The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Project Firebox’ Category

frenzied letters

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Wednesday photos, from the before time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

More archive shots, captured during the before times, greet you today. These were captured prior to the Trumpists adopting the banner of the White Hand of Saruman, chopping down the forests at Isengard, and birthing the fighting Uruk Hai. They also predate Antifa joining that rebel army led by that pretty blonde woman with the three dragons, or the sudden revelation that all of the world’s rodents are annoyingly sentient. That press conference led by the rabbits and capybaras blew my mind, yo.

Today, I decided to revisit “Project Firebox.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Project Firebox was something which I spent a decent enough amount of time on when Newtown Pentacle first began to publish. These ubiquitous municipal alarm boxes were under threat back then, in the before time, as the Mayoral administrations of both Giuliani and Bloomberg had decided that the things were unneeded and redundant. After all, “everybody” carries a cell phone now, so why would you need to maintain – expensively – what’s essentially a network of telegraph boxes which are responsible for a high percentage of false alarms?

Both Mayors basically wanted to sack the electricians at FDNY who maintain these pieces of street furniture. Luckily, the current Mayor hasn’t decided that the red boxes are responsible for racism (yet) and thusly isn’t aware of their existence. Of course, the current Mayor is only capable of perceiving things when they fit into his political agendas, and he has not eaten the Eden fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil. This is why he’s often surprised by mundane or common things which the rest of us take for granted.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has moved on from Project Firebox in recent years, thusly.

As a note, last night I was watching a reality TV series called “Alone” which drops it’s survivalist contestants with a very limited set of tools into rugged wild areas to see what might happen. I found this an interesting cultural artifact of the before times. The fellow I was rooting for was an Air Force search and rescue specialist, who had managed to easily surpass the challenges of living in the wild tundra forest within a week and set up a comfortable, secure, and well fed existence using a pocket knife, saw, and a few fish hooks. After a few weeks, he got bored and called for extraction to the show’s producers. The rest of the cast was starving, stabbing themselves accidentally, or burning down their shelters due to careless attitudes towards fire.

If FDNY ain’t close, pay close attention to open flame, I always say.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, July 6th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates as we move into April and beyond, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


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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

July 8, 2020 at 3:00 pm

flushed and excited

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Come on now, this is just someone messing with my head.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The other day, Friday to be exact, a buddy of mine who is new to the neighborhood was subjected to a short examination of the tripartite borders of Sunnyside, Woodside, and Astoria. We found ourselves on Skillman Avenue headed for Roosevelt Avenue when this scene presented itself. Like some sort of monstrous hybridization of “Project Firebox” and the “Mystery of the Single Shoes,” this mysterious tableau shed its birth caul and revealed itself to us.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in the past, a pet theory that there’s a serial killer stalking the concrete devastations of Western Queens and North Brooklyn who leaves single shoes in deserted places has taken root in my mind. Having published several posts about the phenomena at this – your Newtown Pentacle – the sociopath has likely found out that I’ve noticed him and has begun leaving trophies for me to find. The firebox thing makes it obvious. Who else notices fireboxes?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m going to refer to the hidden menace, who must be an ever watchful and lurking fear, as “The Queens Cobbler” from now one, and and I’m going to double knot the laces of my shoes whenever I leave the house. I will never wear loafers again, and have long avoided the perils of sandal or flip flops. The Queens Cobbler will not drag me partially bare footed into that good night.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 10, 2014 at 9:30 am

Project Firebox 102

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An ongoing catalog of New York’s endangered Fireboxes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Perpetual darkness is the lot of this lonely firebox, found over on the outskirts of Woodside. Apartment monoliths on one side, highways on the other, it seems to be in a delitorious state of repair as evinced by the way its alarm handle is deployed. Better days await us all, my friends, better days spent gamboling about in the sunny corridors of Queens.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 4, 2014 at 7:30 am

Project Firebox 101

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An ongoing catalog of New York’s endangered Fireboxes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When I told my Grandmother that I wished to grow up to be an artist around age 10, she clutched at her bosom and cried out “you’ll be a bum on da Bowery mid a needle in dein arm.” The Jewish version of crossing herself, which is doing the dishes, followed. This firebox has seen the bums come and go on the Bowery, and is always ready to summon help whether you are the dispossessed or merely one of the gentry.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Project Firebox 100

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An ongoing catalog of New York’s endangered Fireboxes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The scarlet still stands in Hunters Point, although the neighborhood is unrecognizable.

Pepsi is long gone, as are National Sugar, the LIRR Power House, and the Daily News- but a noble firebox still stands at the ready. Here, in the capital of “wiping away the old New York” and “changing the skyline forever,” there is at least a single pole star of continuity. Rock on firebox, rock on.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 14, 2013 at 7:30 am

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