The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

rythmical promise

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

In April of 2011, your humble narrator attended a lecture conducted by an FDNY Harbor Unit commander- Chief James Dalton of the Marine 6 unit. The Chief described several of the fascinating boats his unit was in the process of rolling out for duty in the Harbor of New York, one of which is the Fireboat pictured above- The Bravest.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Part of the Marine 6 unit, which is housed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, The Bravest is one of the ships responsible for protecting an enormous area which encompasses an aggregate coastline of several hundred miles. This coast- which includes petroleum depots, several airports, and cargo terminals as well as residential and recreational docks- wraps around “terrorist target number one” and is the responsibility of only four FDNY chiefs and just over one hundred and twenty firefighters.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Like many of the modern “service boats”, Bravest is based around a Coast Guard model- the “Response Boat Medium” (which has been discussed in earlier postings at this, your Newtown Pentacle). Sixty five feet long, the vessel is incredibly fast (45 knots), and is powered by a jet drive which supplies three 1,000 HP engines with motive force. The jet drive scheme enhances crew safety, and allows for shallow draft operation.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Bravest’s two main monitors (water cannons) can pump an astounding six thousand gallons per minute. the Fireboat also carries a “miraculous” substance known as “purple K”. A foam extinguisher designed for fighting petrochemical fires, “purple K” and other exotic chemicals are kept onboard in case of an emergency at the Kill Van Kull or Newtown Creek. On the subject of the Creek, “The Bravest” is the likely first responder should an emergency occur involving one of the many oil industry installations found along it.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Bravest also carries a full suite of modern communications equipment, including “blue force tracking”, satellite uplinks, and classified radiological detection sensors. Onboard, one will also find a first aid area which comes very close to being considered a mobile field hospital. Larger than needed alternators supply excess voltage to power all of this equipment.

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Upcoming Walking Tour- The Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Meetup at the corner of Kingsland and Norman Avenues in Greenpoint at 11 on Saturday, August 25th.

We will be exploring the petroleum and waste transfer districts of the Newtown Creek watershed in North Brooklyn. Heavily industrialized, the area we will be walking through is the heart of the Greenpoint Oil Spill and home to scores of waste transfer stations and other heavy industries. We will be heading for the thrice damned Kosciuszko Bridge, which is scheduled for a demolition and replacement project which will be starting in 2013. Photographers, in particular, will find this an interesting walk through a little known and quite obscure section of New York City.

Be prepared: We’ll be encountering broken pavement, sometimes heavy truck traffic, and experiencing a virtual urban desert as we move through the concrete devastations of North Brooklyn. Dress and pack appropriately for hiking, closed toe shoes are highly recommended- as are a hat or parasol to shield you from the sun.

Bathroom opportunities will be found only at the start of the walk, which will be around three hours long and cover approximately three miles of ground. Drivers, it would be wise to leave your cars in the vicinity of McGolrick Park in Greenpoint.

Click here for tickets, and as always- a limited number of walk ups will be welcomed- but for safety reasons we need to limit the group to a manageable size. Contact me at this email if you desire further details.

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  1. [...] another posting describing another model of Fireboat- “The Bravest”, a lecture conducted by an FDNY Harbor Unit commander- Chief James [...]


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