The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘NY 11377

Project Firebox 102

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An ongoing catalog of New York’s endangered Fireboxes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Perpetual darkness is the lot of this lonely firebox, found over on the outskirts of Woodside. Apartment monoliths on one side, highways on the other, it seems to be in a delitorious state of repair as evinced by the way its alarm handle is deployed. Better days await us all, my friends, better days spent gamboling about in the sunny corridors of Queens.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 4, 2014 at 7:30 am

forced economies

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Today, we pass through a crossroad.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the things I find endlessly fascinating about Western Queens is the juxtapose between at least three different urban planning schemes and where they overlie each other. Of course, the term Urban Planning is seldom found prior to the 20th century, so modern bias interferes with understanding the why’s of where. Also, everything has been so extensively built and rebuilt over the years…

The oldest one wasn’t really planned, rather its where the colonials and farmers of Newtown laid down roads like Greenpoint Avenue or Thomson Avenue, which were literally means to an end- a way to move from point a to point b which took into account and diverted around natural features like hills and streams.

Overlaid on these atavist lanes is an industrial era grid, Skillman and Borden Avenues comes to mind. Hold overs from the locomotive city of the late 19th century- which favored long arcs and subtly graded streets wide enough to carry a street car or in some cases a full on steam locomotive.

Dross 20th century engineering was applied to the most modern layer, such as where Queens Blvd. originates at Thomson Avenue or where Greenpoint Avenue transmogrifies into Roosevelt Avenue at its intersection with Queens Blvd. The modern layer was designed to carry the automotive and mass transit city forward and which is pictured in the shot above. The latter two are definitively hostile to pedestrian activity, but the way.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 5, 2013 at 8:40 am

vainly requested

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My bet is that this is mid 1960’s, quite possibly a 1965, Buick LeSabre Custom Convertible which I spotted on Northern Blvd. a few months ago, here in Queens. For more on the storied history of the redoubtable LeSabre automobile line- check wikipedia.

The car was painted black, which magnified how bad ass it looked.

Gangster, in fact.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the businesses which one can expect to find along a busy thoroughfare called Northern Blvd., here in Queens, are used car dealers. Aside from high volume sellers like Major Auto World, there exist a loquacious group of classic car dealers and mechanics. There is also a large operation near Astoria Blvd. that offers older and more esoteric vehicles, whose inventory is a wonder for both area wag and young enthusiast alike.

By “classic,” we are generally referring to pre 1972 era vehicles. Essentially, cars were built heavy and fast back then, and burned through gasoline in a manner that did not anticipate the rise of OPEC.

from wikipedia

Americans are divided on the exact era in which a “classic car” can be identified.

Many Americans divide automobiles by separate eras:

horseless carriages (19th century experimental automobiles such as the Daimler Motor Carriage), antique cars (brass era cars such as the Ford Model T), and classic cars (typically 1930s cars such as the Cord 812 through the end of the muscle car period in the 1970s – a majority use the 1972 model year as the cutoff).

The late seventies are disputed as being “classics”, as the oil crisis of 1973 brought several now-infamous cars such as the Ford Pinto and AMC Gremlin.

The 1980s are often viewed as the early modern period due to the rise of Japanese automakers such as Toyota and Nissan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One should like to mention that there seems to be an inconsistency in the grill of this LeSabre with at least one other photo I’ve viewed, the sort revealed by google images, but am unsure as to its meaning- which one is “cherry” with the OEM grill?

Lords and ladies, if any of you are “car people,” please elucidate and educate using the “comments.”

I can tell you, however, that this was not the factory paint. Yeesh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When I was a young but already humble narrator, and became cognizant of those glories which were automobiles, these veritable land yachts had already begun to disappear due to the rising cost of gasoline and the concordant efforts of the Federal Government to encourage and command fuel efficiency standards for manufacturers. Modern cars are a wonder to behold and are far easier to drive safely while consuming a fraction of what this thirsty LeSabre would.

Still… just look at that…


Written by Mitch Waxman

February 26, 2013 at 12:15 am

suffocating windrows

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few of you have emailed me recently, concerned about the dire outlook and melancholy displayed here, at your Newtown Pentacle, in recent months. Concerns have been transmitted that I seem to be grasped by a dark and somber mood are noted, and appreciated. Everything is fine, however, and your humble narrator is simply reacting to normal stressors in typically infantile manner. For example- I need an expensive new zoom lens and have no idea how I am going to pay for it, which is the very definition of a “first world problem.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing is, though, that at the moment I’m more than a little bored, without a whole lot to look forward to in the immediate future. There’s going to be a Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat tour in May, and I’ll be announcing a series of 2013 walking tour dates that will stretch out from the early spring to the fall in a few days… Also, the Kosciuszko Bridge project will be kicking to life soon… right now, though, not so much.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For the moment, I’m just some weird guy in a filthy black raincoat whom you see while driving along, walking toward Newtown Creek with a camera in my hand. A veritable mendicant- discarded and disabused, walking the earth and cataloging its riches. “When you’re down in the dumps”, I always say, “buy into your own mythology”- it’ll get you through the rough patch.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 19, 2013 at 12:15 am

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