The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Manhattan’ Category

diagonal fracturing

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You just have to love the Chrysler Building.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the more annoying things about the appearance of the so called “super talls” and the Hudson Yards “Dubai on the Hudson” nightmare has been the pollution and obliteration of sight lines and the sky silhouettes of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. The prominent position of the Chrysler Building in particular – skyline wise – has been diminished by this spate of construction, but there you are. NYC’s history is one of wrenching and often jarring change, take a picture right now, since whatever caught your eye might not be there next month.

The shot above was captured during a rare atmospheric phenomena (for NYC, at any rate) called “mammacular clouds,” which manifest after a strong thunderstorm cell has just passed through the area.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another day, another thunderstorm, different camera, same midtown Manhattan art deco skyscraper. Y’know, I’ve never been inside the Chrysler Building. I’m told it’s almost universally populated by Dentist and Doctor’s offices, but that might be just a rumor. There’s lots of rumors about NYC, and I prefer the “as above, so below” variants. I’ve been in the weird complex of tunnels and rooms under Rockefeller Center, and can confirm that you can move between Broadway and Fifth in the lower east 50’s without ever having to emerge from the underground. There’s golf cart style vehicles driving around down there, lots of pipes and conduits, all sorts of banal stuff. I was never able to locate the Rockefeller’s cloning lab though.

I’d like to believe that there’s a mirror image of the Chrysler Building that penetrates down into the schist bedrock nearly 1,000 feet. The deep earth midtown underground is really something I imagine, but I’d not want to enter the “lower” lower east side without a military escort. I’m told that there used to be a dwarvish mine below the Alfred E. Smith houses, but that it was abandoned because of some dark and fiery entity called “Imperiale’s Bain” which invaded the space from below, driving out the dwarves. “You shall not pass,” as Daniel Moynihan used to say.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It took a little bit of hunting through the archives to find the shot above, but there you go. You can just see my house over in Astoria, as a note, if you zoom in.

Every now and then, I like to think about the number of hours of labor that the landscape of NYC represents. Not just the construction of the towers, mind you, goes into the contemplation. All that steel and concrete and window glass and electrical wiring – everything – that is arranged just so in the shot above. The mind boggles.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come to the library!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek – The Roosevelt Island Historic Society has invited me to present a slideshow and talk about my beloved Newtown Creek at the New York Public Library on Roosevelt Island, on November 14th, 6 p.m. Free event!

Click here for more information.!

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

November 12, 2019 at 11:00 am

Posted in Manhattan, Midtown

Tagged with ,

lacquered patinas

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Signs and portents.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everybody wants to tell you what to do, all the time. Signage adjures, cautions, forbids, and demands attention wherever you look. If you’re literate, your brain instantly begins putting together the messaging on signs and you have no choice but to receive the intended messaging. For years, I’ve wondered about whether or not there’s some combination of words which could render you instantly insane upon receiving them, in the manner of a magick spell. Could a campaign of signage designed to transmit a “very bad idea” or incantation end civilization itself, and reduce mankind to atavistic savages in the process? We can only hope so.

Personally, I’m reduced to reaching into the archives today, as the whole busted toe drama has reduced my productivity to nearly zero.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I won’t fill you in on how to interpret the sign above, in the language of NYC’s street culture, but if you are literate in slang it’s quite a funny message.

One did manage to attend two CB1 community board functions this week, both of which saw me using a taxi to get to the meetings. The first was held by the “land use” committee, which I’m not a member of but we are encouraged to attend all committee meetings whether or not we are officially a member thereof. I’m trying to visit with each one of the groupings at least once, in pursuit of meeting all the other CB1 members and also learning the operational side of things. Personally, I’m on the “transportation” and “environmental” committee groups.

“Land use,” which was on Wednesday night, seems to focus in on zoning and other niceties of the City Planning process. Discussed was the status of Rikers Island. It seems that despite Rikers being officially and politically part of the Bronx, Queens CB1 has regency over the island and facility. The Dept. of City Planning was seeking board consensus for two items – redefining the island as a “public place,” and secondly the effort to create a locked down deadline of December of 2026 for when detention would no longer be allowed on Rikers Island. Discussion of what comes after occurred, but that was shelved as it’s functionally impossible to predict what the next Mayor and the next City Council coalition would want to do with it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last night, the “transportation” committee met. We received a presentation from Revel, a private company offering “last mile” electric moped services. With an app and smartphone based business model which feeds customers to their moped fleet of 1,000 units (currently), the Revel people were quite nice and prepared for questions and answers. In general, I’m liking their service (which I don’t use, but several of my friends do), and the conversation with their reps centered around safety and operational issues. My questions for them centered around privacy issues, how long trip data persists on their servers, and so on.

It was nice to be amongst people, for a sheltered invalid such as myself.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come to the library!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek – The Roosevelt Island Historic Society has invited me to present a slideshow and talk about my beloved Newtown Creek at the New York Public Library on Roosevelt Island, on November 14th, 6 p.m. Free event!

Click here for more information.!

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

November 8, 2019 at 11:45 am

mundi horriblus

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It’s a bad year for toes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I actually wish that I had two priests praying for my big toe today. Yesterday, during that torrential rainstorm, I had to execute some emergency maintenance on a giant planting trough and the thing ended up dropping directly onto the big toe of left foot, smashing it flat. It’s something to look at today, but yesterday the swelling was so bad that the skin actually split, causing blood and other serums to ooze out. That makes two busted toes for me this year, and both are on the same foot.

Before you ask, no I haven’t gone to see a doctor yet. Waiting and seeing at the moment. 50/50 chance I shoot over to Mt. Sinai here in Astoria today to get it looked at, but there’s not really that much you can do for a broken toe. Rest, ice, compress, elevate is standard of care and I don’t really want to pay the hospital a thousand smackers to tell me that if I don’t have to. Still… owwwww.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s one heck of bruise, though. Still in the purple and red stage, and the entire left foot is swollen up. That trough which fell on it is about 7-8 feet long and about 15-16 inches deep. Filled with rain saturated soil, I figure that I had about two hundred pounds of force transfer into my toe when it dropped around two feet onto it. How did it drop? Well, you know those workplace safety videos that describe stupid things people do that cause injuries? That was me.

The world hates me, wants to kill me, and the groundling borrowers at Calvary Cemetery are just giggling about it right now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, I get to walk on it for around two miles tomorrow night while conducting a walking tour. Otherwise, if any of you reading this we’re planning on seeing me anywhere this week, feel free to make other plans.

Everything is cancelled except for the Newtown Creek walk. Ultimately, you always have to go to work.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek AT NIGHT! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! October 29th, 7-9 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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

October 28, 2019 at 1:09 pm

protective illusions

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Rainy NY Harbor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Ultimately, the whole reason you’ve been treated to me expounding on the hellish nature of the Times Square subway station, as well as positing that the Garden of Eden was located in Times Square itself, is that the Working Harbor Committee offered a Circleline tour during the afternoon and I was in the City anyway. It was positively pouring out, which a humble narrator decided to make the best of. For once, I wasn’t busy on the mike, so a clickety clicking with the camera was commenced.

In addition to the steady downpour, there was a dense fog permeating the scene. Actually, there were seemingly two fog banks, one clinging to the surface of the water, with the second about 200-300 feet up. In between was rain, constant rain. It’s never boring out on the water, I guess,

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Foggy days are a formidable challenge in terms of acquiring tack sharp focus. The occlusion of ambient light due to the misty clouds changes constantly, and this sort of climate is especially vexing in terms of not absolutely destroying your camera. Liquids, aerosols, and all the other states which water takes are absolute anathema to digital devices. Luckily, my omnipresent bag of tricks includes the everyday carry of a couple of supermarket carrier bags.

I pop a hole in the bottom for the lens, gaff tape to bag to my lens hood, and then stick my hands through the carrier loops to keep in it place. Looks stupid, but it’s effective, and I don’t pay BH Photo $7-8 a pop for those clear plastic doohickeys. Also, I don’t have to worry about having one with me, since they fold up into a two inch square rather easily and weigh virtually nothing.

Since atmospheric conditions were supplying me with background and foreground separation, isolating my subject was a piece of cake. The hard part was forcing my camera to focus in on the tugboats, rather than the droplets of water falling through the intervening atmosphere between the tug and the lens. Truth be told, I shot the set up above six times and got two positive results, with the one above being the pick of the litter.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s always a bit of a trial getting the exposure correct when you’re on the water in NY Harbor. You’ve got great big dark things floating about in a luminous and quivering jelly, with bright sky and a hopelessly complicated shoreline which you’re photographing from a quick moving object, essentially. What do you expose for? Why are you here? Who are you?

