The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘NY 10301’ Category

pause and peer

leave a comment »

Sunset at Freshkill, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, there were four shots a humble narrator was slavering over capturing during a recent evening visit to Freshkills – two involved a chancy encounter with wild fauna and did not happen, the shots in today’s post – however – were all ones that I desired. Sunset on… Staten Island…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As I understand it, this is the actual Fresh Kill for which the former DSNY facility and the modern Parks project takes its name. As the sun was going down, there were a bunch of ducks on the water who were doing duckish things. The piles and structure pictured above reminded me of the sort of thing you’d tow a barge into, but I might just be seeing what I want to see.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Here and there, flotsam reminds one of what this place once was used for, but this is material that likely floated in on the tide. Trust in me, of course, to waste time taking monochrome pictures of a cast off tire in the mud while a spectacular sunset is underway.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

For you photo geeks out there, the formula for this one was to reduce my aperture down to f22, and expose for around 2.5 seconds. That’s how you produce the frozen glassiness of the water and capture a wide range of color from the sky without causing the wind driven clouds to “drag” or the constantly moving ducks to motion blur. It’s a tripod shot, which was triggered by a remote release. If you click the image and head over to my Flickr account, there’s a few permutations on the formula which go darker and or lighter on this scene surrounding it in the album. I like this one best.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The scenics which made me long for a tripod and my sharpest lens when I visited Freshkill in August follow after this one. The equipment in the shot above is a methane monitoring well, I’m told. This is all natural light, by the way, although I was standing in absolute darkness. A long exposure, thirty seconds long, the light pollution erupting from New York City is remarkable.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is looking westwards at New Jersey, across the Arthur Kill, and the vast complex of oil refinery and distribution businesses which give the area its nickname – the “chemical coast.” It’s striking, actually, how less “lit up” this area is despite the proximity of Newark Airport and the various highways leading to and from it and the crossings into and out of Manhattan.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured above is the Arthur Kill Power Plant, a 1950’s era beast of an electricity generating station. My pals at habitatmap did a work up on the place a while back, check it out here. When I was reviewing the shots back at HQ, it occurred that I seemed to have shot a Pink Floyd album cover here.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

After dusk settled into darkness, I realized that a repeat of the long journey was about to ensue and it was nearly 7:30 p.m. One last shot of the Manhattan skyline jutting out of the Freshkills mounds was required, however, as pictured above.

also – I’m required to state the following, regarding the access which allowed me to capture these photos – “Courtesy of the City of New York. NYC Parks and the Freshkills Park Alliance have made access available for the production of this artwork.” I’m also required to offer this link to freshkillspark.org and inform that inquiries regarding the park are best sent to freshkillspark@parks.nyc.gov

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, November 8th, Poison Cauldron
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Note: This is the last Newtown Creek walking tour of 2014, and probably the last time this tour will be presented in its current form due to the Kosciuszko Bridge construction project. 

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

incidents and sensations

leave a comment »

Freshkills, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My long trek across the City of Greater New York, discussed all week at this – your Newtown Pentacle – had a singular goal. It was to answer an invitation to return to Freshkills that had been tendered by officials at the NYC Parks Dept. As detailed in several early August posts (here, here, and here), the Parks people have a program which allows artists and photographers to visit the still under construction park, one which I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In August, I had shown up with just my standard camera kit bag, which serves me well in most circumstances. I wished at the time that I had brought the whole kit, especially my trusty tripod. When this autumn invitation to return to the park was offered, the entire toy box was packed up for travel and the long commute from Astoria to Freshkills was gladly undertaken.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This time around, it was a bit of a private viewing. Last time I was out here, there was a group of us shooting, but this time it was just me and a chaperone from Parks who was actually the same person that invited me out (thanks again, Mariel!). She told me that the park had just been mowed, in anticipation of autumn (2,200 square acres of dry grass would be just asking for something bad to happen).

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The park itself is divided into several sections, each designed to offer different services to the community. Certain areas are being designed for sports fields and events, while others are being crafted with scenic splendors in mind. Water runs throughout the place, which is crossed by squamous concrete bridges which were designed for heavy trucks.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

When discussing the timing of this excursion, Mariel from Parks and I kept the setting sun in mind, as we were both keen to see what I could capture during the so called “golden hour.” Your humble narrator particularly hungered for shots of the white tail deer which have taken up residence in the park, but they are skittish and elusive critters. Best shot I got was from very far away, as presented above.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

At least the Geese had the good sense to pose for me. The structure in the background is one of many that handles the methane which the occluded reality of the place produces. Don’t forget, the park is being built atop the worlds largest man made object, the mounds of garbage generated by the totality of New York City for a good chunk of the 20th century. On the horizon is the chemical coast of New Jersey, which lies beyond the Arthur Kill.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

When planning my visit, there were four shots which I desired to come home with. Two were denied me – the deer, and the bald eagles. You can’t count on critters cooperating unless you’re prepared to spend weeks on the endeavor, so I wasn’t crying into my camera bag, but I should have brought a pound of lox with which to draw in the eagle. The other two I was desirous of capturing were accomplished, and will greet you in tomorrow’s installment of this, your Newtown Pentacle.

also – I’m required to state the following, regarding the access which allowed me to capture these photos – “Courtesy of the City of New York. NYC Parks and the Freshkills Park Alliance have made access available for the production of this artwork.” I’m also required to offer this link to freshkillspark.org and inform that inquiries regarding the park are best sent to freshkillspark@parks.nyc.gov

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, November 8th, Poison Cauldron
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Note: This is the last Newtown Creek walking tour of 2014, and probably the last time this tour will be presented in its current form due to the Kosciuszko Bridge construction project. 

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 6, 2014 at 11:00 am

chill current

with 2 comments

Maritime Sunday once more gurgles and splashes into port.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Joan Turecamo, IMO number 7902025, is a 392 ton Tug which was built in 1981 at the Matton Shipyard in Cohoes, NY. She’s owned and operated by the Moran Company, and was recently spotted while onboard a Working Harbor Committee “Newark Bay” tour.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

She was plying the poison waters of the Kill Van Kull, another one of the chemically complex industrial waterways that one such as myself calls home. Kill Van Kull has been referred to as “Tugboat Alley” more than once at this, your Newtown Pentacle, for the enormous number of towing and cargo vessels making their way to and from the titan Port Elizabeth Newark Port complex.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Moran tug was headed out to the larger harbor when spotted, and seemed to be under full steam while working against the current. A hearty maritime Sunday shout out is offered to the cast and crew of the tugboat Joan Turecamo.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday- September 28, 2013
Newtown Creek Boat Tour with the Working Harbor Committee- tickets on sale now.

Saturday – October 19, 2013
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale soon.

Sunday- October 20th, 2013
The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek with Brooklyn Brainery- tickets on sale now

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

 

troubled eyes

leave a comment »

“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A short one for today’s Maritime Sunday, Miriam Moran wresting the MSC Carole- a cargo ship- from the influence of tide and current and steering her toward a comfortable berth.

Also: Upcoming Tours!

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 21, 2013 at 10:34 am

The 2013 Spring and Summer Tours Schedule

with 3 comments

“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

Pana_NCA_CreekEDU_Boat_102311_013359_a

- 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.

t3_Atlas_PoisonCauldron_082512_012520_a

- 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.

t3_MWA_COWD_071412_012314_a

- 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.”

energetic struggle

leave a comment »

This is the one thousandth posting of this, your Newtown Pentacle.

“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The other day… or night… it’s all kind of hazy… your humble narrator was afflicted with insomnia.

Having no commitments for the following diurnal cycle, a daring plan was hatched and executed wherein one left HQ here in Astoria and plunged forth into the dark. Perambulating past clustered inebriates, and cab drivers arriving at work and congregating while waiting for assignment from yard dispatchers- a steady path for the East River was magnetically adhered to. Casting myself wildly forward from ferry to ferry, one soon realized that the vast human hive had been crossed and the ground that this veritable mendicant stood upon was none other than… Staten Island.

That’s when the gargantuan Cosco Osaka container ship came into view, shepherded by the Gramma Lee T. Moran tug.

from morantug.com

The LEE T. MORAN is an expression of brute power and utility that belies the refinements of technical engineering below her waterline. There, twin ports are cut into the steel hull to make room for the tug’s Z-drive units. On the floor of the shop they look like the lower units of giant outboard engines. Made by Ulstein, a subsidiary of Rolls-Royce, the Z-drive functions much like an outboard. Imagine two outboards extending straight down through the hull, each having the ability to rotate 360 degrees. That makes even a heavy, 92-foot tug with a 450-ton displacement very maneuverable. “It can turn on a dime,” says Doughty. “The hull bottom is slightly flatter to adjust to the two drive units. By turning each drive out 90 degrees, the captain can go from full-ahead (14 knots) to a dead stop in no time.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Awake for what would probably be two days at this point, your humble narrator was a mass of symptoms and early warning signs. Shaking from the cold, my eyes sunken back from fatigue and reddened from lack of sleep, it felt as if a narcotic haze fell over me while watching the small tug maneuver the larger vessel out of the Kill Van Kull.

Nevertheless, the attempt to soldier on was successful and these photographs were captured.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A wearier narrator scuttled back to the St. George Ferry Terminal for a ride back to the docks in Manhattan, wherein another ferry trip brought him back to Queens. By this point, the insomniac possession had lifted and pregnant fatigue indicated that it was time to fall into that same state of involuntary unconsciousness- with its bizarre hallucinatory imagery- which has plagued him since childhood.

Also:

Remember that event in the fall which got cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy?

The “Up the Creek” Magic Lantern Show- presented by the Obscura Society NYC- is back on at Observatory, on February the 15th- Next Friday.

Click here or the image below for more information and tickets.

lantern_bucket

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 10, 2013 at 12:15 am

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 916 other followers

%d bloggers like this: