The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘weirdness

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.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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

Tagged with , , , ,

dormant organs

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Sure is nice outside, except if you meet the Queens Cobbler.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The single shoe phenomena has recently kicked back into gear around Wetsern Queens, which suggests to me that the Queens Cobbler is again active. The “Queens Cobbler,” as I’ve christened this licentious stealer of souls (or soles), is the name I’ve assigned to a probable serial killer who leaves behind a single shoe – a calling card that has been plucked from his or her unfortunate victim. Above, a single shoe found displayed on Astoria’s Broadway, quite recently.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Flip or flop, or some combination thereof, the inefficiencies of this model of footwear are well known. It is virtually impossible to run when wearing these “pool” or “shower” shoes – if shoes they be and not sandals. This cerulean trimmed model was just left in the open on Austell Place in the fabulous Degnon Terminal section of Long Island City.

This Queens Cobbler really gets around.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A break in the pattern, perhaps the work of a copy cat, was revealed back in Astoria near Steinway Street. Three matching pairs of shoes were observed in one spot. One hopes that the 114th precinct has assigned a squad of their crack Detectives to investigating this matter, and the killer(s) amongst us.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself have learned to stoutly lock our windows and doors at night, and seldom venture out without exhibiting a quick pace and alert posture. Terrors such as only the mind can hold accompany thoughts of the Cobbler’s ghoulish activities. A palpable pall of pestilential fear lurks about Queens, and all watch their steps.

Hopefully, the Cobbler won’t join forces with the Sunnyside Slasher, Ridgewood Ripper, Woodside Whomper, or the Mad Gasser of Blissville and form so,emleague of evil. The streets would be littered with shoes.

Upcoming tours and events:


“Brooklyn Waterfront – Past & Present” boat tour
with Working Harbor Committee, Thursday, September 15th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Click here for tickets.


“13 Steps around Dutch Kills” walking tour
with Atlas Obscura, Sunday, September 18th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Click here for tickets.


“First Calvary Cemetery” walking tour
with Brooklyn Brainery, Saturday, October 8th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Click here for tickets.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 13, 2016 at 11:00 am

hellacious tide

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My mother used to call me “the complaint department.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A buddy of mine once described his ideal job as “freelance unsolicited criticism.” He posited that he’d walk into a bank, let the manager know that the velvet ropes leading to the tellers were arranged incorrectly, and then submit a bill for his services. I’ve always liked the concept, although to be fair, my buddy’s nickname is “Special Ed.”

Pictured above, a view of lower Manhattan from the Wallabout in Brooklyn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unsolicited criticism number 1 is offered to my fellow riders of the NYCTA Subway system. For the love of god itself, use your freaking headphones when you’re playing a video game on your phone while riding the train. It’s bad enough that I’m being subjected to evangelist Korean guy and to jazz busking. Do I really need to listen to the stupid beeping and blinging that your game is making?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unsolicited criticism number 2 is also aimed at my fellow riders of the Subway system. I am certain that allowing me to exit the freaking train will not, in fact, cause you to not be able to get onboard. Pushing past someone like me, a veteran of 1980’s NYC’s punk scene, means that you will – in fact – find yourself bouncing off of a stranger whose elbows are far sharper than yours. The worst offenders on this subject are found at the 59/Lex stop. Do you really want to experience the “people moving” techniques I learned in 1980’s mosh pits?

No? 

Then wait your turn and let me get off the train before you enter it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unsolicited criticism number 3 and 4 are offered in the shot above.

First, the solar powered garbage cans that the urban planning geniuses of Pratt University have been placing around Lower Manhattan and the tony sections of North Brooklyn. Let those words roll out of your mouth – “solar powered garbage cans.” Do you have a fossil fuel powered garbage can in front of your house, lords and ladies? Was this a problem that needed solving?

Secondly, the giant pit you see above – according to the NYPD personnel I asked about it – used to be a subway grate on Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan. It seems a truck driver decided to use the sidewalk to bypass a parked car and discovered that a sidewalk grate wasn’t designed to carry the weight of a truck.

Fellow New Yorkers – NYC streets are color coded. Black pavement is for vehicles (including Bicycles, Delivery bikes, and trucks). Gray pavement is for pedestrians, baby carriages, and “not vehicles.” Stay the feck off the sidewalk.

Bah. 

Upcoming Events and Tours

Saturday, June 25, 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. –
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek,
with Brooklyn Brainery. Click here for more details.

Sunday, June 26, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. –
Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour,
with Atlas Obscura. Click here for more details.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 7, 2016 at 1:00 pm

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