The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

May 21st

with 7 comments

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The show must go on, as they say, yet your humble narrator is of heavy heart in announcing the Newtown Creek tour of May 21st, 2011- which is offered for your consideration by the Working Harbor Committee.

It is not the task of course, which tempers the normal ebullience experienced when an opportunity to share the wonders of the Newtown Creek with a group of enthusiasts from the comfort and safety of a modern vessel like the MV American Princess (which is outfitted with all the amenities one would expect to find during a harbor trip in a tourist Mecca such as New York City), crosses my path.

It is not that unnatural and uncontrollable timorousness which plagues me when I am asked to speak before “this group of pale enthusiasts” or “that gang of antiquarians”. Revealing and sharing the history of this amazing place is one the things I revel in, and brings me close to understanding what joy must be like.

from workingharbor.com

Visit Beautiful Newtown Creek Saturday, May 21, 2011

On MV American Princess, Boat departs from Pier 17, South Street Seaport, Manhattan NYC, 10am – 1pm

Souvenir Tour Brochure with historical information and vintage maps. Narration by experienced historical and environmental guest speakers. Complimentary soft drinks will be served. Come aboard for an intense Newtown Creek exploration! Our comfortable charter boat will travel the length of Newtown Creek. The tour will pause at many interesting locations for narration and discussion. Guest narrators will cover historical, environmental, and conservation issues. Large comfortable vessel with indoor & outdoor seating. Cruise runs rain or shine. Price: $60

To purchase tickets click here

or contact Tour Chairman Mitch Waxman: waxmanstudio(AT)gmail.com

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is where the Industrial Revolution happened, and this trip will transverse and offer certain observations about the Newtown Creek’s present form and usage, and reveal a potentially bright future which this neglected ribbon of water- which provides the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens- were it to be revitalized and renewed, might offer the future.

After boarding at South Street seaport, Working Harbor’s maritime experts will discuss the waterfront of Brooklyn as we pass beneath the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge, and finally passing under the Willamsburg Bridge. Our vessel will smoothly move past the neighborhoods of Dumbo, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint in Brooklyn, and offer spectacular views of Manhattan. This entire trip will be a photographer’s delight, incidentally, offering spectacular and unreal urban panoramas.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

At Long Island City, your humble narrator will presume to expose you to a short history of the Newtown Creek, and offer an identity to some of the enigmatic structures arrayed around the troubled industrial waterway.

Luckily for all concerned, there are other speakers who will relieve the crowd from my droning prattle, maritime experts and environmentalists included. Around Newtown Creek Alliance headquarters, there is some buzz amongst the staff about which one of the heavyweight orators will be onboard.

Soft drinks, one to a customer, will be complimentary as well.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The American Princess will proceed past the titan Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant, the malign Dutch Kills, the cyclopean SimsMetal dock, the brutal symmetry of the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge, through the agglutinated heart of the Greenpoint Oil Spill, past the severed Penny Bridge at Meeker Avenue, and beyond the emerald devastations of Calvary Cemetery.

Then, we’re going to take a moment to remember our fallen friend… for just a moment.

I’m hesitant to mention this… as this is not what this trip is meant to be about, this is not a memorial event… but Bernie Ente is and will be so profoundly missed by many of us who will be conducting this tour, of which he is the originator and founder of… it would be in bad taste if a moment of silence to remember him, in this place which he expended so much of his attentions revealing and teaching and guiding about, were not offered. More on this in a later posting, but as the initial line says “the show must go on”, and that is exactly what Bernie would have us do.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The course will continue, past the middle point of the Newtown Creek, and will plunge past the Maspeth Plank road, past the Phelps Dodge site and the Kosciusko Bridge. At the branching of the Newtown Creek which exists at the confluence of the East Branch and English Kills, we will witness the remains of the Maspeth Plank Road and approach the wicked end of the navigable section of the Newtown Creek itself and approach one the hydra like tributaries which spread languishing tendrils of rotting bulkheads and unused yet prime industrial waterfront locations all across Brooklyn and Queens.

