The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Degnon Terminal’ Category

brief space

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An interesting effect observed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

By this stage of the game, lords and ladies, the shot above must depict a scene quite familiar to your eyes. The waterway is the Dutch Kills tributary of the fabled Newtown Creek, and the industrial buildings framing it part of the Degnon Terminal here in Long Island City, Queens. The water is frozen, as would be expected in this frigid month.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Hanging around with the Newtown Creek Alliance folks, one of the terms I’ve learned which cannot be expunged from active memory is “sediment mound.” That’s when an open sewer deposits layer after layer of its cargo, over the course of decades, and piles up a mound. These mounds are normally indistinct to the eye, sitting hidden in the turbid water.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

What’s interesting in these shots, to me at least, is that the sediment mounds and other features of the bed which Dutch Kills flows through, are visible in the melting edges of the ice. It appeared that the ice didn’t form as solidly at the shorelines as it did in the center of the water. The center was, in fact, a solid plate of ice which had garbage rolling around on it.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

These were captured on January the 11th, a very foggy day. The shot above is a stitched panorama, which depicts the entire water way while facing roughly southwards.

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sent forth

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Lonely, ever so lonely.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Transversing the concrete devastations of Western Queens is best performed by ones own self, I belief, with my only company taking the form of an audiobook or podcast. Saying that, it can get pretty old pretty fast being by myself all the time, as I’m a horrible human being and this solitude offers me the opportunity for nothing but soliloquy and self critique. You can keep your professional therapist, I’d rather just wander around and beat myself up for habitually not rising to to the occasion.

I find that it’s the early hours on the weekends, those intervals marked by crowds of inebriates returning to Queens from a Saturday night bacchanalia in Manhattan, which are the loneliest. Even the Long Island Expressway seems to be a seldom traveled country road at this time of day, instead of the motorized river of steel and glass it normally presents itself as.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s in the early part of the day that puzzles such as this safety taped wall present their questions most clearly to me. Is there a lurking fear that some wandering stranger will not notice a scarlet brick wall rising before them? The logic of Queens demands that there is, in fact, some wickedly good reason for the caution tape to be displayed. Perhaps a runaway nuclear reactor or a hidden cache of toxic waste, but the aforementioned logic of Queens also states that once the tape is up, the problem is solved.

The tape itself will persist until nature takes it, whereupon the wind will sweep it into an area waterway.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One always finds it striking, on these long explorations of both internal and external landscapes, how badly maintained the roads are here in the very navel of New York City. Concrete company trucks routinely slough off the extra or unused product contained in their trucks, creating a lahar of irregular pavement. Cannot describe how many times I or some other pedestrian have tripped over these little mounds of poured stone, or how numerous and abundant they are. Probably all we deserve, anyway, as Skillman Avenue in LIC does not connect to anywhere in Manhattan.

Its ultimately our own fault for being in Queens, I guess.

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Another day in the life of Mitch.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, your humble narrator was engaged three days in a row doing the “Newtown Creek Tour” thing. The Saturday and Sunday ones were for Atlas Obscura and Brooklyn Brainery, and followed two of the routes which I have established that tell certain parts of the tale of Newtown Creek and its surrounding communities. The Friday one was a little less conventional, and played out around the Dutch Kills tributary of the larger watershed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A small group this time, I had a crew from LaGuardia Community College out for a general meander around their home waterway. It seems that CUNY doesn’t spend much time letting their students or faculty know exactly where it is that LaGuardia is located, or the historic significance of its location in the Degnon Terminal in Long Island City. Accordingly, one of their instructors who is deeply involved with the Creek and with Newtown Creek Alliance asked if I could inform and instruct on the subject from a historical and wayfinding POV.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This instructor, Sarah Durand (long referred to at this blog as “the radical biologist Sarah Durand” and pictured in the forefront of the image above) has an interesting study under way on the waterway. This isn’t the one where she stitches together corpses and exposes them to electrical stimulation in order to revivify and restore them to some semblance of life, rather this is the one which involves the suspension of buckets filled with various biota at different tidal levels to gauge and measure the sort of critters which might exist in the water column. She labors to answer the question of “who can guess, all there is, which might flop and flap in the waters of the infamous Newtown Creek?”.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 23, 2013 at 11:48 am

strange cries

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All we have to fear is fear itself.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An infinite capacity for terror and hysteria grips one such as myself, who is just some flapping and flopping thing often observed alongside the road while it coruscates and pulsates and squeezes along and across the concretized devastations of the ageless borough of Queens. Layer upon layer of thwarted ambition is found hereabouts, a fitting locale for your humble narrator- amongst the battered, the bruised, the abandoned, and that which has seen better days. Existential crises abound, and the eternal road only stretches forward into a tunnel of darkness and despair.

As you may have guessed by now, I agree with and celebrate the song “I don’t like Mondays.”

from wikipedia

In psychology and psychiatry, anhedonia (/ˌænhiˈdoʊniə/ an-hee-doh-nee-ə; Greek: ἀν- an-, “without” + ἡδονή hēdonē, “pleasure”) is defined as the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable, e.g. exercise, hobbies, music, sexual activities or social interactions. While earlier definitions of anhedonia emphasized pleasurable experience, more recent models have highlighted the need to consider different aspects of enjoyable behavior, such as motivation or desire to engage in an activity (“motivational anhedonia”), as compared to the level of enjoyment of the activity itself (“consummatory anhedonia”).

- photo by Mitch Waxman

“Monday’s child is fair of face” says the old rhyme, but the origins of the word in English actually mark it as “moons day,” or the day of the moon (that name goes all the back to Old English’s mōnandæg). Perhaps this is why a creature as unwholesome as myself- said unsavoriness should indicate an affinity for the moon day, incidentally- is so uncomfortable on what the Chinese would call xīngqīyī (星期一) which clinically translates to “day one of the week.”

In Britain, a recent study concluded that Monday is the statistically most likely day for suicides. Hecate, triple lobed goddess of the moon, seems to deserve her reputation as a harsh entity whom occultists call the “mother of angels.”

Angels have always scared the hell out of me.

from wikipedia

Dysthymia has a number of typical characteristics: low energy and drive, low self-esteem, and a low capacity for pleasure in everyday life. Mild degrees of dysthymia may result in people withdrawing from stress and avoiding opportunities for failure. In more severe cases of dysthymia, people may even withdraw from daily activities. They will usually find little pleasure in usual activities and pastimes. Diagnosis of dysthymia can be difficult because of the subtle nature of the symptoms and patients can often hide them in social situations making it challenging for others to detect symptoms. Additionally, dysthymia often occurs at the same time as other psychological disorders, which adds a level of complexity in determining the presence of dysthymia, particularly because there is often an overlap in the symptoms of disorders.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It has been awhile since one has found himself overcome by panic and animalistic instinct, and been reduced to a shivering jelly slaking with greasy perspiration. The ministrations of a team of doctors, and their vials of tablets and potions, seems to have found an equilibrium in me but my greatest fear is a return to fear. I fear fear, fearing that fear might overcome me, rendering all about me fearful. I fear this, and if all we have to fear is fear itself, then I’d like to point out that Fear is hanging up there in the sky behind me as I write this and he’s brought his brother Terror with him.

Of course, I refer to the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, after all Monday is the so called day of the moon.

from wikipedia

Phobophobia (from Greek: φόβος, phobos, “fear”) is a phobia defined as the fear of phobias, or the fear of fear, including intense anxiety and unrealistic and persistent fear of the somatic sensations and the feared phobia ensuing. Phobophobia can also be defined as the fear of phobias or fear of developing a phobia. Phobophobia is related to anxiety disorders and panic attacks directly linked to other types of phobias, such as agoraphobia. When a patient has developed phobophobia, their condition must be diagnosed and treated as part of anxiety disorders. This patient with this phobia is not afraid of this phobia thus preventing a paradox.

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Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, August 10, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

13 Steps around Dutch Kills- Saturday, August 17, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

Project Firebox 70

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Embedded within a cement sidewalk, opposite the fabulous and fossilized remains of the Loose Wiles building of the largely forgotten Degnon Terminal on the Thompson Avenue viaduct stands this soldier of the realm. Unlike many of its brethren in Western Queens, this firebox functions on, awaiting the day it will be needed.

Upcoming tours:

Parks and Petroleum- Sunday, May 12, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

The Insalubrious Valley- Saturday, May 25, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 11, 2013 at 7:54 am

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