The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

unguessed companion

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

A scuttle through the lonely corridors of Long Island City continues in todays post. The rain had stopped, but it was still kind of wet out. One was heading, ultimately, to a subway stop. This was one of the nights where I walk for a few miles and then take a train back to Astoria.

Every step and every thought was consumed by the forthcoming “escape from New York” which Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself have been planning since the beginning of the year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There were several things which needed to be accomplished first, as a predicate for the escape. I had stupidly allowed my driver’s license to expire, so I needed to deal with the DMV and sort that out. They rejected my expired drivers license – which they themselves had issued – as a valid form of ID, which is the sort of Kafkaesque thing you’d expect from New York State’s agencies. My passport was also expired, and since that’s a form of ID that they do take – that meant I had to dance with the Feds first to get that reinstated in order to drive again. Feds first, DMV second to get a learners permit, and then I had to sit through a driver’s ed class and subsequently take a road test. There’s no point in trying to fight a bureaucratic process, you just have to go with the flow.

At any rate, by late spring, I was a licensed driver again in the State of New York. Our Lady and myself had decided on our destination after somewhat extensive travel using Amtrak in 2021, but now we had to buy a car. You can’t move to America from the Archipelago City off of its eastern shore without a car.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The car thing was unnecessarily complicated and took many months, due to the supply chain issues you keep hearing about on the news. We placed our order in early July, and received the unit in middle October, roughly two weeks after these photos were captured. A Toyota RAV4 hybrid, if you’re curious. Gets great mileage, 41mpg on average. A fill up gives me just under 600 miles of range per tank. City driving, it runs electric most of the time for the stop and go. Comfortable ride.

There’s all sorts of gizmos and systems onboard which I’m still figuring out how to operate. The difficulty in finding street parking in Queens is overstated, if you’re patient enough you’ll find a spot. It’s no better or worse than it was the last time I had a car in my charge, which was back in the early 1990’s. Sucked then, sucks now. It’s New York City, where nothing is easy. Get used to it or get out. I’m opting for the second option.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the computer systems which the new car offers is absolutely terrifying but works fantastically well – radar guided cruise control. When you’re on a highway and you engage it, this system maintains a designated following distance from the car in front of you. It slows down and speeds up automatically, and the sensors in the car read the painted lane indicators on the road and automatically keep you centered in your lane and the system makes steering adjustments for you. You still need to have your hands on the wheel, and the car nags at you if it doesn’t sense input from the driver, but the thing can actually drive itself to a certain extent.

Like I said, terrifying.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve already put more than a 1,000 miles on the odometer in the last three weeks, but to be fair – there was a trip back and forth to Pittsburgh. We’ve signed a lease there, and by Christmas, I’ll no longer be a New Yorker.

There’s been a couple of really nice moments in the interim, however, where my friends have gone “all in” to say goodbye. Newtown Creek Alliance awarded me with the “Reveal” award at our annual “Tidal Toast” gala and fundraiser, and my pals at the John J. Harvey Fireboat brought a big group of my friends and I out for one last Newtown Creek boat tour.

I’ll show you photos from the latter at some future date.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve removed myself from the many obligations which I found myself in for the last few years in preparation for this great escape – Community Board, Access Queens, Newtown Creek CAG executive committee, Working Harbor Committee Board. I’ll be stepping down from the board of Newtown Creek Alliance next week, as well. It’s all over.

Time to close the cover on this chapter. Pittsburgh, a rough beast is shambling towards you, clothed in black sack cloth. It’s name is Mitch.

“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 9, 2022 at 11:00 am

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  1. […] I’m fond of the photos. I spent a lot of time by myself, when I had some time, in posts like “unguessed companion” or “amorphous blight.” In “noxious heap” and “disreputably nourished,” there’s a […]

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