Due to the pall of humidity, I had to shoot at a fairly high ISO as far as daylight goes. The hard part was getting the color temperature correct during the development stage of things. Here’s a tip – on high iso days like the one pictured above, set your camera to record in a cooler range to reduce noise. If you shoot daylight (5400 kelvin in the Canon family) the rusts and oranges will barely register as anything BUT noise. Your shot will look weird, noisy, and too warm. I captured these at a custom color temperature setting of 3750 K, and then pushed the color to 5500 K when the raw files were in photoshop. That reduced the amount of noise considerably, while neutralizing the color back into what my eye saw.

Anyway, that was my week of wet, at your Newtown Pentacle.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek AT NIGHT! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! October 29th, 7-9 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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

October 25, 2019 at 11:00 am

stark mad

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I know why it’s so hot, always, at the Times Square station.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as arriving on a Subway Platform in Manhattan and then finding out that there’s signal problems at Queens Plaza. The marketplace of aerosol pathogens carried by the human infestation into this subterranean structure is far better than getting a flu shot in terms of bolstering one’s immunological system, and the sheer unpleasantness of the ambient temperature is always a treat. Learning that you’re going to be spending a substantial bit of time waiting for your ride home – now that’s priceless. The “A” in MTA is for “adventure,” after all, and on Sunday nights the “M” stands for “Magnifique.”

The high temperature at the Times Square stop cannot solely be attributed to an annoying bureaucratic tendency amongst MTA station managers to not actuate their ventilation systems. Surely, it’s because the subway station was built atop the cavern carved out by Lucifer and the other rebel angels when they were swallowed into the ground during an argument they had with the Creator entity over Adam and Eve’s place in the celestial pecking order.

Said discourse occurred where Dave and Busters sits atop 42nd street, a location which was part of the Garden of Eden “back in the day.” Somewhere beneath the subway station itself is a lava tube that leads directly to hell. “Da Deuce” thereby, is a hellmouth.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A succession of Subway trains which do not go anywhere close to where I needed to go arrived and departed the station, during an interminable interval. As is my habit, I passed the time photographing the trains entering the facility, which raised the suspicions of several dead eyed MTA employees. Of course, being employees of MTA, they barely gave a crap despite being suspicious. As any member of the International Brotherhood of Screw Turners Local 6 will tell you, that’s somebody else’s job.

My retirement plans involve capturing a photo of a suicidal human jumping off the platform in front of an arriving train. Sales and licensing of said shot will make me rich beyond the dreams of avarice. My wealth will allow me to exact Dante style revenge on those who have offended… sorry, that was the influence of the Times Square Hellmouth that I was standing on which was talking there.

It affects us all, in different ways, the hellmouth.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While waiting, and boy oh boy I was waiting a good half hour at this point, I noticed that something had imparted a good amount of kinetic force onto one of the steel structural columns and blasted a hole in the paint covering it.

The modern day dark green paint MTA uses sat over a duller green which I seem to remember them using about 15 years ago. The white and the red layers seem familiar to me, from earlier eras in NYC. Might just be primer, but I seem to recall red being used in the early 1990’s for column paint. Again, might just be the hellmouth talking.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another pneumatic piston arrived, driving the usual cloud of sewer smell, rat shit, and powdered cockroach onto the platform. Normally, one would happily take the N just to get out of Manhattan and away from the hellmouth at 42nd street, but maintenance work was causing the N to go no further into Queens than Queensborough. Really, there is no better time to experience the joys of the MTA than a Sunday night.

Ultimately, I needed to wait for an R to get anywhere close to home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While I was studying the layers of paint on that column, a pigmentary coating which had to be layered on 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick mind you, an R finally arrived. Luckily it was quite crowded and the MTA had made the logical decision that since it was October you didn’t need to run any sort of ventilation or air conditioning onboard. This was especially well received by a humble narrator given that atmospheric humidity was close to 90% and also since it was raining all day, everybody onboard was soaking wet and their clothing was evaporating additional humidity into the subway car atmosphere.

