The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

shocking, unlighted, and fear haunted abysses

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Ennui of a nearly narcotic character has paralyzed your humble narrator for an interval of several weeks, a period which is at an end. Stumbling in the manner of some morphine or hashish addict across the masonry clad streets, my mood has been affected by both growing poverty and certain darker influences. Applications of various substances- derivates of the cocoa or coffee bean- have been ineffective in forcing me into a bright and waken state. Reduced to a quivering and passive “experiencer”, a cancerous nugget of self hatred grows in my heart, and has shocked me back to the waking world. Anger is an energy, as Johnny Rotten pointed out in his seminal “rise” ditty, and I walk amongst you once more.

New perspectives are called for, if the antiquarian mysteries which haunt our communities are ever to be revealed, and I no longer care about the consequences.

Let “them” quiver and tremble, for we are beginning the winter session, Lords and Ladies, at this- your Newtown Pentacle.

from wikipedia

A sett, usually the plural setts and in some places called a Belgian block, often incorrectly called “cobblestone”, is a broadly rectangular quarried stone used originally for paving roads, today a decorative stone paving used in landscape architecture. A sett is distinct from a cobblestone by being quarried or shaped to a regular form, whereas a cobblestone is generally naturally occurring. Streets paved with setts are highlights in several cycling competitions such as the final Champs-Élysées stage of the Tour de France and the Paris–Roubaix road race as riding upon them is technically more challenging than riding on asphalt. Notable roads paved with setts include Vicars’ Close, Wells, much of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and the set of Coronation Street. In New York City the meat-packing district retains such streets.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Those of you who have been following this periodical recognize the descriptions of these moody moments of navel gazing which a humble narrator is unable to forestall or avoid, and which curiously seem tied to seasonal variance in light and temperature. During these intervals, postings become scarce and difficult to perform, as despite the richness of environment and staccato nature of events- I cannot summon the motivation to write and become as everyone else- ordinary and voiceless. Professional writers describe this vacuity as becoming “written out”, and prescribe a period of reading and research to reignite the hearth. I’ve been following this prescription, and just this morning- the hellish green flame of wonderment has once again been kindled.

As I said: “Back in session”.

from wikipedia

The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) completed construction of the yard in 1910. At that time Sunnyside was the largest coach yard in the world, occupying 192 acres (0.78 km2) and containing 25.7 mi (41.4 km) of track. The yard served as the main train storage and service point for PRR trains serving New York City. It is connected to Pennsylvania Station in Midtown Manhattan by the East River Tunnels. The Sunnyside North Yard initially had 45 tracks with a capacity of 526 cars. The South Yard had 45 tracks with a 552 car capacity.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Presented for your amusement today, this shot is from the Newtown Creek Cruise of October 24th, which ended up being quite well attended.

Bernard Ente (of Working Harbor Committee, Newtown Creek Alliance) and your humble narrator handled the narration. A small coterie of guest speakers (including Jeffrey Kroessler, Tom Outerbridge, and others) allowed us infrequent breaks from the microphone- during one of which I snuck away and captured this image. Fairly close to the Brooklyn coastline of the Newtown Creek, it was nevertheless captured from the water- that’s the Pulaski Bridge dividing the horizon, with Empire State and Chrysler Buildings framing the sky in the manner of some enormous tuning fork.

from wikipedia

Before the nineteenth century urbanization and industrialization of the surrounding neighborhoods, Newtown Creek was a longer and shallower tidal waterway, and wide enough that it contained islands. It drained parts of what are now the neighborhoods of Bushwick, Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn; and Maspeth, Ridgewood, Sunnyside and Long Island City in Queens. During the second half of the nineteenth century it became a major industrial waterway, bounded along most of its length by retaining walls, the shipping channel maintained by dredging. The Montauk Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, mainly a freight line, runs along the North bank. A liquid natural gas port is under construction on the South bank, between Kingsland and Greenpoint Avenues, Whale Creek, and the main stream of Newtown Creek.

In 2007, residents of Greenpoint, Brooklyn and the New York State Attorney General’s Office filed lawsuits regarding the Greenpoint Oil Spill that contained more than twice the oil of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

On September 27, 2010, the United States Environmental Protection Agency designated Newtown Creek as a Superfund site, preparing the way for evaluation and environmental remediation of the stream. Environment advocacy groups supported the decision.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 16, 2010 at 2:52 pm

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