The Newtown Pentacle

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That machine pictured above blows. Literally. It’s a jet engine on rail wheels which the LIRR uses for clearing snow and evacuating litter and leaf debris from the tracks.

Hunters Point Yard, Long Island City. It blows, but doesn’t suck, this gizmo. Want to know what else blows? Our perception of danger, and of the return of “Fear City.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A quick walk found me riding on a 7 train, which took me to the Court Square Station in LIC. According to what I see on the news these days, I should have experienced something like Act 3 of the post apocalyptic “Road Warrior” movie, but unmolested was a humble narrator.

Seriously, other than the curious instruction from MTA, observed several times on printed and electronic poster boards within “The System” which adjures against barbecuing on subway platforms or within moving subway cars, I haven’t seen much of “out of the ordinary” down below.

It ain’t the 80’s, or even the 90’s down there… not yet, at least.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

People have been walking around with their heads up their arse for decades on the topics of “crime and safety,” which is due to “Copaganda” in my opinion.

Your chances of getting jumped… personally, I walk around everywhere with my radar on at full power at all times and have been eschewing the use of headphones while commuting… are certainly less than they were in the 1980’s, but have never been absent. Many just chose to believe that they were safe or something, and the looney tales propagated out to the news media by “certain” municipal unions which reinforce public perceptions of their centrality to all things good and great has created an impression that a) the cops could “fix it” if only they had more money and more cops and less reforms and more blah blah, and b) that the people committing these outlandish criminal acts in these stories could be cured if only there was more funding for mental health and affordable housing and blah blah blah.

Ask a hammer how to fix a broken window, it’ll say “hit it with a hammer.”

Here’s a different way to experience things – with your own eyes. Some people are good, others are bad, and a small percentage of them are straight up scumbags. We should create a penal colony on Mars and populate it with these scumbags, I’ve always thought.

Australia has worked out fairly ok, why not have a Marstrailia?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

With my own eyes – I have not seen people BBQing in the subway, but I’ve seen fare evasion and all sorts of “normal” NYC bullshit occurring more often post Covid than before.

About a month ago, an obviously ill scumbag was yelling ugly racial rhetoric at random passerby, right here at the Court Square Station. More than once have I observed the same guy doing the same thing. Cops? Nope. Would they clip him, or just force him to move on?

The one that really cooks the noodle for me is that although the ugly sentiments that this guy offered would be considered a hate crime, and despite the fact that he’s clearly “not healthy” mentally, do we really want the NYPD to get into the business of policing what people can and can’t say in the Subway – or anywhere else?

I’ve mentioned in this space that I’ve had weird encounters on the street during the pandemic, which could have gone “ass over tits” quickly if I didn’t possess the experiences of having grown up and lived in NYC all my life. I know how to talk and act in these situations, and when it’s time to run away or scream at the top of my lungs for help.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Plaza was the next point of subway line transfer, where I would connect with an R line subway that would carry me to the subway stop which is nearest to HQ in Astoria. Queens Plaza is where some poor woman got attacked with a hammer, with said hammer wielded by some scumbag from Manhattan. The subway stop in Astoria I was aiming myself at is found at an intersection where, in 2020, a young mother found herself caught in a crossfire of bullets being fired indiscriminately by two random bunches of local scumbags. She died.

If the cops happened to be in the Queens Plaza station, and also happened to be nearby that staircase where the scumbag with the hammer attacked that woman, you can bet your bottom dollar that NYPD’s legendary lack of subtlety would have been on full display. The gunfight in Astoria, which was one of about 8 or 9 such exchanges which have occurred within a couple of blocks of that Astoria subway stop… how do you stop that? Drug trade gonna drug trade, gangstas gonna gang, bangers gonna bang.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, my radar is being maintained at full power these days.

Nobody gets to within eight steps of me without an assessment, and receiving a series of non-verbal cues that they’ve been noticed and are dancing too close. Saying all that, be careful, scumbags are and always have been everywhere.

Real life isn’t what you hope it is, instead it’s entirely unpredictable and two out of every ten people are scumbags. Further, four of the remaining eight can flip either good or bad depending on the crowd they’re in. Good news? There’s generally two out of the ten who will be ok people no matter what happens.

Thankfully, the R train arrived. Some scumbag took a dump in the car I was riding in, but hey – it’s only three stops to where I gotta get off so…


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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 18, 2022 at 11:00 am

all observant

with one comment

Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s all so depressing… shortly after cataloguing the dissection of the Dutch Kills shoreline, and other features in the immediate vicinity thereof, one hopped on the 7 train at the elevated Court Square station.

It was time to head home, and after spending a full early February day out and about, my energy was ebbing low.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The plan I had hatched involved taking the 7 to Queens Plaza, and then hopping aboard an N or W train to Astoria, whereupon a short walk to a local pizzeria would result in me walking into HQ and greeting Our Lady of the Pentacle – with a triumphant couple of slices in hand.

The MTA, though… their game is strong.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The frequency of the 7 line is pretty fantastic these days, since they’ve completed the decades long CBTC signals replacement project. It really does come every 5-10 minutes, the 7.

Unfortunately, the gold badged Broadway line trains – R, N, W – never received an upgrade to their signals, and especially so in midtown Manhattan, where it is desperately needed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The signals upgrade allows for precise control of train set positioning and line wide coordination. This allows the trains to be run much closer together than using the old 1920’s style system, and allows for better “transit saturation.”

Over in the Shining City, there are several choke points for Queens bound trains – notably at the tracks leading into 34th/Herald Square and 42nd Times Square, and at the approaches to the Steinway and 63rd st. tunnels under Columbus Circle. If ANYTHING goes wrong at any single one of those points, EVERYTHING goes wrong with all three lines – as well as affecting the M, and the E, and the F lines. This triggers a meltdown in the system that can ripple from Manhattan all the way back to Brooklyn and Queens within minutes.

The Q, which formerly was part of the Astoria line, is now Manhattan only and running on the Second Avenue Subway tracks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After about twenty minutes of standing on the platform at Queens Plaza, I got bored and started waving the camera around.

What is it with the new people in the luxury condos and their lack of drapery, window coverings, or Venetian Blinds?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After about a half hour, during which I was dreaming of pizza, the N finally arrived.

It was long day, and there were lots of photos that needed developing when I got back to HQ.

More tomorrow.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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.

<!– /wp:paragraph

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 31, 2022 at 11:00 am

he flees

with 2 comments

Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On one of the very few public facing Newtown Creek walks of 2021, I was approached afterwards by one of the Gradate Students who had attended the thing. They asked me if I’d be willing to “show them the ropes” on the eastern side of Newtown Creek. This was before the current Pandemic surge condition set up, so I said “sure.”

I set a meet up point at 43rd street and Queens Blvd., but decided to take the train there from Astoria instead of the Q104 bus or just walking. M line to Jackson Heights, and transfer to the 7.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A buddy of mine in Astoria gives me the “you’re crazy” face when I tell him to go this way, as he likes transferring to the 7 Line at Court Square. He’s wrong, as it’s three stops to Jackson Heights from my stop in Astoria and 4 stops to Court Square. Given that his route goes through Queens Plaza, it’s always going to take longer.

I’m smart… Smart, not dumb, not like people say.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The particular path I took the grad student on involved some of the less visited spots along Newtown Creek like Maspeth Creek. As open sewers go, it’s a beauty.

Foliage, that’s what I kept on thinking. Foliage.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, the pandemic has annihilated another Newtown Creek business, this one a distribution hub for an international bakery company that sells snack cakes. Accordingly, open fences, and an opportunity to get a shot that I’ve never gathered before.

Funnily enough, some of my Newtown Creek people – who always tell me that I’ve seen too many movies – recently discovered that the Mafia are still active in the Maspeth area. Surprising, huh? Beverage and snack food distribution using fleets of trucks to deliver to all cash businesses like Bodegas… who would associate the Mafia with that… I mean, it’s not like you grew up in New England and I grew up in 1980’s Flatbush and Canarsie. Thereby, your point of view on this topic is superior to mine. Saying that, I had a neighbor whose car horn literally played “The Godfather”’s theme music.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Around the end of our walk, I asked the Grad Student where they wanted to be for sunset, which was greeted with a shrug. I suggested the Grand Street Bridge, and the view you see above.

This shot is from early December, which ended up being a pretty productive month for a humble narrator. The reason I’m embedding six shots in the posts at the moment is to try and catch up with the actual calendar.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Technically, this shot was captured in Brooklyn. The actual dividing line between the boroughs is more or less the dead bang center of the Grand Street Bridge.

More tomorrow.


“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

January 6, 2022 at 11:00 am

altogether ignorant

with 3 comments

Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thanks. Thanks have therefore been given, go shop now.

The good news is that we’ve made it to another Thanksgiving. Personally, I’m thankful that most of my friends have made it through Covid with not much more than a few scars, although there’s a cohort of folks who aren’t with us anymore. I’m not thankful for the acrimony and weird ideations which have become mainstream thought, nor for being forced into starting conversations with “do you really believe that the government is omnipotent”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Let’s pretend for a moment that the United States Government has the sort of far reaching technical acumen and information discipline that would result in them having secret technologies like “nanobots” available to them, which allow them to control minds and alter human genetics. Given everything you know about our Government, don’t you think that you’d see a battalion of Captain America’s raising a flag in Tehran if we had this sort of super hero movie tech? Wouldn’t the first thing America did with this new tech involve picking a drug or terror war fight with some 98 pound weakling of a country in the Third World, to test it out on the battlefield and develop tactics?

Now, saying that, the whole Newtown Creek dealie puts me in touch with all layers of Government on a regular basis. Federal, State, Local. Trust me when I tell you that the paper trail associated with telling somebody that their shoelaces are untied would be miles long, vulnerable to foil applications, and a Congressional Committee would investigate why loafers weren’t considered, given the laces issue, in the name of screwing with the Clintons. Conspiracies of anything other than indifference, or “that’s not my job,” or “procedure” are impossible for the simple reason of “ass covering.” They’re not that good, our government employees, largely because the pay sucks and they are doing this gig for the pension. If they were any good at their jobs, they’d be working in the corporate world for an oil company or an investment bank. Even there, it’s all about the cash and getting yours, not controlling a population of “sheeple.” The average citizen is considered to be little more than a consumer, a customer, a metaphorical member of a demographic cohort – an obstacle or an abstraction.

That’s something to be thankful about, ultimately.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I always find it odd that the same group of people who decry “the State” (in the Machiavellian definition) and demand that we “starve the beast,” relegate such omnipotent abilities and powers to it. When the Federal Leviathan – in particular – decides on a singular goal and its collective power is focused on a singular objective, you can indeed go to the moon, power a Naval ship using a nuclear reactor, or weaponize the upper atmosphere or hide military equipment in space.

Saying all that, the real world isn’t a Marvel movie and the X-Files was a tv show. Get a grip.

Sales, there are sales. Buy things. Go ahead. Shop.


“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

November 25, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria, Subway

Tagged with ,

uncounted billions

with 3 comments

Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in the saddle again, as it were.

It seems, after returning from my various journeys, that a humble narrator has had a bit of a fire lit in the seat of his pants. Within three days of returning to NYC, circumstance demanded that I needed to travel all over the place, and that’s when the malevolent sentience of NYC penalized me for leaving her behind for the interval.

A City based memorial get together in honor of a recently departed friend saw me standing on the subway platforms at Queens Plaza afterwards, which is when the 7 train shot above was captured. I got to talk to the cops about this one, while some asshole was smoking a joint about twenty feet away from us. I don’t care that he was smoking weed, mind you, it’s that he was smoking anything at all on the freaking platform at Queens Plaza and the cops decided to hassle me for taking a photo – which is 100% legal – instead of the other guy who was doing something 100% illegal.

“Why are you taking pictures of the subway”? I dunno officer, maybe it’s cause I’m the Chair of the Community Board’s Transportation Committee, or that I’m part of a transit advocacy group called Access Queens which focuses on problems that happen on this line? Maybe it’s because I can do whatever the hell I want to, and I wouldn’t have to explain myself to you even if I am in the middle of committing a crime let alone not committing one? If it was the former situation, you’d have already added a pair of steel bracelets to my accoutrements prior to getting me to say something stupid enough for you to take me back to the Station House. Grrrr.

“Dystopian shithole,” that’s what I kept on repeating to myself after the N line arrived across the platform and carried me into Astoria. Covid seems to have applied the icing to De Blasio’s seven year long layer cake of municipal despair, indifference, and “less than.” Pfah.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another occasion found me walking through the blight and wasteland blocks surrounding Manhattan’s horrific Hudson Yards development. The section of midtown nearby Hudson Yards, and the similarly ill conceived Javitz Convention Center, has long been a dangerous and lonely section of the city inhabited by scalliwags, truants, muggers, drug enthusiasts, and whatever the hell “woke” people call street prostitutes these days. Hudson Yards has somehow made this worse by luring future victims to the area. Luckily for them, the wealthy can afford private security. Cops ain’t doing shit for shinola until De Blasio is out of office, so if you’re not rich enough to afford a body man, keep your guard up lords and ladies. Turbulence is ahead.

Luckily, the traffic gendarmes were there to ensure the smooth flow of New Jersey bound automobile traffic through the zone. Wonder how long it’s going to be before somebody comes up with the bright idea to knock down that church (Sts. Cyril & Methodius & St. Raphael’s Catholic Church Croatian Parish) and replace it with a 30 story Walgreens because a) progress, b) affordable housing, c) ride a bike asshole, d) you’re a racist if you disagree with anything that might have just popped into my head right now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Finally, seeking some sort of quiet time and communion with my arrival “back home,” I rode the ferry out to Staten Island hoping for some tugboat time. I got some of that, but was again thwarted by NYC teaching me a lesson for leaving her behind for a few weeks.

It seems that on my way back to the City, I had to stop off to get sniffed by the security theater labradors stationed therein while rushing through the terminal to catch the Staten Island Ferry. A momentary delay, the sniffing nevertheless caused me to miss the boat, since the ferry guy had already partially closed the sliding glass door he spends his life sliding open and closed, and he would have had to reopen it, and since he’s a city employee who’s already dead inside… there went a half hour of my life, which I spent being cased by a rip off crew that hangs around the SI Ferry terminals.

I’ve seen and noticed this particular pack of “clown shoes” before, a group of scaly looking early to mid 20’s guys who work as a unit. One guy spots the “vic,” and then texts his buddies. They move in through the crowd from different angles, and before you know it you’re standing in the middle of a huddle of dim witted muggers who work you over – picking your pockets and grabbing whatever they can before scattering. I noticed them noticing me (and especially the camera) immediately, and began a fun game of moving about the terminal to give them some exercise while playing dumb about the situation. They would text each other when I stopped moving, and then begin collecting nearby me again. Then I’d move again, and then there they were. So bad at crime, the millennials are. So incredibly bad.

To the cops at Queens Plaza – there’s a heroin operation which uses the Staten Island Ferry to move product between New Jersey and Manhattan. Has been going on for years. Look for what you boys in blue refer to as “skels” when on the big orange boat. Noticing things like this is quite literally your job. Stop hassling photographers.

Bah. Back next week.


“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

November 19, 2021 at 11:00 am

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