The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘East River

trackless and inexplicable

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Weird stuff happens in Greenpoint, all the time.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There are days when your humble narrator finds himself in esoteric places, far from the blessed hillocks which underlie almond eyed Astoria, and an alarming number of mass transportation options are required. On a certain day, in which I had been on the R and 4 lines of the subway and on the Staten Island Ferry twice, the latest leg of my journeys was accomplished onboard the East River Ferry and my goal was to get a few shots of the DEP Sludge Tank over in Greenpoint along the way.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Shortly, you will be hearing that the long maligned concrete structure found nearby the crux of Newtown Creek and the East River, which serves as the shoreline spigot which the sewer plant disgorges its product into the fleet of Sludge Boats that service the megalopolis, is slated to be demolished. One of the final stages of construction at the sewer plant, the assembly of a specialized dock on Newtown Creek’s tributary – Whale Creek – has been accomplished, and this structure is now outdated and redundant. Also, it’s in the way of a condo building which will be built as part of the Greenpoint Landing development and rich people don’t like seeing giant tanks of poop in their yards.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The riverfront property (Yes, I know, its a bleeding estuary, not a river. Look at a map, what’s it called? East Estuary? No? Then piss off) adjoining the Eagle Street sludge tank belongs to Bay Crane, and there’s something fairly odd going on there. There seems to be a structure made of shipping containers, which have cars in them, stacked five high and nine deep. It looks quite a bit like the Hot Wheels toy car case which a humble narrator was quite proud of back in grade school (ok, Junior High School).

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Incidentally - that’s the sludge tank, my intended subject, on the left side of the shot. One presumes that this is some sort of advertising or movie set, as this would be a damnably inconvenient spot to park. Especially with the East River Ferry pier in Greenpoint still out of commission.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, June 28th, The Poison Cauldron
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 29th, The Insalubrious Valley
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

lean notary

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Shots from all over the edge of a Long Island.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a cargo ship was unloading a load of concrete manufacture supplies. The ship was performing the unloading process all by itself, with a series of swing out booms and cranes with mechanical buckets and shovels all busily employed. These shots were all gathered during the Solstice, when everything looks a bit ethereal, as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is in its position of annual primacy over the megalopolis.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

You can’t see the Williamsburg Bridge lit like this during winter time, as the angle of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is considerably less efficacious. My camera’s color and light meters were all over the place when I shot these, as what would normally be thought of as afternoon lighting lasted well past 6 pm – I think this particular shot was from around 6:30-7. Notice the wild angle that the light is falling at – longest day of the year light.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is from pretty late in the day, as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is finally slipping down past the shield wall of Manhattan. It depicts my beloved Newtown Creek, as shot from a familiar spot on the Pulaski Bridge. It’s a handheld shot, and is a bit grainy, but there was just something wonderful about the scene – couldn’t resist.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, June 28th, The Poison Cauldron
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 29th, The Insalubrious Valley
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

one night

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A Dark and Stormy night, upon the East River.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, an opportunity to go out for a trip on a Circle Line excursion presented itself. While onboard, Kenneth T. Jackson (The Encyclopedia of New York City) narrated the journey, which first traveled down the Hudson and then proceeded to the tip of Roosevelt Island on the East River before hanging a U-Turn.

I amused myself onboard in accustomed fashion, waving the camera around at points of interest as they were presented. On the return journey, to Circle Line’s Hudson piers, we encountered the Robert Burton tug.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A 1981 vintage boat, currently operated by Norfolk Tug, the Robert Burton’s story is well told at tugboatinformation.com, click here for their page. Her crew was manipulating a fuel barge under the Brooklyn Bridge, amongst the busy chaos of the East River’s ferry and tour boat traffic. My life was complicated by the growing fog, as an infestation of clouds began to descend upon the City, at just about the same time that sunset was meant to happen. Light and photography are complimentary, and an absence of the former precludes the latter.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, there were still a few photons floating about in the blanketing aerosol, and these admittedly grainy shots were captured. Working Harbor Committee is about to kick into its Summer 2014 schedule, by the way, check out the offerings for diversion and enlightenment here.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Saturday, May 31st, Plank Road with Newtown Creek Alliance.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Saturday, June 7th, 13 Steps around Dutch Kills with Atlas Obscura.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 28, 2014 at 11:00 am

approaching triumph

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Infrastructure pornography, gratuitous and forbidding, in today’s post.

Also, I’ll be at Brooklyn Brainery on February 27th presenting “the Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Gaze upon the terrible scale of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, connecting Brooklyn with… Staten Island… Bridges are on my mind today, especially the ones that connect Long Island with other extant land masses scattered about the archipelago.

Today will be just a lot of photos, and your humble narrator will be taking advantage of the short interval of warmth offered today. Out and about, looking at things- that’s me.

from wikipedia

The bridge is owned by the City of New York and operated by MTA Bridges and Tunnels, an affiliate agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Interstate 278 passes over the bridge, connecting the Staten Island Expressway with the Gowanus Expressway and the Belt Parkway. The Verrazano, along with the other three major Staten Island bridges, created a new way for commuters and travelers to reach Brooklyn, Long Island, and Manhattan by car from New Jersey.

The bridge was the last great public works project in New York City overseen by Robert Moses, the New York State Parks Commissioner and head of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, who had long desired the bridge as a means of completing the expressway system which was itself largely the result of his efforts. The bridge was also the last project designed by Chief Engineer Othmar Ammann…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

East River Bridge #1, or East River Suspension Bridge #1, or Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn.

from nyc.gov

The Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883. At the time, it was the longest suspension bridge. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, and a New York City Landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

East River Bridge #3, or Manhattan Bridge, from the water.

from nyc.gov

The youngest of the three DOT East River suspension bridges, construction began on October 1, 1901. The bridge opened to traffic on December 31, 1909 and completed in 1910. The Bridge’s total length is 5,780 feet from abutment to abutment at the lower level; and 6,090 feet on the upper roadways from portal to portal. Its main span length is 1,470 feet long and each of its four cables is 3,224 feet long. The Bridge was designed by Leon Moisseiff (1872-1943)…

- photo by Mitch Waxman

East River Bridge #2, Williamsburg Bridge, from Manhattan.

from nyc.gov

When it opened in 1903, the Williamsburg Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world, with a span of 1600 feet and a total length of 7308 feet and the first with all-steel towers. The 310-foot steel towers support four cables, each measuring 18_ inches in diameter and weighing 4,344 tons. In all, nearly 17,500 miles of wire are used in the cables that suspend the bridge 135 feet above the East River. The massive stiffening trusses were designed not only to withstand high winds, but also to support rail traffic on the deck.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

East River Bridge #4, Queensboro Bridge, from Long Island City.

from nyc.gov

The bridge was constructed between 1901 and 1909 and was opened to the traffic on June 18, 1909. A collaboration between the bridge engineer Gustav Lindenthal (1850-1935) and architect Henry Hornbostel, the main bridge is 3,725 feet long, the longest of the East River Bridges. The overall length of the bridge including the Manhattan and Queens approaches is 7,449 feet.

The site is an ideal location for a bridge as Roosevelt Island provides a convenient footing for the piers. Seventy-five thousand tons of steel went into the original bridge and its approaches. Its original cost was about $18 million, including $4.6 million for land. At the time of completion, it was not only the longest cantilever bridge in the United States, but also was designed for heavier loads than any other bridges.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Welfare Island, aka Roosevelt Island Bridge, from Roosevelt Island looking towards Queens.

from nyc.gov

The Roosevelt Island Bridge is a tower drive, vertical lift, movable bridge across the East Channel of the East River between the borough of Queens and Roosevelt Island, New York City. The span length is 418 feet. It was known as the Welfare Island Bridge when it was first opened to traffic in 1955.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Triborough Bridge, aka Robert F Kennedy Bridge, from Astoria, Queens.

from wikipedia

Construction began on Black Friday in 1929, but soon the Triborough project’s outlook began to look bleak. Othmar Ammann, who had collapsed the original design’s two-deck roadway into one, requiring lighter towers, and thus, lighter piers, saving $10 million on the towers alone, was enlisted again to help guide the project. Using New Deal money, it was resurrected in the early 1930s by Robert Moses, who created the Triborough Bridge Authority to fund, build and operate it. The completed structure was opened to traffic on July 11, 1936.

The total cost of the bridge was more than $60 million, one of the largest public works projects of the Great Depression, more expensive even than the Hoover Dam. The structure used concrete from factories from Maine to Mississippi. To make the formwork for pouring the concrete, a whole forest on the Pacific Coast was cut down.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Hell Gate Bridge, also from Astoria, Queens.

from wikipedia

The Hell Gate Bridge (originally the New York Connecting Railroad Bridge or The East River Arch Bridge) is a 1,017-foot (310 m)[3] steel through arch railroad bridge in New York City. The bridge crosses the Hell Gate, a strait of the East River, between Astoria, Queens and Wards Island in Manhattan.

The bridge is the largest of three bridges that form the Hell Gate complex. An inverted bowstring truss bridge with four 300-foot (91.4 m) spans crosses the Little Hell Gate (now filled in); and a 350-foot (106.7 m) fixed truss bridge crosses the Bronx Kill (now narrowed by fill). Together with approaches, the bridges are more than 17,000 feet (3.2 mi; 5.2 km) long.

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vital organs

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A boid at da Navy Yerd.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. birthday day, a holiday officially observed on the third Monday in January, in compliance with the Federal “Uniform Monday Holiday Act.” King’s actual birthday was January 15th. As it’s a holiday, a single shot is offered today, captured at the Brooklyn Navy Yard just last week. This is looking southwest, towards lower Manhattan, depicting a seagull photo bombing my shot. I’ve got a couple of other interesting scenes which were observed at the Navy Yard, which will be examined at this – your Newtown Pentacle – in the coming week.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

especial region

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Walking over rivers, that’s me.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent occasion found me with several appointments in rapid succession, one of which carried me to the shining city of Manhattan. Having accomplished the pedantry which this obligation required a bit quicker than anticipated, a longer interval of time became available to me than originally planned, and it was decided to walk to my next appointment instead of using the subway. Off to Brooklyn went I, a scuttling over the venerable Manhattan Bridge.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a visceral sense of menace to the pedestrian walkway on this bridge, unlike the other east river spans- you feel isolated and quite far from the ever watchful NYPD up here. The graffito covered cement confirms the availability of time and opportunity, and were there Nosferatu operating in the megalopolis, this surely would make an excellent hunting ground (in the evenings at least).

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The views of lower Manhattan, specifically that ancient section called Chinatown, are quite breathtaking from up here. Breathtaking in the sense that amongst the buildings closest to the bridge, one can observe a relict stock of 19th and 20th century buildings whose only commonality is that they were thrown against the sky in as inexpensive a manner as possible.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m always fascinated while observing these open and undraped windows visible only from the bridge. Questions arise in me, such as “if your window is so incredibly wide open to all of NY, wouldn’t you hang a curtain?”. Its weird though, peering in through the window of something that might accurately be described as a tenement window, like seeing a sociological ghost.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s the longest possible history in this Manhattan neighborhood, which sits nearby the fabled five points at the edge of the so called Bloody Sixth Ward. There’s a series of apartments in New York City which I always wonder about, these that run alongside the Manhattan Bridge on the Chinatown side are amongst them, which I think must be the most onerous rentals available. Who lives here, with the subway and a possibly vampire infested pedestrian walkway right outside their window? What path has life carried the lessee to the wrong side of this window?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Brutal reality is best defined by the sweeping movements of a ticking clock, however, and despite having had a surprisingly long interval open up that allowed me the caprice of walking to Brooklyn- it was time to lean into it and get moving. Flatbush Avenue was awaiting, as was a meeting at the fabled Juniors, and it was time to kick my heels and get to DUMBO and infinite Brooklyn.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm

enlarged expeditions

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Today’s post wonders what it is that may eternal lie.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Maritime Sunday is a time for reflection and appreciation of the working harbor of New York and New Jersey and all the ships at sea, but nagging suspicions that there may be something lurking beneath the surface torment.

Down in the weed choked mud, can there be some form of alien consciousness whose revelation would engender the start of a new dark age? In some subaqueous sepulchre, does some phosphorescent madness wait which may not be dead, but actually lies dreaming instead? The question reduces a humble narrator into a horrible jelly of panic and paranoid fanaticism, frozen with hysterical paralysis at the implications of a dire future suggested by the very idea.

Can anyone perceive that which lies beneath the ocean waves and discern all there is, that might be hidden in the icy darkness?

If there is - trust me, the United States Government is on top of it- and they’ve got the gear.

from wikipedia

The East River is a tidal strait in New York City. It connects Upper New York Bay on its south end to Long Island Sound on its north end. It separates Long Island (including the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn) from the island of Manhattan and the Bronx on the North American mainland. In reference to its connection to Long Island Sound, it was once also known as the Sound River. The tidal strait usually reverses flow four times a day.

The strait was formed approximately 11,000 years ago at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation. The distinct change in the shape of the strait between the lower and upper portions is evidence of this glacial activity. The upper portion (from Long Island Sound to Hell Gate), running largely perpendicular to the glacial motion, is wide, meandering, and has deep narrow bays on both banks, scoured out by the glacier’s movement. The lower portion (from Hell Gate to New York Bay) runs north-south, parallel to the glacial motion. It is much narrower, with straight banks. The bays that exist (or existed before being filled in by human activity), are largely wide and shallow.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An American Palantír - gaze in wonder upon – the Ship.

It can be said that the ship you see was once a Navy vessel, the USNS Capable. Capable was a Stalwart Class Ocean Surveillance vessel, originally tasked with the collection of acoustic data as part of the anti submarine force. It launched in 1988, had 1,600 HP engines, and was 224 feet long with a 43 foot beam. It left the service in 2004, whereupon it was transferred to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA launched the refitted vessel in 2008, christening it the Okeanos Explorer.

from oceanexplorer.noaa.gov

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, “America’s Ship for Ocean Exploration,” is the only federally funded U.S. ship assigned to systematically explore our largely unknown ocean for the purpose of discovery and the advancement of knowledge. Telepresence, using real-time broadband satellite communications, connects the ship and its discoveries live with audiences ashore. Visit the NOAA Marine Operations Center Okeanos Explorer page for operations and crew information.

Since the ship was commissioned on August 13, 2008, the Okeanos Explorer has traveled the globe, exploring the Indonesian ‘Coral Triangle Region;’ benthic environments in the Galápagos; the geology, marine life, and hydrothermal systems of the Mid-Cayman Rise within the Caribbean Sea; and deep-sea habitats and marine life in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Mapping activities along the West and Mid-Atlantic Coasts have furthered our knowledge of these previously unexplored areas, setting the stage for future in-depth exploration activities.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Images and video captured by the Okeanos Explorer suggest vast versimilitude to certain blasphemous paintings of dream landscapes, which were last displayed in the salons of Paris shortly before the second World War, which were said to cause viewers to note strange parallelisms and draw mystified conclusions. Perhaps the ship has already visited that nightmare corpse city (spoken of only in hushed whisper by cultists and madmen alike) in the southern Pacific, found at S. Latitude 47°9′, W. Longitude 126°43′, and have decided to keep their findings private due to an abundance of caution and the desire to protect the world from knowledge of the thing. Who can say?

At any rate, a squamously squirming and loathsomely redolent Maritime Sunday greeting is fearfully offered to the crew of the Okeanos Explorer at this, your Newtown Pentacle.

also from oceanexplorer.noaa.gov

From July to August 2013, a team of scientists and technicians both at-sea and on shore will conduct exploratory investigations on the diversity and distribution of deep-sea habitats and marine life along the Northeast U.S. Canyons and at Mytilus Seamount, located within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. The 36-day expedition is composed of two cruise ‘legs.’

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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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