The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Halloween

joy denying

with one comment

The most wonderful time of the year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To start, Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself will be gathering with our crew at Doyle’s Corner (found at the Times Square of Astoria, 42nd st and Broadway) after 4 p.m. to hand out candy to the children. Join us. I’ll be the one wearing the Mitch Waxman costume. To continue, I’m aghast at the efforts of the Dental Industrial Complex to deny the youth their annual birthright, and really must offer the chide that you people have to get a grip and quit it with the teachable moments. For the sake of all that is unholy, don’t politicize Halloween.

You’ve got your radical Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Hasids, and other groups who propagate the mythology that Halloween is a celebration of the Devil itself. That’s just ignorant. Also, the Dentists should embrace this holiday, as it means their cash drawers will be full by Thanksgiving.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s probably several radical lefties who don’t like this holiday as well. Pumpkins causing global warming? Somebody out there announcing that the carbon points of each candy bar can be calculated into a seemingly random number of dead Rhinos? Some stupid statement about the day which got tweeted out of the White House? What did the Mayor and Chirlane dress as? Halloween as an example of a capitalist or consumerist orgy of sugary greed coming from the socialists? Are the Trick or Treaters blocking your bike lane? Are Halloween’s origins in the European Catholic mythos exclusionary to Muslims, Buddhists, or the Baha’i?

Take a break today, folks, it’s a holiday. At least give the rest of us a day off to have a little fun without it having dire import.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In my case, I don’t need to watch any horror movies today. The swelling in my smashed toe is going down, which means I am now experiencing the fullness of pain one would associate with a fractured bone. Regardless of this uncomfortable situation, one cannot ignore his obligation to sugar up the neighborhood kids, lest a refusal of treats results in an abundance of tricks.

I’m officially bored to tears after several days of rest and keeping the foot elevated, and cannot endure watching any more television. I haven’t annoyed anyone who works for the government this week either. Officially, I’d like to thank everybody who has filled my head with horror stories of people they know who have suffered foot injuries which became infected which led to sepsis, amputation, and early death as well. That has been a real treat, having that in my head while trying to fall asleep as the toe throbs.


“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

October 31, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Astoria, Photowalks, Pickman

Tagged with ,

brought about

leave a comment »

It’s National Deviled Egg Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As has become traditional in recent years – on Halloween, Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself gather with some friends in front of a local bar here in Astoria and hand out candy to Trick or Treaters.

Well… they hand out candy, I take pictures and drink beer.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Newtown Pentacle award for costumery – if there was one – would go to this family, encountered at Socrates Sculpture garden and all done up as characters from the movie “Aliens.” Even their dog was in on the act.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Here on the southern side of ancient village of Astoria, along Broadway in the 40’s, Halloween is taken quite seriously by young and old alike. The neighbors go all out.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over the top, and all out, that is.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s a pal of mine under the makeup, which was creeptastic.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Even Hank the elevator guy showed off his latest disguise. As a note, Hank wears masks all year long, whenever the mood strikes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lots of superheroes were floating around Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was even a gnome or two.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally, I really dig the “sugar skull” makeup, and there was a LOT of it to be photographed.


Upcoming Tours and events

Exploring Long Island City, from Luxury Waterfront to Abandoned Factories Walking Tour,
with NY Adventure Club – Sunday, November 12th, 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Long Island City is a tale of two cities; one filled with glittering water-front skyscrapers and manicured parks, and the other, a highly active ground transportation & distribution zone vital to the New York economy — which will prevail? With Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 2, 2017 at 11:00 am

witchcraft panic

with one comment

It’s National Caramel Apple Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Rich Melnick is no witch, as far as I know. Instead, Mr. Melnick is instead one of the longstanding leaders of the Greater Astoria Historic Society, a heck of a guy, and last Saturday he performed and presented his “Haunted Waters Tour” along Hells Gate and Hallets Cove here in the ancient village. I hadn’t seen Rich for awhile and since I had my first weekend off in months, decided to tag along. As you can see, Rich pulls a pretty nice crowd. Still, he’s probably not a witch, but if he were that would be ok with me. This is America, after all, and if you want to be a witch, nobody can say “boo” to you. First Ammendment, yo! 

