The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘shoe

unthinkable situations

leave a comment »


– photo by Mitch Waxman

One had to head over to industrial Maspeth recently to guide a few students around the “IBZ” or Industrial Business Zone. Their course work involves getting granular about the types and sorts of businesses in the area, the demographics of who is employed there, and how to travel to and from the area. Hey… if you want to get granular about Industrial Maspeth, who ya gonna call?

I won’t bore you with the ridiculous amount of information I tried to impart to them, rather, my intention with this post is to warn you that the Queens Cobbler seems to have returned to their nefarious ways.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve been talking about the Queens Cobbler for several years at this point in time.

The first time I used the term was way back in 2014, and there have been posts mentioning the monster since then. Halloween of 2014, this one from March of 2015, another from April of 2015, and from the same month – the appearance of a potential copycat Cobbler was mentioned in this one. June of 2015 saw more evidence appear, and shoes continued to drop right on through 2016. 2017 brought more macabre trophies to the fore, and it seemed like the Queens Cobbler began to grow haughty. All through the summer of 2017, single shoe sightings began to grow in frequency. Even children aren’t safe from the Cobbler, and I should have taken the message when a singular shoe was found at my local saloon in October. Halloween of 2017? As late as middle December of 2017? Yep.

Somehow, the Queens Cobbler figured out where I live, and left a shoe on the fence surrounding HQ here in Astoria right around Christmas of 2017.

April of 2018 – uh huh. May of 2018, yessir. The last evidences of the Cobbler which I’ve spotted were in 2019.

I’ve been looking, but haven’t found any single shoes that fit the Cobbler Criteria during the pandemic months. The single shoe pictured above was spotted on the Grand Street Bridge, just last week.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Less than a block away, this sneaker was also spotted.

Theoretically, this suggests that the Queens Cobbler might be a person with financial means, and has been riding out the pandemic in some other community. Have single shoes been turning up at Gilgo Beach out on Long Island, or along the Taconic Parkway upstate? Watch out Queens, hold your children and loved ones tightly.

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, November 9th. 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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 12, 2020 at 11:00 am

dormant organs

with 2 comments

Sure is nice outside, except if you meet the Queens Cobbler.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The single shoe phenomena has recently kicked back into gear around Wetsern Queens, which suggests to me that the Queens Cobbler is again active. The “Queens Cobbler,” as I’ve christened this licentious stealer of souls (or soles), is the name I’ve assigned to a probable serial killer who leaves behind a single shoe – a calling card that has been plucked from his or her unfortunate victim. Above, a single shoe found displayed on Astoria’s Broadway, quite recently.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Flip or flop, or some combination thereof, the inefficiencies of this model of footwear are well known. It is virtually impossible to run when wearing these “pool” or “shower” shoes – if shoes they be and not sandals. This cerulean trimmed model was just left in the open on Austell Place in the fabulous Degnon Terminal section of Long Island City.

This Queens Cobbler really gets around.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A break in the pattern, perhaps the work of a copy cat, was revealed back in Astoria near Steinway Street. Three matching pairs of shoes were observed in one spot. One hopes that the 114th precinct has assigned a squad of their crack Detectives to investigating this matter, and the killer(s) amongst us.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself have learned to stoutly lock our windows and doors at night, and seldom venture out without exhibiting a quick pace and alert posture. Terrors such as only the mind can hold accompany thoughts of the Cobbler’s ghoulish activities. A palpable pall of pestilential fear lurks about Queens, and all watch their steps.

Hopefully, the Cobbler won’t join forces with the Sunnyside Slasher, Ridgewood Ripper, Woodside Whomper, or the Mad Gasser of Blissville and form so,emleague of evil. The streets would be littered with shoes.

Upcoming tours and events:

“Brooklyn Waterfront – Past & Present” boat tour
with Working Harbor Committee, Thursday, September 15th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Click here for tickets.

“13 Steps around Dutch Kills” walking tour
with Atlas Obscura, Sunday, September 18th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Click here for tickets.

“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

September 13, 2016 at 11:00 am

laboring vision

with 2 comments

Is this the Queens Cobbler at work, or a copycat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As long time readers of this, your Newtown Pentacle, are aware – I’ve been tracking the so called “single shoe phenomena” around Western Queens and North Brooklyn and have postulated that there might be a serial killer moving amongst us whom I’ve begun to refer to as “The Queens Cobbler.” The Cobbler, if I’m correct, leaves behind these bits of footwear as a taunting message to the community that he or she is amongst us. Disturbingly, for the last couple of weeks, the Cobbler’s pattern seems to have changed. As illustrated in the shot above, it looks like an entire family was taken on Skillman Avenue nearby the Sunnyside Yards, and that all six of their shoes were left behind.

Could there be a Queens Cobbler copycat at work?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over on Wythe Street in Williamsburg, a pair of child sized boots was observed, but this is clearly not the work of the Cobbler nor the pseudo Cobbler. Quite obviously, some hipster child found themselves lured into the baited rodent trap observed in the shot, losing their shoes as they crawled into the hole to get to the succulent offerings contained therein.

Whilst one applauds the idea for reducing the density of the human infestation in Williamsburg, this is truly “over the top.” In that tony neighborhood, the smarter move would be to set up a porta potty that promises free wifi, which would cause all the beautiful people to line up for a chance to enter the thing. Conductive plates would activate once the door was closed, parbroiling the Hipster within and leaving naught but an ash covered iphone and a bit of carbon dust.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Observed over in Glendale last weekend, something of a different character. This fence adjoins Highland Park, where the fabulous Ridgewood Reservoir is found. One can speculate about what occurred here, and as to why the iron fencing is bent out “Superman style,” but as with the various altars or the occult found in area cemeteries and the Queens Cobbler – one who inquires too deply into the mysteries of Queens might find out a bit more than they’ve bargained on.

Additionally, Working Harbor Committee officiates informed me last night that the May 31 Newtown Creek boat tour tickets are selling briskly – so if you’ve been sitting on the fence about whether or not to come along or not, now is the time to order and reserve your spot.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

May 3, 2015 –
DUBPO, Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp
with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman, a free tour offered as part of Janeswalk 2015, click here for tickets.

May 16, 2015 –
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills with Atlas Obscura

with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman, click here for details and tickets.

May 31, 2015 –
Newtown Creek Boat Tour
with Working Harbor Committee and Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman, click here for tickets.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 28, 2015 at 11:00 am

altars and colossi

with 4 comments

The Queens Cobbler, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For several years one has been documenting the appearance of single shoes, divorced from their life partners, scattered about the larger Newtown Pentacle. This topic has been mentioned before, as has the supposition that this might be evidence of a secretive serial killer amongst us, one who keeps a singular shoe as a trophy of their kill while discarding the other on area streets.

For lack of a better name, I have christened this possible predator the Queens Cobbler.


Is the Single Shoe Phenomenon characteristic of a particular ethnic group? Can they be categorized according to educational level? Is this a product of social class? Do they know one another? Are they organized? Is there a club? Are hundreds – possibly thousands – of people out there hopping around on one foot?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As far back as 2011, a humble narrator has been taking note and photographing these singular garments whenever and wherever they present themselves. There seems to be a lot of activity in the Skillman Avenue corridor, alongside the Sunnyside Yards, but in any deserted industrial area adjoining the Newtown Creek – you might find evidence of the Cobbler if you observe your surroundings carefully. That’s how the actions of the so called and still at large Gilgo Beach Killer came to light.

from wikipedia

The Long Island serial killer (also referred to by media sources as the Gilgo Beach Killer or the Seashore Serial Killer) is an unidentified suspected serial killer who is believed to have murdered 10 to 15 people associated with the sex trade over a period of nearly 20 years and dumped their bodies along the Ocean Parkway, near the remote Long Island beach towns of Gilgo Beach and Oak Beach in Suffolk County and the area of Jones Beach State Park in Nassau County.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The actual location where the Queens Cobbler might do his or her nefarious work is undoubtedly the sort of thing you’d expect to see in an Eli Roth “gorno” movie, but it is unrevealed and hidden still. Personally, a bit of quasi nausea is experienced at the notion that my revelations and descriptions of the Cobbler to the electorate might draw his or her attentions on to myself. Precautions have been taken – the wearing of a chain mail shirt and the carrying about of hatchets – in the style of the legendary “Mock Duck” who was the greatest warrior of Manhattan’s early 20th century Chinatown – has been undertaken.

from wikipedia

In 1900, Mock Duck demanded half of Lee’s revenue from illegal gambling operations. When Lee refused, within 48 hours Mock Duck declared a Tong war against the On Leongs. Hip Sing men set one of Lee’s boarding houses on fire, which resulted in the deaths of two men. In another incident, an On Leong man was decapitated by two Hip Sing hatchetmen, and open warfare began in Chinatown.

One Chinatown historian describes Mock Duck in 1904 as “strutting around on Pell Street, covered in diamonds,” adding that, at that time, “Mock Duck is firmly in control of the Hip Sing, his sinister image bolstered by his long, lethal-looking fingernails, which signal he is too grand to do the dirty work he assigns to others.”

Mock Duck survived repeated attempts on his life and wore a chain mail vest. He was named by the press the “Clay Pigeon of Chinatown” and the “Mayor of Chinatown”. During several attempts on his life, Mock Duck reportedly squatted down in the street and fired at his attackers with two handguns with his eyes closed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Police officials offer a wry and patient smile when a humble narrator inquires as to their thoughts on the Queens Cobbler, and local elected officialdom refuses to even acknowledge the possibility that a killer might walk amongst us. How many people disappear in NYC annually, with the assumption made by neighbors that they’ve simply moved away?

I remember the tales of the “Brooklyn Vampire,” Albert Fish, does anyone else?

from wikipedia

Hamilton Howard “Albert” Fish (May 19, 1870 – January 16, 1936) was an American serial killer. He was also known as the Gray Man, the Werewolf of Wysteria, the Brooklyn Vampire, the Moon Maniac, and The Boogey Man. A child rapist and cannibal, he boasted that he “had children in every state”, and at one time stated the number was about 100. However, it is not known whether he was talking about rapes or cannibalization, less still whether he was telling the truth. He was a suspect in at least five murders during his lifetime. Fish confessed to three murders that police were able to trace to a known homicide, and he confessed to stabbing at least two other people. He was put on trial for the kidnapping and murder of Grace Budd, and was convicted and executed by electric chair.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Profiling such a creature as the Queens Cobbler is surely an action that the FBI experts in Quantico, Virginia could undertake. I’m sure NYPD would reject their help, due to the stupid internecine battles over turf common between the two organizations. In the meantime, the Cobbler(s?) can walk freely amongst us, picking and taking out their future victims.

Nobody believed that prostitutes from the Lower East Side were disappearing back in the 1990’s, until the cops busted Joel Rifkin.

from wikipedia

Joel David Rifkin (born January 20, 1959) is an American serial killer convicted of the murders of nine women (although it is believed he killed as many as 17, mostly drug addicted prostitutes, between 1989 and 1993 in New York City. Also, he is suspected by some to be responsible for some of the Long Island Prostitute Murders whose remains were found in March and April 2011, as four of his victims’ bodies were never found. In an April 2011 prison interview with Newsday, Rifkin denied having anything to do with recently discovered remains. Experts and victims’ rights advocates, however, believe that Rifkin’s recent statements have no value. Although Rifkin often hired prostitutes in Brooklyn and Manhattan, he lived in East Meadow, a suburban town on Long Island.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

How many singular shoe finds do will it take for officialdom to acknowledge the Queens Cobbler, and for the community to demand action? Does every shoe displayed in today’s post represent a human life cut short by the actions of a madman? Will we eventually see news reports of some grisly trophy room found in an abandoned factory in Maspeth or East Williamsburg?

Could the satanic cult that David Berkowitz was a member of in Yonkers still be active, and operating in Brooklyn and Queens?

from wikipedia

In 1979, Berkowitz mailed a book about witchcraft to police in North Dakota. He had underlined several passages and written a few marginal notes, including the phrase: “Arliss [sic] Perry, Hunted, Stalked and Slain. Followed to Calif. Stanford University.” The reference was to Arlis Perry, a 19-year-old North Dakota newlywed who had been murdered at Stanford on October 12, 1974. Her death, and the notorious abuse of her corpse in a Christian chapel on campus, was a widely reported case. Berkowitz mentioned the Perry attack in other letters, suggesting that he knew details of it from the perpetrator himself. Local police investigators interviewed him but “now [2004] believe he has nothing of value to offer” and the Perry case remains unsolved.

After his admission to Sullivan prison, Berkowitz began to claim that he had joined a Satanic cult in the spring of 1975. He had met some of its members at a party, and initially thought the group was involved only in occult activities such as séances and fortune telling; the group, however, gradually introduced him to drug use, sadism, crime and murder. Berkowitz states that he knew roughly two dozen core members in New York – the “twenty-two disciples of hell” mentioned in the Breslin letter – and that the group had ties across the U.S. in drug smuggling and other illegal activities.

In 1993, Berkowitz first made these claims known when he announced to the press that he had killed only three of the Son of Sam victims: Donna Lauria, Alexander Esau and Valentina Suriani. In this revised confession, Berkowitz says that there were other shooters involved and that he personally fired the gun only in the first attack (Lauria and Valenti) and the sixth (Esau and Suriani). He says that he and several other cult members were involved in every incident by planning the events, providing early surveillance of the victims, and acting as lookouts and drivers at the crime scenes. Berkowitz states that he cannot divulge the names of most of his accomplices without putting his family directly at risk.

Among Berkowitz’s unnamed associates was a female cult member who he claims fired the gun at Denaro and Keenan: the victims survived, he said, because she was unfamiliar with the powerful recoil of a .44 Bulldog. Berkowitz declared that “at least five” cult members were at the scene of the Freund–Diel shooting, but the actual shooter was a prominent cult associate who had been brought in from outside New York with an unspecified motive – a cult member whom he identified only by his nickname, “Manson II”. Another unnamed figure was the gunman in the Moskowitz–Violante case, a male cult member who had arrived from North Dakota for the occasion, also without explanation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lock your doors, lords and ladies, and especially today – for Samhain is upon us and the wheel of the year is once again turning toward the dissolution of winter. If there is someone who seems to be taking an odd interest in what you are wearing on your feet – well… if you see something, say something.

from wikipedia

Irish mythology was originally a spoken tradition, but the tales were eventually written down by Christian monks in the Middle Ages, who are thought to have Christianized many of them. According to Irish mythology, Samhain (like Beltane) was a time when the doorways to the Otherworld opened, allowing the spirits and the dead to come into our world; but while Beltane was a summer festival for the living, Samhain “was essentially a festival for the dead.”[ The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn says that the sídhe (fairy mounds or portals to the Otherworld) “were always open at Samhain.” Like Beltane, Lughnasadh and Imbolc, Samhain also involved great feasts. Mythology suggests that drinking alcohol was part of the feast, and it is noteworthy that every tale that features drunkenness is said to take place at Samhain.

Many important events in Irish mythology happen or begin on Samhain. The invasion of Ulster that makes up the main action of the Táin Bó Cúailnge (Cattle Raid of Cooley) begins on Samhain. As cattle-raiding typically was a summer activity, the invasion during this off-season surprised the Ulstermen. The Second Battle of Maighe Tuireadh also begins on Samhain. The Morrígan (Morríghan) and The Dagda (Daghdha) meet and have sex before the battle against the Fomorians; in this way the Morrígan acts as a sovereignty figure and gives the victory to the Dagda’s people, the Tuatha Dé Danann.

According to the Dindsenchas and Annals of the Four Masters, which were written by Christian monks, Samhain in ancient Ireland was associated with the god Crom Cruach. The texts claim that King Tigernmas (Tighearnmhas) made offerings to Crom Cruach each Samhain, sacrificing a first-born child by smashing their head against a stone idol of the god.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Focused on entirely modern tropes such as lone wolf jihadists, school age shooters, or the unlikely attack of a Cobra like terrorist organization armed with the sort of weapons enjoyed by only the strongest of national militaries – our municipal security apparatus might be unable to spot a possible serial killer whose only calling card is the scattering of singular shoes around the neighborhood. In their defense, however, terrorist bombings are an entirely modern phenomena, with little or no historical precedent – according to modern political narrative.

Oh, how one longs for the good old days when you could leave your door unlocked and or sleep out on the fire escape as described by New Yorkers born in the 1930’s and 40’s.

from wikipedia

George P. Metesky (November 2, 1903 – May 23, 1994), better known as the Mad Bomber, terrorized New York City for 16 years in the 1940s and 1950s with explosives that he planted in theaters, terminals, libraries, and offices. Bombs were left in phone booths, storage lockers, and restrooms in public buildings, including Grand Central Terminal, Pennsylvania Station, Radio City Music Hall, the New York Public Library, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the RCA Building, as well as in the New York City Subway. Metesky also bombed movie theaters, where he cut into seat upholstery and slipped his explosive devices inside.

Angry and resentful about events surrounding a workplace injury suffered years earlier, Metesky planted at least 33 bombs, of which 22 exploded, injuring 15 people. He was apprehended based on an early use of offender profiling and clues given in letters he wrote to a newspaper. He was found legally insane and committed to a state mental hospital.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whence goeth the Queens Cobbler? Is it an individual, or is some group of murder happy characters and killer cultists amongst us? Nobody believed that the “Midtown Slasher” was a single individual until the Police accidentally found evidence of his crimes, after all.

Happy Halloween, y’all, and keep your eyes peeled.

from wikipedia

Joseph Christopher (1955 – 1992/1993) was an American serial killer, active from September 22, 1980 until his arrest on May 10, 1981. He was known as the “Midtown Slasher.” It is believed that he killed twelve individuals and wounded numerous others, almost all of them African American, with one Hispanic male.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, November 8th, Poison Cauldron
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Note: This is the last Newtown Creek walking tour of 2014, and probably the last time this tour will be presented in its current form due to the Kosciuszko Bridge construction project. 

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 31, 2014 at 12:49 pm

padding, clicking, walking

with 3 comments

Want to feel better? Take a walk in Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Skillman Avenue between 39th street and 49th avenue is “big sky country” here in Western Queens, with the majesties of the Sunnyside Yard and the glorious skyline of the Shining City laid out for all observers. It has always been one of my favorite spots for a stroll, and never more so than at twilight.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a number of things I can tell you about the yards. When it opened, this was the largest coach yard on the planet, and it hosts the busiest tracks on earth to this day – specifically, the Harold Interlocking, which is shared by Amtrak and the Long Island Railroad. There’s an ocean of PCB’s and other industrial chemicals in the ground here, and its likely going to be listed for some sort of environmental cleanup or remediation before too long.

The odd and continuing appearances of cast off single shoes found along the fence line continues to intrigue and puzzle a humble narrator, but that’s another story.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seems that the whole “deck over the yard and build a new neighborhood on top of it, with a stadium and hotel complex at the Queens Plaza side and affordable housing to the east” chestnut has surfaced again – the latest iteration of a plan espoused by Dan Doctoroff early in the first Bloomberg term. A number of people have asked me what my thoughts on the matter are.

My reply is always: How, in any way, would that be good for Queens? Does the proposal to deck the yards include hospitals and schools, an annex for the already stretched 104th and 114th precincts, additional FDNY personnel and equipment, or some mechanism to incorporate this new population into the existing wastewater system? Who will bear the costs of these municipal services? It won’t be the entity that builds a stadium or hotel complex, one guarantees you.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

%d bloggers like this: