The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Astoria’ Category

irrelevant coincidence

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Astoria, Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is taking a short break this week, and you’ll be greeted with single shots when visiting this – your Newtown Pentacle. Trust that I’m out and about gathering new tales to tell and photographs to display.


Upcoming Tours and Events

June 9th – Exploring Long Island City – with NY Adventure Club.

Long Island City is a tale of two cities; one filled with glittering water-front skyscrapers and manicured parks, and the other, a highly active ground transportation & distribution zone vital to the New York economy — which will prevail?

Tickets and more details
here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

May 25, 2018 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria, Broadway

Tagged with

some substance

with one comment

Astoria, Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is taking a short break this week, and you’ll be greeted with single shots when visiting this – your Newtown Pentacle. Trust that I’m out and about gathering new tales to tell and photographs to display.


Upcoming Tours and Events

June 9th – Exploring Long Island City – with NY Adventure Club.

Long Island City is a tale of two cities; one filled with glittering water-front skyscrapers and manicured parks, and the other, a highly active ground transportation & distribution zone vital to the New York economy — which will prevail?

Tickets and more details
here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 21, 2018 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria

Tagged with

terrible difference

with one comment

Minimalist Thursday? I dunno, mebbe.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above is from Greenpoint, showing some of the curbside slime and garbage which distinguishes the neighborhood, and I captured it on Earth Day Sunday. Dichotomous, yes. Sarcastically offered, probably. All too commonly observed, absolutely. Doesn’t anyone else just carry their litter with them until reaching a receptacle like I do? Seriously, how far do you have to walk to find a dumpster in the age of gentrification?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looks like someone was prying into one of the electrical hatches on the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge again, and observationally causing a small fire while likely trying to harvest the copper wires held therein. Happens all the time, I’m told, in the age of cash on delivery metal recycling. The Crows, which is my pet name for the metal collectors, will sweep in and grab up anything shiny on the pavement. Sometimes that includes manhole covers and the screw caps for fire hydrants.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One was waiting for a sandwich recently at the little bodega across the street from HQ back here in Astoria, and while a gentleman named Carlos was expertly manipulating the grill a humble narrator wandered about the shop with the camera in hand and snapped out a few shots for future usage. That time is now, in the case of the flowers pictured above.


Upcoming Tours and Events

April 29 – Bushwick-Ridgewood borderline Walking Tour – with Newtown Historical Society.

Join Kevin Walsh and Mitch Waxman as they take us along the border of Brooklyn and Queens, Bushwick and Ridgewood, with stops at English Kills, an historic colonial Dutch home, and all kinds of fun and quirky locations. End with an optional dinner on Myrtle Avenue before heading back to the Myrtle-Wyckoff subway station. Tix are only $5 so reserve your space today!
Tickets and more details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 26, 2018 at 11:00 am

frightened them

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The Queens Cobbler survived the cold, and Liberty walks the streets of Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve been spotting evidence, once again, that the Queens Cobbler is active and amongst us. A likely serial killer who leaves behind a single shoe as a taunt to both community and law enforcement, the Cobbler has been a subject mentioned so many times at this – your Newtown Pentacle – that the monster has actually tracked me down and left one of his ghoulish trophies on the ornamental fence surrounding Newtown Pentacle HQ last Christmas. One refuses to be cowed.

The boot above was spotted recently on Northern Blvd. nearby 39th avenue.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over in the still industrial section of Long Island City, not too far from Van Dam Street, the shoe above was noticed while a humble narrator was scuttling past. It is my belief that someday will a commercial self storage room, or an untenanted storeroom in some old factory, be opened and within will be hundreds and hundreds of single shoes – the mates to the ones which have been documented at this publication over the years. I believe the Cobbler keeps on of their victim’s shoes as a trophy, and discards the other as a taunt.

One would be hard pressed to describe the particular footwear of a missing loved one to the Police, I admit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On a completely different note, this fellow has been wandering up and down Broadway here in Astoria throughout tax preparation season. He’s apparently employed by a local shop, whose corporate branding revolves around the Statue of Liberty, that handles financial matters to act as a living signboard and busker to drive potential customers to their door.

I’ve enjoyed a brief conversation with the gentleman, who attests that the costume is actually quite warm and comfortable, which he’s been glad of given the recent cold snap. Everybody has to make a living, I guess.


Upcoming Tours and Events

April 29 – Bushwick-Ridgewood borderline Walking Tour – with Newtown Historical Society.

Join Kevin Walsh and Mitch Waxman as they take us along the border of Brooklyn and Queens, Bushwick and Ridgewood, with stops at English Kills, an historic colonial Dutch home, and all kinds of fun and quirky locations. End with an optional dinner on Myrtle Avenue before heading back to the Myrtle-Wyckoff subway station. Tix are only $5 so reserve your space today!
Tickets and more details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 18, 2018 at 1:00 pm

muffled oaths

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More Astoria night time action, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An expressway “cloverleaf exchange” between the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, the Grand Central Parkway, and the local street grid is found on Astoria Blvd. in the high 40’s and 50’s blocks A small industrial zone exists thereabouts, which is quite a busy place during working hours. At night, it’s a ghost town inhabited by rats, cats, and me.

Also, the one guy on a delivery bike who rode through the shot while the shutter was open.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I find these kinds of structures fascinating, there’s something about the curving steel and concrete which are lit by harsh sodium fixtures which I just can’t get enough of. The cool coloration of the City’s new LED street lamps provide for a very interesting color contrast, to my eye.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A point of pride for me is knowing where to find hidden byways like the stairs pictured above, which carry you over and through the tangle of high speed roads from one sidewalk plateau to another.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Said plateau is pictured in full above, roughly a full story of elevation from one level to the next.

As a kid growing up in south east Brooklyn, it was critical to know about places like this when fleeing random dangers or avoiding the attentions of law enforcement. My little group of idiots favored the usage of back yards and the jumping of divider fences, or just running across the roofs of connected homes and garages.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As an addendum to a recent conversation I had on social media with a bicycle enthusiast, who was aghast at my assertion that bike lanes in Astoria are superfluous as bike riders use every paved surface available to them, the red light trail over the sidewalk comes from the tail light of an electric bike which zipped past me at speed on the sidewalk.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This shot looks down on the street where the first shot was captured. That’s the Brooklyn Queens Expressway running in the trench.

Robert Moses was entirely specific when assigning nomenclature to his roads, and it all depended on where he was getting to the money from to build them. Parkways have planted dividers and shoulders – built with “parks” money. Expressways have more exits feeding into local streets than Highways – or High Speed Ways – do. Thruways have even fewer exits, which can be 5-10 miles away from each other. The latter three were generally built with slum clearance or urban renewal funds. There was a method to that man’s madness, I tell you.


Upcoming Tours and Events

April 14 – Exploring Long Island City – with NY Adventure Club.

Long Island City is a tale of two cities; one filled with glittering water-front skyscrapers and manicured parks, and the other, a highly active ground transportation & distribution zone vital to the New York economy — which will prevail?
Tickets and more details here.

April 15- Newtown Creekathon – with Newtown Creek Alliance.

That grueling 13 and change mile death march through the bowels of New York City known as the “Newtown Creekathon” will be held on that day, and I’ll be leading the charge as we hit every little corner and section of the waterway. This will be quite an undertaking, last year half the crowd tagged out before we hit the half way point. Have you got what it takes the walk the enitre Newtown Creek?
Click here to reserve a spot on the Creekathon.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 6, 2018 at 11:00 am

being wakeful

with 2 comments

At Astoria’s edge, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunday last, a humble narrator checked the weather forecast and realized quickly that this was likely going to be a fairly ghastly week as far as weather goes, and so packed up the night kit for an evening walk. My destination was not too far from HQ, a pedestrian bridge over the Grand Central Parkway which also overlooks St. Michael’s cemetery.

The shot above looks eastwards from the pedestrian bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the pedestrian bridge pictured above. While I was shooting this, a bus discharged one of the families staying at the Westway Hotel homeless shelter on the other side of the parkway. They had a kid who couldn’t have been more than five who was absolutely fascinated by what I was doing, although mom and dad couldn’t have cared less that their kid was talking to strangers. Nice kid, I have to say, and I felt bad for him that his family was in the circumstance that they’re in. At least they landed in a shelter based in a neighborhood that has supermarkets and small businesses to find work in, unlike Blissville.

I wished them a happy Easter and got back to my business.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As per usual, I was wearing the high visibility vest, before you ask.

There’s a sidewalk along the local access road alongside the highway (looking westwards above) which is scary as hell to walk down. The crash barriers stop on the other side of St. Michael’s driveway, and then you’re walking down an increasingly narrow sidewalk which in some places is no more than two feet in depth while traffic shoots right past you at speed. I did actually walk it the other night, which in retrospect was kind of a stupid move.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking down on cemetery property, lit by street lamps and passing vehicle lights.

The last time I took a shot from this location, probably about five years ago, that grave with the disturbing subsidence and the two safety cones was in precisely the same condition as it is today.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A bit of a longer shot looking south across a row of mausoleums at St. Michael’s. There’s a famous 20th century Mafia Don buried in one of those marble temples, as a note. The actual inspiration for “the Godfather” Vito Corleone, Frank Costello. In 1974, a rival named Carmine Gallante was alleged to have to have detonated explosives at Costello’s grave to settle an old score and announce his return to “the syndicate” after a long jail sentence.

Of course, there’s no such thing as the Mafia.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking back towards the Grand Central, eastwards towards the East Elmhurst neighborhood.

The Grand Central is one of the arterial roads built by Robert Moses back in the 1930’s to guarantee high volume usage of the Triborough Bridge’s toll plazas. His engineers carved a trench through Astoria to carry the Grand Central, forever dividing the community into the Ditmars side on the north, and the Broadway side to the south.


Upcoming Tours and Events

April 14 – Exploring Long Island City – with NY Adventure Club.

Long Island City is a tale of two cities; one filled with glittering water-front skyscrapers and manicured parks, and the other, a highly active ground transportation & distribution zone vital to the New York economy — which will prevail?
Tickets and more details here.

April 15- Newtown Creekathon – with Newtown Creek Alliance.

That grueling 13 and change mile death march through the bowels of New York City known as the “Newtown Creekathon” will be held on that day, and I’ll be leading the charge as we hit every little corner and section of the waterway. This will be quite an undertaking, last year half the crowd tagged out before we hit the half way point. Have you got what it takes the walk the enitre Newtown Creek?
Click here to reserve a spot on the Creekathon.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 5, 2018 at 11:00 am

fearsome combination

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It’s been a busy couple of weeks, I tell ya.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been preternaturally busy for the last couple of weeks, with lots to do and all sorts of people to see. Unfortunately, couple that with the unpredictable sort of weather NYC has been throwing at us all, and a humble narrator has been playing a lot of photographic catch up. Before you ask, it’s mainly been a schedule of evening and weekend meetings that I’ve had to be present at, pertaining to issues affecting Western Queens that I’m interested in or involved with.

I’ve been obliged to annoy politicians and policemen, priests and potentates, and various members of both the proletarian and plebeian classes recently.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One never wants to be one of those people who is involved with “everything,” rather there’s just three or four causes which I’m instead laser focused in on. You’ve got your Newtown Creek, your mass transit, your “No, Mr. Mayor, we don’t want you to deck over the Sunnyside Yards,” and of late – the horrible tale of what NYC is trying to do to Blissville.

The shot above was captured in Roosevelt not too long ago, while waiting to attend a meeting to discuss transit. The puppy was cute and a bouncing ball of husky energy, but the items it was reacting to were a roadside memorial for a teenager who was struck and killed by a hit and run driver.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Flurries of activity wherein I have to act like a “reg’lar hooman” such as these involve a lot of traveling about the great urban hive. Part of the reason that I have become so interested in transit issues in recent years involves the fact that whereas I don’t have a regular commute, I actually have to figure out the different connections and routings for getting to and from unfamiliar locales from Astoria on a routine basis. A realization about MTA’s core issue thusly emerged.

MTA was formed by New York State to consolidate multiple bankrupt light commuter railroads and bus services into a government run entity about fifty years ago. In that time, MTA has sought to maintain and preserve these inefficient and money losing operations more or less in the exact state and manner as private capital failed to do prior to the “nationalization.” The IND and IRT systems which make up the Subway system are still treated as two seperate entities, as if these were still the days of the dual contracts. There is no plan, moving forward, to find ways to combine the system or find savings from the concurrence. It gets worse when you look at Metro North and Long Island Railroad.


Upcoming Tours and Events

April 14 – Exploring Long Island City – with NY Adventure Club.

Long Island City is a tale of two cities; one filled with glittering water-front skyscrapers and manicured parks, and the other, a highly active ground transportation & distribution zone vital to the New York economy — which will prevail?
Tickets and more details here.

April 15- Newtown Creekathon – with Newtown Creek Alliance.

That grueling 13 and change mile death march through the bowels of New York City known as the “Newtown Creekathon” will be held on that day, and I’ll be leading the charge as we hit every little corner and section of the waterway. This will be quite an undertaking, last year half the crowd tagged out before we hit the half way point. Have you got what it takes the walk the enitre Newtown Creek?
Click here to reserve a spot on the Creekathon.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 2, 2018 at 1:00 pm

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