The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Midtown’ Category

greater wildness

with one comment

Vertigo, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, one had attended a photo industry trade show at the Javitz Center. As this was the first time that circumstance had carried me to the newish Hudson Yards stop on the IRT Flushing line – conventionally referred to as the “7” – I decided to take a few minutes and record a few images.

There you go. Back to Manhattan. Sigh…

from wikipedia

The name “Manhattan” derives from the word Manna-hata, as written in the 1609 logbook of Robert Juet, an officer on Henry Hudson’s yacht Halve Maen (Half Moon). A 1610 map depicts the name as Manna-hata, twice, on both the west and east sides of the Mauritius River (later named the Hudson River). The word “Manhattan” has been translated as “island of many hills” from the Lenape language. The United States Postal Service prefers that mail addressed to Manhattan use “New York, NY” rather than “Manhattan, NY”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing that kept on striking me about visiting the new station was a sensation of vertigo. Normally, one is possessed of a sound and reliable bit of plumbing in the inner ear, but there was just something about the setup of the incredibly steep escalators which distinguish the new station that induced me to feel as if I was about to fall and tumble.

Given the sort of things I know about escalators, which are – functionally speaking – indistinguishable from industrial meat grinders, this was a real concern for one such as myself.

from wikipedia

Escalators, like moving walkways, are often powered by constant-speed alternating current motors[citation needed] and move at approximately 0.3–0.6 metres (1–2 ft) per second. The typical angle of inclination of an escalator to the horizontal floor level is 30 degrees with a standard rise up to about 18 metres (60 ft). Modern escalators have single-piece aluminum or stainless steel steps that move on a system of tracks in a continuous loop.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Perhaps it’s the angle at which they’ve been set at. The Hudson Yards station platforms are found fairly deep in the ground, by NYC Subway standards. Comparable but still examples of the depth would be the 7’s Grand Central platform, or the 59th street and 3rd exit on the IND lines. Looking up rather than down, it felt a bit like the Smith/9th street stop on the F and G lines. Mr. Walsh from Forgotten-NY assures me that the deepest station in the system is in upper Manhattan, and I have few occasions to oppose his opinions so I’ll take his word on it, but Hudson Yards is deep.

from wikipedia

In January 2005, the New York City Council approved the rezoning of about 60 blocks from 28th to 43rd Streets, including the eastern portion of the West Side Yard. This did not include the western portion. In June 2005, the proposed West Side Stadium, to be built over the western portion for the New York City bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics, was defeated. Soon after, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) thought of ways to redevelop the 26 acres (11 ha) yards. In conjunction with the government of New York City, the MTA issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for 12,000,000 square feet (1,100,000 m2) of mixed-use space. The space was to be built on platforms over the rail yards, which would still be in use.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a mezzanine level where you’ll find the turnstiles, which is where the set of escalators in the shots above bring you. The mezzanine is fairly pleasing, design wise. There’s a whole bunch of arcing shapes moving against each other, tiled floors, and other “architect” looking features that are pretty pleasing to the eye. Or, to mine at least.

from wikipedia

The new construction, part of the city’s and the MTA’s master plan for the Far West Side, extended the IRT Flushing Line west from Times Square to Eleventh Avenue, then south to 34th Street. Although the West Side Stadium plan was rejected by city and state planning agencies, the 7 Subway Extension plan received approval to move ahead, as New York political leaders wanted to see the warehouse district west of Eighth Avenue and north of 34th Street redeveloped as part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project, and subway service was to be an essential part of that effort. The extension also serves the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which was expanded in 2008–2014 and is located a block away from the station entrances.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The big kahuna of the escalators, and the ones which caused me to begin to experience vertigo, are the ones which carry you down to the platforms themselves.

from wikipedia

Vertigo is when a person feels as if they or the objects around them are moving when they are not. Often it feels like a spinning or swaying movement. This may be associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulties walking. It is typically worsened when the head is moved. Vertigo is the most common type of dizziness.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above is looking back up at where the previous photo was captured, and just the act of turning myself around forced my non camera arm to reflexively reach for some kind of support.

from wikipedia

The MTA completed excavation of a 150-foot (46 m) long cavern in June 2009. The cavern was dug below the bus entrance ramp to the lower level of the Port Authority Bus Terminal and formed part of the eastern end of the new extension and connected it to the Times Square station. At the same time, tunnels were being dug northward from the machine shaft at 26th Street; soft ground at 27th and 28th Street required 300 feet (91 m) of ground to be frozen so that the tunnel-boring machines could easily dig through the soil. On December 21, 2009, it was announced that a tunnel-boring machine broke through the 34th Street station cavern wall. Both tunnel-boring machines were scheduled to finish the required tunneling in the spring of 2010.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I think it’s the “leading lines” which did it. There’s a real “THX 1138” vibe to this station, which seems to be part of a modern design aesthetic MTA is following. I’ve been to the Second Avenue Subway construction site and the new stations about to come on line are visually quite similar to the Hudson Yards stop.

from wikipedia

THX 1138 (pronounced “T-H-X Eleven Thirty-Eight”) is a 1971 science fiction film directed by George Lucas in his feature film directorial debut. The film was produced by Francis Ford Coppola and written by Lucas and Walter Murch. It stars Donald Pleasence and Robert Duvall and depicts a dystopian future in which the populace is controlled through android police officers and mandatory use of drugs that suppress emotion, including outlawed sexual desire.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Down at the bottom, there’s another vaulted tunnel which terminates at yet another barrel vault, which is where the two tracks for the 7 train are found. This is a terminal stop, of course, so there must a turnaround track somewhere down there but I’ll be godamned if I knew where it was. Felt like like I was halfway to hell if truth be told. Dizzy, I got nervous, my chest grew tight, and it was oddly warm on the platform itself – given its depth.

Then again, Manhattan generally makes me experience both agita and angina, and often reminds me of hell.

from wikipedia

The main entrance, located at the southeast corner of the intersection of 34th Street and Hudson Boulevard, has a turtle shell-shaped glass canopy above it that allows light to shine on the upper mezzanine. The elevator is located south of 34th Street in Hudson Park, while the escalator entrance is located further east, closer to the boulevard. The ventilation building will be built over by developers at a future date. The second entrance, which will contain escalator entrances is at the southwest corner of 35th Street and Hudson Boulevard East. At both of the exits, the staircases and four escalators each go down 40 feet (12 m) to a fare control area, then another 80 feet (24 m) to the common lower mezzanine; the main entrance was completed by summer 2014, while the secondary entrance is still under construction and will be completed by 2016.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 14, 2016 at 11:00 am

shapeless nemesis

with one comment

It’s all a plot, I tell you, nothing is accidental and the whole world is “on purpose.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Feeling particularly powerless, depressed, and isolated of late – the only solution for one such as myself is to kick his feet about and scuttle around. Persecution and possible prosecution of a humble narrator is always in the forefront of my mind, as it were, so it’s best to just keep moving. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to avoid the “tells” that my movements have been anticipated by some shadowy cabal of possible occultists, if you know how to read the streets. One also grows a bit dizzy when spinning around on his heels to check if any enemies might be coming up from behind.

It’s best to remain vigilant, always. Look at the signage on the food cart above… who ever heard of a halal chili dog? Gotcha, shadowy cabal, you’re not as smart as me – I can spot you people at fifty paces.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Here in Astoria, I noticed back in the first and second weeks of September that a bright beam of light was emanating into the sky from lower Manhattan. There’s a cover story for this propagated by the government, but I know what’s really going on and so will you when a race of extraterrestrial lizards arrives in flying saucers. Of more immediate concern to me is my so called neighbor, which presents itself as an elderly woman who hordes cats. I know what its really up to, and I’m betting those aren’t really cats either.

There’s always one of her so called cats in her window, pretending to be asleep.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Don’t ask me to tell you what’s really going on in Astoria’s St. Michael’s Cemetery. The answer, and its occult implications involving an extra dimensional race of non human intelligences who were the former and are the future wardens of the Earth, could spark off a new dark age and return mankind to the status of shivering cave dwellers and ape like savagery were their presence here known generally. It is best that in these places where they walk about in the dark of night, these elder things, that they do so alone and that the only evidence of their travels are piles of swept aside granite.

It is also best for the rest of you to argue about verbal manners and behavioral mores, and leave the occult reality of things to ones like myself who can actually handle the truth that lies beyond your gaze. There is no “safe space” when “they” are discussed, as our specie are as ants to them. On the earth, only that thing with the three lobed burning eye which dwells in in the cupola of LIC’s sapphire megalith can spy them, and even then only dimly.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 26, 2016 at 11:00 am

oddly sunburned

with one comment

Lost in the bowels of the subterrene, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Innocently enough, while on my way to a photo industrial complex exposition at the Javits Center that I was lured to by the promise of a small payment for participating in a focus group, a major crisis suddenly came rushing up and seized a hold of a humble narrator. One was busy staring at his shoes and pondering how my life had brought me to this pass, when the realization that I was the only person on the 7 train crashed like an ocean wave across the fragile shoreline of the psyche. The sudden manifestation of a thousand nightmares was upon me.