It really is a pleasure to be in NYC these days, ain’t it? The fairness, the equity, the affordability of housing… truly has our Mayor improved things.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There has to be a word – if we were a German speaking culture there would be – for the sense of relief you experience upon finally boarding a subway train that’s heading back towards your home after passing through the gauntlet of MTA’s expert patience testers. Luckily, the folks already onboard the train were as well mannered as usual. You had the people playing games on their phones with the speaker turned on, the lady screaming into her phone in an unknown guttural at some remote husband, and there was a fellow eating a fried and quite aromatic fish dinner with his fingers.

If I could, I’d have held my breath the entire ride. Who eats on the Subway? Ugh.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek AT NIGHT! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! October 29th, 7-9 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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

October 24, 2019 at 11:30 am

thinkers perspective

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NYC looks best when it’s wet.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Biblical scholars believe that the Garden of Eden is metaphorical, but theorize that its supposed location would be where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers run into the Persian Gulf. Others postulate that Eden was on the Iranian Plateau, or on the Armenian plain. Hacks.

Eden, which is the metaphysical center and starting point of the entire universe as far as three of the major religions go, was in Manhattan. Specifically Times Square. Seriously, what would the rest of you do without me to set things straight?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was 42nd street between 7th and 8th avenues where the Adamic pair were presented to the angels by Yahweh, and this is the block where the great schism occurred amongst the sons of fire. That’s where Sammael became Lucifer, right where Dave and Busters is, along with a third of the angelic host who then fell into the ground with it and became demons. As a note, using “him” or “her” for god and the angels is incorrect both grammatically and factually. They are definitively “it’s.” Extradimensional and non material undying intelligences with seemingly limitless power are “it’s.”

The part of the Adam and Eve (or Adam and Hawwa for our Muslim friends) story everybody passes over, for some reason, is that the expulsion from Eden happened not just to punish the pair for eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, it was to ensure that they didn’t also eat fruit from the Tree of Life. The latter’s ovum would impart immortality to the primeval gourmand, and was protected from consumption or approach by a cadre of fierce Cherubim (which are “lower” and automaton like Angels that have little room for interpreting their orders) and a free floating flaming sword which was set on smite.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The actual location of the Tree of Good and Evil is pictured above, and was more or less where the Times Square Subway station entrance is found (accounting for continental drift, of course). The Land of Nod where the whole Cain and Abel thing happened is obviously Staten Island, but back then there were land bridges between Manhattan and Richmond County. Humanity, therefore, populated the planet starting from Times Square out.

The crossing of a lot of geography and vast oceans, and the epic tale of how the bloodline of Adam made it to the modern day Middle East and then incestuously populated Eurasia, must have been lost during Noah’s flood. Suffice to say, Times Square is the literal and metaphorical actual center of the Universe.

It also looks great when it’s raining.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek AT NIGHT! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! October 29th, 7-9 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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

October 23, 2019 at 2:30 pm

mustered up

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A series of dull events, that’s my life.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not enough butter spread over too much bread. Desperately thirsty, but somebody has just shaken up the can of soda. Hungry and nauseous at the same time. Insomniac ponderings during the late night hours of the wolf. That’s me at the moment. The next person that says “you have to” or “you can’t” or tries to correct me based on something political which they literally just made up on the spot is going to reap the ‘effin whirlwind. “Who do you think you are” is going to get an answer, and the petitioner will not like the answer.

Go ahead, try me. I’ll burn your house down. I’m looking for a volunteer today, somebody whom I can unleash all of my sublimated rage, fears, and self pity upon. Try me. You’ll be doing me a favor, as it’s unhealthy to hold it in.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It has been quite a frustrating interval for me, with all sorts of existential problems that can’t be solved easily or simply by working through them popping up. Disconcerting, one feels as if he’s walking on the blade of a knife recently, and digging my fingernails as deeply into my palms as I can only results in wounding the skinvelope. There’s only so much one can eat before something vomits back out.

Volunteers?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wit’s end. I need, really ‘effin need, a vacation. Thinking about it, I haven’t left the confines of NYC’s five boroughs in so long that I don’t remember the last time I did.

Home sweet hell, huh?


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek AT NIGHT! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! October 29th, 7-9 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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

October 18, 2019 at 1:00 pm

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