This is not the world you know.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Witness the startling elegance of the Grand Street Bridge, a century old swing bridge connecting Brooklyn and Queens, which signals the entrance to English Kills has been reached. Industrial heartland, this is a grossly contaminated section of the waterway which has- of course- been designated as a Federal Superfund site. Seeing the Newtown Creek in this state, this bizarre half life which is neither tick nor tock- industrial nor residential, is a fairly short term proposition.

Vast changes are coming which will literally alter the very landscape.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Kosciusko Bridge replacement, and the enormous new populations and residential conversion in progress and expected in Hunters Point South and Greenpoint, and the EPA conducting the initial stages of Superfund remediation (which will involve dredging and vast public works projects conducted by hundreds of contractors) will all be happening in roughly the same timeframe. Ten years from now, it will hard to recognize the place, and twenty more will render it a stranger to those who know it today.

In the English Kills, you will become transfixed by a waterfront frozen in some other century, and witness the extant vitality of those economies of heavy industry which build, and drain, and recycle, and dispose of. You don’t get Manhattan without a Newtown Creek, after all.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

We will proceed into the depths of English Kills near the Third Ward in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Our journey will cross the navigable sections of the Newtown Creek and begin it’s return journey to the Shining City of Manhattan and the South Street Seaport, leaving Greenpoint and Long Island City behind.

The plan for the return narration includes a full description and explanation of the Superfund situation by representatives of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and a return to Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. Personally, I’ll be at the bow during this part of the trip, as the photographic possibilities of moving languidly along the Creek with the sun behind us and illuminating both the creek lands and the Shining City as we smoothly speed across the East River beyond will be awe inspiring.

You haven’t experienced the Newtown Creek until you’ve sailed down it, and such a trip will disabuse you of viewing it with anything but wonder afterward. Simply, what is offered is a new perspective on the City of New York, one that less than 10% of New Yorkers have ever even heard of.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Once again…

from workingharbor.com

Visit Beautiful Newtown Creek Saturday, May 21, 2011

On MV American Princess, Boat departs from Pier 17, South Street Seaport, Manhattan NYC, 10am – 1pm

Souvenir Tour Brochure with historical information and vintage maps. Narration by experienced historical and environmental guest speakers. Complimentary soft drinks will be served. Come aboard for an intense Newtown Creek exploration! Our comfortable charter boat will travel the length of Newtown Creek. The tour will pause at many interesting locations for narration and discussion. Guest narrators will cover historical, environmental, and conservation issues. Large comfortable vessel with indoor & outdoor seating. Cruise runs rain or shine. Price: $60

To purchase tickets click here

or contact Tour Chairman Mitch Waxman: waxmanstudio(AT)gmail.com

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7 Responses

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  1. [...] forgot about this one but thankfully got a reminder from my buddy (and Chairman of the endeavor): Mitch Waxman. Despite the untimely passing of Bernard Ente, the tour guide extraordinaire of this event, the [...]

  2. [...] is critical for you to purchase tickets for the Newtown Creek Cruise soon. We’re filling up rapidly and seating is limited. Your humble narrator is acting as [...]

  3. [...] is critical for you to purchase tickets for the Newtown Creek Cruise soon. We’re filling up rapidly and seating is limited. Your humble narrator is acting as [...]

  4. [...] Who isn’t interested in Newtown Creek? For a cool and esoteric trip check out The Hidden Harbor tour on May 21st. [...]

  5. [...] is critical for you to purchase tickets for the Newtown Creek Cruise soon. We’re filling up rapidly and seating is limited. Your humble narrator is acting as chairman [...]

  6. [...] is critical for you to purchase tickets for the Newtown Creek Cruise soon. We’re filling up rapidly and seating is limited. Your humble narrator is acting as [...]

  7. [...] is critical for you to purchase tickets for the Newtown Creek Cruise soon. We’re filling up rapidly and seating is limited. Your humble narrator is acting as chairman [...]


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