The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

dropped despairingly

with 4 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator seems to have spent most of the Obama administration walking back and forth over the Pulaski Bridge. For the last five years or so, it’s been Greenpoint Avenue Bridge. Causation? Correlation? I don’t know, I just walk where I’m going and “then” is different than “now.”

At any rate, I was walking over the Pulaski Bridge, between Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section and Queens’ Long Island City, at dusk.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All the familiar places… every time I go somewhere or do something these days, it’s potentially the last time. I’ll be gone at the end of this year, living in a different place. When and if I come back to NYC for visits or work, I’ll be driving a car.

Everybody asks, so I’ll just state it plain and simple…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

First, I can’t afford to live here anymore. Taxes are a big part of it, as are the ambitions of the political class to offer ever more tax incentives to the real estate people to dig that tax hole a bit deeper. I don’t mind the idea of incentivizing an industry which needs a little push, but do the real estate people really need your money more than you do? What about schools, or hospitals? Do they need the experience of the Governor’s embrace more than the Related Company’s do?

Second… Our Lady of the Pentacle and I want something different for Act 3.

I was an infant here, a public school student here, I went to college in Manhattan. I have lived in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens for nearly six decades. I have gotten to do things in NYC, and see things here, which most New Yorkers don’t even suspect exist.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When I start talking about those things, people always think I’m bragging. It’s not bragging if you did these things, I always say, and then ask them if they’ve ever been a NYC Parade Marshal who had to separate two warring Chinese marching bands from fighting with each other, without a working knowledge of any dialect of Chinese. I’ve narrated on the CircleLine, gotten to know people in high elected office, and once found a missing lamp post of the Queensboro Bridge.

It goes on. Suffice it to say, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere – right?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What I mean by Act 3, of course, is the dramatic end of my story. There’ll be comeuppance, and victories, but we all know how our individual dramaturges are ultimately going to end. Saying that, I’d love not to have my body found floating in New York Harbor after I collapsed on some bulkhead on Newtown Creek. I want it to be quiet, and dark at night, when I go to sleep.

Also, I can have a crap government anywhere I go in this country, so I’m not sure why I’m “paying in” to this particular one. Look at the clown shoes manner in which they’ve handled the three existential crises of the last 20 years – 911, Sandy, Covid.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You’re not going to see one of those “I’m leaving New York” essays, the ones that shit all over the City, from me. This is the place that made me, and every single molecule of me is NYC. I’m loud and brassy, grossly over the top in all senses of the word, get a surprising amount of things done every day, and am impressive from a distance.

Just like NYC, up close inspection reveals cracked foundations, a fragile ego, and an inescapable sense of impending doom which is acknowledged but not meaningfully addressed. If I stay here, I’ll always be the same and will die in the same manner that I lived. The longer I’m here, the shorter my life will be.

In short, something different is needed. NYC won’t miss me.

“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 18, 2022 at 11:00 am

4 Responses

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  1. we’ll miss your local reports. all the best to you.

    michael pribich


    michael pribich

    August 18, 2022 at 11:54 am

  2. NYC sans WAXMAN? Post-Waxman Astoria/Sunnyside/Greenpoint ? Boo. I hope you will continue to publish your blogdacious rants… it will be educational to see how the Waxman in exile adapts to his new surroundings. Who knows, perhaps we & others will follow you & Aaron all the way to the mountaintop aka Pennsylvania. You’ll start a new colony of wise-cracking photo-taking comic book-loving emigres … you’ll be like Crumb in France. We have admired your plain speaking eloquence & your fascinating exploits for a long time so yeah, NYC will miss the Waxman for sure.

    H Chang

    August 18, 2022 at 3:09 pm

  3. Same as above.
    Looking forward to peeking into the new area.

    Jaye Haviland

    August 18, 2022 at 3:43 pm

  4. “I want it to be quiet, and dark at night, when I go to sleep.” I can relate to your sentiment. Best wishes to you and your wife!


    August 21, 2022 at 7:49 pm

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