicknames are a funny thing, more often than not they’re related to occupation, but sometimes you just need to seperate people with common names. Used to be that the bar I hung out at during the before times had a lot of Chris’s. We had to develop a system for these Astorian Chris’s. Croatian Chris, Crazy Chris, Glazier Chris, Pharmaceutical Chris, Real Estate Chris. In college, there was Dave Prime, Dave Squared, Dave Cubed. One Thai guy at my second advertising job, whose name I couldn’t pronounce, was called “Not Dave.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another gas station, another attendant pondering whether or not he should be concerned about the rough looking fellow in a filthy black raincoat taking pictures of his workplace at night.

Seriously, this is probably the most interaction I’ve had with a stranger in the last six months. My luck is holding out as far as finding exactly the most depopulated and empty route to take through the neighborhoods. It’s actually a bit terrifying how I can move about through one of the most densely populated sections of the planet and somehow not have another living soul closer than a block away from me.

Unliving souls, on the other hand…

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, March 1st. 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.


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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

March 2, 2021 at 11:00 am

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