The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for November 2nd, 2012

dark moor

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

As part of the survey of places around Newtown Creek impacted by Hurricane Sandy which your humble narrator knows that no one else cares about, mainly because they’re in Queens, and after leaving the Borden Avenue Bridge Hank the Elevator Guy and I drove over to the Dutch Kills turning Basin at 29th street. The smell here, a mix of raw sewage and petroleum, was overpowering. There was some street flooding, but this is fairly normal for 29th street. As mentioned, nobody cares as it’s Queens.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I wasn’t expecting to see much destruction back here, as the sea walls and bulkheads were set up in an earlier time of maritime industrial dominance and weren’t “built short” to accommodate kayaks or enhance the experience of park attendees. This is the end of Dutch Kills, by the way, and is a somewhat relict waterway with no maritime customers extant in the modern day. The terrestrial based industries all along Dutch Kills were busy pumping water and dragging soaked inventory out to dumpsters while I was there.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Accordingly, the large CSO’s at the end of the canal deposited a noticeably higher amount of flotsam and jetsam than normal, and the water was particularly foul. Again, this is a normal occurrence after any storm event. When Queens flushes a toilet during a thunderstorm, it’s contents end up here.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One wishes that it could be said that all of this garbage was deposited by the actions of flooding, but again- this is normal. The dumped materials definitely seemed to have been moved around a bit by high water, but in Queens illegal dumping is an art form and Dutch Kills is its Guggenheim.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The water was in horrible shape, that’s raw sewage you’re looking at, collecting at the bullheaded shore and behind the two sunken fuel barges which have been decaying back here as long as anyone can remember. From my vantage, I couldn’t see any of the petroleum slicks seen a few blocks away at Borden Avenue, but I could smell them.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Hank the Elevator Guy and I returned to his trusty truck, and we headed off for other spots to survey. Next up was Calvary and then Maspeth Creek, and finally English Kills. All three spots will be discussed and revealed over the next few days at this, your Newtown Pentacle.

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