The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘shoe

bewildering jarring

with 3 comments

Today’s post is of an entirely pedestrian manner.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For about a year, I’ve been noticing this odd pattern all around the Newtown Pentacle, wherein a seemingly discarded single shoe is left conspicuously placed. As mentioned often, my particular curse is to notice everything, and these castaway garments have captured no small amount of my attentions. What’s odd about this is not that someone is discarding an item in the street, a common enough occurrence, its that shoes come in pairs and you seldom discharge one from service but keep its antipode. The boot in the shot above was in Astoria, at the corner of 43rd street and 34th avenue.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp, or DUPBO as I refer to it, is a spot beloved by those that engage in the native art form of Queens- illegal dumping- and it is unsurprising to see entire wardrobes of clothing abandoned here. I once saw an entire dining room set down here, posed as if it was awaiting the gathering of a family to dinner.

Yet, once again, you find a single shoe.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just as the weather began to warm up in 2013, a change in the pattern was observed.

Suddenly shoes began to appear in matched pairs.

This shot is from Northern Blvd. nearby Steinway Street in Queens. At first, it seems almost normal, just a pair of abandoned shoes. Unfortunately, that’s what triggers another of my curses- which is to ask “Why?” Why would somebody remove their shoes on a busy glass strewn road, and in front of a gas station? What is the logical chain of dominoes which fell into place that brought this footwear to this particular spot? Was it the Rapture?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Presumptively, the fellow who carefully placed this abandoned set of kicks on 30th avenue and 45th street had another pair ready to go, but why not change them out at home? My habits, at least, include the sustained usage of footwear when out of the house. It is one of my deeply held beliefs that unless you’re arriving at the beach, park, or a pool and find yourself removing your shoes when out of the house- you’re either in need of medical attention or being arrested and searched (or visiting someone who made the calamitous decision to buy light colored carpets). I stay laced, but that’s me.

I grew up in a version of New York which considered smashing beer bottles on the sidewalk as being huge fun, and a City in which wearing heavy boots was an absolute necessity which had nothing to do with fashion.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The pair above were encountered in on Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside, and for once I had a witness along (Hi Tim) who can attest that they were neatly set out upon a stoop. Probably some generous soul, we surmised, setting out used shoes for the needy. Still, I wonder, and need to invoke my secondary curse. “Why”?

Personally, I have never set a pair of shoes on the curb with such a motive, and am puzzled by the offer of such back handed charity. Also, having personally known “the needy”, I can report that I’ve never seen one of them grab a pair of curbside shoes and say “huzzah.”

What is the worst part of going bowling, and if you need to wear someone else’s shoes, would it be any of these?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just the other day, on Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn- nearby Greenpoint Avenue and the Newtown Creek- a single shoe awaited me as I shambled past. It was sporty model, meant for a right foot. Back to my first curse, the one which compels me to carry a camera around and obsessively record everything encountered, and an odd detail about each and every shoe displayed in these shots- which is that they all have their laces arranged neatly.

Just to reiterate my belief that there’s something odd going on here, and demonstrate that this is “a thing” – check out the great Cecil Adams over at “The Straight Dope” struggle with the phenomena.

Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

The Insalubrious Valley Saturday, June 29, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

Modern Corridor- Saturday, July 13, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 27, 2013 at 1:28 am

lost perspective

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back and forth, forth and back.

On yet another of my perambulations twixt ancient Greenpoint and Astoria, the path which presented itself carried me down Greenpoint Avenue and upon the loathsome expanse of the Long Island Expressway did I find myself staring aghast at. Shivering from chills which were not atmospheric in origin, a humble narrator feverishly crossed the pedestrian pathway between the on and off ramps, an island of safety in a sea of automotive sharks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the northern side of the street, yet another singular and abandoned example of the cobblers art was discovered.

