The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for June 2012

Project Firebox 47

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Found on Jackson Avenue in hoary Long Island City, this guardian of the realm is desirous of emotional acceptance, as evinced by the sticker adjoining casual passerby to “love me” adorning its paramount. Possessed of the “ice cream cone” crown which is missing from many of its later cousins, this lonely Firebox has likely seen hard duty over the decades, sitting across the street from a lumber yard and the titanic rail yards which distinguish western Queens. Soldier on, lonely firebox, and know that you are indeed loved by a grateful citizenry.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 30, 2012 at 12:15 am

frightful parts

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

In ancient Greenpoint, down on Manhattan Avenue, a scrap metal processing yard has opened.

This is a somewhat puzzling development, as the modern streets around these parts host a large number of residential buildings- both old and new- and the locale is clearly trending toward the residential rather than industrial in the future. Regardless, this business brings badly needed jobs to recession plagued Brooklyn, and all I can say to these new stakeholders along the water is this- “Welcome to Newtown Creek”.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The good news is that this particular metals business- which is TnT Scrap Metal, by the way- is using barges in the pursuit of their trade.

A single barge carries the equivalent load of better than 150 trucks, and one of the tried and true complaints offered incessantly at this – your Newtown Pentacle- is how few of the businesses based along the Newtown Creek utilize their bulkheads. The metals trade, at least the big players like SimsMetal, utilize maritime methodologies routinely.

This Newtown Creek of ours was once one of the finest industrial waterways on earth, and could be again someday.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Once upon a time, the sight of a barge tied up here would have been nothing special. The Newtown Creek Towing Company was nearby, as was the New York State Barge canal. The enormous brick structure framing the shot above, known to modernity as the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC) was once home of the Chelsea Fiber Mill, an 1868 era factory building which was employed in the manufacture of maritime textiles and rope.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Manhattan Avenue Street end, where once the Vernon Avenue Bridge connected the Brooklyn municipality of Greenpoint to Long Island City’s Hunters Point, is a park and sports a kayak launch. It’s actually a pretty popular place for the locals- for dog walking, coffee drinking… and god help us all… people actually fish and crab here as well.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

TNT is making an effort at being a good neighbor, and has recently announced a contest for local artists to compete for a monetary prize and the chance to paint a mural on their largish metal gates on Manhattan Avenue. When word of this reached me a few weeks back, and TNT’s “rfp” crossed my desk, the first person I thought of to disseminate the news to the arts community of Greenpoint was none other than Ms. Heather over at newyorkshitty.com.

Ever gracious and instinctually curatorial, she ran the news in this post- where you can get all the details on the competition.

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Click for details on Mitch Waxman’s
Upcoming walking and boat tours of Newtown Creek, and Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull

June 30th, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Kill Van Kull walk

for June 30th tickets, click here for the Working Harbor Committee ticketing page

July 8th, 2012- Atlas Obscura Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

for July 8th tickets, click here for the Atlas Obscura ticketing page

July 22nd, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat Tour

unvocal waves

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent business carried me into Manhattan, to a meeting where the alcohol flowed freely and afterwards your humble narrator found himself more than a little tipsy. In prior times of plenty, a taxi might have been hired to carry my besotted husk back to Astoria, but as dire financial circumstances demand- it would be the subway that would ferry me home.

The assignation that night was right in the middle of rich people country, Lexington Avenue in the high 30′s, so the drinks were far better than the usual swill I quaff.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Making my way through Times Square, by this point more than just a little tipsy and edging on drunk, the notion of attempting a few night shots entered my fevered mind. As mentioned in several prior posts, this is something “I’m working on”. A difficult endeavor under normal circumstance, low light photography is especially interesting after several cocktails have been imbibed over a short interval.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, I’ve never felt inhibited taking “street shots” of strangers, and have often been chided for walking right up to people and just starting to click away. Of course, embarrassment ruled over me the next morning, as I found a series of cliche “Times Square Street Photography” shots had been captured in my stupor.

Back to the sobering realities of the Newtown Creek for me.

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Click for details on Mitch Waxman’s
Upcoming walking and boat tours of Newtown Creek, and Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull

June 30th, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Kill Van Kull walk

for June 30th tickets, click here for the Working Harbor Committee ticketing page

July 8th, 2012- Atlas Obscura Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

for July 8th tickets, click here for the Atlas Obscura ticketing page

July 22nd, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat Tour

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 28, 2012 at 12:15 am

vain presence

with 10 comments

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One feels as if enough attention hasn’t been paid to Queens of late, and special efforts to program my walks have been accordingly undertaken. Ambitions and obligations have drawn me, more often than not, to Brooklyn in the last few months and it seems as if I spend my days walking back and forth to the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge more than anywhere else.

I haven’t been east of Forest Hills so far this year, nor south of Ridgewood- for instance.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Special attentions must, as always, be paid to the area around Court Square, Queens Plaza, and Hunters Point- all of which are undergoing thunderous transformations and metamorphoses. Blink just once, it seems, and an entire neighborhood might be transformed into something new and unrecognizably shiny. That thing which cannot possibly exist in the cupola of the Sapphire Megalith doesn’t ever blink, as its singular eye is lidless and likely triple lobed, but it isn’t talking.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Unadulterated and unbound, Western Queens never fails to disappoint the itinerant photographer plying its lanes. Rhapsodic, the lessons and parables freely observable and extant both inform and instruct. It is said, by physics scholars and quantum mechanists, that reality is altered merely by the act of observation itself.

A humble narrator, therefore, hopes to profoundly alter reality in the coming weeks.

____________________________________________________________________________

Click for details on Mitch Waxman’s
Upcoming walking and boat tours of Newtown Creek, and Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull

June 30th, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Kill Van Kull walk

for June 30th tickets, click here for the Working Harbor Committee ticketing page

July 8th, 2012- Atlas Obscura Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

for July 8th tickets, click here for the Atlas Obscura ticketing page

July 22nd, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat Tour

dizzying fear

with 3 comments

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just a short one today.

Several of the neighbors here in Astoria, all of whom were born and raised on the southern end of the European subcontinent, have purchased models and iterations of these so called “Smart Cars”. A lot of good natured ribbing is offered by area wags and devotees of the SUV class of motor vehicles to the owners of these tiny cars, over beers or around the BBQ, focusing in on the diminutive size of the vehicle and what it says about the owner’s various physical attributes or virility. The laughing stops, however, when the Smart Car guy manages to find street parking in quick order, and the mockers are stuck driving around for the better part of an hour looking for an appropriate spot which would be large enough for an elephant to enjoy.

Who’s laughing now?

____________________________________________________________________________

Click for details on Mitch Waxman’s
Upcoming walking and boat tours of Newtown Creek, and Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull

June 30th, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Kill Van Kull walk

for June 30th tickets, click here for the Working Harbor Committee ticketing page

July 8th, 2012- Atlas Obscura Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

for July 8th tickets, click here for the Atlas Obscura ticketing page

July 22nd, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat Tour

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 26, 2012 at 12:15 am

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