The Newtown Pentacle

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Friday, again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent daylight perambulation found a humble narrator in DUGABO, Down Under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge Onramp, in the Blissville section of Long Island City. The bridge crosses the fabulous Newtown Creek, and provides a concrete manifestation of the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens. Famously, the so called “garbage train” is assembled at the LIRR’s Blissville rail yard, and is normally hauled about by locomotive engines painted with the brand colors of the New York & Atlantic outfit. This bluebird GATX unit was a surprise, but my beloved Creek is never entirely predictable. The street down here is dubbed “Railroad Avenue” aptly.

GATX, as it turns out, is an 1898 vintage corporate entity based in Chicago that leases rail equipment on several continents and also has a sideline in aviation heavy equipment. If you want to take a deep dive, here’s their site.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The signal bells began clanging and the train started moving eastwards along the Lower Montauk tracks. As you can see in the shot above, somebody has set up housekeeping under the bridge, having constructed a shelter/shanty out of shipping palettes and other industrial leave behinds. As of yet, I haven’t talked to this fellow, but I already like him since he’s got quite a collection of cats living with him.

Thrilling is how I describe the sensation of seeing freight rail moving around at street grade in NYC. Once common, there are so few places where you see this these days… this train and it’s box cars of garbage remove hundreds of long distance truck trips every day from our roads.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Blissville’s Railroad Avenue offers quite a gallery of street art/graffiti- if you’re into that sort of thing. The building just behind the locomotive used to be a lead factory, although in recent years it’s also been home to a company that worked with plastics. These days it’s a warehouse, with a tire shop on the Review Avenue facing side.

There’s quite a bit of industrial/commercial activity going on down here in DUGABO. The N.Y. Paving Company has an enormous property where they manage a fleet of hundreds of heavy construction vehicles and store sand, gravel, and other tools of their trade. Across the street at the former HQ of the Tidewater Pipeline Company, later called the Lukoil Getty terminal, the busy Broadway Stages outfit handles movie and tv productions for Hollywood. There’s also a self storage company housed in a factory building that used to be the home of BG Pickles.

Back next week with more, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“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.

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since one has completed his vaccinations against the Covid scourge, very little dust has had a chance to settle upon a humble narrator. I’ve caroused in bars, ridden subways and ferries, gone places, done things. Seemingly, I’ve developed a truly calloused attitude towards other people’s stupidity and anti-social tendencies. You don’t want to get vaccinated because you heard somebody got sick from it in California, huh? Well, it was nice knowing you, and you should probably have a conversation with your Doctor. “I shit you not” when saying that I personally witnessed a negotiation and transaction take place for a counterfeit vaccination card recently. It was just so dumb. This is how Zombie movies start, and this is what the world has looked like to me for the last year and change.

Remember when half of your third grade class died of Rubella? How about when little Timmy down the block ended up in the iron lung? The time you lost your sister to Smallpox? Tuberculosis took your Mom? Measles? Whooping cough? Scarlet Fever? Exactly. Go get your shot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The only way out of dealing with all of this is clearly pursuing my dream of birthing a race of Atomic Supermen, but my neighborhood in Astoria isn’t zoned for “Mad Science.” NYC is quite strict on this subject, and it’s overseen by the same City Hall department that handles restaurant inspections for some reason. There’s several properties in the South Bronx which are promising for the endeavor, but negotiating the lease has been a chore. There’s a great location that already has Tesla coils and lightning gathering kites installed, but $55 per square foot is highway robbery for industrial space.

Of course, one of the tasks I’m going to assign my army of Atomic Supermen is going to be literal “highway robbery,” but start-ups need to worry about pissing away their initial capitalization on fancy offices and other gimmicks. The only thing other than gestation tubes and a DNA sequencer I’m going to be buying for the factory will be a big fan, one that turns slowly, and will be positioned in front of a bright light that cycles through primary colors in my surprisingly wet and dark Atomic Superman factory. Also, there’s going to be chains hanging down from the roof that have no true purpose.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in Astoria, yet another FDNY operation drew my attentions. It seems that two automobile drivers caused a low speed collision. One of the drivers, I’m told, demanded that 911 be called and an EMS Ambulance crew arrived to assess and handle the situation. Nobody was loaded onto a stretcher or anything, so it’s fairly obvious that the driver was hoping for the cops to show up rather than the Fire Department when they called 911.

Everybody loves Firemen and Fireladies and Firenonbinarynongenderconforming people. Nobody wants to defund the Fire Department. Personally, I’ve always wanted to be there when one of those cinematic style Cop vs. Fireman fights break out, but no luck.


“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 6, 2021 at 1:00 pm

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Wednesday?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Fragility and weakness plague a humble narrator, and often it feels as if my bones could shatter or even begin to powderize if somebody plays their music too loudly around me. I feel the pressure of sunlight, and a stiff breeze just might be enough to end it all. My team of Doctors shore me up with a raft of medications, but all I can do is just keep walking. Endeavor found me visiting Astoria’s Luyster Creek several times last month in preparation of a shoreline cleanup effort which I helped a bunch of the neighbors to organize. You can read about all that here.

Special thanks are offered to the NYC DEP for sending us a dumpster to collect the trash and litter, and especially for bundling it into their organizational trash handling system. Additionally, kudos to the thirty or so volunteers who got sweaty and dirty doing the job. Personally, I somehow survived leaving the clean room bubble back here at HQ.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That toe I broke in 2019 has never been the same, so my troubadour tales of woe and infirmity begin where the left foot touches the ground. Like the doom squirrel of Norse Myth that climbs up and down Yggdrasil the World Tree, my list of maladies and complaints shift about and are contingent to different times of day. Luckily, pooping and peeing hasn’t been affected by my general physical decline, but I’m sure that’s coming next. Adult diapers, weird looking orthopedic shoes, weird ointment smells… it’s all just around the corner, I fear. Over the years, I’ve not treated my physical carriage well, and burnt the candle at both ends. My grandmother warned me about this.

My plan for getting out of this trap involves “mad science” and creating a younger clone body which I can transfer myself into. Since I’ve never been much of a “specimen,” I’m hopeful that my mad sciencing can find a method that would allow me to transfer my consciousness into a more robust body. At the very least, I’d like to be a couple of inches taller, since I currently have to stand on a step stool to change light bulbs. When your bones have the consistency of wet Papier-mâché it’s a good idea to avoid ladders.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Frankenstein Monster’s name was Adam. Adam Frankenstein sounds pretty Brooklyn Jewish to me, it’s the name of a Tax Professional or a Bond Trader from Midwood to my ears. The Waxman monster, should my plans for immortality not work out in some ironically comical fashion, would choose its own name since it’s going to have to live with it for a while. The awful truth of my plan, however, is that there would be two of me for a bit. This is the problem with cloning yourself and then backing your brain up into the new model. I’d continue on in painful degeneracy and eventually collapse into the inevitable pile of fecund jellies, while the new man would go striding into the 21st century. I’m such an asshole that I’d look at me (clone me looking at regular me, that is) and say “he had his chance, my turn” and move on. I hope clone me would at least hose down the decaying snot that used to be regular me before somebody slipped on it.

I wonder if I could find a way to give the clone me extra thumbs on the anterior side of the hands. I’d also like to re-examine the set up of the calfs and feet, and introduce some Kangaroo genetics into that area. A bit of armoring for the spine would be nice, as would a far better set of teeth than the ones I got. Hey… if you’re mad sciencing yourself a new body, might as well try to improve on what Mother Nature gave you.


“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 5, 2021 at 1:00 pm

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Tuesday!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found a humble narrator riding the NYC Ferry from Astoria to Lower Manhattan. One cannot recommend this service highly enough, and I do so loudly to all who might listen. Throughout the pandemic, the Ferry has been a pressure valve for me, allowing a quite affordable afternoon on the water. You’ve got to mask up, obviously, but there is virtually zero risk of contracting anything on the top deck of the boat, other than having an errant seagull smack into you. The boats have bathrooms in case you need to blow some ballast, but unfortunately the onboard shops which sell coffee, beer, and or snacks are still closed. No problem there, since I tend to avoid drinking and eating when I’m out and moving about, but if you can’t survive without a beverage bring it onboard with you.

The Astoria line stops at East 90th street (where you can transfer to the Soundview line and head to the Bronx), Roosevelt Island, LIC North, 34th Street in the City (where you can transfer to several other lines), Brooklyn Navy Yard, and then it’s terminal destination is at Pier 11/Wall Street in lower Manhattan. The design of the system uses Pier 11 and 34th street as “hubs” where several of the lines converge. You’ve got 90 minutes from the time you purchase a paper ticket, or activate one on their phone app (I use the app), to accomplish a transfer. I’ve made it all the way from Soundview in the South Bronx to the Rockaways on a single $2.75 ticket. That’s 3 hours on the water for under $3 – cheap!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the East River routes, you encounter the grandiose sights and scale of the greatest City in the history of civilization. I’ve offered this statement before, and have been asked “what about Rome, or Constantinople, or Persepolis, Kolkata, Beijing, Tokyo, Berlin, Buenos Aires”… the list goes on and on. Ancient Rome could tuck neatly into Staten Island, Tokyo and Los Angeles are regions, not cities, and the City which other Cities compare themselves to ain’t London or Berlin. Since the end of the Second World War, the omphalos or navel of Western Civilization has been and continues to be NYC. I don’t just mean Manhattan, as a note, I mean the whole shebang.

Pictured above is the scene encountered as the ferry leaves the Brooklyn Navy Yard, depicting the Manhattan Bridge with the financial district of Lower Manhattan behind it on a misty day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Astoria route Ferry moves up the eastern side of the East River, whereas the Soundview route takes the western channel. Astoria route allows for dynamic views of Roosevelt Island, its eponymous lift bridge, and the power generating infrastructure which stains the shorelines of Queens. The terminal stop in Astoria at the NYCHA Astoria Houses campus puts you within easy walking distance of the Welling Court street art mural installation, Astoria Park, and hundreds of truly interesting restaurants and bars. Why not come visit and spend some of that stimulus money here in Astoria? We could use the bucks.

You can access the schedules for the NYC Ferry, and check out their various destinations, at their website. This isn’t a paid post or anything, by the way, I’m just an enthusiastic customer for the service and want to encourage all of my readers here at Newtown Pentacle to take advantage of it as a curative for the pallor and malaise introduced by our recent collective trials.


“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.

last void

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured above is one of Amtrak’s Acela trains in its maintenance facility at the gargantuan Sunnyside Yards, which a humble narrator was crossing on a north to south vector not too many weeks ago. As a note, while I was taking my sanity break last week, WordPress (the platform which Newtown Pentacle operates through) decided to do the most annoying thing that tech companies do – i.e. fix things which weren’t broken – and have thereby introduced a lot of “random” and “hope this still works” into my work flow with a new upgrade to their software. What I always hope for during a system upgrade is to have the system demand my attention and take me away from writing or whatever I’m doing regularly. If the operating system or software environment doesn’t pop up with a chorus of dancers and announce itself every five minutes, it just ain’t modern design. Hopefully they’ve inserted a really proactive but fairly illiterate version of spellcheck, the sort of thing that Facebook currently uses, which alters entire sentences into gibberish after you type a period.

Invasive update cues annoy me, especially when they’re covert marketing ploys from hardware manufacturers letting you know it’s been a while since you gave them your money. Looking directly at you, Apple. In WordPress’s case, they’ve just introduced a learning curve into something I’ve been “workflowing” for more than a decade, so thanks for the extra work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m a “production guy” in the advertising world, meaning that I polish and deliver final product to publications and clients. You can measure how productive your production is by counting “clicks.” True productivity comes from knowing the key combo commands rather than hunting through tool palettes and menus. Software design in the last five years or so has retarded productivity through its inefficient habit of adding “clicks.” The Adobe Creative suite, in particular, no longer uses common key commands internally – Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom, which are all essentially the same thing, use different key combos to do identical tasks. I don’t refer to anything complicated, either. Adding a 1 Star or 2 star rating to an in progress image is accomplished 3 different ways just within photoshop. That’s stupid, wasteful, and bad user interface design.

When you spend all day working in a software environment, this sort of thing just eats away at your time, and patience. Good software is invisible, you focus on the creative product which you’re working on, rather than the tool you’re using. Bad software takes you out of the creative flow, in the manner which this new WordPress “upgrade” does. While writing this, I’ve had to stop and fix something stupid it’s done on its default settings about twenty times. Imagine a screwdriver suggesting you try the new Phillips Head tooling, then suddenly retiring flat head screw functionality. Surprise!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Until I get a handle on what’s going on with this new software I’m apparently stuck with using, it would be appreciated if y’all cut me a break. Should some weird turn of phrase or out of context word seem to signal offensive intent or mental incapacity, realize it’s likely a software rule inserting itself which I missed fixing. The fragility of opinion and unyielding moral high ground in our modern times is terrifying. Say the wrong thing, they’ll shut your ass up quick. Imagine if a badly functioning spellcheck suite effectively cancels you?

This is literally possible.


“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, 2021 at 11:00 am

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