The Newtown Pentacle

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never fainted

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I now know it was you, Larry.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Leaving HQ the other day, this is the scene which greeted me. Our Lady of the Pentacle spotted this tableau separately. Astoria, Queens is a place full of mystery, but you can’t beat the “block watchers” when you’re playing detective. On Saturday late afternoon/evening, while enjoying a few pints of beer at the “local” with some of the local commentariat, we put our heads together and pieced together the story of a skeleton cat wearing a collar that read “heartbreaker” which appeared in front of my door.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My neighbor Kenny, who is in many ways the adult man that Nelson from the Simpsons (the haw haw kid) would grow up to become, provided many of the individual pieces of the puzzle. He described seeing an affable fellow named Larry emerge from his building with the skeleton cat in hand, who thereupon placed it on the sidewalk with the intention of letting it find a new home.

Another neighbor described the Cat being picked up by ready hands and then abandoned again. It seems to have moved up and down the block a few times before coming to rest in the tree pit in front of HQ, one building lot from its original placement by the aforementioned Larry.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Heartbreaker apparently made it most of the way up to Newtown Road from the Broadway side of the block before track of it was lost. Having satisfyingly assembled the origin and travels of the thing, discussion of the articulation and manufacture of the skeleton cat ensued. Such are the minor points of interest upon which the neighborhood grinds away, here in Astoria. Whether or not Larry was the original owner of the thing, I cannot say, and speaking for the community – we’ve lost interest and moved on to other topics.

The possibility of having a block party during the late summer months came up, whereupon everyone turned to me in pursuance of getting a permit for said function.


Upcoming Tours and Events

June 30th – The Skillman Avenue Corridor
– with Access Queens.

Starting at the 7 train on Roosevelt Avenue, we will explore this thriving residential and busy commercial thoroughfare, discussing the issues affecting its present and future. Access Queens, 7 Train Blues, Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, and Newtown Creek Alliance members will be your guides for this roughly two mile walk.
Skillman Avenue begins at the border of residential Sunnyside and Woodside, and ends in Long Island City at 49th avenue, following the southern border of the Sunnyside Yards for much of its path. Once known as Meadow Street, this colonial era thoroughfare transitions from the community of Sunnyside to the post industrial devastations of LIC and the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek.

Tickets and more details
here.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

June 27, 2018 at 11:00 am

yellowed paper

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Reaching into the archives, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sidelined as I’ve been for the last few weeks by holiday obligations, food poisoning, and my vulnerability to extreme cold – a humble narrator has little new to share with you today but the show must go on. Reaching into the archives, the shot of a Night Heron above was gathered while in the company of the Audubon Society on North Brother Island in 2012.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A pod of Dolphins surfacing was witnessed while onboard one of the inaugural “Whale watching” trips offered by the American Princess boat company, which hails from Breezey Point, back in 2010.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In 2013, I met this kitten who was living in the rip rap shoreline of Staten Island, not far from the Staten Island Ferry terminal. Back tomorrow with something a bit more in depth, I hope, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 4, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Posted in animals, birds, cats

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hidden picture

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It’s National Hamburger Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If my plans work out properly, while you’re reading this post, I’ve actually managed to drag myself away from the slothful indifference to all things which have distinguished the last couple of weeks and I’m somewhere in Manhattan pointing my camera at things and humans. The shots in today’s post are from the archives.

That’s a juvenile Red Tail Hawk at Calvary Cemetery in LIC, as seen on a wintry morning a few years back.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I like all the seabirds, but will be damned if I can tell you with certainty what speciation they are. Everytime I try, I’m wrong, which somebody gleefully points out and then all my credibility is shot. It’s like that game “Jenga,” pull out the wrong brick and the whole tower crashes down, credibility is. It’s best to say “I don’t know” and muster up my Brooklyn accent for “Issa Boid.”

I enjoy taking pictures of birds, it’s rather challenging. The ones above and below are from this past summer, at Hallets Cove in Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Actually… come to think of it, the one above of the murmurating flock was gathered on 48th street in Sunnyside, nearby that shopping center off of Northern Blvd. There’s always a lot of seabirds thereabouts for some reason. Maybe the birds are passing on some genetic or inherited memory of where there used to be water to their kids. Maybe they’re just hanging around the Stop and Shop parking lot because they’re in a gang. Who knows?

That whole zone used to be quite swampy, as a note, prior to the whole Sunnyside Yards happening.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This little war monster decided to die on my porch in Astoria. It still had a little life left in it when I found it, so I scooped it up on a piece of paper and let it die while lying on soil in the shade offered by a potted plant. What can I tell you, I’m a giant softie for well armored pollinators. I also didn’t want the dog to get too interested in it either.

The next morning, after having poked at it with a pencil to assure that it had met its demise and wouldn’t vaingloriously sting me as part of some futile last stand, I had my way with its corpse. Photographically, I mean… sheesh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The reason that Red Tail Hawk was hanging around Calvary Cemetery in the first shot is exemplified by the subject of the one above. There’s a population of these groundling burrowers which exist in the loam at the polyandrion. Groundling Burrowers is what I call ’em, of course, but the kids all just say “Bunny!”

I’ve seen what happens when the aforementioned birds of prey achieve their intentions, regarding these burrowers, and it ain’t a pretty sight – I’ll tell ya.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is actually a fairly old photo, depicting one of the yellow eyed black cats which manifest sometimes as I scuttle along and around the Borough. The one above used to live on 29th street in LIC, and I often saw it hunting along the bulkheads of Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary. When I see one of these golden eyed swivel eared shadow beasts, I know it’s going to be a productive day photographically, and Queens has something special in store for me.

I just have to keep walking and find it. Queens is coy like that.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 21, 2017 at 11:00 am

bleary eyed

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It’s National Crown Roast of Pork Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Death – the fear of same, avoidance of said state, and the unavoidability of both circumstances stains my waking hours. Science fiction scenarios involving the transfer of my brain into some electrode laden jar both tempt and torment, as it would needlessly lengthen my existence but offer an extended period of time in which to annoy others. Thing is, everywhere I go, death is already there. Newtown Pentacle HQ is located in a rental apartment in Astoria, and shortly after moving in my landlord and his wife came by for dinner. We chatted, and enjoyed a bottle of wine together, but he refused to answer my query as to whether or not anyone had ever died in my then new domicile which is about a century old (I like to know if its likely a specter or just a rodent making that mysterious noise in the middle of the night).

It’s more than likely, in NYC, that somebody has kicked the bucket in your place if it’s over a certain age. Real estate interests preclude the discussion of such matters, as the reputation of haunted premises tends to depress potential profits by lowering the rental threshold. Nobody wants to live in a haunted house.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This haunted realtor hypothesis of mine is how I explain the relative lack of supernatural lore enjoyed by New York City as compared to other eastern cities of proportionate size and commensurate age. Boston seems to have a ghost in every single home, as does Albany, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, Atlanta, St. Augustine, and especially New Orleans. New York City, on the other hand, saw its first great fortune arise around the Real Estate industry (The Astors). Realtors and property owners have always enjoyed a somewhat unique socioeconomic status in this megalopolis of ours, and accordingly, they control the newspapers. To this day, the number one class of advertisers in any City oriented publication involves real estate. The conspiracy theory I suggest is that there has been a tacit and centuries long agreement between editors, journalists, and the folks who ultimately pay their salaries not to report on poltergeists, phantoms, or noncorporeal bogeymen.

Famously, the most expensive real estate in New York City – in terms of price per square foot – is found in cemeteries. Four square meters in the ground can run you hundreds of thousands of bucks. No wonder ghosts would prefer to just squat inside some living person’s walls, alongside the rat skeletons. I’m actually surprised that the real estate guys haven’t figured out a way to monetize that gap of a few inches which is sandwiched between the slat boards and drywall.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For years, one has joked that when the EPA finally begins dredging out Newtown Creek that NYPD will be closing half of its open missing persons cold case files. I wonder how many human remains came spilling out of the old factory and tenement walls which were demolished in recent years in LIC and Williamsburg. Ever wonder what that weird smell in your apartment was, or where it was coming from? Presumed it was a dead mouse?

It makes one wonder, and more than wonder.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 7, 2017 at 11:00 am

ascending node

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It’s National Creampuff day, here in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Christmastoria exemplified is how I describe the shot above.

An early entrant into my Astoria Tumbleweeds category, this tiny holiday tree was properly disposed of, and kind of summed up my mood for the holiday season which has now thankfully passed into memory. Just wasn’t feeling it this year, I wasn’t. Weather, social obligation… a lot of things were happening all through December that just got in the way of solitarily marching around Queens and critiquing things I saw which absolutely nobody asked for – nor cared about – my opinion on.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I did manage to get out here and there, stealing an hour or two for myself. These were short walks, mainly, without any specific destination or goal. All in the name of just kicking my feet about and getting a little exercise. It’s an odd thing for me to leave the house and come back with only a couple of images on the camera. That’s mighty Triborough, of course, as seen from the corner of Astoria Blvd. and 31st street one sunny afternoon.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, after Christmas came and went, the weather wasn’t too bad – for short intervals – and I decided to get busy.

Getting busy is what I’m all about at the moment, incidentally. Buckle up, the Newtown Pentacle is back in session.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 2, 2017 at 11:00 am

strong nerved

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LIC cat, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m taking a short break this week, and offering single images of the Internet’s favorite critter. These are all ferals, encountered in the nooks and crannies of NYC which I wander through. Have a great Thanksgiving.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 25, 2016 at 11:00 am

remain indoors

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Astoria cat, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m taking a short break this week, and offering single images of the Internet’s favorite critter. These are all ferals, encountered in the nooks and crannies of NYC which I wander through. Have a great Thanksgiving.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 24, 2016 at 11:00 am

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