The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Working Harbor Commitee’ Category

purpose firm

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Recently sighted on the Kill Van Kull.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

With all the crap weather experienced in New York City during the first quarter of 2014, your humble narrator has spent nary a minute upon the undulating harbor. Luckily, a Working Harbor Committee trip, a private one produced by the WHC Education Committee that took a bunch of school kids out to Port Elizabeth Newark on a NY Water Taxi, appeared on my schedule.

The scene depicted is found at Cadell Dry Dock, on… Staten Island.

from wikipedia

USS Slater (DE-766) is a Cannon-class destroyer escort that served in the United States Navy and later in the Hellenic (Greek) Navy. The ship was named for Frank O. Slater of Alabama, a sailor killed on the USS San Francisco (CA-38) during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for gallantry in action. The USS Slater is now a museum ship on the Hudson River in Albany, New York, the only one of its kind afloat in the United States. 

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Legend haunted, the North Shore of Staten Island borders the busy Kill Van Kull waterway, connecting Port Newark to NY Harbor. When the Slater left Albany, all of my “usual suspects” began to buzz about it. Facebook and the like were discussing its position, and where and when to get shots of it. Personally, I was busy with other stuff and the ship wasn’t even a blip on my radar.

Happily, though, serendipity brought me past its bow at a somewhat opportune moment – lighting wise.

from ussslater.org

The destroyer escorts were a vital component of the Allied strategy for victory in the Atlantic. They escorted the convoys of supply ships that carried the forces needed to win the war in Europe. Destroyer escorts also served in some of the most dangerous areas of the Pacific Theater. They escorted convoys, conducted shore bombardments, and served as radar picket ships towards the end of the war. The USS SLATER served in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters during and immediately after the war. Following its World War II service, the ship was deactivated until 1951, when it was transferred to the Hellenic Navy. The SLATER, renamed AETOS, remained in Greek service until 1991, when it was transferred back to the United States under the care of the Destroyer Escort Historical Foundation, which began a painstaking restoration of the ship. Today the SLATER is one of less than a dozen surviving destroyer escorts, and it is the only ship that is still in its World War II configuration.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My pals over at the Working Harbor Committee blog got into quite a lather about the Slater coming down, check out their coverage here. Mr. Will Van Dorp over at Tugster has been following the ship since it left Albany, check their coverage here. Apparently, the Slater is in dire need of repair, which is how it ended up in… Staten Island.

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

Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura, on April 26th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

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.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 24, 2014 at 11:00 am

angry sky

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Want to see something cool?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I got to go to South Brother Island with the Audubon Society once, whereupon these three presented themselves. Baby Cormorants, soon after this shot was gathered, the one on the right vomited half a fish at me. Baby birds are bastards, but they are cool looking.

Nature wants to kill you, and one should never be seduced by its beauty. That’s nature’s game, and it’s why our ancestors paved over everything in retaliation, which brings me inexorably back to Newtown Creek.

There are three public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn and one that walks the currently undefended border of the two boroughs. I have another iron in the fire, which I’ll tell you about later this week. As you’re reading this, I’m likely on a boat with the Working Harbor Committee’s Education program, showing off the harbor to a group of high school students.

Plank Road, with Newtown Creek Alliance, on April 19th. This one is free, click here to get on the list.

Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura, on April 26th. Click here for more info and ticketing.

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

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

soothing diagnosis

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Want to see something cool?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There are three public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn and one that walks the currently undefended border of the two boroughs. I have another iron in the fire, which I’ll tell you about later this week. As you’re reading this, I’m likely on a boat with the Working Harbor Committee’s Education program, showing off the harbor to a group of high school students.

Plank Road, with Newtown Creek Alliance, on April 19th. This one is free, click here to get on the list.

Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura, on April 26th. Click here for more info and ticketing.

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

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Thirteen Steps across Dutch Kills

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The 2014 Walking Tours begin.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Join Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura for an intense exploration of Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary – found less than one mile from the East River. Dutch Kills is home to four movable (and one fixed span) bridges, including one of only two retractile bridges remaining in New York City. Dutch Kills is considered to be the central artery of industrial Long Island City and is ringed with enormous factory buildings, titan rail yards – it’s where the industrial revolution actually happened.

Bring your camera, as the tour will be revealing an incredible landscape along this section of the troubled Newtown Creek Watershed.

Be prepared: We’ll be encountering broken pavement, sometimes heavy truck traffic, and moving through a virtual urban desert as we cross the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens. Dress and pack appropriately for hiking, closed toe shoes are highly recommended.

Bathroom opportunities will be found only at the start of the walk, which will be around three hours long and cover approximately three miles of ground.

Meetup – At the Albert E. Short Triangle park found at the corner of Jackson Avenue and 23rd Street in Long Island City, Queens. This is the Court Square MTA station, and served by the 7, G, and M lines. Additionally, the Q39 and B62 buses have nearby stops. Check MTA.info as ongoing construction at Queens Plaza often causes delays and interruptions.

Click here for tickets.

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“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

donkeys outlined

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Maritime Sunday returns,

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, whilst out and moving about the great human hive, a luckless individual found their way into my company and posited the query to me “that you always show the tugboats with these enormous structures on the dock, but never explain what they are. Do you not know what they are?”. People like to accuse me of ignorance, continually, presuming that they may have punctured some perceptual bubble in which they presume me to live.

Blow my mind, as it were. Fools.

from wikipedia

Container cranes consist of a supporting framework that can traverse the length of a quay or yard, and a moving platform called a “spreader”. The spreader can be lowered down on top of a container and locks onto the container’s four locking points (“cornercastings”), using a twistlock mechanism. Cranes normally transport a single container at once, however some newer cranes have the capability to pick up two to four 20-foot containers at once.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The neat thing about all the equipment used in ports, especially the big old container cranes, is that its all mobile and self actuating. Everything is built on wheels. The bits of kit which I’m continually drawn to are actually the straddle carriers, which buzz around in their multitudes like worker bees handling and stacking the containers which their larger counterparts are unloading from the ships.

from wikipedia

A straddle carrier is a non road going vehicle for use in port terminals and intermodal yards used for stacking and moving ISO standard containers. Straddles pick and carry containers while straddling their load and connecting to the top lifting points via a container spreader. These machines have the ability to stack containers up to 4 high. These are capable of relatively low speeds (up to 30 km/h or 18.6 mph) with a laden container. The workers that use this machinery sit at the very top seated facing the middle as they can see behind them and in front of them. Straddle carriers can lift up to 60 t (59 long tons; 66 short tons) which equals up to 2 full containers.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The psychology of the folks who challenge me thusly is unknown. Sometimes it’s an expert on the subject who is attempting to “out” someone they perceive as an amateur. Others times, one gets the feeling that it brings the petitioner some sort of joy to see a humble narrator hoisted upon his own petard as his ignorance is exposed. Here’s the deal lords and ladies, and it’s been this way since the day I started this endless series of postings- If I’m wrong about something, please correct it. I’m the first one to admit when I screw up, and strive to learn something new at every turn.

Comments and corrections are always welcome here, and if I don’t know anything about a particular subject the first person to publicly proclaim ignorance is myself. On the other hand, if you just want to bust my balls for the sake of it…

Anyway, Maritime Sunday.

from wikipedia

Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal is a major component of the Port of New York and New Jersey. Located on the Newark Bay it serves as the principal container ship facility for goods entering and leaving New York-Newark metropolitan area, and the northeastern quadrant of North America. It consists of two components – Port Newark and the Elizabeth Marine Terminal (sometimes called “Port Newark” and “Port Elizabeth” respectively) – which exist side-by-side and are run conjointly by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Upcoming Tours

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

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

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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