The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Greenpoint

second to nothing

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Dredging operations on the Newtown Creek are underway.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

After a couple of false starts and delayed beginnings, DonJon Towing is finally getting busy over on my beloved Creek. The dredging project is designed to provide a maritime channel for a new class of DEP Sludge Boats (see this Newtown Pentacle post from back in January of this year for details on the new boats) which will use a dock on Whale Creek, rather than the current East river facility, to accept the processed material produced by the Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant in Greenpoint.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

These shots were gathered yesterday, at Whale Creek – a Brooklyn side tributary of Newtown Creek which the sewer plant wraps around.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, due to a busy work schedule and weather issues, I only managed to get there late in the afternoon and missed the action. This little push boat was busily managing the barges into a docking position, however.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The dredging rig was the Delaware Bay, which is a 225 foot long monster commissioned in 2008, and outfitted with a 123 foot long boom and crane.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the actual dredging bucket, which is outfitted with some sort of esoteric gasket system. I’ve never felt pity for a big steel machine before, but… Yuck… this is Newtown Creek.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The whole operation is meant to continue on for about six weeks. The initial phase of it, here on Whale Creek, will only be operating 12 hours a day, but once they work their way out onto the main body of the Creek – probably Tuesday of next week, they will go 24/7.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This little Survey boat was buzzing about, and I’m told it carried a battery of sonar equipment which allowed visualization of the dredging work in real time. There’s a lot of stuff down there, pipelines and cables and such, for the DonJon crews to watch out for.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A DEP contractor was on hand performing air quality tests and odor control functions. This was his little weather station.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Also part of this contractors kit was a Hydrogen Sulfide monitor, which measures concentrations of the compound released from the underwater sediments during the dredge process.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s critical, once the operation moves out of Whale Creek and heads west towards the more populated sections of the Creek in Greenpoint and Hunters Point, that you call 311 if you’re being affected by smells or noise. Also, I’ve been told that the NCWWTP Nature Walk will be closed for the weekend, in the name of safety.

If you smell something, say something, and call 311.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

unavoidable oversight

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What the end of the world will look like, as observed in Greenpoint USA.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Manhattan’s recyclable paper and plastic went up in flames in Greenpoint the other night, when a blaze began at the Rapid Processing Center on Humboldt St. and Greenpoint Ave. at around 7 p.m. on March 18th. The operation was in the Waste Transfer Station Recycling business, acting as a depot for the unloading of the DSNY’s white packer trucks which perform curbside pickup of paper and plastic materials.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In the end, it took 200 firefighters and all of their arts to fight this four alarm fire.

Almost as soon as it started, social media sites like Facebook began to light up as well with comments and queries offered by community members about the fire and the possible hazards of being exposed to its smoke and effluents.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It seems that the torrents of water used to combat the blaze also flooded the streets, and news reports described a lake of water on Greenpoint Avenue, which carried garbage off the site and allowed it to move around with the wind as flotsam. As you can see in the shot above, puddles of unusual size persist, and carry a sheen of something on their surface.

These shots were captured yesterday, March 23rd, and the mound of material was still smoldering.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The structure is a total loss, obviously, and I did observe air quality monitoring equipment at work. Directly following the fire, FDNY announced that there was nothing, air quality wise, for the community to fret about.

Of course, there was reportedly NO air quality monitoring going on during the fire when a plume of (probably) dioxin laced smoke was infiltrating into the neighborhood.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There was talk following the flooding of Hurricane Sandy about prepositioning environmental sampling kits around Greenpoint, so that actual “time of event” samples could be captured, but that seems to have been forgotten.

Green Infrastructure, instead, is the buzzword of the present day.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

During the fire your humble narrator was safe and sound and upwind in Astoria, but a point was made of interjecting myself into their lively debate to adjure the Greenpointers to call 311 and complain of the smoke, as this would have compelled DEP to set up air monitors DURING the event. No one listened, and no monitors were set up, so everything is fine and nobody was exposed to anything bad.

If you smell something, say something, and call 311.

New York City would not acknowledge the presence of an elephant in the City Council chamber room unless a statistically relevant number of 311 calls were received about it.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 24, 2014 at 11:00 am

Magic Lantern Show at Brooklyn Brainery

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The Newtown Creek Magic lantern show returns.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On February 27th, your humble narrator will be narrating humbly at the Brooklyn Brainery – here’s the details. This is the 2014 version of the thing, btw, updated with newly learned information and recently captured images. In the past, this photo presentation and info dump has been offered to political clubs, historical societies, and to the general public at a variety of venues.

Come with?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Brooklyn Brainery is a swell operation, located in the nice part of Brooklyn nearby Grand Army Plaza and several Subway lines. I’ve worked with them a few times in the last year, doing walking tours, and they’re very cool folks. Also, the space they’re located in is very nice – physical comfort wise and such.

From their website -

We host classes about all sorts of things: from physics to Australian desserts, from HTML to shorthand and just about every nook and cranny in between.

All of our course topics are dreamed up and suggested by you, and our teachers are a group of awesome people from around Brooklyn and the whole city. Anyone can teach–you just need a passion for the topic and a desire to share it with others. We do all the planning, taking care of sign ups, marketing, and materials, so you can focus on the important stuff (teaching, duh).”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The presentation will be about 2 hours long, with the actual slideshow and talk occupying roughly one and a half hours. What follows will be a Q&A session, wherein questions will be offered that a humble narrator will endeavor to intelligently answer. Brooklyn Brainery is asking $12 for the class.

There are still a few tickets left, so click on through and join the conversation about Newtown Creek on February 27th at 8 p.m.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 14, 2014 at 12:10 pm

not voluntary

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The banal joy of it all is what today’s post explores.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Have to admit that despite my confession to suffering from a bit of a rut, which is a seasonal complaint often offered at this time of year, the places which I continually find myself seldom disappoint. Case in point today are shots collected from the Queens side of the fabled Newtown Creek, amongst the concretized wasteland of DUPBO (Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp). Pictured is a view of my beloved Creek looking towards Greenpoint and the GMDC (Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center) found at the Manhattan Avenue Street End in Brooklyn from DUPBO, which is ultimately kind of a depressing image for me. Your humble narrator has been spending far too much time in Brooklyn lately, and not enough in Queens.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Brooklyn is lost in soliloquy again, currently obsessing over ways to spend its ExxonMobil settlement money. There’s all sorts of stuff going on over there, with everyone in 11122 cooking up an idea to mulch this or compost that and applying for funding. It’s all good stuff, but gardening isn’t going to do much against the torrents of waste and sewage which flow out of Manhattan everyday. Greenpoint is the Mississippi delta of municipal waste, and Manhattan is an upstream pig farm whose shit pipes flow directly into the river. Western Queens, on the other hand, knows exactly what role it is expected to play in Manhattan’s gang of subordinates and doesn’t pretend not to know.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Carpet baggers from all over the City and State, sometimes from other states even, can smell the cash over in Brooklyn and want to take a bite. Foundations and think tanks roam about over there, pronouncing the need for “green infrastructure” (gardening) and other buzzy concepts which the masters over on Manhattan (and their Brooklyn representatives) have decided on as the fix for all things related to sewage runoff. I’m not against it, of course, how can you stand up against gardening? It’s just that over in Queens, We’ve got a highway which feeds a couple of hundred thousand auto trips a day into a tunnel that is just a couple of blocks from the Creek. Said highway runs alongside the concentrating point of all rail on Long Island, which is neighbored by two major automobile bridges (Queensboro and Triborough).

How can you garden your way out of that?

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not necessarily

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Sunset at Newtown Creek.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In Greenpoint to attend a meeting of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee, a community group whose mission is citizen oversight of the DEP construction process at the sewer plant, one found himself ridiculously early for the event. Accordingly, having no place else to go due to the pariah status I enjoy when nobody requires something from me, retreat was made to the banks of the loquacious Newtown Creek to confirm that it was still there.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Happily, the waterway had not been paved over in the intervening week since my last visit, and given the specific chronology of my residency there- the diurnal arc of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was waning. Atmospherics resulted, as the outer space based fusion ball attained an acute angle to that section of the planet occupied by the great human hive called New York City, painting airborne fumes and miasmas in orange and fuchsia- as pictured.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The NCMC meeting which followed discussed several topics. The disturbing role and intentions of a corporate entity called Veolia (which has been given managerial control over the NYC DEP) came up, as did the subject of a dredging project which the DEP requires to complete a certain phase of the plant’s construction, and the ongoing saga of getting horticultural staff in place at the Nature Walk public space (from which these photos were shot) was also explored. It was all very depressing, but its always nice to be amongst people who aren’t chasing or hurling things at me.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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