The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Subway

anguished frenzy

with one comment

Cut and cover.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Let’s say that a humble narrator announces a tour of the fabulous Newtown Creek, or a boat excursion to some remote corner of the harbor, and I end up taking a bath on the endeavor and lose money. Did I take a risk that didn’t pay off? When I’m talking about my empty right hand pocket, do I pretend that the roll of hundred dollar bills and the bag of assorted gem stones maintained in my left pocket doesn’t exist? What if my left hand pocket assets included billions and billions of dollars of Manhattan real estate? Can I just confess that I didn’t market the tour properly, or manage its costs competently, or proceeded with the operation under some rose colored ideation that it would sell out and make me richer than Croesus? Did I employ the services of a bunch of incompetents who are related to or friends with various political party officials, using my project as a patronage mill?

Or do I just blame the audience, accuse them of trying to get one over on me, and then go further in debt to hire a small army of armed guards with marching orders to generate revenue via fines and tickets because I can’t be losing money unless someone is stealing from me? Of course not, I’m not the MTA.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The practice of blaming the ridership, accusing them of theft of service, pretending that your pocket is empty when in reality you are one of the biggest landlords in New York State… that’s the MTA. Need a few billion bucks? Maybe sell your office building on Jay Street in Brooklyn and move your operations to a less tony location in Nassau or Suffolk County, or maybe Westchester. I understand that Mount Vernon and Yonkers have several abandoned office parks which would be quite affordable to move your army of bureaucrats into. Still underfunded? How about selling off some of your investment properties in upper Manhattan while the real estate market is hot?

That, or you can just wait for the next video of a bunch of cops having a fist fight with teenagers over $2.75 to make the nightly news.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Me? I’d let the Wall Street guys have a go at MTA. Let the bean counters in there to look for redundancy and cost savings through consolidations. Funny thing is, this would barely be felt by the Union people who actually keep the system running. MTA loves publicizing the fact that some shlimiel on the LIRR collected an outlandish amount of overtime pay, but never discusses the number of empty suits populating the office cubicles at their Jay Street HQ. I’d like to smash the system over there, where the subways are still operated as if the IND and IRT were distinct. There’s multiple bus companies, LIRR and Metro North have virtually zero interoperability… it goes on and on. The MTA real estate and property manager folks operate in shadow, with virtually zero public awareness of their shenanigans.

If NYC is an organism, with DEP the liver and kidneys, MTA operates the venous system. Arteriosclerosis is something I’m familiar with. The best treatment, long term, for this sort of disease vector is lifestyle change.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come to the library!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek – The Roosevelt Island Historic Society has invited me to present a slideshow and talk about my beloved Newtown Creek at the New York Public Library on Roosevelt Island, on November 14th, 6 p.m. Free event!

Click here for more information.!

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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 7, 2019 at 11:00 am

stark mad

with one comment

I know why it’s so hot, always, at the Times Square station.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as arriving on a Subway Platform in Manhattan and then finding out that there’s signal problems at Queens Plaza. The marketplace of aerosol pathogens carried by the human infestation into this subterranean structure is far better than getting a flu shot in terms of bolstering one’s immunological system, and the sheer unpleasantness of the ambient temperature is always a treat. Learning that you’re going to be spending a substantial bit of time waiting for your ride home – now that’s priceless. The “A” in MTA is for “adventure,” after all, and on Sunday nights the “M” stands for “Magnifique.”

The high temperature at the Times Square stop cannot solely be attributed to an annoying bureaucratic tendency amongst MTA station managers to not actuate their ventilation systems. Surely, it’s because the subway station was built atop the cavern carved out by Lucifer and the other rebel angels when they were swallowed into the ground during an argument they had with the Creator entity over Adam and Eve’s place in the celestial pecking order.

Said discourse occurred where Dave and Busters sits atop 42nd street, a location which was part of the Garden of Eden “back in the day.” Somewhere beneath the subway station itself is a lava tube that leads directly to hell. “Da Deuce” thereby, is a hellmouth.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A succession of Subway trains which do not go anywhere close to where I needed to go arrived and departed the station, during an interminable interval. As is my habit, I passed the time photographing the trains entering the facility, which raised the suspicions of several dead eyed MTA employees. Of course, being employees of MTA, they barely gave a crap despite being suspicious. As any member of the International Brotherhood of Screw Turners Local 6 will tell you, that’s somebody else’s job.

My retirement plans involve capturing a photo of a suicidal human jumping off the platform in front of an arriving train. Sales and licensing of said shot will make me rich beyond the dreams of avarice. My wealth will allow me to exact Dante style revenge on those who have offended… sorry, that was the influence of the Times Square Hellmouth that I was standing on which was talking there.

It affects us all, in different ways, the hellmouth.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While waiting, and boy oh boy I was waiting a good half hour at this point, I noticed that something had imparted a good amount of kinetic force onto one of the steel structural columns and blasted a hole in the paint covering it.

The modern day dark green paint MTA uses sat over a duller green which I seem to remember them using about 15 years ago. The white and the red layers seem familiar to me, from earlier eras in NYC. Might just be primer, but I seem to recall red being used in the early 1990’s for column paint. Again, might just be the hellmouth talking.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another pneumatic piston arrived, driving the usual cloud of sewer smell, rat shit, and powdered cockroach onto the platform. Normally, one would happily take the N just to get out of Manhattan and away from the hellmouth at 42nd street, but maintenance work was causing the N to go no further into Queens than Queensborough. Really, there is no better time to experience the joys of the MTA than a Sunday night.

Ultimately, I needed to wait for an R to get anywhere close to home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While I was studying the layers of paint on that column, a pigmentary coating which had to be layered on 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick mind you, an R finally arrived. Luckily it was quite crowded and the MTA had made the logical decision that since it was October you didn’t need to run any sort of ventilation or air conditioning onboard. This was especially well received by a humble narrator given that atmospheric humidity was close to 90% and also since it was raining all day, everybody onboard was soaking wet and their clothing was evaporating additional humidity into the subway car atmosphere.

It really is a pleasure to be in NYC these days, ain’t it? The fairness, the equity, the affordability of housing… truly has our Mayor improved things.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There has to be a word – if we were a German speaking culture there would be – for the sense of relief you experience upon finally boarding a subway train that’s heading back towards your home after passing through the gauntlet of MTA’s expert patience testers. Luckily, the folks already onboard the train were as well mannered as usual. You had the people playing games on their phones with the speaker turned on, the lady screaming into her phone in an unknown guttural at some remote husband, and there was a fellow eating a fried and quite aromatic fish dinner with his fingers.

If I could, I’d have held my breath the entire ride. Who eats on the Subway? Ugh.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek AT NIGHT! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! October 29th, 7-9 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 24, 2019 at 11:30 am

mustered up

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A series of dull events, that’s my life.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not enough butter spread over too much bread. Desperately thirsty, but somebody has just shaken up the can of soda. Hungry and nauseous at the same time. Insomniac ponderings during the late night hours of the wolf. That’s me at the moment. The next person that says “you have to” or “you can’t” or tries to correct me based on something political which they literally just made up on the spot is going to reap the ‘effin whirlwind. “Who do you think you are” is going to get an answer, and the petitioner will not like the answer.

Go ahead, try me. I’ll burn your house down. I’m looking for a volunteer today, somebody whom I can unleash all of my sublimated rage, fears, and self pity upon. Try me. You’ll be doing me a favor, as it’s unhealthy to hold it in.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It has been quite a frustrating interval for me, with all sorts of existential problems that can’t be solved easily or simply by working through them popping up. Disconcerting, one feels as if he’s walking on the blade of a knife recently, and digging my fingernails as deeply into my palms as I can only results in wounding the skinvelope. There’s only so much one can eat before something vomits back out.

Volunteers?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wit’s end. I need, really ‘effin need, a vacation. Thinking about it, I haven’t left the confines of NYC’s five boroughs in so long that I don’t remember the last time I did.

Home sweet hell, huh?


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek AT NIGHT! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! October 29th, 7-9 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 18, 2019 at 1:00 pm

innocuous solidity

with 3 comments

The “A” in MTA is for “adventure.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On our return trip from the Queens Zoo last weekend, Our Lady of the Pentacle and I took a stab at using the cheapest and fastest way from 111 street in Corona to Broadway in Astoria. In the morning, we were forced to use a cab and plunked out nearly $20 doing so. The alternative was to take the R into Manhattan, and transfer at 42nd street/Grand Central to the 7 line which would then take us to the zoo. Maintenance crews were at work on both lines, and there was neither an east bound option on the R (to Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights where you normally transfer to the 7, or the E and F for that matter) nor a west bound one since the R was bypassing Queensboro Plaza. You had to go into Manhattan. Another alternative I sometimes use, when needing to access the 7 line, is the Q 104 bus which connects Astoria’s Broadway to Queens Blvd. Unfortunately, the 7 line was skipping more than half of its eastwards route as well, which included the stretch from Queens Plaza to Jackson Heights. As mentioned above, the “A” in “MTA” stands for “Adventure.”

Before one of you jokers jumps in with “why not ride a bike, Mitch,” allow me to offer a saying I learned from the Sicilians of Canarsie – Bafongoo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily for us, upon arriving at the 7 line stop at 111th street after our zoo experience, we discovered that the trains heading towards Manhattan were operating in the standard fashion. After weaving our way through the groups of Jehovah’s Witnesses who had arranged themselves around the station, we swiped through “fare control” and joined with the hundreds and hundreds of people waiting for the 7 up on the platform. Seemingly, Corona still hosts a large population of Puerto Ricans, many of whom seemed to be traveling to the Puerto Rican Day Parade over in the City. I presume they were Puerto Rican, given that many of them were wearing clothing adorned with the island’s flag and were also adorned with various garments reading “Boricua” or “Nuyorican.” They might have just been fans of the island and its peoples, who knows. Never assume.

All I can tell you is that it was a pleasure to hear Spanish spoken with the particular rhythms that the Puerto Rican accent brings. Growing up in NYC, most of the Spanish speakers I encountered were Puerto Rican or Dominicans. These days, the entire Spanish speaking world is represented here in NYC, but the dulcet and softer spoken tone of the Mexican and Central American accents seem to be the ones most commonly encountered. Kind of a Boston accent versus a Louisiana one sort of thing, y’know.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Alongside basic mathematics, the intellectual weakness I’ve most commonly displayed over the decades has been a consistent inability to speak other languages. I can understand a bit of Spanish, or at least watch an espanol movie or TV show and follow along with most of the dialogue. Often, I can form a simple sentence in my mind ina foreign tongue, but can’t force my mouth to make the words come out correctly. I’ve tried and tried. Yiddish was regularly spoken by my family, but the same issue occurs if I try to speak it. Essentially, I’m doing an imitation of somebody talking yiddish rather than speaking it. Weird, huh?

I’ve got friends, born overseas, from all over the world here in Astoria. They’ll often apologize for not knowing some esoteric English word or turn of phrase and proclaim their stupidity. I remind them that they speak two languages cogently, and oftentimes more than two. That’s a pretty incredible thing, when you think about it. I pronounce “hors d’oeuvres” (those little French snack things) as “whores da ohvoors,” after all.


Upcoming Tours and Events

June 15th – Exploring the East River,

From General Slocum Disaster to Abandoned Islands – with NY Adventure Club.

June 15th is one of those days in NYC history. In 1904, more than a thousand people boarded a boat in lower Manhattan, heading for a church picnic on Long Island — only 321 of them would return. This is the story of the General Slocum disaster, and how New York Harbor, the ferry industry, and a community were forever altered.

Join New York Adventure Club for a two-part aquatic adventure as we explore the General Slocum disaster, and historic sights and stories along the East River, all by NYC Ferry.

Tickets and more details
here.


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 12, 2019 at 11:00 am

unmistakable replacement

with 4 comments

Truth tellers of the Subway!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Occasion found me riding on the redoubtable IRT Flushing line recently, whereupon an older fellow noticed my camera and commented that I was an intelligence agent. I held my fingers up to my lips and made a shush sound, saying that the Russians were watching and asked him not to blow my cover. Once the train got under way, he took up position mid car and began a staggeringly well rehearsed speech about the Peoples Republic of China’s domestic security operations. What made this fellow stand out in my mind was – and I should mention that I’ve read a bit about how they handle dissent over there in the Middle Kingdom – was that he got a lot of it right. Names of the various agencies, location of reeducation centers and prisons… it’s scary when the paranoids are actually right about something.

He then began to opine that babies are traps set by female intelligence agents designed to snare unsuspecting males into child support servitude… but his info on the Chinese internal security system actually sounded fairly solid – and jibed with my admittedly limited knowledge of the subject. Maybe I’m destined to become one of those guys in my old age, the ones who carry a bunch of shopping bags and proclaim the truth of our times loudly to strangers on the 7 train.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given the headlines in recent years, it’s hard not to believe any claim – no matter how wild it is. We seem to have abandoned evidence and data based thinking as a culture these days. Not too long ago, I called up my buddy Kevin from Forgotten-NY to discuss a couple of things and during our chat I opined that if he told that “a flying jelly candy horse” was spotted over Bayside I’d have to believe it since anything seems possible at the moment. I suggest you hit YouTube at some point and search for “Flat Earth” if you want to see what I mean, as far as the abandonment of evidence and data based decision making.

Back in high school and college, as my friends and I would engage in long conversations trying to figure the world out, we’d always apply Occam’s Razor (the simplest explanation is usually true) to any crazy story we came across. My answer to 911 conspiracy theorists has always been to remind them of every other thing which the George W. Bush White House tried to pull off, and ask if there was any indication that the same people who brought you the Federal response to Hurricane Katrina and the 2003 invasion of Iraq had it in them to pull off an absolutely perfect “false flag” operation. I then remind them of the complexities involved in arranging for six people to meet up for lunch at a diner on a Saturday afternoon (there’s always a Vegan to account for, and someone named Sharon who’s always late).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I don’t encounter the same sort of crazy on the IND lines, downstairs as it were, in the subways. The E/R/M lines are plagued by women doing the “Gypsy baby” routine, those acrobatic dancer kids, and the freaking mariachis. They’re all just grifting or busking though, and trying to earn a living. The Chinese conspiracy guy on the 7 line was highly entertaining, to me at least, and made my $2.75 fare a gladly spent trifle.

Here are three of my paranoid wonderings; 

The woman who calls herself Britney Spears currently performing in Las Vegas is a lookalike double. The real Britney Spears is being held prisoner by her managers in a Nevada mental asylum. #freebritney.

The plastic or metal tips on your shoelaces are called aglets. Their purpose is sinister. #thetruthwillcomeout

Given the relative scale of the Gummi Bear to the Gummi Worm, it’s obvious that the Gummi universe is actually based on the Dune universe, with the Bears being the Freemen and the Gummi Worm representing the sandworm Shai Halud. #thesleeperwillawaken

Repent!


“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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm

recent letters

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A day late, and a dollar short.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sorry for the single image today, a humble narrator’s scheduling got the best of him and that’s why you’ve got a shot of the 4 entering 59th/Lex instead of a proper post today. Back Monday with some of the interesting stuff I saw while riding the new Soundview Line of the NYC Ferry last week.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Manhattan, Photowalks, Pickman, Subway

Tagged with ,

resonant tones

with 4 comments

Merry merry.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is taking this week and the first half of next off, so singular images will be greeting you through the week. Have a joylessly laconic Festivus, a Merry Christmas, and a Kwazy Kwanzaa.

Be back on the 27th to finish up the year at this. your Newtown Pentacle.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 20, 2018 at 11:00 am

Posted in Manhattan, Subway

Tagged with , ,

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