The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Dutch Kills’ Category

acquired enough

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A short one today

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just a single shot today, depicting 31st street’s borderland between the Astoria and Dutch Kills sections of the neighborhood. That’s the N and Q tracks above, which can emit a calamitous cacophony second to none during rush hours.

Back tomorrow…

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Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, October 25th, Glittering Realms
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

 

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

mocking instruments

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One dares, or he dares not.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, one found himself entering the death inducing environs of Queens Plaza last week. Navigating the cryptic signage painted onto the pavement, which mixes bike lane and pedestrian lanes intermittently, at night… Well, the NYC DOT really needs to be thinking about a do-over concerning them. Path finding is not based on any sort of recognizable municipal language, and there are few if any “tells” indicating where the pedestrian pathways fall. I walk through here all the time, and it scares the patootie off a humble narrator every time.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Automotive lanes suddenly appear in front of you, ones in which cars are already moving at a pretty good clip by the time they hit a badly marked cross walk. There’s nothing to “stand behind” while waiting for the light to change, and a feeling of exposure is experienced. This can’t be right. When the Dutch Kills Green park on the northern side of Queens Plaza opened a few years back, it dramatically improved the pedestrian situation on the Dutch Kills side, but the south eastern side is dangerous as all get out and difficult to navigate.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Don’t get me wrong, the northern side ain’t perfect, but it’s vastly easier to navigate through it than its opposite. As a note, I’ve been unable to stop noticing the super tall Manhattan building “432 Park Avenue” and everywhere I go these days it’s just popping up and demanding to be acknowledged. Here it is from Queens Plaza, a monster building as seen from the central gearbox of the Great Machine. One wonders, and more than wonders, what the weather is like up there.

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innermost monstrosities

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I know things, I tell you, things!

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Owing to it being Columbus Day and all, one got to thinking what the old boy might have seen were he to have ever made it to Newtown Creek. Columbus, of course, never got anywhere even remotely close to NYC – but if today’s post was a thought experiment designed to picture a spot that the Dutch Kills Tributary of Newtown Creek flowed to prior to European colonization… well, 40th avenue between 29th street and 30th is a darned good place to visit. Just saying.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

so dissimilar

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Places to go, no one to see.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over at Newtown Creek’s LIC tributary, Dutch Kills, a property owner has been clearing away a stand of poison ivy and feral trees which have been occluding views of the turning basin (47th avenue at 29th street). There’s a bit of controversy about the property owner’s plans to erect a fence line here, as it seems to be NYS property, but this is Queens so who cares? If this was North Brooklyn, there’d be hunger strikers and hipster girls would be chaining themselves to the bulkheads. Here, the primary impact on the community is the loss of a good spot for weed smoking used by students from a nearby college and high school.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Last weekend, Working Harbor Committee did a tour of the Gowanus Bay and Canal which I was onboard for. Conversation with members of the Gowanus Conservancy allowed me to utter aloud one of the “faux pas” for which I am famous. My statement that Newtown Creek is a FAR bigger problem than their troubled waterway was greeted with “oh, here we go.” I explained that its geography, and that Newtown Creek and its tributaries simply occupy more space than the Gowanus. Closest analogy for the Gowanus, in my opinion, is actually Dutch Kills – multitudes of bridges, overflown by a highway, narrow channel, and abandoned bulkheads.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Got me thinking about Luyster Creek and all the other largely abandoned industrial canals in Queens that never get mentioned, of course. Flushing River, Anable Basin, and the rest seldom receive much notice from regulators. They’ve got the Black Mayonnaise and the VOC’s, the CSO’s and PCB’s. Heck, the entire alphabet can found floating around in New York Harbor. Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull is so rich in pesticides that it could likely wipe out every roach in Manhattan.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 9, 2014 at 12:14 pm

headlong down

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Nowhere to go, no one to talk to, like a falling autumn leaf – me.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One actually did have someplace to go last week - as a rare social occasion wherein a group of us who work for the Brownstoner Queens site commiserated over dinner and drinks in the Dutch Kills neighborhood last week. This drew me out just as the rain clouds were blowing out last Thursday night, and the sunset lighting one encountered was absolutely stellar.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This rainbow appeared over what is today the Center Building on Northern Blvd., but what was once a Ford Service Center and later offices for a large pharmaceutical company. The song “Somewhere over the rainbow” apparently refers to Sunnyside, it would seem.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This week I also have someplace to go to - I’ll be attending a meeting of the Newtown Creek CAG (Community Advisory Group), on October 1st. It’s going to be held over in Brooklyn, at the McCarren Play Center Community Room, 776 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn. I’m told that the EPA will be present. Come with?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

physical resistance

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This is actually a Newtown Pentacle post, sorry for the spam this morning.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Not sure how, as my passwords etc. were still secure when I checked, but at 8:24 this morning – a spam posting propagated out from this site. First time in better than 5 years that there’s been a breech, but security protocols (changing passwords, mainly) have been invoked. Sorry for the spam, however, but… y’know, hackers and spam bots are clever.

The offending post has been removed from the Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr feeds, but there’s nothing I can do about the emailed subscriber feed so please delete it without clicking on the links. Believe me when I tell you, the last thing I wanted to deal with before finishing my coffee was this.

Your humble narrator is preparing for quite a busy weekend, after all.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On Saturday, I’ll be leading an excursion with the Atlas Obscura folks in Long Island City. 13 Steps around Dutch Kills will explore the Queens tributary of Newtown Creek and wind up over in Brooklyn. We’re meeting at the corner of Jackson Avenue and 23rd street at 11 a.m. and the walk will be around three hours or so. There’s lots of great stuff to take pictures of, and the route will carry us along one of my favorite paths. Advance tix are recommended, click here for the link, but walkups are also very welcome if you’re a last minute sort of lord or lady.

The tour will set you back $20, and as it’s the last Dutch Kills walk of 2014, come with?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On Sunday, the tour will be in DUKBO – Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp - a part of brooklyn which I fondly refer to as “the Poison Cauldron.” This is likely the second to last time EVER that this tour will happen, as the coming bridge project is going to tear most of this area down. I was there last weekend and most of the businesses are gone, leaving behind a post industrial moonscape. We’ll be walking through petroleum country at the beginning, and I’ll be telling the story of Standard Oil and the Greenpoint Oil Spill along the path. Seriously, if you’ve been putting off coming on one of these, do it now. The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek will soon be a construction zone, which will preclude exploration.

This tour is being produced by the good folks from Brooklyn Brainery, whose ticketing page is found here. Walkups are very welcome, we’ll be at the corner of Kingsland and Norman Avenues in Greenpoint at 10 a.m. The tour will set you back $25.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, September 27th, 13 Steps Around Dutch Kills
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, September 28th, The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek
Walking Tour with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

exotic without

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A few shots from around the neighborhood, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over the weekend, Our Lady of the Pentacle announced that she would be bringing our dog over to Astoria Park for an early morning “off leash” dog gathering, as is her habit. A rare weekend day off for me, last Saturday was, so I accompanied her to the park. When we arrived, low hanging clouds were rolling over mighty Triborough, and your humble narrator found a favorable vantage point from which to capture the scene.

It happens to overlook the heavily chlorinated waters of Astoria Pool, which provided an interesting contrast given the environmental condition of morning ambience coupled with a dark sky.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Roaming around Dutch Kills recently, at the borders of Ravenswood and Queensbridge alike, an abundance of Boro Cabs lined a still industrial section of the neighborhood. That giant tangle of technology to the left of the frame is an electrical substation, which might belong to Consolidated Edison, and the big pile of red and white smokestacks is the Big Allis Power Plant on the East River.

Of course, no one can tell who owns what these days, what with their stock market whatsis and corporate whatchamacallits, but I think the substation is owned by Con Ed. I can report – authoritatively- that on hot days, when walking past this fence line, my headphones have often issued a sudden humming drone – and occasionally electrical shocks have transmitted through and them into my shell like ears. The entire block sounds like this – “mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…mmmmmmm.” This may be one of those spots where a handheld fluorescent bulb might just start to glow.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The empty corridor wasn’t so empty the other day when one wandered through on a stroll through Long Island City. Trucks were whizzing about, disgorging palettes of cargo to those who lurked within the warehouses lining the street. Several worrisome characters were closely observing my movements and the particulars of equipment employed in the capture of these images as they quaffed cheap vodka from plastic bottles and shared a marijuana cigarette, one seemingly mixed with cigar tobacco and wrapped in a coarse brown paper or leaf (which one understands as being in fashion at this time). 

A mild panic came upon me, and one felt himself descending into one of his states.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 25, 2014 at 11:00 am

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