Individual shoes are noticed nearly everywhere these days, by one such as myself, so much so that it seems as if some sort of sinister game might be afoot. Is there be some sort of registry for such matters? Some sort of federal list? Can an amputated consumer product such as a shoe be traced back to an owner? Detective fictions opine that this is the case, but who can guess?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wild speculation rules my reactions to these abandoned shoe sightings, lending fuel to flights of blasphemous fancy and outrageous possibility. Commonalities in the sightings of these orphaned singlets include their presence on out of the way, commonly traveled but seldom walked, streets. Most examples seem gently used (with the exception of the damage on the example today,) and that they are conspicuous.

There doesn’t seem to be a bias toward either the left nor right model.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 7, 2013 at 12:15 am

smaller detail

with 5 comments

“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The continuing saga of the single shoes shows no sign of surcease. All about the Pentacle, this singular displays of just one half of mated pairs continues, and my suspicions of some malign operation and intent are extant and growing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This sporty number was observed on Skillman Avenue, alongside the titan Sunnyside Yard. A concentration point of sorts for the phenomena, many of the castoff examples of footwear have been observed here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Mention should be made, for new readers and old, that your humble narrator never poses a found object or alters the scene from the condition in which it is found. What you see is what I saw, in exact situ.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 17, 2013 at 12:15 am

trembling protest

with 7 comments

“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just the other day, one was strolling along Jackson Avenue in Long Island City and enjoying the late afternoon haze of auto exhaust when I decided to avoid a group of rough and aggressive looking youngsters by ducking down a dead end called Dutch Kills Street. Haughty and diffident, these unscrupulous looking minors had perhaps reached the third grade, but realizing that they have spent their short lifetime playing violent video games and were therefore potential killers, your humble narrator decided to walk the familiar path of ignominy and hide from them.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Such physical cowardice has often proven to be the better part of valor for one such as myself, a shunned and awkward thing which resembles a man. Dutch Kills Street, where the native art form of Queens (illegal dumping) is practiced wholly, is overflown by structures sprouting out from the Great Machine at nearby Queens Plaza. Vehicular traffic departing and approaching the mighty Queensboro bridge hurtles along overhead, and the street grade lanes end at the fence lines of the titan Sunnyside Yards..

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the end of the street was observed another of the curious shoes which I’ve been noticing scattered around in similarly desolate locales over the last few months. Odd bordering on obsequious, the presence of just one half of the mated pair- again and again- just makes a little bell go off in my head when I see it. It is common to see all sorts of domestic and personal goods scattered about the neighborhoods surrounding the fabled Newtown Creek, but the homogeneity of these singular shoe sightings simply suggests something sinister and suspicious.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The rough looking group of third graders had noisily passed the intersection of Jackson and Dutch Kills, heading towards Tower Town down in Hunters Point. They were assembled in a “skirmish line” formation, walking abreast of each other while in the company of a group of women who seemed to have some measure of control over their movements. Some of these women had far younger children with them, who were being transported in bizarre cart like machines- whose appearance I did not like, I should add- which I found disconcerting. Your humble narrator hid behind a pile of trash for awhile, then fled the scene with haste.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 11, 2013 at 2:57 am

day’s gropings

with 4 comments

“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the bizarre world which your humble narrator inhabits, a Christmas Eve post is as good a time as any to expand on a little enigma which has been bugging me. As you all well know by now, the long walks around the pentacle often offer bizarre or odd details which torment and tantalize ones imagination. On a recent perambulation, I noticed yet another one of the single shoes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My curse is to notice things like this. For much of 2012, I have been observing shoes- always singular, never in pairs- discarded along my route. Once or twice, I’ve seen multiple examples of castoff footwear, but even then- orphaned individuals rather than matched sets.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shots above were gathered at 43rd street, off Northern Blvd. in Queens. Satisfied that I had documented this oddity, I continued on my path to a destination down in Long Island City. In accordance with habit, I found a moment to photograph and add to my library a few shots of the Megalith. Walking along Skillman Avenue, I was scanning the ground for more shoes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was around 36th street and Skillman that it occurred to me, suddenly, that I should look up. What did I spy, with my little eye?

Have a merry one lords and ladies.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 24, 2012 at 12:15 am

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