The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘DUPBO’ Category

defined apprehensions

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Twirling, ever twirling.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The affability of recent climate has seen me visiting old haunts and novel locale alike in recent weeks, which might be described as having been a somewhat pleasurable set of experiences. That would mean, of course, that your humble narrator was actually capable of experiencing a sensation called “pleasure.” A series of dull events punctuated by occasional gastro-intestinal distress, all sorts of bacterial and viral infections, and the oft bizarre actions of others is the way one such as myself describes “Life.”

One bright spark in the otherwise gathering clouds of existential horror which plague me are unexpected moments of serendipity.

A train passing by can excite one endlessly, and reminds that “you have to appreciate the little things.”

In my case, it’s big things that go “thruuummmm thruuuuuuummmm thruuummmm” or “claaacckkclaaacckkclaaacckk” as they pass by, but I’m all ‘effed up.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Good days are ones where I’m not walking to go anyplace in particular. Days when I leave the house and decide only which compass point to walk toward. For some reason, its not east that often, as that’s usually looking into the light. Instinct always points my path towards water, no matter where I am. It was kind of interesting finding myself in Queens Plaza, which I used to inhabit back in 2009 and 2010 during the Queensboro Bridge Centennial period but which I mainly cross through these days on my way to someplace in Brooklyn or Hunters Point.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, Our Lady of the Pentacle had agreed to visit the Brooklyn Grange roof top farm here in Astoria with a friend of ours who subscribes to their CSA program and I tagged along. While they picked up some quality produce, I got busy with the camera. Serendipity at work, when I woke up that morning, seeing this vista overlooking the Sunnyside Yards and the Shining City of Manhattan was not on the menu.

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lean notary

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Shots from all over the edge of a Long Island.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a cargo ship was unloading a load of concrete manufacture supplies. The ship was performing the unloading process all by itself, with a series of swing out booms and cranes with mechanical buckets and shovels all busily employed. These shots were all gathered during the Solstice, when everything looks a bit ethereal, as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is in its position of annual primacy over the megalopolis.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

You can’t see the Williamsburg Bridge lit like this during winter time, as the angle of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is considerably less efficacious. My camera’s color and light meters were all over the place when I shot these, as what would normally be thought of as afternoon lighting lasted well past 6 pm – I think this particular shot was from around 6:30-7. Notice the wild angle that the light is falling at – longest day of the year light.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is from pretty late in the day, as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is finally slipping down past the shield wall of Manhattan. It depicts my beloved Newtown Creek, as shot from a familiar spot on the Pulaski Bridge. It’s a handheld shot, and is a bit grainy, but there was just something wonderful about the scene – couldn’t resist.

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There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, June 28th, The Poison Cauldron
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 29th, The Insalubrious Valley
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

hastily blocked

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As Johnny Cash said “I been everywhere, man.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over the last few weeks, your humble narrator has found himself wandering through every borough, except the Bronx, and many marvels have been witnessed. Let’s face it, if your eyes are open, NYC is in fact a place of wonders. Just have to learn how to see, and remember not to get jaded by it all. An annoying trait shared by all members of the human infestation hereabouts is to render the familiar as ordinary, and to accept the built environment as pedestrian or ordinary.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is Hamilton Avenue, down by the Gowanus, which is one of the many spots in NYC which strike one such as myself dumb. The aggregate hours of human activity required to create a spot like this, just producing the steel and concrete which form the high flying Gowanus Expressway above or the draw bridge below, leaves me aghast.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My beloved Newtown Creek, seen at night from the Pulaski Bridge, reveals trillions of hours of planning and work. The shield wall of Manhattan notwithstanding, this tableau visualizes the complete reshaping of a waterway to suit the needs of men, and for one such as myself – the absence of historic bridges and the unseen presence of an entire subway line are keenly felt. Wow.

There are two public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one that walks the currently undefended border of the two boroughs.

DUPBO, with Newtown Creek Alliance and MAS Janeswalk, on May 3rd.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on May 18th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

May 1, 2014 at 2:17 pm

arisen another

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Tug Dory at Newtown Creek in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Heading over to Greenpoint, which seems to be my occupation sometimes, your humble narrator was utilizing the Pulaski Bridge to cross the malign Newtown Creek. Suddenly, from below, waves began crashing and a vast oblong shape appeared from the void formed by the span.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This barge likely came from Allocco, an aggregates company based on Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint. Allocco, by the way, isn’t some fey corporate composite name, rather its a family name. I’ve met members of the eponymous clan, and they’re nice guys. They sort debris into graded materials – sand, gravel etc. for resale. Allocco is one of the few corporations along Newtown Creek who fully utilize their maritime bulkheads, so I’m a fan. What’s being moved around in that barge would require the services of around 30 trucks otherwise.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Never have I seen the Tug Dory on the Creek before. This boat is a bit of a mystery to me, and not much is available on it. Unfortunately, they weren’t displaying their IMO number in a place visible from my vantage, so I’m afraid that all I can tell you is that it’s painted white.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

She may be somewhat anonymous, a pale enigma posed alongside an oblong shape if you will, but Tug Dory still looks pretty good heading out of the Newtown Creek on her way to the East River.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 4, 2014 at 11:00 am

alarmingly low

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Tugboat! There’s a tugboat coming!

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Bemoaning a life lived poorly with a ribald song of lament, your humble narrator found himself crossing the fabulous Pulaski Bridge over Newtown Creek recently, whereupon the appearance of maritime traffic entering the waterway sent a bolt of joy up my crumbling spine.

Even feckless quislings can catch a break sometimes, thought I.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One was forced to scuttle at double pace across the bridge, in order to not allow the opening of its double bascule mechanisms to visually isolate me from the passing Tugboat.

Occlusion is frustrating, extremely so.

Accordingly, haste was made for the Greenpoint or southern bank of the Newtown Creek.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The NYC DOT, who operate this bridge, will unfortunately not allow me to get close enough to shoot properly, so several lenses were utilized. Swapping out lenses is not something I like to do in a spot like the Pulaski Bridge, where the particulate dust and soot circulating on the air is particularly dense, for fear of allowing contaminants to settle inside the camera itself.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Regardless of risk, a few swaps were made, as I had luckily decided to carry a full kit with me that day. The Tugboat was Vane’s “Hunting Creek.” Hunting Creek has been mentioned here before, in the post “last ounce.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, I was quite far from the Tug, and less than ecstatic about the images produced by my “longest” lens. The next upgrade to my photo bag is going to be a good lens with lots of reach, an expensive proposition. Of course, the simple answer to not having a lens with sufficient magnification or optimal resolution is to simply get closer to your subject.

Hunting Creek pulled away, towing a fuel barge to some destination eastwards, but I knew that eventually… she had to come back.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Hunting down anything along Newtown Creek is my speciality, as well as finding the best spot to view it from, so your humble narrator was waiting with a medium reach but high quality lens attached to my camera when Hunting Creek made its way back towards the East River and the greater harbor beyond.

What? I like photographing tugboats.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The warning horns that Pulaski was opening sounded and the tug maneuvered into its course. Tower Town in LIC is really coming along, incidentally, and views like the one following will soon be a happy memory.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

They’ve already blocked out the Chrysler Building. When Greenpoint Landing gets going, we’ll lose Empire State as well.

That’s what I saw on Newtown Creek one day last week, when one set out to cross a bridge and walk about in the radiance of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

When I was walking home – through Greenpoint – I almost stepped on this flat rat, which kind of ruined my day. Curdling horror notwithstanding, the sight shocked me back into a looming sense of depression and reinstated the familiarly manic state which I was hoping to alleviate via the perambulation across the Pulaski Bridge and the banks of fabled Newtown Creek.

I guess it’s true what they say – “A Feckless Quisling just can’t catch a break these days.” People say that, right?

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2014 Walking Tours

Up Next: 13 Steps across Dutch Kills, at Newtown Creek with Atlas Obscura, Saturday, April 5th – click here for more information and ticketing.

unidentifiable flowerings

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Catching up with the Newtown Pentacle.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This long winter has been especially difficult for one such as myself, who possesses no reserve of warmth. Accordingly, hermitage is enacted. Hair, beard, and nails are allowed to seek their natural length while an induced stupor was enjoyed by the brain. Now that the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself has once more attained an efficacious position in the sky, all of the dead cellular material external to the skinvelope has been trimmed back and an understimulated brain called to action once more.

The long marches across the concrete devastations have resumed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The spot of trouble enjoyed by my household in recent weeks, regarding the reliable availability of internet service – as supplied by Time Warner Cable – seems to have been resolved due to the actions of this fellow. Last Saturday, the third most hated corporation in modern day America sent this fellow, Jose, over to rewire and rekajigger the connections. The connectivity issues seem to have been repaired accordingly, and now the service has returned to “it just sucks” as opposed to “doesn’t work at all.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Last Sunday, whilst crossing the Pulaski Bridge to visit Greenpoint via Long Island City, these graffitos were spotted. Displaying an unusually literate and somewhat scientifically accurate credo, my attentions were caught. It wasn’t this screed which stopped me in my tracks, instead it was the one in the penultimate photograph adorning this post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

No comment, except to say that hidden in green slimy vaults, in his house at R’lyeh

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 26, 2014 at 12:06 pm

stupendous spectacle

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If you smell something, say something.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In January, the new DEP Sludge Boat Hunts Point was described in this Newtown pentacle posting.

The boat’s arrival was the first part of a complicated story, and the next chapter will involve some heavy equipment arriving on the Newtown Creek in around two weeks time. According to official sources, an oft rescheduled interval of municipal dredging will begin the week of March 17th, with the intention of opening a navigational channel for the new sludge boats from the East River, all the way back to Whale Creek at the sewer plant.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Concerns about odor and disposition of the materials removed from Newtown Creek have been largely dismissed by the mid level DEP personnel running the operation, although community groups like the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee (this is one of the ones I’m “with”) have asked pointed questions and demanded that odor control procedures be put in place. The municipal contractor will be DonJon towing, and they will be equipped with some sort of foam based system to cover the Black Mayonnaise sediment when it’s deposited in a barge – should it begin to afflict the residential properties on either side of the Creek with a smell or odor issue.

DEP will be releasing a document next week, for “community outreach,” as it were. The word from on high is that 311 is primed to deal with odor complaints – so if you live in LIC or Greenpoint – If you smell something, say something and call 311 to complain. 

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Disturbingly, our commonly held employees at DEP do not wish to detail what will happen to the materials removed from the waterway. There was some discussion about the different end destinations for it – they considered several industrial facilities practiced in the handling and disposal of toxic sludge – but there has been stony silence in response to queries about the details of the plan.

How will the material be handled, upon Newtown Creek and beyond? Will it receive primary treatment in Greenpoint or in Queens or somewhere else? If it’s going to be along the Creek that the DonJon barges are emptied and cleaned, where will that happen? How will the material be transported out of the area – by truck, barge, or rail?

Our employees in municipal government have let us know that it’s really none of our business.

This is an important issue, as when EPA begins its dredging operation for the Superfund cleanup, they will likely look at the process which DEP created for this far smaller dredging effort. More to come on this one, Lords and Ladies.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 6, 2014 at 12:33 pm

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