The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

sober and solitary

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

The other day, your humble narrator was seeking adventure and illumination amongst the mouldering tombstones and oil soaked sands of Blissville. This is an industrial stretch, closer to DUGABO than it is to DUKBO, with the cyclopean walls of Calvary Cemetery defining the northern side of the street and an unbroken facade of industrial buildings and warehouses on the the south, which is also the direction in which the fabled Newtown Creek might be found by those that seek it out.

This is formerly one of the most loathsome stretches of the Creeklands- home to oil works, distilleries, and fat rendering plants.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On the gates of what was once the vast rendering plant of Van Iderstines, a noxious industrial combine which was reviled by its neighbors during the century it squatted squamously upon this spot, this artwork was observed. This was no mere graffiti scrawl, instead this was an affixed installation, one which was obviously prepared elsewhere.

Content and subject matter are curious… and more than curious…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Your humble narrator grew interested upon noticing the presence of the double helix in the design, and the labeling which is meant to indicate the various amino acids which DNA is composed of. The “genetic code” as it is called, is actually represented by just four letters representing the chemical nucleotides which form the “double helix”- G,A,T, and C.

The four bases found in DNA are adenine (abbreviated A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T)

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A secondary piece was hung nearby, this one showed greater restraint than the first, but absent the chaotic charisma of the first.

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if the fences and gated properties of the Newtown Creek waterfront became a sort of guerrilla gallery for local artists. Imagine mile after mile of bizarre conceptions and twee fever dreams installed in the dead of night by a virtual and quite fey army of artists. Not “tagging”, of course, just tacking up something on paper whose impermanence was part of its very composition. Do the art on rice paper or something that will just turn to pulp when it rains.

A friend of mine once did an ad agency mailing for some “green” client, and her gimmick was to use paper into which flower seeds were embedded at the paper mill (and it was printed using soy inks, of course), and you were meant to just plant the advertisement in a pot after reading it.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Being the sort of damaged individual that you’ve come to expect me to be, Lords and Ladies, an attempt was made to decode this particular painting. It soon became apparent that expertise in organic chemistry would be required to profoundly critique it, something which it would be foolhardy to attempt. A cursory scan of the various formulae revealed that some of these are indeed actual chemical descriptors for amongst other things- restriction enzymes.

The usage of the infinity symbol and the other text is a mystery to me, but overall I liked the art.

ALSO, this Friday:

My own attempt at presenting a cogent narrative and historical journey “up the creek” is up coming as well-

Your humble narrator will be narrating humbly on Friday, February 24th at 7:30 P.M. for the“Ridgewood Democratic Club, 60-70 Putnam Avenue, Ridgewood, NY 11385 as the “Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show” is presented to their esteemed group. The club hosts a public meeting, with guests and neighbors welcome, and say that refreshments will be served.

The “Magic Lantern Show” is actually a slideshow, packed with informative text and graphics, wherein we approach and explore the entire Newtown Creek. Every tributary, bridge, and significant spot are examined and illustrated with photography. This virtual tour will be augmented by personal observation and recollection by yours truly, with a question and answer period following.

For those of you who might have seen it last year, the presentation has been streamlined, augmented with new views, and updated with some of the emerging stories about Newtown Creek which have been exclusively reported on at this- your Newtown Pentacle.

For more information, please contact me here.

What: Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show

When: Friday, February 24th at 7:30 P.M.

Where: Ridgewood Democratic Club, 60-70 Putnam Avenue, Ridgewood, NY 11385

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