The Newtown Pentacle

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The 2013 Spring and Summer Tours Schedule

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

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- photo by Mai Armstrong

Want to see something cool?

Odds are that a bunch of the folks who will be reading this might have no idea who Mitch Waxman is, why they should come along with him on a tour of some weird neighborhood in Brooklyn or Queens or Staten Island, nor what a Newtown Creek or Kill Van Kull are- let alone where. Who is this weirdo?

Check out the “bio” page here at Newtown Pentacle, or this profile of me from the NY Times published in 2012. My tours of Newtown Creek have garnered no small amount of interest from the fourth estate- whether it be DNAInfountappedcities.com, Queens Chroniclenewyorkview.net, the 22blog, photobycateblog.com, or Queensnyc, and I’ve turned up in a bunch of media reports, documentaries, and been interviewed for multitudinous reports on the lamentable history of the Newtown Creek.

Most recently, it was National Geographic and Curbed. Attendees on my tours come from a variety of backgrounds- photographers, history and rail buffs, maritime enthusiasts, and there always seems to be an odd and welcome concentration of elected officials and journalists about.

What is with this guy?

I’m the Newtown Creek Alliance Historian, Official Photographer and Steering Committee member of the Working Harbor Committee, a member of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee and the Newtown Creek CAG, and am also a member of the Kosciuszko Bridge Stakeholders Advisory Committee. Newtown Pentacle, this blog, has been steadily published since 2009. I live in Astoria, Queens with my wife and our little dog, Zuzu.

In just the last few years, I have exposed thousands of people to the Newtown Creek, and its incredible history. This is where the industrial revolution actually happened, along this 3.8 mile long waterway that defines the border of Brooklyn and Queens.

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- photo by Mai Armstrong

In 2013, continuing relationships with Atlas Obscura, Newtown Creek Alliance, and the Working Harbor Committee (as well as friends like the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, and others) allow me to offer the following schedule. Live ticketing links will be made available as they come online, and all dates are subject to cancellation or rescheduling due to weather or unforeseen circumstance. There are 6 unique walking tours listed here, and one boat trip in which I will be the principal speaker.

Private tours are possible, schedule permitting, and can be arranged by contacting me here. Last year, for instance, several private University classes engaged me for a day at the Creek, as did a few private groups. As mentioned, contact me and we will figure something out if you’ve got a meetup group, college class, or special request.

Here then, is my official schedule as it stands right now. There will likely be a few additions as time goes on, which I will let you know about as they occur. Best to subscribe to this blog (top right, email subscription)  or “follow” me on Twitter @newtownpentacle for news.

In April, 2013- There will be a brand new tour  of Greenpoint debuted, which I call “Glittering Realms.”

Glittering Realms- Saturday, April 20, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

In May, 2013- We start off with 13 Steps around Dutch Kills, go to the Insalubrious Valley, visit DUKBO, and finish off the month with a Working Harbor boat tour.

13 Steps around Dutch Kills- Saturday, May 4, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

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

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

Hidden Harbor: Newtown Creek tour with Mitch Waxman – Sunday, May 26,2013
Boat tour presented by the Working Harbor Committee,
Limited seating available, order advance tickets now. Group rates available.

NCA Birdwatch Bus tour- June 24, 2012

- photo by Mai Armstrong

In June, 2013- We visit the Poison Cauldron, return to the Insalubrious Valley, and check out the Kill Van Kull.

The Poison Cauldron- Saturday, June 15, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, June 22, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets on sale soon.

The Insalubrious Valley- Saturday, June 29, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets on sale soon.

In July, 2013- We visit Queens’s Hunters Point with a brand new tour. I might have another offering or two for you, but nothing I can speak about quite yet.

Modern Corridor- Saturday, July 13, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

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- photo by Mai Armstrong

In August, 2013- We return to the Poison Cauldron, repeat the 13 steps, and the Kill Van Kull walks.

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

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

The Poison Cauldron- Saturday, August 24, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

There are a few other dates coming in the fall, and a couple of more summer events which are still being discussed, but I’ll let you know more about them in coming posts.

Also, I will definitely be onboard but not on the microphone during the Working Harbor Committee “Beyond Sandy” Hidden Harbor tours on Tuesday nights, all summer. Hope you can come along.

Click here for more on “Beyond Sandy.”

treasures offered

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Lots to do next week, meetings and galas, all sorts of situations to feel socially awkward in are coming up. Smart and well positioned opinion will be available for the price of attendance, at Newtown Creek Alliance’s “Spotlight on Citizen Science” on Monday the 25th in Long Island City.

from newtowncreekalliance.org

NCA’s February meeting will highlight the wide array of local citizen and student scientists exploring all angles of the creek. The meeting will be structured as a showcase, with quick presentations on each topic, and materials for you to peruse in person. Come mingle with your local citizen scientists.

NCA Spotlight on Citizen Science

February 25, 2013 at 6pm

LaGuardia Community College

E Building, Room E-242

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A different sort of gathering will be happening at The India House Club, when Working Harbor Committee hosts its annual Gala, and this year’s honoree is Lucy Ambrosino. A great party, the Gala gathers the movers and shakers of NY Harbor together, and proceeds from the event help fund the WHC’s education programs and summer boat tours.

That’s Tuesday the 26th.

from workingharbor.com

Lucy Ambrosino is being honored for her ardent commitment to the Port of New York and New Jersey and the working harbor which supports it. An effective and committed consensus builder, Lucy is a strong advocate and enthusiastic participant in all efforts to educate the public about the value of the working harbor.

The award will be presented by Andrew McGovern, President, New Jersey Sandy Hook Pilots at 7:15 p.m.

Tuesday Evening – 26 February 2013

India House Club — Marine Room

One Hanover Square, New York City, NY 10004

6 o’clock — 8:30 o’clock – Business Attire

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A town hall meeting, with the NYS DOT and several local elected leaders, will discuss the upcoming Kosciuszko Bridge project. The meeting is being hosted by OUTRAGE, a community group concerned by the enormous footprint of truck based industry in North Brooklyn.

That’s Wednesday the 27th.

from bk-outrage.blogspot.com

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Lastly, the unfortunate locale and long neglected and seldom considered municipality called Manhattan will be the setting for a “Long Term Control Plan: Citywide Modeling Workshop.”

Discussions of the recently experienced meteorological phenomena and concurrent flooding is necessitated and accordingly an understanding of the “New Normal” will be offered by the authorities. Ramifications will be explored, existential quandaries expounded upon and considered by representatives of the inestimable NYS DEC and the stalwart NYC DEP.

This one is Thursday the 28th, and I’m sure it will be a civil engineering and urban planning hootenanny.

from nyc.gov

LONG TERM CONTROL PLAN: CITYWIDE MODELING WORKSHOP

Thursday, February 28, 2013 at US Customs House, Auditorium, 1 Bowling Green from 6:00pm – 8:00pm.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is co-hosting a citywide workshop to present and review the modeling processes that will be used to test potential alternatives identified as part of the Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) Program with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). At the workshop, DEP and DEC staff will review the Watershed/Landside and Hydrodynamic/Water Quality models and the proposed baseline assumptions for evaluating the benefits of CSO control alternatives.

final destinations

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This is tomorrow, as in Sunday the 22nd. Seriously- you can count the number of seats left with one hand. If you haven’t got your tickets yet, today is probably your last chance.

Many people know about the environmental issues facing Newtown Creek, but did you know that the Creek was once the busiest waterway in North America, carrying more industrial tonnage than the entire Mississippi River?

You’ll learn much more when Working Harbor Committee’s maritime historians and harbor experts
put it all in context during a Hidden Harbor Tours: Newtown Creek Exploration.

The heart of industrial New York, Newtown Creek was home port to hundreds of tugboats (one of which is the historic WO Decker). It was also an international destination for oceangoing ships and a vast intermodal shipping and manufacturing hub that employed hundreds of thousands of people. Forming the border of Brooklyn and Queens for nearly three miles, five great cities grew rich along the Newtown Creek’s bulkheads — Greenpoint, Willamsburg, Bushwick, Long Island City and Manhattan itself. The waterway is still a vital part of the harbor and the Working Harbor Committee (WHC) is proud to present this tour as part of the celebration of their tenth anniversary year.

Mitch Waxman, a member of WHC’s steering committee and the group’s official photographer, also serves with the Newtown Creek Alliance as its group Historian. In addition to working on WHC’s boat tours of the Creek, Mitch offers a regular lineup of popular walking tours, and presents a series of well-attended slideshows for political, governmental, antiquarian, historical and school groups. His website – newtownpentacle.com – chronicles his adventures along the Newtown Creek and in the greater Working Harbor.

He was recently profiled in the NY Times Metro section, check out the article here.

Upcoming tour: Hidden Harbor Tours: Newtown Creek Exploration.

On July 22nd, Mitch shares his unique point of view and deep understanding of the past, present and future conditions of the Newtown Creek as the narrator and expedition leader for this years Hidden Harbor Tours: Newtown Creek exploration.

Our NY Water Taxi leaves from South Street Seaport at 11 a.m. (sharp) on a three hour tour of the Newtown Creek. From the East River we’ll move into the Newtown Creek where we’ll explore explore vast amounts of maritime infrastructure, see many movable bridges and discover the very heart of the Hidden Harbor.

Limited seating available, get your tickets today.

Tickets $50, trip leaves Pier 17 at
South Street Seaport at 11a.m. sharp.

We will be traveling in a comfortable NY Water Taxi vessel with indoor and outdoor seating. There will be refreshments and snacks available for purchase at the bar.

Magic Lantern Show in Ridgewood

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Your humble narrator will be narrating humbly on Friday, February 24th at 7:30 P.M. for the “Ridgewood Democratic Club, 60-70 Putnam Avenue, Ridgewood, NY 11385” as the “Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show” is presented to their esteemed group. The club hosts a public meeting, with guests and neighbors welcome, and say that refreshments will be served.

The “Magic Lantern Show” is actually a slideshow, packed with informative text and graphics, wherein we approach and explore the entire Newtown Creek. Every tributary, bridge, and significant spot are examined and illustrated with photography. This virtual tour will be augmented by personal observation and recollection by yours truly, with a question and answer period following.

For those of you who might have seen it last year, the presentation has been streamlined, augmented with new views, and updated with some of the emerging stories about Newtown Creek which have been exclusively reported on at this- your Newtown Pentacle.

For more information, please contact me here.

warnings and prophecies

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2011’s Greatest Hits:

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In January of 2011, while walking along in knee deep snow, your humble narrator happened across this enigmatic and somehow familiar item sitting in a drift at the NYC S.E.M./Signals Street Light Yard of the DOT at 37th avenue near the Sunnyside and Astoria border. It looked familiar to me, but I didn’t recognize it for what it was until sharp eyed reader TJ Connick suggested that this might be the long missing Light Stanchion which once adorned the Queensboro Bridge’s Manhattan landing.

These two posts: “an odd impulse“, and “wisdom of crowds” discuss the discovery and identification in some detail.

Some good news about this iconic piece of Queens history will be forthcoming, but I’ve been asked to keep it quiet for the moment.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In February of 2011, “Vapour Soaked” presented a startling concurrence of comparitive detail for the discerning viewer, when the shot above was presented in contrast with a 1920’s shot from The Newtown Creek industrial district of New York City By Merchants’ Association of New York. Industrial Bureau, 1921″, (courtesy Google Books).

Admittedly, not quite as earth shaking as January’s news, but cool nevertheless. I really like these “now and then” shots, expect more of the same to come your way in the future.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In March of 2011, “first, Calvary” discussed the epic (for me) quest to find a proverbial “needle in a haystack” within First Calvary Cemetery- the grave of its very first interment, an Irish woman named Esther Ennis who died in 1848. I have spent an enormous amount of time searching for this spot, where Dagger John Hughes first consecrated the soil of Newtown.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In April of 2011, the world lost one of its best people and my official “partner in crime”, Bernard Ente.

He was ill for awhile, but asked me to keep the severity of things quiet. He passed in the beginning of April, and one of the last requests he made of me (along with “taking care” of certain people) was to continue what he had started along the Newtown Creek and all around NY Harbor.

This was when I had to step forward, up my game, and attempt to fill a pair of gargantuan boots. Frankly, I’m not even half of who he was, but I’m trying. That’s when I officially stepped forward and began introducing myself as a representative of Newtown Creek Alliance, and joined the Working Harbor Committee- two organizations which Bernie was committed to. I’m still trying to wrap my head around his loss.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In May of 2011, while attempting to come to terms with my new roles in both organizations, it was decided that a fitting tribute to our fallen comrade would be the continuance of his annual “Newtown Creek Cruises” and the date of May 21 was set for the event. An incredible learning experience, the success of the voyage would not have been possible without the tutelage of WHC’s John Doswell and Meg Black, NCA’s Katie Schmid, or especially the aid of “Our Lady of the Pentacle” and the Newtown Pentacle’s stalwart far eastern correspondent: Armstrong.

Funny moments from during this period included the question “Whom do you call to get a drawbridge in NYC to open for you?”.

During this time, I also became involved with Forgotten-NY’s Kevin Walsh and Greater Astoria Historical Society’s Richard Melnick and their ambitious schedule of historical tours.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In June of 2011, the earliest Newtown Creek Chemical Factory which I’ve been able to find in the historical record, so far, was explored in the post “lined with sorrow“- describing “the Bushwick Chemical Works of M. Kalbfleisch & Sons”.

Additionally, my “Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show” was presented to a sold out and standing room only crowd at the Greater Astoria Historical Society.

This was also the beginning of a period which has persisted all year- in which my efforts of behalf of the various organizations and political causes which I’m advocating for had reduced my output to a mere 15 or fewer postings a month.

All attempts are underway to remedy this situation in 2012, and apologies are offered.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In July of 2011, another Newtown Creek boat tour was conducted, this time for the Metropolitan Water Alliance’s “City of Water Day”. The “Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show” was also performed at the Admiral’s House for a packed room.

Additionally, my so called “Grand Walk” was presented in six postings. This was an attempt to follow a 19th century journey from the Bloody Sixth Ward, Manhattan’s notorious Five Points District, to Calvary Cemetery in Queens. Once, this would have been a straightforward endeavor involving minimal connections of Trolley and Ferry, but today one just has to walk. These were certainly not terribly popular posts, but are noteworthy for the hidden and occluded horde of forgotten New York history which they carry.

From the last of these posts, titled “suitable apparatus“- “As the redolent cargo of my camera card revealed- this “Grand Walk”, a panic induced marathon which carried your humble narrator across the East River from St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in Manhattan into Williamsburg and up Grand Street to Maspeth and the baroque intrigues of the Newtown Creek- wound down into it’s final steps on Laurel Hill Blvd.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In August of 2011, “the dark moor” presented intriguing aerial views of the Newtown Creek Watershed, and “sinister exultation” shared the incredible sight of an Amtrak train on fire at the Hunters Point Avenue station in Long Island City. “revel and chaff” explored the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in LIC’s Zone A, and an extraordinary small boat journey around Dutch Kills was detailed in: “ponderous and forbidding“, “ethereal character“, “pillars and niches“, and “another aperture“.

This was an incredible month.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In September of 2011, a posting called “uncommented masonry” offered this declaration:

” By 1915, there approximately 40,000 automotive trucks plying the streets of New York City.

What’s surprising is that 25% of them were electric.

Lords and ladies of Newtown, I present to you the last mortal remains of the General Electric Vehicle Company, 30-28 Starr Avenue, Long Island City- manufacturer of a substantial number of those electrical trucks.”

I’m particularly fond of this post, as this was a wholly forgotten moment of Newtown Creek and industrial history which I was able to reveal. Organically born, it was discovered in the course of other research, and I believed at the time that it was going to be the biggest story that I would present all year about Blissville.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In October of 2011, a trio of Newtown Creek Tours (two public and one for educators) were accomplished. The public tours were full to capacity, as were the Open House New York tours I conducted on the 15th and 16th of that Month. Also, the Metropolitan Water Alliance invited me to photograph their “Parade of Boats” on October 11th, and I got the shot below of the FDNY Fireboat 343.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In November of 2011, a visit to Lovecraft Country in Brooklyn was described in “frightful pull“, and “vague stones and symbols” came pretty close to answering certain mysteries associated with the sky flung Miller Building found at the foot of the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge in Brooklyn.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A December 2011 post titled “An Oil spill… in Queens” broke the news that petroleum products are seeping out of the bulkheads of Newtown Creek, this time along the Northern shoreline, which lies in the Queens neighborhood of Blissville.

Rest assured that your Newtown Pentacle is on top of the story of “the Blissville Oil Spill”, lords and ladies of Newtown, and will bring you breaking news as it develops in 2012.

…hits the fan

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Council Member Van Bramer sent this out to his mailing list today, regarding Hurricane Irene

As everyone knows by now, Hurricane Irene is expected to hit our area sometime Saturday into Sunday. We should all take precautions to be prepared for a storm of this magnitude. Some areas in our district are in evacuation zones and at high risk for flooding. Those areas of Hunters Point/Long Island City should familiarize themselves with the map below and know that should an evacuation be ordered, Newcomers High School (28-01 41st Ave.), Aviation High School (45-30 36th St.) and W.C. Bryant High School (48-10 31st Ave.) are your nearest evacuation centers. The City will make a decision about whether to order a mandatory evacuation of Zone A for the general public by 8:00 AM on Saturday. The evacuation centers will be open as of 5:00 PM today and the City is strongly recommending that people within these areas immediately make plans to go to alternative locations outside of Zone A starting tomorrow for the duration of the storm. The orange areas are Zone A. The yellow areas are Zone B. The green areas are Zone C.

We are also concerned about significant portions of the district including parts of Sunnyside, Woodside, Astoria and Maspeth that have experienced flooding during several recent storms. Our office has been and will continue to be in contact with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and other city agencies throughout this weekend. Anyone experiencing difficulties as a result of Hurricane Irene should contact me and my office as soon as they occur. We will report problems in real time. For those outside of Zone A areas that have experienced flooding or are concerned that you may, please click on the link below on how to protect your valuables. In addition to calling our office, DEP is asking for reports of flooding to be called in to 311.

http://home2.nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/flooding_guide.pdf

I have also been in touch today with NYCHA and the Mayor’s Office to make certain that Queensbridge, Ravenswood, and the Woodside Houses are included in any and all emergency plans including evacuation, should that be necessary. We will continue to be in regular contact with NYCHA throughout the storm.

While we continue to hope for the best, we must prepare for the worst. The city has published some useful information in securing your home during the storm. Please click on the link below for recommendations on how best to prepare for the hurricane.

www.nyc.gov/html/oem/html/ready/hurricane_guide.shtml

Given the high volume of traffic to OEM’s (Office of Emergency Management) website there have been delays and interruptions in gaining access to some of these links. For that reason, we also include the Red Cross’ Hurricane Safety Checklist below. We have also included information from OEM’s Hurricane Guide at the end of this email should that link not respond when you try it.

http://www.redcross.org/www-files/Documents/pdf/Preparedness/checklists/Hurricane.pdf

In advance of the hurricane I wanted to remind you that clogged catch basin grates can aggravate flooding.  Although DEP staff – with the help of their colleagues at other agencies – are busy cleaning catch basins now, DEP has asked us to remind homeowners and residents that they welcome assistance in removing leaves, litter or other debris that may prevent water from flowing off the streets and into the catch basins.  For any of you that aren’t familiar with catch basins the attached link to a page on DEP’s website has some text and visuals that will help explain why flooding occurs and how citizens can help DEP minimize flooding by removing debris where they see it blocking catch basin grates.

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/flooding/flooding_causes.shtml

I will be keeping my district office open on Saturday to field questions and concerns from constituents. Needless to say, we will close the office when the storm approaches and will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. My district office number is (718) 383-9566. I will be in the district throughout the storm and encourage anyone with problems to email me concerns at jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov as well as using social media including Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jimmyvanbramer) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/jimmyvanbramer) to reach me. You may also call 311. Please only call 911 if you have a very serious or life threatening emergency.

I hope this update and the attached information proves useful to you. Again, my staff and I will be working throughout the weekend and please do not hesitate to contact me should you need assistance.

Sincerely,

Jimmy Van Bramer

Council Member

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Additionally, the Council Member included the following information from the Office of Emergency Management

OEM’s Hurricane Guide

To secure your home if a tropical storm or hurricane watch is issued:

Bring inside loose, lightweight objects, such as lawn furniture, garbage cans, and toys.

Anchor objects that will be unsafe to bring inside, like gas grills or propane tanks. Turn off propane tanks.

Shutter windows securely and brace outside doors.

Place valuables in waterproof containers or plastic bags.

Help Others Prepare

  • Check on friends, relatives, and neighbors, especially those with disabilities or special needs, and assist them with their preparation and evacuation.
  • If you live outside an evacuation zone, offer to shelter family and friends who may need to evacuate.

If Asked to Evacuate, Do So Immediately

The City will communicate specific instructions about which areas of the city should evacuate through local media. If the City Issues an Evacuation Order for Your Area: Evacuate immediately. Use public transportation if possible.

If you are going to an evacuation center, pack lightly, and bring:

  • Your Go Bag
  • Sleeping bag or bedding
  • Required medical supplies or equipment
  • Let friends or relatives know where you are going.

What about my pets?

  • Make sure your disaster plan addresses what you will do with your pet if a hurricane requires you to leave your home.
  • Plan to shelter your pet at a kennel or with friends or relatives outside the evacuation area.
  • Be sure you have supplies ready for your pet in the event of an evacuation, including food, a leash, a muzzle, proof of shots, and a cage or carrier.

Account for your special needs

  • Consider your capabilities and make sure your preparedness plan addresses how your special needs affect your ability to evacuate and shelter.
  • Determine if you will need assistance and arrange help from friends, family, or neighbors.
  • Consider additional supplies and equipment that you may need to bring with you, such as medicine, icepacks, medical devices, and backup equipment. Bring food for your dietary needs.
  • Include additional time and evaluate your transportation options.

IF YOU LIVE IN AN EVACUATION ZONE

Prepare A Disaster Plan

Develop a plan with your household members that outlines what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate if a hurricane strikes New York. If you rent your home, renter’s insurance will insure the items inside your apartment. If you are a homeowner, make sure your home is properly insured — flood and wind damage are not covered in a basic homeowner’s policy.

Know Where You Will Go

The City strongly recommends evacuees stay with friends or family who live outside evacuation zone boundaries. For those who have no other shelter, the City will open hurricane shelters throughout the five boroughs.

To ensure efficient use of resources, the City will ask all evacuees to report to an evacuation center. Once at the evacuation center, evacuees will either be assigned to a hurricane shelter in the same facility or transported to an associated hurricane shelter by bus.

Every household member should have a small Go Bag — a collection of items you may need during an evacuation packed in an easy-to-carry container such as a backpack. A Go Bag should be easily accessible if you have to leave your home in a hurry.

Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit

You may be instructed to shelter in place (stay at home) during a hurricane. Keep enough supplies in your home to survive for at least three days.

If you do not live in an evacuation zone

All areas of the city could face hurricane-related hazards such as high winds, flooding, tornadoes, and loss of utilities. You may be instructed to shelter in place (stay at home) for several days until the hurricane passes.

If you live in a high-rise apartment building

Residents of high-rise apartment buildings may face special risks from hurricanes even if they live outside evacuation zone boundaries. If you live in a high-rise building outside an evacuation zone, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor. If you live in a high-rise building located in an evacuation zone, heed evacuation orders.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This looks like it will be a profound event. Personally, I’m preparing for an uncomfortable few days, but that’s because I live inland and uphill in Astoria. Long Island City and Greenpoint on the other hand…

Our friends at liqcity.com have prepared an excellent posting on the Zone A situation, which can accessed here:

http://www.liqcity.com/life/long-island-city-and-hurricane-irene-a-match-made-in-well-well-see

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Newtown Creek Alliance, an organization of which I’m a member, issued this statement earlier today…

Flood Warning for Creek Neighborhoods

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on August 25th, 2011 that certain emergency measures will be instituted in low lying coastal districts referred to as “Zone A” (at high risk of coastal flooding) due to the expected arrival of Hurricane Irene in the New York City area late Saturday night. Much of the land surrounding Newtown Creek is designated as “Zone A” on the coastal flooding map prepared by City officials, including large tracts of Greenpoint and Long Island City. For a map of the affected areas, please click here.

Newtown Creek Alliance cautions residents of the affected areas to monitor the situation and be prepared to evacuate should authorities warrant it necessary. If an evacuation is recommended or ordered, information about evacuation centers and hurricane shelters may be found by calling 311 or at by visiting this website. Additionally, be mindful that during such an event, the flood waters could carry a significant load of pollutants and should not be ingested. Care should be taken upon any contact with skin.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Sources within the City have discussed this storm with me in the most dire tones. If you live in an area designated for evacuation, please comply. I’ll be marching out into the brave new aftermath early Monday morning, if there’s something which you think I should point my camera at, please contact me here. Good luck, and assuming the availability of both electrical power and internet connectivity, I’ll post as the situation develops.

As this post was being prepared, Council Member Van Bramer passed along another message, ordering the mandatory evacuation of Zone A by 5 pm Saturday.

June 6th, Magic Lantern Show at Greater Astoria Historical Society

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Metropolitan Avenue Bridge, English Kills – photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve neglected to inform you all of the Magic Lantern Show which this, your Newtown Pentacle, is staging at the Greater Astoria Historical Society on Monday, June 6th at 7pm. There won’t be any archaic museum pieces in use, of course- my magic lantern is all digital and uses a standard and quite modern projector- but the concept is much the same. A photographer captures some hellish reality from the wild and shadowed corners of the world, and presents them with the intention of revealing hidden truths to a comfortable and otherwise wholesome audience who would never encounter this reality otherwise.

from a Newtown Pentacle post of April 13th, 2011

Just under an hour long, this Magic Lantern Show about Newtown Creek is personally narrated, and transports the viewer to every corner of the Newtown Creek- every tributary and street end, on the water and above it, and is presented in the idiosyncratic and off beat manner which has become familiar to regular readers of this- your Newtown Pentacle. It attempts to explain certain core questions in under an hour which have been repeatedly presented to me over the last couple of years, and the entire talk is illustrated with both my own photography and the product of my historical research:

  • What exactly do you mean by the “Newtown Pentacle”?
  • When did the Newtown Creek begin to matter?
  • Why should I care, how does the Newtown Creek affect me, as I live in Manhattan?
  • Where exactly is this place?
  • Who is responsible for this mess, and exactly who is it that’s going to clean it up?
  • How can I get involved and help my community revitalize and or restore the Newtown Creek?

Empire State Building rising over industrial Brooklyn and Newtown Creek – photo by Mitch Waxman

It would probably be “politique” to mention that this is not a Newtown Creek Alliance event, which is one of the many organizations which I’ve become affiliated and identified with. Instead this is purely a Newtown Pentacle show, which the studied philosophs who inhabit the upper echelons of the Greater Astoria Historical Society are allowing me to present in their convenient location on Astoria’s Broadway- stumbling distance from the R,M, and N trains. The efficacy of gambling their precious time and effort upon such a poor specimen as myself would be proven by the event being well attended, and the negligible $5 fee at the door should prove an easy burden for most to bear. Therefore, a narrator humbly invites and requests your support and attendance.

from astorialic.org

Mon Jun 6, 7:00 pm

Travel the length and breadth of Americas most polluted waterway, the Newtown Creek, with newtownpentacle.com‘s Mitch Waxman.

Breathtaking photography illustrates the journey, exploring the various tributaries and discussing the industrial history of New York City‘s least known waterway.

Witty and irreverent, the narration describes Waxman‘s own discovery of this place and the fantastic journey it has taken him on.

Question and Answer period follows.

DUKBO, Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp – photo by Mitch Waxman

The actual presentation is just over a hour long, and during it, you’ll travel the length and breadth of the Newtown Creek- every tributary and bridge, each keystone of historical import will be illustrated with both personal experience and historical meaning. For those of you new to the story of the Newtown Creek (or the neighborhood) this will make a fine primer. Attempts will be made by your humble narrator to reveal this willfully hidden place, and introduce the uninitiated to the hellish flames of revelation which only the Newtown Creek can offer.

Greenpoint Avenue Bridge over Newtown Creek – photo by Mitch Waxman

The places I go, the things I see… often strain credulity. This is not the world you know, this 3.8 mile long waterway located directly across the East River from Manhattan’s Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital which provides the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens. If it can happen, it has happened here, and if it happened here it happened worse and grander than anywhere else it ever happened. Come visit the night soil and offal dock, hear the stories of the great men- Bliss and Kingsland and Flowers and Degnon and Cooper. This is the place where the Industrial Revolution actually happened, where the death of nature itself was accomplished, and our modern world was born.

Welcome to the Newtown Creek, poison heart of the Newtown Pentacle…

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