The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

cryptical marginalia

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

During my waning hours in Astoria in the last week of November, time to pursue any activity, other than facilitating the move to Pittsburgh, just ran out. There was so much to do.

I’d find myself waving the camera about occasionally, but a deadline was approaching, one which once reached would find me driving Our Lady of the Pentacle and a car load of “essentials” out to Western Pennsylvania on November 30th, so we could take possession of our new space on December 1st.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

By the 24th and 25th of November, we had packed up all of our dinner plates as well as the pots and pans. That meant that if we wanted to eat, we had to either do so while eating out of take away containers while sitting on foldable camping chairs amongst the boxes, or head out for a restaurant meal. “Comfort” was a thing of the past at this point.

Me? I was just hoping that NYC didn’t find a way to kill me before this plan finished playing out. NYC is a malefic motherfucker, has an active intelligence, and she offers a cruel sense of humor. Thereby, every step taken and street crossing attempted involved a great deal of care.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Convenience, and the easy availability of alcoholic beverages and cheeseburgers, made my favorite little Astoria bar – Doyle’s Corner, found at the Times Square of Astoria at 42nd and Broadway – the obvious choice for dinner and drinks.

It was chilly, and rainy, that last week – but despite all that we did the outdoor dining thing with NYC’s sense of ironic consequence in mind. In the weeks since we’ve relocated to Pittsburgh, news has filtered back to us of friends (many of whom still mask, and are super careful) who have regardless been swept up in the latest wave of COVID infection. Apparently, we got out just in time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Right about this time is when the Innovation Queens project began rattling forward towards its inevitable approval. This last true neighborhood in Queens is about to be decimated by the Real Estate people. I’m not going to be returning to NYC for a long, long time. That’s my plan, at least. I think that when and if I return in a couple of years, Astoria will look like Williamsburg or Long Island City.

Where I’m living now in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, which is where this post is being written, is a place where it’s dark and quiet at night. That’s a half hour away from the titular center of one of the great American cities.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

No longer do I have thousands of vehicles a day passing under my windows while drivers angrily steady honk their horns. I haven’t witnessed drunks having a knife fight under my bedroom window, yet, either. There have been no observances of fart cars.

Early explorations of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area have shown me that there’s lots of “wrong” nearby, I should mention. Dire poverty, hopelessness, addiction – all that is here. So’s post industrial environmental degradation. Thing is – the volume is turned down considerably.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So ended the Queens part of my life. I’ve got a Brooklyn part, and a Manhattan part too. Goodbye. The cover is closed on this installment of the story, and I’m now living in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

You’re going to be seeing a few “best of 2022” posts over the next few days, and Pittsburgh oriented posts will be beginning in the new year.

“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

December 27, 2022 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria

Tagged with , , , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Onto your New Town Tentacle !

    Hank Linhart

    December 27, 2022 at 11:30 am

  2. Mitch, sorry to see you go. I stumbled onto your page a year ago, but found a kindred spirit for local history. So of course, you leave. I know a little about Pittsburgh, mostly surprise when I found a (comparatively) clean and walkable city during my visits over the last 25 years. Good choice (but I’d like warmer). Us, the great unwashed, your humble readers, ask where… WHERE… shall we turn for sage commentary in your absence? Your guidance will be appreciated.


    December 27, 2022 at 5:26 pm

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