The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Empire State Building

frescoed halls

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Another one from the archives.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A couple of friends of mine were getting married, and threw some big fancy “do” at a hotel over on Park Avenue. As always I had a camera with me. A clear night, the venerable Empire State Building was lit up all pretty, and the rest is pixels on a page. My friends still seem quite taken with each other, by the way.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 27, 2013 at 7:30 am

forced economies

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Today, we pass through a crossroad.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the things I find endlessly fascinating about Western Queens is the juxtapose between at least three different urban planning schemes and where they overlie each other. Of course, the term Urban Planning is seldom found prior to the 20th century, so modern bias interferes with understanding the why’s of where. Also, everything has been so extensively built and rebuilt over the years…

The oldest one wasn’t really planned, rather its where the colonials and farmers of Newtown laid down roads like Greenpoint Avenue or Thomson Avenue, which were literally means to an end- a way to move from point a to point b which took into account and diverted around natural features like hills and streams.

Overlaid on these atavist lanes is an industrial era grid, Skillman and Borden Avenues comes to mind. Hold overs from the locomotive city of the late 19th century- which favored long arcs and subtly graded streets wide enough to carry a street car or in some cases a full on steam locomotive.

Dross 20th century engineering was applied to the most modern layer, such as where Queens Blvd. originates at Thomson Avenue or where Greenpoint Avenue transmogrifies into Roosevelt Avenue at its intersection with Queens Blvd. The modern layer was designed to carry the automotive and mass transit city forward and which is pictured in the shot above. The latter two are definitively hostile to pedestrian activity, but the way.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 5, 2013 at 8:40 am

decreasing confidence

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Today’s post is about enormous things hidden in the mist.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering around during a recent spate of gray skies, your humble narrator found himself staring at the familiar geometries of Whale Creek at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Still, rainy days lend a surreal quality to the Newtown Creek and its tributaries. Alongside the futurist architecture and ongoing construction of the great sewer mill, it is impossible for one such as myself not to record such otherworldly scenery.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It is a strange compulsion, recording everything one might see. Some tell me that I hide behind the camera, comfortably isolated from interaction with others- which is always a painful and embarrassing experience fraught with unknown possibility and consequence. Thing is, look at the things which I see.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Deep regret exists in me that so many experiences over the years were not recorded in the manner that I employ these days. Places, people, experiences relegated to hazy memory and the dimness of time. Without a photo of some thing or event as evidence, how can you honestly say it happened?

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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.

deeds and aspect

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photos by Mitch Waxman

For this Maritime Sunday, check out the show (visible from the infinities of Brooklyn) which was playing out on the East River last Friday.

What you’re seeing are two Moran Tugs- The Doris Moran and the James Turecamo- towing a floating dry dock past midtown. The Caddell company’s gargantuan… dare I say cyclopean… equipment is an amazing maritime structure. A floating dry dock will submerge itself, whereupon a boat will be floated into position over it, and the structure will rise up and capture the vessel. The dry dock will fully resurface and lift the ship into the air, allowing repairs and maintenance to be performed.

- photos by Mitch Waxman

Here’s a shot of a tug undergoing repair on another one of Cadell’s drydocks at the Kill Van Kull.

Upcoming tours:

The Insalubrious Valley- Saturday, May 25, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

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

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

ornate and exotic

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Maddeningly, lucky captures like the ones featured in today’s posting have been pretty rare for me of late, but here’s three from the proverbial “right place, right time.” Whilst crossing the devastations of Laurel Hill last week, enroute to a meeting in Brooklyn, those dense atmospheric conditions which had all but occluded the visual presence of Manhattan, just an hour earlier, suddenly cleared up. The burning thermonuclear eye of god itself omnipotently bathed the accursed earth in its radiation, driving away the rain laden clouds.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, I was skulking and scuttling the periphery, along an obscure pavement, of the polyandrion of the Roman Catholic Church- called Calvary. Bearing witness to this sudden explosion of majesty and inadvertent stage lighting, for one such as myself, was fraught with danger. Having grown increasingly nocturnal over the winter months, your humble narrator let slip an audibly fearful hiss when that light- which had traveled 93 million miles in seconds and was aimed directly at me- struck my shadow tempered skin. At once, I was moving eastward- and toward safe harbor in the perennial shadows of DUKBO (Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp) scuttled I.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, as it was late in the day, this luminous event was short lived and the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself now floated low to the horizon in the northwestern sky. Enormous volatility in the air and surrounding cloud systems lent an effusive quality to its emanations, which oddly framed the so called Freedom Tower- a megalith nearing completion on the site of national tragedy and aspiration. To one such as myself, however, such things are better left for others to contemplate, enjoy, and discuss. There is no place for me in the company of others. My place is here, along the Newtown Creek, and amongst the tomb legions.

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