The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘NYPD’ Category

visible reality

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It’s Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day, in the Nation of Canada.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Owing to other obligations and piss poor weather conditions for the last couple of weeks, one hasn’t got anything new to show you for this week. Accordingly, it has been decided to instead present a few archive shots of the various branches of NYC government which make life liveable for us here in “Home Sweet Hell.”

Today, the focus is on the NYPD – the indomitable Police Department of New York City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You react one of two ways when the NYPD arrives – you either curse your fate, or you thank your lucky stars they’re there. Most of the cops I’ve known over the years are the very definition of “laconic” when describing their workday lives. World weariness is the consequence of spending your time in the company of those who are having an awful day. It might be the worst day of your life, but to the cops it’s just another day at work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

NYPD officers notoriously dislikebeing photographed while pursuing their duties, which is fair enough. Saying that, if they’re in uniform and out in public, anything they do is inherently interesting to one such as myself. Even if it’s the mundane task of removing an inebriate from a subway car in Flushing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a lot of subdivision units in the NYPD, populated with specialists. The Emergency Services Unit has always held a certain fascination for me. If the regular patrol officer can be analogized to being a soldier, the ESU officer can also be described as being a Special Forces Green Beret or a NAVY Seal. They’re a small army of Batmen.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

NYPD also maintains a small navy, the Harbor Unit. Seldom commented upon, the harbor unit was originally formed to combat pirates on the East River back in the 19th century. They’re supposed to be outfitted with cutlasses, in addition to side arms, but the modern day crews don’t seem to carry any swords.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 14, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in NYPD, Photowalk

Tagged with ,

ominous gossip

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It’s International Safer Internet Day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, one found himself wandering about in legend cloaked and shadows haunted Greenpoint when my footsteps carried me past the beacon like NYPD’s 94th pct. house. The bulls are penned up here, on Meserole, and they like to keep it nice and bright. There’s a real sense of solidity to this building, and it’s somewhat evocative of a fortress. One wishes that the 114th pct. here in Astoria enjoyed such lush and stolid accommodations.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is preoccupied at the moment, given the recent release of the “Deck over the Sunnyside Yards” feasibility study by the NYC EDC at the behest of our Mayor – the Dope from Park Slope. It’s a massive document, and full of arcane detail to process and respond to.

Its arrival means that Western Queens has arrived at an existential threshold, and that my home is now threatened.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Accordingly, posts such as today’s and yesterday’s are somewhat truncated. One does not have the luxury of wandering around the Greenpoint Historic District and marveling at times gone by and the architectural monuments to earlier times.

The battle for Queens is afoot. 


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm

muffled conversation

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There was quite a hullabaloo, here in Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One received a text from a neighbor on the night of October 30th that there had been a vehicle collision involving the local gendarmes here in Astoria, so I grabbed the camera and headed down to take a look at what happened.

The NYPD unit involved was from the local precinct, the 114,  and they had collided – at speed- with a civilian vehicle at the intersection of 45th street here on Broadway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given that I’m a “yenta” and the whole neighborhood knows it, the neighbors began relating the story to me.

Apparently, the NYPD unit was in one of those big hurries that they periodically display, the kind when they don’t have their sirens or lights on. My understanding is that this is procedure when they’re trying to catch someone surreptitiously by sneaking up on them, or they’re enroute to assist another officer who is in a dicey situation.

Observationally, when Cops blow a light just cause they want to, they perform what could be best described as a rolling stop while doing so. They can also park pretty much anywhere they want to, and I see both as perks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the local Greeks informed me that he had witnessed the incident. The cops were moving through a red light at the corner of 45th street and Broadway at a considerable velocity when they contacted the front end of a sedan which was proceeding at speed through the green light. They tore the front end of the civilian car up, but neither car’s occupants were seriously hurt. That’s what the Greek guy said.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the bumper of the sedan, which was being operated by a fairly young guy who had two passengers with him. They were instructed to park around the corner, and seemed – to me at least – as quite anxious. On Broadway itself, there were multiple NYPD people investigating the event. There were ambulances, looking loo civilians like me, and the usual emergency crew that the City’s got.

Of course the three kids were anxious, how would you feel if you had just rammed a cop car?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I ran into a couple of officers from the 114 a couple of days later (long story) and inquired as to the condition and health of their comrades. They informed that the two officers in the unit were fine, but had taken a couple of days off to recuperate nevertheless. No word on the three kids, however.

My personal belief is that all five participants in the accident probably had to go shopping for new underwear.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 11, 2016 at 11:00 am

hidden and unsuspected

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Are they ever called “on purposes”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having finally achieved landfall in… Staten Island, after a lengthy journey through the rotting tunnels of the Subway that lead from Astoria to lower Manhattan and across the harbor on the Staten Island Ferry, one was happily ensconced in an automobile when this scene was witnessed. The pair of NYPD officers seemed to be discussing a recent accident. Got me to thinking about traffic, and traffic accidents.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One remembers a few screw ups from when I was first licensed to drive, in particular there was a crunched door panel in a Ralph Avenue strip mall parking lot which was my fault ultimately (misjudged my turning radius) that cost an astronomical amount (to an 18 year old back in the 80’s ) for me to put right. Never experienced the sort of thing in the shot above, which still puzzles me from the physics point of view, as it would have taken a LOT of energy to get that wheel up off the ground. This was on Jackson Avenue in LIC, incidentally.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This NYPD patrol car had its lights on and was in the process of responding to a call with great haste when the officers lost control of the vehicle. They were speeding down 44th street in Astoria and ran afoul of uneven pavement encountered when crossing Broadway. Witnesses reported that they gained altitude after their wheels hit a rise in the intersection. The cops totaled a parked Taxi, struck several other parked cars, and came to a halt only after smashing into a tree – which they creamed. The boys in blue, I inquired with the local Precinct Commander afterwards, had a few bangs and bruises but were ultimately ok and returned to duty shortly afterwards.

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Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, November 8th, Poison Cauldron
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Note: This is the last Newtown Creek walking tour of 2014, and probably the last time this tour will be presented in its current form due to the Kosciuszko Bridge construction project. 

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 5, 2014 at 11:00 am

shall vex

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A baited trap, in LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everyone knows about the particular predilection that the Gendarme has for those toroids of fried and sweetened dough which are commonly called Donuts, and it is simply “messed up” that someone seems to using one as bait. Should a hungry constable happen along and happily reach for this confection, what sort of snare might be triggered? Is this a cop trap of some kind? What’s hidden inside that duct or pipe?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The funny thing about the cop/donut myth is that it really isn’t true. Most of the police officers I’ve met over the years were actually in pretty good shape, and the ones who weren’t in wholesome condition owed it to a love of the brewer’s art rather than that of the baker’s. Still one wonders how many innocent but hungry servants of the realm hereabouts have been ensnared on this LIC block, adjoining Skillman Avenue?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Commonly held, the mythology about American Police and their love for donuts is reasonably predicated upon the frequent observation of unit cars and uniformed personnel, by the citizenry at large, congregating at locations commonly called “Donut Shops.” Simply answered, even if your job is to drive around a neighborhood for eight hours at a pop, you still need to pee and or buy coffee periodically – an endless cycle in itself – and sharing a common location for such activity allows units to compare notes on the days events. Donut shops are open late, as are the Police. It’s messed up that someone is setting out donut baited snares though, and provides for a worrisome development within this, our Newtown Pentacle.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 31, 2014 at 9:30 am

uneasy voices

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Quite the hullabaloo over in Astoria last Friday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Rainy, last Friday evening, a sudden explosion of sirens and a characteristic strobing of red and white light announced that members of the Fire Department had arrived to pursue their occupation. I grew interested when Rescue 4 showed up, which I understand to be a sort of mobile command post and which I’ve only seen when the situation is truly serious.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There were two crewed trucks, a hook and ladder unit and an engine unit. In addition, the Rescue 4 truck and this “Haz Tac” unit arrived on scene along with a couple of ambulances. The setting is Broadway in Astoria, by the way, between 43rd and 44th streets.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There were enough FDNY personnel down there to start a soccer team, but they all seemed to be milling about, rather than the rushing around and “crash bang” action which normally describes the pursuit of their occupation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

NYPD sent an ESU (Emergency Services Unit) truck as well as a highway patrol and several ordinary unit cars, and being the nosey sort, this motivated me to throw the filthy black raincoat on and find out what was going on.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The municipal employees were tight lipped, as usual, but my network of local Croatians had already created a cogent narrative. The whole thing revolved around this van.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As transmitted to me by the Istrian witnesses, there was an accident. A typical fender bender with no injuries, the driver of the van nevertheless fled the scene and abandoned the vehicle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some unknown municipal threshold must have been achieved, in terms of ascertaining the threat posed by the vehicle, and the FDNY began to pack up and leave. NYPD got busy with traffic cones and redirecting traffic. One wonders, however, what triggered this massive response to an abandoned van.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 9, 2013 at 9:20 am

sluggish river

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Maritime Sunday witnesses a somber duty.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The infamous Newtown Creek, at its junction with the East River, flows languidly between Greenpoint in Brooklyn and Long Island City in Queens. This post is being written on Friday the 18th, and at the time of this writing, a young fellow named Avonte is still missing. Avonte Oquendo, a 14 year old Autistic boy, wandered out of his school in LIC on October 4th and has been missing ever since. To their credit, the NYPD is leaving no stone unturned in the search for the kid, which includes my beloved Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Patrol Boat 315, a SAFE boat, was recently observed combing the shoreline. One of my informants on the Brooklyn side told me that they had witnessed NYPD individually checking the private boats which proliferate on the Queens side as part of the so called “Vernon Boat Sanctuary.” Descriptions of uniformed patrol units working in concert with the harbor units have all reached my ears. The sky has been alive with helicopters as well, which I can personally attest to.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Today’s Maritime Sunday shout out goes to the uniformed crew of 315, tirelessly searching Newtown Creek for a local kid who’s in trouble. If you’ve got any info about Avonte or his whereabouts, his family is absolutely sick with worry. Avonte is described as 5-foot-3 and weighs about 125 pounds. He was last seen wearing a grey striped shirt and black jeans.

Those with information are asked to contact the NYPD at 800-577-TIPS.

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