The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Queensboro Bridge

meager funds

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There does not seem to be a verifiable national food holiday for Oct. 9th, although one checked source suggests that it’s National Moldy Cheese Day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator, for one, is sick of this summer stuff at this point. One realizes, as my pal Chrissy Remein from Riverkeeper pointed out to me recently, that this global warming thing is getting pretty apparent by this point and that this is the “new normal,” but regardless – I’m tired of the shvitz. I shouldn’t have to leave the house in October dressed as I would be for a July afternoon, and as another friend of mine would opine – “get home with total swamp ass.”

Pictured above is the scene as observed just west of Queens Plaza late on last Saturday afternoon.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I conducted an LIC tour on Saturday, during which the weather was – as mentioned, “shvitzy and swamp ass” – but as is my habit I arrived at the meetup spot a bit early. Vast clouds of haze were rising from the vicinity of the Queens Midtown Tunnel and so a humble narrator investigated. It would seem that road work crews were installing a new coat of asphalt to east bound toll plaza, which accounted for the misty haze as VOC (volatile organic compound) tainted steam rose from trucks of a superheated industrial waste product (produced by the petroleum industry) which we as a culture mix with concrete and liberally spread about on vehicular roadways.

Those are the work crews pictured above, in DUPBO – Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The preceding Friday was equally as uncomfortable to be moving through the Newtown Creek industrial zone, with its affection of the so called “Maspeth Heat Island” effect. This environmental condition, named for the area of industrial Maspeth just east of LIC but is similarly experienced along the banks of the entire Newtown Creek, sees ambient temperatures rise 5-15 degrees higher than in surrounding neighborhoods due to the complete absence of vegetation and abundance of concrete. The concrete and masonry walls of factory buildings, sidewalks, and roads all bake in the radiation of the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself and store up energy, becoming radiant sources of heat. It feels a bit like walking about in a kiln, or oven, even on days when the Mercury never rises out of the 70’s. Forget about the sensation encountered when the atmosphere is already in the 90’s early in the morning.

That’s the Hunters Point Yard of the Long Island Railroad pictured above, which is similarly in DUPBO.


Upcoming Tours and events

The Hidden Harbors Of  Staten Island Boat Tour,
with Working Harbor Committee – Sunday, October 15th, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

A very cool boat tour that visits two of the maritime industrial waterways of New York Harbor which adjoin Staten Island and Bayonne in New Jersey – The Kill Van Kull and the Arthur Kill. There will be lots of tugboats, cargo docks, and you’ll get to see multiple bridges from the water – including the brand new Goethals Bridge. I’ll be on the mike, narrating with WHC board member Gordon Cooper details here.


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It’s National Peanut Butter Cookie Day, according to the National Peanut Council, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For those of you who didn’t get the notification, the City has updated the Queensboro Bridge’s firmware over the weekend. You’ll no longer find your driving directions in “citytunes,” instead they’re now in a separate app.

That’s a joke, of course, for those of you who are literally minded, but this last weekend was a commuter nightmare subway wise, which resulted in a surface transportation clusterfuck of vehicular traffic trying to exit or enter Queens. A classic example of “you can’t get there from here,” multiple subway lines were rerouted or nonexistent due to track work, and the entire experience of getting around town was framed by a couple of conversations I was a part of last week with the NYC EDC, regarding their Sunnyside Yards Feasibility study.

One had two opportunities last week to throw shade at them about the project. One was at the Queens Chamber of Commerce – while wearing my Newtown Creek Alliance Hat – which saw me asking EDC about truck routes and what exactly they think they’re going to be able to plug 28,000 units of housing into. The other was wearing my Access Queens hat (we don’t have actual AQ hats, btw) and I queried as to how half the population of Boulder Colorado would manage to get to work in the City using just three subway stations (33rd Street/Rawson and 40th street/Lowery on the 7, and 36th street on the R/M) every day. Other questions involved hospital beds, NYPD, FDNY, and we explored the chronology involved with transport to Elmhurst Hospital or Bellevue for a citizen who might be experiencing a heart attack or stroke from the ostensible center of the project at Queens Plaza.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over in Hunters Point, the dig for Captain Praa’s Golden Horde continues. The semi legendary Dutch sea Captain who settled on the northern side of the Mispat, or Newtown Creek, is meant to have buried a blasphemous treasure he collected on a journey to and from the mysterious Micronesian island of Pohnpei (formerly known as Ponape) in the South Pacific. In the native tongue, Pohnpei translates to “upon a stone altar,” and it is where you’ll find the archaeological site of Nan Modol (which translates to “the spaces between”). Legend has it that Praa was terrified by the latent occult implications of the golden treasure he carried home, and ensured that it would be forever lost in the mud and silt. The tall tale that frog headed monstrosities, reported as periodically rising from the Newtown Creek in the historical record, followed him back to NY Harbor is completely unsubstantiated and fantastic in implication.

from wikipedia

According to Pohnpeian legend, Nan Madol was constructed by twin sorcerers Olisihpa and Olosohpa from the mythical Western Katau, or Kanamwayso. The brothers arrived in a large canoe seeking a place to build an altar so that they could worship Nahnisohn Sahpw, the god of agriculture. After several false starts, the two brothers successfully built an altar off Temwen Island, where they performed their rituals. In legend, these brothers levitated the huge stones with the aid of a flying dragon. When Olisihpa died of old age, Olosohpa became the first Saudeleur. Olosohpa married a local woman and sired twelve generations, producing sixteen other Saudeleur rulers of the Dipwilap (“Great”) clan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over the weekend, one encountered an online conspiracy theory describing the retail giant Wal-Mart as playing a seminal role in a secretive FEMA plot which would see a declaration of martial law enacted in pursuance of the confiscation of personal firearms. This plot, as reported, had Hillary Clinton as its fountainhead. Mrs. Clinton was just an agent, however of a shadowy cabal populated by internationalist Jewish Bankers in league with the Bilderberg group, who are upset that Donald Trump has emerged to thwart their nefarious goals. Who knew?

It made me wonder, and more than wonder, what role the Harley Davidson people might be playing in this global power grab. What other large scale American corporations might be working to subvert individual liberty and institute a new world order?

Moreover, why isn’t anyone talking or worrying about the antediluvian horrors lurking in the seas of the South Pacific just off Pohnpei, specifically located at 47°9′S 126°43′W – where the nightmare corpse city of R’lyeh lies sunken beneath the waves…  in all of its slimy green immensity – which was built in the measureless eons behind history by those vast, loathsome shapes that seeped down from the dark stars?

I think we can all guess who that flying dragon that Olisihpa and Olosohpa built Nan Modol with is, after all.


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It’s National Mint Julip Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When one was a young narrator, it was common to observe me stamping my feet while hysterically imploring my parents about why Queens Plaza was denied to us as a homestead. One fears that this is actually a common experience, after all. What native New Yorker hasn’t wished that they could live in Queens Plaza? Luckily, that cursed malignity of fate has been altered by the good graces of the Real Estate folks and you can finally acquire a luxury apartment hereabouts. You’ve got all the modern amenities (except supermarkets, laundromats, shops, local jobs, or hospitals), but I’m afraid that the porn shops and hookers are no longer anywhere to be found. You’re very close to multiple transit lines, which will be literally right outside your windows.

The Vampires are still here in Queens Plaza, however, so there’s that for historical character and local color.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As far as the Vampires go, you’ll need to meet the neighbors quickly, for the slabs of mirror glass rising all around Queens Plaza tend to throw off strobing reflections of the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself which pierce the otherwise preternatural and permanent twilight beneath the MTA trackage.

This reflected and refracted light illuminates those everpresent particulate clouds of automotive exhaust in Queens Plaza, diffusing it into the miasmic atmosphere – an effect which is beginning to scare away and displace the famously heliophobic Nosferatu. My understanding is that this vampiric legion, which has called Queens Plaza their home for decades, have begun to migrate eastwards along the 7 line – and are now beginning to homestead in Woodside, Jackson Heights, and Roosevelt – so better get down here quickly if you want to experience a slice of that famous “vibrant diversity” while you still can.

Flushing and Corona is too long of a commute for them, and the elevated subway tracks are a bit higher out east, which allows for an uncomfortable amount of sunlight to suffuse.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On a personal note, it’s been a very exciting few weeks for a humble narrator, and there’s lots to tell all of y’all about.

I have been allowed into the company of the humans on more than one occasion, and there has been diversion after diversion to amuse and occupy oneself with. Additionally, I’m finally nearly caught up with processing the thousands of photos which I’ve captured during my various travels about the megalopolis, and this – your Newtown Pentacle – is back for summer session.


Upcoming Tours and events

Newtown Creek Alliance and Riverkeeper Visioning, June 3rd, 1-4 p.m..

Imagine the future of Newtown Creek with Riverkeeper and NCA at the Kingsland Wildfowers Green Roof (520 Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint) details here.

Newtown Creek Alliance History lecture with NCA historian Mitch Waxman, June 3rd, 5:00- 7:30 p.m.

An free hour long lecture and slideshow about Newtown Creek’s incredible history at the gorgeous Kingsland Wildfowers Green Roof (520 Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint) followed by a walk around the roof and a Q&A – details here.

Green Drinks Queens LIC, June 5th, 6:00- 9:00 p.m.

Come celebrate UN World Environment Day with Green Drinks: Queens on the LIC Waterfront! This year’s theme is “Connecting People With Nature.”details here.


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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.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 9, 2016 at 12:30 pm

lustrous balustrade

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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.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 8, 2016 at 11:00 am

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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

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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

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