I’ve been on this “Haunted Waters” tour several times, I would mention, and upon my arrival volunteered to act as a second set of tour guide eyes for Mr. Melnick and so I took up a station at the back of the group, sometimes repeating something he had just said for somebody who missed it. While Rich was busy at the front of the group narrating, I helped keep the them from stretching out along multiple blocks, and assisted him with street crossings. Rich didn’t need me of course, but since I was there, why not help out? We’re all one big happy family out here in Western Queens, after all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One noticed a couple of strange things over the course of the afternoon, while acting as “sweeper” for this tour of Hells Gate, as Rich Melnick explored and described the long history and fairly macabre lore concerning this riverine section of Astoria. He was discussing the odd history of Hells Gate, when I noticed the coppers were doing their thing.

The NYPD Harbor Unit seemed unusually busy for a Saturday afternoon in late October, and were buzzing around the river a bit, moving back and forth under the two bridges that define the former maelstrom of Hellegaat – as the decadent Dutch of New Amsterdam might have called it. 

There are legends about this spot which suggest that the largest intentional explosion in human history – until the advent of the Atomic Age – which the United States Army Corps of Engineers detonated under the river here at Hells Gate in 1885, was only partially in the name of eliminating the navigational dangers presented by the so called “Bright Passage.” These legends say that there was something else down there, something older than Henry Hudson, Adriaen Block, or even the aboriginal civilization of the Lenape (who avoided this spot like the plague). It was a “something” which the Federal Government saw fit to obliterate, as part of a clandestine nationwide campaign initiated after discoveries of certain conditions in a decayed Massachusetts fishing town – shortly after the Civil War – were revealed to the War Department. The Corps did a LOT of explosives work in the waters all around the northeast between the Civil War and the First World War, all supposedly in the name of “navigational improvements.” 

Yeah, right… pffft.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While Mr. Melnick was telling the tragic tale of the General Slocum disaster, a humble narrator decided to climb around a fenceline in pursuance of getting a shot of the two bridges which wasn’t occluded by foliage. Denied my desire, this red brick structure leading off into the river caught my attentions instead.

All sorts of individuals talk to me, it should be mentioned. 

Cops and robbers, ordained priests and devil worshippers, abolitionists and addicts. I know people who – if they say “run,” you do. I also know those whom “run” is followed by sitting down and asking them what’s wrong and inquiring as to whether or not they’re still “on their meds.” A few of the latter and far more numerous grouping – whom I consider to be “a few steps off the beaten track, and more than most” – have reported to me that they’ve seen man like “things” pulling themselves out of the water here in the dead of night. Fish like and unblinking eyes, accompanied by  an unbelievable stink and dripping with riverine slime – those are the commonalities. One or two highly circumspect witnesses describe these fish or frog men as wearing jewelry and tiaras made out of some queer kind of gold. 

Nonsense, say I, hallucinations arrived at by combining cheap liquor with questionable narcotic powders. Still… I wonder, and more than wonder…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The walk led by Mr. Melnick continued beyond Shore Road and Astoria Park, towards the sub neighborhood known as Old Astoria Village. While passing by an enormous and out of scale apartment house along the route, I noticed the handiwork of the Queens Cobbler. The single shoe phenomena, left behind by a probable serial killer whom I’ve christened as the “Queens Cobbler,” continues to grow in intensity in the area. 

As a note, Rich Melnick didn’t mention any of this to his group, neither the Nest of the Deep Ones which existed at Hell Gate until 1885 nor the reports of their continued occupancy, or the whole Queens Cobbler thing.

That’s because Rich pretty much sticks to a provable and sane version of reality, unlike me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Anyway, that’s what I did last Saturday. Today, of course, is Hallomass, or Halloween if you must.

I’ll be in Astoria tonight, sitting outside with Our Lady of the Pentacle at the neighborhood saloon, giving away candy to kids and asking their parents if I can take photos of their costumery for future presentation at this – your Newtown Pentacle. 


Upcoming Tours and events

Exploring Long Island City, from Luxury Waterfront to Abandoned Factories Walking Tour,
with NY Adventure Club – Sunday, November 12th, 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Long Island City is a tale of two cities; one filled with glittering water-front skyscrapers and manicured parks, and the other, a highly active ground transportation & distribution zone vital to the New York economy — which will prevail? With Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 31, 2017 at 11:00 am

philosophic resignation

leave a comment »

Happy Halloween, y’all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This year, I didn’t carve a pumpkin. That’s a Jack O’ Lemon above.

Before I delve into the folderol, as mentioned last week – I’m going to be in front of Doyle’s Corner Bar on the corner of Broadway and 42nd street here in Astoria after three tomorrow if you’re in the neighborhood. I’ll be taking pix of the Halloween costumes, and if you want to get yourself photographed, that’s where I’ll be. I’m planning on staying there through the evening, until I get drunk or cold.

So, the Halloween post is here, and despite my best efforts I couldn’t find a new ghost story this time around, so it was decided to explore some genuine NYC mythology. Remember when you were a kid and went trick or treating? Remember that Mom had to “check” your loot before you could dive into it?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In my neighborhood back in Brooklyn, the suspicion was that a “crazy lady” was sticking pins into the candy bars. There’s also a variant of the “crazy lady” story that involved ground glass, or straight up rat poison. The tainted candy mythology isn’t limited to the big city, either.

As is the case with all things “urban myth” related, a visit to snopes.com is recommended.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “common sense,” as presented by my mother, thing to do was to avoid anything that wasn’t commercially packaged that had found its way into my Halloween bag. You didn’t want to take any loose candy as they were likely illegal drugs, for instance. This sort of giveaway, by the way, is nothing that any drug dealer I’ve ever met indulged in. They generally don’t give things away for free. Drug dealers are pure capitalists.

A giant red flag was always a piece of fruit, which the crazy old lady would have adulterated.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You didn’t want to run into a razor blade secreted inside of a crunchy Apple, for instance. There’s an adult version of this razor blade story that the Viet Nam Vet guys used to tell us about enemy prostitutes, but that’s kind of a racy story, and the instant reaction of every male teenager whom they told their tale to was an instinctive and protective grabbing of the crotch.

The Viet Nam guys always liked to mess with people, btw. My buddy Frank the postman used to start stories with “don’t make me talk about Nam…” at which point we would heartily tell him not to, and then he’d launch into one gory tale or another designed to make every one of his listeners squirm. Frank would laugh, and laugh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In addition to the Jack O’ Lemon at the top of the post, I also carved a Jack O’ Range.

Happy Halloween, back tomorrow, and remember to let your Mom check your candy. Lots of crazy old ladies out there.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 31, 2016 at 11:00 am

known terrors

with 2 comments

The last time I’ll buy an “organic” pumpkin, I tell you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just look at what has happened to my beautiful Jack O’ Lantern after a mere two weeks. When this pumpkin came home with me, it was robust and singularly stout. Now its a moldy pile of squishy orange rot, and having bought a so called “organic” pumpkin has bit one in the posterior as Halloween nears. If this thing was full of pesticides, a proper American pumpkin that would have been familiar to my father and or Harry Truman, this dissolution would not have occurred until at least Christmas.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October fourth was officially the “carve date” for the family pumpkins, and the newly carven Jack o’Lanterns were displayed in this Newtown Pentacle post from October 6th. I cannot display the remains of our Lady of the Pentacle’s seasonal display as it has collapsed in a pile of fecundity, and I think there might be a family of rats living in it. The rats all wear hats and scarves, but the momma rat is clearly identifiable by her apron. Several spools of thread have gone missing around HQ, so I presume that the rats are using them as furniture. I would set out traps for them, but vibrant diversity.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is indeed the same comestible pictured in the second photo, although it is fairly unrecognizable as such. I got a good price on the produce, and Our Lady cooked up the seeds that we scooped out of them with some sort of worcestershire sauce recipe, so one does not feel entirely cheated. A suspicion that I should have sprayed some sort of lacquer within the pumpkins seems to have been confirmed, however. Problem with organic fruits and vegetables is their severe lack of chemicals, I always say.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Ultimately, this has ruined Halloween for me. Blame is assigned to the organic food craze, and I plan on contacting Monsanto to inquire whether or not they can do anything about engineering a better Jack O’Lantern. Perhaps a pumpkin that glows in the dark without the need for a candle? What about a pumpkin which is itself partially composed of paraffin? Progress, lords and ladies, progress – better living through chemistry – that’s the American way.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, October 25th, Glittering Realms
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 21, 2014 at 11:49 am

%d bloggers like this: