The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘New York City

trial records

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It’s National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A variety of obligations and impediments have caused one to come up short on content this week. As is my custom, accordingly, whilst a humble narrator is out perambulating about the great city seeking to ameliorate his shortcomings – single shots which I like for one reason or another will be presented at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Pictured above – a shot of one of the groundling burrowers at Calvary Cemetery.


Upcoming Tours and events

Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour, with Atlas Obscura – Sunday, December 10th, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Explore NYC history, hidden inside sculptural monuments and mafioso grave sites, as you take in iconic city views on this walking tour, with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 15, 2017 at 11:00 am

moral lapses

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It’s National Vanilla Cupcake Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As is my habit during periods of infirmity, as occurred at the start of this week, one sets up the tripod and plays around with doing “table shots.” I haven’t quite figured out the “ink in water” setup quite yet, but one of the initial steps in doing so is presented today.

I’m doing a cold weather Newtown Creek walk Sunday in LIC, link is found below. Come with?


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.

Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour, with Atlas Obscura – Sunday, December 10th, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Explore NYC history, hidden inside sculptural monuments and mafioso grave sites, as you take in iconic city views on this walking tour, with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Astoria

Tagged with , ,

artisanal hatred

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

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having fairly few tasks at hand the other night, one announced to Our Lady of the Pentacle that a dark light photowalk was in the offing, but that I was going to stay local and would be back in an hour or so. The first rumblings of some viral infection were on the horizon, and I figured that if I didn’t go out for a short walk with the tripod and camera while still relatively well… I would regret it as I suffered through the virus for the next couple of days.

I’m excellent at suffering.

Partially it’s Jewish tradition, this being good at suffering thing. I’m really into the operatic side of it all though. Since I seldom get sick, when I do… it’s pretty bad… so why not wallow in the misery and suffer like a boss?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Spotted this neighbor sleeping on a park bench along Northern Blvd. If you not savvy at reading the occluded messaging of NYC’s streets, there’s a whole story at work in this shot which isn’t the “homeless” trope. Those are new, clean clothes on display – which also color match. A newish leather bag was serving as a pillow, and there were no carts of possessions in view. There are three hypotheses which one can offer:

  • One is that this person was tired and needed a quick nap.
  • Two is that this person needed to get out of their domicile, or couldn’t go back to their domicile for some unknown reason.
  • Three is that this person is dead, as I had the shutter open for about thirty seconds and they never moved or twitched.

Whatever the reason, I moved on. If this individual was actually dead, at my age you’d just say “at least it ain’t me,” and get on with it. Which is what I did, as the suffering was beginning to present itself, and the last thing I needed was to explain to a bunch of cops why I was wandering about on Northern Blvd. with a camera, at night, when I had discovered a corpse across the street from Guitar Center.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, I was more than a little bored whilst waiting for the expected suffering to set in, hence a shot of the unbelievable amounts of garbage piled up on and around the corner collection basket on my block.

Notice the sewer in the left side of the shot? I’ll have you know that one of the biggest issues which the DEP (water and sewer) has to deal with is garbage swept into the sewer system. Now, you can’t expect people to change their behavior on this front around Astoria or most of Westrn Queens. A lot of this heap is actually household trash emanating from the hundreds of illegal basement apartments around these parts. If left on the curb in front of an actual address, Sanitation Inspector reports about abundant trash coming from what should be just a two family house will lead DOB (buildings) to investigate and fine the building owner for an illegal conversion and likely put the tenants out on the street. Hence the abundance of household trash at the collection basket, right next to the sewer.

The question I ask continually is “if trash getting swept into the sewers is such a big issue, why does the DSNY (garbage) put the collection bins literally right on top of the sewers?”

I pondered all of this as a semi delirious, painful, and sleep deprived state of suffering set in over the next 48 hours during which I behaved like a total diva.


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.

Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour, with Atlas Obscura – Sunday, December 10th, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Explore NYC history, hidden inside sculptural monuments and mafioso grave sites, as you take in iconic city views on this walking tour, with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 9, 2017 at 11:00 am

systematic collection

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It’s National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So – last week I had a few things to do over in the Hunters Point section of LIC on a particular afternoon. A short and rapid scuttle ensued, one which saw a humble narrator hurtling south towards Skillman Avenue in a staggering pursuance of arrival in certain points found westwards of the almond eyed Astoria he calls home. Avoidance of perambulatory transit through Queens Plaza has become a “thing” for me, as the alternative route – using Jackson Avenue – is less visually interesting, and is also a somewhat harrowing journey on foot due to omnipresent construction and heavy vehicular activity.

Besides – I have zero opportunity to shoot shots of trains using the Jackson Avenue route, and I know where just about every hole in the fenceline along the Sunnyside Yards can be found. I always advise those dear to me to “stand behind something” while waiting for the traffic signals to change and allow access to cross this Northern Boulevard, I would mention, so in the interest of practicing what I preach – one ducked down and cowered behind a fire hydrant (pictured above). 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

OK – Steinway Street in Astoria is analogous to 39th street in Sunnyside, and the two are connected by one of several truss bridges that span the Sunnyside Yards. It’s actually fairly “good cardio” walking over the 39th street span if you lean into it and push towards the apogee of the thing. At the top of the arch, there’s a worker access road that would carry Amtrak and other railroad employees down into the railyard, and that’s where I spotted a percussionist practicing his craft.

Naturally – One did not wish to interrupt his reverie, so I cannot describe who the fellow was, but he was positively “rocking out.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Observedly – It was a three piece drum set which this gentleman had set up for himself, and despite having noticed a humble narrator photographing him, he never skipped a beat.

Y’know – This sort of drum kit is relatively modern in origin, and whereas it is quite familiar to modern eyes, it was only originated in the 1860’s. It’s called a “trap drum” or “double drumming” kit, and prior to the semi modern era, each one of the instruments on view (base, cymbal, snare) would have required an individual musician to operate. The trap drum innovation was conducive to the development of the musical schools of ragtime, jazz, and rock-n-roll, I’m told.

But – I digress.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Then – Although I wish I could tell you that one got caught up in the wild al fresco rhythms offered by this anonymous percussionist, as mentioned at the top of the post – I had things to do and places to be. Utilizing one of those aforementioned holes big enough to stick a lens through – in the fences of the Sunnyside Yards – and which I keep a constantly updated mental map of, to capture a shot of Amtrak’s Acela train passing through the Harold Interlocking on its way towards Manhattan. It’s the busiest train junction in the United States, actually, the Harold Interlocking. The Mayor wants to build luxury housing upon a deck on top of it. Please vote for someone else today.

Ultimately – I had places to go, and headed west into the setting sun, scuttling along with a camera in hand.


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.

Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour, with Atlas Obscura – Sunday, December 10th, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Explore NYC history, hidden inside sculptural monuments and mafioso grave sites, as you take in iconic city views on this walking tour, with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 7, 2017 at 11:00 am

centuried landmarks

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

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The most consequential historical event of the 20th century in New York State had nothing to do with the building of great bridges, the digging of subway tunnels, nor the forging of business empires. In 1917, precisely one century ago, a seismic struggle that had begun with an upstate tea party in 1848 ended with the passing of a constitutional amendment in our Empire State acknowledging the right to vote for women.

Acknowledge is the correct word, by the way. The Constitution of our State or the Nation “grant” you nothing, they merely concede that individual rights are inherent and inalienable. When you boil it down, that’s the ultimate difference between “right and left” in politics. People on the “right” use the word “grant” whereas the left uses “acknowledge.” Women’s, and ultimately “universal,” suffrage was and is one of the political struggles which you don’t want to be on the wrong side of in the historical record. Women’s suffrage was passed nationally a couple of years later in 1919, and the world has never been the same, in a good way. A plurality of opinion and experience is required to have a functional Republic after all, and every citizen’s voice should carry the same weight whomever they are.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also on this day, in 1894, what I refer to as “the great swindle” was voted into law, which resulted in the creation and consolidation of the City of Greater New York in January of 1898. This collossal mistake committed at the end of the 19th century rendered municipal supremacy unto Manhattan and eliminated its competitors in Richmond (Staten Island), Long Island City, and especially Brooklyn. It’s discussed in some detail in this 2011 post.

It’s when the term “Queens” was coined, and when Manhattan began to export its dirty industries, garbage, and sewage to the so called “outer boroughs.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On a lighter note, and given that a humble narrator is deep diving into the recent American history of today’s date, today is the birthday (1854) of the legendary John Philip Sousa. Sousa was known as the “American March King” and pretty much set the compositional and performance standards which American marching bands since him have strived to achieve during parades and public events.

He also invented the Sousaphone, as the name of the musical instrument would imply. His best-known compositions include “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (National March of the United States of America), “Semper Fidelis” (Official March of the United States Marine Corps), and “The Liberty Bell” (which is the opening theme music for Monty Python’s Flying Circus).


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.

Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour, with Atlas Obscura – Sunday, December 10th, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Explore NYC history, hidden inside sculptural monuments and mafioso grave sites, as you take in iconic city views on this walking tour, with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 6, 2017 at 11:00 am

couched cipher

with 3 comments

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

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been between the proverbial road and a hard place for the last few weeks, as a series of rapidly unfolding projects have demanded full time attention. Accordingly, the whole wandering around and photographing has suffered due to a lack of time and opportunity. Of late, a humble narrator has been possessed of a certain bit of wanderlust, desiring to see things new and unexplored. Luckily, November is now here, with its truncated day light and decreasing temperature (supposedly). Of course, I was wearing shorts yesterday on November 2nd, but climate change is a conspiracy made up by the Chinese in order to crush the American Coal industry, right?

At this writing, one cannot tell you where he will be as you’re reading this, but it’ll be “somewhere” in the greatest metropolis which the world has ever seen. Today, our metropolis has been diminished due to yesterday’s announcement of the death of both DNAinfo and Gothamist, and the wiping of their archives at the orders of some billionaire scumbag.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Obligation and employment have been keeping me solidly in the North Brooklyn/ Western Queens zones surrounding Newtown Creek for the last few months. I’m happy to say that there are precious few times in any given week that I need to visit Manhattan. I’m unhappy to say that there’s whole swaths of the City, and even the Newtown Creek, which I haven’t paid much attention to so far this year. Now that summer has come and gone, that will be rectified.

The good news is that Newtown Pentacle isn’t owned by some billionaire scumbag who hates unions and decided to punish his employees by closing the shops in retribution, putting 140 young journalists out of work. Also, the Chicago Cubs completely suck.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Look for me in places like the ones pictured in today’s post – waste transfer stations, rail yards, skittering along under highways. That’s where I want to be, all alone, and far away. A wandering mendicant in a filthy black raincoat, taking pictures of the deserted concrete devastations… telling the truth of our times in lurid color and florid prose.

Somebody has to do it, after all…


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 3, 2017 at 1:00 pm

brought about

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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

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