The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

swelled alarmingly

with 4 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

Three in the morning is exactly when Penn Station is at its best, I believe. The adjoining streets are populated by background extras from the movie “Taxi Driver,” and the cops randomly close several of the entrances to the train station because “because.” After stomping around with about 25-30 pounds of gear, and a week’s worth of clothing, one finally found an entrance which I could enter through after stepping over a few unconscious lunatics and an inebriate or two. I had a date with Amtrak, one which would culminate at 3:30 a.m.

The phrase “dystopian shithole” kept on going through my mind, as well as an accounting of the roughly thirty eight cents of every dollar I earn, disappearing into the black hole of New York City and State’s municipal coffers. Tax breaks for Billionaire Real Estate developers are clearly the logical thing to spend my tax money on, rather than a functioning transit system or a functioning social welfare network or a functioning Police force or a functioning anything. If you solve the problems, what are you going to run on in the next election cycle? Priorities.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Late night, they don’t use the sparkly new Moynihan Station for Amtrak, instead they use crappy old Penn Station. The first leg of my travels rendered a humble narrator sleep deprived, but the world doesn’t run on my scheduled comforts. The electronic boards didn’t tell me that the train was boarding, in fact, they didn’t tell me much of anything. An Amtrak employee suddenly materialized and began shouting out the number of the train and its destination. Indications were offered as to which staircase to descend, which led to the tracks below.

Shit. It’s all shit. We pay forty cents on the dollar for shit, and are told we should be lucky we got that. I’m so tired of fighting it at this stage of the game. Why, oh why does everything in NYC just suck?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Descent into the stygian depth of Penn Station found me boarding my appointed train. Settling into the seat was easily accomplished and the train was about half full (see, I’m an optimist). Fatigue would be my traveling companion for much of the next four days, but nevertheless I was quite excited to be finally embarking on this long planned trip around the northeastern United States.

At the beginning of the summer of 2021, an Amtrak rail pass had been purchased, which allowed me thirty travel segments. All told, I ended up using 22 of them over the next week (two of the segments were used on the Burlington trip). I was also traveling solo this time around.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The train began rolling, and I cracked out one shot of the part of Penn Station you don’t get to see. I tried a few shots from the moving train on the other side, but it was just too dark to get anything worth talking about. For the first, and not the last time, on this odyssey – I nodded out and fell asleep.

For those of you who know me, the idea that I fell asleep in public is surprising. It’s surprising for me as well.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The train arrived at its destination at 7 in the morning, where I had planned about a seven hour layover into my schedule. I had lunch plans with an old friend at 12:30, and the interval would be filled with photographic pursuits.

One had roughly planned out an intended path, and given the amount of time allotted to this leg of the journey – needed to work quickly and efficiently to capture some images.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Day one – and Washington D.C., beckoned.

More tomorrow.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 13, 2021 at 11:00 am

4 Responses

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  1. You and everyone else who use common carriers in our country should be awarded medals for bravery.


    October 13, 2021 at 8:02 pm

  2. love this blog, but, unless your household income is well into seven figures, the state takes 6% in taxes and the city takes 4%.

    so you pay a dime of every dollar for shit.


    October 15, 2021 at 5:54 pm

  3. “Tax breaks for Billionaire Real Estate developers are clearly the logical thing to spend my tax money on, rather than a functioning transit system or a functioning social welfare network or a functioning Police force or a functioning anything.”

    So champ, how does the math work where a bazillionaire Real Estate developer paying <less tax, i.e. 1 gazillion dollars instead of 3 gazillion dollars in a tax break cost you, me, or any other taxpayer anything? I gazillion dollars instead of 3 gazillion dollars is still 1 gazillion more, a positive number in municipal coffers. Not that I have any love for developers, rather It would make me a fine laughing malchik if they all got cancer up their asses and died a slow, horrible death. But fair is fair. It ain’t coming out of your pocket after all, is it, Spanky?

    But the social welfare network, free stuff and lots of it, costs us money if we’re dumb enough to work, pay taxes and continue to vote for politicians who are generous to a fault with other people’s money. Y’know, the politicians and programs you whole heartedly support. The same pols who put identity, ideological purity and personal loyalty in bureaucrats above competence and all of whom hate and fear the taxpayers who support them. That’s why transportation and other services suck.

    So in the end, your whining about 38 cents on the dollar is from the pain of being hoisted on your own petard. And as you’re not a fool bur rather quite intelligent, on some level you realize this and it hurts all the more.

    However, if you want to be a great big, warm hearted progressive liberal, despite how intellectually and morally bankrupt it is, beloved in what is euphemistically called “polite company” then stop crying and take that petard up the ass like a man.


    October 22, 2021 at 2:36 pm

  4. […] hours in Washington D.C. saw me boarding a train and heading to the Capitol in swelled alarmingly, arrived at the National Mall and explored a bit in slackened speed, hovered about, whereupon a […]

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