The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Pickman

mist maddened

with 2 comments

Apocalyptic Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s lovely feeling the earth shift under your feet, ain’t it? There’s little I can do about the state of the world, so the only option is to continue walking the earth alone and at night. This is the bad time of the year for me, as it’s so very cold, but that – at least – is something predictable which I can cling to. Given that what I’m trying to do when leaving the house, in addition to getting some exercise for both my rotting body and the camera, is avoid the presence of disease carrying humans my routes usually involve walking through the most deserted and lonely places I can think of.

Luckily, Western Queens offers a lot in the way of deserted and lonely. Also lucky is the recent activity of whomsoever it is that Amtrak has put in charge of popping tiny holes into the fences surrounding the Sunnyside Yards in recent months.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I detest having to wear an extra layer of insulating clothing under my normal “mitchsuit,” but what are you going to do when it’s freezing cold outside? What? Stay at home when it’s below freezing, you say? That would be insane.

As I’ve often opined, NYC looks best when it’s slightly moistened and the streets are all shiny with slime and ice. One of the things catching my eye at the moment are the creepy looking skeletal trees of the industrial streets, grasping their bony branches accusingly toward the sky. Everything smelled salty, due to the de icing efforts of the Department of Sanitation, and furtive shadows were observed darting around the dumpsters. At night, the rats come out.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On this particular evening, wherein I described my goals to Our Lady of the Pentacle as being a “short walk,” my path led from Astoria to some of the less travelled sections of Long Island City surrounding the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek and then through Blissville on my loop back home – about 4-5 miles. My practice through the pandemic has involved doing all of the banal things I do during daylight hours here at HQ, then donning “outside clothes” and the filthy black raincoat and venturing forth. Upon arriving back at HQ, whatever photos have been collected are then transferred from camera to computer and the “first pass” is done. What that means is that I look though the average 2-300 shots on my camera and throw at least half of them out. Before I go to sleep, the remaining shots have been keyworded and cropped.

The next day, I do the developing process and upload them to the web. An every other day schedule has been more or less maintained during the pandemic, with a few hiccups here and there. You control what you can control, and don’t try to control what you can’t.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, January 11th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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

January 13, 2021 at 2:00 pm

somber livery

leave a comment »

Friday, 2021.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Project Firebox used to be a thing here at Newtown Pentacle, owing to my fascination with the things and also to Mayor Bloomberg’s heartfelt desire to eradicate them from the streets of NYC, which is obviously one of several things he was unsuccessful at during his terms as Mayor. I like Fire Alarm boxes for a couple of reasons, but primarily they often serve as a bit of a history lesson. See the one above? This model, with push buttons for bothering FDNY and NYPD, was installed all over the City back during the Koch era. Certain models of this type have an intercom style audio system incorporated into them.

It was a failed experiment, supposedly. FDNY says that most of their false alarm calls come from Fireboxes, and there’s never a Cop around when you need one. At least there’s always a firebox to hide from fire or crime behind.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Regrets? I’ve got a few. Resolutions? I avoid making them.

The only New Year’s resolution I’ve got this year is to drop some weight, as both butt and gut have gotten bigger and softer during the pandemic months and I’m tired of it. Need to get more exercise time in, a humble narrator does. Burn off the fat, get back to being leaner and meaner. Grrr.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Have a good 2021? I’m almost afraid to offer the salutation, for fear that California might break off of the continent and sink into the ocean after 2020.

Back next week, with shots from one of the very few adventures I managed to have in the last 294 days. Stay safe and all that, Lords and Ladies.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, December 28th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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

January 1, 2021 at 11:00 am

degraded parody

leave a comment »

Thursday, and hindsight is 2020.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Survivors, rejoice. You made it. New Year’s Eve. It’s been 293 days since the New York State lockdown orders of Friday the 13th of March were announced. That’s 7,032 hours if you’re the curious type. There’s a few things I’d like you to think about as we move forward into the future, here in these United States…

The photo above depicts the Sunnyside Yards, which is rumored to have been the actual target used by the Soviets for their thermonuclear bomb tipped missiles. The United States has ostensibly been preparing and spending an astronomical amount of money for more than 70 years preparing for the various shapes which the apocalypse might take. That includes, as George W. Bush reminded us when updating the spending program twenty years ago, preparing and updating responses to attack vectors for “nuclear,” “chemical,” and “biological” weapons.

Where has all that money gone, and why were was the greatest military power in history caught so flat footed by a predictable respiratory pandemic whose scope doesn’t begin to touch what an engineered bioweapon would do to us?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Governor Nelson Rockefeller and President Richard Nixon oversaw the nationalization of local and inter city transit systems in the early 1970’s. Bankrupt private capital railroad firms were turned into publicly owned and operated “authorities” and “corporations.” Nixon created Amtrak for passenger service, and Conrail for freight. Rockefeller combined the subways, buses, and commuter trains in New York State into the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The MTA’s annual budget is 17 billion dollars. If you were to stack individual dollar bills until arriving at the amount of 17 billion, you’d have a stack of money which is 1,154.3 miles high.

Fifty years later the MTA still operates its systems as if it was day one after the nationalization of the Subways, Buses, and Penn Central commuter services, with little or no interoperability having been achieved between its various divisions in the interim, and they operate in a state of perennial near bankruptcy. Conrail is largely irrelevant these days due to the private capital underlying modern rail shipping companies like CSX, whereas Amtrak has become a political football bandied about and abused by Congressional game players. Where does all that money go, and why hasn’t NYC’s regional transit system been modernized with interoperability and shared resources in mind?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You can vow to wean your culture off of petroleum all you want, but without massive capital expenditures and tax breaks for those having to junk and replace their “installed base” of equipment you’re just blowing hot air. You can’t just quit heroin without withdrawal symptoms, can’t stop drinking without the “DT’s,” or just quit smoking the Crack without some sort of psychotic reaction. Petroleum is a drug, which you pour over your economy to make it go “vrooooom.”

Historically, any new or novel technology – let’s say that Star Trek style unlimited and non-polluting energy reactors appear tomorrow, for instance – it would be a good 50 years before they became commonplace. New fuel sources have historically had a long adoption period where the installed base of the last energy source is phased out and the new one is deployed. In the case of wood to coal in industry, it was about 150 years. Coal to Petroleum took around 75 years, and there are still several major industries (notably manufactured gas) which consume a magnificent amount of coal. Look to the United States Navy as the bel weather on this subject.

Happy New Year, ya filthy animals!

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, December 28th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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

December 31, 2020 at 2:00 pm

diminutive monkey

with one comment

Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I often wonder if all of this is actually happening or if I’m suffering the effects of coma in a hospital bed somewhere and my brain is firing off random hallucinatory ideations. Like the “this all might be a computer simulation” scenario, how could you possibly discern what is real or not if your conscious mind is trapped like a “ship in a bottle” within the delusion. Without an outside reference point, your point of perception is warped by the atmospheric container it dwells within. It’s astronomy from within the atmosphere versus the clear views available from space.

As mentioned yesterday, one ponders existential questions while wandering around Queens in the dead of night during a global pandemic.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everyone is the hero of their own story, or at least they should be. I’m the villain of my own, or at least I find villains more interesting than the heroes, so I claim the role. Lex Luthor? He’s trying to protect the human race from an all powerful alien overlord. Joker? The only man in the entire City brave enough to laugh in the face of a sociopathic Billionaire who dresses up in bondage gear and spends his nights beating up poor people. God hates you for your sins, Lucifer loves you just as you are.

There’s around 177,000 stories living in the naked Astoria, I plan on learning a few more of them in the new year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Incredible luck governs over me, I realize. One of the skills I’ve developed during these pandemic months is the ability to choose a path through one of the most densely populated sections of the planet which offers zero company and little or no interaction with the humans. It wasn’t terribly late, either, I’ve just managed to find something new I’m good at – avoiding company and the concomitant commiseration of microbiota that comes with it.

Cooties.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, December 28th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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

December 29, 2020 at 3:00 pm

gray quill

leave a comment »

Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After my encounter with the elemental forces of Industrial Maspeth at the Plank Road, wherein a cataract of broken water main fluids sought to sweep me into the Newtown Creek, a humble narrator was feeling pretty haughty. It was a full moon, after all, and here I was in the happy place. Saying that, one was still full of vinegar and a particularly long photowalk continued apace.

By the time I got home to Astoria on this particular night, I had covered about ten miles worth of ground. Only half of it was arduous, as I was walking against the rotation of the planet. Walking is easier if you just let the world turn under your feet. I’ve always wondered if you can move fast enough (in an atmosphere) to just be standing still, while allowing the world to spin around below your shoes. I’ve always wanted to form a fixed point in space/time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, a humble narrator moves at a fairly predictable speed which aligns neatly with average human walking velocity. I’ve got a whole series of different gaits that are cycled through on my walks. Long strides, quick steps, sauntering… one tries to work different groups of muscles when out for a walk.

Always, though, I’m moving in shadow. I wish and fantasize about some sort of Harry Potter magick cloak which would render me invisible to passerby. Imagine it – you’re doing something and then you suddenly start hearing a DSLR shutter flipping about in a patch of empty space. Of course, there’s no such thing as empty – even the voids of outer space are laced with thinly dispersed energetic particles and molecular remnants. If you think about, stars and planets are ultimately congealed piles of space junk. Romantic, ain’t it?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My path back to Astoria carried me down 43rd street, through the terrifying tunnel sidewalk leading from Blissville to Sunnyside. This is my “put the mask back on” spot, by the way. Generally speaking, once I arrive at an area where there’s nobody else, I pull the thing off. Once an area where you can’t either “distance” or be alone has been reached it’s all mask all the time for me. Read that as 43rd street between the LIE and Skillman/39th Avenue, for instance. I’ve been picking my paths to favor being unmasked for a couple of months now, but again, depends on circumstance.

One thing that’s really been cooking my carrots about the mask thing has been that since my face is covered, excess body heat normally radiated by breathing and the mass of small blood vessels found in the face has forced me to stop wearing the baseball style caps which are normally part of my daily ensembles. It’s the small things which always strike me in times of tumult. Carrying a little bottle of hand sanitizer, which breaks all my rules about having liquids secreted about my person? Not wearing a cap?

The big problem, and I’m not being facetious here, is that I wear glasses full time at my advanced age and the breath fogging introduced to this practice by wearing a mask has found me crossing Queens Boulevard – at night – without a crystal clear view of oncoming traffic. Crossing the boulevard of death without being able to see the reaper coming for you? Brr. See y’all next week at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, October 12th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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 16, 2020 at 11:00 am

%d bloggers like this: