The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Statue of Liberty

tradewinds sweep

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

November 13th. My pal Meg Black, from Working Harbor Committee plotzed back at the start of the year. She was cremated, and another Pal – Barbara – had held onto her ashes until an appropriate moment arrived to dispose of them. Meg’s family, on the 13th, was onboard the John J Harvey Fireboat along with us – the Working Harbor Committee. Captain Huntley Gil navigated the 1931 Fireboat down the Hudson River from its home at Pier 66 to the Statue of Liberty.

This is the last time for me, riding on board the Harvey. It was Meg’s last time, too.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Meg Black is one of the most enigmatic people I’ve ever met. Her last name describes her sense of humor, and she was one of the prime components of the Working Harbor Committee. Tireless is how she’d want me to describe her, but Meg often groaned and creeped under the burdens of her central role in the organization. She always delivered.

Another one of my little mottos is “do what you say, say what you do.” That’s could describe her, my contentious friend Meg. In the picture above, that’s a member of her family – a niece, I believe – letting her loose on New York Harbor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is where the ashes were scattered.

Goodbye, old friend.

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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.

nobler desires

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Hey, it’s Tuesday again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, one has spent an extraordinary amount of time in the last week out on the water, specifically onboard a series of ferry boats. The reasons why revolve around another factor which has been mentioned in earlier posts, specifically the troubles I’m experiencing with my left foot and a strained muscle in my back. Nothing, but nothing, is better for stretching your back muscles than standing on a boat as it plies through the waves and you sway around keeping balance. Also, if your foot hurts when you’re walking around, it makes sense to find a moving platform to carry you about.

I’m a big fan of the NYC Ferry service. Recent endeavor saw me boarding one in Astoria after paying $2.75 for the privilege, and riding it to Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan. Once there, a short walk took me to the Staten Island Ferry’s Whitehall terminal, where I boarded one of the big orange boats for a free ride. Well, technically, I’ve already paid for that ride via income tax.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One major shortcoming experienced with the new camera system, that I especially feel when on the water, is the lack of a native “superzoom” lens. What “native” means is a lens purpose built for Canon’s new RF mount. I’ve got my old superzoom lens – a Sigma 18-300 – which was always my “go to” for such endeavors, but it was designed for a crop sensor camera like my old Canon 7D. Around half of its range produces significant vignette on the full frame camera I’m carrying now, and the only RF superzoom available right now isn’t a terribly desirable one (a 24-240mm f4-6.3 manufactured by Canon) as far as I’m concerned. Over time, third party manufacturers will release something I want, but for right now I don’t have the cash to gamble on a substandard piece of kit. I’m bringing an old lens out of retirement, thereby, a consumer level full frame 70-300 which has been lent out to several friends over the last few years and is now back at home in my camera bag.

That’s an NYPD Harbor Patrol boat, by the way, which was likely doing Homeland Security work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the Staten Island side of my afternoon, where I cooled my heels for a bit before getting back on the big orange boat to start the ride back towards home in Astoria.

For quite a few of the shots gathered on this particular afternoon, I used a native RF Mount 24-105 zoom lens and cropped in tight. Saying that, I lost 2/3rds of the image to the crop. Unfortunately, most of the truly desirable “long reach” lenses available right now for my camera require the sort of money which could also purchase a fairly decent used car.

Speaking of lensing… what are you doing on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?

“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

July 27, 2021 at 11:00 am

surgical instrumentation

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It’s National Rum Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When a young but already humble narrator was but a boy, he lived in an apartment in southeast Brooklyn with a pair of parents who liked to fight and argue about every little thing. There was always a lot of yelling and screaming, as Mom and Pop would square off about the various issues and challenges facing them. Mom was always the superior tactician in these regular verbal battles. The old man was all about volume and anger, often demonstrating his frustration by putting his fist through a wall, whereas the old lady would go for the emotional jugular and work the guilt angle whenever she could. One of her techniques to wind the old man up would be flipping the subject mid fight, which forced him to suddenly wheel around and defend a previously unexposed flank. She would do this several times in rapid fire, which confused the hell out of Dad or whomever she was arguing with as she didn’t reserve her combative psyche for the household, but instead spread the enmity around to whoever was available in the neighborhood or reachable by telephone. 

Mom was kind of a jerk, and often initiated her wars due to personal insecurity and perceived slights which had little basis in reality. In many ways, she ruined her own life with this sort of behavior, alienating everyone around her – including myself, her sibling, and just about everybody she was related to didn’t want to be anywhere near her at the end. Even after she died, all that my family members could talk about was her constant bickering and invective reasoning, which means that she ultimately won her battle to dominate any and all conversation. We were continuing to argue about and with a dead woman. 

Mom was actually a genius on the arguing front, and she would skillfully obfuscate and steer the conversation and arguments she was engaged in away from whatever the original subject was. Her diversions would drive her opponents into blind fury and annoyed frustration. At the end of her tirades, she’d proclaim herself the victimized party, and then begin a multi day process of shaming and guilt towards her “victimizers.” 

Sound familiar? It’s exactly the sort of technique which the current President of the United States uses. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My Mom and Dad are no longer with us (except as regular voices in my inner dialogue) and the wasted family time, which was squandered in this ridiculous melodrama, weighs heavily upon me. So too does the time we are all wasting as a community discussing and arguing about “he who must not be named, for saying his name gives him power.” What would be expected of an American President after a race riot is a repudiation of the KKK and the white power crowd, but by prevaricating about the subject, the President has made his views and feelings a point of debate amongst both the press and people and is diverting attention away from actual events over to himself. His goal, which is to stand at center stage and have the only conversation be about him, has been achieved. He’s keeping our heads spinning with the bi weekly outrages, and in doing so, he dominates all discourse. Can you actually remember the outrages of February or March, or is your head spinning? Have you punched a wall yet? 

Even I’m talking about him right now, and this is hardly the only thing you’re going to read about him today. His strategy, like my Mom’s, is to keep himself as the central character of a shaped narrative and dramaturge. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – none of the words we use for political subjects have any meaning. In the last election, Hillary Clinton was the actual conservative and “he who must not be named” was not a “reformer.” Bill de Blasio is not a “Progressive,” as he has never once used the mid 20th century political term “Progress” in its proper context. None of these political brand marks mean anything anymore, and they were coined more than a century ago by people who meant something entirely different by them than modern usage. We don’t use Whig or Torie anymore, do we? 

You do have to hand it to the Nazi’s and Race Supremacists however, for evolving and adopting the techniques of “Identity Politics” as pioneered in the 1960’s to rebrand themselves and portray their “movement” as being something other than hooliganism and the “mob mentality” which Alexander Hamilton was so concerned about during his Federalist papers period. That’s pretty clever, and my Mom would likely have been impressed by the sheer ballsiness of it, but she was a cruel person who enjoyed other people’s misfortunes and enjoyed winding them up. 

Upcoming Tours and events

Two Newtown Creek Boat Tours, with Newtown Creek Alliance and Open House NY – Wednesday August 16th, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The neighborhoods surrounding Newtown Creek are home to the densest collection of these garbage facilities anywhere in the city and collectively, the waste transfer stations around and along Newtown Creek handle almost 40% of the waste that moves through New York. Join Newtown Creek Alliance’s Mitch Waxman and Willis Elkins  to learn about the ongoing efforts to address the environmental burden that this “clustering” has caused. details here.

DUPBO Newtown Creek Walking Tour, with NYCH20 – Thursday August 24th, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Explore Greenpoint and Hunters Point, with NCA Historian Mitch Waxman details here.

America’s Workshop Newtown Creek Walking Tour, with Atlas Obscura – Saturday August 26th, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Explore the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek in Long Island City, with NCA Historian Mitch Waxman details here.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm

un cheval de Troie

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You can’t trust anyone, even France.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A statue of a one hundred eleven and a half foot tall French chick, with a four and half foot long nose and a thirty five foot waistband, has been greeting all who enter New York Harbor since October of 1886. The thing was shipped here in 350 sections which were contained in 214 crates, which were almost lost in a storm at sea while in transport from France, onboard a French Frigate called “Isère” in 1885. Isère is a river in France, btw, which runs through an area formerly called Dauphiné Viennois, which was the feudal territory controlled by the heirs apparent to the French throne.

The monument was publicly touted as a gift from the nation of France, specifically the Third Republic France, to its fellow Democracy.

As it turns out, the Statue of Liberty was actually a trojan horse.


– photo via anonymous

News of what’s been happening on Liberty Island has been reaching me since Hurricane Sandy, through confidential informants and whistle blowers in the maritime industrial complex. As you might recall, both the Island and Statue received quite a wallop during the storm. The U.S. Parks Dept. kept the island closed for a longer than expected interval, and growing curiosity found me asking friends and acquaintances what was happening. Many grew pale and said “nothing” while others related a sordid tale.

It seems that Sandy had uncovered human remains which had lain hidden since the 19th century, a fact which the Federal Government wished to keep hidden from the American people for prosaic reasons.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

According to my sources, these human remains were found between the inner and outer layers of copper in Liberté’s skirt. Their condition was skeletal, and all in all 16 individuals were located. By all appearances, with two exceptions, it seemed the men had simply starved to death deep within the Statue of Liberty. The reason that this fantastic sounding story has been officially suppressed involves the uniforms and equipment found with the corpses, which strongly suggests that a small group of French Soldiers had been sent on a commando mission to New York City in 1886 and were hidden away in the Paris manufactured statuary.

The mission? Assassinating President Grover Cleveland on October 28th, 1886.


– photo via Wikipedia

Uniforms and weapons found amongst the human remains are consistent with those used by French Armed Forces during the 1880’s, and include early production models of the Lebel Model 1886 Bolt Action Rifle – a weapon strongly associated with both the Armed Forces of France and the Fusiliers-Marins of the Troupes de marine (that translates into American as Marine Special Forces attached to Naval Special Operations).

So, what did the French have against Grover Cleveland?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Cleveland was the guy who kept the United States out of the Berlin Conference, which caused colonial France to lose out on getting the good parts of Africa (cotton, rivers, lack of malaria) and allowed Britain and Germany to massively expand onto the continent in its stead. This cost the French a LOT of money.

You didn’t screw around with France back then, and the supposition that a squad of soldiers were sent to assassinate Cleveland on a suicide mission is not altogether crazy for the era. Also, there’s an odd anecdote which suggests that some inside members of this Gaulish conspiracy might have interfered with its execution (and with the execution). 

from wikipedia

A nautical parade began at 12:45 p.m., and President Cleveland embarked on a yacht that took him across the harbor to Bedloe’s Island for the dedication. De Lesseps made the first speech, on behalf of the French committee, followed by the chairman of the New York committee, Senator William M. Evarts.

A French flag draped across the statue’s face was to be lowered to unveil the statue at the close of Evarts’s speech, but Bartholdi mistook a pause as the conclusion and let the flag fall prematurely.

The ensuing cheers put an end to Evarts’s address. President Cleveland spoke next, stating that the statue’s “stream of light shall pierce the darkness of ignorance and man’s oppression until Liberty enlightens the world”.

Bartholdi, observed near the dais, was called upon to speak, but he refused.

Statue of Liberty unveiled, by Edward Moran, courtesy wikipedia

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 1, 2014 at 11:00 am

strenuous activity

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just a short one today depicting the giant pile of copper and copper and steel which has been arranged, in NY Harbor, into a 111 feet and six inches tall simulacra of a french woman. Her nose is 4.5 feet long, and she has a 35 foot waistline, just in case you were wondering.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 31, 2014 at 11:27 am

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