The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Queensboro Bridge’ Category

reptilian devils

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I want to believe…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The world would be so much more interesting if all the nutty and paranoid stuff was true. How I do wish that the Queen of England was actually a human alien hybrid, that Kennedy was killed by the CIA and a cabal of militarists, that Area 51 was anything except for a place where exotic fighter jets and stealth aircraft are tested. “Chem trails,” “banksters,” and the rest of the fantasy scenarios are all built around an elaborate mythology that paints the government of the United States as some great machine which operates with impunity and precision.

Have you actually interacted with the government? Try it out, and that should sunder all notions of the “hidden hand.” These people can barely tie their shoes, cannot keep a secret, and are more concerned with getting approval for overtime than they would be in conspiring with alien overlords (unless they were hiring). If anything, officialdom would start applying for grant monies to form committees to study the alien overlords.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For the last week or so, I’ve been telling people I meet that “Holy Crap, just the other night, Obama himself kicked in my door looking for guns to take.” The general reaction has been either “well, at least he did something” or “it took him long enough.” I don’t have any guns – I’m more of a blunt force trauma guy – but the point I’m trying to make is that the whole notion of this sort of conspiracy is sophomoric.

Try arranging a lunch date for five people to meet up at the same time and place, purposely excluding someone inside your social circle. The excluded person WILL find out about it, and loudly proclaim their resentment. Magnify that out to any topic associated with conspiratorial secrecy and do the math.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve always believed that the reason people cling to conspiratorial fantasy is the utter banality of real life. Perhaps it’s the nihilist philosophy that I cling to, which renders everything I experience as shades of cold gray. If you were a member of some cabal, there would have to be some sort of bank account associated with it to cover costs and handle payroll. There would be paperwork which someone would have to administer, and an excel spreadsheet generated to track the project.

Even Mafiosos and ISIS keep paper records. Nixon did, and that’s what did him in. Ollie North did. Bill de Blasio does. There’s no such thing as a secret if somebody other than you knows about it.

Upcoming Events and Tours

Saturday, June 25, 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. –
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek,
with Brooklyn Brainery. Click here for more details.

Sunday, June 26, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. –
Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour,
with Atlas Obscura. Click here for more details.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 23, 2016 at 12:00 pm

found unfastened

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It used to be called Jane Street, y’know.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent occasion found one perambulating from Astoria to Hunters Point. My eventual assignation was scheduled for the early evening (or late afternoon if you sleep in) and a decision to walk a less than efficient route was undertaken. A crooked hypotenuse is what I’d call the route chosen for transversing the somewhat triangular area, which would carry me into a couple of places I haven’t walked through in about a year. A year in LIC is long enough for square blocks of the place to have been demolished and for hundreds of feet of glass tower raised from the rubble, and since it was a nice day – off I went.

The DSNY earth mover was seen on Vernon Blvd., and for some odd reason, presenting these shots to you in a timeline inverse to their actual capture works better. Go figure.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queensboro never disappoints. The Terracotta House restoration seems to finally be just about finished and a cursory inspection suggests that a pretty nice job of it has been done. For those of you not in the know about the New York Terra Cotta company, nor the sole remaining remnant of their presence in LIC, click here for a fairly old Newtown Pentacle post on the subject – from 2009.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One spent an awful amount of time in this area back in 2009, during the centennial celebrations of the great bridge. I was a parade marshall for the event, the first time I’d ever done something like that. I’ve become an old hand at conducting tours and being in public at this point, but back then everything was shiny and new.

If I knew then what I know now… I tell ya…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It won’t be long before Queensboro is hemmed in on all sides by towers and condominiums, and the glorious light of a winter afternoon will be occluded in the same manner as the East River Bridges in Brooklyn. For those of you who have never wandered around this area, it is highly recommended, but watch your back.

You are generally pretty safe around these parts, but if things go bad it happens pretty fast and the consequences can be awful. You mainly have to worry about traffic, but there are also inslaubrious characters hanging about here and there. Just keep moving, I always say.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The north side of the bridge had already been overshadowed by a series of new high rise construction projects. The tower you see in the shot above is over in the shining city of Manhattan across the river, a residential luxury tower which vaingloriously surpasses the height of the Empire State Building – called 432 Park Avenue.

As mentioned at the top of the post, the Queensboro bridge landing in Queens Plaza was once LIC’s Jane Street.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

 

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 24, 2016 at 11:00 am

sophist shuffling

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Taking my chances, vampire wise, in Long Island City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As all residents of Western Queens know, the Vampires which infest our section of the borough begin to wake up as the sun is setting. Accordingly, a humble narrator normally performs his daily rounds in the morning and afternoon, but one recent perambulation found me out and about during the danger time around sunset. Bereft of the normal sachet of garlic worn during evening walks, my steps quickened as I made for the relative safety of Astoria where bloodsuckers fear to tread due to the prevalence of Croatian and Serbian residents.

Both nationalities have long traditions regarding the nosferatu, as do the Greeks and Italians. South Eastern Europeans don’t play around with the Strigoi. My neighbor Dario spends his free time sharpening wooden spikes in the basement of Newtown Pentacle HQ, for instance, and the superintendent of the building next door keeps a ready supply of granulated garlic at the ready in case of emergency.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I decided the safest course for me to follow would be to leave Skillman Avenue and head home via Jackson Avenue. One of the many viaducts which cross the Sunnyside Yards is often referred to as “Queens Blvd.” but that street name only applies once this viaduct intersects with Thomson Avenue a block away. This is officially Queens Plaza South, and it provides a crossing for pedestrian, bicycle, motor vehicular, and IRT subway traffic over the titan rail yard. It’s not the friendliest environment for pedestrians, with the caterwaul of the subway above and the mephitic emanations of motor vehicles, but when one is concerned about vampiric attack – the most direct route is the best one.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking north easterly across the yards, the surviving factory buildings which surround the yards may be observed. The fires of gentrification have burned many of these older buildings away in recent years, replacing them with bland residential and hotel buildings. The yards were constructed back the first decades of the 20th century, after the Queensboro Bridge opened in 1909. Back then this pathway was called Jane Street, and it crossed an ancient swamp fed by Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary. LIC used to drain its sewerage into the swamp, which fed a series of endemic water based pathogens – typhus, cholera – that sort of thing.

Legend has it that the Vampires began to arrive in LIC about when the English displaced the Dutch, but that they avoided feeding hereabouts due to the various blood conditions in the populace caused by the stagnant water.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Heading towards Queens Plaza, one quickened his steps as movement was observed in the shadowed rafters of the IRT rail bridge carrying the 7 train over the yards. Plump and well fed after several holiday meals, my vital fluids would be a prized delicacy to the undead. The sun was dipping down in the west, after all, and I had no silver on me. My delicate physical condition, carefully maintained by a team of doctors with an arcane set of medications, began to manifest psychologically. Nervous and skittish by nature, one felt himself descending into “one of my spells” which usually ends with a humble narrator running through the streets screeching.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Elevated mood, coupled with a stertorous action of the heart, caused one to constantly look back over his shoulder for ghastly pursuers. Blood began to evacuate the extremities, rendering fingers into little more than chalk white claws clutching desperately at a camera. Beneath a filthy black raincoat, my shoulders began to hunch, and due to the aforementioned exsanguniation of extremity, my gait began to alter and I noticed that one of my feet was dragging along the pavement forcing the other leg to do all the work.

My eyes began to bulge, and mouth grow dry, which caused my lips to draw back over the teeth.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Signs and portents of lurking horror accompanied every pained step as a desperate narrator made for the safety of Astoria in a bizarre and somewhat ataxic gait. Surely the monsters nested above had noticed me at this point, and were licking their chops at the though of consuming the corpulent pedestrian below them. The night haunts would soon be dropping from the IRT rafters in the manner of rotten fruit, loosed from the prison which the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself imposed upon them. That’s when a plexiglass window, impressed into a construction fence at a former chemical factory being converted into residential housing revealed that it was already too late, one of the monsters appeared.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

But… a reflection? Vampires enjoy no reflection.

Staring into the pale visage of an ancient monster – with its bulging eyes, and lips drawn back over yellowed teeth, it’s pale and numbed claws reached out towards me – and I was compelled to do the same. That’s when the supreme horror presented itself, as my finger touched that of the monster’s in the reflection, and it is why I shall never again know peace.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 14, 2016 at 11:00 am

if awakening

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It’s going to be a fun year, lords and ladies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All is false. 

Every nuanced point of view, rhetorical platform, and political stance is plainly bullshit. Nothing is true, and the entire world refuses to admit it, for the alternative is too horrible to contemplate. Conspiracists abound, and they just might be right – for there are, in fact, elite cabals who “rig the game.” We citizens are little more than the pigs at the stock yards of 19th century Chicago, whom workers attached to a mechanical wheel whose sole function was to dismember and commercialize every molecule of their bodies.

All roads lead to Calvary, and are paved not with good intentions, but suffering and humiliation instead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All is true. 

The greatest City, of the greatest country, that the world has ever seen – the Megalopolis of the Proletarian mass – wherein “arebeit” truly does “macht frei.” If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Things are nearly perfect, and the system just needs a few conservatively applied tweaks to assure that all within its borders can live as they choose to. The strong will aid the weak, and through labor and sweat – all may partake in this glorious and great Metropolitan cornucopia.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All is false. 

Living corpses are rejected from common consideration and abandoned to the frozen pavement, disincorporated and dissolute, awaiting only their eventual cremation. Incarceration and persecution is their lot, and deservedly so, for their iniquities. Shunned groups willingly subdivide themselves into ever smaller fractions, which accomplishes the work of political and corporate bosses. Swineherds in blue uniforms push and cajole the offending castes away from the notice of the gentry, lest delicate sensibilities be offended by their presence.

Every hour of every day, the noose is tightened.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All is true. 

Struggle and valiant effort provides one with a ladder to climb out of the gutter and neither luck nor familial heritage has nothing to do with success in the Metropolis. Gotham is naught but the survival of the fittest writ large in concrete and steel, and the trees who root themselves most soundly are those who will rise the highest. Even for the lesser specimens, the forest floor holds naught but untold riches waiting for those clever enough to recognize and reap the fecund value of compost.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All is false. 

Charlatans and confidence operations stand in shadowed doorways, waiting to hook some rube and roll through their pockets. Even the pillars of law and government are set up to remove as much of the filthy lucre from the working man’s pockets as they can get away with. Nobody cares what happens to you, and won’t offer a helping hand out of fear of having the spotlight of the super predators turn upon them. Better to shelter away from others, for engagement only means new troubles will be added to the list, and thicken the skin.

Scar tissue tends to be numbed to external sensation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All is true. 

Gaze upon the works of man, the great bridges, and the towers which do – in fact – scrape against the clouds. The electric glow, the sounds of a society which never stops moving, and a fascinating polyglot culture which offers music, and flavors, and smells which can be found everywhere and nowhere else on an entire planet. A direct line of descent, from Ur to Rome to Constantinople to Paris to London to Manhattan can be drawn, tracing the evolution of mankind from troglodyte ape, to human, to New Yorker.

Surely – this place is where the progress of civilization has, logically, been striving for.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator has made one resolution for this new year – it’s time to get serious, and to stop pretending that I’m just some kind of tourist in this horrible dichotomy which I’ve lived in for nearly half a century. Iconoclast tendencies will be given full reign, as will the black diamond of hatred in my heart be allowed to bloom. Time’s nearly up, and I’m tired of fooling around with liars and idiots.

All is false, all is true. 

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 4, 2016 at 11:00 am

distant whine

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The ugly half of walking over any East River Bridge – the Manhattan side.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking back over my shoulder, in the direction of Queens, on the pedestrian and bicycle lane of mighty Queensboro. As stated in the past, Queensboro was ceremoniously renamed for a former Mayor a few years back, and anytime someone is observed calling this span the Ed Koch bridge it just pisses me off. Accordingly, I’ve proposed renaming the Brooklyn Bridge as the “Michael Bloomberg Bridge.” Sounds outrageous and insulting to history, Brooklyn, and the Roeblings, and indicative of a somewhat crass bit of political excess? Exactly.

You couldn’t get away with it in Brooklyn, but you can in Queens where the borough motto seems to be “Welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself.”

A long walk from Astoria to Manhattan’s east side – specifically the 20’s along Third – via the Queensboro, was the subject of yesterday’s and indeed today’s post. Today we land in a cautionary tale called Manhattan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The bridge’s pedestrian lane makes landfall at 2nd avenue and 60th street. For some reason, the DOT has barriers set up at the bottom of the ramp which cause bicyclists to execute a sharp 180 degree turn and carry pedestrians a full block eastwards. One would imagine that most of the human powered traffic is headed west, mind you, and normally I just climb over the barriers but since there was an interval of time before my evening assignation it was decided to just play ball and “go with the flow.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, the path intended is occluded by steel supports for the Roosevelt Island Tram, which forces the itinerant pedestrian to cross over into the bike lane. This is the southern edge of the Upper East Side, incidentally, the so called “silk stocking district” where the masters live. Arguably one of the most monied neighborhoods on the planet, I’ve always found the Upper East Side particularly uninteresting. There’s a lot of interesting buildings found hereabouts, the homes of Roosevelts and Astors and so on, as well as survivor town houses from the late 19th century.

Undoubtedly, when the Second Avenue Subway finally opens in coming decades – the furnaces of the Real Estate Industrial Complex will blaze hereabouts and even the upper classes will begin to experience “gentrification” and be told that “density is good.” That’s when the four and five story townhouses will be torn down, and replaced with glass boxes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Swinging south at the corner of first avenue, you’ll find a vaulted arch lined with Guastavino tiles. They really knew how to sell a project and “gild the lily” back in 1909, I tell you. I can also tell you that on this walk over Queensboro to the 20’s along Third, the camera was quite busy and well employed until this point.

When examining the range of photos taken along the way, two thirds of the “keepers” were captured in Queens and on the bridge itself. Manhattan has become so visually homogenous and boring in recent years that it is staggeringly difficult to find something interesting to shoot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, illegal dumping is everywhere. This bit of “feral furniture” (a term coined by my pal Ms. Heather over at NY Shitty) was a distinct step up from what you find in the concrete devastations of LIC and Greenpoint.

Tomorrow – an exploration of a completely different bridge, and an exclusive set of photos you will not see anywhere else but here – at your Newtown Pentacle.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 19, 2015 at 1:00 pm

peered diligently

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Visiting with an old friend, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Back in the day,” as it were, a humble narrator used to spend an awful lot of time on the Queensboro Bridge. When the 2009 Centennial Celebrations occurred, I was actually a deputy parade marshall, which the City rewarded me for with a medal. We got to close the bridge’s lower level for a few hours, and there were marching bands and a bevy of elected officials were present – including Michael Bloomberg himself. The very first posts at this – your Newtown Pentacle – discussed the event in some detail.

In recent years, as I’ve become more and more focused on Newtown Creek and its upland properties, my walks across mighty Queensboro have decreased in frequency and a recent realization that I hadn’t actually walked the span in more than a year prompted me to start kicking my feet forward and lurch roughly forward towards Manhattan. Unfortunately, this meant I was heading onto that loathsome island and leaving the intricate geometries of Queens behind for a spell.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For those of you who haven’t taken one of NYC’s best walks, the pedestrian and bicycle lane of the Queensboro is accessed at Queens Plaza near Crescent Street. It’s not a hard walk in the least, but it does offer some fairly decent “cardio” for half of it. The long sloping ascent from Queens Plaza to the tower set into Roosevelt Island carries you hundreds of feet from the ground, and despite the gradual nature of it – you will find your heart rate increasing steadily.

Bicycles will be whizzing by at fairly high rates of speed, so be mindful of your surroundings if you decide to undertake the stroll. If you bring your camera, you will be glad you did, as the views from up on high are spectacular.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Apparently, the incline is severely felt by bicyclists, as I’ve observed them standing on the pedals and struggling against it several times. Many will dismount and walk their bikes. The “whizzing by” mentioned above occurs once they surmount the paramount of the bridge and the descending incline allows them to gain velocity quickly.

My favorite time of day for Queensboro, visually speaking, is the middle to late afternoon. The light is spectacular during that time of day, and the intricate cantilever gears of the great bridge are evenly illuminated.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking north along the East River, you’ll notice a series of steel structures which carry the Roosevelt Island Tram from Manhattan’s 2nd Avenue to the island. The tram is another one of my favorite destinations, incidentally, as it allows for a birds eye perspective on the Queensboro Bridge and the waterway it spans. One of “my walks” involves crossing the bridge, catching the tram, and then perambulating back to Astoria via the Roosevelt Island Bridge which carries pedestrian and vehicular traffic to Queens.

I’ll often stop off and hang out with my pal Judy Berdy at Roosevelt Island Historical Society when exiting the tram – which is located in a historic kiosk nearby the Tram’s landing point. You can’t miss it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Midpoint on the bridge, one always turns back and considers avoiding going to Manhattan altogether and returning to the poisoned loam of western Queens. In the instance of this particular journey, however, a humble narrator was set to meet up with friends in the City so I kept moving in a westerly direction.

I catch a lot of shade for the contempt with which Manhattan is discussed here. I actually used to live in the City for more than a decade, on Broadway at 100th street. Best move I’ve ever made was listening to Our Lady of the Pentacle when she announced that her desire was to move our HQ to Astoria. Back when I was a Manhattanite, my M.O. was “cocooning” – leaving the apartment only to go back and forth to work. There was no “community” to draw one out, and a vast depersonalization was experienced in the daily round. Whatever there once was that made the City an attractive place to live – night life, for instance – is long gone.

The City is a ruin, exploited and picked over and destroyed by the Real Estate Industrial Complex, and there is little fun to be had there anymore. Brooklyn and Queens are “where it’s at” these days – at least for one such as myself.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 18, 2015 at 1:00 pm

more nearly

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Queensboro.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, one is taking a short break – hence the singular image which greets you above. Back soon with new stuff.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours and events –

October 7th, 2015
Our Polluted History:
A Non-Toxic & Fascinating Forum on Greenpoint’s Environmental Past panel discussion

with GWAPP, click here for details

October 10th, 2015
Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour
with Atlas Obscura, click here for details and tickets

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 6, 2015 at 11:00 am

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