The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Dutch Kills

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.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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?”.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 23, 2013 at 11:48 am

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