The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for June 25th, 2021

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent visit to the Empire State Building observation deck cost me $41, plus subway fares. That’s the price you pay to see things. We all have a price, and problems we can’t solve. Luckily, there’s often someone willing to sell you what you want. I’ve been wanting perspective, and to “get high.”

Superman has super problems, I’ve always thought. The big guy has to spend a lot of time restraining himself. He can burn somebody by looking at them too hard, and probably cause cancer if he stares at you with those X-Ray eyes of his. When Superman is stopping a bank robbery, it must be excruciating to exercise the care involved in not killing everything he touches while moving at super speed. Superman punching someone in the nose, and not having that someone’s head explode into a cloud of red mist, represents a significant amount of martial restraint.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself slid down behind New Jersey (I’m told there’s a cavern in Pennsylvania it slots into), a humble narrator got busy with the camera and the clicking and the whirring. What stirred me into dropping the cash on this visit was the recent revelation that all of the “master shots” of Newtown Creek from this perspective in my image library depicted the old Kosciuszcko Bridge.

Superman can famously walk about on the plasma shell of the sun, burrow through Earth’s mantle and visit the molten core of the planet, divert the course of mighty rivers, and withstand all sorts of hellacious situations. I’ve often wondered if he’s just numb. If you’re Superman, how far do you need to go to just feel something? Imagine if he’s disguised himself as one of us and attends a concert, gets overwhelmed by an emotional response to the performance and absentmindedly begins to loudly applaud. Superman clapping his hands loudly would likely result in a mass casualty event.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is one of the classic Empire State Building shots, depicting the Flatiron – or Fuller Brush – Building at the intersection of 23rd street and Fifth Avenue/Broadway. The other nearby landmark is Madison Square Park, which used to be a Potters Field cemetery for the poor.

Something which I’ve never been able to reconcile regarding the Man of Steel is the amount of time he spends pretending to be human. You have to figure that every minute of every day, he should be out there saving lives. This guy could handle large scale desert irrigation projects, literally moving mountains, and he’s spending his days 9-5 working at a newspaper? Sure, the pen is mightier than the sword, but… Superman.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A very similar shot, compositionally, was in yesterday’s post – depicting the angle of view towards the Queensboro Bridge with Astoria in the distance. That’s the Chrysler Building in the foreground.

If you were actually able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound, you’d likely be leaving craters in the sidewalk when jumping. The physics of Superman are daunting. As mentioned above, he’d have to take exquisite care not to atomize people while crime fighting. Presuming Superman is about 200 pounds of pure muscle, that means his foot would need to exert enough force on the ground to propel 200 pounds a thousand or more feet in the air. Superman is never portrayed as having freakishly large feet, so let’s presume it’s a normal size 11 or 12 shoe that he would wear. That means he’s focusing multiple tons worth of force into a 4-5 inch patch of sidewalk, and that the cement paving would essentially turn into a powder of particles. These particles dispersing into the atmosphere would appear to us, to be an explosion.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking westwards towards the hideous Hudson Yards complex, with the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself nearly occluded behind New Jersey.

“Faster than a speeding bullet” also points out another angle which this Kryptonian Weapon of Mass Destruction would have to be extremely careful about. The fastest of our modern bullets moves at about 2,600 feet a second, which is just about Mach 2. Comic writers have established that our boy can move far faster than that, and within the atmosphere at that. Imagine the firestorm of friction heated air Superman has to be pulling behind him when he’s in a hurry. He’d be leaving horizontal fire tornados all over the sky everytime there was an emergency in China.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One last shot just as proper night was setting in, looking southwards towards the Freedom Tower over Lower Manhattan, from the Empire State Building Observation Deck.

Up, up, and away.

“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

June 25, 2021 at 11:05 am

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