The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Dutch Kills

so dissimilar

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Places to go, no one to see.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over at Newtown Creek’s LIC tributary, Dutch Kills, a property owner has been clearing away a stand of poison ivy and feral trees which have been occluding views of the turning basin (47th avenue at 29th street). There’s a bit of controversy about the property owner’s plans to erect a fence line here, as it seems to be NYS property, but this is Queens so who cares? If this was North Brooklyn, there’d be hunger strikers and hipster girls would be chaining themselves to the bulkheads. Here, the primary impact on the community is the loss of a good spot for weed smoking used by students from a nearby college and high school.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Last weekend, Working Harbor Committee did a tour of the Gowanus Bay and Canal which I was onboard for. Conversation with members of the Gowanus Conservancy allowed me to utter aloud one of the “faux pas” for which I am famous. My statement that Newtown Creek is a FAR bigger problem than their troubled waterway was greeted with “oh, here we go.” I explained that its geography, and that Newtown Creek and its tributaries simply occupy more space than the Gowanus. Closest analogy for the Gowanus, in my opinion, is actually Dutch Kills – multitudes of bridges, overflown by a highway, narrow channel, and abandoned bulkheads.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Got me thinking about Luyster Creek and all the other largely abandoned industrial canals in Queens that never get mentioned, of course. Flushing River, Anable Basin, and the rest seldom receive much notice from regulators. They’ve got the Black Mayonnaise and the VOC’s, the CSO’s and PCB’s. Heck, the entire alphabet can found floating around in New York Harbor. Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull is so rich in pesticides that it could likely wipe out every roach in Manhattan.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 9, 2014 at 12:14 pm

beckoning beyonds

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Confused paranoia and insensate musing, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My feet hurt, as does a knee or two.

Worries abound, all sorts of existential threats present themselves daily. The neighbors are worrisome and curious, and many of them were born to foreign communists. Some hail from terribly artificial nation states whose judicial system is built around medieval religious law, like Italy. There are public defecators and licentious drunks without, a riot of noise erupts constantly, and my dog has been curiously alert and watching the western sky of late. This Russia/Ukraine thing is also noisome, but we need the Russians, just in case Earth is ever invaded by an alien army.

For the same reason, we must preserve the felid specie of Tigers – for service as shock troops on the front lines of a true world war.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Surely, the universe has never been more unsettling than at the present moment, one can sense that the gears of fate and the clockwork of dharma spin inexorably toward doom, with a state of jellyfish like psychic dissolution awaiting the human infestation. Fearfully, willingly, entering into a dark age of ignorance and intolerant barbarism simply in the name of forgetting the horrible truths of our time.

How one longs for the good old days of centuries past. Things are so much worse now than they were a mere hundred years ago, during the opening shots of the “World War,” don’t you think?

Note: One prefers referring to WW1 to as “Phase One of the second Thirty Years War.” The First World War was merely a consolidation and clearing away of the medieval system, removing the decayed Austro Hungarian, Chinese, and Turkish Imperial players from the chess board and making room for the modern big guns to step up in Phase Two.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Alright, a hundred years back is a bad example. Let’s do two hundred years then, in… 1814…

OK, 1714… 1614… Jeez… 1514, well, let’s just say things in the present might not be as dire, loathsome, or squamous as we might believe them to be. Things could be a lot worse. An invasion fleet of alien starships could be driving asteroids at us from just beyond Mars, shelling our cities and killing the oceans. There could be bacterial analogues, born in the horrible mouldering slopes of an alien world, festering in the throats and orifices of our livestock or offspring.

Of course, were some star born army of conquerors to arrive upon the earth with lascivious or malicious intent, tiger riding Russian troops will be there to answer them.

I think that’s fairly obvious.

There are two public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up,
one in LIC, Queens and one in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Glittering Realms: Brooklyn’s Greenpoint with Atlas Obscura, on Saturday May 17th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor: Queen’s LIC with Brooklyn Brainery, on Sunday May 18th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 15, 2014 at 11:02 am

there flashed

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A life form, encountered.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Involuntarily marching home after a long day in the sun, one found himself on 36th avenue, in the Brazilian section. A generous and friendly, sometimes volatile creed, the Brazilians are a charismatic group who bring much needed color to an otherwise moribund section where Astoria bumps up against the Dutch Kills neighborhood. That’s where I encountered the bird, who was a member of their community.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A descendant of the mega saurians who once ruled the earth, in those days before the hammer of god itself smashed the planet into ruination, the bird was perched imperiously upon a firebox. He seemed haughty, and offered knowing glances to all the mammals marching to and fro.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The creature seemed possessed of a sentient intelligence, and one grew increasingly uneasy when its stare became fixed upon me. Wonderings about whether or not this bird might be associated with or involved in organized crime came to mind. It seemed to be demanding something.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s when this affable child of the southern hemisphere appeared, offering the avian some sort of elixir, which was served in a wholesome seeming cup. The entity quaffed whatever was in the vessel, but it’s fixed yellow gaze never left my vicinity. The birds servant opined about how wonderful the creature was, but that might have been something that he had no choice in. Was this, in fact, the Don of some underworld clique, as I suspected?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Can a bird be a member of the underworld? By definition, wouldn’t a bird be part of an overworld? Better not ask too many questions, lest my days become haunted by flocks of rough looking characters bent upon a campaign of torment and harassment. Who can guess, all there is, that might be hidden up amongst the rafters and rooftops of the Newtown Pentacle?

There are two public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in LIC, Queens and one in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Glittering Realms, with Atlas Obscura, on Saturday May 17th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

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

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 8, 2014 at 11:00 am

mounting eagerness

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Man, I’ve barely mentioned my beloved Creek lately.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Yesterday, business took me to Red Hook’s Erie Basin, a trip which turned out to be abortive as that which I went to photograph would not be available until next week. Having a free afternoon, unexpectedly, one decided to walk home to Astoria. Shots from the journey are being processed, but your humble narrator found himself all along the river, and everywhere from Brooklyn Bridge park to The Navy Yard. My back started to ache in Williamsburg, and discretion being the better part of valor, I cut the walk off at Metropolitan and Roebling. Not bad for my first serious perambulation of 2014, but I am badly out of shape after a hibernation forced by incessant ice and snow.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Vast soliloquy governed my thoughts on the walk, and a realization that I havent been spending much time on the Newtown Creek- personally and at this blog – in the last few months left me thunderstruck. Accordingly, pictured above is the DB Cabin rail bridge, spanning Dutch Kills, which carries LIRR Montauk branch traffic. DB Cabin hasn’t been opened since 2002, as its motors are non functional. Accordingly, Dutch Kills is an industrial canal which cannot accept anything larger than a rowboat, and that’s only at low tide. There are those who would like to throw this inheritance away, and turn it into some sort of bullheaded swampland, but that’s something that sounds good at cocktail parties. They forget about Mosquitos, and jobs for those beyond their clique, and that M1 zones are for industry – not water sports or bird watching.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This bridge frustrates me as I’ve never gotten a decent shot of a train crossing it. There’s another rail bridge at English Kills which has stymied my desires in similar fashion over the years, but its just a matter of time until I get both. That’s the thing about me and my beloved Creek – I ain’t going nowhere. There are some who wish I would just fall in and disappear into the black mayonnaise, probably due to my brash nature and overwhelmingly unwholesome aspect, but they can go jump in the East River and swim to Manhattan to beg the Mayor for a job for all I care.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Newtown Creek is the subject of much speculation, discussion, and debate. All over the world – architects, planners, and engineers sniff at the air and smell a giant bucket of Federal money about to spent here. They anxiously twist their hands trying to conceive of some angle by which their pet projects can be shoehorned into the Superfund process. They forget that this is the home of industry, which must be encouraged to not just stay here, but to reinvest in Brooklyn and Queens – albeit in a manner which is less destructive to the processes of human and animal life along the waterway. You can have both.

Also, all bets are off, and your Newtown Pentacle is back in session.

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brief space

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An interesting effect observed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

By this stage of the game, lords and ladies, the shot above must depict a scene quite familiar to your eyes. The waterway is the Dutch Kills tributary of the fabled Newtown Creek, and the industrial buildings framing it part of the Degnon Terminal here in Long Island City, Queens. The water is frozen, as would be expected in this frigid month.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Hanging around with the Newtown Creek Alliance folks, one of the terms I’ve learned which cannot be expunged from active memory is “sediment mound.” That’s when an open sewer deposits layer after layer of its cargo, over the course of decades, and piles up a mound. These mounds are normally indistinct to the eye, sitting hidden in the turbid water.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

What’s interesting in these shots, to me at least, is that the sediment mounds and other features of the bed which Dutch Kills flows through, are visible in the melting edges of the ice. It appeared that the ice didn’t form as solidly at the shorelines as it did in the center of the water. The center was, in fact, a solid plate of ice which had garbage rolling around on it.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

These were captured on January the 11th, a very foggy day. The shot above is a stitched panorama, which depicts the entire water way while facing roughly southwards.

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hollow betwixt

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Another day in the life of Mitch.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, your humble narrator was engaged three days in a row doing the “Newtown Creek Tour” thing. The Saturday and Sunday ones were for Atlas Obscura and Brooklyn Brainery, and followed two of the routes which I have established that tell certain parts of the tale of Newtown Creek and its surrounding communities. The Friday one was a little less conventional, and played out around the Dutch Kills tributary of the larger watershed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A small group this time, I had a crew from LaGuardia Community College out for a general meander around their home waterway. It seems that CUNY doesn’t spend much time letting their students or faculty know exactly where it is that LaGuardia is located, or the historic significance of its location in the Degnon Terminal in Long Island City. Accordingly, one of their instructors who is deeply involved with the Creek and with Newtown Creek Alliance asked if I could inform and instruct on the subject from a historical and wayfinding POV.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This instructor, Sarah Durand (long referred to at this blog as “the radical biologist Sarah Durand” and pictured in the forefront of the image above) has an interesting study under way on the waterway. This isn’t the one where she stitches together corpses and exposes them to electrical stimulation in order to revivify and restore them to some semblance of life, rather this is the one which involves the suspension of buckets filled with various biota at different tidal levels to gauge and measure the sort of critters which might exist in the water column. She labors to answer the question of “who can guess, all there is, which might flop and flap in the waters of the infamous Newtown Creek?”.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 23, 2013 at 11:48 am

strange cries

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All we have to fear is fear itself.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An infinite capacity for terror and hysteria grips one such as myself, who is just some flapping and flopping thing often observed alongside the road while it coruscates and pulsates and squeezes along and across the concretized devastations of the ageless borough of Queens. Layer upon layer of thwarted ambition is found hereabouts, a fitting locale for your humble narrator- amongst the battered, the bruised, the abandoned, and that which has seen better days. Existential crises abound, and the eternal road only stretches forward into a tunnel of darkness and despair.

As you may have guessed by now, I agree with and celebrate the song “I don’t like Mondays.”

from wikipedia

In psychology and psychiatry, anhedonia (/ˌænhiˈdoʊniə/ an-hee-doh-nee-ə; Greek: ἀν- an-, “without” + ἡδονή hēdonē, “pleasure”) is defined as the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable, e.g. exercise, hobbies, music, sexual activities or social interactions. While earlier definitions of anhedonia emphasized pleasurable experience, more recent models have highlighted the need to consider different aspects of enjoyable behavior, such as motivation or desire to engage in an activity (“motivational anhedonia”), as compared to the level of enjoyment of the activity itself (“consummatory anhedonia”).

- photo by Mitch Waxman

“Monday’s child is fair of face” says the old rhyme, but the origins of the word in English actually mark it as “moons day,” or the day of the moon (that name goes all the back to Old English’s mōnandæg). Perhaps this is why a creature as unwholesome as myself- said unsavoriness should indicate an affinity for the moon day, incidentally- is so uncomfortable on what the Chinese would call xīngqīyī (星期一) which clinically translates to “day one of the week.”

In Britain, a recent study concluded that Monday is the statistically most likely day for suicides. Hecate, triple lobed goddess of the moon, seems to deserve her reputation as a harsh entity whom occultists call the “mother of angels.”

Angels have always scared the hell out of me.

from wikipedia

Dysthymia has a number of typical characteristics: low energy and drive, low self-esteem, and a low capacity for pleasure in everyday life. Mild degrees of dysthymia may result in people withdrawing from stress and avoiding opportunities for failure. In more severe cases of dysthymia, people may even withdraw from daily activities. They will usually find little pleasure in usual activities and pastimes. Diagnosis of dysthymia can be difficult because of the subtle nature of the symptoms and patients can often hide them in social situations making it challenging for others to detect symptoms. Additionally, dysthymia often occurs at the same time as other psychological disorders, which adds a level of complexity in determining the presence of dysthymia, particularly because there is often an overlap in the symptoms of disorders.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It has been awhile since one has found himself overcome by panic and animalistic instinct, and been reduced to a shivering jelly slaking with greasy perspiration. The ministrations of a team of doctors, and their vials of tablets and potions, seems to have found an equilibrium in me but my greatest fear is a return to fear. I fear fear, fearing that fear might overcome me, rendering all about me fearful. I fear this, and if all we have to fear is fear itself, then I’d like to point out that Fear is hanging up there in the sky behind me as I write this and he’s brought his brother Terror with him.

Of course, I refer to the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, after all Monday is the so called day of the moon.

from wikipedia

Phobophobia (from Greek: φόβος, phobos, “fear”) is a phobia defined as the fear of phobias, or the fear of fear, including intense anxiety and unrealistic and persistent fear of the somatic sensations and the feared phobia ensuing. Phobophobia can also be defined as the fear of phobias or fear of developing a phobia. Phobophobia is related to anxiety disorders and panic attacks directly linked to other types of phobias, such as agoraphobia. When a patient has developed phobophobia, their condition must be diagnosed and treated as part of anxiety disorders. This patient with this phobia is not afraid of this phobia thus preventing a paradox.

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Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

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

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

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