The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘New York City

quainter levels

with one comment

It’s Anosmia Awareness Day, in these United States and the United Kingdom.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For the curious – Anosmia is a loss of the sense of smell, which is apparently quite debilitating. One of my old buddies has always wondered about what smell “blindness” is called, and he’s been using “smeaf” for many years so I’m glad to report that there is – in fact – an actual term for it. Seriously though, imagine not being to taste your food or discern a gas leak or smoke – Anosmia is no joke and as serious as blindness or deafness. Of course, given the amount of time I spend at a certain superfund site which defines the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens, Anosmia might be something of a boon. The loss of sensory data I’m currently experiencing is actually centered around touch, and a general numbness seems to be spreading across my skinvelope and ballooning out between my ears.

Pictured above is the fabulous Borden Avenue Bridge, a retractile wonder that the children of Queens would marvel at, would they elect to visit the Dutch Kills Tributary of the lugubrious Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Retractile means, incidentally, that the movable section of the roadway retreats away from its foundational piers, opening a spot for maritime traffic to pass through. In the shot above, you can see the spot which accepts the retractile section. There’s locomotive style rails running across the spot, which carry the truss. Famously, there’s only two retractile bridges in NYC, with the other one (which is decidedly smaller in scale and older in design) spanning the Gowanus Canal at Caroll Street. I guess that today is vocabulary day, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The section of the Long Island Expressway seen above is referred to as the Queens Midtown Expressway by officialdom, and it’s some 106 feet up from the street to its road deck. It opened in 1939, and feeds it’s traffic flow into the nearby Queens Midtown Tunnel (also 1939) leading to Manhattan. A conceit often I’ve often used at spots like this, all around NYC, is to call this “The House of Moses” for NYC’s master builder Robert Moses. The tunnel and QME weren’t projects he started, but they are projects that Moses bullied his way into and took over – as a note. Robert Caro didn’t call Moses the “Power Broker” just to be snarky.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the reasons that I hate all of you equally is exemplified by this all too common site at the littoral edge of Dutch Kills. I’m the guy who wads up personally produced garbage in his pockets and carries it until encountering a proper trash receptacle, so realize that this is a pet peeve of mine – but what the hell is wrong with all of you? You don’t just discard things like cups and food wrappers or plastic bags out of your car window as you move along, do you? Quite obviously, many do. I see this every where I go in NY harbor.

How about you? Shame on all of us for this.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There seems to be some signs of life at this long vacant property along Dutch Kills – the former Irving Iron Works factory. Part of their site has had a cinder block wall erected. Notice that it was built from another installation of blocks which had been literally graffiti’d and that now it’s just a hodge podge of random colors. That’s kind of cool actually.

I’ll keep an eye out. 


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

primal farmyard

leave a comment »

Today is the day, in 1909, that Geronimo died. His real name was Goyaałé.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Owing to other obligations and piss poor weather conditions for the last couple of weeks, one hasn’t got anything new to show you for this week. Accordingly, it has been decided to instead present a few archive shots of the various branches of NYC government which make life liveable for us here in “Home Sweet Hell.”

Today, the focus is on the NYC DOT – the bewildering New York City Department of Transportation, whom, as you might discern from some of their assets pictured above, are showoffs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

NYC DOT handles and oversees NYC’s streets, highways, 788 roadway and pedestrian bridges (both major and minor, and with 25 of them moveable), and sidewalks. DOT also does street signs, traffic signals, street lights, street resurfacing, pothole repair, parking meters, and manages municipal parking. They’re also in charge of bike lanes, regulate private bus services, and spend about $700 million bucks a year doing all this – last time I checked.

They also run that big orange boat you see in the shot above. Money well spent, no?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of course, there’s a lot of purely mundane stuff they do. With the help of a couple of large contractors, notably Weisbach, DOT oversees the care and maintenance of those fancy new parking meter kiosks, street lights, and road paving. They also work with and augment the DSNY during snow events with plows and road salt.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 17, 2017 at 1:00 pm

monstrous implications

leave a comment »

It’s National Almond Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Owing to other obligations and piss poor weather conditions for the last couple of weeks, one hasn’t got anything new to show you for this week. Accordingly, it has been decided to instead present a few archive shots of the various branches of NYC government which make life liveable for us here in “Home Sweet Hell.”

Today, the focus is on the NYC DEP – the astounding New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m a frequent critic of this agency, due to my knowing WAY too much about their operations because of the whole Newtown Creek thing. Saying that, they are a pretty amazing group. They deliver clean water to our faucets and remove dirty water from our toilets. They’re in charge of policing noise, and chemical spills, and cleaner air. DEP owns a navy, which they humorously refer to as “honey boats.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Deep below the Lower East Side, within a sequestered building that plunges deeply into the ground, there’s a giant pipe into which all the sewage of Manhattan (below 79th street) pours. The other end of this “surge tower” is at the sewer plant in Greenpoint where all of this “yuck” is headed for treatment. The shot above is staring directly down and into the DEP’s maelstrom.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 16, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in NYC DEP, Photowalks

Tagged with ,

most conclusive

leave a comment »

It’s National “I Want Butterscotch Day,” in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Owing to other obligations and piss poor weather conditions for the last couple of weeks, one hasn’t got anything new to show you for this week. Accordingly, it has been decided to instead present a few archive shots of the various branches of NYC government which make life liveable for us here in “Home Sweet Hell.”

Today, the focus is on DSNY – the stolid Sanitation Department of New York City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Spending as much time as I do in meetings with government employees, the habit of pronouncing abbreviations phonetically has crawled into my speech pattern and I’ve found myself calling Sanitation “DSNY” with a spoken pronunciation of “DISNEY.” This confuses the heck out of normal people, as I’ll often refer to “DISNEY” performing street cleaning tasks or picking up garbage or their recycling and mulching programs. They picture Mickey and Goofy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As essential as police and fire, DSNY is the only reason that NYC doesn’t suffocate under a mountain of trash and garbage everyday. We are a sloppy group, we New Yorkers. My recollection is that these cats collect up something like eleven and change tons of trash a day, which is translocated out of the City in short order.

I’ve asked where all the trash goes, and I’ve been told that they can’t tell me because of “homeland security” reasons.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of particular interest, given the recent spate of wintry weather, is the DSNY’s snow removal and roadway winter maintenance programs. They salt, and scrape, and plow away the ice so that the rest of us can make it to work. If you want more days off from work, convince the Mayor to reduce DSNY’s funding. Of course, you might die from a preventable disease due to the piles of garbage if you do.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 15, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in Photowalks

Tagged with ,

visible reality

leave a comment »

It’s Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day, in the Nation of Canada.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Owing to other obligations and piss poor weather conditions for the last couple of weeks, one hasn’t got anything new to show you for this week. Accordingly, it has been decided to instead present a few archive shots of the various branches of NYC government which make life liveable for us here in “Home Sweet Hell.”

Today, the focus is on the NYPD – the indomitable Police Department of New York City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You react one of two ways when the NYPD arrives – you either curse your fate, or you thank your lucky stars they’re there. Most of the cops I’ve known over the years are the very definition of “laconic” when describing their workday lives. World weariness is the consequence of spending your time in the company of those who are having an awful day. It might be the worst day of your life, but to the cops it’s just another day at work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

NYPD officers notoriously dislikebeing photographed while pursuing their duties, which is fair enough. Saying that, if they’re in uniform and out in public, anything they do is inherently interesting to one such as myself. Even if it’s the mundane task of removing an inebriate from a subway car in Flushing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a lot of subdivision units in the NYPD, populated with specialists. The Emergency Services Unit has always held a certain fascination for me. If the regular patrol officer can be analogized to being a soldier, the ESU officer can also be described as being a Special Forces Green Beret or a NAVY Seal. They’re a small army of Batmen.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

NYPD also maintains a small navy, the Harbor Unit. Seldom commented upon, the harbor unit was originally formed to combat pirates on the East River back in the 19th century. They’re supposed to be outfitted with cutlasses, in addition to side arms, but the modern day crews don’t seem to carry any swords.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 14, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in NYPD, Photowalk

Tagged with ,

indubitably linked

leave a comment »

It’s UNESCO World Radio Day, in the member states of the United Nations.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Owing to other obligations and piss poor weather conditions for the last couple of weeks, one hasn’t got anything new to show you for this week. Accordingly, it has been decided to instead present a few archive shots of the various branches of NYC government which make life liveable for us here in “Home Sweet Hell.”

Today, the focus is on the FDNY – the redoubtable Fire Department of New York City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The men and women of this municipal service are amongst the most visible manifestations of our collective willpower and substantial tax base, here in the five boroughs. It’s hard not to notice the sirens and flashing lights when they show up, either to quench a fire or to pick up some unfortunate soul who requires a speedy trip to the hospital. FDNY runs, regulates, and operates the EMT ambulance service in addition to their other more obvious duties involving fire prevention and the extinguishing of blazes they couldn’t prevent. They also govern the safety rules concerning public gatherings like stadium games, clubs, and concerts with a small army of inspectors.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

FDNY has a spectacular Marine division, which in addition to many smaller vessels – includes the thoroughly modern and science fiction like “Three Forty Three” and “Firefighter 2” fire boats. Pictured above is the Three Forty Three, doing parade duty on the Hudson River.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 13, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in FDNY, Fireboat 343

Tagged with , , ,

frantic letter

leave a comment »

It’s the Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck Day, in the Republic of Malta.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s just bad news all the time these days, huh? Storm clouds are always gathering – of course – and you have to remember that there are puppies and cake and everything, but it’s difficult at the moment to not be overly serious and somewhat morose about current circumstance. It’s not just the President, or the Mayor, I’m afraid. There’s a real sensation that the societal train has left the rails and that we are collectively hurtling full speed into some sort of dystopian abyss. In many ways, it feels like the asteroid impact that hit Russia in 1992 has finally arrived here.

Maybe it’s just me… after all… there’s puppies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thing is, everything is so urgent and “amped up” these days. Action is required, as in immediate action, is the message which greets every new problem or emergent scandal. There doesn’t seem to be a game plan anymore. One has been absorbed by the “product” recently released by the NYC EDC describing the feasibility study for decking the Sunnyside Yards. A vast document, and a treasure trove of carefully curated information, one will be discussing it in the coming weeks at this – your Newtown Pentacle – but they are essentially talking about building the Death Star along Northern Blvd.

I’m talking hundred foot high walls on 43rd street and 45 foot ones on Northern Blvd. at Steinway, which would lead up to a platform supporting dozens of 15-70 story tall towers. Hopefully Darth Dope from Park Slope gets voted out of office before this project takes one more step forward.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You can, incidentally, fight City Hall. It’s not easy, as City Hall employs some pretty clever people, but it’s possible.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm

%d bloggers like this: