The Newtown Pentacle

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eye holes

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Tuesday, inevitably.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All of this walking is a drag. What a humble narrator wants, nay needs, is a set of wheels. I don’t want one of your Camry’s or Buick’s either, what I want is a truly onerous vehicle. The sort of thing George Peppard and Ernest Borgnine would roll around with after a nuclear apocalypse in a 1970’s movie of the week. A vehicle with a dashboard switch for electrifying the fenders, puncture and bullet proof tires, and some sort of sonic deterrent anti-crowd mechanism mounted on the roof. I’d call it my “mobile oppression platform” or “MOP.” It would be a mighty vehicle, armored enough to drive through schools, and the entire thing would be outfitted with cameras to record the indignation of those unlucky enough to exist outside of it.

Within, I’d recreate a 1960’s American split level ranch house. Decor wise, it would look a great deal like Mike and Carol Brady’s place on the old tv show about their bunch, but with odd panels of knobs and blinking lights which control the external defensive mechanisms – flame throwers, barbed wire whips, steam jets.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Me and the MOP would be constantly moving, mainly to avoid answering the NYPD’s questions about the puddles of scarlet viscera we’d be scattering. Hull armor notwithstanding, personal security is no joke. “Van Life” has become a “thing” and particularly so during the pandemic. I’m seeing literally hundreds of RV’s and specially kitted out cargo vans that people are living in all over Brooklyn and Queens these days. Go to YouTube and type “van life” into the search bar and you’ll soon discover that this is a “thing.”

Obviously, none of these people are from Brooklyn, where certain habits acquired during the 1980’s saw people like me breaking glass bottles and cementing them to the window’s outside sills to keep the crackheads out. Inside, you’d keep a collection of hollow metal things which would make a clattering sound should someone knock them over while climbing through your window – allowing you enough time to grab one of the many weapons you had hidden around the apartment for easy use. What? You don’t have a pipe dressed up in electrical tape sticking out from under your mattress? What are you, some kind of hippie?

Nobody, and I mean nobody, will make it into the Mobile Oppression Platform uninvited. I’ll have trained guard Ferrets with fricking lasers mounted on their heads inside. Moe, Larry, Curly – three of them.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’d really like the MOP to have some sort of anti-gravity plate mounted on the bottom, as such kit would allow me to float about Damnation Alley with nary a care. Wheeled vehicles are stuck to the ground, after all, which means they consume a lot of fuel. Despite the fantastic amount of energy a nuclear reactor would offer, you still need a considerable amount of ancillary equipment to convert that energy into available electric or mechanical energy and that would impede the MOP’s mid century modern decor within. I’d like to install an engine thereby which spews as much pollution as possible, and burns bricks of sulphur just for effect.

I imagine the MOP as being about the length of three city buses, and about twenty five feet in height. There would be antennae as well, but you can always rig those back. This wouldn’t be a vehicle, this would be an Iron Man suit you sit inside of, my Mobile Oppression Platform.

I’m waiting for my stimulus check from the Patriarchy to arrive, then heading over to Northern Blvd. to go MOP shopping.


“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 20, 2021 at 11:30 am

remotely preceding

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Monday’s, amirite?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My dream for Dutch Kills, post superfund, involves carnivorous plants. Just imagine how cool it would to visit this Long Island City tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek and look down on a quivering shoreline with thousands of tiny mouths snapping their flowery jaws at you. You’d carry a bit of meat there – jerky, raw, whatever – tossing it down towards the undulating banks of green, purple, and scarlet iridescence. Small birds and rats would become stuck in the vegetative glue and winding tendrils of this carpet of carnivores, and we certainly wouldn’t have to worry about mosquitoes or gnats anymore here in the Degnon Terminal. Speciation wise, I’m thinking pitcher plants, sundews, bladderworts, and or butterworts.

I’d also like to see all sorts of lizard living here. The little gecko looking buggers you see at the cemeteries in Woodside and Maspeth somehow survive the winters, so let’s get a bunch of whatever the hell they are are start up a colony here. Also, we could use more bats, so bats. Giant spiders too. You get enough bats and giant spiders, you might be able to seed in some dog sized monitor lizards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Once we’ve established a sticky mat of flesh hungry plantings, populated every nook and cranny with eye licking lizards, web spurting Araneae, and every utility pole has a house designed for creepy bats – then we can begin a vetting process for mad scientists to take up residence in the ruins of some of these old factories. It’s been too long since somebody attempted to build their own race of atomic mutants back here in Long Island City. I’m wondering what a cross between a Coyote and a Baboon might look like. What could go wrong? We can tell everyone they’re artists.

Think of all the corollary industries which would prosper due to the super science sector basing itself here in LIC – clone tanks, giant electrodes, lightning gathering kites, steel restraining clamps – all of this could be made locally. I mean… weed and sodomy are now totally legal, we need to find a new frontier. I think “mad science” might be it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Giant robot work, however, is something which would need to be suppressed for climate change related issues. Purely biological, or even partially cybernetic, abominations are probably ok but we need to remember what happened over in Maspeth during the 1950’s after the aluminum plant was abandoned. It took the Marines an entire summer to get that one under control, and the area around Haberman has never fully recovered.

If you want to work with robots, I’d suggest instead finding a way to first control ants and then improvising a method for aggrandizing them to the size of cargo vans (you’d want to do it in that particular order, btw). Giant robots tend to get busted up by the military and then end up in a landfill, whereas you can compost the corpses of giant insects. Think about the future.

Even mad scientists need to be ecologically conscious these days, lords and ladies.


“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 19, 2021 at 11:00 am

more hexagonal

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Thursday is gristle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described previously, a humble narrator decided to inspect the Triborough Bridge’s rather well used bike and pedestrian path recently. It’s illegal to take photos up there, as I discovered post facto. When an Government Agency doesn’t want you taking photos somewhere, there’s usually a reason. The reason they give will involve the words “security” and or “terrorism,” whereas the words I’d offer include “corruption, incompetence, or malfeasance.”

So, who uses this pathway? Observationally, a lot of bike riders and pedestrians. What they encounter is an (incredibly) unlit and narrow space with stair cases that just sort of appear in front of you without warning.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The bike rider approaching my position above is also breaking the law, since the MTA Bridges and Tunnels operation instructs that riders on the bike path MUST dismount and walk their bikes. Quite obviously, this isn’t something that happens too often. I saw people riding on electric skateboards and scooters as well.

I’m actually planning on how and with whom I’m going to deal with on this subject. It makes me angry, especially so because Triborough is a toll bridge and fairly flush with maintenance budget cash, unlike the NYC DOT bridges like Queensboro or Brooklyn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, just as I git to one of the fairly steep stairs, a couple of riders with profoundly bright LED bike lights appeared. Their colorful light helped paint the picture, as it were, of what’s happening up here. Literally the only light other than automotive headlights was being pumped out by these two bikes. Luckily, I always carry a pocket flashlight, but sheesh.

Something different tomorrow, and this won’t be the last time you hear about this particular situation.


“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 15, 2021 at 1:00 pm

sentiently over

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Wednesdays just drizzle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, these photos are criminal in nature. Post 911, a lot of NYC became “no photo” zones. The press photographer’s association actually sued the MTA to guarantee the right to take photos in the subways, and as far as the East River and Hudson bridges go – they’re largely owned by three entities – Port Authority, NYC DOT, and MTA Bridges and Tunnels. PA and DOT were out of the banning photography business by 2008 or so, although you still encounter the odd Cop or Security Guard who’d aggressively inquire “why are you taking pictures”?

MTA, on the other hand never explicitly banned photography, instead they invoke some obscure “NY State Authorities” rule which offers the opinion that facilities like the Triborough Bridge are a) private property, b) that whether you’re on the thing or even around them you must follow all instructions on posted signs – even if the sign is missing or you’re not on “their” property. Technically speaking, everybody who’s taken a photo in Astoria Park of a kid’s birthday party which the Triborough is in the background of is a potential member of Al Quaeda to MTA. Remember them? Haven’t thought about Al Quaeda in years. Who’s the enemy nowadays?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Now, to my point of view, if the Government – and specifically the political patronage mill section of it called the MTA – doesn’t want you to take pictures of something, that’s precisely what you should be taking pictures of. To wit, you’re looking at the unlit and unmarked pedestrian/bike path of the Triborough above.

In some ways I was kind of hoping a cop would show up and ticket me for this, as I’d make a whole megillah out of it. Glad one didn’t, but if photography is such a burning security issue here where were the MTA cops? One way or another, I’m going to start talking about this with the people who sign MTA’s checks soon.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There isn’t a splash of glitter paint anywhere near the unlit stairwells which just appear in front of you in the dark. The path is set in such a manner that the headlights of oncoming bridge traffic are at eye level while you’re walking in deep shadow. There’s zero path lighting – a string of xmas LED lights secured to the deck would vastly improve things. Then there’s the section over the East River where the “Suicide Fencing” stops and you’re suddenly experiencing a waist high rail as the only thing standing between you and a 105 foot drop to the waters of Hells Gate…

Yeah, I bet there’s a bunch of reason they don’t want cameras up here.


“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 14, 2021 at 1:30 pm

inverse geometry

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Monday is da shizzle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What a busy weekend! This vaccinated thing is going great so far. More on that in a subsequent post.

The first two shots in today’s post were gathered in Long Island City, specifically the stretch of Borden Avenue which the Queens Midtown Expressway truss has positively loomed over since 1940, in the beginning of March. I tell you, lords and ladies, that the normal problem here at Newtown Pentacle is not being able to generate images quickly enough. Since I haven’t had as much to do during the pandemic, one thing I’ve kept busy with is shooting photos. I’m a good month ahead of myself these days, which is neat, but as the world starts back up I plan to get a bit more in sync with the seasons and current events.

Fed-Ex, like the other “last mile shipping” companies including Amazon and UPS, have been extremely busy for the last year. They’re also massively expanding their footprint around Newtown Creek. Newtown Creek Alliance recently worked with a graduate student named Geoff Storr on a policy brief about this expansion – which you can check out by clicking here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering around LIC, one of the things that jumps at me is the absolute sin of the wasted space under the Queens Midtown Expressway section of the Long Island Expressway. Specifically, this is the zone between Van Dam Street and the Queens Midtown Tunnel. Empty, used for illegal parking, illegal dumping, ugly.

There’s gotta be a better way!

A humble narrator is in the early stages of annoying an entirely different branch of the Government than the usual ones about this subject. In this case, the agency of record is the New York State Department of Transportation. I figure that since they’re all done with the Kosciuszcko Bridge project they must be looking for something new to do.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On my way back to HQ on a particularly pleasant evening, this chunk of construction equipment was noticed. This is part of the same operation which I’ve talked about before, who are working out a contract to bring the crosswalks and corners into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This involves “rekajiggering” the curb, pouring new concrete for the corner, and installing a “rumble strip” pad to provide tactile feedback to sight compromised or wheelchair users.

It provides me with something to take pictures of, so “win.”

Back tomorrow with more.


“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 12, 2021 at 1:00 pm

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