The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for May 2021

condemn all

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Kosciuszcko Bridge all lit up in red. It carries the Brooklyn Queens Expressway high over Newtown Creek, and this shot was gathered in a neighborhood I call “Down Under the Grand Street Bridge Onramp.” DUGSBO is where the extreme south end of Industrial Maspeth oozes into the joint where Newtown Creek’s East Branch and English Kills tributaries go their own ways, and where you’ll encounter the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens.

If hostilities were to erupt, one wonders who would have the advantage. According to the 2020 Census, Brooklyn has 2,648,403 residents whereas Queens has 2,212,360 residents, so Brooklyn probably wins in a fist fight. Brooklyn also has Fort Hamilton over in Bay Ridge, but a bit of quick googling reveals that Queens hosts several other military offices and units, in addition to the small armies of crack security Port Authority employs at the airports. You’ve got a pretty high percentile of Brooklyn residents who have served in the military, but Queens also has large populations of not just Veterans but also people recently arrived from parts of the world where their Third Grade curriculum included the handling of mortars and small arms.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are a few artillery units stationed out in Whitestone whom I’d suggest we station on the hills in Calvary Cemetery and Maspeth, as well as along Bushwick‘s border with Ridgewood. That’s what the British did during the Revolutionary War. Brooklyn’s multitudes wouldn’t survive an infantry charge across the Grand Street Bridge if you’ve got artillery trained on it from above, and the terrain of Williamsburg and Greenpoint slope roughly down towards the East River so advantage lies with Queens’ defenders.

The porous upland borders from Mile 3 here in DUGSBO back to the DMZ along the Nassau County border will be the worst kind of conflict though. Gritty urban warfare, house to house fighting with small arms and bladed weapons. It will likely be Nassau County that settles the conflict, weighing in on one side or another. Hopefully, given the existential realities of their rail and highway system as well as historical associations, Nassau Marines will swarm over the border and crush the Latte drinking hordes of Brooklyn beneath their booted heels. Queens 4eva, brü.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

See what I’m saying about needing to take long walks in daylight again? Sheesh. This is the part of my inner narrative that I’m willing to actually write down, it’s barely even touching on the crazy stuff. Coo-coo.

More missives from the Happy Place of Industrial Maspeth, eventually. Tomorrow, something different – at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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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

May 12, 2021 at 11:00 am

mighty venture

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In yesterday’s post, a humble narrator asserted that the so called “Generation Y” or “Millennials” are godawful at crime. This isn’t some “boomer” statement against this cohort, rather it’s built around something a young narrator was taught in Southeast Brooklyn back in the late 1970’s and all of the 1980’s. Simply put – when you commit a crime, don’t tell anyone about it, and should somebody someday invent a global cellular computer network called the Internet don’t confess to or brag about your crime on it.

When “criming” a suggested rubric would inform that if only you know what the sin is that has occurred, don’t tell anyone. The only secrets you’ve got are ones that no one else knows about. If you “crimed” with a friend, it’s no longer a secret and you want to preemptively figure out a straight story in case you get clipped and your friend likes talking to Cops. If you like “criming” as part of a large group, you’re pretty much screwed and it’s only a matter of time before you’ll get to meet the Cops.

I used to know a guy in Brooklyn who swore that by wearing jackets with brand colors and marks from cigarette companies (Marlboro, Kool, etc.) on them, the only thing a witness to his illicit multitudinousness would remember when describing him to the Cops would be the jacket or hat or mirror sunglasses he wore and ditched somewhere. Guess it worked, he’s a shipping executive nowadays.

Keep your mouth shut, essentially, when “criming.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In other news, as you may have guessed by now, these photos were captured in the Grand Street Bridge section of Newtown Creek. About three miles back from the East River, the center of the bridge offers the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens no true demarcation. I propose that NYC should paint a six inch wide yellow line from here to the Nassau County border because people should implicitly know what borough they’re in. How many times have I stood on Scott Avenue in Ridgewood, undecided about which side of the street – or which Borough – I should be in. Pfah.

This is, by the way, a particularly long walk from HQ in Astoria. When I set out, weather forecasts had been foreshadowing a dew point conducive to fog and mist. There was a bit, and although I was disappointed that a “London style fog” wasn’t setting up the gloomy twilight caused by overcast conditions was quite accordant to my mood.

I considered doing some private criming, but hung around and took a bunch of shots instead. I did pee on a truck tire around the corner, which used to be a crime. Since it’s decriminalized it’s ok, but still distasteful, to talk about. See the way that works? Don’t talk about crime on the internet.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned above, this was kind of a long walk, something I’ve been needing to do. Exhausted from sitting around at home for a year is a bit of an oxymoron, but it’s where I am and why I’m going lots of places. All of my internally lubricated parts need actuation, the skinvelope is saggy and bleached out, the bones and rubber bands creak and crack, there’s an inch too much of sub cutaneous fat everywhere – especially between my ears. I no longer believe in anything or anyone, it’s all deception. All presumptions that people are smarter than they appear have evaporated. If you die in front of me, I’m going to immediately try and sell your body to an organ broker. I don’t care anymore. The only thing I want to do is wander around with a camera and take photos. Every minute I’m not doing that is a waste of time. Wasting time is a crime, and when I’m not out shooting it’s criminal.

It’s actually quite liberating, this confessing to crime on the internet. Maybe the Millennials have something here?


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 11, 2021 at 11:00 am

bandied about

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One found himself wandering through the happy place, as Industrial Maspeth – here in the Borough of Queens – is often referred to at Newtown Pentacle HQ, and transfixed by the patriotic vehicle wrap adorning the concrete mixer truck pictured above. It’s a Kenworth, but I’ll be damned if I could tell you what model or year it is. Recently, one was informed by a reader here at Newtown Pentacle that the concrete industrial complex here in NYC is in the process of consolidating under a single corporate umbrella. Given that the last time a single conglomerate controlled this sector was during the late 1980’s with the head office either a coffee shop/social club on Mulberry Street or a certain Mansion on Staten Island, what could go wrong? I know. I’ve seen too many movies. Everything that’s happened in the past didn’t really happen except when it fits into a modern political narrative.

I often muse about the somewhat obscure history of Queens, and how it’s a puzzle if you don’t understand the predicates of the surrounding world which created the modern day milieu.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In Industrial Maspeth, you can find literal pieces of the puzzle just sitting there on the sidewalk waiting for you to notice them. Seriously, this thing was just sitting there, and was about the size of a dinner plate.

Part of the modern narrative in NYC describes the boiling pot of real estate development. With a straight face, developers will tell you that the modern era is challenging for them financially, despite the booming economies of demolition and construction as well as the expanding heavy equipment rental business. NYC has been in high gear for about twenty five years now, construction wise. Why is that? Can it be that the old “tax” imposed on the real estate people by a certain group of people is now a margin pocketable by these developers personally? How did this anchor weighing down the glorious rapacity of capitalism find itself ameliorated? The answer doesn’t fit the narrative, meaning that the puzzle pieces are anomalous to modern eyes.

There are certain “rackets” which made their margin off of sins – gambling, prostitution, drugs, and loan sharking. The rackets which really paid the bills involved the Kosher meats trade, newspaper printing and delivery, the garment industry, the Ports, the construction trades. Trucking, both local and interstate, also was particularly profitable. A few pennies from every kosher chicken, a couple of bucks from every stick of lumber, a c-note for a ton of concrete, a buck or two from every window replacement at a NYCHA building can make you rich quick. The trades are the best business out of them all. Couple that with indirectly owning a bunch of all cash businesses where you could change the dirty money to untraceable clean cash – pizzerias, bakeries, newsstands, laundromats – NYC was a working class thief’s paradise until about thirty years ago. That’s when the Lawyers and Politicians muscled the working class gangsters out and set their own people up instead. That’s why they call the loan shark biz “payday loans” today instead of shystering.

These days, all you need is an MBA and a Realtor’s license to be a gangster.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everybody asks me if I’ve seen bodies floating in Newtown Creek or seen a corpse with cement overshoes there. They make a weird face when I tell them that only an idiot like that Serial Killer who got caught (Joel Rifkin) would try and dump a body in Newtown Creek, or the East River, for that matter. Newbie.

There’s barely any current in these waters, and the body would just stay there waiting for the Cops to notice it. If you wanted, or needed, to dispose of a corpse you’d want to use the Hudson or Jamaica Bay due to the strong currents. As far as the former, you’re taking a real chance that your victim might wash up in Staten Island or Bay Ridge before getting swept out to sea. It’s also a pretty busy shipping channel, which magnifies your chances of getting attention from the aforementioned Cops. If you’re “criming” you really want to worry about Cops, which seems obvious, but having witnessed how godawful and blatant Millennials are at crime this bears mentioning. You don’t want the body found, period. I’d rather you didn’t “crime,” either, but you do you.

In my old neighborhood, they would cut your victim up after draining the blood out, then put the pieces into paper grocery bags and wing them out the window on the Belt Parkway for the crabs and rats to take care of. Larger chunks got disposed of at the Fountain Avenue Landfill nearby Starrett City.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 10, 2021 at 11:00 am

forgotten sculptor

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Friday, again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent daylight perambulation found a humble narrator in DUGABO, Down Under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge Onramp, in the Blissville section of Long Island City. The bridge crosses the fabulous Newtown Creek, and provides a concrete manifestation of the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens. Famously, the so called “garbage train” is assembled at the LIRR’s Blissville rail yard, and is normally hauled about by locomotive engines painted with the brand colors of the New York & Atlantic outfit. This bluebird GATX unit was a surprise, but my beloved Creek is never entirely predictable. The street down here is dubbed “Railroad Avenue” aptly.

GATX, as it turns out, is an 1898 vintage corporate entity based in Chicago that leases rail equipment on several continents and also has a sideline in aviation heavy equipment. If you want to take a deep dive, here’s their site.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The signal bells began clanging and the train started moving eastwards along the Lower Montauk tracks. As you can see in the shot above, somebody has set up housekeeping under the bridge, having constructed a shelter/shanty out of shipping palettes and other industrial leave behinds. As of yet, I haven’t talked to this fellow, but I already like him since he’s got quite a collection of cats living with him.

Thrilling is how I describe the sensation of seeing freight rail moving around at street grade in NYC. Once common, there are so few places where you see this these days… this train and it’s box cars of garbage remove hundreds of long distance truck trips every day from our roads.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Blissville’s Railroad Avenue offers quite a gallery of street art/graffiti- if you’re into that sort of thing. The building just behind the locomotive used to be a lead factory, although in recent years it’s also been home to a company that worked with plastics. These days it’s a warehouse, with a tire shop on the Review Avenue facing side.

There’s quite a bit of industrial/commercial activity going on down here in DUGABO. The N.Y. Paving Company has an enormous property where they manage a fleet of hundreds of heavy construction vehicles and store sand, gravel, and other tools of their trade. Across the street at the former HQ of the Tidewater Pipeline Company, later called the Lukoil Getty terminal, the busy Broadway Stages outfit handles movie and tv productions for Hollywood. There’s also a self storage company housed in a factory building that used to be the home of BG Pickles.

Back next week with more, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

coloured mitres

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since one has completed his vaccinations against the Covid scourge, very little dust has had a chance to settle upon a humble narrator. I’ve caroused in bars, ridden subways and ferries, gone places, done things. Seemingly, I’ve developed a truly calloused attitude towards other people’s stupidity and anti-social tendencies. You don’t want to get vaccinated because you heard somebody got sick from it in California, huh? Well, it was nice knowing you, and you should probably have a conversation with your Doctor. “I shit you not” when saying that I personally witnessed a negotiation and transaction take place for a counterfeit vaccination card recently. It was just so dumb. This is how Zombie movies start, and this is what the world has looked like to me for the last year and change.

Remember when half of your third grade class died of Rubella? How about when little Timmy down the block ended up in the iron lung? The time you lost your sister to Smallpox? Tuberculosis took your Mom? Measles? Whooping cough? Scarlet Fever? Exactly. Go get your shot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The only way out of dealing with all of this is clearly pursuing my dream of birthing a race of Atomic Supermen, but my neighborhood in Astoria isn’t zoned for “Mad Science.” NYC is quite strict on this subject, and it’s overseen by the same City Hall department that handles restaurant inspections for some reason. There’s several properties in the South Bronx which are promising for the endeavor, but negotiating the lease has been a chore. There’s a great location that already has Tesla coils and lightning gathering kites installed, but $55 per square foot is highway robbery for industrial space.

Of course, one of the tasks I’m going to assign my army of Atomic Supermen is going to be literal “highway robbery,” but start-ups need to worry about pissing away their initial capitalization on fancy offices and other gimmicks. The only thing other than gestation tubes and a DNA sequencer I’m going to be buying for the factory will be a big fan, one that turns slowly, and will be positioned in front of a bright light that cycles through primary colors in my surprisingly wet and dark Atomic Superman factory. Also, there’s going to be chains hanging down from the roof that have no true purpose.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in Astoria, yet another FDNY operation drew my attentions. It seems that two automobile drivers caused a low speed collision. One of the drivers, I’m told, demanded that 911 be called and an EMS Ambulance crew arrived to assess and handle the situation. Nobody was loaded onto a stretcher or anything, so it’s fairly obvious that the driver was hoping for the cops to show up rather than the Fire Department when they called 911.

Everybody loves Firemen and Fireladies and Firenonbinarynongenderconforming people. Nobody wants to defund the Fire Department. Personally, I’ve always wanted to be there when one of those cinematic style Cop vs. Fireman fights break out, but no luck.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 6, 2021 at 1:00 pm

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