An inflation of my self esteem began to roar like a cataract between the ears and behind the eyes, coupled with a sensation that was both spiritually distracting and which generated uncountable bad and unprofitable ideas – all at once in a rushing torrent of intent.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My self importance was deflated by the solitude, as I had no one to impress – with a nervous rattling off of some historical minutiae about the Flushing line IRT’s history. What am I without my narcissism? My eyes were pinned wide open in a wild stare, and became uncomfortably dry, as I seemed to have stopped blinking. After a quick check of pulse rate and a crack of my knuckles against the plastic seat to confirm that I was in fact awake and not lying in bed – unconscious and hallucinating – it was decided that this was in fact the waking world. Knowing that nobody back home in Queens would believe me about being alone on the 7 line, my trusty camera was deployed and evidence collected of this momentous event – that I, I of all people, was utterly alone on the subway.

Surely, this would be the sort of thing that would draw the interest of all…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bouncing from side to side of the light rail car, which was positively hurtling through the stinking concrete bunkers beneath the megalopolis, suddenly paranoia blossomed in my mind when I realized that in the next carriage there was another singular occupant like myself. Perhaps the focus group at the photo expo was nonexistent? Was this some sort of exquisite trap laid out for an elite group? I sensed the presence of the hidden hand, the shadowed elite, the supranormal, at work. Nothing is random, everything has meaning – I read that on a greeting card for sale in a gas station convenience shop once…

My thoughts raced, and flights of ideation began to assail.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The train ground to a halt, with an electronic recording announcing that the delay in forward movement was because there was traffic in front of us. I wondered if my counterpart in the next car realized, as I did, that this was some sort of trick. Anything can happen when you’re alone and without witnesses. That’s why, like the band TLC advised back during the 1990’s – I don’t go chasing waterfalls and stick to the hills and valleys I’m used to.

It was my hope that when the skeletal remains of myself, and the other, were eventually found at either terminal stop – Flushing or Hudson Yards – that the images on my camera card would be recoverable and offer some sort of explanation to Our Lady of the Pentacle as to my fate.

Of course, then the train started moving again and I found my way to the Javits Center, but this was a close one.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back at home, one found nothing but difficulty in attempting to sleep. There were machines moving around in the sky, some of them carrying Policemen. I set up the camera and watched…

Who can guess, all there is, buried down there – or moving around through the aether, up there?

As a note, the next morning, my facial skinvelope exhibited the dermatological effects characterized by exposure to the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself. I have no explanation to offer.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 25, 2016 at 11:00 am

general noisomeness

with 2 comments

Getting low in Manhattan, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent social engagement drew me out from amongst the rolling hills of raven tressed Astoria, caused one to cross the cataract of the East River using that subterranean electrified railway that is operated by the MTA, and to walk through the cylcopean canyons and crowded pavement of the Shining City of Manhattan.

New York, New York it’s a hell.

One realizes that the official phraseology includes “…of a town” but to me, modern Manhattan is just hell. It’s always been somewhat hellish of course, but in the last twenty years or so it’s become so god damned pedantic and boring… people walk around these days like they’re safe or something…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Compulsively “on time,” one found himself on the island quite a bit earlier than was required for the assignation, but a desire to execute some photography – no matter how god damned boring and visually uninspiring the former “fun city” has become in modernity – was paramount. Funnily enough, when I typed in “fun city” just now, the spell check on my device changed it to “fund city” which indicates that my device has begun to develop a certain sense of artificial intelligence and concurrent sense of sarcasm regarding the existential realities of modern NYC – and a particularly wry one at that.

The M Line carried me from Astoria to 53rd and Third, a location memorialized by a certain Ramones song, so I keyed a playlist of the band’s better works up on my phone, and fired up “the boys.” I started my walk, with its destination in the Tenderloin district, where my eventual social assignation would play out after I had navigated through the tourist choked maze of midtown.

I should mention that since having become involved with the whole Newtown Creek thing, and the realization that most of the environmental issues in the outer boroughs are entirely due to Manhattan’s waste products, going to “The City” just pisses me off.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Subsumed by a certain amount of contemptuous horror and ennui, my pathway carried me first up to Lexington, then Park, Madison, and 5th avenues. I had decided before exiting the subway that “today was going to be a wide angle day” and set about trying to find some way to capture an interesting shot of the banal internationalist style office blocks and chain store frontages encountered along the way. Remember when there were interesting shops and other street level businesses down here? Book stores, thrift shops, deli’s? When the street level shops were something else than high volume buffets targeted at office workers, or ATM locations?

I was constantly annoyed by crowds of slow moving people who formed “skirmish lines” across the sidewalks, walking shoulder to shoulder. Walking as much as I do, my natural pace seems to be “double time” compared to most.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Heading west, as I prefer to zig zag through the canyons, and encountered naught but more of the sort of office towers that you’ll likely not stop and appreciate for their architectural detail nor esthetic charm. Glass boxes, essentially.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Have no doubt – Queensicans – that this is the future which the “powers that be” have in store for us. Long Island City is going to look quite similar to this within the next decade. The wide open vistas and low lying industrial landscape of our little communities have been traded away in the name of “progress” and there is virtually zero investment for the infrastructure which will be needed to support the increased population loading being planned or budgeted away.

As far as our “Dope from Park Slope,” do you suppose he’s playing his fiddle at Gracie Mansion as the fires of gentrification sear away the past and create an unsustainable future?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My friends who live in Manhattan, long indifferent to the general dissatisfaction and sentiment that I and others in Western Queens and North Brooklyn feel towards the Real Estate Industrial Complex, are beginning to “get it.” They’re seeing it happen to Manhattan now, with the midtown rezonings and the construction of the massive Hudson Yards complex and the fact that there are sidewalk cafes on the Bowery and that the East Village now looks like a Midwestern shopping mall.

I would remind you all that the epitome of a NYC real estate developer is the current Republican nominee for President, and that if you want to understand the REBNY outlook on “the great unwashed” and the disconnect between their world and ours – Donald J. Trump is your exemplar.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What does all of my complaining and chiding accomplish, however? What non obvious point is a humble narrator trying to make that’s not apparent to anyone with eyes? This is NYC, and it’s always been this way here. We live in an oligarchy, and the government is populated with self serving patricians like the “Dope from Park Slope” who pretend to be the “consul of the plebs” while advancing the agenda of those who are his true masters.

I would remind, and advise, that the way things used to work in NYC was that the real estate guys didn’t get “tax breaks” and so on to build, and that in a real estate market as hot and overvalued as the one we exist in – REBNY members should be held to a rule that they have to invest in our commonly held and already strained municipal infrastructure if they want our government to “buy in” and support their dreams of avarice.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If I was able to snap my fingers and make wishes come true, I’d bring actual progressive democrats like Al Smith and LaGuardia back to life so that they could wipe the floors with our current crop of Electeds who are self described “progressives.”

The Little Flower would, I have no doubt, take issue with the idea of converting playgrounds in Public Housing projects over to building sites for luxury towers. Of course, reviving the Happy Warrior and Little Flower into our world of the living might have the unintended consequence of bringing Robert Moses back to life as well, and that’s the revenant who would shake the pillars of Municipal heaven itself.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the end of my little sojourn, and approaching the appointed time for that aforementioned social engagement which brought me to this despoiled and overbuilt island of Manhattan, my journey across the low ended with getting high. This shot is from a roof in the Tenderloin section along Broadway in the 20’s.

This neighborhood along Broadway in the 20’s used to be a nest of high end hotels and theaters back in the 19th century. 28th street was known as “Tin Pan Alley” back then, and it’s where Gershwin and others had their offices. Before Times Square was the theater district, it was Broadway in the 20’s.  It’s known as the “Tenderloin” due to the number of whore houses and speakeasy locations that used to be here, and the easy graft which the local precinct commander received to look the other way.

The fellow who is attributed as having christened it as the “Tenderloin,” as it was the best and most tender cut of meat a cop could expect to receive during his careers, was a legendary Tammany favorite – Inspector Alexander “Clubber” Williams. 

Upcoming tours and events:


“First Calvary Cemetery” walking tour
with
Brooklyn Brainery, Saturday, October 8th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Click here for tickets.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 4, 2016 at 11:30 am

foul emanation

leave a comment »

The best thing about Manhattan is seeing it from somewhere else.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A couple of Saturdays ago, one found himself at Hunters Point in anticipation of the so called “Manhattanhenge” event. Largely rained out and occluded by stormy weather on the actual date of the astronomical curiousity, it nevertheless provided me with the excuse to tote the tripod and camera down to the east river and do some long exposure shots of the shining city.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I was actually a day early for the “full monty” of Manhattanhenge, but that didn’t really bother me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The rest of Memorial Day weekend was filled in with social obligation, and this was my only opportunity to hang around the water for a spell. Back tomorrow with something a bit more substantial than some pretty pictures.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 6, 2016 at 11:00 am

gleaming vividly over

with 4 comments

Damnation isn’t a mass market kind of product, it’s personalized and tailored to fit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It has long been my assertion, when discussing subjects involving the occult and or supranatural, that there is no “one size fits all” sort of thing to describe hell. Demons are geniuses, in the Greek sense of the word, and hell doesn’t have specific zip codes for specific sins. For one such as myself, the legendary torments of Gehenna would take the form of either a never ending subway trip or waiting for train to arrive whilst needing to urinate. If you’ve been at the 34th street IND station during the summer months while needing to piss, I’m sure you’ll agree with me.

It is my firm belief, in fact, that many of the characters you meet down in the transit labyrinth are in fact damned souls – which would actually explain a lot of things – the running water, that weird smell, why it’s so warm down there. Aquinas and Origen both described hell as the absence and tacit abandonment of God itself, and if there’s any place that you can be assured that God has abandoned you – it’s the 42nd street subway complex.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The guy selling candy bars and magazines who spends his days and nights in a concrete box on the NQR platform? I’ll allow you to speculate what he did while alive to deserve this afterlife.

I get in trouble with some of you occasionally for referring to “God” as an “it.” I’m all for anthromorphising non human extra-dimensional intelligences and all, but should this entity actually exist – it’s an “it” and not a he or a she. Agnosticism has always served me best, and there are philosophical currents in Buddhism which advise that spending too much of your life pondering spiritual matters is not what the universe – or “it” – intended when they incarnated you into the meatspace which back me up on this idea. If there is an afterlife, I’ll have to pay my check when I leave the table, but in the meantime I intend to continue eating and drinking heartily until the bad news comes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in a prior post, for some reason I’ve begun to mentally refer to Manhattan as “Manchuquo” which is coincidentally similar to the name which the Japanese Empire assigned to its holdings in Manchuria during the 1930’s and 40’s. At any rate, while standing on a platform in what I believe to be the first circle of hell – The NYC Subway system – in Manchuquo, it occurred to me that’s it’s been a while since I read Aquinas, or Marcus Aurelius. Have to find and download some audiobooks for those two – simply for the reason that I can win rhetorical arguments with the NYC EDC by quoting them.

Hell, I need to listen to something intelligent while wandering around the City of Greater New York… Do you suppose that if the Subway is – as asserted – the first circle of hell, that Manhattan might just be purgatory?

It certainly does feel like it.

Upcoming Events and Tours

Saturday, May 21st at 3:30 p.m. –
A Return to The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek,
with Atlas Obscura, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Click here for more details.

Thursday, May 26th at 6 p.m. –
Brooklyn Waterfront: Past & Present Boat Tour,
with Working Harbor Committee. Click here for more details.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 17, 2016 at 11:00 am

pedantic overexposure

with one comment

Manhattan is an “only when necessary” destination.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the little diatribes I’m known for concerns Manhattan, specifically the section of it found below 96th street and above the Battery. Once, this was an interesting place. There is still some interesting architecture to observe, of course, but the chances of encountering anything that isn’t crass and or exploitative are pretty much nil these days. Seven bucks for a hot dog? Really?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The only reason a humble narrator ever goes there anymore involves where my physicians have set up their offices, the catching of a ferry to Staten Island, or attending some harbor related function.

It’s sanitized, Manhattan is, and having had all of its edges sanded down has resulted in it becoming quite bland. Rich people and tourists are, by definition, not terribly interesting. Most of what you’ll find at the street level – shop wise, has become banal. The entire island was once brightly colored, but there has been so much bleach applied to it over the years…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent appointment with my team of Doctors required me to visit the island, and I took the opportunity to perambulate from 59th street to Union Square – roughly two miles. Two miles in North Brooklyn or Western Queens would have seen me return to HQ with literally hundreds of shots of interesting things I’d encountered. The Manhattan walk resulted in about 15 shots.

Above, a film crew at work nearby Union Square Park, is included simply because it’s part of a larger series of “Photographing Photographers while they’re Photographing.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thankfully, after a clean bill of health was pronounced by the professional staff at my Doctor’s office, a chariot back to the bountiful vistas of Queens arrived at the Subway station just as I did. The best part of visiting Manhattan is leaving it behind.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 25, 2016 at 1:00 pm

%d bloggers like this: