The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for October 20th, 2022

local dangers

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

First off – Newtown Creek Alliance will be honoring John Lipscomb of Riverkeeper, Christine Holowacz, and… your humble narrator… tonight, (the 20th) at the annual “Tidal Toast” fundraising event. Ticketing information can be found here, and the tax deductible donation of your ticket money will help to fund NCA’s ongoing mission to Reveal, Restore, and Revitalize Newtown Creek. NCA has been at the center of my public life over the last 15 years, and I hope you can make it. This is officially my finale, in terms of public facing events, and the end of this chapter of my life.

On the 23rd of September, a humble narrator set out for what ended up being an extremely long walk. Upon leaving HQ, a black cat with yellow eyes skated past me. Such an occurrence is always indicative of a good photo day coming. You have to learn how to listen to Queens, I always say, and recognize her omens.

The late model pick up truck pictured above was the first cool thing that she showed me. I’m going to miss Queens, but I don’t think she’ll miss me. I don’t think anyone in NYC is actually going to miss “me,” rather they’ll miss the idea of me. I think, on the other hand, that there will be a lot of people happy to see me go.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My next stop was at “hole reliable” at Sunnyside Yards, which lived up to the name I’ve assigned it. Hole Reliable is a surveyor’s aperture cut out of the plate steel fencing over the Harold Interlocking.

Wonders, I tell you, wonders.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My pathway continued on, south to Greenpoint Avenue and then into Blissville, which carried me over the Long Island Expressway.

Why do I think no one will miss me, and why some will be happy to see me go? Experience. It’s the way of NYC. When somebody leaves the megalopolis, or dies here, there’s a lot of hugging and handshaking for a little while but then life goes on. As far as the “happy to see me go” people, I’m either in their way right now, or perceived as a wizened scold whose knowledge of past events and the circumstances is inconvenient to the current dialectic on offer.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Down Under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge Onramp, in Long Island City’s Blissville section, that’s where my next stop was. Railroad Avenue, specifically. I call it DUGABO.

Melancholy actually rules my roost at the moment. On the one hand, ebullient excitement for all of the challenges and opportunities that relocating to a different part of the country offers is undeniable. Conversely, I’m leaving behind everything I know and everything I’ve ever known. It’s manic and depressing – all at the same time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a reason that they named this particular street in Long Island City “Railroad Avenue.” During my travels on Amtrak last year, one of the realizations I enjoyed was the one that stated “Everywhere you go, there’s a Railroad Avenue.” Really. I found one along Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont, of all places.

I’ve been forced to craft a little speech in order to save time. It starts off with “Not to get all Doctor Who here, but we’re all different people at different times of our lives…” Deep thoughts have accompanied the underway diving expedition of ridding myself of the material detritus of a lifetime in preparation for this move. Over all, I like to think that I’ve done some good, in this most recent version of myself.

The trash bags in front of HQ have included yearbooks from schools that some early variant of me attended, the toys and tools acquired over a half century by several of the “me’s”, and clothing worn by a younger man which no longer fits.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saying all that, a humble narrator is currently exhausted. A thousand thousand small but important details are being maintained in active thought, and a never ending landslide of physical task work, that I’ve scheduled around garbage pickup days, is underway at HQ.

There’s no way that NYC is going to let me go without an attempt at slamming some kind of whammy at me on the way out – that’s my governing terror. One of the reasons I’m so exhausted is that I have my radar on at full power every time I leave HQ just to buy a bagel.

More tomorrow.

“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.

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