The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Shoe’ Category

piled coffins

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Friday odds and ends.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Queens Cobbler knows no shame, as evinced by the baby booty pictured above, which the probable serial killer left behind as a ghastly trophy and taunt on Northern Blvd. Babies, Cobbler?

Today’s post carries a few images I captured while doing something else or heading towards a location where I was intending to do some shooting. “Catch as catch can” shots like these fall under my category of “snapshots” rather than the ones I consider “photographs.” What’s the difference? “Intentionality” would be my answer.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To wit, that’s a fairly nice shot from the Celtic Park section of Sunnyside depicting the Empire State building rising on the horizon. I didn’t set out to get the shot, rather I was walking over to the Kosciuszcko Bridge to get some “photographs” and while crossing the street this image just jumped out at me. I’m not downplaying serendipity, and being ready for captures on the fly, but you could have just as easily gotten this shot with your phone as I did with the dslr I always have dangling off of me.

I’ve always got the camera ready to fire, as a note. Always.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay section, this butterfly suddenly appeared. How can the itinerant photographer not capture its splendor?

I’ll be conducting a tour on the NYC Ferry Soundview line tomorrow morning, link is below. Come with? Looks like it’s going to be a perfect summer day. Back Monday with something completely different at this, your Newtown Pentacle.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Upcoming Tours and Events


Saturday, August 10, 10 a.m. 12.00 p.m.

Exploring the East River, From General Slocum Disaster to Abandoned Islands – with NY Adventure Club.

June 15th is one of those days in NYC history. In 1904, more than a thousand people boarded a boat in lower Manhattan, heading for a church picnic on Long Island — only 321 of them would return. This is the story of the General Slocum disaster, and how New York Harbor, the ferry industry, and a community were forever altered.

Join New York Adventure Club for a two-part aquatic adventure as we explore the General Slocum disaster, and historic sights and stories along the East River, all by NYC Ferry.

Tickets and more details
 here.


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

August 9, 2019 at 1:00 pm

bearded stranger

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Long shadows.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found one sheltering from a passing band of precipitation over on the normally sunnier side of the neighborhood, and once the atmospheric wave had passed through a humble narrator began kicking his heels around in pursuance of returning to HQ. My northward path was a familiar one, as was the pensive and self reflective mood I was in. The odor of a not unpleasant smelling strain of marijuana which those two teenagers crossing the street above were smoking mingled with the musty smells of a wet and cold evening. The trees and gardens of Sunnyside Gardens added to the bouquet, as did the wet but creosoted wood of the railroad tracks and the oily street. I can capture audio and images, but I’ve got no methodology for transmitting the experience or quality of “smell,” other than describing it with words.

Is smell the new technological frontier, I wonder? Just imagine if I could deliver the smell of Newtown Creek or its tributaries, after a thunderstorm, to your inbox.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The forgotten sense, smell is. Humans are essentially audio visual beasts, I suppose, which is why there’s so much technology available out there that allows us to transmit what we see and hear. Personally, when the olfactory region isn’t too clogged up by seasonal allergies, I like to take a ripping “shnort” of the ambient. There’s a whole memory center associated with smell that’s almost never accessed. I can imagine something I’ve seen in the past, conjure up a sound or series of sounds, but can’t seem to tell my brain that I’d like to imagine the smell of toast or whatever.

Funny that, ain’t it? Life’s rich pageant and all this.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The scene above was encountered nearby Northern Blvd., and I can offer two possible explanations for it. One is that somebody was making a meal of a watermelon and drinking water from a red plastic cup when they were raptured.

The other is that the foul serial killer whom I have named as the “Queens Cobbler” has returned to the neighborhood and is leaving behind their gruesome trophies as a taunt to community and the Gendarmes alike.


“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

May 3, 2019 at 1:00 pm

blind courage

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Luggage, shoe, gloves – in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since I am a vast physical coward, and feckless quisling, the normalized habit of a humble narrator is to avoid the horror of meeting another’s gaze by staring down at the pavement while scuttling along his path. This helps one pretend that others are not pointing, laughing, or otherwise reacting in shocked horror as he waxes and wanes through their visual field. The plus is that I seldom miss the discarded items which others strew across the public way. Most modern New Yorkers seem to leave a debris field of manufactured items behind in their wake, much like a torpedo stricken merchant ship would as it steams inexorably forward into the open sea with a crew of dead and dying men onboard.

