The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘dumping

kindred wells

with one comment

The Astoria street furniture dance has begun anew.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The other night, one noticed the display above on the corner of Broadway and 43rd street. The cast off box spring somehow evaded the bulk pickup day efforts of the DSNY, or it came from an “illegal” apartment, and had made its way down to the corner, where some wise Astorian had decided to attempt disposal of the large item by putting it into proximity with the corner trash basket. The entirely accidental nature of its pleasing esthetic – with a slab laid in triangular fashion over the cylindrical trash barrel – is fairly common for these parts. Everyone is an artist, even if they don’t know it.

For those of you not in the know, or who sleep on the floor, a box spring (or Divan) is a wooden or metal frame covered in fabric that encapsulates metal springs. It provides a base for, and adds height to, a softer mattress which sits on top of it. Box Springs used to be a fairly western european and american “thing” but as the material and financial pleasures of a “modern western economy” have spread around the planet, so too has this style of bedding. A notable holdout on this are the Japanese people, who still prefer their traditional “futon” style bedding.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Box Springs, and mattresses for that matter, are fairly robust in construction and cause no small amount of trouble for DSNY (NYC Department of Sanitation) and other entities that handle the flow of waste and trash. Bedding is fairly huge, easily lights on fire, and is designed to resist both weight and pressure. Bedding items choke shredding machines, fill landfills and collection trucks up rather quickly, and given their central role in the citizenry’s off hour pursuits (sex, sleep, drooling etc.) are often biohazards. Recent years have seen regulations created here in NYC that demand box spring and mattresses left out for bulk collection be wrapped in specialized plastic sheeting to keep them from spreading the plague of bedbugs (or vantsem, in Yiddish).

Here in Astoria, where we have a fairly severe problem as far as the subject of illegally dumping unwanted items on the sidewalks on a good day, the dance of the street furniture has officially begun. This thing will be, and has been, moving around Broadway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above was captured the same night as the first two, just a few hours later when I was returning from my evening activities.

So… why did the box spring cross the road?

Short answer is the likely one, which is that the building owner on the side of Broadway where it was originally discarded didn’t want to take the chance of getting a ticket from the DSNY inspectors who would be showing up along with the collection trucks the next morning, so they shunted the problem off onto someone else. I’ve observed the “dance of the street furniture” before, and it’s entirely likely this thing is going to become very well travelled before it finally gets taken away.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Upcoming Tours and Events


Thursday, July 25, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Greenpoint Walking Tour w NYCH20

Explore Greenpoint’s post industrial landscape and waterfront with Newtown Creek Alliance historian Mitch Waxman.

Click here for ticketing and more information.


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

July 24, 2019 at 1:00 pm

well realized

with one comment

The native art form of Queens, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Venturi. That’s technically the name of the flame structure which a stove top burner is meant to form when gas is pumped through it and ignited by a pilot light. This burner was noticed on the corner of Queens Blvd. at 39th street, and won’t be heating up a can of Campbell’s Tomato soup anytime soon.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This shattered sink basin was found way over on the northern side of Astoria, and artfully arranged in a tree pit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Astoria Blvd. offered one this lovely bit of craft, and don’t think I didn’t notice the amount of effort which went into creating the floral motif. Illegal dumping, as I’ve often asserted, is the native art form of Western Queens. It’s done with a panache and attention to both detail and installed composition that you just don’t find elsewhere.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On Skillman Avenue, alongside the Sunnyside Yards, a bit of furniture was posed provocatively for the pleasure of perambulating pedestrians to both peruse and ponder.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also on Skillman Avenue, a somewhat abstract expressionist amalgam of broken furniture boards was offset by a carefully placed mirror box by some unknown auteur.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Northern Blvd. displayed this graphic composition to me one morning, and I wondered if it was the same artisan responsible for the Astoria Blvd. radial flower that created this piece.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Purely modern – an installation, if you will – this composition was observed along Jackson Avenue in the Court Square area, across the street from the Citigroup Megalith.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

September 3rd, 2015
Newtown Creek Boat Tour
with Open House NY, click here for details and tickets.

September 20th, 2015
Glittering Realms Walking Tour
with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for details and tickets

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 3, 2015 at 11:00 am

%d bloggers like this: