The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

cryptical hill

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of my little aphorisms is “NYC never looks better than it does while it’s raining.” My walk in the rain on October 3rd carried a humble narrator fairly far afield of Astoria’s 31st street, where I started.

Having crossed under the vampire infested steel carrying the elevated subways above – while dodging bicycles, cars, and guys riding on those big wheel things at Queens Plaza – one had entered the brave new world.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When you’re planning on stealing the sky, the first thing you have to do is rename something to break association with the past. For those well over the age of consent – let’s say you were alive during the Reagan Administration, for instance – the phrase “Queens Plaza” doesn’t have a great brand association. Lots of sordid stuff and institutional memories are packed into those two words. The “South Bronx” has the same problem.

Call the adjoining area “Court Square” instead, for instance.

So, back to stealing the sky. You’re going to need some help.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You’ll need to carefully shape your spending during election periods, and not just in the immediate vicinity. You’re going to have to go to a few functions in Albany too. Sit downs with labor organizations will need to happen as well, and with the connected parasites in the local non profit industrial complex. Maybe set up a couple of your own pet non profits in the area – art organizations, religious groups, that sort of thing. Make them love you and your donations, even when you show up to community board hearings in a white stretch hummer outfitted with an LED light kit. Doesn’t matter what the neighborhood thinks, the bosses like your money.

By this point, the players are coming to you. What you really need, though, is an advocate in City Hall to ask for rezonings or an exception. You’ll have to give them some political meat, so you have your architect draw in a bunch of one room elevator shaft adjacent apartments which will satisfy their need to announce “affordable housing.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Land will be yours. Whatever small potatoes business that’s currently housed on that land is either cheaply bought out or your friend in City Hall will relocate them with costs paid to Hunts Point in the Bronx or maybe Sunset Park’s Bush Terminal.

Soon… soon your dreams will come true, when you’ve privatized the sky. People will pay big money to see the sky, especially after your politician buddies have muddied the environmental history of the site where your sky stealing edifice will rise.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Long Island City. This shot is from the “historic district,” where the row houses of the architects Root and Rust are protected landmarks. This block where the domestic mailing address of Long Island City’s last Mayor – Patrick “BattleAx” Gleason – was. Gleason famously warned that once the Manhattan people got a hold of Queens…

So, you’ve stolen the sky – what’s next. Well… you started that non profit, right? Why not feed it a little bit of money and turn it into a lobbyist organization? You made a lot of money stealing the sky, why not go for another section of it?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The roadblocks you hit – like going to those damned fundraisers in Albany, that jerk loser on the Community Board who held you up over public space, the whole zoning thing… why doesn’t NYC just allow you to build, and build, and build – until the entire sky has been blotted out? The entire system needs to be streamlined. You’re the one Ayn Rand wrote about, after all.

Unleash your lobbyists, have them say “Yes, in My Back Yard.”

“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

November 7, 2022 at 11:00 am

One Response

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  1. Awesome insight into the workings of greedy capitalism. I hope you can make this work for you in Pittsburgh.


    November 7, 2022 at 8:40 pm

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