The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Cats

miasmic entree

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DUKBO will always be the Poison Cauldron to me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In those halcyon days when a humble narrator’s roadway interface was still functioning within normal parameters – or simply before a week ago Sunday when my big toe got smashed – one was wandering through the hoary streets of Greenpoint, specifically the area which I’ve long referred to as the Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek. That’s the Brooklyn side of DUKBO, Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp, if you’re curious. Broken toe or not, I’m still an idiot.

That’s when I spotted this pack of black cats with pale yellow eyes glaring at me from behind an industrial fenceline. I did not see any clipped ears, so these little predators aren’t being looked after by the TNR (Trap Neuter Release) folks, but they were hanging out at an industrial site, so they are likely being offered some sort of shelter, water, and food. The “Blue Collar” crowd are secretly softies when it comes to critters, in my experience. There’s likely lots and lots of Costco brand pet food somewhere back there behind the fence.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily for the cats, this open hydrant and the small pond it maintains attracts birds. The birds do bird things, and based on the scattered piles of feather you see stuck into the sticky mud which the water creates, the cats then do cat things to them. The Audubon people I’ve met over the years are horrified by this sort of thing, reacting in much the same way that the bicycle people do when somebody throws a candy wrapper into one of the bike lanes.

Me? I see something eminently hopeful, as even here – in the darkest of the hillside thickets – you give the natural world an inch and it will take a mile. Awesome sauce.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, on Friday afternoon specifically, I finally sought out medical attention from the Mt. Sinai operation here in Astoria for the smashed up toe. X-Ray confirmation of a fracture was attained, and they gave me a prescription for an anti biotic which was so completely off the charts strong that I spent Friday night and much of Saturday cowering here in HQ. I stopped taking the pill, but it took about 24 hours for me to piss the poison out. At no point did anyone in the hospital mention side effects, drug interactions, or mention that Tylenol (which I told them I was taking for pain control) mixed with this mega dose of anti biotic would BBQ my liver. Also not mentioned was the long list of potential side effects, including one which would have wiped out my gut flora and likely caused a C Diff infection in my intestines.

All of you reading this who are running for Borough President or considering a bid for Costa’s council seat here in Astoria are going to receive an earful when I see you, so be warned. I strongly suggest that any of you regular people reading this requiring emergency care bite the bullet and head into the City rather than rolling the dice with the second rate jobs program that is health care in Queens.


“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 4, 2019 at 1:15 pm

yellowed paper

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Reaching into the archives, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sidelined as I’ve been for the last few weeks by holiday obligations, food poisoning, and my vulnerability to extreme cold – a humble narrator has little new to share with you today but the show must go on. Reaching into the archives, the shot of a Night Heron above was gathered while in the company of the Audubon Society on North Brother Island in 2012.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A pod of Dolphins surfacing was witnessed while onboard one of the inaugural “Whale watching” trips offered by the American Princess boat company, which hails from Breezey Point, back in 2010.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In 2013, I met this kitten who was living in the rip rap shoreline of Staten Island, not far from the Staten Island Ferry terminal. Back tomorrow with something a bit more in depth, I hope, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 4, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Posted in animals, birds, cats

Tagged with , , ,

hastily blocked

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As Johnny Cash said “I been everywhere, man.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over the last few weeks, your humble narrator has found himself wandering through every borough, except the Bronx, and many marvels have been witnessed. Let’s face it, if your eyes are open, NYC is in fact a place of wonders. Just have to learn how to see, and remember not to get jaded by it all. An annoying trait shared by all members of the human infestation hereabouts is to render the familiar as ordinary, and to accept the built environment as pedestrian or ordinary.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is Hamilton Avenue, down by the Gowanus, which is one of the many spots in NYC which strike one such as myself dumb. The aggregate hours of human activity required to create a spot like this, just producing the steel and concrete which form the high flying Gowanus Expressway above or the draw bridge below, leaves me aghast.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My beloved Newtown Creek, seen at night from the Pulaski Bridge, reveals trillions of hours of planning and work. The shield wall of Manhattan notwithstanding, this tableau visualizes the complete reshaping of a waterway to suit the needs of men, and for one such as myself – the absence of historic bridges and the unseen presence of an entire subway line are keenly felt. Wow.

There are two public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one that walks the currently undefended border of the two boroughs.

DUPBO, with Newtown Creek Alliance and MAS Janeswalk, on May 3rd.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on May 18th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 1, 2014 at 2:17 pm

suffer no singers

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A short post about pussies today.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Your humble narrator has been stumbling about the last few days, reeling from obligation and worry. Accordingly, I’m a bit behind on my schedule- hence this latest and decidedly late posting of the most ephemeral sort- focusing in on the internet’s favorite critters.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

These two were spotted living in the rip rap lining the shoreline of Staten Island just last week. I don’t envy out door cats, but at least they get to hunt.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s unlike my cat hoarder neighbors’ beasts, who are regularly observed in fits of pique when unable to satisfy their urges.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Will be back tomorrow with something a bit more substantial for you, lords and ladies. Always hunting around in the dark corners looking for something tasty to find you.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

Kill Van Kull– Saturday, June 22, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

The Insalubrious Valley Saturday, June 29, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

Modern Corridor- Saturday, July 13, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 18, 2013 at 10:08 am

Posted in animals, cats

Tagged with

The Bowie effect

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-photo by Mitch Waxman

There are those who like to tell your humble narrator that he is given to hyperbole if not outright fraud, and although I will admit to a weakness for theatrical effect, the odd subjects and situations described in these posts are not contrivances or banal set pieces. When I tell you of the odd polydactyl cats around the Grand Street Bridge or the eyeless things that wriggle in the mud during low tide at Maspeth Creek, rather than smile kindly and nod your head, shudder audibly at the terrible implications arising from their existence- which, if generally known, might herald a turning away from science by a beaten human race gladly retreating into a new dark age.

Here then is one of the curiously heterochromiatic cats found in hoary Greenpoint, which is one of the “you just make this stuff up” sore spots for a humble narrator.

from wikipedia

In anatomy, heterochromia refers to a difference in coloration, usually of the iris but also of hair or skin. Heterochromia is a result of the relative excess or lack of melanin (a pigment). It may be inherited, or caused by genetic mosaicism, disease or injury.

Eye color, specifically the color of the irises, is determined primarily by the concentration and distribution of melanin. The affected eye may be hyperpigmented (hyperchromic) or hypopigmented (hypochromic). In humans, usually, an excess of melanin indicates hyperplasia of the iris tissues, whereas a lack of melanin indicates hypoplasia. Heterochromia of the eye (heterochromia iridis or heterochromia iridum; the common wrong form “heterochromia iridium” is not correct Latin) is of two kinds. In complete heterochromia, one iris is a different color from the other. In partial heterochromia or sectoral heterochromia, part of one iris is a different color from its remainder.

-photo by Mitch Waxman

This was just one member of a colony of cats living on Commercial Street, and the rest scattered before the coloration of their ocular organs could be ascertained. Luckily this stalwart maintained a steady position, and despite the clear annoyance displayed at the horrible scuttling thing waving around a camera before it, stood it’s ground. As a fellow child of infinite Brooklyn, such tenacity did not go unnoticed. Odd eye colored Cats are special, from a symbolic point of view, and have no small amount of mythic significance – even the prized cat of the prophet, called Muezza, was odd eyed.

from wikipedia

The Cat Sìth (Scottish Gaelic: [kʰaht̪ ˈʃiː]) or Cat Sidhe (Irish: [kat̪ˠ ˈʃiː], Cat Sí in new orthography) is a fairy creature from Celtic mythology, said to resemble a large black cat with a white spot on its breast. Legend has it that the spectral cat haunts the Scottish Highlands. Some common folklore suggested that the Cat Sìth was not a fairy, but a transformed witch.

The legends surrounding this creature are more common in Scottish folklore, but a few occur in Irish as well.

-photo by Mitch Waxman

There are many odd things around the Newtown Creek, hidden away beneath the cracked cement and amongst the dripping masonry walls of those long buried and forgotten building foundations which lie just below the facade of modernity. Here you are then, the “Bowie Effect” of the Cats of the Creek is offered. Still working on getting the six toed critters in DUGSBO though…

Who can guess what other anomalous and unwholesome alterations our common urban fauna might have undergone, or are undergoing, in some runaway Darwinian reaction to those environmental stressors they have suffered over the centuries at Newtown Creek?

from wikipedia

In Irish mythology, the aos sí (Irish pronunciation: [iːs ˈʃiː], older form aes sídhe [eːs ˈʃiːə]) are a supernatural race comparable to the fairies or elves. They are said to live underground in the fairy mounds, across the western sea, or in an invisible world that coexists with the world of humans. This world is described in “The Book of Invasions” (recorded in the Book of Leinster) as a parallel universe in which the aos sí walk amongst the living.

In the Irish language, aos sí means “people of the mounds” (the mounds are known in Irish as “the sídhe”). In Irish literature the people of the mounds are also referred to as the daoine sídhe (“deena shee”), and in Scottish Gaelic literature as the daoine sìth or daoine sìdh. They are said to be the ancestors, spirits of nature, or goddesses and gods.

note: The large blue box in the background of these shots seems to have been designed to act as some sort of feral cat shelter rather than a Tardis, and bore a screed proselytizing the curious to visit the website found at neighborhoodcats.org/

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 19, 2011 at 12:15 am

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