The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Times Square

recalls nothing

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There’s something wrong…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When the prophesied storm of fimbulvinter rolled through our town the other night, Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself (along with our little dog Zuzu) were warm and snug down in the bunker we had readied for the Mayan Apocalypse. My understanding is that when the glacial ice sheet moved south across Astoria, according to some of the hardier Croatians who disregarded the warnings of City and State, a wooly mammoth was spotted on 31st avenue as it fled from a group of fur clad Neanderthals. Word has it that folks in the East Elmhurst area spotted a Sabre Toothed Tiger roaming about. The ice age escalated quickly, and this is how we live now. Please, please, generate some global warming and fast – do something to increase your carbon footprint right now – it’s freezing outside.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One realizes that the singular tonality of the age we live in is one of looming apocalypse. I get it. Jaded, the human infestation won’t respond to warnings about this and that unless you attach an existential danger to the message. Having grown up in a home where my mother would pop a blood vessel if the kitchen sink displayed moisture or a crumb was found nearby the toaster, I really do understand overreaction. However, the lesson of “Chicken Little” seems to be something that our risk averse culture has forgotten these days.

The sky was literally falling last week, but it was snow. This is normal, and expected, because it’s January in New York. If the government really wants to get ahead of this sort of thing, they should start considering turning NYC into one of those science fiction style domed cities.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Those things one such as myself worries about are a bit mundane, I fear. Having somebody who is texting while walking on a subway platform jostle and knock me onto the tracks, getting crushed by a falling air conditioner, or being splattered by the manic actions of some truck driver. Being struck by a bicyclist or electric delivery bike as they speed down the sidewalk – all of my little scenarios are far more likely than being flash frozen in a “Day after Tomorrow” style atmospheric inversion.

While sitting in the bunker, drinking hot chocolate with Our Lady, one did begin to ponder what has become of all that post Hurricane Sandy money which was spent studying ways to protect the City against extreme weather events.

Perhaps we should initiate a blue ribbon commission to study the studies which studied the problem?

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 30, 2015 at 12:15 pm

unpeopled and illimitable

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A visit to the center of the universe.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Times Square, I believe, is likely not just the former physical location of the Garden of Eden but is possibly the exact location where the Big Bang happened (might have been herald square- too close to call). All of reality unfolded out from this spot, when a super massive particle achieved its potential, birthing stars and galaxies and the night sky. Then the area laid relatively fallow for a few billion decades until NYC came along. I have no scientific proof to back this statement up, but it feels kind of right, and in 21st century America belief or a hunch is all you need to claim a belief or statement as a scientific fact.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Magical thinking- “god is on our side” or “don’t worry, it’ll all work out in the end”- is something we are all guilty of at one time or another. It is important, as Americans, that we don’t imagine ourselves as having limitations or being ready to acknowledge any sort of harsh reality. Times Square is, and always has been, all about harsh reality. For generations, it represented the failures of NYC with its open air drug dealing, prostitutes, and unpoliceable violent activity. Today it represents the takeover of the American city by international entertainment franchisees.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What I can describe to you however, is that the underbelly is still present in Times Square- lurking around the service entrances and alleys and sleeping on nearby piers. You don’t see it during the cacophony of the day and evening, lit harshly by neon and led signage, but shamble about the place during the off hours and you’ll soon discover that the old Times Square never went away. Its still here, in this spot where a female Australopithecine bit into an apple and damned us all.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 6, 2013 at 10:21 am

unvocal waves

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent business carried me into Manhattan, to a meeting where the alcohol flowed freely and afterwards your humble narrator found himself more than a little tipsy. In prior times of plenty, a taxi might have been hired to carry my besotted husk back to Astoria, but as dire financial circumstances demand- it would be the subway that would ferry me home.

The assignation that night was right in the middle of rich people country, Lexington Avenue in the high 30’s, so the drinks were far better than the usual swill I quaff.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Making my way through Times Square, by this point more than just a little tipsy and edging on drunk, the notion of attempting a few night shots entered my fevered mind. As mentioned in several prior posts, this is something “I’m working on”. A difficult endeavor under normal circumstance, low light photography is especially interesting after several cocktails have been imbibed over a short interval.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, I’ve never felt inhibited taking “street shots” of strangers, and have often been chided for walking right up to people and just starting to click away. Of course, embarrassment ruled over me the next morning, as I found a series of cliche “Times Square Street Photography” shots had been captured in my stupor.

Back to the sobering realities of the Newtown Creek for me.

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Click for details on Mitch Waxman’s
Upcoming walking and boat tours of Newtown Creek, and Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull

June 30th, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Kill Van Kull walk

for June 30th tickets, click here for the Working Harbor Committee ticketing page

July 8th, 2012- Atlas Obscura Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

for July 8th tickets, click here for the Atlas Obscura ticketing page

July 22nd, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat Tour

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 28, 2012 at 12:15 am

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