The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘DUPBO

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

trivial impressions

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Walking in DUPBO, Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp, in today’s post.

-photo by Mitch Waxman

A dish has two sides, as my dad would remind me whenever my chores included washing dishes, as does my beloved Newtown Creek. The well documented Brooklyn side in Greenpoint teems with eager humans, all of whom wish for a day when a cleaned up Newtown Creek will offer them a playground for kayaking and horticultural pursuits. No critique of such aims is offered or implied by the statement, it just “is.” The Queens side, however, is largely ignored.

-photo by Mitch Waxman

To be fair, folks in Greenpoint can find digs that are less than a block away from the waterway, while over in Queens the population centers are a good distance back from the bulkheads. Most of the waterfront property is cordoned off by corporate fence lines, rail tracks, and highways. The neighborhoods of the northern bank also tend to be clustered around transit arteries like Northern or Queens Boulevards. Additionally, the human infestation here in Queens seems to prefer not to think about Newtown Creek, considering it Brooklyn’s problem.

-photo by Mitch Waxman

This drives a humble narrator near to insanity, of course, as the Newtown Creek derives its name from the Queens side and it is one of the three primary reasons that Long Island City became the “workshop of America” by the “WW1″ phase of the second Thirty Years War during the 20th century (1- LIRR, 2- East River, 3- Newtown Creek). The scene pictured in today’s post, incidentally, is part of the FreshDirect truck fleet in DUPBO. FreshDirect, like most of the companies based along the Creek these days, ignores the three advantageous reasons for basing themselves here- rather they’re here simply for proximity to the Midtown Tunnel and access to Midtown Manhattan.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 1, 2013 at 7:34 am

writhing mass

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In today’s post- a vehicle accident in DUPBO, LIC.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Happily perambulating upon Jackson Avenue in venerable Hunter Point recently, a cacophony of automotive horns heralded my arrival in DUPBO- Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp- at the corner of Vernon and Jackson. I have actually used Vernon Jackson as an alias, in the past, it should be noted. To my ears, Vernon Jackson is an extremely credible sounding name, the sort of handle which a bounty hunter or hard hitting journalist might be blessed with.

At any rate, there was an awful traffic tie up, and even the legendary patience of the Queens driver was wearing thin.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Motorists in Queens, it should be pointed out, drive angry. The slightest transgression- not immediately hitting the gas at the precise second which a red light turns green, slowing down for any reason, allowing a passenger to debark the automobile- is greeted by an enthusiastic usage of the horn. There is also a societal taboo against going around an obstacle, and one is obliged to sit and honk at an obstruction until it is cleared away. In the case of this particular tie up, it seemed that an “accidental” had occurred.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Such “accidentals” are common, here in this place where highways and rail systems converge upon and feed into those narrow corridors which allow egress to the Shining City. Literally hundreds of thousands of vehicles cross western Queens on any given day, the odds that collisions wouldn’t proliferate would be astronomical. When I say “collision,” it is because I presume that both of the unfortunate conveyances found at the center of this scene were in motion.

Were one of them static, it would instead be an “allision.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The honking continued as I wove my way though tangle, on my way to Greenpoint. During my walk from Astoria, a roughly one and one half mile saunter accomplished in roughly forty minutes, I observed two vehicle accident scenes like this. One wonders if there is some database out there which describes the quantity of vehicular incidents in any given neighborhood?

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Want to see something cool? June 2013 Walking Tours-

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

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

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

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 29, 2013 at 12:15 am

dark and furtive

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

While inspecting the scene which stands extant in DUPBO, or Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp, one cannot help but notice the regular appearance of the Long Island Railroad operating along those tracks which it has held tenancy over since 1870.

The singular thrumming and vibrations of the municipal railways engines often rouse me from the piles of trash and wind blown debris amongst which one such as myself dwelleth, commanding my attentions and demanding proximity.

from 1877′s “Long Island and where to go!!: A descriptive work compiled for the Long R.R. Co.“, courtesy google books:

Long Island City is the concentrating point upon the East river, of all the main avenues of travel from the back districts of Long Island to the city of New York. The great arteries of travel leading from New York are Thomson avenue, macadamized, 100 feet wide, leading directly to Newtown, Jamaica and the middle and southern roads on Long Island, and Jackson avenue, also 100 feet wide, and leading directly to Flushing, Whitestone and the northerly roads.

Long Island City is also the concentrating point upon the East river, of the railway system of Long Island.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Diminished expectations notwithstanding, someday I would hope to actually ride upon one of these trains, transiting merrily from terminus to terminus and happily recording the largely pedestrian experience in photographs, anecdote, and the occasional video.

Of course, such pleasures must be denied to one such as myself, who is an onerous, undeserving, and decidedly feckless quisling renowned for publicly embarrassing himself with wild flights of fantasy and fantastic predictions of an uncomfortable and dire future.

from wikipedia

This station has 13 tracks, two concrete high-level island platforms, and one wooden high-level island platform. All platforms are two cars long and accessible from Borden Avenue just west of Fifth Street. The northernmost one, adjacent to tracks 2 and 3, is the only one used for passenger service. The other concrete platform adjacent to tracks 6 and 7 and the wooden one adjacent to tracks 8 and 9 are used for employees only. All tracks without platforms are used for train storage. The southernmost four tracks are powered by third rail while the remaining tracks are used only by diesel-powered trains.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Feeling somehow exposed down in DUPBO, a dark corner of the Newtown Creek watershed occasionally occluded by the gaseous exhalations of high volume roads, vehicular tunnels, and hundreds of thousands of automotive engines, your humble narrator retreated to the increasingly well used and so called “51st Avenue bridge”.

The elderly engine you see above, which is still at least ten years younger than me, is an EMD SW1001.

from wikipedia

The EMD SW1001 was a 1,000-horsepower (750 kW) diesel locomotive for industrial switching service built by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division between September 1968 and June 1986. A total of 230 examples were constructed, mainly for North American railroads and industrial operations.

The SW1001 was developed because EMD’s SW1000 model had proved unpopular among industrial railroad customers, as the heights of its walkway and cab eaves were much greater than those of earlier EMD switcher models. The overall height was similar, but the SW1000′s roof was much flatter in curvature. Industrial railroads that only operated switchers often had facilities designed to the proportions of EMD’s earlier switchers.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A decaying and increasingly decrepit truss bridge designed for pedestrians, the structure hurtles over the tracks and leads one under the steel of the fabled Long Island Expressway. Several years ago, I witnessed documents prepared by certain members of the government which proposed the utter destruction and subsequent replacement of this bridge. This report continued in dire tones- describing the bridge as standing, but unsound due to decaying concrete and rusted steel.

For a longer look at the bridge and environs, check out this post from February of 2010, “dimly lit and illimitable corridors.”

Personal observation has revealed that this is a VERY well traveled route between the industrial labor force of LIC and the nearby 7 train at 49th Avenue- or Hunters Point Avenue- depending on which century you’re describing. The 7, of course, offers connections to the east via Queens Plaza or a short journey into Manhattan via the Steinway Tunnel.

Forgotten-NY has been here too.

from wikipedia

The Steinway Tunnel carries the 7  trains of the New York City Subway under the East River between 42nd Street in Manhattan and 51st Avenue in Long Island City, Queens, in New York City. It was originally designed and built as an interurban trolley tunnel (hence the narrow loading gauge and height), with stations near the 7 ; trains’ current Hunters Point Avenue and Grand Central stations. It is named for William Steinway, who was a major promoter of its construction, although he died in 1896 before it was completed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is officially “one of my spots,” by the way.

During the week, especially around rush hour, a series of trains roll through here, providing a good opportunity for photography enthusiasts to gain a less common angle on the familiar blue and yellow passenger service. The phrase “one of my spots,” by the way, refers to an area I visit often while looking for a perfect combination of sky and light and subject. A wealth of photos of this particular spot and situation adorns my photostream at flickr, but I still haven’t hit that moment here, which is another failure I can pin on to my sweater.

There’s magic on the 51st Avenue bridge, I just have to find the right place and time to photograph it, which will take nothing but persistence.

from wikipedia

The Long Island Rail Road owns an electric fleet of 836 M7 and 170 M3 electric multiple unit cars, and 134 C3 bilevel rail cars powered by 23 DE30AC diesel-electric locomotives and 22 DM30AC dual-mode locomotives.

In 1997 and 1998, the LIRR received 134 double-decker passenger cars from Kawasaki, including 23 cab control cars, and 46 General Motors Electro-Motive Division diesel-electric locomotives (23 diesel DE30ACs and 23 dual-mode DM30ACs) to pull them, allowing trains from non-electric territory to access Penn Station for the first time in many years, due to the prohibition on diesel operation in the East River Tunnels leading to Penn Station.

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