The Newtown Pentacle

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particularly alien

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was quite an afternoon for a long walk, Sunday the 25th of April was, here amongst the rolling hills of Astoria. Speaking of, 21st Avenue at 43rd street seems to be the highest “natural” prominence on the north side of the neighborhood. Someday, I’d love to see a 3D topographical map of Astoria sometime. It’s fairly flat, yes, but there’s a series of shallow hill and valley formations encountered after crossing Astoria Blvd. while heading north. I like to imagine that they’re ridges of mud and stone deposited hydrologically in some unrecorded era of yore. I’ve never seen this elevation change between 20th Avenue and Astoria Blvd. described on a map, but there has to be a 40-50 foot differential.

That’s Astoria’s Luyster Creek pictured above. It’s also sporadically described in maps. A friend of mine who is an expert in the cartographic arts has been looking into the subject of this particular waterway for me, which has been immensely helpful.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After scuttling from HQ on the other side of the neighborhood, a humble narrator found himself next wandering about at Hells Gate nearby Astoria Park. For once, I was lucky enough to get there just as a train was passing over the eponymous bridge spanning this, the Hells Gate section of the East River.

Based on the reactions of passerby, my appearance must be shocking. Old ladies were clutching at their pearls, children cried, dogs growled. I saw a group of older Hellenic men preparing torches.

One decided to get out of the area quickly. The Greeks invented “peasant mob chases monster with torches” along with most other things.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While escaping the attentions of the mob, one noticed this particularly weathered fire alarm box mounted on a pole. The graffiti would indicate that this is a silent alarm… get it? Omertà… silence…

I have fun.


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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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 18, 2021 at 2:00 pm

coloured mitres

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since one has completed his vaccinations against the Covid scourge, very little dust has had a chance to settle upon a humble narrator. I’ve caroused in bars, ridden subways and ferries, gone places, done things. Seemingly, I’ve developed a truly calloused attitude towards other people’s stupidity and anti-social tendencies. You don’t want to get vaccinated because you heard somebody got sick from it in California, huh? Well, it was nice knowing you, and you should probably have a conversation with your Doctor. “I shit you not” when saying that I personally witnessed a negotiation and transaction take place for a counterfeit vaccination card recently. It was just so dumb. This is how Zombie movies start, and this is what the world has looked like to me for the last year and change.

Remember when half of your third grade class died of Rubella? How about when little Timmy down the block ended up in the iron lung? The time you lost your sister to Smallpox? Tuberculosis took your Mom? Measles? Whooping cough? Scarlet Fever? Exactly. Go get your shot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The only way out of dealing with all of this is clearly pursuing my dream of birthing a race of Atomic Supermen, but my neighborhood in Astoria isn’t zoned for “Mad Science.” NYC is quite strict on this subject, and it’s overseen by the same City Hall department that handles restaurant inspections for some reason. There’s several properties in the South Bronx which are promising for the endeavor, but negotiating the lease has been a chore. There’s a great location that already has Tesla coils and lightning gathering kites installed, but $55 per square foot is highway robbery for industrial space.

Of course, one of the tasks I’m going to assign my army of Atomic Supermen is going to be literal “highway robbery,” but start-ups need to worry about pissing away their initial capitalization on fancy offices and other gimmicks. The only thing other than gestation tubes and a DNA sequencer I’m going to be buying for the factory will be a big fan, one that turns slowly, and will be positioned in front of a bright light that cycles through primary colors in my surprisingly wet and dark Atomic Superman factory. Also, there’s going to be chains hanging down from the roof that have no true purpose.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in Astoria, yet another FDNY operation drew my attentions. It seems that two automobile drivers caused a low speed collision. One of the drivers, I’m told, demanded that 911 be called and an EMS Ambulance crew arrived to assess and handle the situation. Nobody was loaded onto a stretcher or anything, so it’s fairly obvious that the driver was hoping for the cops to show up rather than the Fire Department when they called 911.

Everybody loves Firemen and Fireladies and Firenonbinarynongenderconforming people. Nobody wants to defund the Fire Department. Personally, I’ve always wanted to be there when one of those cinematic style Cop vs. Fireman fights break out, but no luck.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 6, 2021 at 1:00 pm

homologous member

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Tuesday!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found a humble narrator riding the NYC Ferry from Astoria to Lower Manhattan. One cannot recommend this service highly enough, and I do so loudly to all who might listen. Throughout the pandemic, the Ferry has been a pressure valve for me, allowing a quite affordable afternoon on the water. You’ve got to mask up, obviously, but there is virtually zero risk of contracting anything on the top deck of the boat, other than having an errant seagull smack into you. The boats have bathrooms in case you need to blow some ballast, but unfortunately the onboard shops which sell coffee, beer, and or snacks are still closed. No problem there, since I tend to avoid drinking and eating when I’m out and moving about, but if you can’t survive without a beverage bring it onboard with you.

The Astoria line stops at East 90th street (where you can transfer to the Soundview line and head to the Bronx), Roosevelt Island, LIC North, 34th Street in the City (where you can transfer to several other lines), Brooklyn Navy Yard, and then it’s terminal destination is at Pier 11/Wall Street in lower Manhattan. The design of the system uses Pier 11 and 34th street as “hubs” where several of the lines converge. You’ve got 90 minutes from the time you purchase a paper ticket, or activate one on their phone app (I use the app), to accomplish a transfer. I’ve made it all the way from Soundview in the South Bronx to the Rockaways on a single $2.75 ticket. That’s 3 hours on the water for under $3 – cheap!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the East River routes, you encounter the grandiose sights and scale of the greatest City in the history of civilization. I’ve offered this statement before, and have been asked “what about Rome, or Constantinople, or Persepolis, Kolkata, Beijing, Tokyo, Berlin, Buenos Aires”… the list goes on and on. Ancient Rome could tuck neatly into Staten Island, Tokyo and Los Angeles are regions, not cities, and the City which other Cities compare themselves to ain’t London or Berlin. Since the end of the Second World War, the omphalos or navel of Western Civilization has been and continues to be NYC. I don’t just mean Manhattan, as a note, I mean the whole shebang.

Pictured above is the scene encountered as the ferry leaves the Brooklyn Navy Yard, depicting the Manhattan Bridge with the financial district of Lower Manhattan behind it on a misty day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Astoria route Ferry moves up the eastern side of the East River, whereas the Soundview route takes the western channel. Astoria route allows for dynamic views of Roosevelt Island, its eponymous lift bridge, and the power generating infrastructure which stains the shorelines of Queens. The terminal stop in Astoria at the NYCHA Astoria Houses campus puts you within easy walking distance of the Welling Court street art mural installation, Astoria Park, and hundreds of truly interesting restaurants and bars. Why not come visit and spend some of that stimulus money here in Astoria? We could use the bucks.

You can access the schedules for the NYC Ferry, and check out their various destinations, at their website. This isn’t a paid post or anything, by the way, I’m just an enthusiastic customer for the service and want to encourage all of my readers here at Newtown Pentacle to take advantage of it as a curative for the pallor and malaise introduced by our recent collective trials.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

burning curiousity

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Tired and overwhelmed is a humble narrator, who is out taking pictures of the greatest city in the history of mankind this week and not attending any Zoom meetings or frankly doing anything he doesn’t want to do. Thereby, this week you’ll be encountering single images here at Newtown Pentacle, in pursuance of taking a short break from the normal blather.

Pictured above is the Bronx Whitestone Bridge, which opened for business on this date in 1939.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 29, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Bronx, East River

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perfumed jungles

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Awww, it’s only Tuesday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To start – it was just weird to be out during the daylight and taking pictures while walking back from Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge about a month ago. It’s been so long that I had to constantly remind myself to check my exposure settings. The night time stuff which has been on offer for the last year, the solitude thereof having been necessitated by obvious concerns, is comparatively “one and done” in terms of exposure and ISO sensitivity due to the somewhat predictable levels of nocturnal street lighting. Sure, I have to dial the shutter speed around here and there or up the ISO sensitivity, but… it’s been a long time since I had to worry about the deep shadows and blown out highlights encountered due to the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself bobbing about in the afternoon sky.

Luckily, the Roosevelt Island Tram was still there. I plan on riding on this thing sometime this week, actually. Hope I get a chance to wipe a clean spot on its window before boarding. If you haven’t been, there’s commanding views of the Queensboro Bridge to be experienced from up there, and it’s “one of those NYC things to check off your list.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Other goals and destinations abound. I’m also planning on visiting the Empire State Building’s observation deck soon. I’m hoping they’re still offering discounts. Getting high in Manhattan is often a problem, since a) you either have to know somebody who can let you in and get you to a window, b) there’s an in person meeting happening in a cool place, or c) you have an opportunity to trespass without being jailed. Getting high refers to altitude, of course, since the other meaning of it is no longer illegal.

My goodness, I’ve actually lived long enough to see the most onerous of the Rockefeller drug laws in New York State done away with.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back at home, a couple of days later, I was lucky enough to catch the Amtrak people leaving the door to the Acela maintenance building open. As I’ve mentioned more times than I can remember, the Sunnyside Yards people have been poking new holes in their fences at a rapid pace. It seems like every day I find a new surveyor’s hole or some the after effect of some construction worker’s need to push a hose or a cable down to the rail yard.

Back tomorrow, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 6, 2021 at 1:00 pm

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