The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘NY 11102’ Category

valley and grove

leave a comment »

Why do they only turn the air conditioners on when the trains reach Manhattan?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you live in the 80% of New York City that is not Manhattan, there is little doubt about the inequality exhibited by those who rule over the shining city when it comes to cutting up the municipal pie. The rest of us get to deal with Manhattan’s garbage, traffic, sewage, and everything else that they want to pretend isn’t a problem. Unfortunately, we need to go to work, and the vast majority of jobs are “over there.” What I can’t understand is why the air conditioning on the trains only seems to get switched on when the subways hit the East River Tunnels.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The ridiculous life I live routinely carries me all around the City, just last week I was in every borough but the Bronx, and found myself on something like 8 different train lines. Without exception, the AC was cut off when leaving Manhattan or turned on when entering it. I could accept this practice if it was close to the end of the line, like the Astoria elevated station pictured above, but an E train entering Queens Plaza has already travelled a considerable distance when it arrives at the station.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s likely a technical reason, or some union exemption, which necessitates that passengers sweat it out on the way to work. Perhaps it’s Sandy, or concerns about terrorism, which demand that the climate controls on the Subway remain off when the train is outside Manhattan. Either way, always remember that the Borough motto of Queens is “Welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself.”

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, June 28th, The Poison Cauldron
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 29th, The Insalubrious Valley
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 24, 2014 at 11:00 am

Project Firebox 84

with one comment

An ongoing catalog of New York’s endangered Fireboxes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Up on the hill which is Old Astoria, an expanse of manses and luxurious homes, one is normally blown down by the sheer Victorian glory of a manifest architectural record. It is easy to miss the tireless firebox, ignominiously serving its purpose. This scarlet gendarme wears its corroded complexion proudly, and it is always watchful.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 17, 2013 at 7:30 am

lost struggle

with one comment

A walk alongside the park.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Astoria Park is bordered on its western side by a quite busy road called Shore Blvd. Under normal circumstance, you’ll see families enjoying a riverfront promenade along Hells Gate, spanned by the Triborough and Hell Gate Bridges. There will also be codgers with deck chairs taking the sun, an occasional fisherman, and lots of people with cameras wandering about. Walking in the middle of Shore Blvd. on a normal day would result in quick death, as you would be accidentally ground into the pavement beneath the wheels of a Greek teenagers SUV in short order.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, this year the Green Shores NYC people are conducting the “5th annual Astoria Park Shore Fest target” in conjunction with the Astoria Park Alliance. Our Lady of the Pentacle had other plans, and a humble narrator had a rare weekend day off from my schedule of Newtown Creek tours, so I opted to shamble over and take a look at what was going on.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The big deal for me, of course, was the ability to shoot the two bridges from a normally unavailable vantage without having to worry about the aforementioned Greek teenager obliterating me, but a lot of people turned out for this event. There were kids and dogs and all sorts of stuff happening, I even ran into my pal Richard Melnick from Greater Astoria Historic Society whom I seldom get to see due to our mutual tour obligations that play out over the weekends.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Shore Fest had all sorts of attractions- there was a blues band, all sorts of Eco friendly and green vendors selling or promoting their products, and almost all the kids I saw had painted faces. There was food as well, and as you see in the shot above- Ukelele lessons. The event is happening again this Sunday, and if you are lucky enough to be in Astoria- why not go check it out?

Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

13 Steps around Dutch Kills Saturday, August 17, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek – Saturday, August 24, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 16, 2013 at 7:30 am

naturally prompted

with one comment

The trains coming, hurry up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Perambulating across the blessed hills of almond eyed Astoria the other day, testing out my new lens (the Sigma 18-35 F 1.8 DS), a humble narrator suddenly perceived an ear splitting howl coming from on high. The elevated tracks on 31st street carry the N and Q service to and from Manhattan, offering Astoria’s huddled masses egress into the Shining City of Manhattan. One thing these tracks are not is quiet.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself, along with our little dog Zuzu, live along the R line which is fairly cradled by the earth. Occasionally, happenstance or track work or just the urge to mix up my commute, I find myself on the elevated tracks. The views from up there can be stellar, but unfortunately the MTA has had to install sound blocking fences at the stations to calm the frayed nerves of those who live along 31st street. A busy commercial corridor, 31st street is also a primary approach to the Triborough Bridge and the Grand Central Parkway for traffic leaving Queens Plaza from the Queensboro Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Its a funny thing, as Astoria is one of the few places in the central core of NYC that still looks like New York. Greenpoint has this quality as well, but the prime directive these days seems to be to obliterate any of the uniquely “New Yawk” elements of the cityscape in favor of a bland homogeneity and a mirror glass frontage which is built to the edge of the property line. Often have I wondered if this is caused by having a Boston transplant serving as the Mayor, who has hired a staff of Midwesterners and Southerners to serve as planning executives.

Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

13 Steps around Dutch Kills Saturday, August 17, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek – Saturday, August 24, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

 

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 15, 2013 at 7:30 am

%d bloggers like this: