The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Queensboro Bridge

maximum diameter

with 2 comments

Well, that sucks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is dismayed at the results of yesterday’s election results, and I’m in fact struck dumb by them. I was hoping that the United States wouldn’t succumb to its baser instincts in this election, but I’ve been disappointed before. It always strikes me as odd that working class people across the country continually vote against their own interests – which is what a vote for either one of the major parties ultimately turns out to be.

Saying that, as I’ve opined several thousand times in the last year – the National level stuff is above my pay grade, and that the only thing we can really have any effect on are the local issues.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I can offer you predictions – based on having lived through several rightist swings in the White House about what the next half decade holds. There will be war, and recession, an unregulated corporatist nirvana, and the very same rural and rust belt people who voted the new administration into power will be the ones most impoverished by its policies.

This is nothing new, of course, and it hasn’t been so since Marius and Sulla.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The mistake made by the leftists in this election was in the choice of a technocrat candidate who seemed to be awaiting a popular voter enabled coronation to the Presidency – despite being remarkably unpopular. The national level party bosses repudiated, and destroyed, the chances of the populist wing in their own party structure in the name of ensuring this coronation. As the Book of Revelations says – you are neither hot nor cold, you are lukewarm, and I spit you out.

They ran a 20th century campaign in 2016, and lost.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The rural/urban divide is something I’ve been talking about for a long time, incidentally. I’m of the belief that we are headed for a second Civil War in these United States, one that isn’t based around a North and South divide, but instead one that is based around whether you live in a City or a Town.

Cities are internationalist, towns nationalist.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Beyond all of that, one is absolutely speechless and sort of terrified. Apoplectic is an appropriate word.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thing is, this election came out of NYC.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 9, 2016 at 12:30 pm

lustrous balustrade

with 2 comments

A few odds and ends, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An ex-Cat, this skeleton was observed in Long Island City up on the Montauk Cutoff tracks about a week ago. There were raccoon tracks surrounding it, which probably explains a lot about where the rest of the cat is. Pretty gross shot, I guess, but there’s a whole lot of existential reality all over LIC when you peek into its shadowed places.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A renewal of my previously stated opinion that the 7 line is far and away the most photogenic of NYC’s subways is offered. A comparison to Michelle Pfeifer in the movie “Scarface” would be made, but it’s inappropriate.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Finally, did you know that the “King of Shwarma and Falafel” food truck people have opened a brick and mortar storefront on Astoria’s Broadway at 31st street? Practically under the El? I do, which is why I was waiting for Our Lady of the Pentacle on that instersection recently, and I cracked out this noirish shot of the N/Q stairs to pass the time.

Mmm… Shwarma.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 8, 2016 at 11:00 am

oblong apartment

with 2 comments

Getting high over the East River, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seemed like every time I turned around last week, I had to go to Manhattan for one reason or another. I’ll tell you about the reason that I was at the Waldorf Astoria next week, but I was done with that sliver of my life by around 5:45, and the thought of boarding a rush hour train was anathema. Besides, after the chicken fried bacon incident, I had a serious desire to get some exercise… a lot of exercise.

Walking home to Astoria from midtown, rather than using the subway, I soon logically found myself at the Queensboro Bridge, which I haven’t perambulated across in several months for some reason. Queensboro is a fairly decent bit of “cardio” exercise, incidentally, due to the long sloping ascent to its high point over the river at mid span.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a VERY well used pedestrian and bicycle path on the north side of the bridge, one that I used to find myself walking quite often back during 2009 when I was working with the NYC Bridge Centennial committee, which organized the parades and events celebrating the hundred year anniversary of the East River bridges (also, one over the Harlem River, and the Borden and Hunters Point Avenue bridges over the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queensboro is beautiful. Period. It’s one of my favorite sites to photograph in the entire city, and I never get bored of it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I like Queensboro in the late afternoon during fall and spring, as the quality and angles of the light – and the dramatic contrast it creates – are just lovely. Brooklyn Bridge gets all the tourists, and attention, but I’ll take Queensboro any day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The pedestrian and bicycle path crests at mid span, and the wide open vistas encountered are breath taking. If you haven’t had this experience for yourself, why not get off the couch and check it out? I refuse to repeat anything from Great Gatsby, Paul Simon, or a Spiderman movie.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the Queens shoreline, that’s the Big Allis power plant in the Ravenswood section.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Even the NYCHA housing at the western side of Queens Plaza look pretty sweet from up here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking back from the pedestrian walkway towards Manhattan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The pedestrian and bicycle walkway lands in Queens at Queens Plaza, nearby Crescent street.

Upcoming tours and events:


“First Calvary Cemetery” walking tour
with Brooklyn Brainery, Saturday, October 8th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Click here for tickets.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 6, 2016 at 11:00 am

grim purpose

with one comment

Getting out of dodge, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As detailed yesterday, one is not exactly in love with Manhatan these days. What can I tell you, having grown up in a Jewish family whose roots are in the “pale,” bitching and moaning comes naturally to me; and having grown up in Brooklyn – I’m fairly well convinced that my opinion actually matters for something. I was in town for a social engagement, and above is another shot from that rooftop I ended yesterday’s post on. This one is looking south towards the battery, from the Tenderloin district along Manhattan’s Broadway at 27th street.

The social engagement was fun, and we ate a form of food which I actually had to joke about with one of my doctors whom I had a scheduled checkup with a couple of days later. The place we went to, called “Hog Pit,” served “chicken fried bacon,” and I backed that up with a chicken fried steak that came with mashed potatoes which had been drowned in biscuit gravy.

Yep. That’s Bacon that gets fried, then dipped in fried chicken batter, and then refried. One was actually quite ill after arriving back home, and I ended up regurgitating gallons of what seemed like cooking oil.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Overstuffed with fatty southern fare, with what seemed like a two gallon can of lard coursing through my gut, it was a stroke of luck that my pal Hank the elevator guy had actually driven to the gathering at the chicken fried bacon place. We jumped in his pickup and despite the bloating and nausea I was beginning to experience, the camera was kept busy as he drove us back to Queens.

As a note, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the meal, it’s just that since I adhere to a fairly low fat diet due to my various maladies and physical weaknesses I don’t have the stomach biota on staff which would be necessary for the processing of this sort of meal. Normally the furthest off the rails I go – saturated fat wise – is a once a month cheeseburger, the rest of the time I’m working off of the sort of diet which a sheep or rabbit would enjoy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It wasn’t the “new lens,” which I’ve been rattling on about, affixed to the camera for these shots.

It was a Sigma lens, but not the new 50-100 one, rather it was my 18-35 f1.8 wide angle one. One continues to be impressed with the engineering of these new Sigma optics, but the choice to use the 18-35 revolved around it being a bit “smarter” than the 50-100 in terms of mechanically acquiring focus. It’s daunting and a bit of a “worst case scenario” photo situation – serious darkness, contrasting light sources, and in a vehicle moving at a fairly high rate of speed – trying to capture a shot worth presenting.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s just something that happens, however, whenever I pass over the legal border between the two boroughs. Suddenly, my spine seems to relax, and the knots in my gut begin to loosen.

That’s worrying, however, when you’ve got a belly full of chicken fried bacon.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, Hank the elevator guy was able to return us quickly to Queens and before I knew it I was back in the bosom of raven haired Astoria and at home. After depositing my gear, it was time for the dog – who smelled bacon on me and was suspicious as to where I was. A tasty dog treat was offered.

Zuzu the dog was suddenly ecstatic, and we decided to celebrate our reunion by going out on the porch to relax a bit before retiring to the bedchamber – for what would prove to be a fitful and non relaxing session of sleep due to indigestion.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As soon as the door to the porch opened, however, Zuzu the dog lost her mind in a fit of pique.

It seems that some sort of friggin thing had taken my absence, and that of Zuzu’s, as an opportunity and was exploring the various flower pots and plantings which are maintained by Our Lady of the Pentacle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Astoria, Queens seems to be infested by Opossums. Friggin things.

Upcoming tours and events:


“First Calvary Cemetery” walking tour
with Brooklyn Brainery, Saturday, October 8th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Click here for tickets.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 5, 2016 at 11:00 am

found unfastened

with 3 comments

It used to be called Jane Street, y’know.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent occasion found one perambulating from Astoria to Hunters Point. My eventual assignation was scheduled for the early evening (or late afternoon if you sleep in) and a decision to walk a less than efficient route was undertaken. A crooked hypotenuse is what I’d call the route chosen for transversing the somewhat triangular area, which would carry me into a couple of places I haven’t walked through in about a year. A year in LIC is long enough for square blocks of the place to have been demolished and for hundreds of feet of glass tower raised from the rubble, and since it was a nice day – off I went.

The DSNY earth mover was seen on Vernon Blvd., and for some odd reason, presenting these shots to you in a timeline inverse to their actual capture works better. Go figure.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queensboro never disappoints. The Terracotta House restoration seems to finally be just about finished and a cursory inspection suggests that a pretty nice job of it has been done. For those of you not in the know about the New York Terra Cotta company, nor the sole remaining remnant of their presence in LIC, click here for a fairly old Newtown Pentacle post on the subject – from 2009.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One spent an awful amount of time in this area back in 2009, during the centennial celebrations of the great bridge. I was a parade marshall for the event, the first time I’d ever done something like that. I’ve become an old hand at conducting tours and being in public at this point, but back then everything was shiny and new.

If I knew then what I know now… I tell ya…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It won’t be long before Queensboro is hemmed in on all sides by towers and condominiums, and the glorious light of a winter afternoon will be occluded in the same manner as the East River Bridges in Brooklyn. For those of you who have never wandered around this area, it is highly recommended, but watch your back.

You are generally pretty safe around these parts, but if things go bad it happens pretty fast and the consequences can be awful. You mainly have to worry about traffic, but there are also inslaubrious characters hanging about here and there. Just keep moving, I always say.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The north side of the bridge had already been overshadowed by a series of new high rise construction projects. The tower you see in the shot above is over in the shining city of Manhattan across the river, a residential luxury tower which vaingloriously surpasses the height of the Empire State Building – called 432 Park Avenue.

As mentioned at the top of the post, the Queensboro bridge landing in Queens Plaza was once LIC’s Jane Street.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

 

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 24, 2016 at 11:00 am

sophist shuffling

with one comment

Taking my chances, vampire wise, in Long Island City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As all residents of Western Queens know, the Vampires which infest our section of the borough begin to wake up as the sun is setting. Accordingly, a humble narrator normally performs his daily rounds in the morning and afternoon, but one recent perambulation found me out and about during the danger time around sunset. Bereft of the normal sachet of garlic worn during evening walks, my steps quickened as I made for the relative safety of Astoria where bloodsuckers fear to tread due to the prevalence of Croatian and Serbian residents.

Both nationalities have long traditions regarding the nosferatu, as do the Greeks and Italians. South Eastern Europeans don’t play around with the Strigoi. My neighbor Dario spends his free time sharpening wooden spikes in the basement of Newtown Pentacle HQ, for instance, and the superintendent of the building next door keeps a ready supply of granulated garlic at the ready in case of emergency.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I decided the safest course for me to follow would be to leave Skillman Avenue and head home via Jackson Avenue. One of the many viaducts which cross the Sunnyside Yards is often referred to as “Queens Blvd.” but that street name only applies once this viaduct intersects with Thomson Avenue a block away. This is officially Queens Plaza South, and it provides a crossing for pedestrian, bicycle, motor vehicular, and IRT subway traffic over the titan rail yard. It’s not the friendliest environment for pedestrians, with the caterwaul of the subway above and the mephitic emanations of motor vehicles, but when one is concerned about vampiric attack – the most direct route is the best one.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking north easterly across the yards, the surviving factory buildings which surround the yards may be observed. The fires of gentrification have burned many of these older buildings away in recent years, replacing them with bland residential and hotel buildings. The yards were constructed back the first decades of the 20th century, after the Queensboro Bridge opened in 1909. Back then this pathway was called Jane Street, and it crossed an ancient swamp fed by Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary. LIC used to drain its sewerage into the swamp, which fed a series of endemic water based pathogens – typhus, cholera – that sort of thing.

Legend has it that the Vampires began to arrive in LIC about when the English displaced the Dutch, but that they avoided feeding hereabouts due to the various blood conditions in the populace caused by the stagnant water.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Heading towards Queens Plaza, one quickened his steps as movement was observed in the shadowed rafters of the IRT rail bridge carrying the 7 train over the yards. Plump and well fed after several holiday meals, my vital fluids would be a prized delicacy to the undead. The sun was dipping down in the west, after all, and I had no silver on me. My delicate physical condition, carefully maintained by a team of doctors with an arcane set of medications, began to manifest psychologically. Nervous and skittish by nature, one felt himself descending into “one of my spells” which usually ends with a humble narrator running through the streets screeching.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Elevated mood, coupled with a stertorous action of the heart, caused one to constantly look back over his shoulder for ghastly pursuers. Blood began to evacuate the extremities, rendering fingers into little more than chalk white claws clutching desperately at a camera. Beneath a filthy black raincoat, my shoulders began to hunch, and due to the aforementioned exsanguniation of extremity, my gait began to alter and I noticed that one of my feet was dragging along the pavement forcing the other leg to do all the work.

My eyes began to bulge, and mouth grow dry, which caused my lips to draw back over the teeth.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Signs and portents of lurking horror accompanied every pained step as a desperate narrator made for the safety of Astoria in a bizarre and somewhat ataxic gait. Surely the monsters nested above had noticed me at this point, and were licking their chops at the though of consuming the corpulent pedestrian below them. The night haunts would soon be dropping from the IRT rafters in the manner of rotten fruit, loosed from the prison which the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself imposed upon them. That’s when a plexiglass window, impressed into a construction fence at a former chemical factory being converted into residential housing revealed that it was already too late, one of the monsters appeared.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

But… a reflection? Vampires enjoy no reflection.

Staring into the pale visage of an ancient monster – with its bulging eyes, and lips drawn back over yellowed teeth, it’s pale and numbed claws reached out towards me – and I was compelled to do the same. That’s when the supreme horror presented itself, as my finger touched that of the monster’s in the reflection, and it is why I shall never again know peace.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 14, 2016 at 11:00 am

if awakening

with 3 comments

It’s going to be a fun year, lords and ladies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All is false. 

Every nuanced point of view, rhetorical platform, and political stance is plainly bullshit. Nothing is true, and the entire world refuses to admit it, for the alternative is too horrible to contemplate. Conspiracists abound, and they just might be right – for there are, in fact, elite cabals who “rig the game.” We citizens are little more than the pigs at the stock yards of 19th century Chicago, whom workers attached to a mechanical wheel whose sole function was to dismember and commercialize every molecule of their bodies.

All roads lead to Calvary, and are paved not with good intentions, but suffering and humiliation instead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All is true. 

The greatest City, of the greatest country, that the world has ever seen – the Megalopolis of the Proletarian mass – wherein “arebeit” truly does “macht frei.” If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Things are nearly perfect, and the system just needs a few conservatively applied tweaks to assure that all within its borders can live as they choose to. The strong will aid the weak, and through labor and sweat – all may partake in this glorious and great Metropolitan cornucopia.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All is false. 

Living corpses are rejected from common consideration and abandoned to the frozen pavement, disincorporated and dissolute, awaiting only their eventual cremation. Incarceration and persecution is their lot, and deservedly so, for their iniquities. Shunned groups willingly subdivide themselves into ever smaller fractions, which accomplishes the work of political and corporate bosses. Swineherds in blue uniforms push and cajole the offending castes away from the notice of the gentry, lest delicate sensibilities be offended by their presence.

Every hour of every day, the noose is tightened.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All is true. 

Struggle and valiant effort provides one with a ladder to climb out of the gutter and neither luck nor familial heritage has nothing to do with success in the Metropolis. Gotham is naught but the survival of the fittest writ large in concrete and steel, and the trees who root themselves most soundly are those who will rise the highest. Even for the lesser specimens, the forest floor holds naught but untold riches waiting for those clever enough to recognize and reap the fecund value of compost.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All is false. 

Charlatans and confidence operations stand in shadowed doorways, waiting to hook some rube and roll through their pockets. Even the pillars of law and government are set up to remove as much of the filthy lucre from the working man’s pockets as they can get away with. Nobody cares what happens to you, and won’t offer a helping hand out of fear of having the spotlight of the super predators turn upon them. Better to shelter away from others, for engagement only means new troubles will be added to the list, and thicken the skin.

Scar tissue tends to be numbed to external sensation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All is true. 

Gaze upon the works of man, the great bridges, and the towers which do – in fact – scrape against the clouds. The electric glow, the sounds of a society which never stops moving, and a fascinating polyglot culture which offers music, and flavors, and smells which can be found everywhere and nowhere else on an entire planet. A direct line of descent, from Ur to Rome to Constantinople to Paris to London to Manhattan can be drawn, tracing the evolution of mankind from troglodyte ape, to human, to New Yorker.

Surely – this place is where the progress of civilization has, logically, been striving for.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator has made one resolution for this new year – it’s time to get serious, and to stop pretending that I’m just some kind of tourist in this horrible dichotomy which I’ve lived in for nearly half a century. Iconoclast tendencies will be given full reign, as will the black diamond of hatred in my heart be allowed to bloom. Time’s nearly up, and I’m tired of fooling around with liars and idiots.

All is false, all is true. 

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 4, 2016 at 11:00 am

%d bloggers like this: