The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Grand Central Station’ Category

terrific thundering

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s been a long time since I was inside of Grand Central Station, I tell you. After my visit to the Times Square Ferris Wheel, detailed in last week’s postings, a quick walk found a humble narrator heading towards the 7 train which allowed some quiet time for contemplation. In recent months, I’ve been avoiding listening to music or audiobooks through my headphones in the name of pure paranoia and wanting to ensure that my auditory “early warning system” was and is in no way impeded.

The streets ain’t so friendly these days, especially at night in the relatively deserted and depopulated midtown business districts of Manhattan. I mean… that photo above is Grand Central on a Monday night at about 8 o’clock. Outside, it was like a zombie movie, only with groups of teenagers riding around on bikes and texting each other after they rode past you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My plan for getting out of dodge involved taking the 7 line subway back to Queens and then transferring over to an Astoria bound N train. What I was contemplating in this particular interval isn’t for public consumption quite yet, but there are weighty decisions being weighed behind my eyeglasses, even while you’re reading this post.

The saturated color profiles of today’s photos were intentional, incidentally. Always playing around with look and feel, me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Descending into Manhattan’s depths, it was absolutely bizarre moving through this particular space in solo fashion. Grand Central is defined by crowds and masses, and unending hordes of the human infestation. It’s beyond odd to be solitary anywhere in this building, let alone riding an escalator designed to carry thousands every hour all by yourself.

The 7 station here is very, very deep.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My pal Hank the Elevator Guy will expound endlessly about how deadly escalators can be. He points out that the actual mechanism of an escalator is fundamentally the same as that of an industrial meat grinder. It apparently doesn’t take much in the way of mechanical malfunction for the stairs to open up and pull you inside.

Most of that electronic sign’s messaging equipment in the shot above is burnt out, but the surviving LED’s on it say “Children should.” It doesn’t say what the children should, it just says they should. It is, after all, the MTA.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The most terrifying of MTA’s escalators are on the 7, incidentally. The Grand Central ones are just claustrophobic and deep, but it’s the ones at Hudson Yards that are actually vertigo introducing. Many have been the times that I worried about falling down a set of these moving stairs to an ignominious death.

I don’t mind the thought of dying. I mind the thought of dying in a stupid or comical way. Having an air conditioner fall out of a window on me, or down a flight of steps, or in some ironic circumstance. “Yeah, you heard what happened to Waxman? He died in a vat of molten wax at a candle factory.” At the beginning of Covid, I swore that I wouldn’t get sick as I couldn’t take a chance on dying at the Javitz Center. That’s a punk place to check out, yo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the 7 platform, deep under Grand Central, the IRT Flushing Line – or 7 train – arrived just as I ran into a friend from LIC whom I haven’t seen since New Years of 2020. Good times, taking the subway.

Back tomorrow with something entirely different 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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 6, 2021 at 11:00 am

latent idiosyncrasies 

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It’s National Creamsicle Day, in these United States. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whilst watching a bird eating some random drunk’s vomit here in Astoria recently, a humble narrator found himself contemplating the news of the day. One soon realized that he’d rather watch a bird feeding on puke than deep dive into another pointless conversation about the news of the day. Nazis…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is disgusted, depressed, and despondent.  

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I just do not have anything to say. I just can’t. 

Upcoming Tours and events

Two Newtown Creek Boat Tours, with Newtown Creek Alliance and Open House NY – Wednesday August 16th, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The neighborhoods surrounding Newtown Creek are home to the densest collection of these garbage facilities anywhere in the city and collectively, the waste transfer stations around and along Newtown Creek handle almost 40% of the waste that moves through New York. Join Newtown Creek Alliance’s Mitch Waxman and Willis Elkins  to learn about the ongoing efforts to address the environmental burden that this “clustering” has caused. details here.

DUPBO Newtown Creek Walking Tour, with NYCH20 – Thursday August 24th, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Explore Greenpoint and Hunters Point, with NCA Historian Mitch Waxman details here.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 14, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Hermes Trismegistus

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Jules-Felix Coutan designed “Glory of Commerce” for Grand Central Terminal in 1911. A neat contemporaneous account of the construction of this statuary, which was carved in Long Island City I would add (by the firm of William Bradley & Son, 547 Vernon Avenue, which I suspect to have been located somewhere around Queensbridge Park), and can be accessed at

from wikipedia

The Hermetic literature added to the Egyptian concerns with conjuring spirits and animating statues that inform the oldest texts, Hellenistic writings of Greco-Babylonian astrology and the newly developed practice of alchemy (Fowden 1993: pp65–68). In a parallel tradition, Hermetic philosophy rationalized and systematized religious cult practices and offered the adept a method of personal ascension from the constraints of physical being, which has led to confusion of Hermeticism with Gnosticism, which was developing contemporaneously.

As a divine source of wisdom, Hermes Trismegistus was credited with tens of thousands of writings of high standing, reputed to be of immense antiquity. Plato’s Timaeus and Critias state that in the temple of Neith at Sais, there were secret halls containing historical records which had been kept for 9,000 years. Clement of Alexandria was under the impression that the Egyptians had forty-two sacred writings by Hermes, encapsulating all the training of Egyptian priests. Siegfried Morenz has suggested (Egyptian Religion) “The reference to Thoth’s authorship…is based on ancient tradition; the figure forty-two probably stems from the number of Egyptian nomes, and thus conveys the notion of completeness.” The Neo-Platonic writers took up Clement’s “forty-two essential texts”.

The Hermetica, is a category of papyri containing spells and initiatory induction procedures. In the dialogue called the Asclepius (after the Greek god of healing) the art of imprisoning the souls of demons or of angels in statues with the help of herbs, gems and odors, is described, such that the statue could speak and engage in prophecy. In other papyri, there are recipes for constructing such images and animating them, such as when images are to be fashioned hollow so as to enclose a magic name inscribed on gold leaf.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 21, 2012 at 12:15 am

A Recommend…

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Hermès Trismégiste at Grand Central Station – photo by Mitch Waxman

The day after the Newtown Creek Cruise, your humble narrator was feeling a bit worse than usual. For one such as myself, cursed by fatigue and a surfeit of personal discipline, the rigors of organizing the trip and speaking before the crowd were nearly overwhelming. Despite this, I decided to attend a walking tour in Manhattan the next day- Occult America with Mitch Horowitz, presented by the Observatory room and Phantasmaphile.


OBSERVATORY is an art and events space in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Founded in February 2009 and run by a group of seven artists and bloggers, the space seeks to present programming inspired by the 18th century notion of “rational amusement” and is especially interested in topics residing at the interstices of art and science, history and curiosity, magic and nature. The space hosts screenings, lectures, classes, and exhibitions, and is part of the Proteus Gowanus art complex. It is located at 543 Union Street (at Nevins), and is accessed through Proteus Gowanus Gallery’s entrance. OBSERVATORY’s gallery hours are 3-6pm on Thursdays and Fridays; and 12-6pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Observatory is:
Joanna Ebenstein – multi-disciplinary artist, author of Morbid Anatomy, and keeper of The Morbid Anatomy Library, Michelle Enemark – author and photographer of Curious Expeditions, Pam Grossman – curator and author of Phantasmaphile, G.F. Newland – animator and illustrator, Wythe Marschall – writer and co-founder of the Hollow Earth Society, Dylan Thuras – video editor and author of Curious Expeditions, and James Walsh – video and book artist.

The Opal faced clock at the center of Grand Central Terminal– photo by Mitch Waxman

The day was gloomy, which fit the mood I was in. Misty reminisces of my buddy Bernie were unavoidable for me during the Creek Cruise, and the sleep deficit suffered during the week leading up to the trip had weighed heavily upon me physically. A double dose of those esoteric potions which my doctors require me to ingest were required to just leave the house, and a profound desire to not speak a single word beyond whatever was necessary to negotiate my way around the city was in my thoughts. Mr. Horowitz pulled a large and interested crowd, and your humble narrator walked amongst them, ever an outsider and alone even in company.


Mitch Horowitz is a writer and publisher of many years’ experience with a lifelong interest in man’s search for meaning. He is the editor-in-chief of Tarcher/Penguin in New York and the author of Occult America (Bantam), which The Washington Post Book World called: “Fascinating…a serious, wide-ranging study of all the magical, mystical, and spiritual movements that have arisen and influenced American history in often-surprising ways.” The book received the 2010 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for literary excellence.

The Lamasery – photo by Mitch Waxman

The thematic narrative offered was well presented, and the presentation of the material was enhanced by a well provided and quite recognizable series of head, hand, and finger gestures which have been used by Mediums and Seers for centuries to enthrall. A core notion was hammered home, the suffusion of mainstream American culture by a thread of so called Occult lore and practice which though hidden, has helped to shape the mindset of modernity. He expounds and presents his theory in the book “Occult America” which is easily found and available from online book sellers in a variety of formats.

If you believe in the “power of positive thinking”, or practice “Yoga”, or attended “Kindergarden” or an “AA” meeting, or believe that “all religions worship the same god, just in different ways”, Mr. Horowitz is talking to you.


Long before the “Aquarian Age” hit California, America’s laboratories of spiritual experiment were in the tenements of Hell’s Kitchen, the metaphysical churches built in New York’s old cow pastures, and the lodges nestled among Manhattan office buildings. Join Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America, for a walking tour to explore New York City’s astonishing – and overlooked – role in igniting the occult revival and the revolutions in alternative spirituality that swept America (and the world) from the nineteenth century to the present day.

Mitch Horowitz – photo by Mitch Waxman

I’d recommend any and all interested parties to monitor Mr. Horowitz’s website for news of further tours. The walk was not rigorous, taking place entirely In midtown Manhattan and included one or two massive revelations which even your humble narrator was surprised by.



By the 1830s and 40s, a region of central New York State called “the Burned-Over District” (so-named for its religious passions) became the magnetic center for the religious radicalism sweeping the young nation. Stretching from Albany to Buffalo, it was the Mt. Sinai of American mysticism, giving birth to new religions such as Mormonism and Seventh-Day Adventism, and also to the spread of Spiritualism, Mesmerism, mediumship, table-rapping, séances, and other occult sensations – many of which mirrored, and aided, the rise of Suffragism and related progressive movements.

The nation’s occult culture gave women their first opportunity to openly serve as religious leaders – in this case as spirit mediums, seers, and channelers. America’s social and spiritual radicals were becoming joined, and the partnership would never fade.

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