The Newtown Pentacle

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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.

partly delirious

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently spotted as it plied the estuarine expanses of the East River, the Vane Brothers Sassafras Tug. Your humble narrator was onboard an East River Ferry, heading from Manhattan to Greenpoint, and spotted the tug moving iconically along the strait.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In the dim past of industrial supremacy, this was one of the busiest stretches of aqua firma in the world, and it is truly a condemnation upon our modern civilization that the passing of a tug and barge along its expanses is something remarkable. A blogger of a century ago would have been limited to monographs, of course, but such a creature would have found very little to say about such a thing. In modernity, it would be like commenting on the passing of a common truck.

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Upcoming Walking Tour- The Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Meetup at the corner of Kingsland and Norman Avenues in Greenpoint at 11 on Saturday, August 25th.

We will be exploring the petroleum and waste transfer districts of the Newtown Creek watershed in North Brooklyn. Heavily industrialized, the area we will be walking through is the heart of the Greenpoint Oil Spill and home to scores of waste transfer stations and other heavy industries. We will be heading for the thrice damned Kosciuszko Bridge, which is scheduled for a demolition and replacement project which will be starting in 2013. Photographers, in particular, will find this an interesting walk through a little known and quite obscure section of New York City.

Be prepared: We’ll be encountering broken pavement, sometimes heavy truck traffic, and experiencing a virtual urban desert as we move through the concrete devastations of North Brooklyn. Dress and pack appropriately for hiking, closed toe shoes are highly recommended- as are a hat or parasol to shield you from the sun.

Bathroom opportunities will be found only at the start of the walk, which will be around three hours long and cover approximately three miles of ground. Drivers, it would be wise to leave your cars in the vicinity of McGolrick Park in Greenpoint.

Click here for tickets, and as always- a limited number of walk ups will be welcomed- but for safety reasons we need to limit the group to a manageable size. Contact me at this email if you desire further details.

unvocal waves

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent business carried me into Manhattan, to a meeting where the alcohol flowed freely and afterwards your humble narrator found himself more than a little tipsy. In prior times of plenty, a taxi might have been hired to carry my besotted husk back to Astoria, but as dire financial circumstances demand- it would be the subway that would ferry me home.

The assignation that night was right in the middle of rich people country, Lexington Avenue in the high 30’s, so the drinks were far better than the usual swill I quaff.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Making my way through Times Square, by this point more than just a little tipsy and edging on drunk, the notion of attempting a few night shots entered my fevered mind. As mentioned in several prior posts, this is something “I’m working on”. A difficult endeavor under normal circumstance, low light photography is especially interesting after several cocktails have been imbibed over a short interval.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, I’ve never felt inhibited taking “street shots” of strangers, and have often been chided for walking right up to people and just starting to click away. Of course, embarrassment ruled over me the next morning, as I found a series of cliche “Times Square Street Photography” shots had been captured in my stupor.

Back to the sobering realities of the Newtown Creek for me.

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Click for details on Mitch Waxman’s
Upcoming walking and boat tours of Newtown Creek, and Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull

June 30th, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Kill Van Kull walk

for June 30th tickets, click here for the Working Harbor Committee ticketing page

July 8th, 2012- Atlas Obscura Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

for July 8th tickets, click here for the Atlas Obscura ticketing page

July 22nd, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat Tour

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 28, 2012 at 12:15 am

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