The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘thunderstorm

strident pandemonium

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It’s Friday, a word that comes from the Old English “Frīgedæg” – the day of Frigga.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wee ooh did Astoria ever get hit hard by that storm the other day. For some reason or another, the corridor surrounding Newtown Road in the 40’s got pummeled by the heavy winds and the neighborhood lost a bunch of trees. Unfortunately a couple of the neighbors ended up losing their vehicles as well when the trees came down.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Astoria is a mess, as far as utility cables go. After the Great Astoria Blackout of 2006 saw their cables and underground network burn away, Con Ed did a jury rig job getting the neighborhood energized again. Fourteen years later, they haven’t come back and improved on that, so there’s layer upon layer of cables hanging from the utility poles. Said utility poles are decades old, lean at precipitous angles, and are a subject which I often bring up when talking about the neighborhood with elected officialdom.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To complicate the matter, these often 80-100 year old utility poles are also carrying hundreds of tons of telephonic and cable/data cables. The lowest level on the pole are generally cable data/tv wires, with phone above that, and electrical at the top.

There’s an absolute web of these wires overhead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The street trees basically live in a concrete box of sandy soil, which truncates their root systems. Frankly, it’s a small miracle that we don’t lose more of them every time the wind blows, but there you go. As you can see in the shot above, the concrete sidewalk slabs got picked up by the lever action of the tree going down.

Skateboard kids were standing around, waiting for their chance.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the corner of Newtown Road and 46th street, where the ancient utility poles were snapped into sections by the weight of an ancient tree suddenly landing on the abundant wires they carry.

As mentioned, this is something I’ve been raising the alarum about for a while now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured above is Broadway in Astoria, which should give you an idea of how big the issue is. Looks like those pics of Lower Manhattan from back in the 19th century, doesn’t it? Sad thing is that most of these wires are dead and connected to nothing.

You’d think that when the politicians gave the exclusive franchises for data and phone, or cable, or power to the various utility companies that there would have been some discussion of maintenance and of removing dead wires. You’ve forgotten the Borough Motto, haven’t you?

Welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself.

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, August 3rd. 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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 7, 2020 at 1:00 pm

arrested vagrant

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Thunderstorm Thursday is here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent humidity and heat have contributed to the usual summertime intervals of evening thunder storms which NYC is prone to manifest. Our Lady of the Pentacle kept on asking me if I was going out last weekend, as I had attested to, but it was really a bit too hot for one of my strolls. Also, I don’t mess around with lightning. Instead of braving the torrent of rain and sweating profusely, a humble narrator instead set up the tripod at HQ and got ready for sunset.

Sunset + thunderstorms = cool skies to take pictures of. Why go out when the show is coming to me?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, HQ offers me a few views of the sky, like this one looking southeast captured mere minutes before the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself occluded behind New Jersey. This is the tail end of a big “bubble” of clouds that dumped a prodigious amount of water down onto Astoria. It was quite refreshing, actually.

I was hoping for more lightning, but I like taking lightning pics.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A neat double rainbow set up, and based on where the northern side fo the refractory phenomena manifested, I’m betting there’s a pot of gold somewhere in the vicinity of 80th street and Ditmars Blvd. I’m heading over there now with a shovel and a pick axe.

Back tomorrow.

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, June 29th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 2, 2020 at 1:00 pm

small item

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Thunderstorm action, and the Boss of The Tacos, in Astoria, Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You might recall that on the afternoon of Thursday, the 14th of July, a crazy powerful thunderstorm washed through the City. It happened that one was out and about, running errands, and as always I had my camera with me when the skies grew dark. What was weird about this storm was that it presented a nearly vertical line, and that to the east – skies were blue and the sun shining.

This created some VERY interesting lighting effects. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The whole neighborhood here in Astoria knew that there was a deluge coming, and everybody was scurrying around trying to accomplish one last thing before sheltering from the coming storm. Personally, knowing that I’d never get back to HQ before the rain hit, a quick visit to my local bar allowed me a bit of cover and had the corollary benefit of allowing a pint of beer to be poured in.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The rain blew in along a wall shaped vector, and the air was suddenly filled with what had to be hundreds of thousands of gallons of water in a few seconds. As is typical of thunderstorms, however, the event only lasted for around twenty minutes or so. That’s about how long it took me to quaff my pint of beer.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As there is no better moment, air quality wise, in NYC than the half hour or so following a storm like this, I decided to order a second pint and settle alongside a familiar table outside. That’s when this enigmatic food truck rolled by, which was emblazoned with a screed reading “The Boss of The Tacos.”

There is a reason, after all, that I carry a camera with me everywhere I go. Astoria Queens rules.

Upcoming Events and Tours

Saturday, July 23, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. –
Calvary Cemetery Walking tour,
with Brooklyn Brainery. Click here for more details

Cancelled due to extreme weather, will be rescheduled.

Tuesday, July 26, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. –
Glittering Realms Walking tour,
with NYC H2O. Click here for more details.

Wednesday, July 27, 1st trip – 4:50 p.m. 2nd trip – 6:50 p.m. –
2 Newtown Creek Boat Tours,
with Open House NY. Click here for more details.

Saturday, July 30, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. –
DUPBO Walking Tour,
with Atlas Obscura. Click here for more details.

Sunday, August 21, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. –
Poison Cauldron Walking Tour,
with Atlas Obscura. Click here for more details.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 22, 2016 at 11:00 am

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