The suitcase pictured above… what redolent cargo might it have hidden? The fetus of an albino Gorilla? A fortune in narcotics? A few pairs of dirty socks and a t-shirt? Never will I know, having been too wracked with terror to investigate any further than by recording its presence photographically.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On 31st Avenue at Crescent Street in Astoria, just a few days after encountering the portentous luggage, evidence of the latest outrage by the Queens Cobbler was observed. A likely serial killer whose ghoulish delight is leaving behind a singular shoe as a taunt to law enforcement and wholesome community members alike, the Queens Cobbler has been mentioned many times at this – your Newtown Pentacle. Last Christmas, the monster signaled that he or she knew where my home address was – as described in this post. This isn’t the first time that I’ve found a child’s shoe, as a note.

I fear you no more than every other living human being, Cobbler, which is absolutely and completely.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Oddly enough, I’ve been seeing a lot of gloves lately, positioned neatly on the sidewalks upon which they were evulsed.

You don’t suppose that there’s a Queens Gaunter running about as well?


Upcoming Tours and Events

June 9th – Exploring Long Island City – with NY Adventure Club.

Long Island City is a tale of two cities; one filled with glittering water-front skyscrapers and manicured parks, and the other, a highly active ground transportation & distribution zone vital to the New York economy — which will prevail?

Tickets and more details
here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 31, 2018 at 11:00 am

frightened them

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The Queens Cobbler survived the cold, and Liberty walks the streets of Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve been spotting evidence, once again, that the Queens Cobbler is active and amongst us. A likely serial killer who leaves behind a single shoe as a taunt to both community and law enforcement, the Cobbler has been a subject mentioned so many times at this – your Newtown Pentacle – that the monster has actually tracked me down and left one of his ghoulish trophies on the ornamental fence surrounding Newtown Pentacle HQ last Christmas. One refuses to be cowed.

The boot above was spotted recently on Northern Blvd. nearby 39th avenue.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over in the still industrial section of Long Island City, not too far from Van Dam Street, the shoe above was noticed while a humble narrator was scuttling past. It is my belief that someday will a commercial self storage room, or an untenanted storeroom in some old factory, be opened and within will be hundreds and hundreds of single shoes – the mates to the ones which have been documented at this publication over the years. I believe the Cobbler keeps on of their victim’s shoes as a trophy, and discards the other as a taunt.

One would be hard pressed to describe the particular footwear of a missing loved one to the Police, I admit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On a completely different note, this fellow has been wandering up and down Broadway here in Astoria throughout tax preparation season. He’s apparently employed by a local shop, whose corporate branding revolves around the Statue of Liberty, that handles financial matters to act as a living signboard and busker to drive potential customers to their door.

I’ve enjoyed a brief conversation with the gentleman, who attests that the costume is actually quite warm and comfortable, which he’s been glad of given the recent cold snap. Everybody has to make a living, I guess.


Upcoming Tours and Events

April 29 – Bushwick-Ridgewood borderline Walking Tour – with Newtown Historical Society.

Join Kevin Walsh and Mitch Waxman as they take us along the border of Brooklyn and Queens, Bushwick and Ridgewood, with stops at English Kills, an historic colonial Dutch home, and all kinds of fun and quirky locations. End with an optional dinner on Myrtle Avenue before heading back to the Myrtle-Wyckoff subway station. Tix are only $5 so reserve your space today!
Tickets and more details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 18, 2018 at 1:00 pm

laboring vision

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Is this the Queens Cobbler at work, or a copycat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As long time readers of this, your Newtown Pentacle, are aware – I’ve been tracking the so called “single shoe phenomena” around Western Queens and North Brooklyn and have postulated that there might be a serial killer moving amongst us whom I’ve begun to refer to as “The Queens Cobbler.” The Cobbler, if I’m correct, leaves behind these bits of footwear as a taunting message to the community that he or she is amongst us. Disturbingly, for the last couple of weeks, the Cobbler’s pattern seems to have changed. As illustrated in the shot above, it looks like an entire family was taken on Skillman Avenue nearby the Sunnyside Yards, and that all six of their shoes were left behind.

Could there be a Queens Cobbler copycat at work?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over on Wythe Street in Williamsburg, a pair of child sized boots was observed, but this is clearly not the work of the Cobbler nor the pseudo Cobbler. Quite obviously, some hipster child found themselves lured into the baited rodent trap observed in the shot, losing their shoes as they crawled into the hole to get to the succulent offerings contained therein.

Whilst one applauds the idea for reducing the density of the human infestation in Williamsburg, this is truly “over the top.” In that tony neighborhood, the smarter move would be to set up a porta potty that promises free wifi, which would cause all the beautiful people to line up for a chance to enter the thing. Conductive plates would activate once the door was closed, parbroiling the Hipster within and leaving naught but an ash covered iphone and a bit of carbon dust.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Observed over in Glendale last weekend, something of a different character. This fence adjoins Highland Park, where the fabulous Ridgewood Reservoir is found. One can speculate about what occurred here, and as to why the iron fencing is bent out “Superman style,” but as with the various altars or the occult found in area cemeteries and the Queens Cobbler – one who inquires too deply into the mysteries of Queens might find out a bit more than they’ve bargained on.

Additionally, Working Harbor Committee officiates informed me last night that the May 31 Newtown Creek boat tour tickets are selling briskly – so if you’ve been sitting on the fence about whether or not to come along or not, now is the time to order and reserve your spot.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

May 3, 2015 –
DUBPO, Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp
with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman, a free tour offered as part of Janeswalk 2015, click here for tickets.

May 16, 2015 –
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills with Atlas Obscura

with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman, click here for details and tickets.

May 31, 2015 –
Newtown Creek Boat Tour
with Working Harbor Committee and Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman, click here for tickets.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 28, 2015 at 11:00 am

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.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 10, 2014 at 9:30 am

clumsy modification

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I call thee vibrant and diverse, names by which thou shalt be known.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bland and homogenous, the rest of New York City must be a wasteland ruled by a monolithic uniculture wherein all speak the same language and subsist on a flavorless protein paste. Woe to the quartet of other boroughs, for Queens has locked up all the color and intrigue, and it is both illegal and immoral to cook with curry or cumin in Staten Island or the Bronx. We got all the peppers out here as well, so enjoy your bland gravies Manhattanites.

I have come to this realization the last time somebody in the City reacted to the unexpected news that I live in Astoria with the ubiquitous “I love Queens, it’s so vibrant and diverse, and I was in Astoria sometime in the 70’s when I had Greek food.”

By the by, the two kids in the shot above had a small table with signage that read “everything, a dollar.”

from wikipedia

Astoria is a middle class and commercial neighborhood with a 154,000 population in the northwestern corner of the New York City borough of Queens. Located in Community Board 1, Astoria is bounded by the East River and is adjacent to three other Queens neighborhoods: Long Island City, Sunnyside (bordering at Northern Boulevard), and Woodside (bordering at 50th Street). Astoria is patrolled by the New York City Police Department’s 114th Precinct.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To begin with, Astoria ain’t all that Greek anymore, they’ve largely moved on and are renting out restaurant space to the highest bidder. The section I live in is equal parts Croatian, Brazilian, Mexican, Ecuadorean, African American, and everybody else is a product of the old 20th century melting pot. The societal engineering that drove my grandparents to speak heavily accented english is gone, and the best way to describe the modern system is to reference the old testament.

This “vibrant and diverse” thing drives me crazy, something that is touted by Manhattan liberals who live in vertical affluence and believe what Time Warner Cables’ NY1 tells them and who haven’t visited Queens since that time in the 70’s they went out for Greek. Get to Queens and talk to somebody who doesn’t look like or agree with you, cliff dwellers.

from airbnb.com

If you’re looking for great Greek food or an exotic microbrew, look no further than Astoria. This northern Queens neighborhood exudes a youthful charm and welcoming attitude. In Astoria, mom-and-pop shops snuggle up to humble townhouses whose residents address one another by name. Strikingly diverse groups of people intermingle with appreciative ease in this laid-back neighborhood’s various culinary destinations and quiet streets.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some of our vibrancy is expressed in illegal dumping, the native art form of western Queens. To wit, recently observed is yet another iteration of the single shoe phenomena on Broadway nearby the 46th street stop on the R. I’ve written about this a couple of times, and am not altogether convinced that there isn’t some amputee serial killer at work in the neighborhood. Vibrant diversity, however, would explain the presence of a population of peg legged sociopaths.

from oddshoefinder.com

Welcome to Oddshoefinder.com, a free site that connects people with odd shoes with people who need odd shoes! Many people with feet of different sizes buy one pair of shoes for each shoe size and use only one shoe from each pair, leaving a closet full of unused shoes. The purpose of this site is to help you get those shoes out of your closet and put money into your pocket.

Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek – Saturday, August 24, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 22, 2013 at 7:30 am

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