The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘weirdness

fair land

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 5 saw a humble narrator join with other maritime enthusiasts at a NYC EDC job fair set up for NYC High School aged students at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook. Pictured above is the United States Coast Guard’s current ‘Commander of Sector New York’ Captain Zeita Merchant.

I wasn’t there to do anything other than photograph the event, and I donated my services for this one. Maritime is a great career, one that’s often overlooked by an educational system that seems to be set up for the singular purpose of creating office workers and clerks. Anything I can do to help is worth the time and effort.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The event was created by NYC EDC’s Ports unit, and they brought in Coast Guard, the Harbor Units of FDNY and NYPD, as well as a series of private capital outfits from the port. Tugboat operators, international shipping companies, lots and lots of offshore power generation companies. The kids attending the event were shuttled from table display to table display and offered a free lunch.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Longshoreman’s Union was there, and they were showing off the cool toys that they get to play with on the job. After the event ended, it started to rain and that didn’t stop for days.

Luckily, I was bogged down with photos to develop and a series of Zoom meetings which I had to attend but didn’t demand 100% of my attentions.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 7th, I was still in Zoom meeting hell and it was still raining, but I couldn’t help but shoot yet another rainy night view of the garishly lit Bodega across the street from HQ in Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On April 8th, it had stopped raining, but when I went out to drop off my laundry and pick up a bagel, blood trails were discovered that went on for blocks and blocks here in Astoria.

I made a few calls.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seems that somebody was displaying his great physical prowess with the intention of impressing a young lady. This display ended when he punched out the plate glass window of a bakery and he severed arteries in both arms and the neck. Further, his reaction to the open vessels situation was to run up and down Broadway while flapping his arms. Luckily, an FDNY ambulance happened to be passing by and noticed the spot he was in. I’m told the unlucky fellow was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was refilled with blood.

Now, as far as cleaning up those blood trails… this is yet another one of those “incompetent fuck” NYC stories which sees the City’s various agencies passing the buck to each other as to whose responsibility it is. NYPD said it’s FDNY’s job, FDNY said to instead call Sanitation, who in turn suggested calling NYPD.

As of middle May, the shadow of the scab trails are still visible on the sidewalks of Astoria.


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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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 30, 2022 at 11:00 am

fantastic figment

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in NYC, just as the Omicron variant Covid surge began, one put all thoughts about holiday merrymaking and socializing out of his head. You can’t argue with a logarithmic curve, so the logic of the entire Covid period – at this particular moment, it’s been 1,057 days, if my math is correct – was followed. Go out at night, by myself, and wander around the industrial zones where I’m going to encounter few if any other people. As the old Christmas cartoon would offer: put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking out the door.

Good golly, Miss Molly, are we ever going to escape from this looping form of existence? Everyday is like the last day, same old, same old. When this is all over, I’m going to start wearing different colored clothes or something.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This particular evening in early December was quite a cold one. My simple desire was to get some exercise, but I was engaging in a “short walk.” For me, that meant heading out from Astoria, crossing the Sunnyside Yards to Skillman Avenue and following that to Queens Plaza and then back down Northern Blvd. towards HQ. Just under three miles, round trip, I guess?

Was wondering, while shooting these, if I had recently been riding on any of those trains down there. Sigh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunnyside Yards is a railroad coach yard. What that means is that you can’t catch a train here, despite it being an 180 and change square acres Federal and State railroad facility. The purpose of the Sunnyside Yards is to provide holding areas and turn around trackage for commuter rail that’ve already been to Manhattan. You see New Jersey Transit, Long Island Railroad, and Amtrak units down there regularly. Every now and then you’ll see some train set branded with Pennsylvania colors. I always figure they must’ve gotten lost when I see them. “Queens, what do you mean Queens? We must’ve taken a wrong turn at Lancaster… Crap.”

The yards are divvied up between the various entities housed here. The official owner is Amtrak, but MTA has sway over significant acreages of the place. They’ve recently finished building out an enormous new holding yard on the north side of the facility, which is a part of the East Side Access project.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator famously maintains a catalog of the holes in Amtrak’s fences which are large enough to fit a camera lens into. The best of the Federal holes were cut for surveyor usage. They’re generally the size of a deck of cards, these holes, but are far and few between. There’s also tears in the chain link fencing, which is also fairly easy to work with. Then, there’s the set of holes formed by weathering and material failure. Those are irregular and difficult to use, but I manage.

The shot above comes from one of the latter kind, where – I think – what must have been a vehicle accident caused a steel plate to bend away from the rest of the fence structure. Holes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back onto Skillman Avenue nearby Queens Plaza, where I spent a few minutes pondering whether or not I wanted to head down to Dutch Kills for a lookie loo. One decided not to. It was, after all, freezing out.

One pointed his toes north and east, and started shlepping back to the rolling hillocks of almond eyed Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Along the way, a discarded Book of Psalms and pile of Cheerios caught my attention. Fascinating, the way that these manufactured items end up where they do once somebody is done with them.

One thing you notice, upon returning to NYC from nearly anywhere else, is how dirty it is. Piles of crap are everywhere.


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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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 2, 2022 at 11:00 am

evidence itself

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It’s National Candy Cane Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Things have gotten a bit weirder than usual here in Astoria, as will be elucidated upon in today’s post. Pictured above, and submitted for you consideration is a single shoe whose sudden appearance thrust a cold dagger of latent terror and existential dread into the holiday season for Our Lady of the Pentacle and a humble narrator.

Even our little dog Zuzu has been displaying apprehension and nervous tics…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, upon exiting the domicile, a single shoe bearing a hand drawn scrawl was observed on the ornamental fence which defines my landlord’s property line. The message on the shoe, which was of the “Oxford” style and manufactured by a company called “Ecco” read “Season’s Greetings Mitch!” and continued on with “The Queens Cobbler, Ho Ho Ho.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve been talking about the Queens Cobbler for several years at this point in time.

The first time I used the term was way back in 2014, and there have been posts mentioning the monster since then. Halloween of 2014, this one from March of 2015, another from April of 2015, and from the same month – the appearance of a potential copycat Cobbler was mentioned in this one. June of 2015 saw more evidence appear, and shoes continued to drop right on through 2016. 2017 brought more macabre trophies to the fore, and it seemed like the Queens Cobbler began to grow haughty. All through the summer of 2017, single shoe sightings began to grow in frequency. Even children aren’t safe from the Cobbler, and I should have taken the message when a singular shoe was found at my local saloon in October. Halloween of 2017? As late as middle December of 2017? Yep.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the name of creating some sort of evidentiary documentation for local, State, and possibly Federal authorities to analyze – the shoe was carefully transported upstairs where “studio shots” of the thing could be created. Additionally, Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself activated all of our passive and active household defense systems and spent Christmas in the apocalypse bunker which we’ve been scratching deep into the loam of Western Queens for quite some time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One should have realized that the shoe pictured above, which was observed in October of this year at the neighborhood saloon I frequent, was a warning to not inquire too deeply into the Queens Cobbler’s nefarious purpose.

Should I disappear one day whilst scuttling along the bulkheads, I’d ask for all of you to search for a size 11 Merrel hiking boot at Newtown Creek, as that’ll be all that’s left of me to bury.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 26, 2017 at 11:00 am

given much

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

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As a note – this post was originally meant to be published yesterday, and was written in two distinct sittings – I’ll get to the reason why a bit later at photo number five…

So – The other day I was hanging out with a photographer pal of mine, and she asked if I’d be interested in going to “shoot the 7” with her, an entirely wholesome activity of the sort which one readily agrees to. We met up in Astoria, rode to Willets Point and then back to 103rd street, where we debarked the train for luncheon at an eatery of my acquaintance which serves food of the Latino typology. One torta later, we were back on the 7, riding to and fro while chasing opportune lighting.

Who do you think I run into?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the 40th Lowery Street stop, Santa Claus was waiting for the train to arrive. One greeted this seasonal master of the elves, and inquired if it was kosher to collect a shot or two of it. Never piss off Santa. He’s not always a nice guy, and you don’t want to end up on that naughty list. Incidentally like god, Santa is an “it,” not a “he,” as metaphysical beings are not gendered. You don’t refer to the burning bush as “him.” What you see when a Saint, Angel, Savior, or Djinn presents themselves is all that the limited senses of men can perceive and interpret of the thing, the event horizon of something existing in multiple dimensions simultaneously, which our brains can only render as being a jolly fellow in a red suit. Santa is a dragon, an exploding star, a single quark – all at once.

The eidolon of the Yule answered my request in the affirmative, and it didn’t even cost me a glass of milk nor a cookie.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It is opined that the children this creature (whose syncretic origins tie him back through time and space to the Pagan God  Odin in the northwest of Europe and the 2nd century Saint Christian Nikolaos of Myra) defines as “good” receive toys and other decadent gifts. Those whom it has arbitrarily labeled “bad” receive a lump of coal. Occultists and certain Christian sects will inform that Santa is not this entity’s true name, and that “Santa” is just an anagram.

It is said that there are a pair of brothers who used their lumps of coal as the seed with which they founded a petrochemical empire, and rose to National political prominence. When life, or Santa, gives you lemons…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I wouldn’t be me, incidentally, if I didn’t try to ruin Santa Claus for everyone else by talking about the deep historic roots of the entity nor remind all of you that there’s a difference between the Mediterranean and Near Eastern “Christmas” and the “Yule” celebrated by the barbarian Normans. Most of what we associate with “Christmas” is actually Yule.

Christmas Eve was once called Mōdraniht by the same Northern European cultures that believed in Norns, Hamingja, the Fylgjur, and variants of Odin. These same people also dug Thor and Freya, whom they turned into Saint Michael and the Blessed Virgin Mary in Christian times, but there you are.

from wikipedia

Scholars have connected the month event and Yule time period to the Wild Hunt (a ghostly procession in the winter sky), the god Odin (who is attested in Germanic areas as leading the Wild Hunt and, as mentioned above, bears the name Jólnir), and increased supernatural activity, such as the aforementioned Wild Hunt and the increased activities of draugar—undead beings who walk the earth.

Mōdraniht, an event focused on collective female beings attested by Bede as having occurred among the pagan Anglo-Saxons on what is now Christmas Eve, has been seen as further evidence of a fertility event during the Yule period.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Now, as to the question of why this post originally meant to publish yesterday on National Cotton Candy Day rather than today… HOLY SMOKES was a humble narrator laid low by some sort of rapid onset stomach bug after attending a Christmas party in the City on Tuesday. This felt a bit more like food poisoning than a virus. I blamed one of the Billion Oysters guys, whose hand I shook when he took a break from shucking shellfish for the Xmas party, while laying there in a hallucination plagued state as my digestive system purged itself. It could also have been touching something on the subway, but I needed someone to blame, so the oyster guy got the nod.

“Both ends” of my inner worm were exit points, if you know what I mean.

Couldn’t hold down a sip of water, and I enjoyed deep bodily chills as well as fevered sweats while repeatedly running towards my porcelain throne. The time in between explosive exhalations was spent sleeping and suffering. Over a 24 hour period, all I could hold down was a bit of Gatorade, a banana, and about half a bottle of Pepto Bismol.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At this moment, one seems to be on the mend, but bodily weakness and a general turpitude prevails.

Imagine it… a humble narrator so enamored of a waterway plagued by raw sewage… laid low by a simple handshake.


Upcoming Tours and events

Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour, with Atlas Obscura – Sunday, December 10th, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Explore NYC history, hidden inside sculptural monuments and mafioso grave sites, as you take in iconic city views on this walking tour, with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 8, 2017 at 11:00 am

non compliance

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Oil and water don’t mix, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Spending a day at home recently, one set up a little “stage” and improvised a lighting setup on my kitchen counter. The subject I wanted to shoot was “oil and water” so a couple of glass vessels were deployed. The shots in today’s post are actually oil, water, and a couple with some dish detergent mixed into the water.

One or two, like the one above, had some india ink added in as well. Obviously, I was using a macro lens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Above, it’s just oil and water, with a two light setup (cool and warm) bouncing their beams in and around a little tent of colored paper I erected around the camera, which then diffracted through the glass vessel containing the liquid.

If I was a “proper” photographer, I’d assign the image some self important sounding name like “amygdaloid dissonance number six” or something.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This one is a witch’s brew of ink, detergent, water, and vegetable cooking oil which received a pretty energetic mixing up. I had to let it settle for a bit so that the soapy foam could decay down to the surface.

It’s probably my favorite of the series.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Desirous to not totally “abstract” the shots, a point was made to pop the minimum power flash and bounce it off a piece of white paper to illuminate the foam. All the other light, obviously the “warm” lamp, was coming from below.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Curious as to what a pure detergent foam in water would look like under the macro lens, the shot above was produced. To me it looks a bit like some sort of monstrous spider web, but a lot of things remind me of monstrous spider webs.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 17, 2016 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria

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